Welcome to the most powerful text-leveling resource, Achieve3000!
What is it?
Achieve3000 is a text leveler, basically. That means the service takes text and re-writes it at different Lexile difficulty levels for readers of different proficiencies. So, if one student reads at a third grade level, and another reads at a sixth grade level, they can read the same basic content, but expressed with vocabulary and sentence structures that fit their reading abilities. This leveling enables teachers to provide content that does not underwhelm or overwhelm readers.
But, more than that, Achieve3000 offers an incredibly rich system to support the basic text leveling service. Sure, it provides comprehension questions, writing prompts, project and lesson ideas, and more, but here are some truly unique offerings:
System diagnostics and monitoring that automatically determine a user’s reading proficiency and raises or lowers the text difficulty accordingly without the need for the teacher to do so.
Reading levels of texts ranging from the earliest levels of elementary to the end of high school.
Access to a wide range of data on student usage and performance, including standards-based reports.
Test prep lessons that incorporate paired texts and next generation-style questions.
Achieve3000 draws its content from the Associated Press and updates it frequently. The only major drawback to the service is the recency of content and its tendency to address conflict-oriented issues. Achieve3000 avoids serious conflict-based content.
How can I use it?
Achieve3000 is a reading program, so it should be used primarily to build reading skills connected to classroom content standards. Teachers using the content as part of instruction can use it to springboard into other learning activities or directly address reading skills as discreet and not connected to other content.
Sylvania Schools advised the use of Achieve3000 in classes across all content areas in grades 6-12 in the 2015-2016 school year. That means many teachers are using it with varying degrees of intensity. For extra help, refer to these experts:
At McCord, Kaitlin Sibert and Holly Nartker
At Arbor Hills, Jamie Holley and Sarah Benard
At Southview, Sam Stevens and Abbey Cappel
At Northview, Bethann Seifert and Jessie Minard
This video introduces the student experience for TeenBiz3000, the Achieve3000 product for junior high. High schools use Empower3000, which is basically the same.
The spring round of Achieve3000 model lesson professional development showcased literacy in reading, physical education, and business classes.
Following on the success of January’s model lesson professional development, more teachers had the opportunity to watch their peers deliver authentic lessons using Achieve3000 as a resource. These models followed the basic principles of solid Achieve lesson planning: student collaboration and engagement, teacher ownership of the resource, and authentic standards alignment. Read about the lessons and check out the plans the detail their flow!
Integrated Physical Education, Grade 7 at McCord Junior High School
Brittany wanted her seventh graders to learn how fitness goals create an impact on physical activity. The approach? Gather the students in the gym, give them goals and pedometers, make them walk, and then make them reflect on the results. Achieve3000 added a literacy level to the lesson when the students read an article regarding adult use of pedometers, thus providing an authentic connection to non-school behavior. The lesson was not only a model in embedding literacy smoothly, but also showed incredible ability to keep students on task and reflecting with no re-direction.
Check out Brittany’s lesson plan and materials here!
Focus Article: “Steps to Good Health”
Financial Management, Grade 11 at Southview High School
Jerry had recently completed the instruction of a unit in sensible and responsible financial behavior, including considerations like saving vs. spending, balancing wants and needs, and planning for the future. To review this material, students read an article in Achieve3000 that addressed those issues, and then Jerry asked them to make explicit connections between the article’s statements and the textbook’s statements. Students compiled compared evidence on a chart and then discussed the concept’s impact on their personal lives and behavior. Collaborative discussion led to easy review and an effective reflection on the concepts Jerry wanted to teach.
Reading Enrichment, Grades 7 and 8 at Arbor Hills Junior High School
Jamie had noticed that her students were not quite mastering the skills of making inferences or citing evidence, so she designed an Achieve-based lesson to support that skill. Students selected a pair of articles exploring the importance of certain historical figures, such as Mahatma Ghandi. Then, they completed a simple Venn diagram with article evidence. Finally, they made predictions on how these historical figures would address today’s challenges, with the prediction supported by evidence from the article.
Learn how Achieve3000 becomes a collaborative, authentic learning experience in the hands of Arbor Hills’ Jamie Holley!
Someone at a party introduces you to your mother’s only sister’s husband’s sister-in-law. He has no brothers. What do you call this lady?
That’s the question that greets Arbor Hills students walking into Jamie Holley’s fourth period Reading 7 class. It’s a bell ringer that gives the students something to focus on and be entertained by as they set up for class, and it works remarkably well. I find myself focused in the time it takes me to work out the problem. Jamie’s students glance at the problem on the SmartBoard as they gather their materials and ready themselves for the lesson.
Today, Jamie is moving students from that little bell ringer problem to the exploration of problem/solution as a mode of writing and discussion. Having jumped enthusiastically into Achieve3000 last year during its piloting at Arbor Hills, Jamie is an expert at using its data to understand the needs of her students. In this case, she has seen that they do not perform well when tasked with understanding problem/solution writings. The data has driven her to develop a small project on the thinking mode, relying on material from Achieve to form the basis. That material, however, does not dominate the assignment. Jamie’s expert teaching does.
The class starts as many do these days. Students see a Google Slides presentation on the board, and they follow along through simultaneous access on their Chromebooks. Students sit in partnerships as they follow along, and they soon rely on those partners for a warm-up activity. The warm-up requires them to read a short paragraph describing a problem with eel populations. The partners work together to answer some simple problem/solution questions, such as signal words and responsible parties. Student collaboration gets going, and Jamie de-briefs their work after a few minutes.
The next stage brings Achieve into the equation, but in a way that truly unlocks the resource’s potential. Partnerships are assigned one of two articles: “No Land? No Problem!” or “No Water? No Problem!” The students read the article to each other aloud, trading off paragraph to paragraph. We all know that these readings are leveled, but Jamie has partnered students according to reading proficiency, ensuring that they are reading identical or nearly-identical articles to each other. As they read, students use the “Setting the Purpose” annotation blanks offered in Achieve (referred to in class as the “circle things”) to note the problem and solution in each article. Finally, they answer the activity questions. This process of partnered reading leads to an environment of high productivity and low stress. Students gain strength from the partnered collaboration, but never draw off task in any significant way. Jamie’s lack of controlling direction throughout the process demonstrates her skill in setting the tone in her classroom.
The next stage of the process further capitalizes on collaboration. Partnerships that have explored the “No Land?” article “teach” it to the “No Water?” group, and then that group teaches the first their article. All along, Jamie’s direction focuses students on key concepts in text structure, such as signal words and paragraph structure. Throughout this step, and all others, Jamie reassures students that they can master the concepts and reminds them that “It’s okay to be confused.”
After this engaging and collaborative use of Achieve to explore the text structure, Jamie pushes her seventh graders one step further. She asks them to conduct informal research on problems affecting the Sylvania community for a short report. This work is still partnered as students read about algae blooms or drug abuse. They’re building not simply to a report, but to a problem/solution discussion that will be recorded through MoveNote and shared with fellow students. This opportunity excites students, and on the day of the recording, the time flies as students spend 100% time on task excitedly developing their newscast-style discussion of a community problem and their proposed solution.
Two of Jamie’s students, Lexus and Salma, decided to explore the puppy mill problem affecting the community through the store at the Franklin Park Mall. The girls enjoyed the assignment, stating that they “liked picking the problem.” And, “It was fun. We got to work in partners.” The girls understand the puppy mill problem, and their solution focuses on the buyer. They suggest that if you’re looking for a puppy, “You can adopt from a trusted owner or a shelter that you trust.” When asked why they focused their solution on the buyer, rather than the seller, they respond, ”The articles did not talk much about the stores,” showing how their work has depended on the research they read. It demonstrates the success of the reading instruction.
Achieve3000 has been established to run automatically. Students could plug into the system and work independently on developing reading skills. Unfortunately, that will not work. Isolating students does not support them in their learning, and using Achieve to push that isolation will not lead to success. Jamie knows that and knows how to avoid the problem. Her project relies on the differentiation power of Achieve, but never once do students find themselves alone in the system. They use it as an organic part of a collaborative, authentic, and engaging exploration of problems and their solutions. These seventh graders will learn and grow through this mode of instruction to become the problem solvers of tomorrow, thanks to Jamie.
Language teachers will join to explore interactive reading strategies for before, during, and after reading effectiveness.
Presented by Lucas Hoffman
Last presented on October 19, 2015 as part of the Sylvania Fall Inservice Day; Next presentation to be announced!
From the ad: “Are your language students tired of traditional reading/viewing activities from the textbook? Join us at this session to discover some ways to develop interactive before, during, and after reading/viewing strategies to support meaning-making. This session is designed for world language teachers, but ELA teachers may like to join as well!”