A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A question arises from a discussion I had...

...and I wanted to ask you, dear readers:

How many of you have had experience with AVID? It sounds just like a program we used to do in middle school that involved religious use of planners, three ring binders, and double-column notes. It required about an hour a week to implement and oversee.

Info? Praise? Horror stories?

Let's dish. I shall post info from you if someone deigns to enlighten me.

***Update: With thanks for all of the wonderful responses thus far, here's what I've learned thus far:

Kari said: "HS AVID focuses heavily on study skills, reading and writing collaboration, and critical thinking. In a typical week in AVID, we have tutorials twice a week (this is how I got started with the program--ideally districts will be able to hire college student tutors), class instruction/practice/discussion with a variety of reading and writing topics, and one day a week of guest speakers, team-building, or some other activity.

"With freshman AVID, I focus primarily on organization, note-taking, and study skills. Sophomores build on that, and I add more writing and class discussions. Junior year is about all that plus SAT/ACT prep and writing their college essays (end of their junior year) and senior year is all of that (well, not much in the way of study skills by that point--they pretty much have it down) plus college apps, financial aid and scholarship apps, and preparing them to go off to college (my seniors read The Idiot's Guide to College Success and The Professor's Guide to Getting Good Grades in College.)

We also have a site team with teachers from different departments, and we meet to discuss how to support the program and its goals for all students, not just AVID students, as well as to discuss the needs of certain students."

Mrs Temple said: "I am on our HS site team and I agree the AVID Summer Institute is awesome. AVID is a program that targets the "students in the middle". The typical AVID student is a first-generation college student, B to C student in regular classes, with potential to do more, often-times, English is not their first language. The AVID program provides support for those students to tackle more challenging courses through tutorials, a "family-like" atmosphere, etc. AVID students are expected to learn study skills such as keeping a notebook, Cornell notes, etc. The AVID concept encourages the use of the WICR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, and Reading) strategies, which are really "Best Practices"."

Longtime pal Polski3 said: "Our school is being "AVIDized" in that we are being taught to incorporate "AVID techniques" into our teaching. We also have several regular AVID classes in which students are carefully nonimated and screened prior to enrollment.

"As for what I do in my classroom that is "AVID": begin to teach my students the Cornell Notetaking format....notebook paper with two columns one that is about two-thirds of the page for notes, definitions, pictures/illustrations/graphs, and other data and one column about one-third of the page, for questions, either teacher generated or study questions written by the student in which the answer is there in the other column in their data. It also includes summarizing and can include illustrating the data In part to demonstrate understanding/clarification of what they learned about the data).

"There are several "usable" things you can find on the AVID website; a couple of our teachers have been to the training and brought back AVID notebooks for such things as AVIDizing Social Studies (IIRC). One idea I am using from this is students taking a small bit of text ( such as a subsection of a history chapter), reading it, writing a question about it, summarizing it in one or two sentences then creating a simple illustration to "illustrate" it.

"I find some of my seventh graders easily get the "AVID" stuff; struggling ELL's have a harder time with it.

"I think it is a worthwhile program; IT is not the savior of US Education. IT has helped many, many "upper middle" kids do better academically and go on to later academic success. AVID is not for your GATE kids; AVID techniques such as successfully mastering the creation of and use of Cornell Notes is a study/academic skill beneficial to all students."

100Farmers said: "Good-targeting nontraditional college bound kids. More teachers involved with keeping track of students progress.

"Bad-too many core teachers teaching a class of Avid which makes core class sizes too large. Kinda defeats the purpose with kids getting lost in classroom now."

Thanks for the imput!

Labels: ,

13 Comments:

At 1/10/08, 5:06 PM, Blogger leesepea said...

I teach AVID to 8th graders.

It's about like what you described.

I don't know what it's like in high school; I imagine it's a lot more rigorous. And you do stuff to show them how to fill out college apps and how to file for financial aid.

What makes you ask?

 
At 1/10/08, 5:29 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Ohh, someone was saying that this program was The Answer To All Of Our Problems.

I'm just afraid it's The Flavor of The Month. Or perhaps more like the McRib-- (Here for a Limited Time!)-- when it just sounds so much like something I did ten years ago.

Do you think it's effective? When I taught those kinds of things to 7th graders it seemed like it took a lot more commitment by the teacher than by the students.

 
At 1/10/08, 5:41 PM, Blogger Tracy M. Custer said...

I've only been teaching for ten years, but one thing I have learned is that it has all been done before. Several years ago, I was helping to weed a professional library collection and found a book on individualizing/differentiating instruction from the 1940s.

No one idea or program is going to be The Answer To All Of Our Problems.

 
At 1/10/08, 5:42 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I totally believe that, Tracy.

 
At 1/10/08, 7:57 PM, Anonymous Kari said...

HS AVID coordinator here--I've been involved with the program since college, when I was an AVID tutor, so for about 8 years.

While the program isn't an answer to everything, it's definitely not a "Flavor of the Month" kind of program--it's existed for 27 years and had a fantastic track record in that time. It's not just a program, it's really a change in mindset on a schoolwide basis.

That said, I've struggled a lot to bring it to our school, because of teachers who see it as a flavor-of-the-month thing as well as rampant turnover of administrators. But in my 8 years, I've been fortunate to work with some absolutely incredible students through the AVID program, and I can say for certainty that I've helped some kids get to college who otherwise would not have gone had it not been for AVID.

I knew nothing about the program when I started with it--I was just a college student looking for a job. But I really got into it and bonded with the kids, so much so that I invited the entire class to my wedding, and now I'm mentoring one of the students from the first AVID class I ever tutored--she's a senior in college, planning to become a HS history and AVID teacher.

Done right, it's an amazing program that really really works. If you have more questions about it, feel free to email me at mrs(dot)bluff(at)yahoo(dot)com. I'm always happy to talk about it.

Oh, and if you ever get the opportunity to go to one of their Summer Institutes, GO. AVID (through SI and through our regional trainings) has provided me with some of the best professional development I've ever had, and I always come back from Summer Institute totally jazzed to start the school year. It's awesome. :-)

 
At 1/10/08, 8:04 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Okay, but, still, what exactly does it entail?

 
At 1/10/08, 8:55 PM, Anonymous Kari said...

AVIDOnline.

Sorry for not elaborating earlier--I for some reason thought you were at least somewhat familiar w/ the program, and were just looking for stories on how people liked it.

HS AVID focuses heavily on study skills, reading and writing collaboration, and critical thinking. In a typical week in AVID, we have tutorials twice a week (this is how I got started with the program--ideally districts will be able to hire college student tutors), class instruction/practice/discussion with a variety of reading and writing topics, and one day a week of guest speakers, team-building, or some other activity.

With freshman AVID, I focus primarily on organization, note-taking, and study skills. Sophomores build on that, and I add more writing and class discussions. Junior year is about all that plus SAT/ACT prep and writing their college essays (end of their junior year) and senior year is all of that (well, not much in the way of study skills by that point--they pretty much have it down) plus college apps, financial aid and scholarship apps, and preparing them to go off to college (my seniors read The Idiot's Guide to College Success and The Professor's Guide to Getting Good Grades in College.)

We also have a site team with teachers from different departments, and we meet to discuss how to support the program and its goals for all students, not just AVID students, as well as to discuss the needs of certain students.

 
At 1/11/08, 8:31 PM, Anonymous Mrs. Temple said...

I am on our HS site team and I agree the AVID Summer Institute is awesome. AVID is a program that targets the "students in the middle". The typical AVID student is a first-generation college student, B to C student in regular classes, with potential to do more, often-times, English is not their first language. The AVID program provides support for those students to tackle more challenging courses through tutorials, a "family-like" atmosphere, etc. AVID students are expected to learn study skills such as keeping a notebook, Cornell notes, etc. The AVID concept encourages the use of the WICR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, and Reading) strategies, which are really "Best Practices". The hardest part for us has been the teacher buy-in, but that's due to the "flavor of the month" type thinking (which is valid to some extent)

Hope this helps!

 
At 1/12/08, 1:10 AM, Blogger Polski3 said...

Our school is being "AVIDized" in that we are being taught to incorporate "AVID techniques" into our teaching. We also have several regular AVID classes in which students are carefully nonimated and screened prior to enrollment.

As for what I do in my classroom that is "AVID": begin to teach my students the Cornell Notetaking format....notebook paper with two columns one that is about two-thirds of the page for notes, definitions, pictures/illustrations/graphs, and other data and one column about one-third of the page, for questions, either teacher generated or study questions written by the student in which the answer is there in the other column in their data.
It also includes summarizing and can include illustrating the data In part to demonstrate understanding/clarification of what they learned about the data).

There are several "usable" things you can find on the AVID website; a couple of our teachers have been to the training and brought back AVID notebooks for such things as AVIDizing Social Studies (IIRC). One idea I am using from this is students taking a small bit of text ( such as a subsection of a history chapter), reading it, writing a question about it, summarizing it in one or two sentences then creating a simple illustration to "illustrate" it.

I find some of my seventh graders easily get the "AVID" stuff; struggling ELL's have a harder time with it.

I think it is a worthwhile program; IT is not the savior of US Education. IT has helped many, many "upper middle" kids do better academically and go on to later academic success. AVID is not for your GATE kids; AVID techniques such as successfully mastering the creation of and use of Cornell Notes is a study/academic skill beneficial to all students.

Check out the AVID website. If you like, I can send you a few copies (via snail mail) of AVID stuff I am using with my kids.
Let me know.

 
At 1/12/08, 8:16 AM, Blogger 100 Farmers said...

Good-targeting nontraditional college bound kids. More teachers involved with keeping track of students progress.
Bad-too many core teachers teaching a class of Avid which makes core class sizes too large. Kinda defeats the purpose with kids getting lost in classroom now.

 
At 1/14/08, 5:52 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

Our high schools have AVID classes and they've been great for taking kids that were in the middle and pushing them a bit more towards the high achieving column. In middle school they wanted us to implement something similar and my team was the first pilot team. We were to focus on binder organization, Cornell notes, and agendas. And didn't have a block of time in the day to do it. My team was the pilot team and although we really tried, none of us were willing to give up content time to deal with this. The next year it went through the whole 7th grade, again with no time to focus on working on the binders - because you really have to work on them. This last year our administration heard us and we redid the schedule which not only gives us a 30 minute period during the day that we can use to work on binders, but by golly, we got an additional planning period as well. The key is having time to work with the kids on it. The other thing to note is some kids will fight you to the bitter end to avoid doing what they need to in order to get organized. It is VERY hard for most special ed kids to grasp and a real challenge for them. However, I definitely no longer have the litany of "can I go to my locker to get my folder" from my kids, and many of them manage to keep track of important things like homework and study guides.

 
At 1/18/08, 8:31 PM, Blogger 40 said...

I first learned about AVID at this time last year. I also posted and asked people about AVID and what it is... our school was getting it and I was very interested at first blush.

Now I am in the first year as an AVID teacher and I must say it is the most rewarding aspect of teaching that I have ever encountered. I love the program and it has been an incredible experience for me. The relationships I have built with these freshmen in just a year (from interviews last spring, through summer parent meetings, and through the first semester) are stronger and deeper than the relationships I have had with any students or players that I coached.

AVID stands for - ADVANCEMENT VIA INDIVIDUAL DETERMINATION and that is the most important part of the program. The kids involved have to want to improve, want to go to college, and want to work hard.

Find the book "Wall of Fame." It is the best thing I have read to explain AVID. You can't get a feel for it without understanding the affective side (or relationship building and life changing experience for the kids) from that book.

Please email me if you have any questions. I can talk about AVID until I am blue in the face. And feel free to read my blog on these AVID posts. I have been writing about it for almost a year:
(all posts mentioning "AVID")
http://fordee.blogspot.com/search?q=AVID

(all posts with the "AVID" tag)
http://fordee.blogspot.com/search/label/AVID

 
At 1/18/08, 8:32 PM, Blogger 40 said...

Ohhh, and also - any AVID teachers out there that would like to contact me - feel free. I am always looking to learn new ways to connect to my AVID students.

 

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