Entry 1: Promoting Literacy Development through Writing
1. Instructional Context
Genesis is a ten year old African American female and is in the fifth grade. She lives in a low income neighborhood with her Grandmother whom has sole custody. While Genesis’ Grandmother would like to play a more active role in her granddaughter’s education, she works a full time job and has health problems that prevent her being able to drive. Genesis was in my fourth grade Read 180 class and is with me again as a fifth grader. I selected this student because she is strong in phonemic awareness, yet her writing scores are weak and she needs the most individualized support in writing.
Genesis was referred to me in the third grade because she was a struggling reader and was unable to recall details and determine the main idea in texts. Her uses of reading strategies were extremely weak. She was placed into fourth grade due to failing grades yet testing results showed she did not have a learning disability.
This student came to fourth grade lacking confidence due to major deficits in reading and writing. At the onset of fourth grade, she was not motivated and had low self-esteem. After working with Genesis for a year and providing an atmosphere in which she feels safe and valued as a student and individual, her confidence and self-esteem issues have improved. This year I wanted to maintain the personal gains she had made. Genesis is very affable and she is confident in social situations, yet lacks self-confidence in academic settings. For this reason, I want to include several opportunities for her to do some peer coaching and partner activities when revising for voice and to add figurative language in her writing. I also want to plan instruction that will sustain her interest
My teaching takes place in a large classroom with 15 students in my fifth grade class. All of my children are struggling readers and at-risk learners. They come to my Read 180 class for 90 minutes every day for Reading, Writing and Language Arts. Read 180 is a comprehensive system of curriculum and development and instruction as well as assessment. The program is designed for students reading two or more years below grade level. Read 180 leverages adaptive technology to individualize instruction while providing data for differentiation. The goal of my rigorous literacy instruction is to prepare students to be independent readers, writers and thinkers as well as deepening comprehension and internalizing new skills. Each of my fifth graders is reading below grade level with various abilities and learning styles. I plan instruction that is differentiated to meet the needs of all 15 students. I want to promote a sense of ownership over their own academic growth. For example, at the beginning of each nine weeks I conference with each student and together we develop personal goals for the quarter. As a school district last year, our writing scores were weak in voice, so this has been a school wide goal for all students to add voice to their writing as well as in my classroom. I integrate the other areas of Language Arts as well as Science and Social Studies. For example, my students start the year with a Science unit on Fire in which we study and write about. Prior to students learning about Immigration in their Social Studies class, I teach a unit on Immigration that focuses on writing, listening and speaking. This also helps building student’s confidence in the regular education class because they have prior knowledge of the subject matter.
I dedicate 30 minutes a day to Writing Workshop. During this period, I set a purpose for the daily instruction and we work on the many facets of writing. State curriculum standards ultimately steer our pacing manual that comes from the district. Our school district has set up quarterly and mid quarter pacing guides and benchmark assessments, so planning is guided by the skills that are being covered. 2. Assessment/Analysis of...
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