Monday, October 22, 2012

Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELs

English learners in schools across America will face both social and cultural issues on a day-to-day basis. One such social and cultural issue may be discrimination in schools by their peers. I have noticed when walking through my school that there is a specific area or part of the campus where students of one ethnic group may hang out. Even within the classrooms, I have witnessed students only hanging out and speaking to those of their same ethnic group. While in some classrooms I have seen that not to be an issue, in my classroom I would like to address the issue. Due to my observation, I would strive to continue building an atmosphere and an environment within my classroom of community and respect. Through classroom activities where students may get to know each other better, I wish to have my students recognize the uniqueness of each individual and praise their differences rather than look at those differences as reasons not to be friends. As an educator, when you can build community and camaraderie, you build links and bridges between individuals that will last throughout their lifetime. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lesson Planning for the Adolescent

Teenagers often have difficulty focusing on material that does not involve them due to the region of the brain that isn't as developed or decreases in development during adolescence. Due to the decreased activity of the medial prefrontal cortex as well as the not fully developed prefrontal cortex, students of the adolescent age are not able to properly reason, make good decisions, plan properly and are also hypersensitive toward reward processing achieved through risk taking behavior. Because of this, I would like to incorporate into my lessons more aspects that involve exciting activities where students are able to take controlled "risks" to gain certain knowledge and skills within the classroom. I would like to create lessons that directly link the new material and content to their every day life so that it may be stored in their long-term memory. By illustrating a purpose of each lesson and how the knowledge and skills to be gained from the lesson relate to the students life demonstrates the importance of the material to the student as well as taking into consideration the decreased activity of the medial prefrontal cortex.When an educator is able to properly demonstrate the purpose of a given activity to the student, the region of the student's brain that is activated will likely store that information for the long-term.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Accurate (i+1) Assessment for English Learners

My student has been reclassified fluent English proficient (RFEPed) and is at ELD level 4. When instructing and therefore assessing her, I will do so at an ELD level 5. Students do not need to be taught at the level they are already at because those skills and knowledge are ones they already have. In order for the student to be challenged and advance in skill and knowledge level, they need to be taught and assessed at one level higher than their current level.

For my lesson, the ELD standards were:

Reading Fluency & Systematic Vocabulary Development – Cluster 6: Use a standard dictionary to determine the meaning of unknown words.
Writing Strategies & Applications – Cluster 5: Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports, for the language arts and other content areas and provide evidence in support of a thesis and related claims. 

For my lesson, my assessments were:
A. Diagnostic/Entry Level:
Students' writing abilities will be assessed prior to this class. With these results, the teacher will differentiate any assignments needed. 
B. Formative-Progress Monitoring:
The teacher will observe the students filling out the graphic organizer for the 3-Hole Bottle Demo as well as the Seed Lab and pause periodically to check for understanding by posing questions. Further understanding will be observed through the extension exercise.
C. Summative:
Students will complete the 3-Hole Bottle Demo graphic organizer as well as complete the Seed Lab write-up in their notebooks. The write-up will include the break down of the Scientific Method (Question, Purpose, Hypothesis, Materials, Methods, Observations, Results, Discussion) as well as any diagrams, charts or pictures needed to support the investigation. Students will go over their results in front of the class where the assignments will be graded by means of completion and comprehension.

I feel like my assessment accurately addresses the ELD standards chosen with an i+1 approach because students will be demonstrating their comprehension of scientific terminology through the use of an expository composition (lab write-up). They will further be providing evidence for their experiment through their observations and discussion of the lab write-up.