Add a Caption Add a CaptionMount Morris, New YorkBy Irene Wasnik and Katherine Ksiazek
Main Street Shops ~ Environmental Print Walking around Main Street of Mt. Morris made us aware of how important of a role environmental print can be in a community. The purposes of these signs we photographed range from informing the passer by of the stores purpose to informing the customer if they are open or closed.
Environmental Print Cont.In these photos, you cansee restaurantsdescribing their cuisine,and lawyers describingtheir area of expertise.
Possibly the most obvious examples of literacy in the Mt. Morris community is Street Signs seen in street signs. These examples not only serve as environmental print has many purposes in in the community, providing information to the public:Provide directions Inform where places are within Ensure safety of the community citizens
Environmental Print ~ The Arts Mt. Morris has two theaters where local artists put on shows for the community. The information printed on these theaters tells people about upcoming shows, theater classes for children, and information on where to purchase tickets.
Local HistoryMt. Morris is proud of the its local history. They proudly display thesepennants along Main St. to inform people who drive through the town thatthe pledge of allegiance was written by a Mt. Morris native! You can alsofind signs giving a date and location to what happened in Mount Morrislong ago..
The Mt. Morris Library has had information for Spanish speakers to improve their English.This informational print refers the reader to the Literacy Volunteers of Livingston County -- a group that promotes adult literacy through community outreach. Environmental print/informational (library) The Library has a free book bin where community members can take and leave books.
More about the LibraryWhat else is offered?● links for book suggestions on their website● story time for preschool age children during the summer. This is offered during the morning but also during the night to encourage participation from all family dynamics/work schedules!● summer reading programs for all ages. Last year, this included rewards and even a visit from a magician. This helps to encourage students to continue reading even after school is closed for summer vacation.● Links to the OWWL (Ontario, Wayne, Wyoming, Livingston counties) Website which has more information about downloadable books, finding libraries, having books ordered and made available at your local library, and other programs within the surrounding counties. Hours: Monday: 2-5pm Tuesday 9am-Noon, 2pm-8pm Wednesday: Closed Thursday: 2-8pm Friday: 2-5pm Saturday: 11am-3pm Sunday: Closed
Mission Statement of Mt. Morris Central School At Mt. Morris we prepare all of our students for participating in a diverse democratic society, setting realistic goals and achieving their individual potential.The responsibility for achieving this purpose involves the family, the student, the community, and the school in a team effort with the mutual support of each other.
Demographics of Mount Morris CSD ● There are 501 students K-12 ● The annual attendance rate is 96% ● Average class size is 20 students K-12 ● 42% of students are eligible for free lunch ● 5% of students with Limited English Proficiency https://reportcards.nysed.gov/files/2010-11/AOR-2011-240901040000.pdf
School Provided Resources for Parents (available online)● Students may participate in PageTurners - a literature based competition for students where teams compete to answer questions based on an Official List of Titles, chosen by teachers, librarians, and coaches.● Teachers have their own websites where many post a featured book, newsletters, and links to websites like Raz-kids and Scholastic for parents to use at home.● School has Link on website for information about the community
Resources in the school:The Reading DepartmentThe link above is to the Mt. Morris Elementary School reading department. The siteprovides information to parents and teachers:● Explanation and links to sites regarding the implementation of the Common Core Standards● Links to research websites on programs and methods used in the curriculum● Houghton Mifflin resources and ideas for classroom and supplemental activities● Demonstration and discussion of "close reading"
Other Programs Within the School:● There is an afterschool program available for students to receive help daily on their homework.● Mount Morris also has a large ESL populations, because of this there is a ESL teacher within the elementary school to promote student success within the classroom. Students are screened in Kindergarten or when they first arrive at Mt Morris to see if they can benefit from this program. ○ This teacher has a variety of links on her school website to help aid students with their growth inside and outside the classroom.
A look at Kindergarten: P.R.I.D.E. (Prepared, Respectful, Involved, Dependable, and Ethical) This is a program that runsthroughout the school, promoting whattraits a Mount Morris student has andshould show in the hall, in the classroom,while working on assignments, and inevery aspect of their day. It is a rewardprogram where students can earn PRIDEtickets when they do something that shows"PRIDE." This initiative is more than justspoken word, posters are in the hall andclassrooms - there is also a new word thatlies within the concept of PRIDE that ispresented each month, shown in theclassrooms to help students do their best atall times. Throughout the day you will noticefaculty and students referring to theirwords as a reminder about how studentsshould act, encouraging them to do theirbest and be their best.
Texts used in the elementary school (Kindergarten)
A look at Kindergarten:Students are surrounded by environmental print which helpsthem as they develop their letter and number recognition, alongwith their early reading skills. Some things, like the shapes andcolors on the wall help them as they go through their morningroutine. There is also a word and picture schedule located in theroom to help students know what to expect throughout the day.
Other subjects and their literacy connections seen inobservation:In the morning, students have math which involved a whole group lesson using the Everyday Mathprogram, and then half an hour for centers. Students work with number recognition, being able to readand write math problems, and being able to apply math skills to real life situations. Students utilizetechnology during centers using the Build Blocks program. They also play many games which causesthem to be reading and following directions.Second Step: Every few days, students are exposed to the Second Step program which is an anti-bullying program. With this, they are listening to stories and using picture clues to work through,making good decisions in realistic life situations.Handwriting: Students are working on their letters with the guidance of their teacher. This usuallyinvolved a teacher modeling and then students completing a handwriting worksheet.
Reading: The students are involved in a whole group reading instruction by the teacher each afternoon.At this time, students are taught some phonics and read a book (usually a big book) that is a part ofthe Houghton Mifflin basal reading program that is used throughout the school. Students reviewconcepts about print awareness, comprehension skills, and the use of different phonic skills withinprint. One hour is allotted for this instruction. After, students are engaged with half an hour of reading centers. The students that require extrasupport work with their teacher or a teachers aide in centers that incorporate use of sight words, letterrecognition, and while they learn to manipulate word patterns. They also use the Waterford computerprogram, along with Raz Kids, to get more practice with reading skills they need to work on. Other groups also utilize the computer programs and similar centers but are often moreindependent with their work. Teachers often supplement the reading program with other books. Here are some examples seen in Kindergarten:
Writing:Students have a daily writing time set aside in their morning. It is during a time where students arepulled out for reading intervention, so less of the class is present for the instructions and full writingtime that is set aside.Students are usually given a prompt that follows something they are learning about or incorporates asight word that they were recently introduced to.
-About Literacy Instruction - (a teacher perspective)· What does Literacy mean to you?Literacy for me means being able to read and write in order to function within society, whether its reading asign, a menu, a book, newspaper. Its being able to transfer what you have read in order to make meaningand critically think and evaluate based on what youve read from text. As for writing being able to conveyyour thoughts and ideas through writing.· What expectations do you have for your students within your literacy instruction?My expectations for my students are to do their best and actively engage and participate in instruction. Iexpect them to be independent when activities are appropriately made for them to do so and I hope to instill alove of literacy.· How do you initiate the home school connection regarding literacy development?I provide a monthly newsletter that provides a literacy link which includes activities to do at home or greatbooks to extend the learning of our current theme in the classroom. Students also have a monthly bookrequirement each month in which they need to read or be read to (15 books per month minimally). Studentsalso may have a weekly reading assignment in which I will send home a specific book to target their readinglevel and they need to practice reading it at least five times with a family member. The family member willsign off on the record sheet and return the book!
-More from a teacher- · Do you think the community gives enough literacy opportunities? Our library has a toddler story hour weekly and a summer reading program for preschoolers to school agers, but I feel more can be done. · What reading program(s) do you/Mount Morris school utilize for literacy instruction? o What do you like about the program? How could it be improved? We are in a transition process with aligning to the new common core standards. We have been using Houghton Mifflin in the past but incorporating a great deal more to meet the new standards especially in the area of exposure to nonfiction and close readings. Our program is very weak in the vocabulary component so we definitely supplement there as well. We are currently looking at a new framework for next year so reading will look a great deal different as Houghton Mifflin will not be the base of our program. · What do you think of the assessments used to monitor your students’ learning? We use a great deal of assessments to monitor student learning. The way in which we assess and what assessments we use next year are also changing.
-About Literacy Instruction - (a parent perspective)· What does Literacy mean to you?Literacy means the ability to make meaning from written print/text. · What do you hope for your child to gain from the literacy instruction at MountMorris?To build a life-long love of reading. To be proficient in literacy (making meaning from text) and literary persuits(including reading for understanding and writing to express). To be exposed to a variety of genres and text typesand to be proficient in understanding how to unlock meaning from a variety of genres/texts. I would like to seeopportunities for her to be challenged/accelerated as she progresses through elementary grades. · Do you feel communication with the school about your child’s literacyinstruction is adequate?Yes; as a parent who works at the school and is a teacher, I probably have more information and/or a betterunderstanding of Annas literacy curriculum and progress than most parents. (Which is part of the reason that Ilove having her at MMCS!)
-more from a parent- · Do you take advantage of any literacy opportunities within the community? If so, what do you take part in? If not, why not? Yes, we visit the public library fairly regularly. Are their any non-school related literacy activities that you do with your child at home/over the summer? We read together daily; we visit the public library; we write stories, letters, emails, cards; we use educational websites & aps...during the summer and during the school year. · What do you think of the assessments used to monitor your child’s learning? I think the Houghton Mifflin theme assessments could be more comprehensive and rigorous, especially as the school year progresses (at Kindergarten). I understand DIBELS and what it is supposed to assess, but would like to see assessments that dig deeper into literacy and comprehension; nonsense word fluency (NWF) and oral reading fluency (ORF) do not assess/evaluate specific decoding skills or comprehension. At Kindergarten, childrens phonological awareness skills should be assessed, in addition to emerging decoding skills and reading/listening comprehension.
Our Suggestions: ● We found a few teacher websites on the Mt Morris school homepage to be very beneficial for our knowledge about how instruction is run within the classroom, while others did not provide much (if any) information that would help us or parents for that matter see what their child is doing day to day and what instruction is present within their childs classroom. We think that it would be helpful for teachers to all include information about instruction along with useful links that parents and students can use outside the classroom to support what is being taught inside the classroom. ● We found the library to have beneficial programs open up to a variety of ages, however it is a small town and many types of communication and involvement in these programs are limited by the hours that the library is open and the help they receive. We believe that it would be beneficial for the library to link up with the school and create a partnership; this would allow the library to get more involvement from the school community (faculty, parents, and students) while providing services and resources to more students and families at the same time. This would allow students to be aware of the access they have within their community to books and give them the opportunity to become involved in programs that will help them on their way to becoming lifelong readers. Using the school as a resource could help the library with sharing information about its program and potentially help them in creating a website which is more user friendly through working with the technology support within the school. ● We found this community to be quaint and have a very inviting feel with the way businesses present themselves on Main street and use their windows to help promote the different things happening around town along with highlighting community values. Due to this, we believe the community as a whole could really help to encourage and promote literacy. Businesses could help to partner with the school to hold different initiatives such as a book drive around town, helping to benefit the school and/or the local library to put more books in the hands of readers within the community.