Thursday, May 20th, 2010...3:02 pm
As the school year rapidly comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect upon this past academic year. Although I have seen my students take great strides in their academic careers, there are some areas that need development.
Some thoughts on improvement:
- Conventions: All my students have room for improvement when it comes to grammar and punctuation. This summer I plan on creating a set of minilessons to reinforce these writing skills and techniques. These skills will be practiced through various writing tasks as well as visual supports. They will be highlighted, stressed and practiced repeatedly throughout the school year, which will ultimately culminate in the form of a test. I think this test should be similar to what we used in class this year, which included multiply choice, sentence correction and a writing task. I would also include a section on copy-editing. In this section the students would be presented with a paragraph full of popular student errors. The students will be assigned the task of highlighting these errors and successfully correcting them. While the sentence corrections primarily focused on comma splices, fused and fragmented sentences, the paragraph would include errors made in their blog writing. This includes proper citation of quotes.
- Inferences: Students often became confused this year when I asked them what the meaning of the text, passage or quote was. They had a hard time making predictions. Generally speaking, this is because they are extremely literal thinks. At the beginning of the year, the class as a whole annotated The Scarlet Ibis; however, we did not do much past open discussion and online writing with the other texts in the class. For next year, I think it will be important to breakdown specific texts, passages and quotes both verbally and in writing with the students. In other words, I think it will be important to move beyond just telling them why something is important and diagram the importance. I think this will help them understand things beyond a literal interpretation. One text I think this will be particularly important with is To Kill a Mockingbird and more specifically, the section where Mr. Ewell attacks Scout and Jem.
- Open-ended questions: I want my students to rely less on finding specific answers to specific questions. I want them to gain an understanding for developing their own opinions based on text rather than looking for the correct answer. This is a difficult task to accomplish especially in our society where testing is often times a driving force of education.