Reflection 4

Lesson Topic:

“Exploring Compare & Contrast” – The purpose of this lesson was to review comparing & contrasting within the context of reading.  Together as a class, we compared and contrasted the two main characters in our read-aloud, Miss Nelson and Miss Viola Swamp.

Goal for Students On-Level:

Given both an explanation and a visual representation of the reading skill, guided practice, a Venn diagram, and two different cookies, STUDENTS will independently complete a two-circle Venn diagram, comparing and contrasting the two cookies, with at least 80% accuracy, within a 45-minute reading lesson.

Goal for Students Needing Small-Group Instruction:

Given both an explanation and a visual representation of the reading skill, guided practice, a Venn diagram, and two different cookies, STUDENTS will complete, with help from the paraprofessional, a two-circle Venn diagram, comparing and contrasting the two cookies, with at least 80% accuracy, within a 45-minute reading lesson.

Date Taught:

 Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What went well?

My students were already pretty familiar with Venn diagrams.  Therefore, I didn’t have to spend too much time frontloading them with its purpose and design.  I also loved how engaged my students were during our interactive read-aloud.  This energy definitely spilled over into our guided practice.  Students were very willing to participate as we generated, together, a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Miss Nelson and Miss Viola Swamp.  This whole-group activity also allowed me to informally assess their comprehension of the read-aloud because we were constantly referring back to the text.  In addition, using the cookies as manipulatives excited students, but more importantly, gave them time to practice the skill within a real-world context.

What did not go as planned?

 Not all of my students met their goals for this lesson.  I think this is partly a result of limited time and our snack break.  Additionally, some of my students had trouble organizing their notes on the Venn diagram.  I really wanted my students to work alone, with as little guidance as possible, on the cookie assignment.  However, I think that I should have scaffolded them even more during this activity.  For example, I should have highlighted that when completing a Venn diagram, use bullet points instead of complete sentences.

How to change for subsequent lessons:

 Ideally, this lesson would have been one of a series of mini-lessons in my Reader’s Workshop.  Instead of using the cookie Venn diagram as a summative assignment, I would have preferred to use this activity as a pre-assessment prior to introducing the skill.  And for my more summative practice, I would have my guided reading groups work together to generate a poster-sized Venn diagram, comparing and contrasting characters, themes, or settings within their current novels.  Additionally, I would like to use the “Venn Diagram” app by the International Reading Association as a summative, formal assessment for a unit on compare and contrast.  Using this app and only one account, all students can create and publish a Venn diagram for the rest of the class to explore.

Final Thoughts:

 This past month has flown by.  I really enjoyed my time at the Summer Learning Place.  Working with such a small-group of students was very refreshing.  Not to mention, their sweet personalities.  At first, I was skeptical about the differences that just four weeks could make.  But after post-assessing my students, I really can see so much improvement.  Giving just one example, one of my little ones increased her words per minute from fifty-eight to ninety-four.  Her final goal was to reach sixty-four.  She went over by thirty words—and the reading passage was harder!  Talk about a proud teacher.

I established three goals at the start of this experience: 1) Effective, 2) Flexible 3) Teachable.  I think I achieved them all.  By employing a variety of assessments, I was able to tailor my instruction to effectively meet the specific learning needs of my students.  Some of my students had different areas for targeted growth.  I successfully noted those needs and did my best to meet them, through modifications and adjustments.  I learned so much during this experience–about myself, about my students, and about my pedagogy.  I have a better understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses.  I still have many questions, but I am excited about both pursuing and sharing many of the resources that have been introduced to me.








3 thoughts on “Reflection 4

  1. The lesson went well and the students really liked the story. I like how you encouraged them to read the next story that ties in with the first one. The Venn Diagram was a great tool for them to learn and you did a great job explaining it. I’m glad that this whole experience was a positive experience for you.


  2. Teresa,
    Your ideas for teaching lessons are so creative, and you are so passionate to make sure that your students reach their goals.


  3. Teresa ,

    I was very moved by your sweet comment on my blog. I loved your advice and will certainly use it in my future endeavors. I find you to be such an inspiration and a pleasure to be around. I have truly enjoyed reading all your posts and I have walked away with a wealth of ideas. I am so proud of how far you have come and all your success at Furman and in your teaching career.

    Off-topic, I must say your wedding photos were precious. You looked absolutely beautiful and beemed with happiness. I am so happy for Joel’s and yours future. I wish you both all the health, wealth, and happiness one can have in a lifetime. 🙂

    All the very best,


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