3. Differentiation – The teacher acquires and uses specific knowledge about students’ cultural, individual intellectual and social development and uses that knowledge to adjust their practice by employing strategies that advance student learning.
As this year is coming to a close, I have frequently been finding myself reflecting on the school year as a whole. It has been a long and difficult journey leading my fourth-grade class as I took over full-time teaching and had to make the classroom my own while also cooperating with my mentor teacher. I balanced a social life, a night class capstone, lesson planned and scripted a whole week in advance… the list could go on.
However, the biggest thing that I have been reflecting on is my students and how well I have come to know them. Intellectually and socially, I have come to recognize that I have made this a priority in knowledge about my students and have attached this knowledge toward my teaching with individual students.
For example, I did an assessment on a single student in learning progressions for ELA (two assignments attached below); while in this process, I was also learning about who this student was as a person and heard how their world was outside the classroom. Prior to any changes to occur, I had to select a progress monitoring goal (from the attached PowerPoint below):
- “Progress monitoring goal will be focused on that the student will be able to increase levels of prosody
- Why will this be beneficial?
- ‘Scaffolding students’ learning by dividing instructional activities into small, manageable units. 132 This way, students will have limited information to process and will be able to do so quickly, with a high degree of accuracy.'(Baker, Scott)”
Next, I had to use baseline intervention results, measuring the students WPM as well as their fluency of grade-level texts. This student in particular was very low and in the additional stages of my project, his reading the first time around resulted in a lower-level text and word list. Thus, I could approach my specific goals for this student that involves prosody:
- Reads in larger, meaningful phrase groups
After three one on one sessions with this student, I was able to come out of the project with a few take aways
First read-through vs. third read-through
- Jose kept about the same WPM rate
- Jose read the material louder and with more emphasis on words that effected Rosa’s emotions or events that happened that seemed significant to the story.
- There were more pauses being made in between sentences and commas.
Not only academically did I learn from this assignment, but through this I was also able to approach the student in particular ways that proved beneficial for their successes in the classroom and developed a relationship with them to the point where I actually saw 1) a difference in their learning through reading and writing work and 2) a smile on their face while doing the work.
Before this change occurred, often the student and I would be at odds over work ethic and relating to one another. Since then, I have been able to gain this knowledge with many of my students and measurably been able to see the difference in assessment and small group work.