High-Impact Student Resources

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ContextSeminole County Public Schools
AudienceNinth-Grade Students in Remedial Reading
PurposeEngage & excite students; provide consistency; integrate resources
PlatformsPrint media (linking Read 180 & two textbooks)

Project Detail

While teaching ninth-grade English classes, I piloted a new reading initiative for remedial classes. The curriculum incorporated an external reading program and activity book, our existing language textbook, and our literature selections. I integrated the various components into a single sensible product that helped students get their bearings and get excited about the quarter ahead.

While these documents may not constitute what most consider Instructional Design, they demonstrate my ability to integrate and coordinate learning materials from a variety of sources, to target audiences with materials, and to apply consistent and effective visual- and document-design principles.

The Challenge

If students feel punished by being assigned to class, how do we find their motivations?

Because my class combined reading and English into a single, two-hour block, students and I had the benefit of time together but the challenge of staying focused. The combination of two courses also combined their resources, meaning I had to find ways to sensibly integrate texts and programs in ways that wouldn’t confuse students.

Further, I wanted to provide as much up-front information as possible, showing students what projects lay ahead and what to expect for our focus, in terms of both themes and assessment. In other words, I needed something that would introduce them, interest them, and inform them.

The Product

Tabloid-sized, full-color brochures with single-page assessment inserts

Each quarter, I produced a full-color, four-page, tabloid-sized brochure advertising the work ahead, including textbook chapters to review, essays to write, and movies to watch. In this document, I connected the county-mandated theme with the film, literature, and intensive-reading exercises they’d complete.

A heavy visual emphasis made the material engaging, especially when compared to most handouts or syllabi for students’ other classes. The design similarity from quarter to quarter made the course feel consistent, while the color and content differences made each unit sufficiently distinct and memorable.

I created a full set of brochures and assessment guides, covering the full year:

The Result

Memorable, distinctive documents garnered attention

Because of the unique printing demands (full color, duplex, fold), the school principal needed to approve the extra expense, which he did without reservation upon seeing the full set of documents. The director of the county print shop commended the quality of the documents, saying he hadn’t seen similar quality from any other instructors.

Students kept the brochures in their notebooks all year (not just all quarter) — a feat in and of itself. The documents became a reference point for everything from due dates to grading standards. Other faculty used them to help determine how to integrate resources for a given quarter.