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Our simulations offer a broad range of typical workplace texts, such as legal and medical case reports, data and research reports, multimedia presentations, and emails on a wide range of subjects. Because our learning games put students in a central job role in which they see the direct results of their decisions in real time, they are invested in reaching game goals—and they can only reach those goals through close reading.
At Classroom, Inc. we believe that struggling students can improve their literacy skills when they are presented with authentic, real-world tasks that empower them, give them choice, engage their attention, and are relevant to their lives and futures. Our workplace-based learning games do just that. Literacy is a pillar of both Classroom, Inc.’s programs and its research base (Scientific Research Base, 2005).
Classroom, Inc. uses the CORE Literacy Library, Teaching Reading Sourcebook, as a guide. We focus on CORE’s three critical elements of reading comprehension:
We utilize and embrace these CORE reading strategies:
Finally, CORE’s general recommendation to scaffold instruction is also critical to our games’ pedagogical approach.
The transition from state-based and other sets of academic standards to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has been a natural one for Classroom, Inc., as our programs have historically focused on the three CCSS Key Shifts in English Language Arts:
Another CCSS key goal, building college and career readiness, continues to be a hallmark of our work as well.
In formulating its writing strategy, Classroom, Inc. used two main research sources—Alliance for Education’s 2010 Writing to Read and its 2006 revision of Writing Next. Both sources stress the connection between reading and writing—how proficiency in one influences proficiency in the other.
The reading-writing connection is intrinsic to the design of all our learning games. Students always respond to text in writing, and they do process writing in offline projects. And our newest game, ATS, reflects and builds upon these recommended elements of effective adolescent writing instruction from Writing Next:
As they progress through ATS, students use writing to demonstrate understanding of key game texts, as well as analyze and form judgments about what they’ve read.
In the comprehensive online writing activities in ATS, students receive direct instruction on a CCSS-linked writing strategy, identify key strengths of a model of the type of writing they’ll be doing, and receive support stepped out for each part of their writing. Throughout, students draw upon the informational text in the unit to cite evidence for the main ideas or claims in their writing. In ATS’ offline writing project, students work in teams to develop their own magazines, through a series of lessons devoted to prewriting, drafting, revision and feedback, editing, and publishing.