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Jessi Towne

EDUG 550
November 12, 2015
Appendix P
RICA Reflection
Competency 10: Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge: Role in
Reading Development and Factors That Affect Development and Vocabulary
Competency 11: Academic Language, and Background Knowledge: Instruction and Assessment
TPE Connection 3.4: Candidates know when and how to use specialized assessments based on
students needs.
TPE Connection 9.10: Candidates develop relevant, differentiated instructional plans by
connecting the content to be learned with students linguistic and cultural backgrounds,
experiences, interests, and developmental learning needs.
A. Definition In your own words state your understanding of this competency.
These competencies are about how vocabulary, academic language, and background
knowledge affect students scholastic learning and reading development, and how they
play a role in how instruction and assessment are introduced.
B. Personal Connection/Evidence Describe ways that you have engaged with this
competency which illustrate you know how to implement it.
a. In other words, indicate events/activities in which you have engaged which are
directly related to this RICA competency both in the Reading/Literacy course
and aside from this course. In this section, take ownership with words such as
the following: It has been my experienceThe lesson I created entitledis an
example of this RICA competencyI have observed Reflect on how your
understanding of this competency is connected to TPEs. How is it important to
your teaching and your students learning?
It has been my experience within my 2nd grade classroom that I have seen my master
teacher introduce vocabulary and highlight background knowledge that the students
will need to know in order to understand the information being taught. On Tuesday,
the day before Veterans Day, my teacher had a scholastic magazine that talked all
about Veterans Day and why we celebrate the holiday. She had a website that was the
online representation of the magazine article the students had, so she was able to use
that resource to project on the screen, so it was easier for the students to see and
follow along. The website had the entire magazine on it, so the magazine was able to
be read aloud electronically. First, the website orally recited the information on
Veterans Day, like important vocabulary words and phrases. Then, the students were
shown a video about veterans and the various types of veteran services. Then, the
website read the article aloud to the students on the projected screen, so that the

students were able to hear and see the vocabulary being used and have some
background knowledge as to what Veterans Day is and why we celebrate. Since the
students had a short lesson about what Veterans Day is, why we celebrate it, and the
vocabulary and background knowledge, the students were able to better understand
what a veteran is and why we take aside a day of the year to pay them respect. In my
5th grade classroom, I was teaching a lesson about American Indians, which was split
up into a two-day lesson. The first day I talked in depth about American Indians and
totem poles and the different types of totem poles that were build and the various
things they could represent. The second day, we built our own totem poles out of
candy. If I hadnt taught the background information and vocabulary the day before in
the previous lesson, the students would not know the meaning or the significance of
the totem poles they had the opportunity to build. My understanding of these
competencies are related to TPEs 3.4 and 9.10 because I need to connect the
instruction and assessments to the experiences, backgrounds, and developmental
learning needs of each student. I want to know my students well enough to know their
backgrounds, experiences, and developmental learning needs because then I am able
to accurately assess how I can reach each student to be able to present vocabulary and
background knowledge in a way that they will understand.
C. Differentiation
a. Describe at least three examples of when and why to use particular strategies
with a student need.
i. Instruction must meet the age and ability of the students. One of the first
weeks with my tutees, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, and I
realized all too quickly that the content was too difficult for them to
understand, even though I reviewed the vocabulary with them and gave
them background knowledge in order to understand what the story was
talking about. Even though I thought I prepared them well, the content was
just too advanced for their ability, even though students at their age should
be able to read this book.
ii. With a struggling reader or an EL, it could be really useful to draw
pictures that support the vocabulary words, so that the students are able to
comprehend and understand what the words mean. My 2nd grade teacher
did that in reviewing the vocabulary by drawing pictures that represented
the vocabulary words in order to help the ELs and struggling readers to
better comprehend the material.
iii. In order for the students to understand the meanings of words, they must
have repeated exposure to the words. For example, in my 2nd grade
classroom, whenever my master teacher has words that she wants the
students to know and be able to comprehend, she says the word, says the
definition, repeats the word, and then has the students say the word with
her. This enforces that the students are getting multiple opportunities of
exposure to the word by saying it, hearing it, and understanding the
definition of the word.

D. Text-To-Text
a. Reference a minimum of one reference mentioned in the reflection.
TPE 3.4 says that, Candidates know when and how to use specialized
assessments based on students needs. When teachers know their students well,
they know how their students learn and what ways to teach the material to reach
each student. Some students need a visual representation in order to remember
vocabulary or background knowledge. Others just need to be explicitly told. The
reading ability of each student affects how they are able to receive and
comprehend information given. A student who is a lower and struggling reader
will have a more difficult time understanding vocabulary and background
information, because they are not as fluent in the English language as a student
who is an accelerated reader.