In chapter two of your textbook, you should have engaged in what we know about learning. One of the most powerful ways to demonstrate your knowledge of these concepts is to apply them in a real-life setting. Please read the case study below and answer the questions in this forum.
After receiving her teaching credential, Maria Valdera accepts a job teaching summer school, which will run from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for one month. The goal of the class is to improve the reading level of the participants. Although the students in the class will be entering 6th grade at the beginning of the next school year, it has been determined that all of the students are currently reading at or around the 3rd grade level. While the summer school class size is much smaller (10 students) than a normal class (32 students), all of the students in the class are enrolled in the course because they did not do well over the last school year. In addition, at the end of their 6th grade year, these students will be entering middle school, where the curriculum is regarded to be much more challenging, and taught at a faster pace.
- What information should Ms. Valdera attempt to gather (about the students and the curriculum) before the class begins?
- Who, if anyone, should Ms. Valdera try to speak with regarding these students and the upcoming class?
After speaking with the school’s principal, Ms. Valdera meets with the school’s attendance clerk, who gives her copies of the students’ attendance records from the past year. She notes that 5 of the 10 students enrolled in the upcoming class were absent at least 30 days (out of 180 total) last year. Ms. Valdera is also able to search the cumulative folders of each of the students, as well as their report card histories (See Table 2.1, below and in Chapter Two of your text).
|Student||End of 5th Grade
|State Test Reading Results*
|Juan A.||D||Below Basic||Nice kid. Quiet. Tries really hard.|
|Lindsey J.||F||Far Below Basic||Talks out in class a lot. Can’t seem to sit still in her seat.|
|Tyler D.||C-||Below Basic||Hums to himself in class and does not seem to pay attention. Decent reader, but does not complete homework.|
|Eugenia K.||D||Below Basic||Enjoys participating in class discussions; however, received several suspensions for fighting last year.|
|DeShawn M.||F||Far Below Basic||Polite, respectful young man. Very funny.|
|Vy L.||F||Below Basic||Absent a lot. Parents seem uninvolved in Vy’s life, as she often takes care of several younger siblings.|
|Jazzeel H.||C||Below Basic||Works hard. Learning English.|
|Tamika P.||D||Basic||Has trouble staying at her desk. Often finds reasons to wander around the room. Usually returns to her seat immediately when asked to.|
|Carlos R.||F||Far Below Basic||Disinterested and bored. Has trouble staying awake in class.|
|Julia S.||F||Below Basic||No comments available.|
*On the state reading exam, students are ranks as Advanced, Proficient, Basic, Below Basic, and Far Below Basic.
- Based on the information in Table 2.1, what similarities and differences do you notice among the ten students?
- To engage her students and tap into their interests, what types of activities should Ms. Valdera plan for the first day of class?
Two days before the class begins, Ms. Valdera calls the home of each of the students on her roster. First, she introduces herself to the parents, and lets them know exactly why their child will be attending summer school. She lets them know that the students will have homework every night, and asks the parents to provide a quiet, safe place for the student to complete it. She also tells the parents that she will call them on any morning that the homework has not been completed. Next, she speaks to the student, and introduces herself, and tells him about the upcoming class, as well as the supplies he will need to bring to class each day. She also asks the student what his favorite hobby is, and the name of the best book he has ever read.
Based upon her conversations with the students, Ms. Valdera goes to the school library, and checks out as many of the “favorite books” as are available. She displays them on a shelf in her classroom, so the students will make a connection with books they have already read, and already enjoy. She then decorates one of the walls in her classroom with a sign that says, “Activities We Love,” and posts pictures of activities students cited as their favorite hobbies. Throughout the summer, Ms. Valdera plans to refer to as many of these activities as possible while the class is discussing the readings. She knows that having a visual reminder of the activities on the wall will help both the teacher and students remember what they are, and incorporate them into the daily curriculum.
On the first day of class, Ms. Valdera begins with a discussion of why the students are attending the summer school class, and acknowledges their need to improve their reading skills. She firmly sets the tone of the class, explains the procedures and routines that they will be using, as well as the behavior expectations and consequences. The class then begins on their first activity…
- Given the varied learning styles of the 10 students in her class, what types of lessons can Ms. Valdera design in order to help the students be successful learners?
- Given that the class is four hours long for a month, how can Ms. Valdera organize the desks, as well as the time structure the class, so the students’ level of engagement and motivation stay high throughout each day, and over the month?