Gámez, P. B. 1. firstname.lastname@example.org., González, D., & Urbin, L. M. . (2017). Shared Book Reading and English Learners’ Narrative Production and Comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 52(3), 275–290. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.174
This article covers the importance of shared reading and the impact it can have on English language learners’ language acquisition. Shared reading experiences play an important role in promoting children's oral language skills (including vocabulary development, print knowledge, etc.) Shared readings are even more effective when they involve asking students questions and providing feedback to their responses (e.g., Wasik & Bond, 2001; Wasik, Bond, & Hindman, 2006; Whitehurst et al., 1994). Shared reading experiences that are interactive and include open ended questions have been correlated with significant improvement in story retellings. One study showed that students who had been exposed to interactive shared reading experiences (i.e. ones that included questions, activities and feedback) significantly included more story elements than a comparison group in their retellings and responses. In other words, students who interacted with the story were able to recall and retell more information about characters, setting, action, etc. Language-rich interactions such as this have proven to be effective for English language learners as well as native English speakers. This particular study looked at features of shared book reading in kindergarten classrooms that support ELL's early literacy skills. One of our focus students is an English language learner, so I want to make sure we pull some of the conclusions from this article into our lesson study. The article underscored the importance of a teacher's gestures and prosody, stopping to ask questions, clarifying key vocabulary words along the way, and asking students to retell for understanding. There were many other findings from this study, but its main finding was the importance of interactive reading, extratextual talk and narrative skills in shared readings.
Goodwin, B. (2014) Research Says / Get All Students to Speak Up. Educational Leadership, 72(3), 82–83.
This article explored the “80-20 phenomenon” in classrooms, which shows that 20% of students are responsible for 80% of responses in whole group discussions. That 20% is usually comprised of students who are high-achieving and do not need additional support to meet grade level expectations. Data shows that those who are not in the 20% of students that provide 80% are often students who are not performing on grade level. This is not to say that there is a proven direct causation between speaking up and class and meeting grade level expectations, but the data certainly indicates great imbalance and inequity in speaking minutes in the classroom. The author makes recommendations for teachers in dismantling the 80-20 phenomenon. Goodwin suggests changing student seating charts often to break the T-shaped “action zone” in the classroom that teachers most often interact with. He also suggests doing small group work before share-outs, and using randomized systems rather than hand-raising for eliciting student responses. He suggests that teachers make efforts to restore the balance, enjoy the silence, and disrupt the natural order of the room. One of the author’s biggest recommendations is to leave ample think time before calling on any students. The article is summed up in the following quote: “But perhaps that’s the point. The natural pattern in classrooms is for only a few students to benefit greatly from interactions. To restore the balance, we must first recognize that this pattern occurs and then thoughtfully counteract it with intentional teaching practices and . . . some pauses.”
Kara, K., & Eveyik-Aydin, E. (2019). Effects of TPRS on Very Young Learners’ Vocabulary Acquisition. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 10(1), 135. Doi: 10.7575/aiac.alls.v.10n.1p.135
This article is focused on effective methods for teaching literacy skills to young language learners. One of our focus students is an English language learner who needs scaffolds and supports in language processing and production. In the article, the authors provide several examples of best practices for aiding students’ vocabulary acquisition and increasing access to learning material. The article mentions skills/scaffolds such as visualization, pre-teaching vocabulary, comprehension checks with PQA (personalized question and answer), and repetition of words and stories. The article also mentions writing a new ending for a story as a way to support student comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. Our team is planning a collaborative literacy lesson in a kindergarten classroom, so many of these tools and scaffolds will be utilized to increase access for our focus students.
Kohn, A. (2014, November 26). Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide. Retrieved from https://www.alfiekohn.org/article/choices-children/
In this article, Alfie Kohn explores choices for students. Kohn explores typical schooling patterns and their downfall, and explains the proven benefits of infusing voice and choice into schooling. He writes that, "Schooling is typically about doing things to children, not working with them. An array of punishments and rewards is used to enforce compliance with an agenda that students rarely have any opportunity to influence." Schooling's emphasis on following instructions, respecting authority (regardless of whether that respect has been earned), and obeying the rules (regardless of whether they are reasonable) teaches a disturbing lesson. By contrast, giving students choice and having control over one's own life has general health and well-being benefits across all dimensions. Choice builds intrinsic motivation to do the right thing and build a system of values. Children do better in school, academically, socially, behaviorally, psychologically when they are given choice about what and how they learn. When children have a say, they buy into their own learning and the results are astoundingly positive! "School is about more than intellectual development; it is about learning to become a responsible, caring person who can make good choices and solve problems effectively."
National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, DC.; American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. (2002, November 30). Violence Prevention in Early Childhood: How Teachers Can Help. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED474499
This article, published by the American Psychological Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, explores violence prevention in early childhood. The article begins by outlining key features of a successful early childhood learning environment. Creating community, involving families in learning, balancing instruction to address all types of development, and planning meaningful work were some of the highlights. The article also delves into the importance of violence prevention, and the many factors/sources of influence that contribute to violent behavior. The article breaks down strategies and suggestions by age range. In the section for 4-8 year old children the author writes, "As early childhood professionals, we can help children develop social problem-solving skills, adapting our methods to the ages and experiences of the children. We can help young children stop and think about different ways to solve a problem, help them choose to act in a way that is nonviolent, safe, and fair. [...] Social problem solving can be taught and the earlier, the better. With support from families and teachers, children at around age 3 are usually ready to begin the simple steps of reasoning and making choices, which are part of social problem solving." This reassured me that the lesson study we are designing is both developmentally appropriate and necessary for our students. We are creating a lesson study around appropriate problem solving skills and strategies. In this section, I found it very powerful that the authors included a word of advice to the adult reader about managing our own reactions and anger, because our students often copy what they see adults modeling.
Payton, J., Weissberg, R.P., Durlak, J.A., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., Schellinger, K.B., & Pachan, M. (2008). The positive impact of social and emotional learning for kindergarten to eighth-grade students: Findings from three scientific reviews. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.
This report summarizes and highlights findings from several large-scale reviews of research conducted on the impact of social-emotional learning in grades K-8. The report synthesizes results from 300+ studies with over 324,000 participants. The report looks at findings across contexts (in school and afterschool) as well as different populations (those who have been flagged for possible behavioral/emotional difficulties and the “general population”.) CASEL defines SEL and identifies the 5 key competencies that successful SEL programs address. These competencies are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Looking at the results of this meta-analysis, it seems that SEL programs have a significant positive impact on student attitudes, emotional distress, academic performance, and social behavior. Diekstra (2008) summed up the conclusions of this report and others in saying, “The overall conclusion from both reviews is crystal clear: systematic, programmatic attention to the teaching of social-emotional skills in the school system has worldwide significance. It promotes overall development of children and youngsters, prevents developmental problems and promotes academic achievement” (p. 259).
Vasileiadou, M. (2009). Cooperative learning and its effects on pre-primary, marginalized children. Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties, 14(4), 337–347. https://doi.org/10.1080/13632750903303179
In this study, researchers looked at cooperative learning and its effects on marginalized children. Sixteen five-year-old children from rural Cyprus, Greece were assigned to groups based on social status. Researchers quantified social status and assigned students a rank from 1-16. They then joined students into groups that each contained a high status student, an average status student, and a "marginalized" student with low social status. The researchers set group work norms for the class, then facilitated twelve 30-minute sessions of group work over three weeks. They took notes and made observations about student group work habits over the course of several weeks, and then reassessed social status at the end of the study. They found that social status markedly improved for 3 of the 4 marginalized students, and that the group overall had a smaller range of scores and that all students were closer to the mean at the end of the study. The article stood out to me because it emphasized the importance of careful pairing and group work norms for early elementary students. I also just found it fascinating that the researchers quantified classroom status to balance their groups. This is not a practice I would use in my own classroom, as ranking and comparing students feels contrary to the beliefs of our classroom community. That said, it was interesting to compare the researcher's methods for thoughtful pairing to the strategies we use in our classroom (i.e. thinking about student strengths, balancing personalities, etc.)