Seven R.I. teachers pen lesson plans for book

April 19, 2003

By Robin J. Youngblood, Staff writer

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Photo: Robin Youngblood

These Rock Island teachers are writing a Koalaty Kid lesson plan book for the American Society for Quality. Assistant superintendent of curriculum, Jay Marino, is the book's editor. The book will be published by the society in September and available online and at major book stores. From left to right, back row: Angie Brownson, Carol Schoening, Kati Slininger, Cindy Arkebauer, Berni Carmack. From left to right, front row: Patricia Walls, Jay Marino, Charlotte Hartmann.

Seven Rock Island teachers are writing a book of lesson plans to help other educators use a unique teaching technique in their classrooms.

Cindy Arkebauer and Angie Brownson from Eugene Field, Berni Carmack from Horace Mann, Charlotte Hartmann from Audubon, Carol Schoening from Earl Hanson, Kati Slininger from Lincoln, and Patricia Walls from Hawthorne-Irving volunteered to be the book's authors.

They are writing the 160-page book, with 108 lesson plans for kindergarten through the fifth grade, for the American Society for Quality. When it's published in September, the society will promote and sell it online and in major book stores nationwide.

The book will focus on the Illinois Learning Standards and the Koalaty Kid's Plan-Do-Study-Act process. About a third of it is written. Their deadline is the end of June.

The society will pay teachers for each lesson plan. They may write only during non-school hours. Jay Marino, assistant superintendent of curriculum, who will help edit the book, also will receive royalties from book sales but not from books sold in the Rock Island-Milan district, he said.

Rock Island-Milan was the only district asked to contribute to the book, Mr. Marino said.

The society chose Rock Island because it is the first Quad-Cities district to adopt the Koalaty Kid program. Students learn to choose a skill giving them trouble, such as math story problems, and then develop an improvement plan with their teacher.

Koalaty Kid gives students tools to develop a ``Plan-Do-Study-Act'' plan. Tools include flow-charts, diagrams and brainstorming techniques to use in the student's improvement plan.

It even can help solve school-wide issues, such as raising test scores in a subject.

The society also chose Rock Island because its teachers show their commitment to the program. Teachers in 13 of 16 schools are trained in Koalaty Kid, Mr. Marino said.

The seven teacher-writers are Koalaty Kid facilitators who help other teachers with the program. The district has about 15 facilitators.

Some of the seven teachers said writing the book has been a good learning experience.

Ms. Slininger said she is testing some of her lesson plans for the book on her students.

``Someone reading my lesson plan -- it's really sort of an honor,'' she said. ``I was excited to be included.''

Ms. Arkebauer and the other teachers write a little at a time to meet deadlines at the end of April and at the end of May.

``I was very excited to have the opportunity to first be published ... and also to share my knowledge and gain new knowledge,'' she said. ``I'm also doing this book to have growth as a professional.''

Ms. Schoening said she could have used a book that helped make her job easier when she started teaching. Teachers who read the book can start using Koalaty Kid in their classroom within minutes, Ms. Schoening said.

However, Rock Island teachers spent weeks learning to use Koalaty Kid.

``We really love this process and want to make it as user-friendly as possible,'' she said.

Staff writer Robin Youngblood can be reached at (309) 786-6441, Ext. 257, or by e-mail at robiny@qconline.com.

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