Pre-observation conference notes Briefly describe the students in your classroom (e.g.

, number of students, gender, special needs etc.) My second period class is an English I honors class in the STEM college, there are currently 16 students. This is a diverse class; many students are Hispanic, 4 students are while, 1 is African American. In terms of where they are from: 1 is from Guyana and 1 is from Bosnia, others have families who immigrated from the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Of these 16 students, 11 are boys and 5 are girls. Seven students in this class are ELL students who have exited the program. One student is gifted. According to the eighth grade FCAT Reading testing data , 2 students in this class scored at level 5; 3 students scored at level 4 and 11 students scored at level 3. . Students at the lower reading levels in this class have a desire to succeed and an interest in the course content, but are often underprepared for the rigors and workload of an honors class or of grade level texts. Nearly all of the students are involved in extracurricular activities: 1 of these student are in the medical academy, several are in the band or chorus, and several students in this class are athletes—all of these take considerable time outside of school and require that I make the most out of class time as students have difficulty completing more than 30 minutes of homework a night. In addition, there is a student in this class whose parents are in the middle of a separation and heading toward divorce; I have taken this into consideration as I crafted this unit by choosing an image that will not directly connect to his currently difficulties. Attached is the benchmark and FCAT data I have gathered about these students. Several students were on track at the beginning of ninth grade according to their benchmark data, but have fallen to “NI” or needs improvement after the winter test. The transition from middle to high school is sometimes difficult for students and these honors students are no exception. Attachments: FCAT_scores)_grd 8_per2.png on_track_data_per2.png How will you scaffold the content within the lesson? The lesson’s goal is to teach students how to read an image for detail, to connect details from writing to details used in images and then to transfer that learning to students’ own writing. The lesson is organized from part to whole using the current standard: bell work, modeled lesson, paired practice, application and closure. For this specific lesson, students will begin by summarizing the story they read the day before using a somebody-wanted-but-so structure. That structure scaffolds summarizing for students and helps them focus on the big picture of a story (character, motivation, conflict and resolution). Once students review the story we will read an image on which the story is based. Students will be asked to read for details one quadrant of the image at a time. This part of the lesson comes from “Reading a Visual Image” in Daniels and Steinke’s book Texts and Lessons for Content Area Reading. Once students have read the image and taken notes quadrant by quadrant we will make explicit connections between the image and the text. Then I will move students into differentiated small groups to write. One group, a group that has demonstrated difficulty using technology to publish and share writing, will work with me. The remaining students will be grouped heterogeneously. I intend to pair stronger bloggers/writers, with students who are new or reaching to write and blog daily.

Attachments: Lesson plans3-10-3-14.pdf slice_challenge_round_up.png strange_day_july_resource.png slice_list_day7.png The rationale for the sequence of instruction: The lesson begins with a review of the prior day’s reading in order to activate student’s memory to enable them to connect today’s lesson and learning to yesterdays. The sequence of this lesson (revealing the image quadrant by quadrant) allows for the “ah-ha” moment. It sets students up for discovery, so that students are doing most of the thinking and processing and not merely relying on the teacher to tell them what the image means. We have read the story (written about the image). Though I sometimes begin with the visual and then go to the verbal or written word, for this lesson I reversed the order because students have experience now reading and writing stories. The structure is not new or unfamiliar to them, but realizing the story in an image might be. By seeing the image after reading the story, students will experience the ah-ha—the “oh, that is what the author is describing” as they read the image. Once students connect the writing details to the visual details they are ready to write their own detail-rich stories. We are participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers ( short, short story about one of the pictures in the Harris Burdick collection will be a perfect slice blog post. How the content is related to previous lessons, units or other content: We are in the middle of a short story unit and a writing challenge. We are studying how writers begin and end stories as well as how they use specific detail and wording to create memorable characters and scenes. This lesson on reading an image for details in order to add more detail to our own writing fits the unit goals and connects to other reading and writing lessons we have done in several ways. Students have read for a purpose before, reading for details sets another purpose. We’ve read for how an author uses figurative language, so widening that purpose or scope is what this lesson will do. In addition, this lesson looks forward. I chose “A Strange Day in July” by Sherman Alexie because rising tenth graders will read Alexie’s book The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian for summer reading. Using the Alexie story now will begin to lay the groundwork and build familiarity for Alexie’s language and style for the summer reading assignment. Possible confusions that may impact the lesson: There are many possible confusions that could impact this lesson at a variety of points in the lesson. First students may not remember the story we read the previous day or they may be confused about the main character’s motivation (what he or she wanted) or the conflict. Students might not recall the story’s ending (or resolution), especially if they did not finish reading the story on their own after class. Students might not connect the image to the story. They might skip reading deeper into the details or not be able to read for detail. These missteps or confusions will lead students to a shallow reading of both texts when what I really want is for students to dig deeper into both text and image by doing a “slow reading” as Thomas Newkirk and Kelly Gallagher say. Slow reading is about taking time to develop relationship with text through reading and re-reading in order to appreciate and understand the writer’s voice, style and

language—it’s a deeper kind of reading than reading for pleasure and it has a different purpose. When we read slowly for detail in this case we are reading like writers who will use what we learn from the text in our own writing. Newkirk, Thomas. (2012). The Art of Slow Reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Gallagher, Kelly. (2009). Readicide. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

How does this lesson progress within the unit over time? Lessons within this unit connect to students’ reading, writing and technology skills. In terms of reading, I began the unit by modeling how to read a short story and how to pull out the author’s lead, memorable wording, character description and endings. I scaffolded students’ ability to do this on their own by guiding them through the initial reading, then guiding them through less of a story and then monitoring them as they tried it themselves. Unit goals include reading for detail, figurative language and word choice and then using said in writing that is published and shared via blogs on Bear English, a social network I set up for students and English teachers at Cypress Creek High School. This particular lesson falls after we’ve reviewed and read for figurative language and before we’ve focused specifically on word choice and its effect on style. Writing lessons are similarly scaffolded. I model writing, then I pull mentor texts and use them to demonstrate the goal before sending students to write on their own. I follow a similar sequence with the technology aspect of this unit and lesson, but in addition to modeling and demonstrating the platform, blogging and tools, I record the lesson on the computer using a screen casting tool and upload them to YouTube ( so that students can revisit and review the lesson anytime they need it. As of this writing, I have uploaded 14 videos which have been viewed more than 200 times (see attached screen shot of channel page showing views). This lesson helps students make the connection between what they read, what they have been writing from their lives on their blogs and what they can write creatively. This lesson will help students understand how details are used in texts and that all texts can be read from a writer’s stance and be used as fodder for writing. Students will make choices and take initiatives during the final part of the lesson where they are writing their own blog posts about an image they will choose from the Harris Burdick collection. Students will have the option to use the image we worked with together or choose another image about which to write. The learning will extend to our online space via blogging and commenting on each others’ blogs. In addition, if students do choose to write fiction about the image sharing and reviewing that fiction with peers will allow them to rehearse what they know about elements of short stories. Attachments: Slice of Life blogging challenge2013.docx

Portable_Teacher.pdf Slice_of_Life_Evaluation_Revised2013.docx Slice of Life A to Z. doc Text to text go.pdf How will you align this lesson with established content standards identified by the district and the manner in which that content should be sequenced? Currently the district does not identify a scope and sequence for the content of English classes— the CIA (Curriculum Instruction and Alignment) plans are being revised to comply with the upcoming Common Core roll out, so English teachers have been told to use school-based curricular plans for the time being. The department at Cypress Creek has mitigated the lack of a district scope and sequence by determining common texts and a standards-based common focus. We follow the Reading Instructional Focus Calendar shared by the school’s reading coach. This lesson fits our school-wide focus on close reading (re-reading and marking the text specifically to observe facts and details about the text). This lesson fits that continuing focus because students are being asked to do a close reading of a short story and an image. They will be able to cite textual evidence to explain the story in both texts by the end of the lesson.

How do you plan to address the special needs of your students to include special education students, ELL students and students who come from home environments that offer little support for schooling? I plan to address special needs of my ELL students by providing visual support and by narrating demonstration videos (if needed). Such videos are made in the moment, in the midst of teaching when a problem or issue is identified, I explain, re-teach and sometimes video the lesson so that students can return to it later to clear up confusion. These support videos also provide students who come from home environments that offer little support with support—and a means to ask for more (via email or message) informally, after the school day has ended. Additional accommodations include nonvisual representations, graphic organizers, one-on-one support and cooperative grouping.

Overall Comments A lesson is never planned in isolation. Though the story and Harris Burdick images were planned as part of this unit, the idea to structure the image portion of the lesson grew out of the work I did with the 11/12th grade lesson study team last week. The team adapted a research lesson titled “Reading a Visual Image” from Daniels and Steinke’s book Texts and Lessons for Content Area Reading. The lesson allows students to analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment. We used William’s poem “Landscape of the Fall of Icarus” and Breughel’s painting of the same title). Based on the strengths and pitfalls of that collaboratively planned lesson, I designed a similar lesson with a narrower instructional goal (for ninth graders). I look forward to sharing with the lesson study team once I’ve completed the lesson.

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