Video Analysis- Third Grade Teaching Adjectives
I decided to watch video #1 third grade teaching adjectives. This post will use the text Classroom Instruction That Works, by Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, and Stone, to analyze this lesson. The lesson starts out with the teacher asking the students to recall their prior knowledge by asking them if they remember what adjectives are. Students give examples and then the teacher launches into the lesson. The teacher was very clear in stating that they were going to work on adjectives in a new way. This was a form of what are text recommends doing of connecting the learning objective to previous and future learning (p8). However, I don’t know if she created a visual for the students to view. Our text states that “it is important to communicate learning objectives to students explicitly by stating them verbally, displaying them in writing, and calling attention to them throughout a unit or lesson” (p7). As an online observer I wasn’t totally clear on the learning target. It was also hard to see all of the writing on the board. Perhaps there was an area of the board or room where this was posted. From my interpretation of the lesson, the learning target would have something to do with applying the five senses to improve the students understanding of adjectives
In going into this lesson, the teacher ask the students if they remember the five senses. It is clear that they have worked on this before. As a class, they apply the five senses to come up with a good description of the ocean. This is accomplished through guiding questions of the teacher. This could be considered a technique are text describes as an explicit cue (p54). “Explicit cues activate students’ prior knowledge by bringing to mind relevant personal experiences or situations that they encounter on a regular basis” (p54). This might not have been what the teacher was going for, but if the purpose is to activate prior knowledge, has everyone been to the beach? Maybe something a little closer to home or even the school would work better. What is the cafeteria like? What is the playground like? By using these situations, every students’ background knowledge will be activated. This portion of the lesson could also almost be considered a form of what are text would call a narrative advanced organizer (p58 text). Our text states, “this type of advanced organizer serves to engage students’ interest while at the same time activating their prior knowledge on a topic” (p 58). The ocean, I think was perhaps used as a hook for students’ interest. If the teacher told more of a story it might better the fit into the category of a narrative advanced organizer.
The teacher did an excellent job of asking lots of questions during instruction. Often these were in the form of inferential questions. Our text mentions that by asking inferential questions, we are making our students access their prior knowledge thus creating a solid foundation for more learning to occur (p54). Specifically, when she asks them to use words that describe the Ocean and then the Oreo cookie. Often times there will be several possibilities to these but they will still need to somewhat fit in. The teacher does a great job of also accommodating student’s different responses. For example, when one student describes the ocean as quiet and the next person describes it as noisy. The teacher wrote both down on the board as being possibilities. There was no right or wrong and I thought this was great. Another thing that the teacher did during this questioning was to often repeat what the student had said. I wasn’t sure of the purpose of this. Was this for her own understanding or the other students? In my own teaching, I did this for my own understanding as well as others. I also encouraged students to project their voice so their classmates could hear, and also there were times when I would ask students if they could repeat what their classmates had said. I would stress during these interactions the importance of listening to each other’s insights and comments and the potential to build new thinking around our different thoughts. For me, this relates to our texts chapter on reinforcing effort. Listening, thinking, adding, and building upon each other’s comments, are characteristics of the learning community that I would like to see practiced my students. It takes effort on behalf of the whole class in order to do so.
For summarizing and note taking the teacher provided the students with a type of teacher prepared notes (p90-1). This was called a sentence web sheet that she handed out for the students. It would have been great to get a quick glimpse of this worksheet. However, the teacher was writing down student voice/responses that students were putting forth as descriptive adjectives around the Oreo: hear/sound, look like, smell like, feel, and taste. “Teacher-prepared notes can also be in the form of a template that the teacher prepares and distributes to students. By using this approach the teacher models how to take notes” (p91). This is exactly what the teacher is doing in the video.
By including an actual Oreo in the lesson, the teacher is creating a type of kinesthetic activity. Our text states, “As students engage in physical movement associated with specific knowledge, they generate a mental image of that knowledge” (p73). The teacher also utilizes the text example of nonlinguistic representation of “generating mental pictures” with the example at the beginning of the lesson that uses the Ocean (p66).
Overall, I thought this was a very good lesson and the students looked to be engaged and participating. Involving the Oreo brought a noticeable increased excitement level for the students that was fun to see. I don’t think carrot sticks would create the same level of excitement, but I wonder if the same amount of engagement could be created using a healthier snack. The lesson contains numerous techniques that are text mentions as being effective for creating student growth.
Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H. and Stone, B. (20012). Classroom Instruction That Works.
2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.