Video Reflection

Week 3
Goals:
1. John will understand that reading can be valuable even for children for entertainment and learning.
John will also gain confidence in his own reading skills. This will result in an overall MRP score of
80% by December.
2. John will be able to identify words out at an instructional 2nd grade level on the San Diego Quick
assessment by December
3. John will reach independent first grade reading level reading words in context on the QRI by
December
4. John will improve his reading rate to 45 WPM on first grade texts CORE assessments by December
5. John will improve in spelling vowel digraphs and igh/ough word teams, reflected by a move to “late
within word pattern” on the Words Their Way spelling inventory.
6. John will write a 3 sentence paragraph without help. Each sentence will contain an

independent clause. All sentences will be on topic, and will not repeat ideas. The paragraph
will be legible.
Background of the student: John is a second grade student who attends a private Christian school. He
has two older siblings, a sister and a brother, who both enjoy reading and have always read above grade
level. John is the only child in his family who struggles with reading. Though John has been well behind
his classmates in reading skills since kindergarten, he did seem to make some strides in his first grade
year, catching up in decoding (phonics skills) and comprehension. He is still behind in fluency and
writing. While his teacher from last year indicated on the classroom report that he was only one year
behind his classmates in these areas, I later learned that she was under the impression that the form
was going back to John’s mom and was not as honestly critical as she would have otherwise been. My
initial assessments indicate that John’s fluency and writing skills are at the primer level. The initial
assessments also indicate a weakness identifying and spelling words with vowel digraphs and –igh/-ough
teams.
John has always been above grade level in oral language, which was evident also by the CORE
vocabulary assessment I gave him on which he scored independent at a 3rd grade level. As his classroom
report indicated, John also has strong comprehension skills despite his low fluency scores. He has the
advantage of being part of a family that often travels and has exposed him to various cultures and
experiences. His rich background knowledge seems to play a role in helping him to comprehend texts,
though his reading is so labored. John has never had behavioral problems in school, though he is easily
distracted when completing less desirable tasks (like those involved with language arts). He sees himself
as an okay reader, but he believes his friends are much better readers. Though he knows reading is
important for adults, he does not yet see the value of reading for kids except as it helps them later in
life.

Week 3:

What did he learn before this lesson?
Up to this point, John has been learning about writing strategies such as making short, focused
paragraphs with separate sentences using proper punctuation and capitalization. He has also been
learning about reading with tone and expression. He has also been indirectly learning to increase his
reading rate and identifying words in context. The following lesson is part of our first direct practice with
words out of context.
Video lesson/ focus
Objective: John will be able to categorize –gh words based on the vowel sounds they make

Description of activities in the video:
I created some flash cards with –gh words that Johnny had struggled with previous sessions. Because
these similar spellings are pronounced differently and must be taught as sight words, I wanted to create
a game that would give Johnny multiple exposures to each word. I categorized the words by the vowel
sound, and made category headings of these sounds, using digraphs and diphthongs we had previously
covered. Before we began, I went over the category headings with Johnny to be sure he could recognize
the vowel sound that belonged in the heading. He struggled more than I had expected, which showed me
that he needed additional exposure to and practice with words containing these sounds (specifically the
variant vowel pairs). I put the category on the back of each sight word card as well to help with
instruction, as well as to let Johnny see for himself how did at the end of each game by flipping the card
to reveal the answer.
We began with just two categories. I took the sight words in each category and discussed each one with
him, revealing first the category so he would know what sound –ough made in each word. Together, we
broke the words down by phonemes so he could use the category name to sound out each word. I
pointed out that sometime –gh says /f/ and sometimes, when it is followed by another letter, we don’t
hear the /f/. I had him use some of the words in sentences to make sure he knew the words he was
saying. After one more quick review of each word, I shuffled the words, set out the headings, and had
him put the card in the correct category. I also asked him to say the words aloud as he read them. He
was struggling a lot in the first round, so I helped with hints as he worked. When he was done, he flipped
over each card to reveal the answers and see if he was right. He ended up getting 6 out of seven cards in
the correct category.

Questions for Reflection
1. Was the objective met? What evidence from your video demonstrates this? If not, what would
you do differently?
The objective was not met yet. John does not appear to be any better at recognizing these
words with automaticity than he was at the start of the lesson. On second thought, I should say
he does not appear to be any faster. He is actually a little better at recognizing them, as he did
not know some of them at all before we started. Part of me believes it would be easier to treat
this as a basic sight word lesson in which we just run through the flash cards as quickly as

possible until he does get faster. However, John did indicate that he does not like games of
speed, and I do like the thought and analysis he has to put into categorizing these words. I am
hoping that the categorizing part of this game will give him associations and connections that
make the words really stick with him. I might give this one more shot before I give up on this
method.
2. Identify areas of teacher talk that scaffolded, extended, or redirected the student response.
When John had trouble decoding these difficult words, I helped him by pointing out the
different phonemes. This allowed him to piece the sounds together to get near enough to the
word to figure it out. My “teacher talk” was mostly silent hints as he tried to identify the words
for himself, but it was nonetheless the scaffolding he needed to get the rest of the way by
himself.

3. What is a possible alternative approach/strategy for follow-up?
Since these words are mostly considered sight words, I could have done a simple flashcard
approach, or made a poster to point at as many kindergarten and first grade classrooms have
now. I am going to give my game approach (which I see tries to use phonics more than sight,
now that I analyze it) one more try before I move on to the flashcard method.
4. If you were acting in a coaching role- what question/s would you have for the teacher (you)?
I would ask the teacher why she chose what seems like a not very efficient method of teaching
sight words, and why these –gh words are given so much time for focus anyway. In answer to
that question, I would explain as I stated earlier that I hoped the associations built by
categorizing would help John to really internalize these words, and give him methods of figuring
out other –gh words he comes across in the future that I am not directly teaching. To answer the
second part of the question, I have noticed that these types of words are consistently halting his
reading rate, and they are a stumbling block to the fluency goal, which is the primary goal I hope
to achieve at the end of our short time together.
5. What is a key learning you achieved from this teaching episode?
I am not entirely sure yet. I feel that I may end up learning that I have totally wasted my time
trying to teach sight words with phonics strategies. I need another week to know for sure, but I
may just find that rote memorization is the way to go here.