Phase One Table of Contents 2 Common Core State Standards 3 Teacher Content Knowledge 4-8 Phase Two



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Top Tips for Teaching Reading Comprehension. (2014). Weekly Reader. Retrieved from

http://www.weeklyreader.com/article/top-tips-teaching-reading-comprehension/


Trading Card Creator. (2012). ReadWriteThink. Retrieved from http://www.readwritethink.org

/files/resources/interactives/trading_cards_2/



Watson, R. (2012). Harlem's little blackbird. New York, NY: Random House.

Weatherford, C. B. (2008). Before John was a jazz giant. New York, NY: Henry Holt and

Company.

What is a Biography. (2009). BiographyBiography.com. Retrieved from http://www.biography

biography.com/whatisabiography.html

Winter, J. (2013). You never heard of Willie Mays?!. New York, NY: Schwartz and

Wade Books.

Woods, D. (2014). How to Teach Children Verbs & Adjectives. Retrieved from

http://www.ehow.com/how_7795329_teach-children-verbs-adjectives.html

Reading Unit – Day One Lesson Reflection

On Monday, February 10, 2014, I taught a whole group reading lesson to Mrs. Liddle’s third grade class at Mountain Brook Elementary School. The objective of the lesson was for the students to distinguish biographies from expository non-fiction text by realizing that a biography is a true story about a real person’s life. The students had been studying expository non-fiction texts, so we began the lesson by reviewing the characteristics of that genre. Next, I read a biography, The Story of Ruby Bridges, and the class and I discussed the differences between it and the non-fiction books they had been reading. Lastly, the students worked in groups to categorize baskets of books into biographies and expository non-fiction books. The students sorted the books and then recorded their findings on a graphic organizer.

During this lesson, I was very pleased with the performance of all of the students. All of the students enjoyed the story that was read aloud, and afterwards they were able to recall many of its key details. The advanced students recalled many of the characteristics of expository non-fiction texts, which helped move the discussion at the beginning of the lesson along, and provided a review for the less advanced students. The advanced students also excelled in the group work. The proficient students did an excellent job understanding the lesson and answering the questions that were asked to the class. They completed the activities in a timely manner and were active participants in the small group collaborations. The proficient students also asked insightful questions during the story about the time period the story took place, which is an important aspect of a future lesson. I found it difficult to engage the remedial students during parts of this lesson. They did not answer or ask many questions during the beginning portion of the lesson, and although they completed their graphic organizers, they had trouble getting involved during the small group activity. This lesson was slightly repetitive in order to help ensure that all of the students gained a solid understanding of what a biography is, since we will be studying them in both reading and writing for the next few weeks.

After evaluating the procedures of the lesson, there are a few changes that I would make in order to improve it. The first modification I would make is to create a chart to compare and contrast biographies with expository non-fiction texts at the beginning of the lesson. I think that doing this would have been helpful for the visual learners, it might have interested the students who were struggling with paying attention, and it could have been a helpful guide for the students who were absent during the class. I plan to look at my next lesson and see if there would be time to create this chart. Another change I would make is to have the students work in pairs to sort the books, instead of working with their table groups. I think that if the students had worked in pairs, the remedial students would have felt more involved during the activity. Because the groups had three to four students in them, the remedial students got left out and I had to remind students that everyone in the group needed to participate. I will plan to have students work in pairs in the future, and I will choose specific partners or use the equity sticks to create partners depending on the assignment. Lastly, I would modify the time that I allowed for the sorting activity. The majority of the students completed their graphic organizers very quickly and had time to switch book baskets with other tables multiple times. Since the students were enjoying the activity so much and excelling at it, I allowed them to continue. I should have ended the activity earlier in order to provide the students with time to independently read silently. We had to make up silent reading time throughout the day, which is not as effective as the students reading for one sustained period of time during reading class. I will be sure to monitor the time during my reading lessons in the future, in order to avoid missing the scheduled silent reading time.

During this first lesson on biographies, the majority of students were very engaged and eager to participate. Students at all learning levels seemed to understand the content and were able to complete the assessment. I will use this experience to continue to improve my instruction.

Reading Unit – Day Two Lesson Reflection

On Friday, February 14, 2014, I taught a whole group reading lesson to Mrs. Liddle’s third grade class at Mountain Brook Elementary School. The objective of the lesson was for the students to connect biographies to fictional stories by identifying a biography’s subject and his or her hardships, struggles, and accomplishments. The students shared their favorite fictional characters from books or movies and thought about what hardships, struggles, and accomplishments those characters had. Then, we discussed how subjects of biographies have real life hardships, struggles, and accomplishments. Lastly, the students read a short biography on Jackie Robinson, identified him as the subject, and listed his hardships, struggles, and accomplishments.

This lesson took place on Valentine’s Day, which is fun day at the school. The students were very hyper and not looking forward to a formal lesson. However, the lesson was interactive and the students were entertained and engaged during the majority of it. I continue to be impressed with how smart the students are and how insightful they can be. During this lesson, I was very pleased with the performance of all of the students. They worked well in pairs during the lesson and were also respectful and responsive during the group discussion. I was impressed with the students’ independent work when they completed the graphic organizer assessment. The lesson was appropriate for all levels of students. The advanced students were able to remember many of the characteristics of biographies we had discussed during the previous lesson, even though it had been since Monday. They helped me create a chart of biography characteristics that provided a review for the less advanced students. The proficient students did an excellent job during the group discussion and were eager to share information about their favorite fictional characters. The remedial students were more engaged during this lesson than the previous lesson. I think this was because they were able to use their personal experiences when relating their favorite fictional characters to biography subjects.

After evaluating the procedures of the lesson, there are a few changes that I would make in order to improve it. The first part of the lesson that I would alter is when I asked the students to think of their favorite character from a movie or a book. I did not specify that the character needed to be a fictional character, because I assumed that the students would automatically think of their favorite fictional character. However, the students had already begun to research a subject for their biography writing assignment and many of the students thought of that subject. I had to ask the students to think again and choose a fictional character so that they could compare a fictional character to a real character in a biography. Had I worded my instructions more clearly the first time, there would not have been as much wasted instructional time. Another change I would make is to eliminate the part of the lesson where the students read a portion of the Ruby Bridges story in partners and asked each other how they thought Ruby would feel. This activity seemed unnecessary because the students shared their thoughts and opinions about Ruby’s struggles and feelings before it began. However, it was a good opportunity for the students to work cooperatively in pairs and it also gave some students who do not always want to share their thoughts with the entire class, a chance to share their ideas with a partner. If I taught this lesson again, I would probably reread the passage aloud to the students and then have them quickly share their thoughts and opinions with a partner. Lastly, I would modify the end of the lesson by adding a time for the students to come back to the carpet in the front of the room to review the graphic organizer they completed. The majority of the students did a great job completing the graphic organizer and I think it would have been beneficial for the students to hear what their classmates wrote and gain insight into other students’ perspectives. I will make time for a review of the activities in the upcoming lessons.

During this second lesson on biographies, the majority of students demonstrated their understanding by completing the graphic organizer and sharing their thoughts and ideas with their partners. Students at all learning levels seemed to understand the content and the lesson was successful in building off of the material from the first lesson of the unit. I will use this experience to continue to improve my instruction.

Reading Unit – Day Three Lesson Reflection

On Tuesday, February 18, 2014, I taught a whole group reading lesson to Mrs. Liddle’s third grade class at Mountain Brook Elementary School. The objective of the lesson was for the students to develop a theory about the specific traits of a subject by paying attention to the decisions and actions he or she makes. The students first discussed how they learn about people around them. They came to a consensus that listening to what others say and watching what others do are the best ways to learn about people. I showed the students a PowerPoint presentation that had people in the middle of an action, and the students brainstormed about how they could describe the people based off of their actions. As a class, we created a poster that listed powerful adjectives that can describe biography subjects. Lastly, the students read a short biography and listed the decisions or actions of the subject, as well as, adjectives that they could use to describe the subject based off of his or her actions.

This lesson was interactive and the students were able to work with partners during the majority of it. These aspects of the lesson kept the students engaged. During this lesson, I realized how helpful graphic organizers are for all students when they are trying to form their thoughts. The graphic organizer served as an assessment and it required the students to not only read the short biography passage for factual details, but also to think and be creative in order to produce their response. This amount of work and concentration was hard for some of the students who did not want to put forth a lot of effort to complete their classwork. Even though the assessment was challenging, I think that the lesson was appropriate for all levels of students. The advanced students were able to think of insightful and precise adjectives to describe the biography subjects and they completed the graphic organizer with great attention to detail. These students finished earlier than the others and had time to read their biographies from the library. The proficient students experienced difficulty with choosing the most important actions of the subject within the short biography passage. I think this was due to the students not wanting to take the time to carefully read the passage. With encouragement, these students were able to successfully finish the assignment. The remedial students also did not want to read the passage, and some of these students struggled with the vocabulary it used. The remedial students also had trouble knowing what words were adjectives and what words were not. The chart of adjectives the class made at the beginning of the lesson was a helpful aid for these students.

After evaluating the procedures of the lesson, there are a few modifications that I would make in order to improve it. The first part of the lesson that I would alter is the beginning of the lesson. In order to support the remedial students and to refresh the memory of the other students, I would do a brief review on adjectives. I would also include examples of adjectives during the PowerPoint presentation. This would have helped all of the students on their graphic organizer assessment. I would also make a change to the graphic organizer. I would add a column for the students to write an explanation of why the adjective they chose describes the action of the subject. This would help me understand the students’ thought processes and would make it easier for me to evaluate whether or not the students have mastered the skill. Lastly, I would read the short biography passage aloud to the students and give an example of an action and an adjective before the students begin their independent work. I think this modeling would be beneficial for all students, but would especially help accommodate the remedial students.

During this third lesson on biographies, students at all learning levels seemed to understand the content and completed the graphic organizer assessment. However, some students needed more assistance than others with completing the assessment. There were a few changes I could make in the future to accommodate remedial students and make the assessment easier to evaluate. I will continue to give the students assessments similar to the one given at the end of this lesson, because it requires them to read, find information in the text, reflect on that information, and use their creativity to craft a response. These are important skills, and I think that the students need more practice with them. I will use this experience and my reflection to continue to improve my future instruction.

Reading Unit – Day Four Lesson Reflection

On Wednesday, February 19, 2014, I taught a whole group reading lesson to Mrs. Liddle’s third grade class at Mountain Brook Elementary School. The objective of the lesson was for the students to determine the main idea of a biography. The lesson began with a review of what we had learned about biographies this week and last week. After the review, I told the class that we would be learning how to find the main idea of biographies. I showed the class three sets of pictures that had a common theme. I asked the students to name the common theme and the details that led them to that conclusion. I told the students that they can find a common theme or main idea of a biography in a similar way, by looking at the key details in the text. Then, the students discussed the most important details from The Story of Ruby Bridges and used those details to state the main idea of the book. Next, we read a short biography about George Washington Carver as a class and I modeled for the students how to find the most important details and the main idea. I used the Smart Board for this example. Lastly, the students independently read a short biography, highlighted the most important details, and then summarized the biography by writing its main idea.

During this lesson, all of the students participated and performed well during the group discussion and the class example. The majority of the students were able to verbally express the main idea from both the Ruby Bridges exercise and the George Washington Carver example. The advanced students and the proficient students understood and correctly completed the independent assignment. They read the biography passage, highlighted the most important details, and created succinct summaries to write as the main idea. Their summaries included various amounts of detail. The majority of these students worked more efficiently than they had on previous assignments. I think they are becoming accustomed to reading and then thinking about their responses, instead of just stating facts from the text. The remedial students had trouble staying on task and did not add details to their main idea summaries. Their main idea sentences were statements that could have been inferred from looking at the picture above the text. However, these students did highlight important details throughout the biography passage.

After evaluating the procedures of the lesson, there are a few modifications that I would make in order to help the students stay on task and know the quality of work that is expected of them. The first part of the lesson that I would change is the portion with the Smart Board presentation during the example about George Washington Carver. I would move the desks in the classroom in order to make the Smart Board more accessible, and I would ask the students to come to the board to highlight the main events or details within the text. Doing this would make this part of the lesson more engaging for the students, it would motivate them to pay attention, and it would have been a good hands-on example of how to complete the assignment they would later receive. A second part of the lesson that I would change is how the students interacted during the review of The Story of Ruby Bridges. As I wrote the main details from the story that the students named on the board, I would also ask the students to take notes at their desks. Having the students take notes along with me during this portion of the lesson, would assist the students with staying on task. Lastly, before the students began their independent assignment, I would show an example of a well-written main idea summary and a poorly written main idea summary. This would help the students know how much detail they need to add to their summary sentences.

During this fourth lesson on biographies, students at all learning levels seemed to understand the content during the class discussion and examples. Most of the students successfully completed the graphic organizer assessment. Some students needed more assistance than others with completing the assessment. The changes that I would make in the future would accommodate the remedial students and also make the lesson more engaging for all of the students. I will use this experience and my reflection to continue to improve my future instruction.

Reading Unit – Day Five Lesson Reflection

On Thursday, February 20, 2014, I taught a whole group reading lesson to Mrs. Liddle’s third grade class at Mountain Brook Elementary School. The objective of the lesson was for the students to recognize how the subject’s time period differs from their own by paying attention to the details of place, time, and people’s behavior. The lesson began with a review of the biographies the class had read on famous African Americans. We discussed what details from those stories indicate that the subjects lived in the past and not in the present. Then, we reviewed The Story of Ruby Bridges and the details from that story that indicate the time period Ruby grew up during. After the review, I told the class that we would be learning how to determine the time period that subjects of biographies lived during, by finding details in the text. The class and I created a list of details that they could look for when reading biographies. Lastly, the students worked with their table groups to read three short biography passages, highlight the most important time period details, and put the biographies in order from the subject who lived the least recently to the one who lived the most recently.

During this lesson, all of the students did a great job working in their table groups and completing their assignment. They also were attentive during our class discussion at the beginning of the lesson. They helped me create a great list of details that they can look for while they are reading, in order to determine the time period the subject of a biography lived during. The advanced students, the proficient students, and the remedial students were all very successful during this lesson. The advanced and proficient students were able to list many details that they found in the biography passages, and I observed their insightful conversations during their group work. They were also the source of the majority of the ideas for the important details that we listed at the beginning of the lesson. The remedial students required some assistance from me during their group work. They needed help locating details and understanding parts of the passages. When we reviewed the assignment as a class, the remedial students had put the biographies in the correct order, but they did not have time to write down many of the supporting details.

After evaluating the procedures of the lesson, there are a few changes that I would make in order to help the students learn about the biography subjects and efficiently complete the group assignment. The first part of the lesson that could be improved is my background knowledge about the three subjects of the biography passages the students read. The students asked me a couple of questions about the subjects that I did not know. I told the students that we would look up the answers after the lesson. As soon as the lesson was completed, I found the answers to the students’ questions and read them aloud to the class. For future lessons, I will try to anticipate basic questions that the students may ask and prepare answers for them. A second part of the lesson that I would modify is my classroom management during the group assignment. When I was assisting remedial groups, the other groups became slightly disruptive. I will continue to work on multi-tasking while I am teaching so that I will be able to assist students and still manage the behavior of the remainder of the class. Lastly, I would have planned for more time for the students to complete the group assignment. I realized after five minutes that a fifteen minute time limit was not going to be sufficient, so I changed the timer to add five minutes without mentioning it to the students. Twenty minutes was an adequate amount of time for the majority of students, and it gave the students who worked quickly some time to read their biographies silently. The remedial students could have used more time, but they were able to complete the activity when we reviewed it as a class.

During this fifth lesson on biographies, students at all learning levels seemed to understand the skill of finding details that would help them determine the time period that the subject of a biography lived. The students successfully completed the group assignment, although some students needed more assistance than others with completing it. The changes I would make to this lesson would be beneficial for all of the students’ learning. I will use this experience and my reflection to continue to improve my future instruction.



Table of Pretest and Posttest Scores

Student Name

Pretest Score- 2/7/14

Posttest Score- 2/24/14

Point Increase or Decrease

Gus

100

100

0

Iman

93

100

7

Ella

93

100

7

Sophie

93

97

4

Walker

90

93

3

Miller

90

87

(3)

Margot

87

80

(7)

Charlie

87

100

13

Josie

83

93

10

Rosemary

83

93

10

Davis G.

83

100

17

John

80

97

17

William

80

87

7

Garrett

80

93

13

Pierce

80

100

20

Davis C.

73

77

4

Matthew

73

73

0

KJ

60

77

17

Frances

60

87

27

Janie Lee

53

60

7

Sophia

Absent

100

N/A













Average

81.05

90.19



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