Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seminary Pilot Program

Our Stake has been given permission to participate in a pilot program for seminary that was developed by a Bishop in our Stake. At present, it is found on the seminary home study site, and is only available to our Stake. We are the only unit in the church at present that is involved in this program. Basically, the site helps teachers to have a better understanding of their students' comprehension of the scriptures they read, and helps the students to gain better comprehension through their reading.

Here is how the program works. The student logs on to the site. They may either read their assigned chapters for that day from their own scriptures, or they can read them online. After they finish reading them, they take a sort of chapter quiz to see how well they comprehended what they read. They are scored, but this isn't part of any grade. It just gives them an idea for how well they understood what they read. The teacher also has access to their scores to be able to see how they are doing. There is a journal section where the students can either write comments about what they read, or ask questions. The teacher also has access to this and can reply.

The belief behind this program is that success is improved when it is measured. So far only a couple of my students have taken the time to take any of the quizzes, but it will be interesting to hear their feelings about whether or not this helps their reading comprehension. I have offered a bribe this week to those who participate, so I'm expecting more participation. :) Normally on Fridays I ask the students to fill out a card to let me know if they did their reading for the week. They can make a comment or ask a question on the card. If they turn in a card, they get a piece of candy. We then have a drawing from those cards for a slightly bigger prize (like a pack of gum). I told them that if they take a quiz during the week, I will give them an additional piece of candy. I know.....but bribery does sometimes work. :D

I don't know if the creators of this program will really see any results during this first semester. It may take well in to next year before students get the hang of it and really participate. But I am interested to see where this goes. I had the choice whether or not to have my class participate. Some teachers didn't opt to participate, but I felt it couldn't hurt. I figure anything that helps them understand the scriptures better is a benefit! I'll let you know how it goes!


Nene said...

Sounds interesting! I'll be interested in seeing what results you get. Also - I'm a great believer in bribery, but I call it "rewarding" instead. :0) We always used candy or treats for rewards. I used to give my kids something every week as encouragement to memorize their scripture mastery scriptures. Sometimes it would be a piece of candy and when I gave it to them, I would have a sort of "slogan" written on a little tag that I would put on the candy that I made up to go along with it. Like lets say a little mini-Twix bar: "Just Twix you and me, I think you're smart enough to memorize all 25 Scripture Masteries!" Sometimes I'd go to the party aisle at Hobby Lobby and find party favors on sale and use those instead. Like a Superman plastic ring with the tag: "You're doing a Super job memorizing your Scripture Masteries!" I felt like it sort of rewarded the ones who were really working hard, and the ones who weren't working that hard sort of felt guilty getting it so they would try harder. I saw the results with all 4 classes that I taught. If I was at home I could tell you the percentages of how many kids memorized all 25 scriptures, but right now I can't remember. I know that my last class tried to make a goal of everyone in the class memorizing all 25 scriptures. Not all made it, but I know at least 3/4 of the class did and the rest of the class were close.

Amber said...

I think this is a good idea, because it gives some of the shyer students an opportunity to ask questions that they might not ask in class

Fromagette said...

Umm, DONUTS!!! :) I loved getting donuts when I was in Seminary. Good luck with the new program. It does sound very interesting.