Week 3

 

Disciplinary based literacy is the ability to write accurately, listen and speak effectively, as well as think critically while illustrating performance in various ways for different purposes. Theoretically students that enter middle school should have the proper foundation for strategies and skills in reading and comprehension. However, as a second year educator those expectations are false. Never ever assume what students know. As an educator you are building towards a child’s growth and helping them improve their reading comprehension while developing their proficiency in literacy. If you want to inquire what a student knows, ask them. If you want to figure out their literacy level and present capability, assess them. Don’t ask other teachers to do your job for you. Sometimes their assessment can be incorrect and using that can be detrimental for the student in the long run. Asking for feedback on their behavior and present level in other classes is acceptable. That is part of being collaborative. Nevertheless, do your own assessment for your child in your class.

In the article Adolescent Literacy: More than Remediation by Biancarosa’s, he states “no matter how successful early instruction in reading is, it cannot fully prepare students for the literacy demands that evolve after 3rd grade.” This explains the gap level between middle school and elementary as a whole. Take a special education student for example. Let us say that he is three grade levels behind. Presently the male student is in 7th grade however through assessments he is on a 4th grade reading level. Normally as an educator you strive for growth. So increasing this students grade level by the end of the year from a 4th grade reading level to a 5th grade reading level is ideal progress is it not? Unfortunately it is not progress because now the student will be attending 8th grade and is still three grade levels behind. The only way to illustrate true growth is for the student to improve two grade levels per year. This is why even literacy outside of ELA is vitally important. It affects the student across all subject areas especially with the literacy demands that increase through grade level.

What does it mean to think like a historian, scientist, mathematician, and literacy critic? This means to demonstrate a teaching practice that educates students in a way that illustrates their class performance to be well rounded. In the article, Biancarosa displays figure one (pg 25). This figure explains that students are continuously transitioning in education like from elementary school (5th grade) to middle school (6th grade). The purpose of the figure is to inform us that although students move through grades, the level of expansion in their reading texts through different content areas become more challenging as if it is another language. I teach general science to ENL students in English. Now obviously the language barrier from teaching science content to non-native English speakers proves to be a challenge in itself, the content within middle school let alone high school tackles on another challenge. So through my first year, I teach my students academic vocabulary on top of their content vocabulary. This allows them to own unfamiliar words they are learning or come across. When you own and personalize a word, you better understand it.

Statistically the public school system expressed concern over the U.S. falling below expectations in reading and writing proficiency for grade levels 4-12. Therefore we developed what we call the CCSS, which is implemented/adapted across all of NYC public schools. In the article Approaches to developing content area literacies by Fang, he expresses that the four approaches of pedagogical techniques in cognitive, sociocultural, linguistic and critical thinking can complement one another. Therefore, resulting in teachers differentiating instruction to tailor to the needs of their students, overall curricular goals, and designed tasks for specific lessons. (107) Unfortunately most articles fail to address the underlying concern of culture between students. Despite all the hard work educators put in, the long hours, sleepless nights; designing the best fit curriculum along side practical and effective teaching strategies for all learners is only as successful as the emphasis you put on your student population. We know all students learn differently, but their culture and family values define their learning as well which is why in order to become successful, building a community within the classroom between parents and their child’s school is just as important.

 

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Giuseppe,

      Clearly your experience with ELL students is having an appropriately large effect on your thinking about these topics.

      This really caught my attention:

      Unfortunately most articles fail to address the underlying concern of culture between students. Despite all the hard work educators put in, the long hours, sleepless nights; designing the best fit curriculum along side practical and effective teaching strategies for all learners is only as successful as the emphasis you put on your student population. We know all students learn differently, but their culture and family values define their learning as well which is why in order to become successful, building a community within the classroom between parents and their child’s school is just as important.

      I am curious to know how you are addressing these challenges in your classroom.

      • Giuseppe Marchica
        Giuseppe Marchica

        Similar to last year, a couple colleagues of mine sit together every Monday and discuss challenges we face among our student population. Particularly ELL students. Middle school is a lot easier to discuss classes than high school due to organization of students. What I mean is: middle school science teachers teach one entire class per period. We get the same students as another teacher who has that specific class (approximately all 30 of them, give or take). However high school teachers are lucky to have 5-7 students with the same teachers. Overall, we use this to our advantage and discuss underlying challenges majority of our students are facing within our class. 

        When it comes to the classroom I address my challenges one step at a time. For example many cultures have strict study habits and push a strong emphasis on education outside the classroom. However we can only do so much as educators so we tackle on as much as we can inside the classroom. Most students have a hard time with content vocabulary because they also struggle with academic vocabulary. I learned many strategies over my first year as a teacher to build upon academic vocabulary (won’t go into depth or explain it unless you ask otherwise). However those strategies in the long run benefit the student and increases their literacy skills. Simple baby steps forward over time turns into a long stride of achievement for these children.

        As far as building a community within parents, I have students invite their parents to volunteered organized events. Near the end of October I ask my students to come to Coney Island to volunteer and help with costal clean up of garbage around the beach. I strongly encourage them to bring their parents. To push it further, I offer up some extra credit as an incentive. Getting involved builds character and allows these students to grow as a young individual in and outside the classroom. My school also holds other events within the school too during the year and the same concept applies. Purpose is to build a safe environment and community among parents, students and faculty. 

      Group B

      Here is the online home for Group B.
      Sub-Group of ED 656 - Fall 2018

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