HOW DO TEACHERS ORGANIZE FOR INSTRUCTION?
• Literature focus units
• Literature circles
• Reading and writing workshops
• Thematic Units
You must combine direct
instruction, small groups, and
independent activities into your
Action: the main character does something
Dialogue: main character says something
Thought or question: main character
Shares something that he or she is
A sound: author begins with an interesting sound
related to the story.
LITERATURE FOCUS UNITS
As a class or in small groups, the students and the teacher respond
to one text together. Teachers choose the texts that are high quality
literature selection. After reading the texts, students explore the text
and apply their learning by creating projects.
Examples: Bud not Buddy, The Westing Game , Hatchet , Molly’s
Pilgrim, and Stone Fox
Strengths: Student exploration with vocabulary and language. Student
developed projects. Teachers develop units and select books.
Limitations: No student choice in literature
COMPONENTS OF LITERATURE FOCUS UNITS
Reading: read together as a class
Responding: Students record their initial impressions about the
selection to develop their comprehension.
Teaching mini-lessons: Teachers teach minilessons on
language arts procedures, concepts, and connect their
instruction to the featured selection.
Mini-lessons must: 1) INTRODUCE THE TOPIC, 2) SHARE EXAMPLES, 3)
PROVIDE INFORMATION, 4) SUPERVISE PRACTICE, AND 5) ASSESS
LITERATURE FOCUS UNITS-GROUP DISCUSSION
In a small group or with a partner, discuss the following:
1. Do you believe it is an effective strategy for students to write the quote
on the left side and the response on the right side? Why or why not?
2. If you were to teach a mini-lesson on root words and affixes, what type
of activities would you plan? Write a short lesson plan with a partner.
3. Using the graphic organizers and characterization dolls/organizers
provided, which organizers would you have used for this lesson? Why
or why not?
4. Do you have any other suggestions for projects?
Teachers choose five or six books and collect multiple copies of each one.
Students choose the book they want to read and form book clubs. Students
develop their own schedules; teachers participates in some of the
Strengths: Student motivation is high due to student selection of books and
materials. Student directed activities. Authentic literacy experiences.
Limitations: No teacher control. Students must be responsible, task oriented, and
good time keepers to be successful.
ROLES STUDENTS PLAY IN LITERATURE CIRCLES
LITERATURE CIRCLES –GROUP DISCUSSIONS
1. Pretend that your literature circle is reading The Outsider. How would
you introduce the book to the class?
READING AND WRITING WORKSHOP
Students choose books and read and respond to them independently
during reading workshop and write books on self selected topics during
writing workshop. Teachers monitor students through conferences.
Students share the books they read and the books they write with
classmates during a sharing period.
Strengths: Students read books that are appropriate for their reading
levels. Students have high motivation to read the books that they have
chosen. Teachers teach mini-lessons on reading strategies and skills.
Activities are student directed and students work at their own pace.
Limitations: Teachers may feel as they have lost control of students.
Students have to be task oriented.
COMPONENTS OF READING WORKSHOP
Reading and responding
COMPONENTS OF WRITING WORKSHOP
Writing workshop is usually 60-90 minute period per day.
GROUP DISCUSSION ON READING AND WRITING WORKSHOP
1. What types of questions would you ask students during a reading
2. What type of writing prompts would you provide for students if your
class, for example, was reading Charlotte’s Web?
3. Create a mini-lesson about : 1) using quotation marks, 2) identifying
nouns, or 3) your choice.
Students study social studies or science topics. They use the 6 language
arts as they participate in activities and demonstrate learning. Students
also identify topics that they want to study.
Strengths: Students write in learning logs. Teachers and students create
clusters and other charts to organize information. Teachers scaffold
instruction as students work independently, small groups or together in
class. Students use technology to enhance learning. Students create
Limitations: Teachers must design thematic units and locate materials and
resources. Thematic units are time consuming.
ACTIVITIES WITHIN THEMATIC UNITS
Keeping learning logs
Making visual representation
GROUP DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THEMATIC UNITS
1. What suggestions would you offer to improve a student’s spelling
2. Discuss your plan to assist ESL learners.
WHAT ABOUT TEACHING?
Direct instruction: teach mini-lessons, provide opportunities for
supervised practice, and have students apply what they have learned
through reading and writing activities.
Indirect instruction: usually occurs during conferences or working with
Teacher roles during language arts instruction include the following:
organizer, facilitator, participant, instructor, model, manager,
diagnostician, evaluator, coordinator, and communicator.
Differentiating instruction by: offering choices, using small groups, setting
up centers, incorporating projects, and integrating all six language arts.
MEETING THE NEEDS OF ESL LEARNERS
Use SIOP model
ASSESSING STUDENTS’ LEARNING
Assessment has five purposes: 1) document milestones’ in students’ language
and literacy development, 2) identify students’ strengths in order to plan
instruction, 3) to document students’ language arts activities and projects, 4) to
determine grades, and 5) to help teachers learn more about how students
become strategic readers and writers.
Assessments include classroom observations, anecdotal notes, conferences,
portfolios, rubrics, and checklists.
What are the benefits of using a portfolio?
What is the difference between an assessment and an evaluation?
With a partner, design an assessment for an elementary language arts class.
MORE AND MORE WEBSITES
Stone Fox: http://www.mce.k12tn.net/dogs/fox/stone_fox.htm,
Charlotte’s Web: http://www.gamequarium.com/charlottesweb.html,
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/mtaylor.html,