A Closer Look
How Mrs. Boston’s class improved math scores; English results might be next
LOS ANGELES - Several factors contributed to the increase in math scores in Vermont Avenue Elementary School fourth grade results between this year and last, and a new tutoring program may have been key.
Jeanette Boston’s class benefited this year from a new program in math. Vermont Avenue math coach Bill McDonald gives out a packet of math problems on Friday, due Monday, and whoever get alls of the questions correct gets their name placed in a bin. There is a weekly drawing for prizes, which includes colored pencils, erasers and rulers, all math-related prizes.
“He’s taking the two lowest performing kids out of every class and giving them additional instructions,” Boston said. We are really trying to improve as much as we can.”
Although the language arts scores decreased between 2006 and 2007 on the California exam, Boston had programs geared toward language arts as well called open court.
“Within the open court program we go over word knowledge, vocabulary and different strategies to help understand the story. At the end of the story, we take a test that helped to recall information . . . Hopefully by doing this program it will prepare the kids for the standardized test,” Boston said.
This year, Boston went to Costa Rica to visit her son who was teaching there for the summer. Boston got the idea to make a rainforest of reading in her classroom. On the board if they get five turtles they get a frog, five frogs gets them a butterfly. The colorful turquoise rainforest has a large twisted brown paper tree with flowers on it and is started to be filled with multi-colored paper butterflies.
“Not only am I trying to increase reading because not only does it increase reading knowledge but it also increased their fluency. We are doing risks and consequences in open court. What are the consequences in open court? What is happening is we are destroying all the rainforest. The rainforest gives us oxygen. It feeds into science, it feeds into reading, and it feeds into the open court,” Boston said.
Boston likes to make it competitive by giving a prize to the student who reads the most books.
“Now everybody wants a car (points to baby blue vintage toy car in corner of the classroom) because (a student) has the car. So you try to do whatever motivates them to get them to the next level, “ Boston said.
-- Emily Pauker