A Climate of Student Conversation - Ocean View SD

Ocean View School District is changing what it means to “talk the talk”--improving student outcomes with an initiative centered around encouraging conversation in the classroom. This strategy has been proven successful in strengthening students’ writing, reading and speaking skills in a district made up primarily of students who speak English as a second language. The district serves over 2,600 TK-8 grade students in their mission to “ensure opportunities for student learning and success by empowering families and staff to work together so that all [of their] students achieve their highest academic potential and are prepared to live and learn in a rapidly changing world.” We’ve really enjoyed getting to know the team at OVSD, and learning more about how they’ve added Alludo to their toolbox to address their district-wide initiatives.

Student conversations

This year, OVSD’s initiative to support and encourage student conversations is yielding positive results for both ESL and native English-speaking students.Their efforts have led to the realization that more the students engage, talk, and participate, the more their communication and language skills increase. The district has been focusing on giving students “choice and voice” in their studies, which helps build critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Building literacy is also a key component in improving understanding across subject areas; the better equipped students are to read, write and speak, the more confidence and competency they can build in history, science and math.

The efforts of OVSD educators has created a climate of conversation in their classrooms. And students aren’t the only ones talking--educators have been collaborating on CW’s platform to share their favorite teaching strategies and soliciting advice from their peers. Game missions are aligned with the district’s initiative--topics like “21st Century Classroom” introduce teachers to new ideas and tech tools to facilitate student conversation and choice.

“What teachers are now experiencing from the game is that there is a whole world out there, and they no longer feel as isolated as teachers. Additionally, they are able to see that the work they are doing is very progressive and leading edge, and are able to share their success with the community--because what the teachers at Ocean View are doing is amazing,” said tech coach and teacher Lisa Abeloe, who designed TIDE, the district’s Alludo game.

Teacher clarity

Ocean View’s next initiative will focus on visible learning and teacher clarity. Education researcher and author of “Visible Learning” John Hattie describes teacher clarity as “the importance to clearly communicate the intentions of the lessons and the success criteria.” His research revolves around identifying criteria that impact student learning and achievement--from home television access to time on task; from participation in music programs to school size. His research helps pinpoint which factors are truly at play in a child’s education.

Emphasizing teacher clarity means setting clear learning intentions, which “describe the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values that the student needs to learn. Teachers need to know the goals and success criteria of their lessons, know how well all students in their class are progressing, and know where to go next.” The district has introduced these concept to educators and received positive feedback. “The visible learning strategy has helped me to think more about how to teach and think about my purpose. I see a direct link between using this strategy and student achievement,” said English Teacher Melissa Toland.

Alludo at OVSD

Ocean View introduced Alludo at the beginning of the school year in August 2016, in an effort to offer flexible professional development that could be used by teachers at varying skill levels. Since then, over 100 of 120 teachers have participated in the surf-themed game, TIDE.

As a 1:1 K-8 district, OVSD wanted a differentiated PD experience with options and challenges for all teachers, based on their knowledge and experience. TIDE offers a number of initiative-aligned games, such as achieving your Level 1 or 2 Google certification or critical thinking and student voice badges.

Playing the game hasn’t been the only way TIDE has fostered conversations among the staff. "In designing the game, I learned more about what was needed in my district and my role as a coach and facilitator,” said Abeloe, who continues to support teachers in their individual professional development.

OVSD has pulled out all the stops to ensure the success of their Chrome Warrior game,  with an engaging PD curriculum, an enthusiastic administration, a supportive tech team and a robust incentive program. The districts level achievement incentives include a TIDE sweatshirt, iPad accessories for the classroom, a backpack with Rocket notebook, an Apple Watch, and the opportunity to attend a national conference.

The five-level game also encourages and rewards teachers to expand their PD/PLN, “to foster a community of learners locally within their hallways and schools, and to expand nationally and globally through social media and technology channels that are limitless in providing avenues for communication.”