In our students words…

Here at The Literacy Alliance we have a type of class called small group that is offered for students who read below a certain reading level, or are not pursuing the HSE. This class works solely on computers to build technological skills, and students focus mainly on basic academic skills. Our very talented teacher Sean has been teaching the small group for 12 years now with The Literacy Alliance.

Today we would like to showcase 2 exceptional students in our small group morning class at The Summit: LaQuaya and Sarah.

LaQuaya has been in Sean’s class for close to a year. She has always struggled with math and Sean and his tutors give her one-on-one help. She said it has been hard to juggle working 2 jobs and class but she still does her best to do as much as she can. She is determined to get her diploma.

LaQuaya’s favorite thing about the class is that Sean is a good teacher, he knows what he’s talking about and he is flexible to work around her busy schedule.

LaQuaya’s advice to fellow students is, “Stay focused, it’s hard, especially when you’ve got things going on in your life.”

Sarah has been in Sean’s class for about 1 year and she is looking forward to taking her High School Equivalency test in June. Her main goal for wanting to take the test is to be able to gain employment. She said it is hard to find a job without a diploma and employers don’t want to hire people without at least a high school diploma.

Sarah’s favorite things about Sean’s class at Literacy Alliance are, all nice people in her class and the helpful tutors.

When asked what advice she would give to a fellow student she said, “You can’t just take your test right away, if it’s a year or two, just keep plugging away. You’ll get it.”

Thank you ladies for participating and keep on working- you’ll get there!


How to combine social studies, language, and math into 1 lesson

Here at The Literacy Alliance, we’re always getting creative with how to deliver content. In this blog we’ve mentioned how we’ve built gingerbread houses to study geometry, and created plasma to study matter. We haven’t yet talked about any combination lessons.

One of our teachers at our morning location at The Summit recently came up with an interesting way to combine social studies, reading skills, language arts, and a little bit of math. The lessons are daily, and they’re called, “In This Day in Hisory.”

Below is a run down of the how’s and why’s of designing these lessons, written by our teacher: Amy…

Length of time: 30 minutes

Materials needed:

  • 1 pre-selected article of teacher’s choice
    • Article should be copied and pasted to allow teacher to make INTENTIONAL writing errors
  • Over-head projector (if presenting to a group)
    • This could be adapted to a worksheet
  • Marker to mark students’ corrections
    • Either marking capabilities on computer or…
    • Dry erase marker

Example of lesson: fast-track-day-in-history

I begin every class with an interdisciplinary study based on language, social studies, and a bit of math. I find an interesting article from the web site This Day in History according to the current date of class. I then copy-paste the article into a blank word document and then alter the spelling, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, punctuation, etc. I project this document onto my classroom monitor and have the students try to find the errors. They are basically becoming proof readers. As they find the errors, I mark the line of text with the correction.

Below is a paragraph from article done on January 25th:


Incorporate math by tracking time passed, and any other math like below:


My motivation for doing this lesson is two-fold. This activity presents social studies material in an interesting way, which our students need. This lesson is also heavy on language. The students are working with sentence structure, punctuation, usage, spelling, etc. all in one activity, and they are doing it three times a week. We spend about thirty minutes a day out of a three hour class on this. The language test on the TASC is a significant portion of the test with a multiple-choice and essay section which is why I devote so much attention to language study.