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Oral Language Assessment

Oral Language Assessment

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Published by Sarah Lombardi

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Published by: Sarah Lombardi on Apr 27, 2013
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 Oral language AssessmentThe Oral Language Assessment
 provides information in regards to students’
useof oral language in the classroom. This assessment is useful for teachers and parents, because it is a means
of tracking progress in students’
development of oral language.Through the use of this the Oral Language Assessment, both teachers and parents gain agreater understanding of how children comprehend and apply language in varioussettings. Teachers can use information gained from this assessment to tailor group andindividual instruction, thus, meeting student needs.In order to assess oral language in the classroom, I used the
Oral Language Functions: Classroom Observation
 
checklist found in Owocki and Goodman’s
 Kidwatching: Documenting 
Children’s Literacy Development 
on page 110. I found the best way to observe
students’ oral language was to closely watch their interactions
throughout the day. I kept these assessment tools close by and checked off each orallanguage function as it appeared in the classroom. I also recorded in what context certainfunctions occurred.The classroom that I observed for this assessment was a kindergarten classroomcontaining 21 students. The classroom environment is modeled after the ResponsiveClassroom. Students are encouraged to build a classroom community that provides bothacademic and social support its members. During group lessons, students work closelywith the teacher to learn new material or review prior knowledge. In these large grouplessons, students are encouraged to share opinions and make connections to people andthings around them. In learning centers, students interact with their peers to solve
 
 problems and share ideas. Learning centers allow students to be more independent anduse oral language in a somewhat less structured manner.Findings from my assessment show, that various functions of oral language areconsistently present throughout the day. At the start of the day, morning meeting allowsstudents to develop their oral language abilities in a few different ways. Each day thestudents are presented with a morning message. The students read the morning messagealoud with the teacher and fill in missing words. Some students are given the opportunityof identifying the missing word and explain to the class how they knew it was missing.The meteorologist holds a microphone and announces the weather and season to theclass. The calendar student recites the date aloud to the class and points to the date. All of these jobs are examples of oral language being used in a common classroom activity.During large group instruction, students are given the opportunity to use orallanguage while learning new information. During math lessons and interactive readalouds
, students answer the teacher’s questions about a topic and share their own ideas.The teacher often asks questions such as: “what do you think will happen next?” or “Howdo you think this character might feel and how do you know?”
Students respond by usingoral language functions such as: expressing points of view, responding to questions andexpressing emotional identification. After large group lessons, students work on activitiesat their assigned tables. Students use oral language to ask questions about things that theyare struggling with. Students who are familiar with a topic typically take a leadership role by instructing other students at their table. Students learn to collaborate and solve problems as a group rather than asking an adult.
 
At the end of the day, students are allowed to participate in choice time activities.Students typically choose to draw pictures or cards for teachers and friends. Manystudents also enjoy playing with blocks and math manipulatives. The students who sit attables and draw do not use oral language much during choice time. However, they retellevents by drawing events that happen in the classroom throughout the day. Some studentsdraw favorite story characters from their library books, and tell friends about what theyare reading. The students who play with blocks and dolls use oral language inimaginative or pretend play.The student who I observed individually, was a 5-year-old kindergartener namedSreeja. While observing in the classroom, I notice that sreeja loves to share stories withher friends and teachers. During choice time, on the day of my observation, Sreeja toldme the story of Beauty and the Beast. Sreeja told the story by flipping through her library
 book and explaining the pictures. Although Sreeja’s book was far beyond her reading
level, she was able to retell the entire story through the use of picture cues and sightwords. Sreeja was able to explain whom each character was, how the characters fit intothe story and how characters felt. Sreeja was also able to communicate her favorite partsof the story and what characters she liked the best. Sreeja was able to express feelings,empathy and emotional identification while retelling the story of Beauty and the Beast.
For example, when Belle’s father is taken prisoner by the beast, Sreeja
said,
Belle mustfeel really bad that her dad is gone!
 By observing Sreeja, I also learned that she loves to retell events. Sreeja was veryexcited to tell me about the 100
th
day celebration she had in class. Sreeja was able todescribe the various activities that she did with her friends to celebrate. I noticed that

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