You are on page 1of 3

Daylan Bakes

Social Studies
12/14/14
Social Studies Analysis
Planning and Modifying the Lesson
I had initially wanted to do a social studies lesson based on the „true‟ story of
Thanksgiving. That lesson would have consisted of a read aloud and writing activity. Due
to time constraints I ended up using a more contemporary Thanksgiving text called
Balloons Over Broadway. The main structure of the lesson remained the same, with a
read aloud followed by a writing activity. My students work on a reader‟s workshop
followed by a writer‟s workshop almost daily. They are comfortable with these lessons
and are familiar with the structure of a read aloud followed by a writing activity. The text
Balloons Over Broadway is a picture book biography of Tony Starg, the original
puppeteer for the Macy‟s Day Parade. Starg designed the original floats that eventually
became the balloons we are familiar with now. I had to do very little outside research, the
text came with a detailed „adult‟ story of Starg‟s life; however, I did do a little extra
research to familiarize myself with the history.
Enacting the Lesson
The lesson went fine – my students stayed largely engaged and completed the tasks asked
of them. My goal was for them to make a connection between the histories of the parade
floats, originally created as homages to different celebrations from around the world for
the many immigrants working at Macy‟s in New York City, and their own varying family
holiday traditions. Very few of my students made this connection completely, reflecting it
in their writing; however, during the lesson focus shifted from forming connection to
producing a written piece. I think this could have been avoided had a been more
intentional in the directions I gave and allowed my students to turn and talk, discussing
their traditions with a peer, giving them something to write. The feedback given to me by
my Penn mentor was largely centered around this shift in focus, which seemed to happen
on its own, something I now realize could have been avoided by a more intentional
discussion of the text and the connection I wanted my students to make.
Reflections and Modifications
My self-evaluation was accurate. What differed before and after my conversation and
review of my Penn mentor‟s notes was a lack of solution. While I recognized that a shift
of focus had occurred during my lesson, I wasn‟t quite sure what I could do to refocus or
change the lesson to refocus. It was my Penn mentor who suggested a turn and talk,
which would make the transition into writing much easier and make the text-to-self
connection more apparent for my students. Eventually I had to pull a smaller group of
four or five students aside to discuss what they were going to write, which might have
been prevented had their been an opportunity for a turn and talk. In this smaller group we
were more able to have them talk about what their personal connections were to the text.

1

Daylan Bakes
Social Studies
12/14/14
I believe in my lesson design. I think having my students attempt a text-to-self
connection is developmentally appropriate; however, something was missing. This
something was discussion. I implemented this lesson with all 24 of my students, which
was a challenge. My students are very capable of intertextual connection and definitely
capable of text-to-self connection (having observed them do both before). I believe that a
lack of prompted student led discussion and the large number of students (which I will
eventually have in my own classroom) is what led to their misunderstanding and our lack
of focus. For this reason, I would add a few minutes of turn and talk, allowing my
students to discuss the connections they were making and allowing me to assess where
they were in their understanding.
After teaching this lesson I‟ve realized I need to work on my explanation and my
intervention techniques. I was very aware of my students missing something, some
connection that they desperately needed to be able to complete my goals for them, but in
the moment I didn‟t know how to rectify the situation. I didn‟t know what intervention
steps I needed to take to get them where they needed to be. I was aware of the slipping,
but couldn‟t figure out how to get a better grasp.
Assessing Student Learning
Student

Conclusions
about Learning

Evidence from
Assessment

Lilly p. 2

Lilly
understood
what I was
asking
completely. She
is the only one
who made the
jump
completely to
creating a float
reflecting her
own family
traditions.
Lei, while
understanding
what I asked,
seemed to make
a connection
between
parades, not the
abstract of
creating his
own float based

My conclusion
of Lilly‟s
learning come
from her
written piece in
which she
discusses her
families
alternative
Thanksgiving
dinner.

I think Lilly
could have
challenged
more. She
could have
written much
more than the
page I asked.

This conclusion
comes from
Lei‟s writing
and drawing, in
which he
speaks directly
of the Chinese
New Year
parade and
dragons.

I think Lei is
one of the
students who
would have
benefitted most
from a turn and
talk – the
opportunity to
discuss his
ideas.

Lei p. 7

Evidence from
written
feedback

What I would
do differently

2

Daylan Bakes
Social Studies
12/14/14

Josie p. 20

on these
traditions.
Josie definitely
made the
connection of
creating her
own float based
on her own
traditions,
traditions based
on Christmas.

This evidence
stems from
Josie‟s writing
“my flowt was
bast on
christmase
eve.” Her float
is of a
Christmas tree
and clearly has
figures drawn,
holding down
the float by its
ropes.

Josie was one
of the students I
had to meet
with
independently
in the group of
four or five.
She really
struggled to
begin writing. I
think she, like
Lei, would have
benefitted from
a turn and talk
– a moment of
discussion, to
verbalize what
she was going
to write.

3