Portfolio

First Objective “Use a variety of formal and informal assessments to assess the literacy abilities of a struggling reader or writer.”

One of the things that I did with my case study student was an interview. When I interviewed him I also interviewed his classmate so that it wouldn’t look like I was singling him out. Alex stated that he knew he had dyslexia, so it made it harder for him to read. He has never been required to read by his parents, who also don’t model reading for him by reading to him. He said that most of the books he has, he has on audio which he listens to. However, Alex said that there are potions of the books that he does not have enough time to finish listening to, so he has to read small chapters on his own. He said that he hates to read out loud to the class, and when he is called on to read, he will whisper. Alex also stated that the easiest thing for him to read is what we call sight words. These are the familiar words that he already knows, the ones that are small and appear very often in text. However, he also said that the hardest thing for him to read is the larger words that he is not familiar with. He stated that he often mixes up the -d’s and -b’s with each other as well as the -g’s and -j’s because they either look the same or they sound the same.

Alex is a very enthusiastic and outgoing young boy who loves thrill and adventure. This is made evident when he told me that his favorite books are Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Both of these books are very thrilling and adventurous. Through his interview, I believe that it would be of great benefit to Alex if he was on a reading program of some kind. This means that he should be required to read a certain amount of things in a given amount of time (such as 2 different chapter books every month, or 10 pages a day.) I think that if he was required to read it would help him to get started. Practicing these skills would also improve his writing ability.

The interview questions and answers for Alex and his classmate Sarah (who is an advanced reader) are listed below. They are both in fourth grade currently.

Do you like to read? Why or Why not?

Sarah: Yes, just do.

Alex: No, I have dyslexia and it’s hard for me and annoying to try. I have books on tape that I listen to instead.

What is your favorite topic to read?

Sarah: Chapter books!

Alex: Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, heroes of Olympus. I listen to parts of it, and only read certain chapters if I don’t have enough time to listen to the whole thing.

Do your parents read to you a lot?

Sarah: They only read one book a lot to me.

Alex: No.

Do you have to read at home on your own?

Sarah: I don’t have to read, but I read just for fun.

Alex: I don’t have to.

Do you think of yourself as a strong reader?

Sarah: Yes, I read at a 10th grade level. I’m also really good in Art and Music and Math (except I don’t like math).

Alex: I’m getting better at reading. I should be in math ahead of my grade level. I also like recess a lot, gym, science and art.

What’s the easiest and hardest thing for you to read?

Sarah: The easiest thing for me is long words. It’s kind of like spelling.

The hardest thing for me is small words because sometimes I mix up the letters, or I leave them out when I read.

Alex: The easiest thing for me is small words and words that I remember.

The hardest thing for me is longer words or words that I do not recognize. I often mix up letters that look the same, like -b’s and -d’s, or -j’s and -g’s.

Do you prefer to read by yourself or having someone read to you? Why?

Sarah: I read to myself

Alex: I like to be read to

Do you remember the earliest time when you began to read?

Sarah: Kindergarten

Alex: last year (in 2nd grade) I began to read a little bit. I read much more now that I am in fourth grade.

How often do you read?

Sarah: I read every day

Alex: I read six or seven times on average per month

Do you read every part of the story or skip some parts?

Sarah: I read the entire book

Alex: I read half and listen to half

Do you like to read out loud?

Sarah: No

Alex: Not really. When people ask me to read in class I usually whisper.

How do you feel when you read?

Sarah: I feel awesome!!!

Alex: I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?”

Who’s your favorite author? Who’s your favorite illustrator?

Sarah: Jessica Day George is my favorite author and Patricia Polacco is my favorite illustrator.

Alex: I don’t have a favorite illustrator, but my favorite authors are Rick Riodan and J K Rowling.

Another type of assessment I used was my own observations. I observed that Alex is extremely bright in a lot of areas. His favorite subjects are physical education, art, science, social studies and math, which are all areas of strength for him. He is even achieving above grade level in math. Alex also really enjoys recess time. Alex is extremely active and energetic. He mixes well with his classmates and is rarely seen in an argument with others. He does get aggressive with his teacher sometimes in arguments. He enjoys things that are very logical and realistic. Subjects that are more abstract or go with the flow, like language arts, are more challenging for him. Alex is also very talkative and often talks out of turn and disrupts the learning process in the classroom. When the students are working on a project or assignment in the class he often talks with his classmates and distracts them, as well as himself, from the assignments that are at hand.

I also was able to look through Alex’s school records and take some of his writing samples from his classroom. I discovered that he had moved to his current school from a public school in the area. While he was at the public school, he was put through many different kinds of testing. The teachers labeled him with a sensory disorder because he couldn’t function like a normal student in his classroom. That school also expressed that Alex had issues with tactile things.

Alex then switched to the private school that he is at now. His two teachers have both said that they didn’t notice much of a sensory disorder with him while he has been in their classes. His second grade teacher from last year stated that at first he would curl up in his mother’s lap while he waited for class to start and would have issues with separation. She also stated that he would have issues with the noise level in the classroom at first. However, this year he was moved to fourth grade and his teacher stated that there has been no tactile, sensory, or separation issues present while he has been in her class.

As for Alex’s language arts abilities, he has been diagnosed with two types of dyslexia at his old school (the types were not stated in the documents). This was diagnosed because he has difficulty writing neatly and spelling. He also has difficulty reading things and gets a lot of his letters and sounds mixed up. At the public school that he was previously at, Alex was getting assistance with a resource teacher for his reading and writing skills. However, his current private school does not remove students for special help in that area, and they are not equipped with a reading or writing specialist. He has also not been re-evaluated for dyslexia at this new school (which I am not sure if that is standard procedure or not). Through my observations, and through reading the documents, it is not evident that any programs are being implemented to help him work with his dyslexia. Attached are writing samples that were provided and the excerpt from his school records.

The first writing sample is a list of rules that Alex would make if he was the ruler of the world. This is a creative piece and (because he likes to be in charge and is focused on being the best) he enjoyed this assignment. Through observations, I have noticed that when he enjoys doing something, or is highly interested in a particular topic, he generally excels. However, through reading this sample, you can see that he is not confident as to where capital letters are placed and cannot write his lowercase letters in proportion to the uppercase letters. He often leaves out small words in sentences as well. He also does not have any spelling errors and his sentences flow cohesively and make sense.

The second writing sample is an interview that he gave to another student in his school. Like the first sample, he was interested in this topic of writing and may have also received help with some of the spelling in the actual interview. When he put it into paragraph form, he did not always use punctuation where it was required and his letters were mixed up between upper and lowercase. He also left out some of the -s’ at the end of plural words.

I believe that if a grammar program was implemented with Alex, he would be able to improve his writing skills and understand better where to place his letters and whether to make them uppercase or lower case. Below are Alex’s writing samples and his school record excerpt.

First page of first work sample

Second page of first work sample and both pages of second work sample

school record excerpt

There are two reasons why I am using only informal assessments instead of some formal assessments with Alex. First, I forgot that an interview was an informal assessment and had thought that it was formal. Secondly, I believe that I have extracted enough information from the interview, the writing samples, and the school records about where Alex is at with his reading and writing abilities. Through all these pieces I can tell that he is struggling for the most part with grammar skills (and through observation of him writing, some spelling as well). He is also struggling with reading. I do believe that it would be helpful to do a miscue analysis with him as well. Which I would do if I had more time with him.

Second Objective “Plan, implement and evaluate a program of prevention or corrective instruction.”

My mini-unit that I created was for a mixed grade level special education classroom. This classroom would teach students who would have various levels of autism. The lessons in this unit would teach students how to recognize sight words in the “ug” and the “at” families. Through hands on experiences while playing “hide and seek” games, the students would ultimately be able to see different words on a note card and match them to the corresponding objects around the classroom. I thought that this would be a good introduction unit to give the students so that they could recognize simple common words that you would see in beginning literature (such as The Cat in The Hat). Below is my mini-unit on sight word recognition.

Mini Unit

I never implemented this unit into a classroom. However, this year I have been working in a special education classroom for my senior project. The purpose of my senior project is learning how to implement a science curriculum into a special education classroom with autistic children. I was seeking to discover how I could effectively teach the integrated sciences to children with autism. While I was in the classroom I worked with a boy (on the higher end of the Autism spectrum) on his science. One day when I went into his classroom, and he was already working with a teacher on his reading. As soon as he noticed me he pointed to me, and with a big smile on his face he said, “Can I read to you?” Since he hadn’t been concentrating on his reading with the teacher he was with, that teacher asked if I would like to try. I went over and sat with him and started helping him with the book he was reading. It was a simple book of See Jane Run. I asked the boy to read the story for me and he looked at the page and started saying words that were not on the page, but were in the pictures. I then stopped him and said, “No, what does that word say?” as I pointed to the word on the page. The boy said a couple of the correct words as I dragged my finger along with them, but then he lost his focus and started looking around the room.

This experience was very difficult for me because it was my first experience teaching someone how to read. I continued to encourage him to focus on the words and had to cover up the pictures at times. The teacher handed me a cup of goldfish crackers which I would reinforce him with after he read a certain number of lines in the story. I also had to put a screen around his table so that he could focus on the story instead of what was going on in the classroom.

Children with autism often get easily distracted or overwhelmed with stimuli in their environment and it is important to have ways to block it out from their learning environment as much as possible. For this particular student, he was getting overwhelmed with auditory stimuli in his learning environment and was having a difficult time focusing on what he was doing. He also was becoming distracted with visual stimuli by the pictures on the pages and was paying more attention to drawing information from those than he was from the text.

Through the methods that I chose to use with the boy in this class I was able to block out stimuli from his environment as much as possible. I was also able to encourage him to focus on the story he was reading. He read through a majority of See Jane Run while only stumbling a few times. When he got more towards the end he really wouldn’t focus no matter what I tried, so the original teacher took over again. I think that this applies to my mini unit because I have to keep in mind that there are going to be a lot of different environmental factors contributing to the struggles that my students are going to have, especially if they have autism. Through this experience, when I teach my actual mini-unit, I can implement what I have learned into how I teach my students how to recognize their sight words.

Third Objective “Self Made”

A third thing that I have learned in this class is the power of creative writing. Over the months, we have had to participate in five minute practice writing pieces in class. The topics have ranged from “What’s a favorite school memory” to “free write”. I think that it is extremely powerful for a student to be able to practice their writing skills by participating in activities like this. It helps them to write down whatever comes to mind, while not allowing the students enough time to get bored or run out of ideas. This is so beneficial because it helps the students to strengthen their writing skills while enjoying what they are writing about (because it is their own ideas).

Another example of this in our course would be the blogs that were required to upkeep. Through this assignment, we were able to continually be writing and uploading posts into our blog. By doing this, we were able to practice maintaining something like a blog so that we could hopefully continue to expand our writing abilities in the future through this internet resource.

I think that in the future I am going to implement creative writing exercises into my classroom as much as possible. I am expecting that this will help them strengthen their writing abilities and will encourage self-expression and creativity. Below is an example of my creative writing piece that I was assigned to write for my Teaching Reading in Elementary Education class.

Adrella and Her Violin

Case Study with Alex

Introduction:

Students who are struggling readers or writers often have disabilities that are associated with this subject area. These include, but are not limited to, dyslexia, sensory disorders and autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Students who are struggling readers or writers may also not be associated with any disabilities. They could be students who are not native English speakers, and have difficulty learning English. Regardless, all students who are struggling need assistance and should be given appropriate assistance in accordance with where they are in their abilities.

Meet the School:

The school where this case study was based Summers Knoll. This school states that it is, “dedicated to providing an academically stimulating environment in which intellectually curious children can learn in an engaging, inspiring atmosphere. This is an active environment; students absorb concepts rapidly and advance their skills in adventurous ways. Gifted students thrive here, as do creative thinkers and rapid learners. We believe children should be offered creative opportunities to understand that learning doesn’t have to have boundaries, and to experience learning as exciting, joyful for its own sake.” Through my observations, I have witnessed that Summers Knoll is a very fast passed environment. It prides itself as a worksheet and textbook free school. They develop intellectual capacities with a top down approach. The students are introduced to a project and expected to problem solve how to accomplish it. There is no direct instruction of any kind included in the curriculum. Certain subjects, such as spelling, handwriting, and grammar are omitted from the classroom because they are considered to have too many boundaries for learning.

Summers Knoll states, “We engage in community-based learning; it is a place where all aspects of our community… stimulate and support our students in their intellectual exploration. Creating a positive learning environment encompasses everything from the physical contexts where learning takes place to how children are greeted and treated by teachers and classmates.

We believe a nurturing experience supports happy learning. And we believe the most stimulating learning often takes place outside of the classroom walls.

Under the guidance of exceptional homeroom teachers, children work on kindness, empathy and responsibility, and enjoy close, supportive relationships. They learn to not only value themselves, but each other and the world around them. Each mixed-age class is composed of approximately 14 children, and this small group size creates a tight-knit community of learners. Students strengthen their work by developing skills in teamwork and collaboration, and work extensively with other classes to develop a whole-school sense of family and belonging.” Community and respect are regarded highly by this school. They put a lot of emphasis on collaboration and relationships.

This information, and more can be found at http://summers-knoll.org/.

Background on student and school or program:

Last year, Alex was in the second grade at a small private school. Alex was new to the school and had just transferred from a larger public elementary school. The public school the year before had expressed that they had difficulty teaching and handling Alex in the classroom setting. He was often distant and had been exhibiting behavior issues. The school stated that he excelled in mathematics and was quite social with the other students. He was well liked by his peers and had many friends. However, he lacked in language arts and was unable to read at the appropriate grade level. At his former school, Alex also exhibited some sensory-like issues. He did not like loud noises and had issues with tactile things. They labeled him with a sensory disorder.

When Alex came to the new school starting in Fall 2012, his teacher reported that he had difficulties leaving his mother when he came to school. Even as a second grader, he would sit in her lap and wait for school to begin. When school began he had to say goodbye several times before his mother could leave. His teacher reported that he could not handle loud noises and became aggravated when around them. However, his discomfort became easier for him as time progressed. His teacher could not specify as to whether this agitation was caused by a sensory input disorder, or if it was because of the adjustment to a new environment.

This 2012-2013 school year Alex began the fourth grade. Both the principal, and his mother believed that it would be the best option for him because he had become too aggressive with the other students. They believed that by putting him with the fourth graders, it would allow him to relate better with the amount of energy and competitiveness that he has. As for Alex’s sensory disorder suspicion, his teacher of this fourth grade year could not find any signs of a discomfort when given different stimuli for his senses.

Description of student’s literacy activity:

Alex has been diagnosed with two types of dyslexia, although his file was not specific as to what those types were called. Through my own interviews and observation, it has become apparent that he has difficulties with larger and unfamiliar words. He can not make connections between words and their meanings, and can not remember what words he has read for long periods of time. For instance, if you give him a word to type into the computer, he has to keep looking back at the word several times in order to type it. Alex also has difficulties with mixing up letters when he is writing. He often mixes up his d’s and his b’s along with his g’s and p’s.

Attached are Appendices A and B. Appendix A was a list of rules that Alex would make if he was the ruler of the world. This is a creative piece, and because he likes to be in charge and is focused on being the best, he enjoyed this assignment. Through observations, I have noticed that when he enjoys doing something, or is highly interested in a particular topic, he excels. Through reading Appendix A, you can see that he is not confident as to where capital letters are placed and can not write his lowercase letters in proportion to the uppercase letters. He often leaves out small word in sentences as well.

Appendix B is an interview that he gave to another student in his school. Like appendix A, he was interested in this topic of writing, and may have also received help with some of the spelling in the actual interview. When he put it into paragraph form, he did not always use punctuation where it was required, and his letters were mixed up between upper and lowercase. He also left out some of the -s’ at the end of plural words.

How challenges are being met by teacher:

Alex’s teacher allows him to choose as many topics for language arts projects as possible. The students in his classroom work on book literacy circles in groups. Each group of students chooses a book to read together, discuss the book and make it into a presentation for the rest of the class. Alex decided that he wanted to use a book that he had already read and turn it into a play for his classmates. This allowed him to be creative, and to write about a book that he is very interested in. His teacher also allows him to work in groups often so that he can work with with his classmates on spelling. In the classroom, there is no formal grammar, spelling or handwriting instruction. Alex’s school is extremely project based, therefore, teaching these subjects is not allowed because it is considered “direct instruction.” Alex’s teacher can therefore only assist with spelling and grammar when they are working on a project that requires writing.

Observations of the student:

Alex is extremely bright in a lot of areas. His favorite subjects are physical education, art, science, social studies and math, which are all areas of strength for him. He is even achieving above grade level in math. Alex also really enjoys recess time. Alex is extremely active and energetic. He mixes well with his classmates and is rarely seen in an argument with others. He does get aggressive with his teacher sometimes in arguments. He enjoys things that are very logical and realistic. Subjects that are more abstract or go with the flow, like language arts, are more challenging for him. Alex is also very talkative, and often talks out of turn and disrupts the learning process in the classroom.

Interviews and Questionnaire/ Assessments:

I interviewed Alex on his reading habits and how he felt about reading overall. When I asked him if he enjoyed reading, Alex stated that he was well aware that he had a learning disability. Because of that he said, “No, I hate reading. It’s really hard for me because I have dyslexia.” Later, his teacher commented on this statement and she mentioned that, when Alex is reading or researching something that he is really interested in and excited about, he reads fluently and makes little to no mistakes. He also spells perfectly and doesn’t have any trouble with it. However, when there is something that is new to him, or disinterests him, he does poorly. She mentioned that there may be a problem with his reading, but it would be unwise to rule out the option that he may be using the title of dyslexia as a crutch to avoid certain tasks.

In the interview, Alex stated that he is not forced to read at home, and he rarely ever reads on his own. He also mentioned that neither of his parents read to him. He listens to books on audio, and only reads brief sections of books if he does not feel like listening to something anymore. His lack of leisurely reading may play a key role in his inability to become interested in books and becoming better at reading. If he was required to read at home, or his parents modeled interest in books and reading, there may be a possibility that he would start reading more frequently and become a stronger reader.

His favorite topics to listen to on audio and briefly read are Percy Jackson books, Harry Potter and Hero’s Olympus. It is interesting that, in school, he excels and enjoys logical components of curriculum like social studies, science, and art. However, when it comes to reading, he really enjoys fantasy and adventure books. His favorite authors are Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling.

Alex lacks confidence in his ability to read. He does not like to read aloud in class, and when he is asked to do so, he whispers and refuses to read loudly. I also asked him if he thinks of himself as a strong reader. He responded that he is getting better at reading, however he does not like to read. He also expressed that he didn’t have to read until last year and he only read a little bit (when he was in second grade.) He stated that he only reads about six to seven times on average a month. I wonder if he was required to read more, or was challenged to read literature that he loves and is highly interested in, if his reading confidence and abilities would increase.

Evaluation of instructional strategies:

I believe that the instruction Alex is receiving in regards to reading and grammar do not allow him to grow as a reader. The school does not have a resource teacher to meet his reading needs. They also do not permit curriculum instruction that will likewise increase his reading ability. His school is a project based school with no traditional grades, which allows students a lot of freedom when it comes to a classroom setting. There is no set structure for the students to lean on. This environment is wonderful for some students. However, for students who struggle highly with reading and language arts in general, it’s important that they receive bottom up instruction, which Alex’s school is not interested in supplying at the moment. The school prefers more of a top down approach by having the students dive right in without a lot of instruction of building blocks leading up to the projects. Throughout the time that I spent with Alex and his classroom, they only had one literacy project. There was no required silent reading time, and there was no other instruction specifically targeted at the language arts curriculum. The only reading that a majority of Alex’s classmates received was during teacher read out loud time.

Conclusion and reflection:

Overall, I believe that Alex is an exceptional student and a very exuberant young boy. He excels in many aspects of education and life. He lives for thrill and adventure. Alex gets along with classmates and is also very affectionate toward them. He has many friends and enjoys spending time with them. When he gets a hold of a topic that interests him, he explores it in depth and succeeds greatly. Like many other students, he struggles in some areas. Language arts just so happen to be that area where he struggles. He has been diagnosed with dyslexia, and exhibits characteristics of a student who uses his disability as an excuse not to try. However, he has a lot of potential to succeed in Language Arts, as observed in his classroom behavior and his writing examples (appendices A and B). Alex would benefit from a resource teacher who would be able to work with him one on one. He would also benefit from a bottom up educational program that would set requirements and goals for his success in his reading skills.

Appendix A (this is the first part of Appendix A)

Appendices (This is the 2nd part of Appendix A and the 2 parts of Appendix B; in that order)

Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties: Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is all about building writing strategies. Gunning discusses many different strategies for instruction or practice throughout the chapter. I, as well as Gunning, this that it is so important for students to be given guided practice in writing. You could do this through writing workshops where students are given topics to write about, or are merely aloud to free write. Kind of like the practices we’ve done in our class at Conco. Gunning also talks about the benefit of have the student grouped into smaller writing groups as opposed to whole class work. This is so they can build on their skills and develop better.

Gunning proposes a Developmental stages scoring guideline to assess the writing improvement of the student. He suggests that students be grouped according to reading and writing level for best improvement. In his scoring guideline, he splits it into 6 stages which were devised for 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade. He however says that they can be manipulated to suit any grade. The first stage is for the emerging reader. This stage basically has a lot of error in the details and the student doesn’t seem to understand the topic or the target audience.

The developing reader begins to show structure and organization to their writing plan. Their topic is also slowing showing development. The stages continue to improve as they increase in stages. The last stage is the extending writer who includes rich details into their writing and fully elaborates what they are writing about. There is much organization to their piece and they have a creative use of language and varied sentence patterns.

Fieldwork day 5: 2 1/2 hours

April 15, 2013

10:30-11:30

12:30-2:00

 

Today the students came in from recess and listened to the teacher read them a story.

Image

After the story they went into mandarin and french again. During french class they worked on learning the words for the anatomy of a fly. Because it was going to be on their test they needed to draw the picture of the fly and then label the terms in french as the teacher told them what they were called. The students became very distracted by talking to others around them. They wouldn’t pay attention to the teacher very well, and kept needing to be reminded to listen and focus.

 

After the lunch recess the students worked on their yearbook interviews and wrote their interview into a paragraph form on a piece of paper. They are making a yearbook with an interview of every student in the school and needed to write all their notes into something that could be put into the book. They will later put these notes into the computer.

 

 

Many of the students were reluctant to do this. I went over to them and had to explain what they needed to be doing many times and they still wouldn’t do it. Eventually I just left it and they eventually did it.

 

Fierlwork Day four: 1 hour

April 8, 2013

10:13-11:30

 

The students came in this morning from recess and the teacher immediately started reading a story without telling the students what was happening. Surprisingly the students all found a spot in the room quietly and listened intently to the story. I liked this because normally when the students come in from recess they are really rambunctious and can’t calm down. But this caught their attention and their focus. During the story they had a lot of insightful things to say about predictions or what things meant. Also, if they didn’t know what something meant they would ask about it. This also showed me that they were listening.

 

The class was then split into their language classes. Half the class stayed for mandarin and the other half went to the other classroom for french. During the language classes the students were very rude and interrupted the teacher a lot. I thought that it was a very stressful environment, which also might be because I need a controlled and quiet environment. I couldn’t really tell if the students were really learning the language or not because it was more of a repeat after me set up and the other students continually interrupted.Image

 

Image

Fieldwork Day 3: 2 1/2 hours

March 21, 2013

12:30-2:00

 

The class that I am at is doing a literacy project where they are in groups of 3 or 4. Each group has a book that they have picked out as a group. Some are reading Narnia, some are reading The Hobbit, and others are reading other novels. Each group member has 1 or 2 tasks in the group. These tasks include, Discussion director, Connector, Summarizer, Word Smith, Travel Tracker, Investigator, and Illustrator. The students are supposed to meet together to discuss how much of the book the are going to read for the next meeting. Then they are supposed to go home and read that section of the book and complete their task by filling it out on a sheet of paper. Then they are supposed to meet together again the next time with the piece of paper and the section read in their book. They discuss what they read and what they did for their task. Once the book is completely read, they are supposed to put together a presentation for their classmates on the book that they read.

 

When I was walking around, I noticed that the students didn’t all have the section read that they were supposed to have read. Then when they met together, they didn’t really discuss what they had read because they were all playing catch up on their own.

 

Also, the teacher did direct them back to their groups sometimes if they weren’t doing what they needed to be doing. But a lot of the time I found them Sitting in corners or doing something else that wasn’t on task. I’ve found that the students are free to come in and out of the groups as they please and aren’t really directed back to come join in with what the group is doing a majority of the time.

 

This is also the only observance of literacy that I have had in the classroom. They don’t have a silent reading time, they don’t have grammar taught to them, because it is considered “direct instruction” by the principal. They also aren’t taught spelling or any other things like that. So it is hard to assess how the students are getting their instruction.

Correcting and Assessing Reading and Writting Difficulties: CHapter 11

Sorry guys, there was no internet at the ULC when I wrote this the other night, and then I forgot to upload it when I got back haha…  here it is

In Chapter 11, Gunning explains how to build comprehension in students. I thought it was interesting that he also mentioned that it is very important to continually introduce and add new vocabulary words to assist with building comprehension. This is exactly what he covered in chapter 10, which seems like he was building off of teaching vocabulary. I guess it makes perfectly good sense that you would build vocabulary in a student to help them comprehend better, I just never realized it before.

Another thing that Gunning mentions in chapter 11 is that there should be an intensive step-by-step instruction incorporated into their lessons. There are 6 important steps in a strategy lesson to think about. I liked the most how the first step encourages explaining to the students why you are teaching what you are teaching, and what the importance of it is. I think that this is very important to explain to students because they are constantly asking teachers why they have to even learn the things they do. Also, if teachers do not give adequate answers to the students, the students can often become disconnected from the learning process because they don’t see the importance of the lesson material.

The second step is to demonstrate or model the strategy that they are teaching. I know that for me, I learn by seeing how something is done correctly, and then by doing and applying. I think that it is so important for students to be able to see how their strategy is applied accurately in order for them to be able to do it on their own.

The next few steps in this strategy lesson form are guided practice, followed by independent practice. I really don’t like when teachers teach a new concept of strategy (doesn’t matter what subject area) and they expect the student to be able to do it right away on their own and get it perfectly right. I think that this is setting the student up for failure. It is highly unlikely that they would be able to understand how to do something perfectly upon seeing it once. This is why it is so important that you do not skip the FIRST step of guided practice. Once they have practiced for a bit and have got a handle on the strategy, they can move on to independent practice and application.

It is equally important that the last two steps come before the 5th step of assessment and reteaching and the 6th step of ongoing reinforcement and implementation. Practice is so important and needs to be conducted a lot before they are able to be assessed on how much they know. Unless, you are doing an assessment in the middle to assess where they are at as you start to move on with instruction. Regardless, it is also important that the student continually gets practice and reinforcement in the strategy area that they have been taught. This means that it is important that the students do not just stop learning and practicing their strategy once they have been assessed.

Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writting Difficulties: Chapter 10

I’m not sure if it’s a common thing that’s been going on for a while or not, but in today’s society there is a common misconception that I have noticed. This misconception is that we have to use big words and lots of them to seem like we are intelligent, or to seem like we know what we are talking about. This is most certainly false. But, because of this, I feel like people who struggle reading and writing things, or people who struggle with making meaning from words feel like they are highly inadequate in conversation and with other people.

Chapter 10 is all about building vocabulary and how to do so. In one part of the chapter Gunning discusses techniques for teaching words. He says that there are three main things that you should think about when you are going to teach these words to people:

  1. What kind of word is it?

  2. What kind of background is a student going to have when approaching this word?

  3. How are the students going to use the word? Will they use it often, or not so much?

 

Personally, I think that the most important point to look at is “How often is the student going to use this word.” Not that the other points are unimportant, but, when looking for good words to teach a students, I believe that you should teach words that they can use to describe things, and words that they will use relatively often. If you are teaching students words like antidisestablishmentarianism, where they probably won’t use it in everyday life (or at least I hope they don’t :p ), in my opinion, it would be less important than teaching them the word cat, or dog, or the phrase “How are you.”

Mini unit for a self-contained special needs autistic classroom with mixed grades from first grade to third grade.

 

Introduction

 

My name is Chelsea Noack and I am an educator in a self-contained special education classroom. This Unit is comprised of two lessons to be given to students in this classroom. This classroom has students exhibiting Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on varying levels of the spectrum. This unit is meant to encourage literacy and comprehension beginning with the “at” and “ug” words. It is also set up to create hands activities to help the students to be able to experience the words, therefore allowing them to relate the words to their life. By allowing the students to see the items that the words relate to, they will also be able to feel them with their hands and manipulate them to be able to make the connection between the word on the paper or smart board, and what it means.

The students will be first introduced to the new words with the actual item. As I classify that the items are called as the students point to them, they will be able to have the background knowledge for the activities to come in the particular lesson. Once they see the actual item and hear what the item is called, they will be presented with train cards that have three box cars (because each word has three letters.) These trains have pictures of the word on the box cars. As they view the different trains, they will take their finger and point to the letter on each boxcar as they say the word (e.g. C-A-T, Cat). They will then move on to trains without the pictures on them and repeat what they did with the pictures.

For the final assessment, they will be given flashcards with the word that they learned on them. There will be items that match the cards hidden around the room and the students will need to find those items according to what they have written on their cards. This will show me that they have learned what the words mean by matching them with the actual items on their own.

 

Rational

 

The lessons in this unit cover the “ug” and “at” words and their meaning. This is important for the students to learn because these words are commonly found in text and they will need to be able to add them to their sight word repertoire. Students will need to be able to show that they have mastered these sight words along with the many others they will learn in the future and already have learned.

 

Content Outline

  • I want the students to learn and understand the meaning of the “at” sight words. Then I want them to learn and understand the meaning of the “ug” sight words.

  • They are to be introduced to them first and understand the context that they are in by observing me hold them up and explain them.

  • Then they will learn how to associate them with pictures.

  • After they have learned to associate the words with pictures, the students will view the words without pictures and associate them with items with my assistance.

  • After they have practiced with this, the students will be sent off on their own to associate words with items that are hidden around the room.

 

Objectives and Pre-Assessment

  • The student will add more words to their sight word repertoire.

  • The student will understand the meanings of new sight words they have learned.

  • The student will demonstrate understanding of the new sight words by putting them into the correct context.

Bring various “ug” and ‘at” family words into the classroom in object form. Show them to the student and ask them to say what each object is. Ask them if they think that anything sounds familiar, or the same, when you say each of the words. Encourage them to make the connection with the “at” or “ug” sound at the end of each word. Introduce the word train and show them that each letter represents one box car on the train. Ask they read through the words, they are to point to each box car and say the sound that they letter represents.

 

 

 

Lesson Plans and Activities

Lesson 1: “at” family

STANDARDS/OUTCOMES addressed in this lesson:

 

R.WS.02.09

know the meanings of words encountered frequently in grade-level reading

and oral language contexts.

 

R.WS.02.06

make progress in automatically recognizing the 220 Dolch basic sight words

and 95 common nouns for mastery in third grade.

 

OBJECTIVES Through these learning activities, the student will be able to:

 

The student will:

  • recognize site words in the “at” family

 

 

INSTRUCTION Teaching strategy:

 

Introduction/Set induction

 

Bring in a stuffed cat, a baseball bat, a hat, a toy rat and a mat. Show them to the student and ask them to say what each object is. Ask them if they think that anything sounds familiar, or the same, when you say each of the words. Encourage them to make the connection with the “at” sound at the end of each word. Explain that we have a problem. There is a train and some stuff is taking a free ride on it. We need to know what is taking a ride on it.

 

Instructional Activities

 

Present the train cards to the student on the smart board and have the student go through the first set with the picture cues. The first card says, “What is on the train, CAT” and has some cats sitting on the top of the train. Have the student grab the physical object that you showed them at the beginning of the lesson that matches the CAT word. This should help them to make the connection easier. Have them repeat this with the rest of the cards that have the picture cues. After they say each word have them grab the item that matches the word they said.

 

When they have finished the train cards with the picture cues, have the student go through the train cards without the picture cues. After they say each word on the train card, without the picture cue, have them match it with the matching object.

 

Conclusion/Closure

 

After the student goes through the train cards, give them the attached “at” family word flash cards. Before this lesson, you should have hid the items that match the flash cards around the room (They should not be hidden so good that the student would get frustrated trying to find them, but they should be sitting out around the room in different locations). Explain that you have lost some things around the room, and you want the student to find them for you. Say that you have a list of things you have lost and have them find the objects in the room that go with the flash cards. Record for their assessment.

 

Transitional Activities

 

Have the student pick up the items and put the flash cards away.

 

 

How this lesson provides for ASSESSMENT of student learning:

 

Pre-assessment

 

Bring in a stuffed cat, a baseball bat, a hat, a toy rat and a mat. Show them to the student and ask them to say what each object is. Ask them if they think that anything sounds familiar, or the same, when you say each of the words. Encourage them to make the connection with the “at” sound at the end of each word. Explain that we have a problem. There is a train and some stuff is taking a free ride on it. We need to know what is taking a ride on it.

 

Checking up

 

As the student is going through the train cards, make sure that you are encouraging them to choose the item that matches the word they are learning. If it is CAT, the student should pick up the stuffed cat.

 

Post-assessment

 

After the student goes through the train cards, give them the attached “at” family word flash cards. Before this lesson, you should have hid the items that match the flash cards around the room (They should not be hidden so good that the student would get frustrated trying to find them, but they should be sitting out around the room in different locations). Explain that you have lost some things around the room, and you want the student to find them for you. Say that you have a list of things you have lost and have them find the objects in the room that go with the flash cards. Record for their assessment.

 

RESOURCES NEEDED

 

http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/TrainPhonics at.pdf

smart board

2 stuffed cats

2 toy rats

2 hats

2 mats

2 base ball bats

attached flash cards

 

REFLECTIVE ASSESSMENT of the lesson and student success (to be hand written after lesson is taught)

Adapted from: http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/TrainPhonics at.pdf

 

Cat

 

Hat

Rat

 

Mat

Bat

 

 

 

Lesson 2: “ug” family

STANDARDS/OUTCOMES addressed in this lesson:

 

R.WS.02.09

know the meanings of words encountered frequently in grade-level reading

and oral language contexts.

 

R.WS.02.06

make progress in automatically recognizing the 220 Dolch basic sight words

and 95 common nouns for mastery in third grade.

 

OBJECTIVES Through these learning activities, the student will be able to:

 

The student will:

  • recognize site words in the “ug” family

 

 

INSTRUCTION Teaching strategy:

 

Introduction/Set induction

 

Bring in a toy bug, a mug, a rug, and a jug. Show them to the students. Have the students point to the objects you show them as you say what they are (making sure to us the “ug” words for the objects). Ask them what sounds familiar, or the same, when you say each of the words. Encourage them to make the connection with the “ug” sound at the end of each word. Explain that we are going to work with the train again and that we are going to find out what different words are that are on it.

 

Instructional Activities

 

Present the train cards to the student on the smart board and have the student go through the first set with the picture cues. The first card says, “What is on the train, BUG” and has different bugs sitting on the top of the train. Have the student grab the physical object that you showed them at the beginning of the lesson that matches the bug word. This should help them to make the connection easier. Have them repeat this with the rest of the cards that have the picture cues. After they say each word have them grab the item that matches the word they said.

 

When they have finished the train cards with the picture cues, have the student go through the train cards without the picture cues. After they say each word on the train card, without the picture cue, have them match it with the matching object. (make sure the cards are shuffled each time before they are shown to the student).

 

Conclusion/Closure

 

After the student goes through the train cards, give them the attached “ug” family word flash cards. Before this lesson, you should have hid the items that match the flash cards around the room (They should not be hidden so good that the student would get frustrated trying to find them, but they should be sitting out around the room in different locations, semi hidden). Explain that you have lost some things around the room, and you want the student to find them for you. Say that you have a list of things you have lost and have them find the objects in the room that go with the flash cards. Record for their assessment.

 

Transitional Activities

 

Have the student pick up the items and put the flash cards away.

 

 

How this lesson provides for ASSESSMENT of student learning:

 

Pre-assessment

 

Bring in a toy bug, a mug, a rug, and a jug. Show them to the students. Have the students point to the objects you show them as you say what they are (making sure to us the “ug” words for the objects). Ask them what sounds familiar, or the same, when you say each of the words. Encourage them to make the connection with the “ug” sound at the end of each word. Explain that we are going to work with the train again and that we are going to find out what different words are that are on it.

 

Checking up

 

As the student is going through the train cards, make sure that you are encouraging them to choose the item that matches the word they are learning. If it is BUG, the student should pick up the toy bug.

 

Post-assessment

 

After the student goes through the train cards, give them the attached “ug” family word flash cards. Before this lesson, you should have hid the items that match the flash cards around the room (They should not be hidden so good that the student would get frustrated trying to find them, but they should be sitting out around the room in different locations, semi hidden). Explain that you have lost some things around the room, and you want the student to find them for you. Say that you have a list of things you have lost and have them find the objects in the room that go with the flash cards. Record for their assessment.

 

RESOURCES NEEDED

 

http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/TrainPhonics_ug.pdf

smart board

2 toy bugs

2 rugs

2 mugs

2 jugs

attached flash cards

 

REFLECTIVE ASSESSMENT of the lesson and student success (to be hand written after lesson is taught)

Adapted from: http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/TrainPhonics_ug.pdf

 

Bug

 

Rug

Mug

 

Jug

 

 

Evaluation Procedures

The students will continue with their word boxes that they have been establishing over the process of the year. They will use the words that they have learned and write them on index cards. They will then use magazines to find picture of the “at” family and “ug” family words to attach to the index cards that match them. When they are finished creating their word box cards, the student will use the new cards to create a story and write it down. If the student can not write, they will articulate the story to me and I will write it for them. They must tell me how to spell the “at” and “ug” family word when they are used in the story though.

 

Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties: Chapter 9

Have you ever come across a word you didn’t know in a piece of literature? What were the action steps taken to discover what that word meant? Did you sound it out? Think about it in context? Use a dictionary maybe? For many students, there are a plethora of words they do not know, even when reading literature at grade level. They develop strategies to deal with these unknown words that all too often are not an accurate way to derive the meaning. Often the student will attempt to sound out the word on their own, which does not benefit them because the word is not in their literacy vocabulary in the first place. Simply sounding out a word does not help you to discover the meaning, especially when you often mispronounce that word.

In Chapter 9 of Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties, Gunning discusses a think aloud. A think aloud is something that a teacher, or assistant can conduct on the student without offering any instructional guidance. The adult simply sits with the student as they read through the passage until they come to an unfamiliar word. When they reach this word all the adult asks is unbiased probing questions like, “Can you tell me what you are thinking?” These kinds of questions offers the adult insight into how the student is processing unfamiliar words. Once they have figured out the thought process of the student, they can start asking more instructional questions, like, “Can you find clues to the word’s meaning in the context of the text?” or, “Would a dictionary help?” These kinds of questions can help the student to manipulate their thought process to become more of a benefit to their ability to decipher word meanings. I like this idea because it allows you, as the teacher, to understand where the student is at and how they are thinking, and then work with that to mold it into something that will help them to grow as a reader.