Common Core

Common Core

Cole Canyon Elementary School in Murietta, Calif. is succeeding with MimioReading comprehension suite, combined with MimioTeach interactive whiteboards. MimioReading teaches reading comprehension strategies and is correlated to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

Cole Canyon Elementary School in Murietta, Calif., enrolls approximately 1,150 students in grades K-5, 15% of which receive free or reduced-price lunches.

The teachers at Cole Canyon recognize that the technologies students enjoy outside of school make it more difficult to capture their attention with conventional tools like textbooks, chalkboards, dry-erase boards, overhead projectors, and wall-mounted TVs. To combat this problem, the school’s principal, Mike Marble, initiated a 2011 pilot program with the MimioTeach™ interactive whiteboard, along with Mimio’s online reading program, MimioReading™ comprehension, which improves the reading comprehension skills of students in grades 3-5. In August 2011, both products were placed in Anne Hess’s 3rdgrade classroom.

“I’ve been teaching for over 25 years, and what I’ve observed is that often the problem with most technologies is the technology itself,” says Hess. “Some technologies have a steep learning curve. Others are too difficult for teachers to integrate with their existing lesson plans. Still others fail to interest teachers and students after the initial excitement wears off. That’s not true with the MimioTeach!”

Hess was invited to attend a training session the month before the MimioTeach interactive whiteboard arrived. “The very morning it arrived, I literally pulled it out of the box, plugged it into my computer and projector, and I was ready to start teaching,” she says.

Technology that changes the game for teachers and students

Hess reports that she easily adapted to the Mimio system because she didn’t have to redesign her existing lesson plans to incorporate the technology. “With everything incorporated with the MimioTeach interactive whiteboard, the entire teaching and learning dynamic changed.”

For example, over the years Hess had watched students struggle with the concept of finding the main idea in reading and comprehension activities. But that all changed when she incorporated the MimioReading program into her lesson plan to help her students master this skill.

In the program, students are encouraged to think about passages as being “mostly about” a particular topic, through a series of interactive activities. “For my students, the ‘aha’ moment comes when they can actually observe what the main idea is. Those colored balls represent the various sentences that work together to define the main idea — and they can SEE it,” says Hess. Her students have transferred that skill to their written exams. “After reading the passage on an exam, they now count the sentences — putting numbers above the sentences that reference similar thoughts — and then they can easily answer the questions correctly after counting the numbers, just like they count the balls on the screen. It’s just awesome,” Hess reports.

From pilot program to essential classroom tool

“The powerful MimioTeach and MimioReading combination has opened my eyes to different ways to teach particular ideas or concepts,” Hess notes. “In the long run, this is going to help my students grasp concepts better and make teaching easier.”

Principal Marble would like to add a MimioTeach interactive whiteboard to all six of the school’s 3rd-grade classrooms, based on Hess’s ringing endorsement. “This solution will give our teachers a way to step out of the traditional role of just ‘instructing’ and into one where they are facilitators to the learning process and the students are the active participants.”

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