What will happen next? kindergarten literacy and collaboration
Michelina Miedema - Kindergarten teacher at High Tech Elementary Mesa; host teacher Addy Rigdon - Kindergarten academic support teacher at High Tech Elementary Explorer Dayna Motta - Teacher at NewBridge School
Research Question & Theory of Action
Research Question: What does collaboration and balanced participation during literacy instruction look like in a socially diverse kindergarten classroom? Theory of Action:If we as teachers provide opportunities for voice and collaboration with various modalities for students to actively participate, then students will be motivated and collaboratively engage with the lesson, resulting in every student participating, feeling valued, and contributing to a sense of belonging in the classroom.
content & Equity goals
Content Understanding Goals:
Students will understand that all stories have a beginning and an end where story elements carry through.
Students will create a realistic prediction for the end of the story.
Students will listen, take turns, and build ideas collaboratively during small group activity.
Click the links below to check out some of the resources that informed our lesson design!
As the host teacher, Michelina chose two different students that she felt might be challenged by small group collaboration. She hypothesized that each of these focus students would feel challenged for different reasons. The team worked to dissect the thinking of these two students, and incorporated scaffolds that would help these students reach the content understanding and equity goals. These students will be referred to as FS1 and FS2.
Focus Student 1 On the rug during the story
Usually needs a proactive reminder
Often chats with neighbors, but listens to redirection
FS1 typically sits in first or second row
During transition to small group
Likes to run off the rug
Loves to draw with markers
May lose his group due to eagerness
During small group
If excited, will share voice and talk over his peers
Loves to draw, and hopefully he will share ideas and drawings
May become frustrated and cry/raise voice if he feels he is not getting equal time to share
May dominate drawing time and have hard time sharing markers/paper
Whole group share-out
Really likes to speak and will probably share
Focus Student 2 On the rug during the story
Initially, will be on rug looking elsewhere
As rug quiets down, FS2 will attend to teacher (likes stories)
Interest will be sparked, FS2 will lock in and focus on story
Sits next to Candice (kinder support teacher)
During transition to small group
50/50 beeline straight to the task OR express confusion
Direct one-to-one reminder from teacher about what to do
During small group
Loud voice and eager to share ideas with teacher
If transition is difficult, will be silent and disengaged from task
May continue talking through others’ ideas, but will be eager and engaged with his body with the group
If transition is rough, he may lose interest in activity
May run to teacher to share ideas
Eagerness to share may make it hard for him to regulate and listen to others
Whole group share-out
Excited, at the front of room
If excited, will want to talk in front of class
research lesson & observation
Launch: Teacher invites students to sing the instructional song called “What Will Happen Next?” It is sung to the tune of Bingo, if you want to give it a shot!
Then, teacher follows instructions of the song and reads the class the start of a new book. This book was handwritten with character and content inspiration based on FS1 and FS2’s interests.
Then we sing the song again to remind ourselves of what we will do next. Before splitting into groups, we will use this chart created by student voice to remind us of our norms.
Students share ideas on the rug with their small group using the talking stick. While they share, teacher circulates and checks in with groups. Once students successfully collaborate to turn three ideas into one idea, they are given a paper to get started!
Group Work: Students work together to put their idea on paper. They practice collaborative language using provided sentence stems. Students decided as a class that they would ask “Is it ok if I draw _____?” before adding anything to their paper. The goal is for all voices to be heard, and all friends to add to the story ending. Groups who finish their pictures early are challenged to sound out the words that go along with their picture.
Whole Class Share Out: Teacher selects two groups to share (FS1’s group and FS2’s group.) Each student shares their ideas to the class and explains how they turned 3 ideas into 1.
student work and data collection
Focus Student 1: FS1 and his group participated almost evenly during this activity. During the initial share out where students shared their individual ideas, each student in FS1's group shared their idea for roughly 30 seconds. Immediately after sharing out with the talking stick, the students in this trio began finding ways to combine elements of their ideas into one cohesive plan. FS1 showed brief frustration during the melding of ideas, telling a group mate, "That's your idea, my idea isn't in that at all." The trio quickly came up with a group idea, and started assigning assigning which student would draw which element of the picture. FS1's group decided that the characters in the story would build a boat and work together to help the seagull get back to its family (as shown in the artwork below.) There were several bumps in the artistic process for FS1's group, and his group mates expressed frustration that he was not sharing the paper in a fair way. The group got a new sheet of paper to draw on, and reassigned drawing roles in a way that felt more fair.
In terms of the content goal, FS1 and his group mates created an ending to the story successfully. They created an ending that solved the problem in the story. In addition, their ending held story elements constant and they crafted a storyline that fit the realm of the story. In our eyes, FS1's and his group achieved the content goal.
Our equity goal was for students to listen, take turns, and build ideas collaboratively during small group activities. FS1 and his group mates did achieve this goal as well. They certainly had a few moments of frustration along the way, but were able to problem solve with little intervention from an adult. They used the talking stick effectively, and spoke in near even amounts during the problem solving process of turning three ideas into one. (FS1 spoke 5 times, Partner A spoke 4 times, and Partner B spoke 5 times.) In addition, FS1 stayed on task for the majority of the lesson. Out of the total turns he took speaking during the lesson, 82.5% of those instances were on topic and related to the lesson. As a final way to check for equitable participation from all group members, we checked to see if elements of the focus student's ideas were included in the final picture, if the focus student verbally shared their idea, and if the focus student added to the group drawing. For all three of these questions, the answer was yes. Check out FS1's work below!
Focus Student 2: FS2 initially displayed body language that was not fully engaged with the group. He often had his body turned away from the speaker and was focused on his shoes for the launch of the lesson. As the lesson went on, however, his eye contact and body language changed. During the read aloud, he raised his hand to share and responded to the teacher's prompts. When it came time for his group to share ideas and turn three ideas into one, FS2 shared an idea that the characters of the story could use a balloon boat to help solve the problem. This idea was chosen as the main idea for the group's ending! Throughout the lesson, FS2 took a few extra moments of think time before responding to teacher and peer prompts. During whole group share out, FS2 was smiling and standing at the front of the room with his group mates. He did not verbally share his picture right away, but responded to sentence starters and questions from the teacher. Similar to FS1, FS2 met the content and equity goals for this lesson. Check out FS2's work below, as well as a picture of his group collaborating on the carpet!
Michelina- Growing this lesson idea into a full unit has been an experience. The idea for the “What Will Happen Next?” lesson structure started as something small and turned into a class routine through trial and error, tears, and making changes based on feedback. I enjoyed talking about focus students and hearing the data that my group members gathered. I loved writing stories specifically for my students, and making up songs and movements with my class. I was amazed at their growth of collaboration during this series of lessons. Overall this was a challenging process, especially as a brand new teacher. Finding time and space to incorporate our series of lessons was hard work, but I am proud of the lesson that we developed together.
Addy- Seeing young students grapple with collaboration and independence was inspiring. Kindergarteners were able to share, listen, combine ideas, and ultimately create beautiful work. This would not have been possible without Michelina’s carefully scaffolded group work norms and procedures. I am feeling very excited about shared writing work, and giving students chances to collaborate on tasks that are truly creative and have no “right answer.” Lesson study was an interesting experiment that felt really difficult at times. It is hard to anticipate student thinking when you have never met the students before, and building new routines for kindergarten students took time and careful planning. Dayna- Taking turns in an intentional way helped English language learners collaborate with their peers. Sharing ideas amongst peers in a diverse group of different perspectives and needs can be intimidating, but thoughtful and intentional scaffolds helped all students participate.
Our group identified two key takeaways from the lesson study:
“Success” looks different for every child and group. Teachers can help their students succeed by anticipating student thinking and implementing scaffolds and strategies accordingly.
Building excitement and incorporating student interest goes a long way in increasing student engagement and encouraging equitable participation.
If you'd like to dig into the nitty gritty details of our lesson study process, check out our Memorialization Doc (linked below!)