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Gabrielle White

EDRD 445 Final

April 26, 2016

Part One: Amiguito Work

Discuss your Amiguitos language and literacy development:

Working with P has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my teaching

career thus far. He has taught me not only about young learners, but also about myself as a

person and teacher. The growth that I have seen in him over the year is amazing. He has matured

as a young boy, become confident in his abilities and grown in his abilities to read and write.

Looking back, P has made great strides. I cannot believe that he is only four. If he continues

growing at this rate, he is destined for great things.

At the beginning of the year, P was very challenging to me. I had never worked with a

four year old before. Pierce seemed to be very energetic and sometimes unfocused. He did not

seem interested in anything to do with sitting still and reading for an hour. I then realized that he

was just nervous and self-conscious with his literacy abilities. He was extremely timid when it

came to reading and writing. He is a perfectionist and this was affecting his learning. I realized

the need to channel his energy in the right way. With love, support and positive encouragement,

at the end of the year Pierce was reading and writing letters and words by himself voluntarily.
In our first meeting, I noticed that P was great at making connections. We read the book

Use Your Words by Sheryl Berk. After we read and talked, he drew a family. I asked him why

he drew that. He began to explain that the family in the book reminded him of his family at home

(LP&KN 8/24/15). Not only was he making a text-to-self connection, he understood that

illustrating was a way to express his thoughts and feelings. He did this each week. The amazing

thing was each week, his connections became deeper and more thought out. Reading To Live

(2002) explains this process as meaning making (p. 75).

I have watched P grow in his use of illustrations, too. At the beginning of the year, he

would use the illustrations to help him understand the story as I read it. For example, on 9/14/15,

we read Miss Spiders Tea Party by David Kirk. He used the emotions on the spiders face

throughout the book to retell the events in the story (LP&KW). As the year progressed, Pierce

began to rely less on the pictures for understanding. He himself began to use pictures and

drawings to tell his own stories. On 2/1/2016, we read the book Lulu the Big Little Chick by

Paulette Bogan. Once we read the story, he wanted to add more to the story. We drew our big

advice he would give Lulu on what to do next. He wrote words to accompany the pictures, too.

He used the picture to spark his thoughts about

words to write. I was beyond proud of P. Ps

letter recognition and formation is much better

now. At the beginning of the year, P could only

recognize the letters that were in his name and

most of those letters were written backwards.

Reading To Live (2002) notes that writing is a

process of hypothesis, formulation and testing

(p. 169). This is what I witnessed weekly with P. By the end of the

year, P had perfected the letters in his name. He was able to

recognize most of the first letters in every word. He was also able to

write most of the letters correctly with the correct size correlations.

Describe your child as a strategic learner:

As previously mentioned, P has always been a strategic meaning

maker. From the first day that I worked with him, he began making
connections and working through the text. I did notice that his connections became more

accurate and meaningful as the year progressed. Most of the connections began as physical

connections, but turned into connections that were made about main ideas and concepts

presented in books. For example, on 2/1/16 when we read the book about Lulu the chick, P really

connected to Lulu as a character. He talked about how him and Lulu were alike and how they

were different. I took this as a teachable moment and we made a Venn diagram together. P went

deeper than surface level, and talked about following rules, the roles of parents and children and

more. This deep thinking was great! Owocki (1999) explains that teachable moment strategies

involve purposefully Kidwatching students to find opportunities to help them extend their

knowledge. Our help is based on what we have learned about the child and what we know about

development (p. 28). I have found teachable moments to be great ways to create a strategic

learner. I used what Pierce was already exploring, focused it and provided an extension for his

ideas. This is one area I have really grown in.

P is also a problem solver. He has a little bit of perfectionism in him which causes him to

be diligent in his efforts to make things right. Anytime P came to a word he did not know, he first

looked at the first letter. Usually he could come up with a word that looked similar. If not, he had

me reread the sentence. Usually, he put in a word he thought belonged. If that was not right, he

tried another one. If that was not the correct word, he looked at the picture for help. On 10/28/16,

we used the strategy cloze reading. He did a great job in using context clues to help him figure

out the word. P never gave up without figuring the

word out. P also worked diligently when it came to

writing words. If it was time to write a word he did not

know, he asked me to draw dots for him to trace. I would

make him an example letter to trace, and then he

would do his own on his paper. This worked out really well and provided scaffolding where it

was needed. He also would use the book itself to help him write words. He would look for the

word in the text, and use it to write it correctly. Ray (2004) said, the curious exploration

children do when they are trying to make something, the trial and error, the joyful messiness of it

all, is also so developmentally appropriate (p. 7). This is exactly how I would explain Ps

growth. He used trial and error every day to complete the readings and activities. He had to think

on his feet and be creative in getting the books and activities done. It was magical to see his use

of strategies to get it done. My patience really grew over the year with P. I learned the

importance of giving wait time for P to have these problem solving moments.
Discuss your Amiguito as a risk taker:
At the beginning of the year, P was not much of a risk taker. On many occasions, P did

not want to read or write at all. He did not feel confident in his abilities. On 9/1/16, we read the

Amazing Animal Journeys by Laura Marsh. I asked P to read it with me. He told me that he did

not know how to read anything. After, I asked him to write his name on the paper. He told me

that he could not write the letters the correct way (LP&KW notes). I tried boosting him up and

encouraging him, but he would not budge. I finally got him to begin writing his name and

reading the first word in each sentence with me during our third week together. His ability to feel

comfortable trying grew throughout the year. I think this was because we became closer and he

felt safe. After encouraging him for weeks, he finally tried it and never looked back. He became

a risk taker that liked very little help from me. He became confident is his thoughts and was able

to effectively communicate them to me. I knew we had made great strides on 2/15/16 when we

read the book Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts. P wanted to teach his friend Joseph about the

book. He took the book over and read Joseph the title. He began to go page-by-page retelling the

story. I almost cried. His ability to teach someone else showed his growing confidence as a
learner. I was beyond proud of him. In one of my favorite readings, Choice Words, Johnston

(2004) said, the language that teachers use in classrooms is a big deal (p. 10). I truly believe

this. I think the positive encouragement that I gave P weekly set him up for confidence. I made

him feel comfortable with me and we grew a special relationship. The closer we got, the more

growth I saw in P. I worked very hard to become more focused on expressing positive feedback

to P.