August 5, 2008

Orangeburg, S.C., School District Holds Workshop on Teaching Methods

By Lee Tant, The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, S.C.

Aug. 5--More than 200 Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4 teachers took part in a three-day workshop designed to teach literacy, writing and reading in all school subjects this week.

"The philosophy behind it is that every teacher will be a literacy teacher," said Judy Sherman, assistant superintendent of human resources, staff development and public relations.

The workshop featured 13 different presenters that instructed the teachers on how to incorporate activities into the classroom that will improve student literacy. The teachers were divided into groups based on the grade level and subjects they taught.

"It's much needed," said Edisto Primary teacher Colleen Williams. She favors making the workshop an annual affair.

Williams was part of the group that listened to Lexington School District 5's Crystal Campbell as she explained creative ways to engage students in math.

Campbell subscribes to the belief that children learn best by performing hands-on activities. She designed an obstacle course using a jump rope and other items where the teachers had to use their math skills to move to the next phase.

"By having to jump three times (using a jump rope), they understand the concept of three because they had to do it three times," Campbell said.

Branchville High School science teacher Starr Bright said she learned methods to improve her student's literacy abilities in her classes, such as solving scientific issues using word problems.

Bright said the workshop gives teachers "tricks and ideas in the bag" that should improve test scores in all subjects.

The workshop was the idea of OCSD 4 Superintendent Dr.

Darrell Johnson. He said it had three main objectives: to have all students be literate readers by the end of the third grade, create a culture in the district where every teacher is a literacy teacher and get children to enjoy reading.

"If we can get kids to enjoy reading, they'll be doing good in all other areas when they leave us to go to college or work," Johnson said.


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