EDCI 602: Personal Reflection
Because we have only been teaching summer school for a week and a half, we have a limited number of samples to draw on for this exercise.
My students have been most successful at my lessons involving rote memorization. We had a fantastic first day with rules and consequences and, once these had been explained and implemented day two, learning the 8 parts of speech, went quite smoothly as well. My first theory to explain the success of these first days is the nature of the material, which required only that the students write down or memorize and then regurgitate specific pieces of information. The students also had some prior knowledge of parts of speech so I suspect that they felt fairly confident giving examples in front of their peers even though they were not always right. Additionally, modeling for these goals was easy and effective. A noun is a tree. I want you to sit in your seat LIKE THIS. Having a clear correct answer makes the students feel more comfortable, and at this point all the answers were at the first DOK level, "right there."
My students were least successful at the lesson in which I attempted to combine identifying and labeling ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS. This unfortunately seemed simple to me at the outset, but my students had a much harder time than I expected. After going through separate examples of adjectives, and then adverbs, and identifying the word being modified in each case and that word’s part of speech and subsequently applying the definition of “adjective” or “adverb” to confirm our assessment, I tried to combine the two. The students, I believe, struggled with this for a number of reasons. First, they are unaccustomed to having to think in order to get a correct answer. The answer was not “right there” for them; rather, they had to go through many steps to arrive at a correct answer. Furthermore, I feel that I could have been more explicit in my instructions about how to label the modifiers and WHY we were labeling the part of speech of the modifiers as well. After 50 minutes on adjectives and adverbs there is no reason other than simple failure to convey information that a student should have “big” as his “describer,” “tree” as his “word being modified,” “noun” as the part of speech of the word being modified, and yet have labeled the “describer” in this sentence and ADVERB. If he got all the pieces in place that I was trying to teach him except for the final step to success, I should have been more diligent in checking for understanding of the instructions of and the purpose for the activity under discussion.
Overall I think that my instructional procedures are effective for certain types of learners (visual and auditory) but that I could improve on including different learning styles. For example, if student X is a kinesthetic learner I could be sure to bring in some type of manipulative each day such as index cards labeled with adj’s or adv’s to be sorted into different columns or sticky notes on the board that would need to be physically arranged by a student into the appropriate column. This would undoubtedly help the entire class by providing a different way to look at the same problem, and would effectively differentiate for the kinesthetic learners. Also, based on my analysis above, I should probably plan more explicit transitions clearly explaining the connection between two ideas before I ask the students to embark upon drawing connections in a rather uncharted way, which is often intimidating to students as well as less likely to produce the same desired end result.
With much to learn …