“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.

]]>“Hip, Hip ARRAY”—the purpose of this lesson was to introduce/review multiplication via array models. An array is a rectangular arrangement of equal groups of objects in rows and columns. Array models are introduced to students as early as second grade.

__Goal for Students On-Level: __Given both an explanation and a visual representation of the array strategy, guided practice with manipulatives, and an array handout, STUDENTS will independently complete the array handout, with at least 80% accuracy, within a 50-minute math lesson.

__Goal for Students Needing Small-Group Instruction: __Given both an explanation and a visual representation of the array strategy, guided practice with manipulatives, and an array handout, STUDENTS will independently complete the array handout, with at least 80% accuracy, with assistance from the paraprofessional, within a 50-minute math lesson.

**Date Taught: **

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

**What went well? **

I think that this lesson’s combination of manipulatives (Cheez-Its) and anchor charts certainly helped my students better connect multiplication to that of repeated addition. The guided practice really allowed me to observe how students were thinking. During guided practice, I assigned a series of multiplication problems on the board (i.e. 3×5=). Students then responded to each problem using Cheez-Its—the “objects” in their array models. After illustrating with array models, we then solved for each product. I liked this initial activity because it required students to actually construct the arrays instead of simply identifying previously arranged arrays. I think that my students were challenged with a more rigorous, tactile task. Not to mention, yumminess overload!

**What did not go as planned?**

Today’s math lesson took much longer than I had planned. In fact, we didn’t have time to even begin the independent practice handout. Consequently, no one met my original goals. I’ve already noted a couple of factors that perhaps contributed to today’s pacing. At the start of the lesson, I immediately detected that my students didn’t “remember” very much about the term multiplication—I felt as if I had three heads or something. And because multiplication seemed so unfamiliar to them, I don’t think that a review lesson, using arrays, was the best approach. Arrays can be complex at first, considering that students must be able to distinguish “rows” from “columns.” Therefore, I should have expected for my guided practice to require more time.

**How to change for subsequent lessons: **

Knowing what I know now, I think it best to begin any sort of multiplication lesson, whether an introduction or a review, using illustrations involving “equal groups of.” I think students need to see the pictorial representations of multiplication using groups. Keeping my previous example, 3×5 would look like three circles with five objects inside each circle. Multiple examples of this strategy should be provided. Once students have mastered the basics, I think it’s then appropriate to introduce array models as another multiplication strategy. I was proud of my students’ success—they worked very hard. I simply think that this lesson would have been more beneficial had it come later in the unit.

]]>“Writing with SWAG”—the purpose of this lesson was to begin establishing a framework of basic editing skills including beginning capitalization and ending punctuation. SWAG includes: (S) starts with capitalization, written neatly, (A) a space between each word, and (G) given punctuation.

__Goal for Students On-Level__: Given an editing mnemonic device (SWAG), guided practice, and a writing prompt, STUDENTS will independently generate three sentences, on topic, with correct beginning capitalization and ending punctuation, within a 45-minute writing lesson.

__Goal for Students Needing Small Group Instruction__: Given an editing mnemonic device (SWAG), guided practice, and a writing prompt, STUDENTS will generate three sentences, on topic, with correct beginning capitalization and ending punctuation, with assistance from a paraprofessional, with a 45-minute writing lesson.

**Date Taught:**

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

**What went well:**

I was very pleased with the overall outcome of my lesson. I think I was sufficiently prepared. In other words, I knew both the curriculum’s content and the authentic needs of my students. Insightful, formative assessments were constantly employed. For example, our students were able to respond to questions using dry-erase boards, practice sentence strips, and their writer’s notebooks. Additionally, this lesson was a wonderful supplier of visual information—a print rich environment. I provided a picture book read aloud, an anchor chart, a mnemonic device glue-in, sentence strips, and a writing prompt. I also think that this lesson was an effective model of gradual release of responsibility. Beginning with teacher modeling, guided practice, and concluding with independent practice, this lesson provided students with multiple opportunities to exercise what they were learning as they were learning. All students met the lesson’s goals.

**What did not go as planned:**

After assessing my students’ independent work, I noted that some confusion remained. However, I also know that habits don’t change overnight. This lesson was merely an introduction into a series of subsequent lessons on editing skills. I know, and expect, that my students will need additional practice. Because this lesson was scheduled right after our snack break, I noted that many of my students became rather lethargic—with food comas, if you would. Therefore, I think that more movement and technology should be integrated.

**How to change for subsequent lessons:**

Perhaps for future lessons, regarding independent practice, I will set up “punctuation stations” and have students create punctuation specific sentences. In other words, one station will be specific to question marks. There, students will read examples and then respond only with questioning sentences. The integration of stations will serve as an outlet of constant movement. In addition, I think that confining each type of punctuation to one station will better reinforce the differences among the three. Concerning technology, at least one station will allow students to respond digitally at TodaysMeet.com. TodaysMeet is a free, abridged blogging resource perfect for shorter writing assignments and formative assessments.

]]>My students are sensational little ones. They are full of energy and curiosity. They give purpose to my days here at the Summer Learning Place. I look forward to getting to know them more. I only hope to help them in some way during our short time together.

As I look ahead to the next three weeks, I have set the following goals as an accountable framework for myself:

**Effective:** I want to be an effective teacher. I know this will require preparation, perhaps some research, and punctuality. I want my students to learn from me and my pedagogy. I don’t want to waste their time.

**Flexible:** I want to be a flexible teacher and colleague. One size does not fit all. I know that I must accept the challenges presented to me with a willingness to monitor and adjust. I also know that I must be willing to serve all those involved in my classroom, including my co-teacher.

**Teachable:** I want to be a learner. So far, my co-teacher has been a wonderful mentor to me. I have already learned so much about LD resources and instructional strategies. A very grateful shout-out to Ms. Smith! I want to continue learning throughout this experience—about myself and my students. I hope to identify my strengths and weaknesses so that I can better refine my pedagogy of exceptionalities.

I am very excited about my upcoming days at the Summer Learning Place. I look forward to watching all the ways both I and my students grow in our learning.

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