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Skyler Harwood Differentiation and Diversity in Education Paper #3 4/30/13 Letter-Sound Recognition This mini-lesson is focused on learning the

names of letters and the sounds that they make. The student that I worked with had some issues identifying the sounds that vowels make, as well as letters such as C and G which can sometimes make two different sounds. I opened the lesson by placing post-It notes with letters written on them all over the table so that my student could see them all. There were uppercase and lowercase letters, each were written on separate post its. I also had an ABC chart, which has pictures of words that start with each letter and two if the letter can make different sounds. I asked my student if he/she thinks he/she could match up all of the letters before my timer ran out. This got my student very excited and as I started the timer, he/she was ready to start matching. There were a few mistakes in matching, which I determined were because the student was rushing to race against the clock. We went through the pairs and corrected any mistakes, using the ABC chart I had brought along in case he/she if they was confused and needed a visual reference. Next I went through and asked my student to tell me the sounds that each letter made. We went through each letter and when there was a mistake I brought out the

alphabet chart once again. We went through the letter that was giving them difficulty just like we do in our morning meeting. We read the name of the letter, then the sound of the letter, followed by a word and picture that begins with that letter making one of the sound(s) that the letter can make. Then I would ask my student again what sounds the letter could make after having modeled the sounds. Behaviorally I was expecting my student to become very antsy and jittery just like the behavior I observed in my previous assessment. However what I wasnt expecting was for my student to be excited about the activity and really wanting to take part in it. I suppose that actually doing an activity where there are things to interact with is more fun than just being quizzed on your letters. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to take pictures of my lesson. However I found a very similar activity on Pintrest where letters are written on post its and used to spell out a childs name. I also didnt get a copy of the ABC chart that they use in Kindergarten, but I found a similar one online. They are shown below.

The only issue that I have with this image is that it doesnt have multiple images for letters such as G, which can have 3

multiple sounds. The chart that I used has an image of a giraffe and of a gate, which helped to solidify the sound letter correlation. I noticed that as we continued to go through the letters, my student would recognize when they were having an issue with the sound of a letter and would ask to see the ABC chart before I could ask him/her if he/she wanted to use it. This is where I first began to see learning taking place. The student is recognizing that they had a misconception about the letters and the sounds they made, and are now working to fix those mistakes. I assessed my student formatively after the lesson by placing random letter post its in front of my student and asked for the sounds that the letters made. I saw some improvement in my students ability to recall the sounds that the letters make, but also when he/she was having difficulties identifying the sound, he/she would immediately look to the ABC chart. The student made strides in identifying more letters than he/she could at the beginning of the lesson. Also the biggest improvement that I noted was that the student began to make connections between the letter placed in front of them, and where the letter is on the chart. Im very happy that he/she is making the connections to this chart, because it is hung up in the classroom and he/she can reference it whenever he/she is writing. The strategy that I used to differentiate this lesson came from another class Im taking this semester. In Culture & Community, we have talked about using a spiral technique to anchor learning. I decided to try this with this student because I thought that making the connection to this activity that we do in class daily and having the

resource of the ABC chart at his/her disposal would help anchor this new learning (the letter sounds) back to an activity that he/she is intimately familiar with. It seems to have worked pretty well. While working with my student through this process, I learned that there are no two children are the same. This is especially true when you are working with students with special needs. A lot of the instruction that they require needs to be highly specialized. Thats something I didnt anticipate. I did not realize how individualized some instruction would need to be for students to succeed. I always had this assumption that you would give a basic lesson, and then go about the room assisting students who needed help, and that was the differentiation. Through this assessment and planning process I have learned that differentiated assessment can be highly successful if you allow for multiple means of representation. If you allow students to present their knowledge in a way that suits them and their learning style, then you will be able to assess their learning in a way that both interests them, and will truly assess their knowledge and understanding, and not just their ability (or lack thereof) to understand what you are asking them. Thanks to this process I have learned a lot about myself within the contexts of being a teacher. I have learned that I am really good at keeping students on task. I can redirect attention and behaviors pretty well, and I honestly think that mostly comes from having experience working with kids of all kinds at a summer camp. I think that I need to continue to work on my ability to remain consistent, especially with consequences. I will try my hardest to avoid conflict, however sometimes it is necessary.

And I have found that when I try to follow the classroom expectations for punishments Ill give a few too many warnings before I have a student move their name from the green to the yellow. This was also a problem when I was working with my student. Sometimes he/she would become very rowdy and I would try to redirect the behavior, or issue a warning but then wouldnt follow through because I became caught up in the assessment. If given the opportunity and access to materials, I would have made the materials I used for this assessment a little bit nicer. For the purposes of this assessment and lesson I was using materials that I had available to me, but I would have liked to make them pretty, and laminated so that I could utilize them again and again for other students.