LEARNER ANALYSIS 2 Introduction The host school for the learner analysis project is located in a small rural townapproximately sixty miles south of Atlanta, Georgia. This school is publicly funded andhas been educating students since 1989. Until 2003 the school building housedkindergarten through fifth grade levels. It now houses kindergarten through second grade,as well as a state-funding pre-kindergarten program. The host classroom contains twenty-one kindergarten students. The curriculumfor this classroom is based upon the Georgia Performance Standards for reading,mathematics, science, and social studies. The students are now beginning their second sixweek period in school. The focus reading standard supporting the designed unit for thisproject is based upon the students’ abilities to predict, understand, and retell elements of astory. These elements include the characters, setting, problem, and resolution. Thestudents will also be asked to determine the beginning, middle, and end of a story.Afterwards, the students will create their own story. They will also describe the elementsand sequence of their creation. The Georgia Performance Standard for this unit is:ELAKR6 The student gains meaning for orally presented text. The student: a. Listens to and reads a variety of literacy (eg- short stories, poems) and informational texts and materials to gain knowledge and for pleasure. b. Makes predictions from pictures and titles. c. Asks and answers questions about essential narrative elements (eg- beginning- middle-end, setting, characters, problems, events, resolution) d. Retells familiar events and stories to include beginning, middle, and end.
LEARNER ANALYSIS 3ELAKW2 The student writes in a variety of genres, including narrative, informational,persuasive and response to literature.The student produces a narrative that: a. Involves one event. c. Begins to use organizational structures (beginning, middle, end). d. May include describing words. e. May include a sense of closure. f. Includes oral or written prewriting to generate ideas (graphic organizers and pictures). g. May include a draft developed from prewriting.Since the students will create their own story, as well as determine the elements of theirfavorite stories in a creative manner, an information literacy standard is also includedwithin the unit plan. This Independent Learning Standard is:Standard 5: The student who is an independent learner is information literate andappreciates literature and other creative expressions of information. -Indicator 1: Is a competent and self motivated reader -Indicator 2: Derives meaning from information presented creatively in a variety of formats -Indicator 3: Develops creative products in a variety of formats Demographics The host kindergarten classroom supports the learning of twenty-one students,ranging in the ages of five to six. While some of these students attended pre-kindergartenat the same school, some attended private programs and daycares. Many students did not
LEARNER ANALYSIS 4attend any pre-kindergarten program. Many of the mothers of the students, however, arehousewives and supported their pre-school learning at home. Some of the students havediverse ethnic backgrounds and many of them live within a single parent household.Some students have special educational needs, but none of them currently receiveeducational services. One student receives services by consultation only. Like themajority of the school, about half of the students within the classroom qualify for free orreduced lunch. This is because the majority of the class’ family income is below, at, orslightly above poverty level. The following demographics were obtained through theregular classroom teacher’s personal records, which were established at the beginning ofthe current school year. Females 12 Males 9 Caucasian 11 African American 7 Other (Hispanic) 3 (one student is multi-racial, but since father is Hispanic she is placed in this category.) Receive/Diagnosed Special Education 2 Services (Two students have been diagnosed with ADHD. Both receive medication and one is receives consultation services as needed.) (One student receives ESOL services and seems to be a “slow learner,” but he cannot be diagnosed with a learning disability until the response to intervention protocols are complete. Qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch 10
LEARNER ANALYSIS 5 Single Parent Households 8 Have siblings that have alsoattended/currently attend this school system 7 Attended some type of pre-kindergarten program 7At least one parent stays at home during the day 6 According to the Georgia Department of Education website for the 2009 AYPscore reporting, the host school educates 440 students. The Caucasian population consistsof 271 students and the African American population contains 144 students. There are 11students who are categorized as Hispanic, with 304 of the population considered to be“economically disadvantaged.” Entry Skills & Prior Knowledge The host kindergarten class completed the first six weeks of the school gradingperiod on September 1, 2009. The targeted skills for the prior six weeks focused uponlearning the alphabet letters, shapes, and numbers. The skills for the current six weeksterm include other more comprehensive reading and mathematics standards. The selectedreading goal of determining the elements and sequence of a story is including within thetasks of this six weeks period. Also, writing standards will be introduced within theupcoming weeks. To determine the students’ prior knowledge in relation to these standards, a pre-assessment, created by the graduate program student, was given to each student. Thisassessment used the book The Three Little Pigs by Golden Books as one of its testingtools. The first section of the pre-assessment dealt with the student’s ability to predict a
LEARNER ANALYSIS 6story’s plot based upon the illustrations within the book. Each student completed thissection on an individual basis with either the graduate student, classroom teacher, or theclassroom paraprofessional. After all of the students completed the reading prediction section, the graduatestudent read aloud The Three Little Pigs by Golden Books as a whole group activity. Thestudents were then assessed individually by either the graduate student, classroomteacher, or the classroom paraprofessional in order to complete the other section of thepre-exam. This section focused upon the student’s ability to determine the elements of astory, which include the characters, setting, problem, and resolution. It also assesses thestudent’s ability to determine the beginning, middle, and ending of the story plot. Finally,this section asked the students to retell the basic plot but provide their own uniqueending. This determined the student’s ability to recall specific and correct facts as well asconstruct a believable ending. The actual pre-assessment tool can be located in Appendix A and an example of acompleted pre-assessment based upon a student’s responses can be found in Appendix B.The majority of the students were able to make a realistic prediction about the story’s plotbased upon the illustration. Many of the students were also able to determine thebeginning, middle, and end of the story. Few students, however, were able to determinethe specific elements of the story; this is possibly because they were unfamiliar with theterms associated with the standard. The following information provides the pre-assessment results for each student. Student Reasonable Reasonable Describe Describe Reasonable prediction prediction Beginning, specific retell of based upon based upon Middle, and elements of story and cover of illustrations End of story story creative
LEARNER ANALYSIS 7 book within the ending book IG Yes No No No No “Pigs” “Pigs and Dog are friends” GS Yes Yes No No No “Pigs who “Pigs are *Only *Does not are friends” chased by beginning describe wolf” and end specific details. BHH Yes Yes No No No “Pigs” “Pigs get *Only *Use eaten” beginning creative and end retelling throughout entire story KT Yes No No No No “Pigs” “Pigs” *Only *Does not beginning follow any sequence of the story AS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes “Family of “Pigs and *Just *Says wolf Pigs” wolf are not characters could have friends” and problem eaten the last pig. NH Yes Yes Yes No Yes “Pigs” “Pigs try to “Says wolf get away could have from the ran away wolf” from the brick house” HP Yes No No No No “Pigs” “Pigs” *Only *Loosely Beginning follows plot- no new ending AH Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes “Brother “Pigs and *Just *Pigs could Pigs” wolves in a characters have town” and problem forgiven the wolf JC Yes Yes No No Yes “Pigs” “Pigs run *Just *Wolf could from wolf” beginning have said he
LEARNER ANALYSIS 8 and end was sorry LG Yes No No No No “Pigs” “Pigs are *Just *Does not scared” beginning retell major events CW Yes No No No No “Pigs “Pigs *Just *Does not outside” outside” beginning follow story sequence JA Yes No No No No “Singing “Pigs” *Just *Does not Pigs” beginning follow sequence KR Yes Yes Yes No Yes “Pigs who “Pigs and a *Pigs and are friends” wolf” wolf could become friends if they say they are sorry. GH Yes Yes Yes No Yes “Pigs” “Pigs run *Pigs run from wolf” away from wolf into the woods. TB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes “Pigs” “Pigs are *Just *Pigs tell the scared of characters wolf to go wolf because and problem away or he wants to they’ll eat eat them.” him, and he does KJ Yes Yes No No No “Pigs who “Wolf wants *Just *Does not live to eat pigs” beginning retell new together’ and end ending SC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes “Brother “Pigs keep *Just *Wolf might Pigs” running characters give up from wolf” and problem HR Yes Yes No No No “Pigs” “Pigs and *Just *Does not wolf run” beginning provide new and end ending TH Yes No No No No “Pigs” “Pigs” *Just *Does not
LEARNER ANALYSIS 9 beginning follow story sequence MP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes “A pig “The wolf *Just *Wolf could family” comes to the characters have eaten pig’s houses, and problem the last pig. but they run away.” MD Yes Yes No No No “Pigs” “Pigs run *Just *Just retells from wolf” beginning story- no and end new end Academic Motivation Before conducting the pre-assessment, the graduate student aided the students incompleting a motivation inventory based upon their feelings towards reading. Thisinventory was completed in a small group setting of four to five students. The teacherread aloud the instructions and guided the students in recording their answers. They weretold to circle the green word if they agreed with the statement, circle the red word if theydid not agreed with the statement, or circle the blue word if they somewhat agreed withthe statement. The graduate student also observed the students closely to make sure theywere following along correctly. The actual motivation inventory can be located inAppendix C. A completed version by a student can be located in Appendix D.After the inventories were complete, the graduate student compiled the information todetermine the overall classes’ motivation towards the subject area. Most of the studentsdetailed that they enjoyed reading and retelling stories. Many of them, however, statedthat they do not read many stories outside of the classroom. The following informationdetails the students’ specific responses to the motivation inventory. “Q1” represents thequestion “I love school” on the motivation inventory. “Q2” represents “I love to read andbe read to.” “Q3” represents “I read a lot of stories at home.” “Q4” represents “I like to
LEARNER ANALYSIS 10 think about what happened in the story after I read it.” “Q5” represents “I like to write in my journal or talk with my friends about books I’ve read.” “Q6” represents “I like to write my own stories.” “Q7” represents “I like to retell my friends the story that I’ve read.” “Y” in this chart indicates the student marked “yes.” “N” indicates the student marked “no.” “S” indicates the student marked “somewhat.”Name IG GS BHH KT AS NH HP AH JC LG CW JA KR GH TB KJ SC HR TH MP MD Q1 S S N Y Y Y S Y Y N Y Y Y S N Y S S S Y SQ2 N S Y Y Y Y Y Y Y S Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y S Y YQ3 N N N Y Y Y N Y Y N N S Y S N N Y Y S Y NQ4 Y Y S Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YQ5 N N S Y Y Y N Y Y S Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YQ6 S S N S Y Y Y S Y Y N S Y S Y N Y Y Y Y SQ7 S S S S Y Y Y Y Y N S Y Y S Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Motivational Strategies Based upon the results of the inventory, approximately half of the class stated that they enjoy school as a whole. The majority explained that they like reading or being read to. This leads one to believe that reading was not the cause of why those who do not like school chose that specific answer. Also, only nine out of 21 students said that they read stories at home. This may be a factor correlated to the student’s academic progress. Those
LEARNER ANALYSIS 11who did not score well on the pre-assessment may have not had amble exposure to thestructure of stories, especially if those students did not attend pre-kindergarten. Anoverwhelming majority stated that they like to think, write, and talk about what happensin the story after they have read it. Perhaps this correlated to the interpersonal as well asintrapersonal intelligence levels within the classroom. Only half of the class indicatedthat they like to write their own stories. Perhaps these students were drawn to the word“write,” which may have made them think that they are not able to do so. At this point inthe curriculum, students have not developed the basic skills to write their own story yet.What was intended by the question, however, was that they students would intelligentlyand creatively think to form their own unique story plot. Finally, the overall classdescribed that they like to retell what they have learned to others. Perhaps this will allowfor several cooperative grouping opportunities. By analyzing the students’ academic progress based upon their first six weeksreport cards, many students many not have the foundation to begin reading text on theirown. For this reason, at this point, it was determined that the teacher would read aloudthe selections but the student would be responsible for listening and explaining theelements of the story. This, perhaps, will ease the anxiety of the students as well asmaximize their abilities based upon the focus standard without the hindrance of otherrelated factors. According to the Learning Theories Knowledgebase (2009), John Keller’s ARCSmodel consists of four fundamentals of seeking and maintaining students’ motivation sothat adequate learning can occur. These elements include attention, relevance,confidence, and satisfaction. Similar to any basic lesson plan procedure, the first step
LEARNER ANALYSIS 12within any instructional lecture or activity is to gain the students attention and interest.Based upon the motivation inventory, many of the students who enjoy being read to aswell as retelling or recording their learning will be intrinsically motivated. Those whoexpressed that they did not enjoy school, reading, or engaging in post-reading activitiesmay need further motivation. The Learning Theories Knowledgebase describes two strategies for gaining astudent’s attention. One method is by using the element of surprise or presenting a topicthat students have uncertain feelings about. This is known as perceptual arouse. Thesecond method is through inquiry, in which the students are asked to solve high-order,challenging questions. Other suggested methods that seem to be age-appropriate for thekindergarten students include humor, examples, active participation, as well as conflictswith prior knowledge. Many kindergarten students enjoy participation through the entire context of thestory. One specific strategy to incorporate into the unit’s activities is to have the studentsengage in a motion or sound every time they hear a certain word within the story. Forexample, when reading The Three Little Pigs, the students could make an “oink” soundevery time they heard the word “pig” or a howling sound every time they heard the word“wolf.” This would also be a strategy for sustained attention seeing as students wouldhave to be alert throughout the entire reading in order to participate. Even if they are not particularly motivated towards the academic tasks, usuallyyoung students are willing to provide accounts of their own prior knowledge. Byquestioning, or even purposely conflicting with their prior knowledge, many students arewilling to contribute to the discussion, therefore capturing their attention. For example,
LEARNER ANALYSIS 13when reading The Three Little Pigs, the teacher may suggest the fact that she heard aboutthis same story on the news yesterday. Many students will quickly contribute that thisstory cannot happen in real life because animals cannot talk and pigs cannot build houses.The teacher may also suggest that the pigs try to eat the wolf. The students will probablyexplain, based upon their prior knowledge, that pigs do not eat wolves. From here, theteacher may choose to expand upon the students’ attention by asking them to predict whatwill happen next within the story. The second step within John Keller’s ARCS model, according to the LearningTheories Knowledgebase (2009), is the relevance a student feels towards a particularsubject or activity. Prior knowledge and present worth are two particular strategiesassociated with this step. The teacher may have the students explain what they alreadyknow about the subject as well as why it would be important for them to understand thisskill now and in the future. One particular strategy that seems to be age appropriate forkindergarten students is the practice of modeling what the teacher will ask the students todo themselves. An article by Lutz, Guthrie, & Davis in Journal of Educational Research(2006) also describes the importance of teacher scaffolding and modeling. Based upontheir study, low-achieving as well as high-achieving students were able to complete thetask more proficiently when a similar task had been modeled and then scaffold by theteachers. This study did show, however, that low-achieving students still requiredindividual aid during the completion of their independent task (pg. 15). Based upon these results of Lutz, Guthrie, & Davis’ article, the graduate studentplans to incorporate several modeling examples that include reading the story and thenusing a think-aloud strategy in which the graduate students asks and then answers her
LEARNER ANALYSIS 14own questions. This will also show the students how to regulate their own thoughtprocess. The teacher will then have the students complete a guided example in whichtheir feedback, as a whole class is welcomed. Finally, the students will be given theopportunity to complete a task similar to the examples on their own. Those with specificneeds, or who have a past history of lower achieving, may need extra aid in a small groupformat. The third step in John Keller’s ARCS model is confidence. Specific strategiesrelated to this element, as described by the Learning Theories Knowledgebase (2009), isto allow for meaningful success as well as formative feedback. It is also suggested toallow learners to control aspects of the task as well as provide opportunities for thestudent’s growth to occur in steps so that their confidence is slowly built. A particularstrategy that seems to work well with young students in the aspect of confidence iscooperative grouping activities. An article by Nolen (2007) suggests that individualmotivation is heighten when students feel a shared sense of direction and ownership ofthe assignment. Based upon her study, students also seemed to value their peers’responses and described them to be less threatening than an adult’s feedback (pg. 259).For this reason, the graduate student plans to incorporate cooperative grouping activities,perhaps after the guided instruction but before the individual assignment, so that studentsare able to use each other’s opinions to strengthen their overall understanding. The final step in John Keller’s ARCS model involves the student’s satisfactionwith the new understanding. As described by the Learning Theories Knowledgebase(2009), students need to feel a sense of achievement by means of praise, entertainment, orusing their newly acquired knowledge. It is also suggested that students use their new
LEARNER ANALYSIS 15understandings in a real world context so that the students become satisfied of theobjective’s relevance. Adomat, in The Reading Teacher (2009), describes a meaningful,yet exciting, activity based upon the same standard used within the upcominginstructional unit. Described within a case study, a particular student was havingdifficulty recalling the sequence of events within a story. The teacher created a drama-based activity so that the students could physically manipulate and see the events again(pg. 630). This provided an extra re-telling of the story, but also allowed for the studentsto use the plot within the context of their real lives. The satisfaction of completing adramatic retelling allowed for students to see the relevance and specific elements of thestory more vividly. This is also a task that could be incorporated within the unit, perhapsafter the students have completed guided activities. This, perhaps, could be included asanother cooperative grouping assignment. Educational and Ability Levels So far within the school year the majority of the students seem to be functioningon grade level. The first six weeks is a difficult time to determine a student’s true abilitybecause of their diverse backgrounds. Some students have attended pre-kindergartenprograms and educational daycares since they were three years old. Some students havenever been exposed to a formal education setting until the first day of kindergarten. Manystudents who seemed to lag behind the first couple of weeks will soon begin makingprogress and eventually catch up with the rest of the classes’ abilities. Much of theirincoming knowledge is based upon how much they have been exposed to beforeenrolling in kindergarten.
LEARNER ANALYSIS 16 Two students have been diagnosed as having ADHD. One of those students iscurrently receiving consultation special education services and is in the process of beingfiltered out of special education. He received services during his pre-kindergarten year,but his academic progress has exceeded the need for individualized instruction. The otherstudent with ADHD, however, seems to be struggling with reading. The teacher will soonbegin her own interventions to accommodate these students and their reading abilities.While it is unlikely the students will progress to strategic services, the teacher will makemodifications through the response to intervention process so that perhaps the studentscan improve. Learner CharacteristicsGardner’s Multiple Intelligences To determine the students’ dominant intelligence based upon Gardner’s multipleintelligence theory, the graduate student designed a learning style inventory. While thereare many learning style inventories based upon Gardner’s theory online, very few aredesigned for very young students and readers. Based upon the results of this inventory,the graduate student added what she believed to be the student’s dominant intelligence tothe learning characteristics graph. The regular classroom teacher also provided insightbased upon her personal observations throughout the year. The actual learning styleinventory can be viewed in Appendix E. An example of a completed inventory isavailable in Appendix F. This inventory was completed in small group format of four tofive students. The students followed along as the graduate student, classroom teacher, orclass paraprofessional read the questions aloud.
LEARNER ANALYSIS 17 The following information shows the overall learning characteristics of the students within the classroom. The academic information was derived from the first six weeks report cards. The ethnicity and background information was derived from the teacher’s personal records of each student. The learning style is based upon the inventory results as well as the teacher’s personal observations.Name Letters Shapes Numbers Pays Controls Follows Ethnicity Learning Comments (Upper (including (1-10) Attention Talking Directions & SES Style & Lower sphere & in Class School Family Background Case) cube) Rules IG 4 of 52 5 of 6 1 of 10 Yes Yes Yes 1st generation American Visual- *Visits ESOL male (both parents are Spatial twice a week for Hispanic and descend from *Enjoys 30 mins. Does Mexico. Spanish is the puzzles and not seem to main language spoke in the building 3-D understand many household. Father is co- models verbal directions. manager of a Mexican during center Restaurant. One sister in time. *Quiet child. high school, one brother in *Interested Does not interact elementary. Brother in const- with others receives special ed. ruction work much. Never services for learning as an adult. misbehaves. disability in reading.GS 18 of 52 4 of 6 0 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian male. Only Bodily- *Enjoys recess. child. Single parent Kinesthetic Willing to try household. Low SES. *Highly new tasks. Never involved in misbehaves. activities that allow movement. *Enjoys team sports.BHH 18 of 52 4 of 6 0 of 10 *Yes Yes Yes Caucasian Male. Only Bodily- *Recently child. Single parent Kinesthetic diagnosed by household. Strong *Posses extra doctor as ADHD. relationship with energy. Receives grandmother. High Low *Very medication twice SES. competitive a day at home. *Commonly Attention and speaks of Behavior has football and improved. wrestling.KT 39 of 52 6 of 6 7 of 10 Yes Yes Yes African American Female. Intra- *Has been One older sister in 3rd personal “babied” and grade. Parents are married. *Keeps to seems to have Father is disabled. Both herself moments of parents have at least 2 year *Has trouble “zoning out.” college education. Middle expressing Does not SES. herself in remember/follow words. routines well. *Try to *Very loving “write child. Commonly stories” hugs teachers. during free *Speaks softly time. and cannot be *Doesn’t understood at relate well to times. others.AS 52 of 52 6 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes No African American Female. Linguistic *Has dominating Oldest of three children. *Expresses personality. Father is a gym teacher and her wants *Curious of adult
LEARNER ANALYSIS 18 has a master’s degree in and needs conversations. Instructional Technology. clearly. *Commonly Mother is a Social Worker. *Commonly rejects Middle SES. hold conver- instructions and sations with follows her own adults. ideas. *Under- stands how to manipulate a conversation to get what she wantsNH 52 of 52 6 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes No Caucasian Female. Oldest Musical *Attended a of three children. Parents *Enjoys church-based are married. Mother is a singing and pre-kindergarten housewife. Low Middle can be heard program. SES. humming to *Tends to be a herself “follower” of her during friends. activities. *Commonly *Want to be argues with her a friends. singer/dancer when she grows up.HP 52 of 52 6 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes No Caucasian Female. Only Linguistic *Talks child. Single Parent *Expresses excessively. household. Young mother herself *Does not follow with high school education. mainly directions due to Low SES. through talking. verbal *Interested in communicati adult on. conversations. *While *Enjoys “girly” writing tasks things. seems to be slightly below grade level, her vocabulary and conversation skills are advanced.AH 52 of 52 4 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian Female. Oldest Linguistic *Is a “leader” of two children. Mother is a *Has been among her 2nd grade teacher. Parents exposed to friends. are married. Family values adult conver- *Understands education. High Middle sations as rule and the SES. well has consequences. highly *Likes to help educated the teacher and people. students. *Speaks to other students as if she is the “leader.” *Enjoys reading books to other students.JC 50 of 52 4 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes African American Female. Inter- *Aware of her Youngest of three children. personal/Lin surroundings- Mother works at public guistic enjoys library. Parents are *Uses words conversations divorced. Education is effectively to with adults and valued. Middle SES. speak with students.
LEARNER ANALYSIS 19 individuals. *May have *Is “favored” moments that are among her considered peers. “bossy.” *Commonly *A leader among expresses friends. empathy and understandin g of their unique situations.LG 44 of 52 4 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian Female. Only Intra- *Seems to have child of young mother. personal anxiety about Single family household. *Is highly new situations. Very close to grandmother. secluded and *Did not adjust Middle Low SES. rarely talks to school well. to other Cried everyday, people. several times a *Spends time day, for the first alone and two weeks of complains of school. “not having *Seems to have any friends.” negative outlook *Does not on most express activities. herself well with others, but is content with herself.CW 46 of 52 4 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes African American Female. Visual- *Teacher also Middle of three children. Spatial taught his older Parents are divorced, lives *Enjoys sister. with mother. Low SES. building *Quiet child- models of 3- rarely D houses. misbehaves. *Enjoys *Seems to be a puzzles and “follower” and putting will misbehave if things others are doing together. it.JA 49 of 52 5 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Hispanic Female. Mother Inter- *Commonly and father descend from personal speaks of diverse Mexico. Mother is a *While her cultural housewife and father works language experiences in a factory mill. Oldest of skills are (Mexican food, two children. English is somewhat Mexican below average, but limited, she clothing). functional. Low SES. manages to *Enjoys “girly” maintain things such as friendships jewelry and high with other heels. females. She is also “favored” within the class and even “jokes” with other students.KR 50 of 52 4 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian/Hispanic Linguistic *Has been Female. Mother is *Has been described by her Caucasian and has two exposed to mother as older children from a adult conver- “stubborn” but previous marriage. Father stations and she complies is Hispanic. Student is understand with school rules much younger than her adult and activities. siblings. Mother is a contexts. *Willing to housewife. Middle Low *Uses her answer and SES. words to contribute to vividly class discussions.
LEARNER ANALYSIS 20 describe *Enjoys the situations “writing center” and abstract immensely. ideas- including others feelings are intentions.GH 50 of 50 5 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian Male. Single Inter- *Extremely quite Parent household. Two personal student. Seems to older brothers. Middle Low *Is very be nervous and SES. quite and apprehensive of rarely talks other students to others- and teachers. even during lunch or recess. Prefers to play alone. *When he does contribute to class discussions, his thoughts are rather intuitive and well-thought out.TB 50 of 50 6 of 6 10 of 10 Yes No No African American Female. Linguistic *At the Single Parent household. *Highly beginning of Only Child. Low SES verbal and school, student expressive. had trouble *Argues with following strategy, directions and much like an behaving. After adult. visiting the *Can easily principal’s office gain friends, and beginning even after removed from she has the classroom, disrespected the student has them. finally begun to *Uses words comply with to obtain her school rules. desires.KJ 29 of 52 5 of 6 6 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian Male. Is a Bodily- *Was diagnosed member of an adopted Kinesthetic as having Fetal home containing two other *Contains Alcohol adopted males and two excess Syndrome. Was younger adopted females. energy and adopted last year Low Middle SES has difficult by foster parent paying while student attention for attended pre-k at long periods the school. of time. *Student began *Commonly taking fidgets and medication for moves severe ADHD around in last year. He does seat. not seem to have *Seems to behavior retain problems now. information *While he pays better attention and is through interest in the “hands on” lesson- it seems activities. he may be a slow learner.SC 31 of 52 6 of 6 9 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian Male. Oldest of Musical *Was “babied” at
LEARNER ANALYSIS 21 two children. Did not *Is a well- home and had attend pre-k. Mother is a rounded some trouble housewife and spends a student, but adjusting to great deal of time with the tends to school during the student. Low Middle SES prefer first week. movement/si *Understands nging complex ideas activities. and has excellent Commonly tuition about why refers to things occur. educational This is attributed songs to the amount of conducted time his parents within the spend with him. classroom in order to recall specific facts.HR 45 of 52 6 of 6 9 of 10 Yes Yes No Caucasian Female. Middle Inter- *Enjoys talking child of a three child home. personal to friends- even Parents are married. Low *Enjoys during times of Middle SES working in instruction. groups, *Seems to have despite trouble focusing activity. on specific tasks. *Commonly provides encouraging words to peers during class.TH 46 of 52 6 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes African American Male. Musical *Is an extremely Single parent household *Hums, quite child and with four other children. snaps, and only expresses Low SES sings to himself when he himself is with his during friends. independent *Enjoys singing activities. pop culture *Commonly music. makes reference to R&B artist as well as Michael Jackson. *Adds pop culture movements to educational movements songs.MP 31 of 52 5 of 6 9 of 10 Yes Yes Yes Caucasian Female. Lives Linguistic *Extremely with grandparents, but *Is highly intuitive student, thinks of them as her observant perhaps from parents. Has a younger and intuitive being exposed to brother in pre-k who lives to older adults and with the biological mother. surroundings their Middle Low SES *Curious of conversations. other’s *Enjoys helping motives and the teacher and activities being the *Uses her “leader” words and *Bright, cheerful, conversation and loving to find out personality. information that she
LEARNER ANALYSIS 22 wants to know, but doesn’t necessarily need to know.MD 16 of 52 4 of 6 10 of 10 Yes Yes Yes African American Male. Visual- *Extremely quite Lives with young single Spatial child who rarely mother. Has one older *While he is expresses himself sister, who is very an extremely at all, yet does protective of the student. quite student, not seem to be Also has an infant sister. he enjoys angry or upset. Low SES. building *Peaceful models. laidback student, *He is also willing to comply one of the with any class helpers situation. because he can easily find his way around the school. Direction- ality is a strength for him. Based upon the results of the learning style inventory, the class seems to contain several dominant intelligences. The most predominant is the linguistic intelligence, which is where six of the students’ strengths are. Visual-spatial, interpersonal, bodily- kinesthetic, as well as musical intelligences are also common within the classroom with three students’ strengths lying in each category. Finally, intrapersonal is a strength among two of the students. Dr. Thomas Armstrong, an author and lecturer of multiple intelligences, describes via his website (2000), that linguistic students seem to focus on word-based activities. This is a natural means for instruction seeing as much of the lecture and activities are based upon the teacher’s verbal conversations as well as the student’s ability to receive and interpret auditory information. Bodily-kinesthetic individuals learn through movement and physical activities or manipulation of objects. These are also common finding within the classroom seeing as the kindergarten students participate in hand-on activities with concrete objects. Dr. Armstrong also describes that musical intelligences
LEARNER ANALYSIS 23learn from information associated with songs, beats, or rhythms. Movement and musicalactivities have several allotments within the daily schedule. Interpersonal skills are promoted during collaborative or cooperative grouping,which is not such a common activity within the host classroom. An effort will have to bemade to allow for constructive group activities. While the students participate in journaltime once a day, the structure of the prompt will need to be formatted so thatintrapersonal students can benefit from the activity as it is tied to the learning objective athand. Finally, visual-spatial opportunities are not common place within the classroom.While there are building and modeling centers available, specific activities have not beenformulated to specifically enhance the learning of the students’ whose strength lies in thatparticular area.Culture and Ethnic Diversity Hispanic Population. The main ethnical diversity within the classroom is the prevalence of twoHispanic families as well as a multiracial family consisting of a Caucasian mother and aHispanic father. One of the Hispanic students speaks, and seems at this point tounderstand, very little English. He currently receives ESOL intervention twice a week.The student does not speak within class discussions and remains closed off from the restof the classroom. This student does show interest in building and manipulating objects,which leads the graduate student to believe that he is a visual-spatial learner. The Hispanic female has a functional English vocabulary even though shemisuses terms frequently. She has befriended the multi-racial female who is also halfHispanic. Both of these females have strong interpersonal as well as linguistic skills.
LEARNER ANALYSIS 24They are more vocal in discussions and participating in the class activities than theHispanic male. According to the University of Ohio (n.d.), based upon the Hispanic culture, theseethnic group posses strong family values. This is evident within the host classroom’sHispanic students. One lives with her parents, as well as her grandparents and cousin.The Hispanic male’s family owns and manages a Mexican restaurant. The student’sfather and uncle commonly visit for lunch and attend conferences. Ohio State’s websitealso explains that this ethnic culture is prideful and dignified. This is particularly true ofthe male student’s family. When he cried and protested that he did not want to stay atschool at the beginning of the year, his family would not sympathize or allow for him tomisbehave in that manner. This is untrue of the other Caucasian and African Americanfamilies who used emotional support to encourage their students to come back to school.It seemed that the Hispanic family did not allow the student the option of leaving or notattending school. According to Sarah Plastino (2009), a research student associated with theUniversity of North Carolina, Hispanic families perceive the common educationalexperience differently than other people from diverse ethnical backgrounds. Due to theirculture, Hispanic students are not usually comfortable performing or speaking in front oftheir peers. They also tend to avoid asking for help from an adult because they have beentaught not to bother or interrupt. Also, many view the teacher with high regard andrespect; they perhaps worry whether the teacher will be disappointed if they did notunderstand after the first explanation. Specific methods suggested by Plastino includeallowing Hispanic students to work in smaller, collaborative groups instead of in a large,
LEARNER ANALYSIS 25whole group setting. Also, it may be beneficial to have the Hispanic students worktogether so that commonalities and possible past experiences are shared. This method ofinstruction is suggested before allowing Hispanic students to work independently,especially if they are struggling with the English language and curriculum. Plastino also suggests incorporating as much of the Hispanic students’ culture intothe lessons as possible. She suggests providing Hispanic-based foods or memorabilia.Perhaps for this unit, Spanish-based stories can be incorporated as well as storiescontaining Spanish vocabulary. This may help the students connect to the story as well asfind personal relevance so that the analysis of the story is more meaningful. Single Parent Families. Eight of the students within the host classroom currently live in a single parenthousehold. Most of these students are in the custody of their mother, and many times thefather is not involved in the student’s daily life. Many times the students also haveseveral siblings near their age and under the care of the one adult within the family. Thisgroup can be viewed as a subculture possessing its own unique characteristics anddifficulties. According to Laurie Elish-Piper in her article published within the IllinoisReading Council Journal (2009), specific educational implications should be addressedfor this subgroup. It is a misunderstanding that parents from single parent households arenot concerned with their students’ academic success. Many of them, due to their owndifficulty, desire for their children to achieve and excel within school. Particularly thosewho are also members of a minority culture possess a strong work-ethic and expect theirchildren to do the same (pg 51).
LEARNER ANALYSIS 26 Elish-Piper also describes the assumption that many single parent householdshave financial difficulties different than other families. This may restrict their ability toattend conferences, provide supplies, or contribute materialistic items to the classroom.Elish-Piper suggests that this lack of personal involvement may be due to the fact thatmany are ashamed of their situation or require longer working hours in order to supportthe family. She suggests that teachers allow multiple opportunities for single parents tovisit or contribute to the classroom. If they do not attend a scheduled conference, allowthem to reschedule. Also, provide the opportunity to select a time that would beconvenient for their work schedule. Making sure that they feel welcomed into theclassroom is an important element for open communication (pg. 52). This article also suggests that single parents, when time permits, visit with theclassroom to engage in the learning process of their child. Unfortunately, this is simplynot feasible for many single household parents. For this reason it is suggested that ateacher be empathic of the student’s situation and overlook certain activities that wouldotherwise be deemed as unacceptable. For example, many students may not have thefunds to purchase items to create projects with or use within the classroom. It issuggested to have extra supplies for those who cannot afford them. It is also highlyimportant, however, to not explicitly pinpoint those students. Simply allow them to usethe materials as needed. Some of these students may require extra remediation inside of the school hours.Since the lead parent possibly works late hours, the students may not receive help athome. Allow these students to spend a few minutes during the day to complete theirhomework or read with another student for practice. Involving stories that may represent
LEARNER ANALYSIS 27their situation, instead of the typical texts that tell of a utopian family, may also help thestudents relate and find personal relevance to the situation. Parents without Advanced Education. Similar to the single parent household situation, the host classroom containsseveral students whose parents did not graduate from high school. If these parents didgraduate, many of them did not receive any type of college or advanced education. Basedupon the observation of the classroom teacher these past few weeks, it has beenexpressed that many of the parents may not have the understanding of how to help theirstudent succeed academically. While the parent may be able to read or analyze textthemselves, they may not have the knowledge to promote their own student’s abilities. In Kathleen Cooter’s article published in The Reading Teacher (2006), sheexplains that even within modern times, many parents are considered functionallyilliterate and do not have the educational resources to provide for their children. Theirlack of education often influences the student’s beginning literacy development. Cooterexplains that young, uneducated mothers do not provide as much verbal simulation totheir newborn as older, educate mothers. She also suggests that the vocabulary usedwithin the home is significantly limited compared to the homes of students with educatedparents. Many of these students that are categorized in this subgroup have not beenexposed to various stimuli in their early years; this may then affect their prior knowledgewhen they begin school (pg. 698). Specific strategies suggested by Cooter include teaching the parents to engagewith their students while reading. This information could be relayed to the parentsthrough a newsletter or conference. Teaching the parents, as well as the students, to point
LEARNER ANALYSIS 28to words as they read will help expand the student’s vocabulary. Also, makingpredictions and picture-based reading are beginning functions of any reader; even parentswith very little education can engage in this activity. Having the students make up theirown story using a picture book with illustrations not only increases the child’simagination, but it also helps develop his/her sense of a basic story plot (pg. 699). Other strategy suggested by Cooter includes a “Million Dollar Game” in whichthe nonreaders look through a magazine and choose items that they would like to buy ifthey had a million dollars (pg. 701). This activity could be extended for students whohave difficulty reading, or even for all students to create their own story plot. Thestudents could take the items that they have chosen and form a short story beginning withhow they won the money and ending with how the last dollar was spent. This activitywould also incorporate the standards of the particular focus unit. AccommodationsSpecial Needs Learners English as a Second Language (ESOL). As already established, three of the students within the host classroom live inHispanic-based households. In two of the homes Spanish is the primary language. One ofthe students attends ESOL intervention twice a week to develop basic Englishvocabulary. Lewis-Moreno, in her article published within Phi Delta Kappan (2007),suggests that learning English vocabulary and structure in rote-like settings is useless.Students must learn how to use English in context of situations with their peers. Shesuggests that it is a teacher’s responsibility to pair the student with someone he/she feelscomfortable taking risks with. The teacher should then provide constructive feedback to
LEARNER ANALYSIS 29the student as needed, keeping in mind that the student’s primary language may be verydifferent than the new vocabulary. Lewis-Moreno also suggests that teacher facilitate thestudent’s verbal responses by questioning and repeating their phrases (pg. 773-774). Another strategy suggested is to use books with vivid illustrations so that thestudents may use the pictures to guide their reading. By reducing the amount of words ona page or by using a simplified text for the student, he/she may become less frustratedwhen trying to read or locate the correct answer. Finally, Lewis-Moreno suggestsdeveloping a firm knowledge of what they students already know before beginning thelesson. Also, if the student does already contain some prior knowledge of the activity,have him/her explain it so that the teacher gains insight to particular titles, names, orphrases he/she uses to describe particular elements (pg. 775). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Two of the students within the host classroom have been diagnosed as havingAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by a medical doctor. One has receivedmedication since he was in pre-kindergarten at the same school. The other student wasrecently diagnosed and has begun medication within the past month. This student hasshown an increase in his attention span as well as an increase in his ability to remaincalm. While the classroom teacher has not observed the first student when he has nottaken his medication, the student’s pre-kindergarten teacher described that the studentcould not focus at all. Now, however, this student seems to focus fairly well but stillneeds ample time to move and express his extra energy. According to an article by Jitendra, DuPaul, Someki, & Tresco, published inDevelopmental Disabilities Research Reviews (2008), one should present the most vital
LEARNER ANALYSIS 30information when discussing a new topic first, especially when educating students withADHD. It is also suggested to plan for several alerting tasks geared to re-focus thestudent’s attention. One may even suggest minimizing outside stimuli that is not relatedto the task, but maximizing the stimuli, including visuals, music, and movement, that isrelated to the activity (pg. 326). The authors also suggest “collaborative strategic reading”in which the students work together to determine the most important information relatedto task. This specifically helps students with ADHD who may not be able to focus forlong periods of time or retain large amounts of information in one setting. The Child Development Institute of California (2009) also suggests generalizedstrategies to improve a student with ADHD’s learning potential. It is suggested to standclose to the particular student, or have the student sit some place so that his attention ismaximized by the instruction and the distraction is limited. It is also suggested to limitlecture-based activities, and allow for several smaller tasks. Cooperative groups as wellas physical movement and manipulation are usually welcomed by ADHD learners.Concrete simple directions should be followed by having the student repeat thosedirections in his/her own words. Finally, incorporating some of the student’s particularinterests within the activity may increase his/her motivation to stay focused. Learning Disabled. While students cannot be labeled or diagnosed as having a learning disability inkindergarten, a few of the students are already showing significant delays in academicprogress, especially in the area of reading. The teacher plans to begin the response toinvention process on at least two of the students who have progressed very little since the
LEARNER ANALYSIS 31beginning of school. She also uses strategies suggested to students who have already beendiagnosed with having a learning disability. According to the Learning DisabilitiesAssociation of America (2009), students with learning disabilities may have memoryproblems and commonly function below grade level. Specific interventions includehaving the students follow along with a taped recording of a book after it has alreadybeen read aloud several times. Repetition seems to be an element that works well withthese students. Visual organizers as well as word webs seem to aid students in retainingnew terms within their long term memory. It is also expressed that many students withlearning disabilities also have slow auditory reception; speaking slowly and commonrepetition in various formats may aid these students. Finally, it is suggested to accompanyverbal information with written information for the student to follow along with. Many of these strategies can be used within the focused unit plan. The teacher canprovide an extra copy of the book or story so that the student can follow along as theteacher reads aloud. Also, the teacher can then allow the student to listen to a recording ofthe same story within a specific center during the day. Finally, the student can conducthis/her analysis of the story’s elements using a graphic organizer of some kind. Conclusion The host classroom, as well as the entire school, contains a variety of learnerswith unique skills and abilities. In order to ensure that the students are all given a fairopportunity to learn the targeted reading skill, the graduate student must analyze theirmotivation levels, prior knowledge, personal background, ethnic diversity, as well as any
LEARNER ANALYSIS 32special needs. It will also be essential that the graduate student remembers to differentiatefor these elements within the planned assessments as well as learning activities. Peer Review Feedback Upon receiving feedback from a fellow classmate, the graduate student madeseveral alterations to the original learner analysis. The majority of these changes includedgrammatical and formatting issues. The reviewer obviously read the paper verythoroughly and found several efforts in sentence formatting and usage. Suggestions wereprovided as to how to rearrange certain words and sentences to portray a clearer conceptor idea. Several APA style formatting issues were taken into account. The graduatestudent had not included the date in which she accessed certain resource websites. Afterconsulting with the professor of this course, the graduate student decided to include thesedates just in case the website was updated within the upcoming weeks. Also, the graduatestudent, based upon a peer’s feedback, decided to include the page numbers within the in-citation references. This format is designed to help the reader locate the specific area inwhich the quote or paraphrase was taken. The majority of the peer’s feedback was positive and maximized on what thegraduate student had accomplished within her paper. The reviewer made specialcomments about the thoroughness of the data and graphs included within the learneranalysis. The creation of the data collection tools, including the motivation inventory,learner analysis, and pre-test, were viewed as excellent tools for the designated gradelevel. Finally, the reviewer commented on the graduate student’s research of the selectedcultural and ethnical differences within the school. The reviewer stated that he/she now
LEARNER ANALYSIS 33better understands the Hispanic population. Also, the peer reviewer had high commentsfor the graduate student’s choice of including single parent households as a subgroupwithin the culture diversity section. ReferencesArmstrong, Thomas. (2000). Multiple intelligences. Retrieved September 14, 2009, from http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/Adomat, D. (2009). Actively engaging with stories through drama: Portraits of two young readers. Reading Teacher, 62(8), 628-636. Retrieved from Academic