Each day, we have a period we call academic intervention. Academic intervention is a period in which four teachers divide their time among the sixteen students in our class. We can work one-on-one or in small groups. We can review materials covered earlier in the day in class. We can go over individual assessments to make sure students understand what they may have missed. We can go over concepts that the class, as a whole, may not have grasped. We can use the time to study vocabulary. There are many ways to ensure that learning is continuing and deepening during this period.
Because the class is often divided into groups that are performing different activities, academic intervention time can be distracting. If students are working on math problems at the board, reading students may be eager to watch and see what they are up to. If reading students are talking among themselves, math students may be eavesdropping on the conversations. I may have mentioned before—my students are cool. And cool students know what is going on around them. All the time.
One day, during academic intervention, we decided to break into small groups and have individuals in the reading groups read aloud from an upcoming text. One of the aspects of reading on which we are focusing in our class this summer is fluency, and reading aloud helps students achieve better fluency. My group had four students. We all opened the text, and Student 1 started reading. After Student 1 finished the first paragraph, Student 2 picked up, and so on. At one point, I noticed Student 2 watching students writing math problems on the board and encouraged the student to follow along with the text by underlining what was being read with his finger. Problem solved. I noticed that Student 3 was doing a great job of helping the other students with difficult words in the text. When I asked questions about the text, I noticed that the students were comprehending the text well, in spite of the chatter going on around them and the math problems being written on the board. Finally, we finished Chapter 1. All of the students in the group had read aloud a number of times. All of the students had answered questions about the text. I was proud. It was almost time for lunch. Then, Student 1 asked, “Can we read one more chapter?” And I was even more proud.