Essay: Literacy in Context Assessment

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Helping the students make association between images and words should engage their memories, helping them to better recall information later when they may have to speak and/or write about what they saw. This would be one literacy strategy to use to improve literacy skills of students such as the one that produced the work sample analyzed.

Modeled Reading

Another strategy I would design for this student would be to include more lessons that involved listening to a reading and then writing about what was heard. There is an issue with this student regarding transfer of knowledge, whether oral or visual, to what is written. The student, to me, lacks the greatest skills in writing and not in another area, such as comprehension. To improve this, I would include specific tasks that required students to listen to a reading or recording (audio), and then answer questions that required them to visualize and write, such as the case, perhaps, with the work sample analyzed.

Part 2 -- Literacy Teaching Sequence

Unit Outline - Chemical Sciences in Practice

Australian Curriculum Code - ACSSU046

In this unit, the student will learn about and get hands-on experience with changes states of matter. The students will learn about the three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. The students will understanding how matter changes from different stages with the addition of or subtraction of heat. The students will learn about matter from a variety of media sources, and they will also have a change to conduct observations and experience regarding states of matter and their changes with water. This is a unit where student investigate specifically how liquids and solids respond to temperature changes, such as ice cubes in room temperature, how candy melting in the sun. The students, in this unit, would additionally explore how change in the states of matter, specifically that from solid to liquid and liquid to solid could serve as useful strategies for sustainable living practices, such as recycling. Student would also investigate how heat affects various objects on various surfaces. The chemical science unit is a dynamic unit with opportunities for dynamic instruction and lots of learning, which will meet students' literacy demands using a variety of texts, materials, and activities.

Teaching Sequence

In this section, I will describe a potential literacy teaching sequence relevant to the chemical sciences unit regarding states of matter and changes in the states of matter. The sequence would begin very exciting, so as to capture the interest and attention of the students. In the first week, I might first show a video from Youtube, Hulu, or Netflix, that shows how exciting the chemical sciences can be. I might prefer a more stable or normative service such as Netflix, because there is the option online and with DVDs to watch programs with the captions on. Watching films with the captions on is a strategy I often use with students of various ages, whether in normative education or special education. This is because all students do not share the same listening and comprehension skills. The captions help reinforce reading, too. There are also occasion during a screening where the narration or dialogue is incomprehensible. Leaving the captions on during the program ensures a greater likelihood that all students will be able to follow along very well, despite disparities in listening, reading, and methods of learning.

Week 1, Lesson 1 (single lesson -- 1 hour)

I would encourage the students to take very basic notes during the screening. I would encourage them to write down, for example, 10 -- 20 science words that they already know, or that they do not know and are curious about. After the viewing, in small groups, I would have the students review their lists of science words. I would provide instruction to the groups such that they would make a compilation of their lists -- every word the groups shared, gets listed once, and all the words that are different get listed, too. I would monitor and offer support during this task, so that we could come together as a group and share our list of science words in a more directed and organized fashion. This way, kids who might not have come up with many words will feel confident and be on par with students who listed many words and more complex words. This activity reinforces that knowledge is social and communal. The children are building their chemical science literacy together making them more personally invested in the knowledge they build and share with others. This activity makes bridges between what is seen, what is written, and what is spoken, which are key connections to be made for strong literacy skills.

Week 1, Lesson 2 (single lesson -- 1 hour)

After groups share their words, I would ask students to write one paragraph about an aspect of the screening that interested them most and to accompany their paragraph with an illustration. This strategy is intentional. All students learn differently, yet all students are held to the same standards for their year, age, country, etc. This kind of activity should suit students with various learning styles. For the students who learn best by listening, they should already have ideas from listening to the film and listening to the discussions within small groups and the large group. For students who learn best visually, they, too should already be stimulated because there was a film to watch and the group discussions/sharing were probably visually stimulating. They also have words written down as a visual cue. For students who learn best by experience or movement, this might be challenging, but at least they had a chance to watch the film as an individual, move into and experience working in a small group, and move into working in a large group. This start in a literacy sequence already combines many components of literacy together in a dynamic way, such that the students may not be directly aware that they are acquiring literacy skills within the context of a science topic. This might be more effective than bluntly explaining to the children that the reason for this sequence is to build literacy; knowledge of the intention for the lesson might bring up resistance to learning.

Week 1, Lesson 3 (single lesson -- 1 hour)

The next part of my literacy sequence in the chemical sciences would be somewhat traditional. The students would read from their textbooks or other text-based materials about matter. There would be a reading assignment about the subject matter for the students. Part of the assignment would be reading. Some of the reading would be down aloud as a class, with the students taking turns reading small sections. Some of the reading would be done quietly and independently, as in individually. Along with reading, the students would have text-based questions about the material they read. The questions would have a few categories. Some questions would be simple recall questions. Some of the questions would encourage and require analysis and critical thinking. Some of the questions would be open-ended and would require creative thinking and predictive thinking. The students would have the opportunities to answer questions orally and on paper. The students could prepare some answers to be shared orally in small or large groups by taking notes or answering the questions in the form of talking point. Other questions would require that the students answer in complete sentences on paper in a more formal or traditional manner. I think it is important to incorporate traditional and standard methods of instruction in lessons as well as to incorporate modern and progressive techniques.

The students would then be prepared and excited for hands on experiments to apply the information they have watched, read about, spoken about, and written about. The experience of watching and testing on their own (with appropriate supervision) will contextualize the knowledge they have constructed individually, in small groups, and as a class. Experiential and kinesthetic learning gives the students chances to apply what they have learned and to test their own theories. They may develop additional questions/curiosities as a result of simple experiments in the classroom, on the school grounds, or in the community of the school.

Week 1, Lesson 4 (half or full day)

Depending on procedures and budgets, it could additionally be possible to take a field trip to a laboratory, science museum, aquarium, or other kind of science center for an even more interactive experience and grander context within which they could consider their knowledge. Actually, a field trip in addition to classroom/schoolground experiments would be ideal. When we study science, we realize how much activity there is on various scales, so for students to experience science in the real world on various scales would further contextualized and deepen the knowledge and the learning process. At the end of the sequence, again,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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