Tag Archives: FEAP 3C

Week 13 – Mathematics – Finishing 2D Shapes

The end of the year is fast approaching and I am just so thankful for all of the opportunities that I have had in the Residency (UTRPP) Program. I am so glad that my collaborating teacher has provided me with the opportunity to continue to take the lead on teaching and planning in all subject areas so I can continue to gain more experience in front of the classroom.

I have many chances to experience guiding students through multiple units and on Monday we finished our 2D Shapes unit. The students took the assessment and based on what I observed, many of the students understood the content. There are still many students (about 6) who were unable to take the test because they were absent but I am eager to see their scores because I think they will show a good understanding of the content. One of the great things about teaching and planning math for the entire unit was that I am able to see the growth of my students and help address misconceptions and alter lesson plans to meet their needs.

For example, when teaching about equal parts, my students were confusing about whether or not certain squares were split into fourths. The students were able to recognize that four small squares or four rectangles that all looked the same are fourths but they were unable to make the connection when looking at a square split in half where the two halves are split in different ways.

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In the top squares, each piece is the same size. (I apologize that the rectangular pieces are not perfect on the second square but I wanted to show a pictorial representation of a misconception that my students had.) The third square, however, looks as if the four parts are no equal. But each side of the square (shown below using colors) is half of the square. Since these two pieces are cut in half each of the four parts are equal.

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This was a difficult concept for my students to grasp so I used actual paper that I cut up in front of the students along with drawings on the white board to help them understand. By providing this realia, I was able to bridge the gap in my students’ knowledge and allow many of them to grasp the idea. I felt like this was an important part to teach to help build their conceptual knowledge of splitting shapes into equal and unequal parts because my students made the assumption (which is a misconception) that when a 2D shape is split into parts of different shapes, that the parts are unequal.

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For example the fourth shape is split into rectangles and squares as taken from the other shapes on top. The parts are all equal even though they are different shapes because they are all half of half of the original shape. Although this terminology seems confusing, this conceptual knowledge can be helpful in the future, especially when students have to discuss fractions using ½ and ¼ and multiplying fractions to find half of a half or ½ x ½ = ¼.

I am approaching the final days of my internship, which is exciting because of the new opportunities that await me in the future but also a bit sad because I will really miss my classroom and my students. I have made so much growth and progress over the course of this year and I just cannot believe everything that has happened to me throughout my experience in the Residency Program. I can definitely say I would not trade this for anything.

Reading Content Coaching – Second Observation Reflection

It has been a few weeks since I have posted. The week of March 2nd through the 6th was the USF Spring Break; however, I still came to internship on Monday and I was a substitute on Thursday and Friday, all of which were great experiences. The following week was the Hillsborough County Spring Break, and the past week I had my second and final reading content coaching observation.

I was really excited going into my shared reading lesson because I wanted to focus on what I discussed in the previous post-conference, which was making sure to use intonation and emphasis by reading the story with emotion. I had my observation on Tuesday, March 17th. We read the story “Little Rabbit’s Tale” from the Journeys text, which has the same storyline as Chicken Little. The rabbit is outside and when the wind blows, an apple hits his head and he thinks the sky is falling so he warns all of his friends and they tell his mother but she shows him the truth and he apologizes for making his friends miss out on different activities. The focus of my lesson was to analyze the author’s purpose for writing the story to determine what lesson thee author wanted to teach us.

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One thing that I used to struggle with is my presence in front of any group of people. I remember shaking when I gave a book report in the 6th grade even though I had a poster board and was reading off of an index card because I just got so nervous speaking in front of people. Throughout the years, I have taken many steps to remedy this by making myself raise my hand and share my thoughts and present in front of others. I even went so far as to take a Public Speaking course at USF to give myself more practice. During my internship experience, I have had few problems, if any, speaking to students because I am truly passionate about helping them be successful so I focus on them instead of my own worries.

Part of this former fear; however, still lingered when I read texts because I did not read with enough emotion, so this time I made sure that really got into the text. I simply took everything out of my mind except for teaching and giving my students the best experience possible with the book.

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For example, when the apple hits Little Rabbit, the text reads “Thump!” in large, red letters so each time I read that word, I leaned in next to a student and shouted while hitting the desk. The reaction from my students was immediately obvious—they laughed and became instantly engaged, which was great because I drew their attention in on the very first page. I kept reading the story like this, acting it out as well by skipping through the room like the characters as they “dashed” in the story. I also cheered “Hooray!” and jumped up like the characters.

I discussed this experience with both my collaborating teacher and the reading content coach. I was, and of course still am, very excited and I thought that I did a good job and I was pleased to discover that both my CT and the reading coach felt the same way. The reading content coach praised me for working on the skill that we had discussed and making such immediate and apparent improvement with the skill.

This current week is testing for students so I will be unable to teach reading since the testing takes up the entire morning; however, my goal is to take the lead on teaching and planning reading. For the entire last week, I took the lead on teaching the literacy block based on lesson plans that my collaborating teacher and I made together. During this week, I took the lead on planning all of the literacy block (phonics, shared reading, and writing) and I will be taking the lead on teaching it as well. My collaborating teacher will still provide support when necessary but we both agree that by taking the lead, I am gaining valuable experiences that will help me so much in the future when I am a teacher.

During this past week I also took the lead on teaching mathematics and science. The science unit that we have been learning is about living and nonliving things and we will be transitioning into plants and animals next week. In mathematics, my students learned how to tell time on both digital and analog clocks to the hour and half-hour. Although I did not plan these lesson, I taught all of the lessons on time and then gave the assessment on Friday. I am very proud to announce that out of 17 students (1 student was absent) all of my students passed with a 71% or higher on the exam. I then recorded all of this data on an excel spreadsheet that organizes it to show the scores of the students, what percentage of students got the question correct, and how many students missed each question, which allowed me to meet FEAP 4F: “Applies technology to organize and integrate assessment information.” Looking at the results, I noticed that some students still have misconceptions that I will be addressing with them during this week in the time after testing but I am so proud of my students and I am really happy to see the clear results of my teaching.

I will be taking the lead on planning mathematics for the upcoming week and I will be taking the lead on teaching it as well. I will have my mathematics content coaching observation on Wednesday. According to the district calendar, the next unit is 3D shapes but during a Professional Learning Communities (PLC) meeting with all of the first grade teachers at my school, we decided it would be more developmentally appropriate to do 2D shapes next and then 3D shapes.

I was so excited to finally have an opportunity to take the lead on teaching all subject areas. For the remainder of my internship, I hope to take the lead on both planning and teaching all subject areas (with some assistance from my collaborating teacher) to help me improve my teaching skills. I am so thankful for the support from my collaborating teacher, my instructors, and the content coaches for helping me achieve this.

Reading Content Coaching – Week 1

Reading content coaching began this week and I was introduced to the expectations for this content coaching cycle. The coach would like to meet with all of us multiple times and focus on the observation and post-conference for each observation. This seems like a good model because it opens up more time for all of the residents all my school to meet with and be observed by the content coach. I will also continue to pursue my goal from the science content coaching, but the wording will be shifted slightly. I really want to focus on eliciting student understanding through higher-order thinking questions. I hope to continue to meet this goal throughout the year. I have set up an observation date for February 24. [The ELA block for the following week will consist of a Close Read for the Shared reading portion of ELA so I will not be observed during this time.] I hope to learn a lot from my content coach and continue to improve my instruction.

In order to meet the planning portion of content coaching, I took the lead a bit on co-planning reading for this past week. I have not fully taken the reins yet but my collaborating teacher has granted me the opportunity to move at my own pace with planning. We co-planned this past week and next week together, as we always do, making sure to incorporate read alouds, shared reading, phonics, high-frequency words, and a writing block during the entire week. We have also begun to practice test-taking strategies for the upcoming assessment in March, so we practice reading passages and answering questions for morning work and we will slowly incorporate this into our reading block as we get closer to the assessment.

I recently took over another guided reading group; I am currently working with the advanced group and now will be providing extra support to the struggling learners. I am excited for this opportunity because I have some experience (from my internship in Kindergarten last year) of working with struggling readers on letter names and sounds as well as sight words, but I have not had a chance to work with a group on these skills yet. I will be meeting with this group every day during the week and I will meet with my advanced group two or three times a week. My advanced group will begin reading a chapter book in the near future, which both myself and my students are excited for.

Last week, for Science, my class and the neighboring class took a trip to MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry to visit their Disasterville exhibit. This connects to a variety of areas in our science curriculum. For example, our current Long Term Investigation is observing the temperature and weather at our school for a month long period. The current standards of our unit are “SC.1.E.6.1: Recognize that water, rocks, soil, and living organisms are found on Earth’s surface,” “SC.1.E.6.2: “Describe the need for water and how to be safe around water,” and “SC.1.E.6.3: “Recognize that some things in the world around us happen fast and some happen slowly.” I met FEAP 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor” because the standard that our MOSI trip most aligned with is SC.1.E.6.3; we observed various fast and slow land changes such as flooding, volcano eruptions, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. I think this was a fantastic way to engage and interest the students about the content before we learn about it from the Nat Geo text because it helps them gain necessary background knowledge of the content and get them exciting about what might otherwise be considered boring topics. [FEAP 3A: “Delivers engaging and challenging lessons,” FEAP 1B: “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge,” and FEAP 3E: “Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences.”] This trip allowed students to gain a better understanding and almost experience these fast and slow events. For example, there are three rooms that allow the viewer to get a glimpse of what it is like to experience a tornado, hurricane, and a wild fire. These are experiences that my students will hopefully never have, but by watching the videos and hearing the sound effects, they gained some insight into what these events are like. This MOSI trip allowed me to meet a variety of FEAPs including: FEAP 2G: “integrates current information and communication technologies,” FEAP 3C: “Identify gaps in students’ subject matter knowledge,” and FEAP 3E: “Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences.”

Another exciting part of last week occurred when my collaborating teacher and I checked our school mailbox. We received an award from the District STEM Fair that I mentioned in a previous blog post where I volunteered as a judge. My class won the “Outstanding Primary Award” for our project “Ants and Sugar.” I am so proud of my students because they really put a lot of hard work and effort into this project. They were very excited and eager to see the results after performing the different trials. [Please note that I removed my collaborating teacher’s name in order to protect her rights and privacy.]

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I cannot wait for everything that is to come in the following weeks! I will be continuing to take the lead as much as possible in order to gain experience to improve my teaching. I will have another conference with my collaborating teacher and PRT in order to look at my growth and see if there are any areas that I need to improve.

Reading Lesson Plan – Shared Reading – Visualization and Inferences

Reading Content Coaching – Week 3 – Shared Reading – Visualization and Inferences

 

The past week was the final week of English Language Arts (ELA) content coaching. I am glad for the experience with performing shared reading because I have never attempted to teach this type of lesson by myself before. I hope to continue working with my collaborating teacher in ELA. Next week, I will begin the mathematics content coaching cycle. My first lesson will be about fluently adding numbers within 20. I cannot believe how quickly this semester has gone by! The following week, November 24-28th, is Thanksgiving Break and I will not be working in my internship at all due to the holiday and closing of schools.

 

For the shared reading lesson, I met the standard LAFS.1.FI.3.7: Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas, which allowed me to meet FEAP 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.” This lesson connected to my previous shared reading lesson in which the students used their senses to help them visualize the content of poems. I sequenced my lessons in this way in order to have my students continue to build upon the skill of visualization as well as fostering comprehension. This allowed me to meet FEAP 1B: “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge.” For this lesson, I used The Primary Comprehension Toolkit Book 4 – Infer and Visualize to help me design and plan my lesson. I really appreciated having this reference material, which was provided by Hillsborough county as part of the Journeys curriculum. The book that I used during this lesson was Antarctica by Helen Cowcher.

In the beginning of the lesson, I engaged the students by having them visualize being in Antarctica through a verbal description of the location: ““We’re going to take a long trip today! Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a very, very cold place. The wind is whistling and almost knocking you over. The snow is swirling around you, hitting your face, stinging it, and it’s difficult to see. You are standing on crunchy sow, and in the distance you can see giant icebergs floating in the ocean. Think about what it would be like to live in such a place!” Then I asked the students to describe what they visualized, and felt when they thought about standing on the ice and snow. I made sure to make explicit connections between the cold weather and the cold that they visualized in the story. I was surprised that some students immediately made a connection to Antarctica. I showed the students Antarctica on the globe to give them some perspective and help them understand a little bit about the continent. This engage activity allowed me to meet FEAP 3E “Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences.”

Before I read the book, I introduced making inferences to the students. My students have already learning about making inferences in science so I simply had to re-familiarize them with the concept. I used an “equation” to help them remember how to make an inference and I referred back to it throughout the lesson. This inference equation is based on one found in The Primary Comprehension Toolkit Book 4 – Infer and Visualize.

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As I read the book, the students and I made inferences on just about each page of the book. I wrote these inferences on an anchor chart that I made. This chart had two columns: “I Learned …” and “I Inferred.” I used this t-chart because I was able to explicitly show the students the text clues that I used to help me make an inference. I was very surprised during my lesson that the students were able to come up with many inferences, including when they worked independently. One weakness; however, that I noted was that many students did not refer back to the text to talk about what they learned. This was; however, the first day of the lesson so it is understandable that the students need more help. My formative assessment of having students write inferences about one page describing what they learned and inferred informed me that I needed to reteach picking out what I learned from the text that helped me make an inference. I believe that this formative assessment allowed me to meet FEAP 1D: “Selects appropriate formative assessments to monitor learning” as well as FEAP 3C: “Identify gaps in students’ subject matter knowledge” and FEAP 4B: “Designs and aligns formative and summative assessments that match learning objectives and lead to mastery.” I was unable to teach the second day because I was in my college courses but I would have focused on this skill if I had the opportunity to do so. By reflecting on the lesson, I meet FEAP 3D and FEAP 3J by understanding how I would “modify instruction to respond to misconceptions” by “utilizing student feedback to monitor instructional needs and to adjust instruction.”

All in all, I am very grateful for the opportunity to teach multiple shared reading lessons. I hope to continue taking the lead in ELA so I can learn and grow as a future educator. Next week will begin the next three week content coaching cycle, which is for mathematics.

Science Lesson Plan – STEM Lesson – Sheep in a Jeep – Reflection

Science – Week 3 – Lesson Plan – Sheep in a Jeep

This past week was the third and final week of the science content coaching cycles in which I wrote and designed a science lesson plan that I taught to my students. For this past week, I taught a STEM lesson that I designed based on “Sheep in a Jeep.”  I modified the lesson heavily to meet the needs of my students and to make the lesson fit the STEM requirements for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. When I modified the lesson, I designed it to meet the following standards.

  • MAFS.1.MD.3.4 – Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories, ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more of less are in one category than in another.
  • SC.1.P.13.1 – Demonstrate that the way to change the motion of an object is by applying a push or a pull.
  • SC.1.E.5.2 – Explore the Law of Gravity by demonstrating that Earth’s gravity pulls any object on or near Earth even though nothing is touching the object.
  • SC.1.P.12.1 – Demonstrate and describe the various ways that objects can move, such as in a straight line, zigzag, back and forth, round and round, fast, and slow.
  • SC.1.N.1.2 – Using the five senses as tools, make careful observations, describe objects in terms of number, shape, texture, size, weight, color, and motion, and compare their observations with others.
  • SC.1.N.1.3 – Keep records as appropriate – such as pictorial and written records – of investigations.

 

This allowed me to meet the Florida Educator Accomplished Practice (FEAP) 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.” I designed this lesson by myself and implemented it by myself in the classroom. (I was unable to; however, implement the lesson one day of the week because I was not in the classroom since I was taking my college courses so my collaborating teacher took my place for me).

By designing the lesson myself, I was able to structure the days in order to make sure that the students received the content knowledge necessary to understand the lesson. This allowed me to meet FEAPs 1B: “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge.” I sequenced the lessons based on the following schedule, which can be studied in depth in the lesson plan link in the beginning of this blog post:

  • Day 1 – Introduce the Sheep in a Jeep challenge through a read-aloud and engaging videos
  • Day 2 – Students design, build, and test ramps in groups
  • Day 3 – Students learn about gravity
  • Day 4 – Students redesign, build, and test their ramps in groups. Students determine if the changes helped and why the jeep moved the way it did.

By doing this, I was able to meet FEAPs 2A: “Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention.” For further details of my step-by-step plan, please see the lesson plan at the beginning of the page.

On the first day, I had the students listen to a read-aloud of the book “Sheep in a Jeep” by Nancy Shaw.  Since I did not have access to the physical copy of the book, I found a read aloud online and played it for my students. I had the students hold a thumbs-up if they saw or heard a force or a motion. It was at this time that I noticed a misconception that my students had. My students believed that unless they heard the words “push,” “pull,” or “forces” that none of these actions could occur even if the picture clearly showed the characters pushing or pulling the jeep. When I noticed this, I would stop on each page and asked the students what they saw and read. By taking the book page by page, my students were able to better understand and notice the motion and forces in the book.

After this I introduced the contest for designing ramps. Based on my experiences with the students, I have noticed that they really enjoy challenges and contests because they feel special when they can accomplish them so I decided to make the Sheep in a Jeep lesson a challenge for the students: “The sheep broke their jeep because they accidentally crashed into a tree. Now it’s time for us to try moving a jeep down a ramp. This week, we will participate in a special challenge. We have been learning about forces for a long time and I want you to show what you know about forces and motion. You will work in groups to design a ramp so a jeep can travel as far as possible.” By doing this, I made the students feel engaged and excited about the lesson to come.

I also inspired the students by showing them videos of water slides. I was going to show the students videos of ramps; however, man ramps do not simply go down but have an upward curve at the end.

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When researching videos of ramps I realized that I had a misconception about actual ramps. I did not realize that the small ramp at the end would be used in so many real life ramps. I decided not to use those videos because they would create misconceptions in the eyes of my students because the toy jeep would be unable to climb the ramp at the end. So instead, I decided to inspire students with videos of waterslides. I used these videos because they had the downward ramp that I wanted my students to mimic in their designs.

One of the videos that I had the students watch was about the tallest water slide.These videos allowed me to make connections between the experiences and interests of my students and the content of the lesson. This allowed me to meet FEAPs 3E: “Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines.” But instead of having students simply watch the videos, I had them take quick notes to use for another activity. By doing this, I believe I was able to keep my students focused and engaged. The students were to write about what forces and motion they saw in the videos, which connects back to the first activity. I chose this formative assessment because it would allow me to quickly see how many students were able to see forces that were not explicitly stated in the videos.

After the students took their notes, we performed an activity called “Commit and Toss.” The students balled up their papers and threw them into the middle of our circle and then each student grabbed a different sheet of paper. I was pleasantly surprised at how calm my students remained during the activity but the excitement was definitely palpable. This helped me to meet FEAPs 3A: “Deliver engaging and challenging lessons.” The only issue that we ran into; however, was that when it came time for the students to share out their peer’s responses, many students could not read the papers so I had to walk around the room and decipher the writing for them. I really enjoyed this activity and would love to use it in the future but I think I will reserve it for mathematics lessons.

Another pleasant surprise with this activity was that every single student was able to name a force and/or a motion that they saw in the video. One detraction from the lesson; however, was that I was unable to see if the students truly understood the forces/motion that they saw or if they just wrote down an answer. This formative assessment; however, was simply used to monitor their learning and inform me if there were any misconceptions that I needed to address. By doing this activity, I was able to meet FEAPs 1D: “Selects appropriate formative assessments to monitor learning.”

After this activity, the students glued charts into their notebooks to record the data that they would collect later on in the week. I handed out this chart and explicitly explained how to fill it out. On the chart, I put purple boxes around the “observed” columns so the students would understand where to record their data. I did this because in previous lessons, my students had some difficulty filling out the information in the charts that I gave them.

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I also designed a class chart on chart paper that matched the charts that I gave to the students. The chart looked similar to this design:

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I made the same purple boxes around the “Observed” columns and I put blue boxes around the “prediction” columns so students could see the difference between the two. I also changed the color marker that I used to fill out each column so the students could definitely tell the difference between what they predicted and what they actually observed. Below is a picture of the actual class chart that I used.

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After I handed out the individual charts; however, I realized that they were incorrect. I put three trials on the chart but since last week was a shortened week, there was no time for the students to complete a third trial. I avoided this mistake on the actual class chart though. I was surprised that none of my students asked my about the third trial but this mistake reminds me that I need to always double check my copies and paperwork before every lesson to make sure they are correct.

The last part of the lesson was to explicitly model how to move the jeep and what data we would collect. I decided to use a nonstandard unit: the tiles on the floor of the classroom. I had learned in my mathematics class that when students measure, it is important that they understand the concept through non-standard units before using standard units to make sure they understand how to measure and what measuring means. If a student tries to measure with standard units first, he or she may make a mistake and it will be unclear if the mistake came from incorrectly using the standard unit (for example, not starting at the zero on the ruler) or not understanding the concept of measuring.

I made sure to demonstrate how to count the tiles many times for the students. It was very interesting for me to see just how explicitly they followed my model during the rest of the lesson. I used my foot to count out the tiles instead of bending down and every single group used their feet to count out the tiles by taping their foot on each tile as they counted. It amazed me just how much the students paid attention to my model, which reminds me to always explicitly explain what I want the students to do and to make sure to avoid creating misconceptions in my students by doing something incorrectly.

At the end of the first day, I had the students decide whether they wanted to write about what they had learned today or make a drawing of their idea for a ramp design. The majority of the students drew a ramp design but I gave them this option so they could get their ideas onto paper to remember for tomorrow.

 

For day 2, the students worked in groups to design the ramp. I made sure to explicitly tell the students that each group could only have one design. After the students created their designs, each group predicted how many tiles they believed the jeep would travel. I could immediately tell that the students were greatly overestimating how many tiles they thought the jeep would move because two groups predicted 20 tiles and the remaining groups predicted 10 tiles.

Each group then built their ramp. I gave the students approximately two minutes to build their ramps. I told the students about this time limit but did not hold them to it because I wanted to give them the opportunity to explore. The students were able to use five textbooks and one clipboard in order to create their ramp. Every single group created their ramp in the same way—they all stacked the books flat on top of one another and laid the clipboard down at the end.

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The students really loved performing this part of the investigation. I was a bit nervous that the other students would be bored but they were just the opposite—the students who were watching were so eager to see what was happening that they kept moving and trying to get a better view! I had originally planned to do the lesson in the hallway outside of the classroom but my collaborating teacher and I did not want to disturb the other classes. If I were to re-teach this lesson, I would make that change because it would allow the students to have a better viewpoint because there would be more space.

After everyone recorded their data, we analyzed the chart by looking at which group had the jeep travel the most. As you can see below, group 4’s jeep traveled the farthest. After the investigation, I wondered if I had chosen the correct tool. It seemed that the jeep would only travel about 6 tiles so I think if I were to do this lesson over again, I would choose a different car to get more varied data. But since the students had almost the exact same design, that may have influenced why the jeep traveled an average of 6 tiles.

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Since I was unable to teach on day 3, I will simply skip ahead to day 4. On day 4 I was formally observed by the science content coach and my PRT. On this day, the students redesigned their ramps and make new predictions. Most of the groups made more realistic predictions this time but one group had difficulty agreeing with each other and made a very large prediction (23 tiles).

The students redesigned their ramps and each ramp had a steeper incline than last time. One group designed their ramp and realized as they were building it that they could not do what they had planned. The students wanted to stack the books against each other to make triangles and have the jeep travel up and down each book. I realized that this was the exact misconception that I wanted to avoid in the beginning but I wanted to let them try it out anyways. The students; however, realized that they could not actually make their design when they have difficulty holding up the books (I informed the students that they could hold up the books/clipboard to give them more options for their new design).

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I allowed this group to change their design because they immediately recognized that it would not work and instead of arguing worked to make changes. I explicitly pointed this out to the entire group and then allowed the students to continue working. I was amazed at the end of the second round of testing because I realized that my students and I shared a misconception which was that the higher the incline, the farther the jeep will travel. In the end, the jeeps traveled less distance on the second day than the first.

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I really appreciated these results; however, because my students were able to clearly describe that their changes did not work.

After this discussion, I had my students describe what forces, motion, direction, and gravity they saw during the lesson. I noticed immediately that almost all of my students had misconceptions about gravity. They believed that gravity was a push not a pull. I realized that this occurred because the students saw the jeep move away from them (which is how we defined a push from the Nat Geo science text) so they assumed the gravity acted as a push as well. By noticing this misconception, I met FEAPs 3C: “Identify gaps in students’ subject matter knowledge.” I immediately addressed this misconception by returning to the text and having the students listen as I read it over multiple times. I also used many demonstrations and examples to help the students understand. By taking the time to discuss gravity in this way, I was able to help some students understand the concept better, which allowed me to meet FEAPs 3D: “Modify instruction to respond to preconceptions or misconceptions.” I think some students were able to address their own misconceptions but many did not understand that gravity was a pull so I will have to address this sometime later on.

At the end of my lesson, I had the students write briefly about what they had learned. I was very surprised to see that many students took the gravity content and integrated it into their answers. Some students also discussed how they used a force (a push) to move the jeep because it moved away from them. Other students described the motion/direction of the jeep (forward, away from me, down, etc.). I also had the students self-assess their knowledge of the lesson using the smiley face system. I made sure to explicitly explain to my students to be honest and fair—I told them not to say that they knew everything when they did not but also not to say they knew nothing when they really understood the lesson. I think the students are still a bit intimidated by this system but they may also be unsure of how to self-assess so I think more practice with this system will be beneficial for the students.

 

I am really happy that my final lesson for this first content cycle was a lesson that I planned all by myself. I took some inspiration from the Sheep in a Jeep lesson plan but I made many modifications to meet the needs of my students. Next week, I will begin the literacy content coaching cycle with a new content coach.

Weekly Reflection – 9/8/14 – 9/12/14

This week I taught a few lessons about writing to my students. I have been observing the students and taking anecdotal notes on their writing and I noticed that when we write about reading, some studies tend to copy word for word from the text. I believe that the students copied from the text because they feared being “wrong” if they wrote their own words. So this week, my collaborating teacher and I focused on modeling good writing to the students and explicitly showing and telling them to write their own words and not copy from the text.

I led two lessons about writing: one in which the students helped me find the main idea of two texts and then we wrote sentences about the text and another in which we discussed the concept for “free writing” and how that should look. I believe that these lessons are important to teach because the students need to be able to put their thoughts onto paper without copying from the text. By writing their own words on the paper, I can see if the students truly understand a concept based on how they answered a question or wrote about what they read. This lesson is also important because first and second grade has a big focus on writing as the students learn to read at higher DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) and Lexile levels.

 

For my first lesson, I performed a read aloud of an article that we have been focusing on from the Journey’s text. This article is called What is a Pal,? which is written and photographed by Nina Crews. (This article can be found on page 15 in the link above and continues on until page 24). I read the story out loud as the students followed along while reading silently in their heads. When I finished the read aloud, I modeled how I would write about the text.


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These are pages 18 and 19 from the article What is a Pal?.

 

I made a drawing of the page and wrote two sentences about the pages. One sentence was word for word from the text and the other was my own summary about the content in the pages. I had the students decide which sentence was a better version of writing about reading. I made sure to emphasize that when we write about what we have read that we need to use the words we came up with inside our brains, not the words already on the page.

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            I also modeled labeling my pictures for the students. I emphasized labeling pictures because they add details that help the reader understand what is going on in the picture. By adding the names, the reader can see who each person is because otherwise the reader would have no idea what the picture is about or if it related to the sentence below.

Then I had the students help me label a drawing to show the importance of adding details to your writing and picture.

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            When I first started, the picture was just of two figures who had a jump rope and basketball. I asked the student who the one figure was and they could not tell me. Then I wrote in that she was a girl and I asked them what her name was and they still could not answer. I told them that without the labels/details, a reader does not understand what you have shown him or her. So I continued to add details to the picture to help the students understand what was going on. I added a picture of a bicycle and then asked the students where I should put the label. At first I wrote it in the bottom left corner and asked them if this was correct. I emphasized that labels must be written right next to a picture and that drawing an arrow or making a connecting line from the label to the picture helps the reader understand what the drawing represents.

After I finished my drawing, I wrote a sentence about the picture and showed the students how my labels helped me write the sentence. I wrote “Pat and Ron are pals that are playing basketball, jump rope and riding a bike.” I circled all of the labels from my picture and showed them that 7 of my words came from the picture. By making this connection between the picture, labels, and sentences, I showed my students how they should structure their writing.

After I did this activity, I read Chuck’s Truck by Peggy Perry Anderson. During this read aloud, I stopped and performed a few think alouds to show the students how to make connections and think about what they have read. When I finished, I modeled writing about the reading and had the students help me label the picture.

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I drew the picture quickly to model that the students should make a “quick pic(ture)” to match their writing so they do not waste time. Then I had the students help me label the picture. I tried to draw the chicken and duck to look very similar to each other because I wanted the students to have to guess which was which. The students disagreed about which was which; one told me that based on the way I drew the feet that the duck was on the right and chicken was on the left. I did this because I wanted to have my students experience the confusion of looking at an unlabeled picture so they can understand the importance of labeling their pictures. I think that this really helped the students see that the drawings were so similar that it was very hard to see the differences and tell what they were. Although it might not seem to matter in my picture, it can be difficult to sometimes read what a student has written or drawn so the labels really help the teacher/reader understand. Labeling also helps students practice their writing as well as indirectly teach them about making a diagram, which they will see when they study informational texts.

I wrote a sentence to match my drawing to yet again model how to write about reading to the students. I circled the labels that were in my sentence again to further emphasize how a picture not only helps the reader understand, but helps the writer figure out his or her thoughts. I had the students help me write the sentence based on the main idea of the story so we could work on that skill as well.

 

This lesson plan helped me connect to the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs) through FEAP 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.” The standards that match this lesson are:

  • 1.RI.1.2 “Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.” LAFS.1.RL.1.2 “Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.”
  • 1.RL.1.3 “Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.”
  • 1.SL.2.5 “Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.”

I accomplished these standards by modeling writing about the main idea of the story Chuck’s Truck by writing the main idea and events of the story and drawing a picture with the main characters that was properly labeled to foster understanding. I was able to accomplish FEAP 2E: “Models clear, acceptable oral and written communication skills” by modeling the writing for my students. By modeling of writing about reading using two texts—one informational article and one story—I was able to accomplish FEAP 3B: “Deepen and enrich students’ understanding through content area literacy strategies, verbalization of thought, and application of the subject matter.” In order to know that this lesson was necessary to teach the students, I had to perform FEAP 3C “Identify gaps in students’ subject matter knowledge” because I determined that the students needed help when writing about reading, which I was able to provide through my modeling.

 

A few days later, I taught another lesson in which I modeled writing to the students. I taught the students about “free writing.” “Free writing” is a student friendly term for writing a small paragraph/story any idea of concept that he or she desires. I showed the students that they can free write about any concept and then I modeled free writing for them so they would understand how to do so in the future. I did this after the lesson mentioned about because I wanted the students to learn how to write using their own words first so this concept would be easier for them to do. By doing this, I was able to accomplish FEAP 1B: “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge.”

When I introduced the idea of free writing to the students, we worked together to create and anchor chart of ideas that they can write about. I wanted my students to learn that they can write about anything because I want my students to be interested in and passionate about writing because I know that when a student is interested, he or she is more likely to be engaged and produce better quality work.

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            I had the students generate ideas and they I did my best to group ideas based on common themes. For example, the students mentioned movies like “The Lego Movie” and “Frozen” so instead of writing all of the movies down, I simply wrote “movies.” I tried to make sure that all of the ideas were relevant to the students so I had them come up with as many ideas as possible and I only included a few of my own ideas. I also wanted to make sure that the ideas that I wrote down were things that they either have done or could have done easily. For example, one student mentioned going to Disney World. I know that this is a fun place and that young children love that theme park but since some of my students may not have experienced this, I decided to write down the broad term “Disney” which can include television shows, movies, toys, etc. that would be more relevant to the students. By creating this anchor chart, I met FEAP 3E: “Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences.”

After we made that anchor chart, I modeled how I would free write to the students. I decided to use the idea of going to the “pool” and “swimming.” (Please note that the names used in the pictures are not the names of any students in my classroom, they are names of people that I know in my personal life. By not including any other information about them, I am still protecting their privacy and rights.)

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I showed the students how my writing constantly matched my drawing and that all of my sentences made sense in that order. I again showed them that labeling the people in the picture was important because although they were correct that the girl in the middle is me, without a label, they could not be sure. I also added in the “pool noodle” to my drawing to show students that you can go back and add more detail to your drawing and story.

This lesson allowed me to meet FEAP 1A: “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.” The standard that matched this lesson is LAFS.1.SL.2.5 “Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.”

 

It is important that students understand how to put their own words down onto paper. I modeled two different writing activities—writing about reading and free writing—to show students how they can put their own words onto paper. I taught these lessons because I noticed that some students copied from the text instead of writing with their own words. I will assess this lesson with my collaborating teacher as we read their future writings and take anecdotal notes about what we observe during writing.

 

Acknowledgements