LCHS introduces FOCUSED Learning Model
Lincoln Co. Schools
STANFORD — Lincoln County High School has introduced a new teaching model this year called FOCUSED Learning model. FOCUSED (Flexible, Opportunity of, Collaborative, Uninterrupted, Support, Engaged, Daily) Learning is a creative way to teach students who struggle with reading or math by placing them in the same room at the same time with more than one teacher providing instruction.
In this setting at LCHS there are usually two teachers in the classroom. It’s a unique dynamic that pairs classroom teachers with special education teachers to form a team to best serve the needs of the students in the classroom.
The classroom is set up into three different learning stations designed for the students to get more one on one attention on the specific skills they lack. For example, station one is the general education teacher, station two is the special education teacher and station three is the independent/digital station.
One LCHS teacher team finding success with this model is the duo of Tammy Bustle and Brittany McCowan. Mrs. Bustle is a math teacher at LCHS and Mrs. McCowan is an Exceptional Child teacher there. A typical day in their classroom starts with students entering the room and finding their names grouped into three separate categories (Mrs. Bustle, Mrs. McCowan and the digital station) projected on the white board. The students automatically go to the station where they see their name categorized. Students are grouped depending on their comprehension of the content taught the day before and this is determined through formative assessment such as exit slips and teacher observation. The groups ideally change twice or more a week.
Students who did not fully comprehend the target taught the day before, or were absent for the lesson, start out in Mrs. McCowan’s group. The students then review any misconceptions from the prior day and move on to extensions of the lesson or, when they are ready, they progress on to new material.
If a student understood the content taught the previous day, they will be grouped in Mrs. Bustle’s station. This means they are ready to move on and possibly even extend the material to a higher level.
The third station is the digital (computer) station. These are students who may need to review previous lessons but are easily ready to move on to new material. Typically, at the computer station, students will do independent work on a skill learned the day before. Digital platforms such as DeltaMath, Quizzizz, Quizlet, Edupuzzle and Desmos are used at the computer station. In an average 60-minute class period, the students will rotate to all three stations, spending 20 minutes at each one. The computer stations are aligned so that the teacher can monitor them and make sure students are staying on task.
Advantages of FOCUSED
One of the main advantages to the FOCUSED Learning model is that it requires student engagement which leads to higher levels of learning and lower levels of classroom disruption. Mrs. McCowan said, “It has been incredible to be part of a learning model that has increased student engagement for the entire classroom and radically changed the way I instruct.”
Some other advantages are content and skills are taught intentionally and staff talent is maximized as students who struggle receive small group instruction in reading and math every day. Mrs. Bustle added, “The FOCUS Learning model is great for identifying students that would fall through the cracks in a regular classroom. This model allows them to have more individual assistance and help decrease the learning gap.”
Making a Difference
“With FOCUSED Learning model we have seen an increase in student engagement and understanding, therefore leading to an increase in student performance,” said Lincoln County Principal Michael Godbey. There are currently six FOCUSED Learning model teams at LCHS and other schools within the district are starting to implement the model as well.
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