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Taylor Hutson

ENG 315 TH, 5


Kidwatching Report

Understanding How Language & Literacy Develop:

For the purpose of this report, I will be referring to my focal student as ‘B.’ B is a young

male student that attends 5th grade in an elementary school. He has some younger brothers

and sisters, though I am not sure exactly how many. They all live together with his parents.

Through conversing with B, I have learned that he and his family spend a lot of time with his

grandpa. His grandpa lives in an apartment complex in Mt. Pleasant and B enjoys utilizing the

swimming pool that the complex has to offer. B also enjoys dogs and has told me many stories

of his grandpa’s dog and him playing. I believe that B and his grandpa have a very close

relationship because he enjoys sharing stories about him as well. I’m not exactly sure of B’s

cultural background. Although B has briefly mentioned relationships between his family

members and himself, I have not heard anything mentioned about his friendships in or outside

of school. B has some things that he needs to work on socially and academically. Socially, B

could talk more and interact more with his classmates. He doesn’t seem like a shy child;

however, he doesn’t seem to talk much with his peers. Academically, B should be working on

trying to stay focused and not getting off task. He also needs to improve his skills of

transferring what he says into writing. For example, B can thoroughly tell me a story and use a

good amount of detail, but when it comes time to write that same story down, he struggles.

Interacting with Children:

With my focal student, I am usually able to check on their work while I am walking

around the classroom. I will stop by and ask if B is having any trouble or if he needs help with

anything. Other than these interactions in the classroom, I have also been able to take B out to

the hallway for a quieter one on one interaction as well. These conferences seem to have a

better impact on the work that B is able to focus on and finish during the class period. This

shows me that B learns best when there are minimal distractions and with one on one

conversations where he can easily be redirected, if needed. I will continue to use probing

questions with B and the rest of the writing students to learn more about them. In order to do

this, I will try to dig deeper into what they are trying to tell me or trying to convey in their

writings. This will help me to not only understand them as students more, but to also

understand where they are at in their thought process and writing skills.

Observing or Documenting Children’s Knowledge:

The entire 5th grade class is currently working on a personal narrative paper in which

they can tell a story that has a lot of meaning or deep feeling to them. For B’s story, he is

writing about the time that his dog escaped from his grandpa’s apartment and began to run

down the road, which scared B. While adding in some finishing touches to his story, we were

trying out different hooks and conclusions that he had come up with. As I was reading his

paper back to him aloud, I noticed a spot where he had two sentences switched, which made

the story hard to follow in that area. As I read through that part, I stopped after it was over and

looked up at B. B looked up at me and sort of smiled and said, “That doesn’t make sense, I

think I need to look at that.” I agreed with him so we went through and reread that part of his

story. After having some discussion about why it sounded wrong, he realized that the
sentences just needed to be switched. This showed me B’s knowledge of language. It made me

realize that he knows stories need to be sequenced. B sees that you can’t just have random

sentences in random places, and that they need to be in order for the story to flow better. This

also made me realize that it could be beneficial for B to hear things read aloud so that he can

catch his own mistakes.

Engaging in Self Evaluation:

I try my best to facilitate children’s learning through my interactions with them in the

classroom. I ask open-ended questions that I use to try to get them thinking about how to

approach a situation. My hope, is that they begin to try to ask themselves these questions the

next time they are facing a problem. I also try to dig deeper with the work that they are

presenting to me. I try to ask the students what else they could add or what areas may need

more detail. Digging deeper with the students seems to be working well for the most part.

Most students are able to come up with more detail and information to add into their writings

to make them more interesting. However, my use of open-ended questions seem to be a little

more difficult with the students. Some react very well to these questions while others will still

need a bit of a guidance to come up with a response or a solution to the question. I believe

that I am allowing for the exploration of multiple literacies. I don’t hold students back from

putting their own spin on their writings, and I assure them that just because their writing is

different from their peers, doesn’t mean theirs is wrong. I believe that taking a kidwatching

approach into the classroom has become very influential on how I interact with the students.

By kidwatching the first few weeks of class, I was able to really get to know different students,

their personalities, and their styles of writing as well. This is helping me to better interact with
them now. I am able to use the information that I have learned and am still learning through

kidwatching, to better help them in their writings.

Using Evaluation to Inform Instruction:

Based on what I have learned so far about my focal student, my next step of instruction

will be to work on transferring thoughts and oral language into written language. This is an

area that B struggles with. He can tell me what he wants to say using details and using good

language; however, when it comes time to transfer those thoughts to paper, he forgets what he

wants to say and second guesses himself in what he should write.

Taylor Hutson

ENG 315 TH, 5


Conference Report


In the 5th grade classroom that I have been working with, all of the students are writing

their own personal narratives. These personal narratives have been revised, edited, and added

to many times since I have been working with this group of students. The students have been

working on their papers for many weeks and are in the finishing stages of completing their

work. Some of the main focal points that the teacher is working on with her students include:

making sure they have a good introduction hook, a good ending, transitions within the text, a

minimal amount of spelling errors, and a good overall structure. Some students within the

classroom have been experiencing difficulties with coming up with good endings, using

transitions, and the overall structure of their paper. However, my focal student, B, was mainly

having trouble with repeating himself in certain areas of the paper as well as using transitions.


As most of the students in the classroom were finished with their personal narratives,

there were still some students who had not yet put the final touches on their papers. One of

these students was B. I was asked to work with B on getting his paper ready to conference with

the teacher. As B and I sat down to read over what he already had, we decided to start off by

reading the whole paper aloud. This was done in order to see what else needed to be done to
the text and what may need to be changed. I began to read the paper aloud as he listened to

find any mistakes. We got through the whole paper and I asked if he heard anything off to

which he responded with “No.”

I decided to dig deeper with questions because I had noticed two things that needed to

be addressed within his paper. He had repeated himself in different areas of the text and he

attempted to use transitions and transitional phrases but he would use them where they didn’t

make much sense. I decided to first take a look at the transitional phrase issue. Reading the

paper with transitions that didn’t fit, made it confusing to read and you weren’t able to tell

what exactly was going on. I began again by asking him to listen to the paragraph that I was

about to read. I went on to read his first body paragraph which started by saying, “Then we

were going to make a trip to Walmart.” As soon as I finished that sentence B said “That doesn’t

sound right.”

The following was our exchange:

Me: “Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense, do you see what’s wrong with it?”
B: “Not really,”
I reread the sentence.
B: “I don’t know why I put then.”
Me: “Me either, that’s one of our transitions that we can use, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense
when we use it right there, is there a different transition or transitional phrase we could use?”
B: “I could say one day.”
Me: “You could! Or you could get more specific and add more detail too, what time of the day
was it? Was it morning, was it afternoon, was it nighttime?
B: “Afternoon.”
Me: “Okay, so how could we use that information with this transitional phrase we chose?”
B: “So could I say one afternoon?”
Me: “Yes, that would work! Make sure that when you’re using a transition, it fits in well with
the story. Not all transitions will work everywhere in your writings.”
B then went on to change “Then” to “One afternoon” in his personal narrative and

continued to look at the placement and use of other transitional phrases that he used.


I thought that the conference that B and I had went very well. I achieved what I had

hoped to achieve. This was getting him to look more closely at the placement and use of

transitions in his paper. He used a good amount of them throughout his narrative, but some of

them didn’t make sense where they were placed. I think that our conversation had him realize

that he can’t just plug a transition in and call it good; but instead, he needs to make sure it fits

in his writing. I also noticed that he began to change other transitions throughout his paper

too, so I think this conference registered with him and he understood what I was saying.


I believe that with this conference with B, I showed an example of the key practice in

which teachers begin conferences with open-ended questions. I started out by asking B why he

thinks his first paragraph sounds incorrect and not just by telling him what is wrong with the

sentence. He is able to see that it is his transition that is making the first sentence sound odd.

From there, I continued to ask open-ended questions so that B will be thinking harder on the

To: Host Teacher
From: Ms. Hutson
Date: 11/29/2018
RE: B’s Progress and Instructional Needs


B, along with his classmates, has spent the majority of the past two months working on

a focal piece during writing time in our classroom. These writings were to be personal

narratives in which the student told their audience about an event that held meaning to them

and gave them a strong feeling. They were told to make sure they portrayed a reason for

writing about their story, had a sequencing of events, transitions, a hook, and a purposeful

ending. B had many conferences with me throughout this writing. We conferenced on what it

was that he wanted to write about in his personal narrative, all the way up to the final editing

of his paper. These many conferences allowed me to see where B stood in his writing abilities

as well as how much he had grown throughout this experience.

Description of Findings:

I have attached an example of B’s writing to the bottom of this document. There you

will find his final personal narrative writing.


Within B’s writing, I am able to see that he has a general story of something that

happened, how it made him feel, and what he wants to do to make sure it doesn’t happen

again. I think that B did a good job of an overall improvement with this writing. He started out

very shaky in this writing piece with his sequencing out of order, a wrong sense of transition
use, and a structure that was not as defined. This final piece of writing shows tremendous

improvement when compared to B’s first draft. Sequencing is an important part of 5th grade

narratives and I believe B did a good job of sequencing his story. The main things that I see that

B still needs to work on is his detail in his writings. He says what he needs to get his story across

to his readers, but more detail would make this story more appealing. B also needs to improve

on capitalization skills which, according to 5th grade standards, should be happening at his

level. He randomly capitalizes some words and doesn’t capitalize others. Though I had the

opportunity to confer with B many times throughout his writing process, I believe the most

important conference I had was the last one. Within this conference, we seemed to focus

mostly on the use of transitions. When we first sat down and looked at what he thought was

his final paper. There were many uses of transitions and transitional phrases; however, most of

these didn’t make sense in the way they were used. After asking him to re-read many of these

transitions and explaining how and when to use a transition, B was able to fix most of these

errors without my help. This conference really helped to B’s writing have a better flow.

Next Steps for Learning:

In order to improve this piece of writing, B would need to add more detail in many parts

of his story. This would work to help the story flow better and also give more reason as to why

this was important to him. I would continue to ask B open-ended questions that will get him

thinking about what else he could add to his story to make it more interesting.
Reference List:

B’s Final Personal Narrative

*I have changed the name of B’s dog to “R”
*I have changed the name of how B refers to his Grandfather to “O”
Dog Ran Out

Would you be scared if you lost your dog? One time I almost lost my dog, R, and it was
really scary. It all started when me and my O went to go to the store. We were getting in the
truck but the house door was left half way open and R came running out.

One afternoon, we were going to walmart for groceries. Then O and I got In my os truck.
My os truck is gray. We were still in the house driveway. O was not focusing on the house door.
He was focusing on getting in his truck and my o left the house door open.

We were in the truck driving to Walmart and R started to chase us down the road.
Suddenly, ”Ro ran out” I yelled to O as my tan yorkie ran out the door. I hope someone will
catch him, I thought.

I hope he will come back I thought. It was a dirt road with rocks and sand and ditches on
both sides. The road was dangerous for R.

“R!” My O yelled. R just kept running.

“Stop the truck O,” I said. When I looked behind me I saw R chasing us. I rolled the
window down in the truck, I felt the wind on my face and arm.

“Come here R,” I yelled. R he ran to me. I opened the truck door and R jumped in. I
was so relieved that he didn’t get hit.

“Good boy R” I said And I brought r with me to walmart and he loved it. And he was a
good dog. I realized I need to keep the house door shut. We don’t want to let R out any more.