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EDCI 51900

OBJECTIVE: From regular observation of students composing (fictional and factual), teachers can document
students growth in written and visual language. For this observation, you will need to write a paper based on your
observation of a literacy activity involving the ELs with whom you work for the field experience portion of the
course. You MUST complete all questions. After your observation, provide a write-up that thoroughly answers the
above questions based on what you observed.
PROCEDURE: Your paper must be based on your own first-hand observation. You will pull out all of the students
out and work with them in a small group. Your write-up for this assignment, however, will focus only on the ELs in
the group.


Provide materials that you select as appropriate for the grade level of the students (e.g., blank
paper, lined paper, large paper, a booklet of paper, colored pencils, markers, pencils, pens,
crayons). Keep in mind that both blank paper and lined paper should be offered.
Encourage the students to makenot write-- two kinds of texts (e.g., a story and a list, a
poem and a letter). See if you can get one imaginative and one factual genre. The students may
draw and/or talk and/or write or all three. You do not need to tell them which genres to
makethis is an open-ended choice so that you can gain information about the genres with
which students are already familiar and comfortable without direction from someone else. You
simply provide the materials and the opportunity.
Note what the students say before and during the creation of their product. All students have
different processes; some people talk as they work; others prefer to work quietly and then talk.
Ask each student to read his or her product to you after it has been completed (in whatever way
the student reads). Write down exactly what the student says and whether he or she points
or otherwise gestures or acts to communicate meaning.
You also need to Xerox any graphic products you obtain during this observation and include
them in your paper.
Use the attached Observation Guide to structure your write-up. You need to include
comments on each section of the guide in your paper. Use the headings in the Observation
Guide to organize your paper.
In your paper, you will discuss what the students can do with literacy as drawing and writing
based on this observation as in the Form section.
Please enclose all quotes of oral or written language in quotation marks (e.g., The student
encoded My mom as mi mam.)

FORM: Your paper must include the following sections. Use headings as underlined to indicate the sections:
(a) description of each EL (1 paragraph; 12-point typeface, double-spaced, and not more than 1-inch margins). In
your paper, please identify the students by pseudonym, age, gender, level of language proficiency and L1. Do not
include any other identifying information.
(b) description of your materials and set-up (1 paragraph;12-point typeface, double-spaced, and not more than 1inch margins).
(c) for this section, use the attached observation guide. Each chart must comprise a full page of your paper in a 12point typeface, single-spaced, and not more than 1-inch margins around the charts). Duplicate and fill out the chart
format on the following page for each student in your small group. Create separate charts for each student in
order to characterize both their fictional and factual productions. Sample charts for one student are attached. In
the charts, you will describe what you learn from your observation and from the students products about the
genres, drawings (if any), encoding system, and the purposes of the students writing/drawing. The charts must be
very detailed, including examples to back up the general points you make about the students drawing and encoding
system. Adjust the size of each cell to accommodate the students products; for example, if the student produced

more drawings for the fictional genre, as Sergio did, make that cell larger. If the student did not produce
drawings for the other genre, you must include a comment about that in the drawings cell and discuss what this
shows about the students literacy development but that cell will be smaller than the encoding system cell. You
must fill in a cell for each category in the chart. Refer to the students products and label them as Figure 1,
Figure2, and so on.
(d) Discussion: discuss what your charts suggest about what literacy does for each child. At this point, how do
each childs concept and capacities with genre, visual literacy, encoding and purpose contribute to his or her
communicative competence? In what ways is each child an innovative and creative user of literacy? How is the
child engaging with the world through literacy? How is each child using literacy as a way of making sense of the
world and to make the world reflect who they are? Please include 1 paragraph for each student. (12-point
typeface, double-spaced, and not more than 1-inch margins).
(e) PLEASE SUBMIT THE ENTIRE PAPER AS A .PDF FILE. At the end of your paper, include scans of
the students writing/drawings. Remove the students name and include a pseudonym instead. Number each
product. Scan these as .pdfs and include them at the end of the same .pdf file in which you paper appears.
Your paper must include 2 charts for each EL in your small group, about a page for Sections (a) and
(b), and about a page for Section (d).
EVALUATION: The assignment is worth 100 points toward your grade. Each criterion on the attached matrix will
be evaluated.

Submit the entirety of this assignment

on Blackboard Learn by April 11, 2016.

Fictional Product: Sergio



Oral Language



Sergios fictional genre was a narrative. It contained an event that was

encoded visually through a self-composed drawing, as shown in Figure #1,
and through oral and written language that described the event. No
problem or resolution was included either through image, talk, or print.
Detailed visual images carried the meaning for the event he included in his
fictional product. It portrayed a dinner attended by each member of his
extended family in Mexico. He used vivid colors that he said were the
favorite colors of each family member. Using oral language, he said that the
family was having a meal together for his birthday in Mexico. The drawing
also contributed the action for the narrative because Sergio used lines to
show the arms of each family member reaching for a dish of food that they
liked to eat. It was like a movie, not a photograph.
Sergio orally described the event by using one sentence after drawing. He
said, We cook the dinner and we eat it. I asked if he wanted me to write
this, but he shook his head. This shows that at this point, he mainly uses
detailed drawings and oral language to communicate his meanings. Orally,
he used a coordinate sentence with the structure: PRO + V + NP +
Sergio used alphabetic writing to describe the event in his drawing. He
wrote a single NV sentence in English for the event in present tense: We
et. He used letter-name spelling to encode the verb and had memorized
the function world we.
Sergios visual genre was produced to express his wishes about distant
people in his extended family. This is why it was imaginary to him. He
seemed more interested in this genre than in the factual one and spent 20
minutes, drawing first, then labeling orally.

Factual Product: Sergio



Sergios factual genre was a procedure composed of a list of ingredients he

thought would go into one of his favorite dishes, as shown in Figure #2.
This list constituted one of the steps in a sequence that would be detailed
in a procedure but there was no goal statement and no other steps were
Sergio used alphabetic writing and no drawings for the factual genre. This
shows that he understands that writing alone can carry meaning; however,
this product suggests that his most detailed factual composing may be
taking place at the single-word level, but more evidence would be needed
to confirm this.

Oral Language

After drawing, Sergio read the words on his list. He said, meat, tomatoes,
lettuce. He did not use any other oral language with his factual genre.


Sergio encoded nouns only. He used word-initial, medial and final

consonants. For example, he encoded tomatoes as tmts. He encoded
lettuce as lts and he encoded meat as met. He attempted to
encode only one vowel sound, in the word meat. His spelling of met
shows once again that he also uses letter-name spelling as a strategy to
encode some sounds.
Sergio seemed to get the idea for this factual genre from his fictional genre.
He produced it to practice conventional symbols. He spent only 10
minutes writing the list, and then he read it quickly. He seemed to be more
interested in the fictional genre.


Observation Guide*
A. Genres (Note: if you need help with genre, consult the Gibbons chapter on BBL called Writing in a Second
Language Across the Curriculum or the book by Derewianka: Exploring How Texts Work.)
Which conventional genre is the child attempting to encode multimodallythrough the childs use of
drawing, print, and/or oral language? Can you give a conventional name to the genres (fictional and factual)
that the child has produced? If not, describe the childs definition of each genre; for example, does the child
define a fictional narrative as a written list of characters or as a visual list of characters (i.e., a list of
Which sections or the genres structure or organization are present through drawing, talk, and./or print
(e.g., events but no orientation or personal comment) and which are absent? Provide evidence to back
this up. Where do you see each section?
Is there any order to the arrangement of letters or words on the page? Does the child simply appear to
put letters where there is empty space?
How conventional is the final product? Does it follow the structure of conventional genres in the US?
What is the structure of the genre that the child produced?
Is part of the structure accomplished by drawings? Which is more detailedthe drawing or the print?
Do the images figure into the childs construction of a list, a letter, a narrative or another kind of genre?
B. Drawings
Which visual details indicate the childs understandings or meanings?
What does the use of particular lines (e.g., straight or curved) or different kinds of shapes (geometric or
curved) indicate?
Which colors does the child use and what does each of these seem to mean in the context of the
drawing? Are some colors more intense than others? Are they warm colors or cool colors? Do the
colors symbolize any meanings?
Do the drawings primarily depict actions and movements, or arrangements of objects or people? In other
words, do they seem more like movies or more like photographs?
Does the child use language to describe the picture, to label, to create a narrative?
Does the arrangement of images on the page convey a message (e.g., which things are close together, far
from each other, central)?
C. Use of Oral Language
How did the child use oral language?
Did the child include an oral label? An oral description? What was the childs version of a description?
Did the child accompany a drawn or written product with, an oral narrative (n.b., a narrative includes a
sequence of events). What was the childs version of a narrative? Was there a problem and resolution?
Did the childs talk label the items in the drawing? How (e.g. noun only; article + noun; adjective + noun)?
If so, what is the structure of the oral genre that the child produced (e.g., one event but no problem or
What is the structure of the primary or most important sentence frames or language patterns that the child
uses (e.g., DET + NP)?
Does the childs oral language show a use of the morphological regularities of English (e.g., walk, walked; girl,
Does the childs oral language show knowledge of irregular verbs or irregular plurals in nouns (e.g., sing,
sang; buy, bought; mouse, mice)?
Does the childs oral language use tense (e.g., present tense only as in I go home or Im drawing)? Does
the child use present, past, and future tenses?

D. Written Encoding System

Does there seem to be any system to what the child is doing? For example:
putting down a certain number of letters per object
rearranging the letters in his/her name
writing a certain number of letters per syllable

How is the child encoding words (i.e., spelling)? For example:

recalling the visual pattern (e.g., COOW, the child is trying to write moo)
using letter names (e.g., PT which is read Petie)
using letters/sounds from L1?
phonological analysis (e.g., Hoo WRRX GUD which is read Who works good?
sounding out what they hear, letter by letter?
are the vowel patterns spelled correctly? What about consonant digraphs and blends?
are endings correctly added?
are polysyllabic words spelled correctly? Is the child included one consonant per syllable?

How much of the message is encoded in English and how much is in the childs L1?
Does the childs written language show a use of the morphological regularities of English (e.g., walk, walked;
girl, girls)?
Does the childs written language show knowledge of irregularities as in sing, sang; buy, bought; mouse,
Does the childs written language use tense (e.g., present tense only as in I go home or Im drawing)?
Does the child use present, past, and future tenses?
Describe the structure of the primary or central sentence frames or language patterns that the child writes
(e.g., PRO + V + NP),
E. Purposes: For which purposes did the child use writing in L1, English writing and/or drawing? Here are some
possible reasons:
to write (no clearly identifiable purpose beyond this; e.g., Im gonna do it how my mama does it.)
to create a message (but the meaning of the message is unknown to the child; e.g., What does this say?
to produce or practice conventional symbols (e.g., the ABCs) without concern for what these symbols
refer to
to produce a particular conventional genre (e.g., 5 paragraph essay, science procedure, fictional narrative,
nonfiction narrative, a list, a letter)
to produce an original genre (e.g., a card-gift?)
to label objects or people drawn or located in the environment
to organize and record information (e.g., to write a list of friends)
to express feelings or experiences of oneself or others
to communicate a particular message to a particular audience
*adapted from A.H. Dyson & C. Genishi

Some factors to look for in the writing of older children

If you are working with upper elementary children, consider and write about the following criteria for the
Literacy Observation assignment, in addition to the observation guide in the course packet.
Clarity: more information in the language itself
uses pronouns that correspond to previously stated referents
provides details through the language
provides background information
uses dialogue, if appropriate
provides setting
uses consistent point of view(1 or 3 person)
captures emotion with language
uses precise vocabulary (not just fun but spectacular)


conveys time sequence, not just a series of statements but a flow and continuity between them;
use of subordinate and coordinate clauses, not just clause + clause = clause
conveys a sense of where the piece is going
motivation: being able to understand yourself or your world better


uses correct punctuation (including quotation marks, if appropriate, and commas)

uses upper and lower case letters
uses complete sentences (when appropriate)
uses word analysis for spelling, not just sounding out
Structures of Some Conventional School Genres

Fictional Narrative
Often draws upon the real world but depicrts events that didnt actually occur.
1. Set-up that includes an opening (often forumulaic) and the designation of setting and
2. Development that describes events occurring in imaginative context
3. Use of dialogue to depict or develop fictional events
4. Problem or conflict
5. Resolution
6. Closing
Retells past events
1. Orientation (who, where, when)
2. Chronological series of events
3. Personal comment
Procedure or Process
Sequences how a process takes place
Supplies details of how something is done
1. Goal
2. Materials (in order)
3. Method

Report: Classifying
Tells what an entire class of things is like; organizes information about things.
1. General organizing statement (Arthropods are divided into a number of types.)
2. Define each class or subclass and give brief description
Report: Decomposing
Organizes information about things.
1. General organizing statement (All ecosystems have certain features.)
2. Identify each feature and describe its function.
Tells what a particular thing is like, beyond just identifying what it is.
Tells why something is the way it is, why a judgment has been made
1. Phenomenon
2. Explanation
Provides reasons why a judgement is made; one side of the argument is given
1. Statement of issue and position
2. Argument
3. Recommendation
Scientific Investigation: Procedural
1. Aim (What you were trying to find out)
2. Method (What you did)
3. Results (What happened)
4. Conclusion (What you discovered; what does it mean?)

EDCI 51900
Name _____________________
Observation #2

Points Possible

Points Earned

specific descriptions of materials

and set-up



detailed charts describing genres, drawings,

encoding system, oral language uses, and purposes



discussion draws upon

description of student capabilities



knowledge & understanding of course




adherence to assignment guidelines; clearly

formatted; use of APA style