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Final Reflection: Focus Questions

Throughout my fieldwork experience I had the opportunity to help Mrs. Stedeford and
aid in guiding students to achievement of mastering sight words and reading. Mrs. Stedeford data
mined all the childrens scores from kindergarten along with assessing students at the beginning
of the year. The classroom demographic is broad in terms of ability; there are students who
struggle, who are proficient/average, and students who are above average. Many of the students
who are struggling are having issues in identifying and reading first grade, and sometimes
kindergarten, sight words. Assessments using the Dolch sight word list could have been
administered to see how well students can read through and identify them. After seeing the
results of the students, Mrs. Stedeford created a program for the students who struggle to provide
them with extra sight word and reading fluency practice. During my duration at Hutchinson,
these were the students I spent majority of my time working with. We would practice sight word
lists then add a new section of words once all other sections were mastered. After the sight
words, we would practice identifying words that may be found in a five line passage then read
the passage. This is a great program and students have shown great improvement since the
beginning of the year. By administering reading assessments at the beginning of the year and
looking at results from Kindergarten assessments, Mrs. Stedeford was able to create a program to
help her lower achieving students.
While observing in Mrs. Stedefords, I had to opportunity to observe the different
academic abilities in the classroom. The strengths and deficits in the classroom are similar to the
representation of the bell curve. There are a good number of students in the classroom who are
above average in their learning; these students are able to take their knowledge and assist other
students who may be struggling on a specific topic. The above average students have a love for
literacy, reading, speaking, and writing; one can see the joy on their faces when interacting with
them. They are able to read easily and construct simple sentences with ease; they are also able to
assist and motivate other students in the classroom. The class has a large group of students who
are performing at the average level. They do not have a dislike for literacy but do not overly
enjoy literacy either. The last group of students are students who are at the below level, these are
the students I spent the most time with. The below average students are struggling with sight
word identification, reading fluency, and some students are even struggling with blending,
decoding, and encoding. Sometimes, some of these students would try to distract other students
or get easily distracted his/herself. Even though there is a broad range of academic capabilities,
students are always motivating each other to the best they can.
Teachers at Hutchinson Elementary do incorporate the PA Common Core Standards in
English Language Arts. My time in the classroom revolved mostly around assisting below
average students with sight word practice and reading readiness; this would relate to the
following standard: CC.1.1.K.D Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in
decoding words read grade-level high-frequency sight words with automaticity. Even though
the standard falls under the kindergarten category, it is appropriate for these students because
before they can recognize first grade sight-words they need to master the kindergarten lists. Even
though this was the standard I directly worked with and observed, after talking with Mrs.
Stedeford, I know she tailors her lessons to the PA Common Core. Standards are the checkpoints
in a student journey to academic success; therefore, it is important that teachers accurately
implement them into lessons.
Proper employment of literacy strategies will aid in students achievement of reading and
writing. To help students overcome obstacles of being able to read and identify sight words

fluently, Mrs. Stedeford created the sight word program where helpers come and work one-onone with students. When I taught my two small group lessons, I was able to use the strategies of
hands-on activities, read-alouds, and visual graphic organizers for the topics of rhyming words
and the short /a/ vowel sound. Both of my literacy lessons went extremely well and the students
took a lot from them. They were able to identify short /a/ sounds just be ear when they heard a
follow classmate say one. I would definitely reteach both lessons again with very little changes. I
would reuse the interactive books on the iPad and the regular lesson plan. The only change I
would make to my rhyming lesson is choosing base rhyming words for the students; some of the
words from Hop on Pop were not the best to choose so I would either change the base word or
include resources for the students to look up words. Using the appropriate literacy strategies
learned from both class and Mrs. Stedeford, I was able to teach two successful lesson plans.
In English Language Arts, literature is a very important in fostering a love for reading in
students. Students were reading out of grade-level appropriate Basel readers that included short
stories, poems, and non-fiction stories. Besides the Basel readers, SMARTboard, teacher readalouds, and the one-on-one sight word program, the students are able to choose books based on
their interests and reading levels to read from the classroom library and school library. The
library is a great place for students to fall in love with reading. I went to my local public library
in Dormont and learned that they offer many programs in the community to motivate students to
read. They have reading sessions two times a week, Read To Me for younger children, themed
readings in the summer (similar to a book club), Saturday reading sessions for families to go
together, outreach programs with the Keystone Oaks School District, and, my favorite, a program
where children practice reading skills by reading to therapy dogs. The best way to foster a love
for reading and writing is by creating engaging activities and programs for children; both the
Dormont Public Library and Mrs. Stedefords classroom foster a love for reading.
Technology is starting to appear more and more in classrooms to enhance lessons. Both
Mrs. Stedeford and I utilized various technology devices to enhance literacy skills. During my
two lessons, I incorporated the use of the iPad to make the topics more engaging for the students.
I had students read stories of the iPad; this was a huge hit! I also used a drawing app on the iPad
to help students learn sight words better by having them write the words. Mrs. Stedeford loves to
incorporate the SMARTboad into as many lessons and activities as she can. Throughout the
duration of my visit, the SMARTboard was utilized every single time. By incorporating
technology, children are focusing more on the lesson because they are becoming more enhanced.
Students are now 21st century learners are more into technology than any other generation and it
is up to us, the teachers, to capitalize on this resource to enhance lessons.
Field experience is a great opportunity for future teachers because it provides many
strategies and benefits that can be utilized in the future. This field experience at Hutchinson has
really pushed the idea of implementing differentiated instruction along with research-based
literacy strategies and finding ways to provide extra practice for struggling students. As a teacher
it is our goal for students to succeed and that means we must design lessons that meet the needs
of all abilities and leaners. When I get into my own classroom I will be able to understand that all
students have different needs and not all students foster a love for reading. This does not mean
children are not motivated to learn; it just means they may need an extra push to achieve more.
Reading is a concept that is never going to go away, you need to be able to read in our World.
The best way for students to foster a love for reading or even a tolerance for reading and literacy
is by being the best role model the students could have. I will not leave one student behind; I will
create as many opportunities as need in order for all my students to succeed. By seeing the way

Mrs. Stedeford instructs her students, I can see what it takes to run a success English Language
Arts class.