Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ELD Observation at My School Site (555)

 Description of Classroom: Class is arranged in rows facing the whiteboard and document Cam. Movie posters of famous literary classics, like Lord of the Flies and Romeo & Juliet hang from the walls. Students have a textbook and workbook on their desks. Class is composed of 24 students. Learning objective, class agenda, and homework is written on the board. Today’s learning objective: “SWBAT identify the main idea of an article by looking at important detail.”

Teacher & Student Activities: Students start with a warm-up. Two sentences with grammatical errors are written on the board. Students correct them in their spiral notebooks. Teacher calls on volunteers to make corrections on the board. Participants get a raffle ticket. Drawings for the raffle are every Friday. Students who win get to select a small prize from a goody bag (pencils, crossword puzzles, colored markers, etc.). Afterwards, teacher goes over the corrections with the class.

Next, students work on their new academic vocab for the week: “benefit”. Last week’s word was “analyze”. Teacher puts 2 sentence frames up on overhead. Teacher explains the use of the word “benefit” and discusses word partners, such as “reap the benefits”, “major benefits”, and “health benefits”. Teacher reads sentence frames aloud to class. Students copy down and finish the sentence in a “think-pair-share” format. Teacher discusses shared answers with class to reinforce correct uses.

Students work from their textbook to summarize the main idea of a long article with several paragraphs. The article is about a nonprofit art program in Boston for high school students. Students practice filling out their graphic organizer chart to write the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, and “why” of the article. They have been working on this article for 2 weeks. They have had practice filling out several of the “5 W” charts in the workbook associated with the text. Students struggle to fill in the “Why” box and then summarize the main idea in a box at the bottom. Teacher gives students sentence frames to help students get started with their responses. Students work with a partner to fill out their chart. Many students seem disengaged, bored, or confused. After having time to work together to complete their charts, teacher leads discussion to give feedback. Teacher struggles to get students to participate.

SIOP Observation Protocol Reflection:
Overall, the teacher gave very clear directions and worked methodically to make sure students have mastered learning objective before moving on. She spoke clearly and slowly to ensure students could understand. She gave feedback on every assignment and checked for understanding frequently by circulating, correcting written homework, and oral responses. I really liked how much the students had to put their answers into their own words and shared them orally with the class. Also, students modeled their work for the class on the board several times, giving them practice standing up in front of people, which builds confidence. The teacher used a variety of techniques to make concepts clear, such as modeling examples, circulating to support individual students, and pairing students together to cooperatively work on problems. She also provided a graphic organizer to help students organize their ideas, which is a wonderful scaffolding technique. There were frequent opportunities for student-student and student-teacher interaction and discussion, which is also a scaffolding technique. In addition, students had ample opportunity to practice all language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

It seems like one of the challenges of having a combined class (ELD III/IV) is challenging the more advanced students while supporting the beginner students. Students did not seem to enjoy reading the article from the textbook, particularly since they had been reading and re-reading the same article for 2 weeks. Their obvious boredom made them disinterested in the more challenging task of summarizing the main idea of the article and answering the “why?” section of their charts. I did not see any differentiation strategies being used to challenge and engage the more advanced students and help support the struggling students.

The two biggest things I would change are: making the material more connected to student’s background to engage them more, and providing more differentiation strategies for individual students needs. First, to teach students to summarize the main idea of an article, I would bring in several different newspaper articles related to student interests, such as: football, water polo, social media, television, movies, and music. I would also try to find articles related to different students’ cultures, such as a news article about Mexico. Students need to be interested in the articles they are reading to be engaged. In addition, when they can relate to the articles with their own personal background, they derive more meaning from and, perhaps, even learn more about who they are, a very important part in identity development for teens. I would also use differentiation strategies to help more advanced students progress and help struggling students catch up. The more advanced students could be assigned more complex readings, or several, related articles to tie together. The more basic students could be given simpler readings and supported with a graphic organizer that had sentence frames.

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