Posts Tagged 'Lily Vartanian'

Take-Aways from My Summer at the Hartman Center

zZfZWEIFt3OgDFsZuozBA0MJYd9BleSIDMJLPr3_QVU,6hdR0P8saxgOJ_R4juSoFGpeLEXcrYJihz99Kvaiu0A,Cc5P0-eE6owQQjT6zTh4Ej4jU3PxaU40mlHhUm09GAk,cBst4vJdvs4-iXcM6bXkiu5mO-C6fyWDTGWiFCRx9_s,lQTZCuHHbQHjMVxoHoJ3M0vfkInwGujO-wBDg-mXX4IBy Lily Vartanian – Now that the “Live to Dream” Hartman Center program has ended, I enlisted the help of my fellow Wade Coaches to reflect on some of the things we learned both individually as teachers and as a group this summer.

Personally, I feel as though I have grown in many ways this summer. I felt more equipped to handle a classroom, especially when approaching both learning and behavior issues, after a semester of student teaching. In my previous experience working at the Hartman Center, I had completed my final semester and took the Reading Three course in the fall of 2014, but had not yet student taught. Using what I learned in student teaching this summer at the Hartman center made my classroom a lot more efficient and differentiated than the previous semester.

Additionally, this summer taught me a lot about young readers. I was a student teacher in fifth grade, and my previous Hartman classroom had fourth graders, so the last time I had truly worked with beginning readers was in the Fall of 2013 during my first Reading course at Marquette. This was something that was an adjustment for me, as I had to review the processes of Core and Key words and teaching blending and segmenting, in addition to putting myself in the mindset of teaching second and third graders rather than fourth and fifth graders. I am grateful for the opportunity, however, as I will be teaching third graders this fall!

Wade Coach Julia Fornetti observed the confidence in both her students as well as the Wade Readers overall within the six week program. Most of our Wade Readers made gains in reading and confidence, and none regressed in their learning which was huge for some of these struggling readers. As summer is a time when students lose information and skills gained during the school year, this was a great accomplishment. As Ms. Fornetti observed and noted, “This summer really showed that everyone has an innate desire to be able to read fluently. When we provide students with the proper learning environment paired with the right amount of support, they begin to see themselves as the readers they’ve been striving for without realizing it.”

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Wade Coach Emily Wulfkuhle had similar notions regarding her learners. She found that, “Kids are excited about reading if they have a mentor that stresses the importance of reading, and praises even the smallest reading victories, which may be great accomplishments to the reader themselves.” Ms. Wulfkuhle, when reflecting on herself as a learner, found that she knew more about reading interventions than she gave herself credit for and became more confident using RTI (Response to Intervention).

Overall, the Wade Coaches did an excellent job supporting each other as well as their Wade Readers this summer. We drew on our students’ abilities as well as the data to help drive our instruction, while focusing on the areas of need for each Wade Reader. Additionally, our experiences gained during our student teaching semesters exposed each of us to a wide variety of instructional and behavioral strategies we could implement this summer.

The summer has gone so quickly, and I am sad to say that my time as a Wade Coach has come to an end! I am grateful and thankful for not only the opportunity to have been a Wade Coach this summer, but also for the chance to share my ideas, experiences, and students’ progress as a summer blogger. I am off to begin my first year teaching third grade, with the new school year just around the corner!

The Last Days of Living the Dream

1MdTAzair-EiAClNV9B8Hb5NtLOlpbAFUVGmqKIgbY0,UZNAaqf_rsoR19Knfse5vWjAoFi-lFHN27u-QHsGfHw,iAzOYSVQ33dBKfjG1sO_zpc4cIIz1RQjU5w-QiEd-OY,MEXR7fjN6qrU_9PydwHuRu68KnqMV2_CojqShk1gtW0By Lily Vartanian – The last days of the “Live to Dream” summer program were filled with fun and learning, as a way to wrap up our six weeks together. These last few weeks, assessing students’ progress was essential, as their growth was vital to our intervention-based teaching and goal of the program!

To measure the Wade Readers’ progress from start to finish, we assessed students using the Gates-MacGinitie test. These tests, which are leveled based on the reader, help measure both comprehension as well as reading achievement in word and sound recognition for the Wade Readers. We administered these tests during both the first and second-to-last weeks to help gauge where the students were in the beginning of the summer program as well as how much progress they had made.

Because this information was vital to both the program’s success as well as for our readers, we had to ensure that the tests were completed both pre-program and post-program for each student. As with any standardized testing, this always proves to be a challenge, with attendance and time as variables we needed to work with. As a way to incentivize the testing, which took between two and three days at 30-40 minutes per day, we decided to have the Wade Readers work towards an ice cream treat goal.

Each day the Wade Readers completed their Gates test, working hard and concentrating to give their best answers, they would earn an ingredient for an ice cream sundae. The first day, students could earn one scoop. The second, one topping on their ice cream, and the third day they could earn a second topping. Although each reader would get ice cream regardless at the end of the week, this was a way to hold them accountable and keep them motivated to work hard throughout the week.

Overall, this incentive worked well! We were successful at not only completing each student’s testing, but they also showed improvements, which was our overall goal as Wade Coaches. The student enjoyed their ice cream and worked hard to reach both their goal of finishing the tests and getting their ice cream sundae!

Our last day of the program was bittersweet, as both the Wade Readers and Coaches were sad to say goodbye to each other after our time together this summer. My Wade Readers wrote me kind messages on the chalkboard, enacted and read one of their favorite stories from the summer, and enjoyed popsicles with Ms. Werner’s class. I will miss my Wade Readers as I transition into my own third grade classroom for the fall, but I am both proud of them and grateful for the time we were able to spend together!

With the summer winding down and the final day of the “Live to Dream” program completed, stay posted for my final entry of the summer with more reflections and takeaways from this exciting time at Marquette!

Dwyane Wade Pays a Visit to the Hartman Center

Group Shot from Dwyane Wade VisitBy Lily Vartanian – On July 10, the Wade Readers were treated to a very exciting surprise— a visit from Mr. Dwyane Wade himself!

Our summer of learning with the possibility that Mr. Wade would visit was made a reality. The Wade Readers were very excited for the special day that was planned.

We began our day as we would any normal day of the “Live to Dream” program— bathroom breaks, morning work and reading, and snack. Although some of the children knew Mr. Wade would be visiting, there was still anticipation and excitement as news crews and University Advancement staff members gathered in the Hartman Center.

Mr. Dagget

Around 9:45, we gathered as a group in the main area of the Hartman Center. Mr. Daggett and Ms. Dillon, our “hosts” for the event and fellow Wade Coaches, gathered the group by practicing applause and getting the students ready to sit quietly. Mr. Daggett read a story to the Wade Readers, which kept them occupied as we waited for Mr. Wade’s entrance.

When Mr. Wade arrived, the students applauded and chanted “We are Marquette” to welcome him to the Hartman Center. After greeting the readers and getting seated, Mr. Wade had the opportunity to read to the students a story called “Stevie,” asking comprehension questions as he read. The Wade Readers were engaged and enjoyed listening to Mr. Wade narrate the story.

Story time

Following the story, each classroom had the chance to ask Mr. Wade one question, which turned out to be a very fun and exciting moment for them. For instance, my student, Oscar, was called up by Mr. Wade to show off his cool hairstyle, which was a great moment for my otherwise shy Oscar! Ms. Lewandowski’s student, Dwayne, also enjoyed Mr. Wade’s acknowledgement that they shared the same name, despite joking about the spelling difference.

Later on, we unveiled our gift to Mr. Wade and his sister, Ms. Tragil Wade: a canvas with each student’s handprint. Mr. Wade and Ms. Wade were given the opportunity to also place their handprints alongside the students’ on the canvas. After a group picture altogether in front of the new artwork, we returned to our classrooms to prepare for the afternoon.

Hand printAlthough our days during the “Live to Dream” program usually only run from 9:00 to 11:00 in the morning, this day was extended until 1:30 for the students. We had planned stations and games for the students outside, each of which was run by a University Advancement volunteer. Games such as water balloon toss, pillow-sack races, and wheel-barrow races made for great fun for the Wade Readers. Not only did the readers have the chance to be active outdoors, but Mr. Wade joined them during their rotations!

Balloon Toss

To finish off our busy morning, we gathered in the central mall of campus for a special lunch, joined by Mr. Wade and Ms. Wade, as well as Dr. Lovell. The readers were excited to see that many of their principals and administrative members also were able to join us for the luncheon. Our Wade Readers had a very exciting day and were each on their best behavior throughout the course of the extended day.

Now these past few weeks – having been treated to an appearance by Mr. Wade himself in the “Live to Dream” program – the Wade Readers ask when he will be back to visit. It was certainly an exciting moment not only for each of them and for us Wade Coaches, but also for Marquette to have the former student and now famous NBA player back on campus.

As our last days in the Hartman Center’s “Live to Dream” program approach, look back at my blog for more updates on the end of our time together to follow!

Wade Coach

A Typical Day in the “Live the Dream” Program

Vartanian, LilyBy Lily Vartanian – We are halfway through our summer as Wade Coaches within the Hartman Center’s “Live the Dream” reading program.

While the summer is flying by, we have finally begun to establish daily routines and learning opportunities that we create for our Wade Readers each day in our classrooms. To understand a bit more about what goes on each day in our Hartman Center classrooms, I have included a description of a typical day and schedule during the “Live the Dream” program.

In the mornings, the students arrive at 9:00, usually beginning their day with morning work, which consists of re-reading previous texts, new texts, or writing. While the other students complete their morning work, one student in the classroom each day will read a story or passage while I take a Running Record, which records their accuracy and comprehension given a specific text. This helps evaluate students’ progress, and allows us as Wade Coaches to see where each student may need more individual support or challenge.

Following the morning work, we take a class bathroom break, then officially beginning our morning of learning. Each classroom’s schedule varies depending on the Wade Readers’ age and needs as well as on the day. With my students, we are focusing on specifically building sight-word recognition to aid fluency and comprehension of texts. Therefore, we work with Core and Key words, which are both instructional tools to help build these areas.

We clap, tap, snap, dance, shake and write the spellings of these Core words, which is always fun for my incoming third graders. Their favorite “move” is to disco the Core word as they spell it. For Key words, we work with letter tiles, using a spelling pattern to help decode new words by blending and segmenting. Key words, as my students have learned, “unlock” new words, just like a key unlocks a door.

Group 6_15_15

After word work, we read a guided reading text based on my students’ reading levels. Usually, our reading has a comprehension strategy to work with as well, such as sequencing, which we have worked with recently. The readers need a lot of practice reading and re-reading texts, so we will read our story together, they will read with a partner, by themselves, or we will go to another classroom and they will read to a new partner there. I have found that for rising third graders, keeping a variety of instructional tools and strategies is always helpful, as it is necessary for their engagement in the lessons.

Towards the end of our two hours together, we will build fluency by writing a story as a class. The topic of our story depends on the guided reading text of the day, but the Wade Readers have the freedom to decide what happens in our story, although it usually ends in a silly way. We will once again read and re-read this story we have written, in different voices or taking turns reading different lines or parts.

If time allows, my students also enjoy “making words” using magnet letters and cookie sheets. During this time, I will give the Wade Readers a word or sound, and they need to use their given magnet letters to create the word I am reading to them. Although often a challenge, this benefits my students especially, since they need work with decoding words, and this specifically requires them to blend and segment the sounds they hear.

At the end of our morning together, we take one more class bathroom break, choose books from the Hartman Center library selection to take home to read, and walk as a class to the bus at dismissal at 11:00. Our days go quickly, and the Wade Readers are making great progress and growing in confidence as readers!

More updates on the next three weeks of the “Live the Dream” program to follow!

Week One of Building “S’More” Summer Readers

IMG_0048By Lily Vartanian – With the Dwyane Wade “Live to Dream” summer program underway, the tutors have been working to prepare and plan for their students each day now.

Monday, June 15, the first day of the program, was a busy day for both the new “summer campers” as well as the tutors, with a visit from Tragil Wade, Dwyane Wade’s sister, who is the Director of the Wade’s World Foundation. Throughout the two hours of the tutoring, Tragil was able to visit the classrooms of students on their first day, offering words of wisdom, interacting, and getting to know the kids. The students, in return, were very excited to have a visitor as well as a camera crew, both of which helped add to the excitement of their first day. Students really seemed to respond well to both Tragil’s presence and the notion that they should work hard to make her and Dwyane Wade proud.

Following the first tutoring session, Tragil said goodbye to the students as they departed on the bus. She was able to sit down with the tutors to further discuss her belief, hopes, and motivation for continuing to help struggling readers develop their literacy skills. She shared a bit about her experiences, getting her degree as an early childhood educator, as well as working as a primary-level teacher later on.

It was through her experiences teaching struggling readers and having a nephew who read below grade-level that Tragil was able to personally see the discrepancy between where students’ reading levels often times are, and where they should be. As tutors, this was a wonderful opportunity to hear just how important and dear to her heart this cause is to the Wade family, as well as the Wade’s World Foundation, which has made this program possible.

So far, tutoring has run smoothly, with the first of six weeks now complete. For my students and for many of the tutors, the first week always serves as a “test run,” since testing, attendance, and other adjustments need to be made before the program can begin in full-swing for week two. The first week is often the time to establish routines and procedures with students in the Hartman Center as well, which always requires time and practice.

Finding out about students’ interests, abilities, and building relationships with each of them has been key to the first week, so that we can better tailor lessons to the individual students. To hear from another tutor’s perspective, I asked Emily Carton to share her thoughts about the first week, and the progress she hopes to achieve with her students. She shared about her classroom, which is following a travel theme:

“Within the first couple days with a room theme of ‘Reading takes us places,’ we created reading passports to track our reading progress. We also talked about how reading can take us on an adventure as students colored their ‘carry on’ — the cover of a binder with their instructional materials. We are excited to see if we can work toward our class goal of 25 take-home books each!”

Each day, we hope to focus on certain literacy strategies and key instructional strategies to help the students create meaningful learning experiences. For example, students will work each day on a guided reading story, either reading by themselves, as a group, or with a partner. They will learn vocabulary words from these texts, which will be words that are added to each room’s “Word Wall.” Students will practice writing and fluency, which help with speaking, accuracy, and reading with expression. Lastly, students will have the opportunity each day to take books home to read, enjoy a class “read-aloud” book, as well as have a time for a mid-morning snack.

The days have been flying by so far! More updates on the “Live to Dream” summer program will be recorded here, so stay tuned to hear more about the tutors, readers, and the progress we are making in the Hartman Center in the coming weeks!

Preparations Underway for the Summer “Live to Dream” Program

WadeCroppedBy Lily Vartanian – This past year, Marquette University announced that NBA star and Marquette alum Dwyane Wade, through his Wade’s World Foundation, had made a generous grant to the College of Education’s Ralph C. Hartman Literacy and Learning Center.

The foundation supports community-based organizations which promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. Currently, this grant will serve to further the Hartman Center’s mission by providing and extending summer programing and literacy growth for underdeveloped and at-risk readers from various Milwaukee schools.

Although the Hartman Center works with students throughout the school year as well, this exciting opportunity will allow for students to receive individualized and more targeted literacy instruction during the summer, which has never occurred in past years. Preparations in the Hartman Center have been ongoing since the announcement was made in December. Now, the literacy program will begin this upcoming Monday, June 15, for the 60 lucky readers and Marquette tutors in the Hartman Center.

To prepare, 12 tutors were selected to serve as the students’ teachers for the six-week program. These tutors, who consist of previous Hartman Center tutors and recent graduates, have been preparing this past semester, whether through their final Marquette College of Education courses, or throughout student teaching experiences. As tutors, proper planning and the implementation of learned phonics and literacy work will be required in order to benefit and better serve these students. Schools such as Bruce Guadalupe Community School, St. Rose and St. Leo Catholic School, Brown Street Academy, as well as Highlands Community School will be participating in the program. Although throughout the school year the Hartman Center serves students up until fifth grade, this summer will focus on students from first to third grade, where learning will be especially essential and beneficial.

As a former tutor for the Hartman Center from the fall of 2014, as well as a tutor now this summer, I will be documenting and writing about what a typical day in the Hartman Center consists of, and the progress students make as the program begins and continues throughout the summer. I am excited to have the opportunity to not only work once again in the Hartman Center, but to be able to document our first summer program!

To better help us prepare, we gathered in the Hartman Center this past Saturday, June 5 for an all-day professional development session led by associate professor Dr. Kathleen Clark and Mrs. Calley Hostad, the Program Coordinator of the Hartman Center. This session was to ensure that we were ready for the students’ arrival this coming Monday, June 15.

Throughout the course of the day, we reviewed procedures, lesson planning requirements, and took time to make thoughtful considerations for planning activities based on each child’s reading level. Additionally, we were given time to decorate and begin prepping our classrooms in which the total of sixty students will work and learn throughout the six weeks of the program. The Hartman Center’s overall theme revolves around camping– building “S’more Readers” for the summer. However, in line with Hartman Center custom, each tutor can designate a certain theme or idea for their own classrooms within the center, if they wish. So far, some of the tutors have created rooms centered on themes such as “around the world” and travel, superheroes, and “blooming into reading.”

We will be required to adjust and monitor our students’ progress throughout the six weeks using a variety of assessments and instructional tools. Overall, the goal will be for all students to make gains in their reading and literacy, as summer is often a time when all students lose the knowledge and progress they have made throughout the school year. I’ll keep you posted on our progress with (hopefully) pictures to give you a flavor of what the Summer “Live the Dream” Program is all about.

Celebration of Teaching: Mrs. Susan Supanich

By Lily Vartanian — Looking back on my past education experiences, I have found that math was never a particularly interesting or easy subject as a student. Yet, my experiences, and particularly one educator in high school, altered my outlook and mindset towards mathematics greatly.

Entering high school as a not-so-confident math student, I had a wonderful Algebra teacher, Mrs. Susan Supanich. Mrs. Supanich—also known as “Mrs. Sup”—became a teacher that not only inspired me to excel in math, but also expected a high level of achievement and effort from each of her students, which also pushed me to success. Although I was already a good Algebra student, that did not stop Mrs. Supanich from challenging my abilities. Mrs. Sup encouraged me to move to an advanced geometry class for my sophomore year. She believed that I could meet the demands that higher math expected—and although I was not given the same opportunities before–I felt supported and prepared by Mrs. Sup.

My junior year of high school, I was placed into Mrs. Sup’s advanced Algebra II with Trigonometry class. I had heard the rumors from previous students of the challenge of the class and tests, but I was ready to tackle it. Yet, just weeks into the class my confidence was crushed after many failed tests and quizzes. Mrs. Supanich offered make-up tests, as well as help before, during, and after school, but the class did not seem to make sense to me. I felt defeated as I moved back to the lower mathematics class halfway through the year, with the guidance and best intentions from Mrs. Supanich. Yet, reflecting on this experience and class, the failure I felt never comes to mind. It is the fact that Mrs. Supanich went above and beyond her call as an educator to help me succeed.  I feel as though I was lucky to experience both extremities when it came to math— there were points where it was easy, and points where it was time-consuming, difficult, and hard work. Mrs. Supanich knew what I was capable of, and challenged me. But she also saw my struggles and endeavors in mathematics, and was there to guide me.

Mrs. Supanich’s true role came to me after my struggles that junior year in math. She gave me the opportunity to tutor one of her freshmen Algebra students, which I had never done before. Through this opportunity, I found that in teaching others, I felt proud and accomplished. I had the ability to help someone succeed, in the same way Mrs. Supanich had for me. I had been in the position as a struggling student, and I could relate; I knew the satisfaction of understanding math, and how hard that opportunity was to come by at points. Without this chance, I would not be on my path to becoming an educator today. Without her dedication and commitment to education, without the hope, understanding, and praise, and without the opportunities, I would not be where I am today.

Mrs. Supanich truly has inspired me and given me the confidence to want to teach others what was once my own “dreaded” subject in school. The imprint she has made on my life makes me only hope that I can be as wonderful of a teacher as she has been as I move forward into my future career.

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Lily Vartanian is a class of 2015 Elementary Education and Mathematics major from Shorewood, Wisconsin. 


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