DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

 

COMMENTARY 

Planning Commentary Directions: Respond to the prompts below (no more than 9 single-spaced pages, including prompts) by typing your responses within the brackets following each promptDo not delete or alter the prompts; both the prompts and your responses are included in the total page count allowed. Refer to the evidence chart in the handbook to ensure that this document complies with all format specifications.  Pages exceeding the maximum will not be scored.                                                                                                                                                            

 

Central Focus

Describe the central focus and purpose for the content you will teach in this learning segment.

The central focus for the content I will teach during this learning segment is based on the concept of making predictions. Students will develop an understanding of new academic vocabulary through the gradual release of responsibility model (Gambrell et al., 2007). The strategy of making predictions will first be modeled to students followed by Scaffold guided practice in which the responsibility of learning is shared by students and I.  Finally the responsibility will be released to students for the final summative assessment at the end of the learning segment where students are writing and making predictions independently.  The overarching goal of the learning segment has students appropriately applying their knowledge of new academic vocabulary to understand and apply comprehension skills and strategies for various purposes.  Prior to this learning segment students have focused primarily on comprehension strategies like envisioning/visualizing, and recount/retell. Teaching predictions is an important next step to ensure that students deepen their comprehension of any given text is accurate and firm.

  1. Given the central focus, describe how the standards and learning objectives within your learning segment address

  •  an essential literacy strategy

  • Requisite skills

  • Reading/writing connections

This lesson segment builds connections between skills and strategies required for successfully making predictions.  The learning segment’s instruction is driven by the state /common core standards for understanding the concept of making predictions.  The remaining three lessons of the segment build on the skills, language and strategies of the previous lesson. The final and fourth lesson is a demonstration of knowledge acquired through writing and interpreting predictions.  Student will develop their making predictions abilities through activities such as story title, illustration/pictures, mystery box, bar graph and text - Charlotte’s Web by E.B White and The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.  The students are taught reading and writing (social studies content push-in) consequetively in keeping with their daily school schedules. As a result, students are well aware of the strong relationship and connection that do exist between reading and writing through daily instruction of each subject taught. 

  1. Explain how your plans build on each other to help students make connections between skills and the essential strategy to comprehend OR compose text in meaningful contexts.

The lesson plans for this learning segment build connections between prior knowledge and new knowledge through the implementation of the gradual release of responsibility model.  Lesson1 served as setting the foundation of the learning segment and as the modeling stage for future understanding of the concept.  I will explicitly teach the academic vocabulary word “prediction” and it function and model and guide students through the process of making prediction through a variety of mediums including, illustrations/pictures, mystery box, online stories, bar graph and specific text. Explicit reading instruction means that we show learners how we think when we read.

Then, the assumption of responsibility will begin to shift so that both the student and the teacher share responsibility of learning through the guided practice (Gambrell et al., 2007).Joint responsibility will be the emphasis of the second lesson of the learning segment. Students will take what they have learned about making predictions from the first lesson and their scheme of similar experiences and apply that knowledge to making predictions about the text: The Missing Files. During the introductory phase of the lesson students will be supported with continued modeling and will also work independently to finish the activity and begin demonstrating their knowledge of making predictions process. At last the release is complete when the student assumes complete responsibility for their own learning through practice and application of skills and knowledge (Gambrell et. al., 2007).  Evidence of students’ demonstration of such knowledge acquired is reflected in the summative assessment in the third lesson where students will write and make predictions.

2. Knowledge of Students to Inform Teaching

For each of the prompts below (2a-b), describe what you know about your students with respect to the central focus of the learning segment.

Consider the Variety of learners in your class who may require different strategies/support (e.g., students with IEPs, English language learners, struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted students).

a. Prior academic learning and perquisite skills related to the central focus--What do students know, what   can they do, and what are they learning to do?

Through observations, interactions with students and the experience of teaching this particular class I am able to track students’ academic development. The concept of making predictions has not been explicitly addressed prior to this learning segment however students have had some indirect exposure to the idea of making predictions. During Read Aloud/DEAR (Drop everything and read) periods prediction questions have been incorporated into the discussions without explicitly referencing the academic vocabulary word.   However students have been taught the concept of envisioning/visualizing, which is closely related to the concept of making predictions.

Academic language development for this particular group of students is based on explicit instruction. We explicitly teach reading comprehension strategy so that readers can use them to construct meaning. Explicit reading instruction means that we show learners how we think when we read.

The students have been engaged prior to this learning segment with the academic vocabulary word “envision”. This skill and prior knowledge allowed for a smooth transition point for the development of the new knowledge in this lesson sequence. Linking students’ prior knowledge of envisioning with the new knowledge of making predictions will allow for successful development of language throughout the learning segment. This type of vocabulary connection pushes students toward accomplishing the learning objective of understanding and demonstrating the process of making predictions.

b. Personal/cultural/community assets related to the central focus—what do you know about your students everyday experiences, cultural backgrounds and practices, and interests?

The communities and families from which these groups of students come from have helped in shaping their prior knowledge and future understanding. A classroom that is culturally diverse where 60% of the students in the class is Hispanic; 30% African American and 10% Asian.  Of these students, 100 % are categorized as lower socio-economic status where they are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Based on information received from my cooperating teacher many of the students come from a bilingual setting where the parent is not fluent in English. Many of them live with both parents and some may have a grandparent in the home. The school can be considered a family institution for some of the students all because they have had older siblings who attended or may currently have a younger sibling in the school or even a parent who attended the same school. A few of the students are new coming from another school. These are the feedbacks that help me to know students as individual learners. As the new teacher I’ve learn about my students as individual learners through observations and engagement in small group discussions.  The daily interactions and observations of students have provided me with insights into students extra curricula activities.  The activities they are involved ranges from competitive sports (e.g., soccer, basketball and football) to the performing arts (i.e. dance, drama).

  1. Supporting Students’ Literacy Learning

    Respond to prompts 3a—c below. As needed, refer to the instructional materials and lesson plans you have included to support your explanations. Use principles from research and/or theory to support your explanations, where appropriate.

  1. Explain how your understanding of your students’ prior academic learning and personal/cultural/community assets (from prompts 2a-b above) guided your choice or adaptation of learning tasks and materials.

           After gaining an understanding of my students prior knowledge, experiences, and development through observations, interactions, and feedback from cooperating teacher I was able to adapt my learning tasks and materials to help students comprehend and practice the process of making predictions more successfully. An interest that was incorporated into this learning segment was the student’s interest in pictures and illustrations. Third graders have an understanding of looking at pictures in a book for clues. As observed during independent reading time many of the students were turning pages looking and discussing the pictures instead of reading text. This observation as led me to include different visuals throughout this learning segment.  In the first lesson through the use of technology (smartboard) pictures are incorporated into the launch of the lesson and during the reading of chapter 1 of Charlotte’s Web for making predictions. In the second lesson a pictograph was used and in the third lesson picture resurface again in the online reading of The Great Kapok Tree.   

 

  1. Describe and justify why your instructional strategies and planned supports are appropriate for the whole class and students with similar or specific learning needs.

     

    Consider students with IEP’s, English language learners, struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted students.

 Within this group of students there are 5 with IEP’s, yet there are no significant accommodations that need to be made for individual students.  Three of the IEP’s are for students identified has having a learning disability, however there is no in class modifications for their learning. The fourth students has speech problem and is taken out of the classroom periodically on a daily basis. The fifth student goes for counselling. The students does not require any specific in-class modification, however the learning segment is designed to have visual aids such as colorful online pictures, a very attractive mystery box and a pictograph/bar graph. Many students at this level are visual learners especially those with an intellectual disability. The visuals will appeal and engage all students in the class.

 

Without a doubt there are a small percentage of students in the class who excel above their peers. Therefore incorporated into all the lessons are extensions that challenge students’ knowledge. In the first lesson students will be given the opportunity to go on a treasure hunt highlighting clues as they go through the story slowly, thinking about clues the author gives about how the story will end.

 

  1. Describe common developmental approximations or common misconceptions within your literacy central focus and how you will address them. 

There was no pre-assessment given prior to the first lesson, however the term prediction was introduced.  On the second lesson students were asked to give a definition of the phrase “making prediction”.  The oral response to this question what is prediction indicated that many of the student understanding of the word prediction prior to the learning segment was minimal. There were approximately four students who provided an answer that was close to the correct answer. The remaining students give an inaccurate response or just had a blank stare on their faces. Yet students knew what it means to visualize.

 

To achieve proficiency of the concept students will have the opportunity to practice the concept of making predictions with the support of the teacher.  Starting out with modeling first which is followed by guided practice, and then ending with independent demonstration. “That why we frame our instruction in what Pearson and Gallagher (1983) call the gradual release approach.” We encourage this approach because independence is our ultimate goal.  All instructions gear toward using these strategies independently, applying them if and when they need them. Making a prediction is an abstract concept that takes repeated practice and exposure to grasp.  At the start of the lesson segment, support for students learning is evident in the think pair-share and group discussions, and multiple opportunities to practice the process of making predictions.  As proficiency strengthens in lesson two, less support will be given as part of the activity will be completed independently.  Finally, support is withdrawn as proficiency is demonstrated during the summative assessment of the third lesson.

 

Supporting Literacy Development Through Language

  1. Language demand: Language Function. Identify one language function essential for students to learn the literacy strategy within your central focus.  Listed below are some sample language functions.  You may choose one of these or another more appropriate for your learning segment:

     

 

Analyze

Argue

Categorize

Compare/contrast

Describe

Explain

interpret

Predict

Question

Retell

Summarize

Infer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4a. The key academic language demands of this learning segment are as follows: predictions/ predict (function), conclusion/conclude, assumption, justify, explain, background/prior knowledge (vocabulary).

 

The academic language function –prediction/predict- serves as the central focus of the learning segment. As the lesson segment begins, students are first reminded of their prior understanding of the word envision/visualize and how that connects to the new word prediction. The concept and process of making prediction is abstract in nature and therefore requires students’ strong existing understanding of the word visualize helping students to internalize and grasp the new vocabulary and language function. Based on observations, and prior lessons, there is an indication that students exhibit a strong understanding of visualization as they demonstrate this knowledge through Literacy and Social Studies discussions on a regular basis. The oral response to the question what is prediction indicated that many of the students understanding of the word prediction prior to the learning segment was minimal. There were four students who provided an answer that was close to the correct answer. The remaining students give inaccurate responses or just had a blank look on their faces. Instruction during this lesson segment initially focuses on connecting these two academic vocabulary words in order to deepen understanding of the new word/function: prediction.   

 

The academic vocabulary words prior/personal knowledge, explain, inference and conclusion are used throughout the lesson segment during discussion to define the term prediction and to explain the steps of making a prediction. Prior/personal knowledge is essential to practicing the process of making a prediction. Students will demonstrate their understanding of this academic vocabulary word through oral communication and written responses throughout the learning segment (ie. turn and talk whole group discussions, and completion of graphic organizers. These different words are used in order to appeal to students varied levels of language development. For example, the words visualize and inference is used interchangeably as they essentially share the same definition but elicit responses from a range of students with different language development.

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) classifies intellectual behavior into six distinct levels on a spectrum that ranges from lower-order thinking to higher-order thinking. The academic vocabulary word “explain” is classified as a lower-order thinking word as part ofcomprehension (level 2) category. The words “inference(level 6) and “conclusion” (level 4) however, are classified as higher-order thinking words requiring students to activate and develop their critical thinking skills. During this learning segment, students with lower language development have the opportunity to be exposed to new academic language (inference and conclusion) and to contribute to the discussion when presented with academic language that they recognize (explain). Students with higher language development will be challenged to think more critically when asked to “make an inference” or “explain their conclusion”. The spectrum of critical thinking represented across these academic vocabulary words allowed for a range of students to begin comprehension of the new higher-order academic vocabulary word: inference.

 

  1. Identify a key learning task from your plans that provides student with opportunities to practice using the language function. In which lesson does the learning task occur? (Give lesson/day number.)

    The entire learning segment is focused on developing the language function prediction.

  2. Additional Language Demands. Given the language function and task identified above, describe the following associated language demands (written or oral) students need to understand and/or use.

  3. ¡¡     Vocabulary   or   key   phrases

 

    Plus at least one of the following:

 

  •            Syntax

 

  •      Discourse

 

  Consider the range of students’ understandings of the language function and other demands—what do students already know, what are they struggling with, and/or what is new to them?

 

Students know that when strategies are introduce the teacher model use of each one. Then they give the students time to practice each strategy. They know that visualize and predict have similar meanings – to make a movie in your mind. Students need to understand that when learning comprehension strategies that these strategies do not occur in isolation but rather many of them are related. For example prediction, inference and visualize are related (cousins).

 

The new language function for students is if readers don’t infer they will not grasp the deeper essence of texts they read. Also prediction is a type of inference.

 

They are struggling with using text evidence/clues to make conclusion.

 

  1. Language Supports. Refer to your lesson plans and instructional materials as needed in your response to the prompt.

 

          Describe the instructional supports (during and/or prior to the learning task) that help students understand and successfully use the language function and additional language identified in prompts 4a–c.

 


 

Jenkins et al. (1989) suggests that both direct and embedded vocabulary instruction yields successful vocabulary development. Direct instruction helps students understand word meanings that might otherwise be too challenging or abstract to derive on their own. Embedded vocabulary instruction also has potential for successful language development when students are provided with continually authentic opportunities that reinforce wordmeaning. Throughout the learning segment academic vocabulary is consistently addressed through a combination of both of these approaches. During the first lesson, the central focus of the learning segment to predict is explicitly defined for students using two different definitions. This definition resurfaces as students explicitly review at the beginning of each lesson and throughout instruction activities. A majority of academic vocabulary development is embedded into the learning segments instruction through a series of discussions and activities.

 


 

In lesson 2 of the learning segment, students will have the opportunity to listening to my modeling of the process required to make a prediction during the mystery box presentation and pictograph/bar graph. After modeling, students will also be able to practice their understanding and expression of the academic vocabulary words prediction and prior/personal knowledge as the activity progresses. Students will receive oral feedback during this exercise as I prompt students in the right direction asking student questions like “What information do you see that would help you make a prediction?” I will then provide feedback to students by analyzing their responses to the whole class while explicitly incorporating the academic vocabulary words in a way that models proper application of the words in the context of a discussion.

 

 A graphic organizer will be utilized in lessons 1 and 2 that allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of new academic vocabulary words and making predictions from chapter 1 of Charlotte’s Web (lesson 1) and the article Missing File (lesson 2). Graphic organizers serve as visual representations of information that clearly illustrates relationships and references key vocabulary (Bromley & Modlo, 1999). The graphic organizer will serve as an instructional tool that visually separates the steps required for making a prediction making the process more explicit with sections that separate the various components (i.e. prior knowledge, known facts, and the actual inferences). Oral feedback will be provided to students during and after the graphic organizer is independently completed during the second lesson. Feedback will be focused on helping students separate their inferences from their prior knowledge and identification of fact.

 

 

In the third lesson, students will be demonstrating their knowledge of new academic vocabulary by completing a summative assessment (i.e. writing a conclusion to the story). Using prior knowledge and text evidence to write a conclusion as to how the story will end places the responsibility of learning on the students themselves to apply their understanding of the process required to make a prediction.

 

  

a.       Monitoring Student Learning

 

Refer to the assessments you will submit as part of the materials for task 1.

 

1. Describe how your planned formal and informal assessments will provide direct evidence that students can use the literacy strategy and requisite skills to comprehend or compose text throughout the learning segment.

Throughout the learning segment a combination of formal and informal assessments will be incorporated into each lesson. Informal assessment, “occurs continually in the context of a meaningful learning environment and reflects actual and worthwhile learning experiences that can be documented,” through a variety of methods (Gambrell et al., 2007, p. 215). Several times throughout the learning segment students will be informally assessed through the amount of participation (during turn and talk) and the logical relevance of their contributions during whole group discussions. Evidence of student learning will be assessed based on students’ ability to orally communicate their understanding of the process of making a prediction in the context of several different whole group discussions across the learning segment. This informal method of assessment will allow me to assess the group of students over an extended period enhancing the reliability of the assessment data as it is paired with additional more formal assessments.

 

The summative assessment of the third lesson will serve as the primary formal assessment of the learning segment. The results of a summative assessment can be used to provide evidence that the student has (or has not) met the learning objective (Gambrell et al., 2007). For this assessment students will demonstrate their knowledge of how to make predictions by highlighting and writing down the sentence that spurs their prediction. Students will be required to apply their understanding of predictions from the perspective of the reader (as practiced in lesson 1 and 2). Evidence of learning will be based on their level of independence throughout the activity, their ability to use strategies that are relatable and to provide enough information that an inference can be made by potential audiences. This assessment will require students to apply their knowledge in a way that was not practiced during the previous two lessons ultimately exposing their level of understanding. The use of both informal and formal assessments will provide me with the appropriate level of data to assess whether or not students are meeting learning expectations relative to the standards and objectives of the learning segment.

    1. Explain how the design or adaptation of your planned assessments allows students’ with specific needs to demonstrate their learning.

 

 Consider all students, including students with IEPs, English language learners, struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted students.

 

 As previously mentioned there are no significant assessment accommodations that need to be made for individual students despite the inclusion of 5 IEP students with this class. Three of theIEPs are for students identified learning disability (emotional, reading) and two IEP exists for a student with a diagnosed ESL. None of these students have in-class assessment modifications for their learning benefit.

 

 Although no official modifications exist for these students, I made sure that the informal assessments for the learning segment were interactive and engaging with turn and talk and whole group discussions and that the summative assessment would appeal to a variety of interests that will engage these student as well as the rest of the class.

 

I also know that a small percentage of these students are considered academically high achievers. Therefore, incorporated into all assessments, both informal and formal, are challenges that expand on students’ knowledge. The formative assessment of the second lesson gives students the opportunity to complete more than one entry on the activity worksheet rather than the expected 1 (see prediction sheet lesson 2).

 


 

References

 

 

Gambrell, L. et al. (2007). Best practices in literacy instruction 3rd edition. Guilford Press; New York, New York.

  

Roettger, D. (1980). Elementary students’ attitude towards reading; The Reading Teacher Calkins

 

 L., Tolan K. (2010) Following Character into meaning;  Envisionment Prediction and Inference; Portsmouth, NH 03801

    

Harvey S. and Goudvis A. (2000). Strategies that work; Stenhouse Publishers; Portland Maine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

                                                                                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.