In the past week, I took on more responsibility in my classroom. I led two literacy lessons, which was slightly nerve wracking but very rewarding. Next week, I will be doing an enrichment social studies lesson for six students and I will be working one-on-one with a student in mathematics. The lessons that I led in the past week were a read aloud and writing.
On Monday during our Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting, I asked my collaborating teachers if I could take over a read aloud during the week. This went along with one of my FEAPs goals: FEAPs 1A: Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level or rigor. I mentioned this goal in one of my previous blog posts: https://nicoleleonick.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/weekly-reflection-2-24-14-2-28-14/ For this goal, I wanted to work on performing read alouds because I have little experience with this instruction. I performed shared reading with a small paper book called “Who is This?” during the week of March 17th. Although this was shared reading, I read the book out loud to my students and then had them point out sight words on the page. This was a very short lesson but it allowed me to work with the students on the sight words “this,” “is,” and “little.”
For my read aloud that took place during the past week, I read the book Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett.
After I volunteered to perform this read aloud, I talked with one of my collaborating teachers to determine how I could align my instruction with the standards as a part of my FEAPs 1A goal. We determined that I should ask my students questions relating to the story and the author as well as having the students turn and talk (which is called “sticky hi-five a friend” in my classroom). I took the book home with me so I could practice reading it and prepare for the next day. I wrote out sticky notes with the questions that I was going to ask and placed them in the book to remind me of how and when to ask the questions. I wrote out examples of answers on the sticky notes as well so I could remind myself of what I was looking for and help guide the students to the answers. These questions connected with my FEAPs 1A goal because I aligned my instruction with the standard LACC.K.SL.1.2 “Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.”
The picture above shows the questions that I wanted to ask before I began reading the book. The first question was to ask the students if they knew any other works by the author and answers could include The Mitten, Gingerbread Baby, Gingerbread Friends, The Hat or Three Snow Bears. This question allows the students to connect to their prior knowledge of books that we have already read in the classroom. My students had no problems with answering this question, although they did repeat the gingerbread stories a few times.
After I asked this question, I asked the students what is special about the illustrations in the book. This connects with my FEAPs 1A goal of aligning my instruction with the standard “LACC.K.RL.3.7: With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).” One student responded that the illustrations on the side show what happened before and after.
I read the book to the students by sitting in the front of the room and holding the book up as I read. I did this because I wanted the students to see the illustrations but I knew the text was above their ability level so I did not want students to focus on the text since it contained some complex words and concepts. This was the first time that I did a read aloud on the carpet and read to students in the front of the classroom. It was a great experience and I did not allow myself to be nervous. I tried to read the book with expression and I did not stop to ask questions. I simply read the book.
After the read aloud, I had two more questions to ask the students.
I asked the students why the armadillo thought the red boots were an armadillo. One student was close to the answer but needed a bit of guidance so I went back into the text and re-read the part of the story with the answer to help the student find her words. This question allowed me aligned my instruction with the standard LACC.K.RL.1.1 “With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text,” which allowed me to meet my FEAPs 1A goal.
For my second question, I asked the students what happened in the story. I had the students turn and talk to each other to answer this question. While the students were talking to one another, I joined one group and listened to their answers. Then I called the group back and we discussed their answers. These instructional strategies allowed me to meet my FEAPs 1A goal by meeting a variety of standards. We worked on LACC.K.RL.1.1 “With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text” as well as LACC.K.RL.1.1 “With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.” By having the students work together, I included the standard LACC.K.SL.1.1 “Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.”
I had a great time performing my read aloud. I did my best to focus on the story. I was a bit nervous when the students were answering my questions and I have to say, I was surprised at how they were able to answer them really well. There was a bit of confusion with my final question about what happened in the story. The students were able to answer my question but their answers were not structured because they did not retell the events in order. If I were to go back and redo that question, I think I would have provided more prompting by asking students to consider the beginning, middle and ending of the story.
The other time that I led a literacy lesson was in writing. My collaborating teachers each pulled a small group of students to work with during writing so I was able to work with the rest of the class on writing. The students were given time to write about any topic of their choosing and I walked around the room to provide support. I was nervous because I did not expect to lead the writing time but I did my best to stay calm. The students were talkative and I am not sure if it was more so than usual but since I was nervous at first, I redirected the students as a whole twice to their assignment.
As I walked around the room, I stopped to work with individual students. I prompted the students by asking them what they were writing about. I asked the students if they could connect their topic to “sparkle words,” which is what we call adjectives in my classroom. I guided the students to use their senses to describe their topics. I did not discuss this beforehand with my collaborating teachers; however, recent lessons in my classroom in writing related to using sparkle words and describing things using the five senses so I thought that it would be logical for me to use this topic to prompt students.
I am excited to lead a lesson in social studies next week. I have never really done a social studies lesson before so this will be new and exciting. I am creating this lesson based off of suggestions from my collaborating teacher. I will write up the lesson by myself and then I will discuss it with my collaborating teachers on Monday during our PLC meeting. After we discuss the lesson and see if any changes need to be made, I will go home and adjust it and then do the lesson on Wednesday with a small group of students.