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Observation Reflection Paper

Introduction

Literacy is a fundamental aspect of communication that is based on comprehending or communicating thoughts, ideas, and intentions between individuals. The educator’s role implies assisting students in developing linguistic and non-linguistic patterns of communication. The literacy instruction covers both receptive and expressive skills and aims at encouraging independent thinkers, readers, and writers represented by the students.

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Summary of Observations

Whole Group Instruction

The whole group instruction requires the overall engagement of students to promote literacy skills and knowledge. The majority of educational videos concerning literacy instruction are focused on creating independent learners among the students. One of the most useful techniques is the storytelling that is commonly supported by visual aids. The inner and outer circle activity promotes children’s understanding and explanation of the images. The role-play of problem solutions is another approach to facilitate students’ imagination, dialogue skills, and foster the ability to think. Some of the videos emphasize the educators’ role as life-long learners who specifically learn from their students.

The interactive learning in a whole group requires students to be engaged in the discussions of highly controversial issues. This method is targeted at teaching them to communicate with one another in the classroom, especially with people who have different views. It is crucial to create an environment of empowered and passionate students for high-quality discussions. Therefore, educators should always direct and encourage students to express themselves. This also facilitates the overall interest and involvement in the school process and education. Considering that every student has a voice and every voice matters, it is vital to provide the opportunity to engage in a meaningful way concerning various ideas and situations.

There are three ways of evaluating the content and language include encouraging informal writing, talking about it, and taking notes. The teachers apply the whiteboards to engage the students to express their ideas, draw pictures, and identify the keywords in the text or spelling. Some of the educators use a parallel line that physically arranges students in order to listen to their discussions easily. Such an approach is based on the inner and outer circle method, where students are separated into two circles and face each other to listen and share their works. Hence, the teacher can control the conversations and assist in case of any misconceptions. The core goals that students should pursue is contributing to the idea, offer evidence, and ask appropriate elaborative or clarifying questions.

Small-Group. Individual Instruction

The efficiency of the small group instruction indicates differentiated and data-informed educational opportunities. The smalls-groups activities might emerge within a whole class to focus on the specific tasks and better engage every student. One of the challenges that teachers might face when managing such groups is to work in a focused, uninterrupted way with a small group of students. One of the videos demonstrated the methods to implement a close reading session within a small group. Firstly, the teacher encourages children to make predictions about the text, which was followed by reading and annotating it. The students were focused on investigating the critical details of the text. They further work on their vocabulary development with the aid of text-dependent questions. The final stage implies examining and synthesizing the information that children learned by establishing the connections with the text.

Critique of Observations

Evaluation

The interactive reading is recommended to explore the benefits of reading, increase academic vocabulary, and, thus, strengthen thinking, talking, and writing skills when learning various texts. According to Dickey (2019), an interactive read-aloud for a whole group instruction is developed to maintain student’s ability to “construct meaning in a talk-rich context” (p. 16). Furthermore, it enhances comprehension and promotes making connections within different texts. The shared reading strategy aims at orienting students at the understanding of the meaning in a supported context to make students enjoy the reading and learn about critical concepts. The general teaching method of literacy instruction should be focused on social-emotional learning.

Strengths

The whole group writing educational applications are inherently connected with the reading strategies. Dickey (2019) identifies them as the “mutually supportive language processes,” which broaden and strengthen children’s capacity to engage with complex texts independently and fully comprehend the writing skills (p. 18). The writing skills can be developed in a distinct manner, including communicating, questioning, persuading, synthesizing, and discovering personal thoughts, ideas, and means to express them. Duke and Martin (2018) consider both whole group and small group activities within three approaches to the discussion of informational text. These approaches include “collaborative strategic reading (CSR), questioning the author (QtA), and reciprocal teaching (RT)” (p. 261). The educators implement the CSR method in the whole group lessons, which entails modeling and thinking aloud, as well as students’ role-play. As such, students learn to stimulate their foreknowledge and make predictions, discover unknown or confusing words and ideas, summarize and frame questions about the information learned in the text. The RT, in turn, is conducted in the small-group discussions, where students add to summaries, ask supplementary questions, examine complex sections, and respond to the thoughts of other participants.

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Limitations

Within a rapid growth of the Internet and other emerging ICTs (information and communication technologies), there is a need for new literacies to efficiently benefit from their potential. The Internet is commonly becoming a central point of personal and professional lives. Leu et al. (2017) suggest that new literacies should be integrated into classrooms to prepare the students for the “literacy futures they deserve” (p. 10). Furthermore, the continually changing environment determines the new literacies of the Internet and other ICTs. Such rapid development results in misalignments in evaluation and instruction in the context of the irregular nature of modern literacy. This leads to crucial problems within every educational system that lacks the capacity to address these changes.

Recommendations

Considering the online environment, modern literacy instruction demands the valid, credible, and practical evaluations of new literacies. The improvement strategies should be focused on informing instruction and assisting students in becoming better prepared for the age of information and communication. Walpole, Strong, and Riches (2018) suggest the PL (professional learning) strategy as an improving facet that “impacts the classroom practice” (p. 430). The PL might enhance the teachers’ knowledge and skills, as well as their beliefs and behaviors. Thus, educators might be empowered to change their instructions to address the needs of modern students. Most importantly, the PL facilitates a growth mindset in students and is essential for their literacy achievements.

Conclusion

The efficient implementation of literacy instruction ensures successful outcomes demonstrated in students’ performance. Based on the following analysis of the educational videos, the fluency is enhanced by the set of various interactive activities both in whole-group and small-group classrooms. The ultimate aim of literacy instruction is to establish students’ comprehension, reading and writing skills, as well as general skills in communication. However, the most critical aspect of literacy instruction implies transforming students into independent thinkers who can express their thoughts, ideas, and individual perceptions regarding examined information.

References

Dickey, D. (2019). A unique approach to comprehensive literacy: Grades K-6. Scholastic Literacy.

Duke, N. K., & Martin, N. M. (2018). Best practices in informational text comprehension instruction. In L. M. Morrow and L. B. Gambrell (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction (6th ed., pp. 250–270). Guilford Publications.

Leu, D. J., Kinzer, C. K., Coiro, J., Castek, J., & Henry, L. A. (2017). New literacies: A dual-level theory of the changing nature of literacy, instruction, and assessment. Journal of Education, 197(2), pp. 1–18.

Walpole, S., Strong, J. Z., & Riches, C. B. (2018). Best practices in professional learning for improving literacy instruction in schools. In L. M. Morrow and L. B. Gambrell (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction (6th ed., pp. 429–446). Guilford Publications.

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Appendix A

Observation Time Chart

Literacy Instruction

Whole Group Reading Observations (5 Hours)
Date Time Brief Description of Observed Lesson
11.04.2020 2:12 Three ways to formatively assess content & language:
There are three ways of evaluating the content and language, such as encouraging informal writing, talking about it, and taking notes. The teachers use whiteboards and parallel line discussions. Web.
11.04.2020 8:05 Marrs, L. (2020). Developing literacy:
The video demonstrates the implementation of the inner and outer circle activity that facilitates children’s comprehension of the images and teaches them to explain them. Web.
12.04.2020 6:11 Jonas, M. (2019). The importance of high-quality discussions:
The video lesson analyzes the significance of the discussions on highly controversial issues, which are aimed at teaching students to communicate with others, especially when their views are distinct. Web.
12.04.2020 20:34 Mr. A. (2016). Literacy lesson first grade:
It is a first-grade literacy lesson that proceeds through several stages, including the question of the day, story vocabulary analysis, picture walk/recording predictions, recording key concepts, group reading fluency games, and lesson closure. Web.
12.04.2020 28:37 Nedrig, A. (2017). 2nd grade vocabulary lesson:
The educator used interactive, colorful boards, yellow notes on the whiteboard, as well as interactive moving games. The kids were naturally engaged in the process of studying. Web.
13.04.2020 30:02 Revolve Learning. (2015). Teaching phonics and reading comprehension | J.Reed | 2nd grade | ELA/Reading.
The video is focused on daily phonics blending routine and reading comprehension session with a new student story. The teacher applied the whole brain teaching techniques along with the Promethean board. Web.
13.04.2020 37:09 Inclusion for Secondary School Teachers:
The video represents a team of two high school teachers who demonstrate the implementation of collaborative teaching strategies and shared responsibilities in a secondary school environment. Web.
14.04.2020 10:02 A room of writers:
The video documents Shana Sterkin’s third-grade class, where she engages her students in the writer’s workshop. Every student shares his or her writing, including Miss Sterkin. Web.
14.04.2020 9:19 Jigsaw:
Jigsaw is a reading comprehension strategy that allows the students of a “home” group to practice in one aspect of a topic and become the expert. Web.
14.04.2020 20:46 Balanced Literacy: 2 hours 10 Minutes in a 2nd Grade Classroom
The core objective is creating a positive environment with the aid of an effective literacy program, which was demonstrated by an elementary school teacher. The teacher applies the individualized student assessment and a structured classroom. Web.
14.04.2020 18:09 Balanced Literacy K-1 Classroom:
The elementary school teacher efficiently integrated literacy throughout the study while teaching and involving a classroom of diverse students. Web.
14.04.2020 15:52 Blogging in the Classroom:
A creative lesson plan based on the digital media in the classroom, namely online blogging, enabled students to express their ideas and practice critical skills. Web.
14.04.2020 5:46 Bringing up baby:
The critical aspects of early literacy development are viewed from the medical perspective. It also analyzes the issue of children’s poor language skills and their engagement in kindergarten. Web.
15.04.2020 15:42 Mini Lesson – ed Ending Sounds – K-2:
The educator engages children in literacy instruction by sharing her own story through visual aids. Web.
15.04.2020 1:08:36 TPSD First Grade, Phonics First, Lesson 13c Level 2:
It is a full lesson in a first-grade classroom based on teaching the phonics using interactive cards and whiteboards. Web.
15.04.2020 15:57 Sarah Phillips- Yr 3 Literacy Lesson:
It is a year three literacy instruction based on analyzing the life instructions, which involved asking the leading questions and dividing the class into a smaller group with interactive drawing activities. Web.
301.92 minutes = 5.032 hours TOTAL TIME
Small Group/Individual Reading Observations (4 Hours)
Date Time Brief Description of Observed Lesson
12.04.2020 12:26 DiGilio, A. (2017). Guided Reading | How I Teach close reading during small group instruction:
A close reading lesson is targeted at making a prediction about the text and annotating it, as well as finding the key details in the text. The lesson also included vocabulary development and text-related questions. Web.
13.04.2020 1:07:28 Collaborative Literacy: Getting Started with Small group Instruction and Being a Reader:
The assisting video for teachers that shows how to prepare for small-group instruction and be a reader for this type of group. Web.
14.04.2020 56:28 6th Grade Small Group Reading:
The sixth-grade small group reading involved comprehension, figurative language, lines of practice, spelling group, and managing multiple small groups. Web.
14.04.2020 10:20 Learning progressions focus area:
The educator applies a TCRWP self-assessment tool, enhanced questioning, and descriptors in the context of an informational writing learning progression. Web.
14.04.2020 14:17 Learning Progressions Hawaii Progress Maps Video:
The Hawaii teachers collaborated with Dr. Karin Hess to develop, field test, and application of learning progressions, such as Progress Maps in both math and ELA. Web.
14.04.2020 15:42 Structured Literacy Lesson:
An individual lesson with a first-grade student is based upon structured literacy and involves continuous learning of letter names and sounds, words and sentences, reading and discussing a connected text. Web.
15.04.2020 29:05 Small Group Literacy Instruction:
The teacher analyzed the text with a small group of children by asking the related questions and provoking the thinking skills. Web.
15.04.2020 19:36 Day 1 of 1st grade guided reading lesson following the Jan Richardson model:
The first-grade students are engaged in the reading lesson that is based on the Jan Richardson model for guided reading, which integrates three essentials of guided reading, including small groups, instructional-leveled texts, and targeted teaching. Web.
15.04.2020 22:37 Vocabulary Small Group Lesson and Reflection:
The students are engaged in the interactive process by using colorful cards with missing words in the sentences that they have to complete. Web.
240 min = 4 hours TOTAL TIME

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