June 21, 2005

We have used your product exclusively from last January until now. The students work both in the computer lab and within their own classrooms on these programs.

We, the staff, are impressed with the results; in the majority of cases we had some growth ranging from a month or two, up to a year or more. On our tracking sheets there is a growth column, as well as an overall pure average for each class. We plan on using this form of tracking for the students’ school career here at Otterville.

Students from grade 4 – 8 used this program on a weekly basis, starting in January, usually 20 minutes during a computer class, which averaged about once a week. The grade 3 students started to work on the program later, in the spring. Grade 7 and 8 students also used Search for the Lost Oasis, which they loved.

Once the students had learned how to operate the program, and had a few stories under their belt, I set up the Marks Manager so they could go and check on their progress. The next step involved a consultation with me, where I let the student set their own achievement levels. Most were very fair, and the students needed little guidance when picking their goal, i.e. 80% or over on every story. We printed off the nearly finished sheets and they would work on improving any story that was not up to their goals.

Staff were very impressed with the Marks Manager component. They liked the way it was broken down into the various specific skills, as well as a big picture of the student’s abilities.

As we looked over the data from the Marks Manager, we were able to highlight specific areas where certain groups of students were struggling, i.e. main idea, inference etc. I then took a small group aside and worked to build that specific skill through direct teaching. If we discovered that they were having spelling trouble with a specific rule, ex. changing y to I we then returned to Super Phonics and worked through that particular unit to help improve the student’s skills. The two programmes meshed nicely for this kind of remedial work. It was a practical use of everyone’s time.

I am pleased that many students choose to use these programs in their free time, without teacher direction, which is also a great compliment to the quality of your work.

The students really liked the reward activities, such as word search and concentration that were part of the stories. I liked the idea that they couldn’t go to these until they had completed the basic work.

Please find attached an overview of our students success and growth from working with your software. I have also attached some student comments about your programs.

Student comments

“What a great program, I learned about a lot of new things, and I get to see my marks right away.” JB (Grade 4)

“I found the stories to be interesting. It was nice to have just a little to read on each page, the graphics were good too.” SA (Grade 8)

“I liked being able to set my own goals. I felt proud after I completed the program.” TG (Grade 7)

“I did a LOT of reading! Mrs. H. showed me how much work I had done reading all those stories – I was amazed. I also met all the goals I had set!” SS (Grade 8)

“Was I ever surprised that the teacher could see my marks, she knew when I had been goofing around and not trying my best. I work to do my best every time now.” DP (Grade 8)

“I really liked the reward activities, they were fun!” BA (Grade 6)

Overall, the programs are awesome! We will be ordering more as our budgets allow. Please keep up the great work.

If you have any questions about our data, please contact me via phone or email.

Diane Hutchinson,
Computer Support Teacher,
Otterville Public School