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Interview: Lee Bass from White County Schools

Transforming Writing Instruction with Frontier

In this interview, third grade teacher Lee Bass shares how her classroom culture and instructional practices have changed since implementing Frontier.

Lee Bass

Third Grade Teacher

Lee has been a teacher for 20 years. She has taught all grades from Pre-K - fifth grade, alternative and gifted education, and as an adjunct college professor. Being in the classroom is her calling and where she feels she learns the most about how to be a better teacher. Teaching children is exhausting, rewarding and the only thing she ever wants to do!

Q: How has Frontier changed the way you teach writing?

Frontier has allowed me to take a step back and let my students just write and be creative and do the things they like to do. I’ve learned that writing instruction doesn’t have to be so structured, and it’s not always about teaching that 5 paragraph paper.

When I’m conferencing one on one with students, Frontier affords me the opportunity to give students the unique feedback they need rather than trying to force the whole writing process down everyone's throat at one time. I used to teach the introduction, the details, then the supporting ideas… It was a process we all went through, and the whole class started here and finished here together. With Frontier, the children have the opportunity to write on their own, to be creative and thoughtful and come up with their own processes. I just teach them how to reign it in a little bit.

"With Frontier, the children have the opportunity to write on their own, to be creative and thoughtful and come up with their own processes."

Frontier also gives me a great opportunity to instruct my students in how to give positive constructive feedback. I want the students to be able to say Are you using correct punctuation? Are these sentences complete? and all the other things we strive to make sure they know how to do by the end of the school year. Frontier forces the teacher out a little bit and makes us come in in a different way. It has changed the way that I teach writing, and it’s changed my teaching for the better.

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Lee's third grade students complete Frontier writing projects while giving constructive feedback to their peers.

Q: What challenges has Frontier solved in your classroom?

Frontier made me look at writing instruction in a different way, and what I used to find challenging is no longer challenging. When I took away all of the structure that the children had to fit into this box each day, I found that children really are natural writers. They didn’t need all of the guidance that I was giving them. They could do it, they just needed help understanding the formalities of writing. Teaching them some of those tools like transition words, correct punctuation, and how to correctly use a quotation mark - those things were a better use of my time versus teaching what comes naturally to students as they’re telling their story. It’s the cleaning up part that Frontier gives us time to do naturally as teachers.

"Frontier made me look at writing instruction in a different way, and what I used to find challenging is no longer challenging."

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In Frontier, students interact with age appropriate material about real-world topics.

Q: What do your students like best about Frontier?

My students love the videos that come with Frontier and the current topics of each lesson and project. They feel like a lot of the topics are things they can relate to and find very interesting. In saying that, the material’s not too much. It’s very age appropriate for students - that’s a difficult thing to do when we’re trying to write on current topics or student interests. Without Frontier, it’s so hard to find written supportive material that’s appropriate to students in the classroom. The students love the videos and the articles, but I think what students really enjoy is the whole package - having everything right there at their fingertips.

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Location

White County, Georgia

TECHNOLOGY

1:1 Chromebooks with Frontier

Frontier IMPLEMENTATION

Independent student projects and teacher-led lessons

Products Used

Frontier

Inquiry-based writing projects for grades 4–8

Learn More
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