Coleman TE 408 Spring 09 Describe and explain your online genre and how it works.

What makes the form you’ve chosen logical given your audience and purpose for the MG Research Unit? Be explicit and give examples. The online genre that I have created is a weebly site. The weebly site permitted me to publish my information so that anybody can see it and use it as a resource. In order for my site to seem like a credible source, I made sure to include a brief piece of biographical information about myself, while also providing credible resources within my unit. I chose to make a weebly site because I did not want people to be able to contribute to the site, but rather made it accessible and easy for them to use as a resource. The site is very accessible because it allows for visitors to view entire embedded documents, and they can also print the lessons and handouts if they would like to use them in their own classrooms. Overall, the site is very easy to use for teacher with tabs on the side indicating and directing them to certain parts of the unit, making it a very good resource for other teachers and future educators. How does this unit ask students to engage in multiliteracies? What are the strengths and challenges of planning with multiliteracy objectives? Be explicit and give examples. Throughout this unit I challenge students with multiliteracies in various ways. My mulitgenre research unit that focuses on African American Vernacular English has various nontraditional components that allow all students to think outside of the box, while changing their ideas of what research can consist of. When students normally think of a research assignment, they begin to assume they will be using computers and books to gather information to help them to write a standard essay. This unit deviates from the standard and takes a more hands on approach, engaging all types of learners in the classroom. To better understand African American Vernacular English students are given the assignment of going into their communities, to actually hear what the language sounds like. They record the grammar usage of friends and family members to see which grammar rules of AAVE are most commonly used. Students who are auditory learners are able to hear the grammar that is being used, while textile learners are actually being able to interact with other people and move around physically. After conducting their research, students have to create a report which consists of the examples they heard and the grammar rules used. The research report that is created appeals to the visual learner since students have to write what they have heard and sees which examples are being used. This assignment is very similar to the goals of the exercise that have students recording themselves speaking, and then reflecting. All types of learners are being engaged since there is reading, writing, listening, speaking, and interacting. The concept of all students being engaged in every lesson, is prevalent throughout my entire unit, because I am bringing in various types of modes such as comic strips, radio shows, movies, and book to help allow all students to see and understand the rules of AAVE. The strengths of planning a unit with multiliteracies are that it seems more engaging and interactive than the traditional type of lesson. With a unit that encourages all students to learn, students are able to get a wide range of instruction and can never become too bored with an assignment. Additionally, students are able to use other types of intelligences they would not normally use, while gaining different perspectives to better understand the concepts that are being given to them. However, when creating a unit that encourages multiliteracies, it is hard to conceptualize what students are learning since there is so much interaction and not much lecture or traditional types of assessment. Therefore, it seems harder to gauge a students learning.

Coleman TE 408 Spring 09 Reflect recursively on what it means to plan inquiry-based experiences for students. Be explicit and give examples. For student to understand inquiry based research students need to be given the right tools to be successful, therefore the process needs to be highly scaffolded. To frame the unit, students are asked to question the stereotypes of African American Vernacular English speakers in an attempt to see how language is a very distinguishing factor than can sometimes put limitations on people. Understanding this concept, allow my students to open their eyes to the society around them, and work to break free of the negative connotations by becoming more aware and knowledgeable. Students are then able to see the purpose of the unit, and can begin to start learning and generating opinions about the subject. While students are learning basic information about the language, they are given various assignments such as finding hip-hop songs, listening to people in their community, and recording themselves speak to better understand African American Vernacular English and its basic components. However, students may not realize that they are conducting their own research, since it is vey non traditional. Additionally, students are given the opportunity to be introduced to various modes that they can use in their own multigenre project. By showing students various pieces of work, these serve as examples to the students, assisting in the final creation of their project. Planning this type of unit allowed me to see that students need to gain as much experience with the tools they are given as possible so that they may be successful on the final assignment. Further noted, students need adequate time to prepare their research so that all possible perspectives and questions that the student may have had can be answered. How does what you planned account for the development of procedural knowledge in your students? How does what you planned on a daily basis connect to the overall plans for the unit and vice versa? Be explicit and give examples. The multigenre unit has two main specific goals; allow students to learn and understand the grammar rules governing African American Vernacular English and the use of spoken, written, and visual modes to communicate their ideas to different audiences. With these two very specific goals, students are slowly guided through the unit, first becoming familiar with the language. In order for students to become familiar with AAVE, I created handouts of the most common grammar and lexicon rules and have them read from Geneva Smithermans, “Talkin’ that Talk.” Using the handouts students are able to identify various rules in different types of texts, such as songs, poems, and even children’s books, gives the student valuable hands on experience with the language. Once, students have learned the rules of the language, they are able to form more informed opinions. Students are then given the opportunity to hear the opinions of influential people, such as Bill Cosby’s, about African American Vernacular English. Hearing the varied perspectives, students are able to begin to construct their own ideas about whether the language should be allowed in classes. Throughout the unit, students were given various types of text to learn from, all of which are available to them to use in their final multigenre research project. Additionally, students engaged in a debate in which they were able to hear the multiple perspectives surrounding African American Vernacular English, which students could translate into their final project, or even help to better inform their own thinking. All in all, the unit was designed to give the students knowledge about AAVE, while scaffolding them into forming their own opinions about the language, based upon the information that was given and researched.

Coleman TE 408 Spring 09 What makes what you’ve planned dialogic? What are you learning about the challenges of dialogic teaching? How specifically could you improve these plans in this regard? Be explicit and give examples. In my multigenre research unit I have included many lessons that include the components of dialogic teaching, with students not only talking among their peers, but also engaging in their communities and creating discussion between teacher and students. To allow for dialogic discussion to take place, I have given students the opportunity to respond to journal prompts on the board that help to frame the day’s lesson. The free-writing activity helps students to gather their thoughts before discussions, creating a more authentic classroom discussion. Through these constructive discussions, the teacher will facilitate and motivate students to develop key ideas and aid students in clarifying misunderstandings. Within these discussions, students will be able to interact and engage with their peers, while exploring their newly constructed knowledge. Since many times we will be discussing very controversial subjects, it is important for the teacher to create a safe environment where all students are able to willingly participate. In my unit, students will be sharing what they have found in their research, or discussing their reflections with each other. This can be very uncomfortable for many students, therefore having a safe environment is important. However, if students are unwilling to participate they do have their written statements to turn in, so there participation can be counted like that. In addition to the traditional discussions, I have included a debate, jigsaw readings, and a gallery walk. All of these types of discussions are important in the classroom because it gets everybody up, moving around and interacting with each other. The unit that I created has many dialogic components, but it seems that not all students are going to do the work that requires them to be able to participate in the discussions. For example, the debate requires students to work individually and find information pertaining to their stance on African American Vernacular English. This could be somewhat of a problem for the student that have difficulties on the computer or even those that do not know where to start. In order to combat this problem, students could work in small groups with each other, or the teacher could provide a site that has links to other helpful resources. Lastly, I engage students with group work so that they will be able learn from each other. During these times, students will sometimes not be on task. To make sure that all students are on task, I could give group members assigned jobs such as recorder, timekeeper, etc. Doing so holds all students accountable for the day’s tasks. In general, to improve my plans to make them more dialogic, I could do interactive activities to make sure that students have knowledge of the material so they can participate in a meaningful and beneficial learning experience, while also giving them time to reflect about what they have learned in that day.

Coleman TE 408 Spring 09