functional literacy activities? What are some examples?
Functional literacy activities refer to activities that focus on reading or writing in direct connection to actual tasks that can be easily applied or used in the real world. For example, functional literary activities might involve reading street signs, reading maps or drafting a grocery list.
What are ways to share literature with young children? What are important factors to consider when selecting literature to share and stocking classroom libraries? What are some effective story-reading strategies (read-alouds and shared reading)?
One way to share literature with young children would be to present it in the most dynamic and hands on approach possible. For example, using puppets or dolls or figurines when presenting a new book to students can be a way to help engage students' minds and imagination. Or dynamic follow-up activities which relate to the text can also be used with success: for example, students can do work in a community garden after reading The Secret Garden. When it comes to selecting literature and stocking classroom libraries, certain factors to consider revolve around the types of characters and situations presented: children need to be exposed to diversity: they need to explore cultures, neighborhoods, and ethnicities which are different from their own. Furthermore, the role models presented to these children also need to demonstrate strong, solid individuals who reflect the values that are desirable for the children to develop over time. Certain story-reading strategies that are ideal besides read-alouds and shared reading are reading with a partner or a buddy and having students draft their own (a new) ending to the story. If the students are too young to write, they can draw a new ending to the story.
What are some motivating ways to link literacy and play?
Motivating ways to link literacy and play are to make them as dynamic together as possible. Students need to be asked to create things based on the stories they read. This is important because it helps them build more meaningful associations between reading and play. For example, students can create a "magical spell" after reading Harry Potter or they can come up with a prank to play on Boo Radley, if they're reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Alternatively, if they're reading The Great Gatsby, one can ask them to build models of the Gatsby mansion or design gowns which were of the fashion of the 1920s. Any age-appropriate and creatively-based learning activity which can be adapted for children and which is an organic extension of the story read will be sufficient for story-telling.
What is "shared writing"? How does it help to build a child's understanding of print and support reading?
Shared writing is beneficial platform which can not only enhance a student's entire learning experience, but it can also help to reinforce the text as a whole. A shared writing method "…enables teachers to make the writing process concrete and visible to students. In shared writing, the teacher and students compose text together, with both contributing their thoughts and ideas to the process, while the teacher acts as scribe, writing the text as it is composed" (teachervision.com, 2013). This method allows for maximum student participation, makes it possible for a closer analysis and examination of texts and demonstrates important pillars of learning for the student to experience firsthand (teachervision.com, 2013).
Unit 4 seminar
What learning activities should early childhood teachers provide to children to help prepare them for reading?
The importance of early education absolutely cannot be overestimated. There are certain skills that preschoolers need to be able to develop and have honed before they even enter kindergarten. For instance, children need to be able to retell a basic story, recognize certain letters of the alphabet and other skills so that they can start off the year strong (Golembeski, 2013). Basic activities like tracing shapes of letters and numbers on paper can help pre-schoolers exponentially. Other activities which help them to recognize the title of a book, or match rhyming sounds are all important for preschool success (Golembeski, 2013). Even activities which focus on helping students to learn how to sit quietly and listen to a story or to hold a pencil are essential for a strong kindergarten skill set development.
What is the difference between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics? How should this knowledge guide instruction for young children?
It's understandable that there can sometimes be confusion between phonological and phonemic awareness as there's a focus on the sound elements between the spoken words. Phonological awareness is different in that it has a strong focus on the phonemic awareness, and identifying and manipulating larger parts of spoken language, along with things like alliteration, rhyme, words and syllables (Virginia.edu, 2003). On the other hand, phonemic awareness refers to a narrower subcategory this arena which focuses on being able to pinpoint and manipulate specific sounds within spoken words (Virginia.edu, 2003). Finally phonics is the focus on the letter sound relationship of written words. This knowledge should be used to help guide instruction for children so that educators understand that their job is to help children understand the connection "between letters of the written language and the sounds of the spoken language. Phonics instruction focuses on the 1:1 correspondence between letters and sounds" (Virginia.edu, 2003).
What are some activities for introducing children to the letters of the alphabet?
Some good activities for introducing children to letters of the alphabet generally involve matching and saying or sound out the name of the letter. For example, an alphabet pumpkin patch or an alphabet car wash or any activity which uses upper-case and lowercase letters in a matching formation in the form of a craft activity are suitable.
How can you create an effective and motivating writing center?
An effective and motivating writing center is one which allows kids to be creative and to write about the things which are important to them. A motivating writing center would be highly visual and focus on stimulating kids' imagination through images, along with the freedom to write about the things they want.
What is the "writing workshop"? Why is publishing such an important part of the writing workshop?
A writing workshop is a highly focused writing class which specializes in helping children to produced finished pieces of writing that is ripe for being presented and for being "published." The publishing process gives children a sense that their work is being finished and put on display. It gives their work and the effort their work took, a sense of accomplishment.
Unit 5 seminar
Why is assessment so important? How can it be used as feedback to the educator on what students already know and what they still need to learn? How can it help educators decide to make changes to their instructional approach?
Assessment is so crucial because it gives both educators and students a vital snapshot about what parts of the material have garnered the status of basic comprehension, which parts have just garnered cursory comprehension, which parts of the material have been mastered and which parts have not been understood at all. By testing students or engaging in concept-checking questions and activities, the educator can clearly understand which parts of the material need to have more time spent on them, and which parts of the material are sufficiently understood. Assessment can help educators make changes with their instructional approach in the sense that he or she can mimic the teaching methods with subjects/concepts which were better by students.
What is the difference between ongoing assessment and on-demand assessment? What are some examples of each?
On-going assessments refer to the activities that teachers engage in each day to determine how much their students are learning and to ensure that they're processing the information correctly. This includes activities like observing the students, chatting with the students, and asking the students questions to check their understanding. On-demand assessment refers to activities like in-class exams or quizzes, or problem sheets where students have to correct incorrect answers.
What experiences have you had with assessment (both formal and informal)? Think about assessment experiences when you have been the one being assessed and when you have been conducting the assessment.
I've had generally positive experiences with assessment when I have been the one giving the assessment. I'm able to create a low-pressure environment for students so that they feel that all they have to do is their best. When I've been assessed either as a teacher or when I was a student, I always felt like I was being judged and that the environment was extremely high pressure.
What experiences with standardized tests have you had? What are the benefits and drawbacks of standardized testing?
Standardized testing was something that I always struggled with as a student. In hindsight, I see the benefits of it in a traditional sense and that it is able to provide a clear snapshot of what a student understands regarding the pillars of what has been taught.…