What’s Right With Our Schools: Twiggs County Middle School uses ’12 Powerful Words’ strategy to increase literacy

JEFFERSONVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Students at Twiggs County Middle School are learning the meaning of new words that will most likely be used in their everyday lives.

“Think about it now with our assessment, it’s no longer like true false or multiple choice. Students have to be able to write and when they have a question that says explain or summarize this passage, they got to know what to do,” says Principal Dr. Linda Ramsey.

That’s the goal of the “12 powerful words” strategy. Twiggs County Middle School adopted the strategy to help students understand the commonly used words on assessments.

Eighth grader Austin Hadaway says, “Sometimes I wouldn’t understand what the questions were, but then I used these words and context clues and now I understand them.”

Language Arts teacher Valerie Oates introduces words like analyze, explain, describe, compare, contrast and summarize to students. She shows them pictures that relates to each powerful word and students have to look at the image and read the word, then determine what it means as they go over it as a class.

“When it says describe what Mrs. Oates is wearing, it clearly gives me what I need to do to help me correctly answer that question,” says eighth grader Aylah Birks.

Another benefit students get from using the strategy- the words become a part of their everyday lives.

Eighth grader Gage Churchwell explains, “When my mom… she’ll be doing something, she’ll be like how was your day, and I’ll have to describe it to her which is one of our 12 powerful words.”

The words are posted in all classrooms throughout the school so students can become more familiar with them.

“We have seen an increase in test scores and so we decided to keep this program going,” says Oates.

“They make me better in my constructive response and help me get a better answer choice,” eighth grader Makayla Foster adds.

This is the first year the school has been using the 12 powerful words strategy. Dr. Ramsey says she got the idea from consultant Larry Bell about 10 years ago.

Categories: Local News, Special Report, Twiggs County, What’s Right With Our Schools

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