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Lesson Self-Assessment for ED 215R



Balanced Literacy
School/grade level/#

Name of Cooperating
Kerry Seiberlich
In order to more deeply comprehend
the texts in a series, students will be
able to make inferences about
character traits, feelings or actions,
and will know how inferring can be
useful when reading across a series.
Lesson taught on 4/3/14
Brookfield Elementary 4th grade 20
Jodi Erickson

WTS:1,2,3,4,5,7DISP: Respect) Clearly identify the range of literacy
development of the learners in your classroom and describe how you planned to
address that range throughout your lesson plan. Thoroughly explain how an
effective theoretical model such as Holdaway or Vygotsky guided you as you
planned your lesson. Explain what worked well in your plan and what you would
have changed/did change and why.
According to Fountas and Pinells Text Level Ladder of Progress, the students
for whom I prepared this lesson ranged from levels L-P, which indicates that many of
them are into third-grade levels. Because of this fairly wide range of abilities, I
designed a lesson plan that would be relevant and applicable to any reading level in
the class; a lesson that built on prior knowledge possessed by all the students
allowed all levels of readers to participate and to focus on the process, strategy, and
lesson objective rather than struggling through the text itself. This was fairly simple,
since I knew that all the students had learned about Mercy Watson, and that they
had read several of the books from this series as a group. This flexibility allowed me
to use Cambournes Conditions for Learning particularly demonstration,
engagement, and response in order to reach my students and ensure that they
had the tools to successfully make inferences about the characters in a series.
As I planned my lesson, I focused heavily on Demonstration, Engagement,
and Response for my students, and the gradual release of responsibility that ties
these ideas from Cambourne to Vygotskys Socio-linguistic theory. First, I
demonstrated the strategy for the class (Demonstration - I do, you watch), then
began to canvass responses from students (Engagement/Response - I do, you help),
and eventually, the children were generating their own ideas, though my guidance
was still needed in some cases (Approximation/Response - you do, I help). By the
time the lesson was over, students were able to make inferences on their own, with
little to no help from me (Engagement/Response - you do, I watch). Other facets of
Vygotskys Socio-Linguistic Theory appear in my lesson plan: by including partnersharing time, I encouraged students to learn from their more expert other
(whichever of the pair was more comfortable with the strategy), while also allowing
the expert other to reinforce their understanding by taking on the role of a teacher.
The lesson was heavily based on language and social interaction, as students were
speaking and sharing their ideas, and we tracked our ideas in writing. The
organization of their thoughts was crucial, and so it was necessary to keep them
focused and on-task in order to complete the lesson. Fortunately, keeping them
engaged was much easier than I expected, as everyone was eager to share their
thoughts, ideas, and anything else that seemed relevant! Even when the lesson
deviated from the objective, however, it was easy to reel students back in toward
the learning goal.
Overall, I feel that the theoretical approach that I used for this lesson
Cambourne and Vygotsky - was very effective. However, I did run into some small
issues during the delivery. We started later than I anticipated, and, as a result, was
forced to cut my lesson short at the end. While I did this well and was able to
conclude the mini-lesson effectively, I was unable to get through the entirety of my
plan. I also, at one point, asked students to discuss with their partner the strategy I
used in making an inference. I got so wrapped up in listening to their discussions
that I didnt realize they were already making inferences of their own, rather than
talking about the process of making an inference only when I reviewed the

camera footage did I realize my error! I also had trouble collecting evidence of
student learning, as the files I received afterwards the students post-itnotes in
their books and their responses on Edmoto about inferring in their independent
reading were sent from an iPad. I had quite a bit of trouble trying to open these
files on my personal PC, Macs on campus, and on iPads from the Media Hub. Since
my C.T., Jodi, left for her Spring Break, I was unable to get these files in another
format, so my evaluation of the student learning in my lesson wont be quite as
thorough as Id like.
Classroom environment: (AEA: Coordination, Integrative Interaction WTS:
1,2,3,4,5,6 DISP: Respect, Responsibility, Collaboration, Communication)
Explain how you set up a positive learning environment and encouraged student
participation in the learning. How did you focus student attention throughout the
learning experience to engage them productively in the learning the lesson
objective? Evaluate your interactions with the students and their interactions with
each other.
Fortunately, the second graders of Mrs. Ericksons classroom have practiced
their social interaction skills consistently throughout the year, as evidenced both by
the routines in place and their impressive ability to communicate overall. This
made it easy for me to use their established routines in order to encourage this
positive atmosphere during the lesson, and these techniques worked beautifully.
Before the lesson began, I had students sit next to their elbow-partners and get
set up with post-its, clipboards, and pencils, giving them a hint about the types of
thinking and sharing we would be doing. They were clearly interested in the camera
though, so I also gave the students 30 seconds or so to goof off before we got
started. This way, not only could they burn a little energy before sitting down, but
they could also get used to being recorded.
During the lesson, I listened carefully to the partner discussions of as many
students as I could, paying particular attention to those that didnt speak as much in
the large group. Many of them were capable of making inferences about the
characters, and each inference was based on prior knowledge that the students
identified from earlier Mercy Watson books. For example, students knew that the
firemen were at the Watson household regularly, so they might be happy to get
another call there especially since Mrs. Watson makes toast! Whenever someone
made an inference that might not make sense or an inference that wasnt really
an inference, but a retell I would ask on what the student had based his/her
inference. This prompted discussion, and students were enthusiastic about building
on their peers ideas.
In partner discussions, students were focused and on-task, and I was able to
ascertain this by listening in on several pairs. Students consistently explained their
inferences and where they had been drawn from, and while some of the inferences
got a bit silly, the fact that students were drawing them from prior knowledge and a
given piece of information meant that they were still learning after all, learning
takes place most effectively when its enjoyed. By listening in on these
conversations, however, I was able to then call on students for their ideas without
catching them off-guard, setting them up for success in the group discussion. I also

set them up for success by creating an anchor chart, where we recorded the various
pieces of information in a math problem: Idea from me + Idea from the author =
Inference. Each term of our math problem formed a column, where we could place
these various pieces for each inference we made.
Overall, Im very pleased with the interactions that took place during my
lesson. They were positive, generally very focused, and the student-to-student
interactions were always friendly and supportive, with many building on their peers
ideas and contributing positively. As for my interactions with students, I feel that I
handled the lesson fairly well. I know that it is through these types of small,
constant interactions that I will build a rapport with my own students one day, and
that such a rapport can only strengthen my students learning and
ability/willingness to focus.
Instruction: (AEA: Communication, Coordination, Diagnosis, Integrative
Interaction WTS: 1,2,4,5,6,7,10 DISP: Respect, Communication)
Thoroughly explain how you taught this lesson to meet your literacy objective.
Evaluate your implementation of your plan in relation to student
learning/performance and the theory. Did it have the effect you intended? Were the
needs of your literacy learners met? Explain what you found most difficult in
teaching this lesson. What changes would you make if you repeated this lesson?
Mrs. Erickson gave me a learning objective: inferring things about character
traits, feelings or actions and how inferring can be useful when reading across a
series. With some revisions, I have given it more meaning for myself:
In order to more deeply comprehend the texts in a series, students will be
able to make inferences about character traits, feelings or actions by
combining ideas from me and ideas from the author, and will know how
inferring can be useful when reading across a series.
In order to meet this learning objective for students, I identified a specific strategy
that students can use to make an inference during their reading of series books a
literacy unit theyd been working on for a few weeks when I taught. First, students
need to identify something they already know about the character from the earlier
books in their series: an idea from me. Second, they combine this idea with a piece
of information from the book right in front of them: an idea from the author. By
successfully inferring about a character, students are able to a) better understand
the motives, feelings, and actions of the character and b) better comprehend the
story as a whole.
We used this strategy of combining ideas from me with ideas from the author
throughout the lesson, finding situations on different pages of Mercy Watson Fights
Crime and combining students prior knowledge with the information in front of
them. I think that implementing this strategy through Vygotskys socio-linguistic
theory and Cambournes conditions of learning was very effective. The gradual
release of responsibility that I used in the lesson meant that students were able to
observe and discuss my strategy before trying it out for themselves, and thus, they

never felt discouraged because of failure, but instead were encouraged to learn and
supported by their peers and myself in a social, group setting. I feel confident that
the needs for most literacy learners if not all were met, but I cannot confirm this
because of my trouble with the electronic files that showed students inference
To be honest, however, I felt a bit stressed even during the lesson; we started
late, so I knew I would be short on time. As a result, I didnt take my time to give
proper feedback to students when they jumped ahead of me in the lesson. I asked
them to talk to their elbow partner about the strategy they saw me use when I
made an inference from the text, and instead got their inferences. However, I was
able to emphasize the process of inferring even then, by making sure that each
student could support his/her inference with an idea from me and an idea from the
I think that the implementation of my strategy was very effective. There was
enough practice with inferring and the various pieces of information needed to
make an inference that all students were able to infer effectively at their own ability
level. What I found most difficult in this lesson, however, was staying relaxed and
focused under pressure. The time crunch was on my mind throughout teaching, and
it shows in the video lesson. However, I dont think that this negatively impacted
the lesson overall, as I saw clear, effective examples of student understanding.
While there were students that didnt openly provide these examples, I listened to
their partner discussions and, rather than putting them on the spot and asking for
an inference out of the blue, I asked them for pieces of an inference. This way, they
could all think about what the process was, rather than jumping straight to a
Assessment: (AEA: Diagnosis, Integrative Interaction WTS: 1,2,3,7,8,9
DISP: Reflection)
Explain how you knew if the students learned what you taught them. What did you
learn from listening to student responses, examining their work or listening to their
interactions? What were your assessment procedures and how well did they inform
you about student attainment of your lessons objectives? To follow-up this lesson,
what would you teach next? Why?
While I had planned to collect examples of student work post-its in their
independent reading books where they made inferences, and responses on Edmoto
the files sent by my cooperating teacher were inaccessible from a variety of
devices, and her vacation to Mexico made it difficult to get in touch with her. As a
result, I have had to depend on my own notes taken during a few one-on-one
conferences after the lesson and the partner/group discussions to assess student
I know that these assessment procedures arent as strong as they wouldve
been if augmented by evidence of student work, especially since I was only able to
conference with two students from my lesson afterwards. The classes switched
immediately after my lesson, and most of my students were in different rooms.
However, based on the discussions and responses I heard and my assessment of
student inferring during one-on-one conferences, I feel as though they were able to

infer, but were less sure of the process they were using to do so. To follow up this
lesson, I would continue to emphasize ideas from me and ideas from the author,
making sure that students can and do - draw the connections that are integral to
Professional responsibilities: (AEA: Communication, Integrative Interaction
WTS: 1,2,6,7,9,10 DISP: Respect, Responsibility, Reflection,
Collaboration, Communication
Explain how you will apply what you learned from the feedback you received on this
lesson to teaching future lessons.
The feedback I received from this lesson was generally positive, although
Jodi, my cooperating teacher, suggested that I use colors more effectively for my
anchor chart. While I did use colors each inference and its pieces were a
corresponding color I realize now that the anchor chart wouldve been more
effective if each piece of the math problem that we created was its own color. The
idea from me would be one color for every example, each idea from the author
would be another, and another for each inference. That way, students would be able
to better identify the process of drawing an inference, and how each piece of
information is connected, rather than focusing on each individual example. I
shouldve planned my anchor chart more specifically, and will do so next time I plan
to utilize one.
Aside from this, Jodi was pleased with the way I delivered this lesson. It was
specific, focused, clear, and well-adjusted to the time constraints. Since she
mentioned them in her feedback, I know that she values these lesson
characteristics, and it reinforces their importance for me as an educator. I definitely
intend to make sure all of my future lessons share these traits.
I also received feedback from Robin Gleason, my ED-215R professor,
throughout the process of planning this lesson. Her consistent, timely comments
and suggestions were a great help to me, and ensured that my thinking was
focused, clear, and supported by evidence. This is the second lesson plan shes
helped me work through, and while I am getting better at it, Im still not used to
planning out a lesson with such detail. Fortunately, doing so really ensures that I
know what Im teaching, why Im teaching it, and how Im teaching it, so the result
is well worth the effort.
Reflection: (AEA: Diagnosis WTS: 9 DISP: Reflection)
What did you learn about teaching an effective literacy lesson from this teaching
experience? How will it affect your planning for future teaching of literacy? Explain
how this lesson demonstrates your growth in ONE Wisconsin Teaching Standard and
ONE Alverno Education Ability. (Make sure to state the WTS and AEA in your own
words in your explanation)
From this teaching experience, I learnt that flexibility, assessment, and
communication are key components to an effective literacy lesson. An effective plan
is able to bend without breaking, includes a strong evaluation of student learning,
and includes a literacy activity that deepens their thinking. This can be discussion,
writing, or even independent reading with a specific strategy in mind. When I focus

on my students literacy learning in the future, I will be better equipped to keep all
of these things in mind and to implement them in my planning and teaching.
Wisconsin Teaching Standard #4 states: The teacher understands and uses a
variety of instructional strategies to encourage students development of critical
thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. This entire standard discusses
the use of various strategies, theories, resources, etc., and the necessity of using
the correct ones to achieve certain goals. While planning, I was heavily influenced
by Vygotsky and Cambourne, using the socio-linguistic theory (gradual release of
responsibility, scaffolding, discussion, more expert other) and the conditions for
learning (demonstration, employment, response) to ensure that my students were
able to successfully draw inferences about the characters in a series. Doing so
made me realize just how basic these theories were for literacy education, and how
the most successful literacy teachers implement them unconsciously. While I see a
variety of theories at work in Jodis classroom every day, she confessed to me that
she hardly remembers any of them. It reminds me that these theories arent just for
books, papers, and self-assessments, but that they also make literacy lessons come
alive when implemented effectively in a class.
The Alverno Education Ability that I grew most in from this experience was
Diagnosis. This ability is about collecting relevant, accurate data about students and
situations, and applying that data effective into problem-solving. My first example
of this is the time crunch I knew, even before I began teaching, that I would be
short on time. However, I adjusted my lesson and was able to conclude at a good
point, drawing our learning together into a summative statement about inferring
and making the necessary connections to do so. I have also grown in Diagnosis
because, though I tried to collect evidence of student learning, I was still able to
ascertain a general idea of how effective my lesson was through conferencing and
my own notes. Not only this, but I also demonstrated Diagnosis whilst writing this
self-assessment, and identifying things that went well and things that I wouldve
changed also how I wouldve changed them and why.