3.10: More Extensive Visits
In this rather long segment (approx. 8 minutes), we have more extensive visits to Ms. Estline's and Ms. Quezada's classrooms. We also hear from them what they are working on and how their grade level meetings inform what they are doing in their classes. Notice the focused environment that helps children acquire literacy skills in reading and writing while maintaining a very high degree of positive affect. Note also how important the process of specifying learning goals, assessing students, discussing student progress, and trying out instructional strategies--all at the grade level meetings--has become.
Yael The grade level meetings really help us to clarify what sorts of concepts the kids need based on how they're doing in the assessments. We know what areas they need to strengthen. With the past assessment, we realized that the kids needed more practice with sight words, with red words. And so we really practiced "say-spell-say" a lot. We fit it in to our morning message. We fit it in to our modeling when we do our journal writing. Students Today is Tuesday. Yael What's missing? Students Is. Yael Is. You know how to spell is? Lets do say spell say. Ready? Students Is. I - S. Is. We will publish. Yael Are we missing something right here? Students We. Yael We. The word we. Students We. W - E. We. Yael Very good. (?) remember that that's a capital. Students W- E We, we. Lower case e Student Hooray for Kevin P! Yael Hooray for Kevin! Yael We um, go around, for example, in my classroom with a red ladybug and we make sure that they have those red words somewhere in their writing. That they realize that they're important and they get a little bit of help from the puppet. Yael And (?) Student My hat. Yael Aha! I see a my. Good job. Yael In addition to that, we try to tie that, I, my classroom tried to tie that to the Star Story, which was Big Mama today. And in Big Mama, there was a man reflecting on his childhood. So, the children had to think of something that they really enjoyed from when they were younger or even yesterday for them, they are young, and write that into their journals. Student I thought after (?) we were going to do journals. Yael Yeah, we are going to do our journals now. Student What are you going to write about? Student About you! Yael I'm going to write about my good memories. Everybody has memories of things they once did with their family that they really, really liked. And when I was little I would walk with my grandpa to the market and we would always buy my grandma flowers. Student What color were the flowers? Yael You're going to find out. How do I spell "I"? Students Capital I, I Yael Always a capital. Right, even, it's in the beginning of a sentence, but even if it's not, I need a capital. I remember. What do I have to put here? Students R. Yael (?) Remember. Rrrr Re-m-m-m. eh-eh-eh-emmmm. b-b-b-b. er. Ss (Call out letters as Ms. Estline articulates their sounds) Yael My grandma. My. Students M-- M-Y. My. Yael Very good. That's a red word. Okay. I'm going to read and make sure that this makes sense. You ready? I remember my grandma. Stop. Does that make sense? Students Yeah. Yael Yes. My grandpa and I would. Students Would. Yael Did I forget a word? I did. Good writers always go back and ..... Students Read. Yael Read. That's why because I forgot to write would. My grandpa and I would buy her flowers. Yael Also when I'm modeling my writing before they go and write into their journals, I stop at the red words and I think about where I'm going to use my red words and I remind them more to look at the red word wall. They also get mini word walls on their desks while they're writing. Yael Where do I find red words in the classroom? Students (Pointing) There! Yael That's right. Student Mini word wall. Yael They are right behind Ms. Estline. Right here on the red word wall. And where else can you find red words? Student Mini word wall. Yael On your mini word wall that I pass out to you when you're writing. Yael In order for them not to just give you a list of red words, we have to know that communication is a big part of it. They scored lower on communication and we really wanted to get that up. And that's where they're getting across an idea when they're writing and not just a bunch of words. Yael Put your finger on your head, and think about something that you really loved that you did once with your family. That you really loved and you'll remember forever. Because you're going to write in your journal today about something you did that you really, really have a good memory from. And we're going to write about that today. Student (sounding out as she writes) Yael Something that you did yesterday even. Anything that you did before today that you really enjoyed doing. Something you've done before, with your family... Yael Mia Robinson is our writing coach. Every week Mia shows us something else that we do. And she's had us, for example, do a um, practice a um predictive sentence building. And that's something that we started yesterday that we're going to complete today after our rotations. And when I did that first time, this isn't the first time I've done it. I took it back to the grade level and I showed them how it worked in my classroom. And every one of us um gets the presentation done by Mia. We usually bring it back the next time and share it and tell everyone how it worked. Student (writing, sounding out). Thanks! Yael Everybody stop. That was ten minutes of writing. Student (re-reads what he wrote) Goody, goody, goody! Tina I noticed that my children, they needed more site words than more um daily oral language, which they were putting some words, some sight words but they weren't putting them in the right place. Not only did I see this with my group, but I also saw it in the grade level and we were sharing our journals and our papers and our assessments. We noticed that the children were site words but maybe not making complete sentences out of them. So this is what we're trying to do with the journals and the daily oral language so that the children get the strategies so they could go back and independently do their work and using the room environment. Tina Now read it and make sure it makes sense ok? Or do you want to take out a word? Student No. Tina No? Okay read it back to yourself. Tina So what I'm having them do is actually sound out the words, listen to the sentence and make sure it makes sense. So that's what we're doing right now with daily oral language and then incorporating it into the journals. Student Ms. Quezada, I'm using "has." Tina Good job! Did you just used a word that we learned? Good! Students (writing, sounding out words). Tina Remember the word "the"? the? Student Th. Tina Th. Right? (?) What (?) Student (?) Tina That's right. Okay. (?) You got it. You got it. I saw a tyrannosaurus. That's what you wrote! And look, I like the way you left a space between your words. Right here you just put it all together. You need enough space. What did you write there? Student Little (pronounced 'liddo') Tina Little. Okay. What was your sentence? What was your sentence? Student (reading and sounding out) Tina T, right. (student writes) That's better.