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Elementary Education

Task 1: Planning Commentary

TASK 1: PLANNING COMMENTARY


Respond to the prompts below (no more than 9 single-spaced pages, including prompts) by typing your responses within the
brackets. Do not delete or alter the prompts. Pages exceeding the maximum will not be scored.

1. Central Focus
a. Describe the central focus and the essential literacy strategy for comprehending OR
composing text you will teach in the learning segment.
[The central focus of this lesson holds the purpose of composing text features to teach students
how to write informational texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
Learning text features teaches students that composing titles, illustrations, captions, charts, and
glossaries is an important skill to possess in order to be a successful writer. The ability to
compose text features is an important writing skill for students, which is in direct correlation with
the ability to write an informational text. Text features allow students to learn how a text works
together with the features of the book to inform or educate the reader. Furthermore, text
features teaches students how features make a text more interesting and exciting to read.]
b. Given the central focus, describe how the standards and learning objectives within
your learning segment address
the essential literacy strategy
related skills that support use of the strategy
reading/writing connections
[The central focus of this learning segment is designed to help students master the standard
ELAGSE4W2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and
information clearly. A. Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and
sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding
comprehension. The learning objectives in this segment that will help the students master the
standard include the following: analyzing text features in order to write an informational piece,
composing text features to go along with their informational writing topic, composing creative
titles using a creative titles worksheet that asks students to change the dull titles to titles that are
creative, designing detailed illustrations for certain passages from the mentor text, Who is Dr.
Seuss? By Janet B. Pascal, writing captions for illustrations students designed in previous
lesson, identifying diagrams, maps, and charts using a handout, discussing with one another
where and how students would format these text features within an informational text, and
developing a glossary using students informational topic. Related skills that support the use of
analyzing and composing text features include the ability to identify titles, illustrations, captions,
charts, diagrams, and maps and the ability to recognize the importance of how text features
support an informational text. Both of these skills are important as students begin to compose
text features which will enable them to write their informational text. Having a foundation in text
features will impact a students ability to learn to write independently. As we explore what the
text feature, titles, are in Lesson #1, and students learn that titles tell what an informational
piece is going to be about, they will use their ability to identify titles to infer what a text is going
to be about and to compose their own creative titles from dull titles given to them in a handout.
Throughout all three lessons, students will continue to learn about the following text features:
titles, illustrations, captions, charts, maps, and diagrams. This learning will allow students to
make a writing connection with composing informational pieces as they participate in composing
text features. This will give students the opportunity to see how text features will help them to
become fluent writers. By analyzing and composing text features, students will experience how

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

text features work together with informational writing pieces to make a text interesting and
exciting to read.]
c. Explain how your plans build on each other to help students make connections
between the essential literacy strategy to comprehend OR compose text and related
skills that support use of the strategy in meaningful contexts.
[Lesson 1 is the first of five ELA lessons which will build off of each other as the students learn
how to analyze and compose text features. In this lesson, students will learn that titles tell what
a text is going to be about and demonstrate their understanding of this text feature by
composing creative titles using a creative titles worksheet that asks students to change the dull
titles to titles that are creative. Whole group instruction will focus on students analyzing and
identifying titles. For example, to reinforce the concept that titles need to be creative, students
will look at boring titles that will be written on chart paper. Students will take turns discussing
how the dull titles on the chart paper could be better and why. This will also allow for students to
see how creative titles are important because it is the first thing a reader will see when they pick
up a book and it will let the reader know what the text is going to be about. This will be repeated
several times with different dull titles written on the chart paper so several students will have the
opportunity to practice the skill for immediate feedback from the teacher. Small group instruction
will consist of the teacher conferencing with students one on one as they participate in a
creative titles handout. Students will take dull titles and change them to creative titles. This will
allow for students to see how creative titles are more inviting to a reader and how the title tells
what the text is going to be about.

Lesson 2 is the second of five ELA lessons which will build off the first lesson, in which teacher
will explain what an Illustration is and what it helps the reader do while reading. Teacher will
read a few pages from the mentor text that has an illustration on it and show the students how
the illustration helps the students to know more about the story. In this lesson, students will be
able to practice designing detailed illustrations for certain passages from the mentor text, Who
is Dr. Seuss? Whole group instruction will focus on students learning why illustrations are
helpful in a text and what the illustrations need to look like. As the students analyze illustrations
from the mentor text, the teacher will head the classroom discussion on why illustrations are so
important and how certain illustrations help explain more about the text to the reader. This will
help reinforce the prior days lesson in which students learned that titles are an important part of
an informational writing piece. Small group instruction will consist of the teacher conferencing
with students one on one to as they participate in designing their own illustrations for passages
from the mentor text.

Lesson 3 is the third of five ELA lessons which will build off of the prior days lesson in which
students learned how design detailed illustrations for informational writing pieces. In this lesson,
the students will learn how to write captions for their illustrations from the previous lessons. As
the teacher reads a few pages from the mentor text that has an illustration with a caption on it
and show the students how the caption works with illustration helps the students know more
about the informational text. This will enable students to see that they can compose their own
caption for their illustrations to help their readers know more about their informational writing
pieces. Small group instruction will consist of students independently completing the captions
for their illustrations from the previous lesson.

Lesson 4 is the fourth of five ELA lessons which will build off of the prior days lesson in
which students learned how to compose captions for illustrations from a previous lesson. In
this lesson, teacher will explain the definition of map, chart, and diagram. Teacher will use

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

pictures and the chart paper to help students understand the difference between each of
these text structures. Teacher will read a few pages from the mentor text that has chart,
map, or diagram within the reading and discuss with the students how these text structures
help students to understand informational text on a deeper level. Students will identify the
text features using a handout. Teacher will ask students to discuss with one another where
and how they would format these text features within an informational text. This will enable
students to see that they can design their own charts, graphs, and maps when writing an
informational piece. Small group instruction will consist of students independently
completing the handout where they will identify charts, maps, and graphs. Then, students
will work on designing a chart, map, or graph for their informational writing pieces.
Lesson 5 is the fifth of five ELA lessons which will build off of the prior days lesson in which
students learned how design detailed illustrations for informational writing pieces. In this
lesson, teacher will explain the definition of glossary and where students can find a glossary.
Teacher will read a few pages from the mentor text and have the students pick out words
that may need to be placed in a glossary. Students will develop a glossary for the topic they
have chosen for their informational writing pieces. This will enable students to see that
glossaries play an important role in an informational piece because it helps readers to
understand words they may not know. Small group instruction will consist of students
independently developing glossaries for their informational writing pieces.]

2. Knowledge of Students to Inform Teaching


For each of the prompts below (2ab), describe what you know about your students with
respect to the central focus of the learning segment.
Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different strategies/support
(e.g., students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners, struggling readers,
underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted
students).
a. Prior academic learning and prerequisite skills related to the central focusCite
evidence of what students know, what they can do, and what they are still learning
to do.
[The central focus of this lesson holds the purpose of composing text features to teach students
how to write informational texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
Students have already been introduced to a variety of texts since Kindergarten. They know texts
have different features, but they may not know how to use these features to help deepen their
understanding of the content they are reading. All of the students have learned how to use
pictures to gain a deeper understanding of the text. However, students are still learning to use
captions and charts as a source to help them better understand a text while reading. They have
focused on learning about the concept of a books texts features. Now, students have begun to
break the text features down into smaller parts in order to help them to comprehend that each
text feature allows for the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the text as a whole.
Throughout the year, students have been introduced to the concept of text features through
reading various genres of text. Although the definition of text feature has never been formally
introduced nor have text features been broken down, they have been exposed to texts that have
text features all throughout them. Based on the pre-assessment that I administered prior to the
learning segment, the majority of the students could not compose a caption for a given
illustration or compose illustrations for informational writing pieces. Therefore, this information
has helped guide my instruction for this learning segment.]

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

b. Personal, cultural, and community assets related to the central focusWhat do you
know about your students everyday experiences, cultural and language
backgrounds and practices, and interests?
[Three of the students in my classroom come from high poverty backgrounds. Their parents
writing skills are very limited themselves which has influenced the writing skills their children
possess. Then, two of the students in my classroom are English Language Learners who come
from a household that does not speak English at home. Although they might have siblings who
can speak English, the preferred language is Spanish or Korean, as it is the only language that
the parents can speak. These students have been exposed to text features previously, however
the concept of composing and analyzing text features has never been introduced. These
students receive services from the schools ESOL teacher. The ESOL teacher comes into the
classroom in the mornings during science, but services are provided throughout the day when
needed as well. The rest of the students in my classroom come from average middle class
families. These students receive support at home in the area of practicing their writing and
helping their children to master the skills we practice in school.

Although the dynamics of my classroom are very diverse, the students have quickly learned to
support each others various needs during learning. The students clap for our Korean student,
an English Language Learner, when the student reads or answers questions correctly and the
class as a whole has developed a love for writing.]
3. Supporting Students Literacy Learning
Respond to prompts 3ac below. To support your justifications, refer to the instructional
materials and lesson plans you have included as part of Literacy Planning Task 1. In
addition, use principles from research and/or theory to support your justifications.
a. Justify how your understanding of your students prior academic learning and personal,
cultural, and community assets (from prompts 2ab above) guided your choice or
adaptation of learning tasks and materials. Be explicit about the connections between
the learning tasks and students prior academic learning, their assets, and
research/theory.
[Based on the data from the pre-assessment, the majority of the students in my class had no
prior experience with the concept of composing illustrations or captions for illustrations, I felt as
though it was important to first lay the foundation of the meaning of the words text features.
Also, because there are two English Language Learners in the class, it was important to provide
visual explanations of the meaning of text features. This was done during Lesson #1 as text
features was written on chart paper and placed on the white board for students. The definition of
text features was also written on chart paper and discuss thoroughly. Then, the following text
features were broken down, defined, discussed, and shown through pictures one by one: title,
title page, illustrations, photographs, captions, charts/tables, maps, diagram, graphs, and
glossary. An example of this chart is included in instruction materials for Lesson #1 and this
provided students the opportunity to not only visualize the text features, but this also allowed
students the chance to grasp the concept of text features as a whole. According to The Melissa
Institute Literacy Website, exploring the genres and structures of both fiction and non-fiction
texts develops students understanding of the importance of specific features of texts. Teaching
students how texts are structured and organized and what features appear in different genres is
essential to effectively understanding and communicating ideas in both reading and writing
(2016). This research guided my choice to start with the foundation of text features which was to
first give the definition of text features and then break down each text feature one by one.]

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

b. Describe and justify why your instructional strategies and planned supports are
appropriate for the whole class, individuals, and/or groups of students with specific
learning needs.
Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners,
struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic
knowledge, and/or gifted students).
[None of my students learn the same way. Because of this it was important for me to
differentiate my instruction. All five lessons in the learning segment incorporate visual, auditory,
and kinesthetic learning opportunities for the students in my classroom.

I decided to include auditory activities in every lesson by using the interactive discussion
approach while teacher. For example, the discussion from lesson #1 where I reinforced the
concept that titles need to be creative and had students look at boring titles written on chart
paper and then take turns discussing how the dull titles on the chart paper could be better and
why enabled all students to talk and share their ideas about creative titles. During auditory
activities, I take the time to really listen to what the students are saying to gauge any
misconceptions or gaps in academic knowledge.

Visual activities were also incorporated into every lesson through the chart paper on the white
board or through activities handed out to students. Regardless of my classroom having English
Language Learners I have found that pictures are universal among students and are helpful for
everyone. This is a great way to differentiate my instruction, help English Language Learners,
and allow for clarity among all the students within my classroom. For example, during lesson #2
whole group instruction focused on students learning why illustrations are helpful in a text and
what the illustrations need to look like. As the students analyzed illustrations from the mentor
text, Who is Dr. Seuss? the teacher headed the classroom discussion on why illustrations are
so important and how certain illustrations help explain more about the text to the reader. This
was done by showing students illustrations from the mentor text and allowing the kids to see
them on the smartboard. This visual activity enabled the whole class as well as the English
Language Learners to see the illustrations.

Kinesthetic activities were included to have the students compose their own text features after
analyzing them. For example in lesson #2 small group instruction consisted of the teacher
conferencing with students one on one as they participated in designing their own illustrations
for passages from the mentor text. During this lesson I read a few sentences from the mentor
text and then paused as students drew a detailed illustration for that passage.

Direct Instruction was an appropriate strategy for the students in my classroom as well.
Because of the dynamics of my classroom as well as the limited exposure to the concept of
composing illustrations and captions for illustrations, I chose to use a mini-lesson that
incorporated Direct Instruction with student interaction so the students would understand what
was expected of them for each lesson.

According to Lucy Calkins, the mini lesson allows for students to make important connections
and connections help to contextualize the teaching point to come and also help students
understand the relevance of their work. An effective teaching point conveys what writers often
try to do -- the goal, and ways writers can go about doing that the procedure (Teachers
College Writing Workshop).

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Informal assessments were also embedded throughout the learning segment to provide support
for all learners and ensure that they were on track for mastering the concept of analyzing and
composing text features. Formative questions took place during each mini-lesson which allowed
for any misconceptions to be addressed immediately. For example, prior to Lesson #1, a pre-
assessment was administered to assess what students knew about analyzing and composing
text features. This informed my instruction and guided me to make sure I explicitly taught
composing illustrations and captions for illustrations. Also, during lesson #1 any gaps or
misconceptions in understanding were addressed immediately so students could successfully
comprehend the daily lessons and complete their independent tasks throughout the week.]
c. Describe common developmental approximations or common misconceptions within
your literacy central focus and how you will address them.
[One of the common misconceptions that occurred when implementing this learning segment
was students assuming that the glossary is in the front of a text. I found this misconception
when administering the pre-assessment to my students. To address this misconception, I
reinforced that the glossary was in the back of the book and showed examples of a glossary.]
4. Supporting Literacy Development Through Language
As you respond to prompts 4ad, consider the range of students language assets and
needswhat do students already know, what are they struggling with, and/or what is new to
them?
a. Language Function. Using information about your students language assets and
needs, identify one language function essential for students to develop and practice the
literacy strategy within your central focus. Listed below are some sample language
functions. You may choose one of these or another more appropriate for your learning
segment.

Analyze Argue Categorize Compare/contrast Describe Explain

Interpret Predict Question Retell Summarize


[In this learning segment, one language function that was essential for students to develop was
the ability to analyze text features. In regards to my central focus, students needed to be able to
analyze in order to compose text features for their own informational writing piece.]
b. Identify a key learning task from your plans that provides students with opportunities to
practice using the language function in ways that support the essential literacy strategy.
Identify the lesson in which the learning task occurs. (Give lesson day/number.)
[During each lesson in this learning segment, students were given the opportunity to practice
analyzing. For example in lesson #3 students analyzed captions from example texts. Students
were taught that captions explain what a photograph or illustration is about. Teacher showed
examples of illustrations from texts on the smartboard and discussed with students how the
captions helped explain what the illustration was about. Students were able to apply the skill as
they analyzed the captions and discussed them with the teacher. During independent instruction
students used this skill to compose their own captions for illustrations they had drawn from a
previous lesson.]
c. Additional Language Demands. Given the language function and learning task
identified above, describe the following associated language demands (written or oral)
students need to understand and/or use:

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Vocabulary or key phrases


Plus at least one of the following:
Syntax
Discourse
[Students will practice writing creative titles for a variety of informational pieces.

Students will listen to the video, questions, and teacher explain text structures. Students will
discuss why creativity is important and how they would feel about a book with no text structures.

Writing was the language demand that students used to demonstrate their understanding during
this task, and was done through syntax. The discourse that supporter the students writing
process consisted of students listening during the mini lesson and through discussion each day
while breaking down each text feature. The syntax that was used to help organize the students
written communication of text features included a variety of graphic organizers and thinking
maps that can be found in instructional materials.]
d. Language Supports. Refer to your lesson plans and instructional materials as needed
in your response to the prompt.
Identify and describe the planned instructional supports (during and/or prior to the
learning task) to help students understand, develop, and use the identified language
demands (function, vocabulary or key phrases, discourse, or syntax).
[The first instructional support that I used was differentiation. All five of my lessons included a
visual, auditory, and kinesthetic element so the information would be delivered in multiple ways
to my students. Students were able to hear the explanation of text features and how to analyze
them. For example in Lesson #1 we analyzed titles using the mentor text, Who Was Dr.
Seuss? During this part of the lesson, students listened to teacher discuss creative titles and
explain that titles tell what the story is going to be about. Also, for students who learn visually,
we looked at titles of different books using the mentor text and the anchor chart. As a class we
changed dull titles to creative titles using the anchor chart. Finally, a kinesthetic element was
included in this lesson when the thinking map was handed out to students and students were
asked to change dull titles to creative titles during the independent portion of the lesson. This
differentiation enabled students to not only analyze text features, but also helped students
compose text features by the end of lesson #5.

Another planned instructional support used to help students understand text features was
independent practice. During all five of my lessons students were introduced to a different text
feature. First, students were presented with the text feature by a mini lesson that immediately
led into independent practice of composing each text feature on their own.

Lastly, another planned instructional support used to help students understand text features was
explicit instruction. For example, in lesson number four students were learning the text feature:
charts/tables, maps, diagrams, and graphs. Students learned during the mini lesson that in
order to figure out what charts in an informational text are telling them that they have to follow
three steps. The steps are 1. Read the text. 2. Read the chart. 3. Ask yourself, What is this
chart telling me? These steps were explicitly taught to students. After students applied these
three steps during independent learning using a graphic organizer.]
5. Monitoring Student Learning

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

In response to the prompts below, refer to the assessments you will submit as part of the
materials for Literacy Planning Task 1.

a. Describe how your planned formal and informal assessments will provide direct
evidence that students can use the essential literacy strategy to comprehend OR
compose text AND related skills throughout the learning segment.
[All of the planned formal and informal assessments promote the skill of recognizing or
producing rhyme which work together to help promote fluent readers. The assessments build
off of each other and require sound phonological awareness to be successful. One informal
assessment used during whole group instruction in Lesson #1 provided direct evidence of
understanding rhyme as students identified the same endings in rhyming words. As students
came to the board and circled the endings, I was able to assess whether or not they grasped
the concept of rhyming words as they circled the rime. As they did this, we sounded out the
onset and rime, demonstrating how rhyming words can be broken down into smaller parts,
hence helping them when they are reading. During an informal assessment in small groups in
Lesson #2, it was evident that students were able to recognize rhyme as they independently
circled the rhyming words in the Frog on a Log poem. Direct evidence that students were able
to produce rhyme was given in Lesson #3 during an informal assessment as students listened
to rhyming riddles and produced a logical rhyme. This can be seen in Literacy Clip #2. All of
these informal assessments worked together to ensure that students would master recognizing
and producing rhyme and helped students provide direct evidence as they independently
completed the Frog on a Log poem at the end of the learning segment]
b. Explain how the design or adaptation of your planned assessments allows students with
specific needs to demonstrate their learning.
Consider the variety of learners in your class who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners,
struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic
knowledge, and/or gifted students).
[The design of all of my assessments allow for every learner in the class to demonstrate their
understanding. Prior to the learning segment, a pre-assessment will be administered in a non-
threatening manner. Students will simply identify whether or not a set of words rhyme by
indicating a thumbs up or thumbs down. During Lesson #1, the Sweet Rhymes center
activity will be used for formative purposes and requires no written or oral demonstration.
Instead, the students will cut and paste pictures of objects as they match them with their
rhyming words. Both of these types of assessments will be appropriate for the English
Language Learners in the class because they will not require them to be fluent in their oral skills
in order to be successful. For this learning segment, two different summative assessments will
be given during center time. One assessment will consist of an oral assessment as students
dictate words that are missing in the Frog on a Log poem. Because this is an oral
assessment, it will offer an appropriate way for the teacher to assess understanding of rhyme
without alienating students who may struggle with their writing skills. The second summative
assessment is an alternative way to assess English Language Learners without putting an
emphasis on their oral ability to demonstrate their understanding. The Rhyming Around the
Room summative assessment can be adapted to meet various needs as well. Although it is
designed for students to walk around the room and find various rhyming pictures/words that
match pictures and words on their papers, it can easily be adapted for students who may be
struggling with the concept of rhyme. Because there are individual rhyming cards, the number
of cards that students have to choose from to find rhyming matches can be increased or
decreased depending on the level of their understanding.]

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Elementary Education
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Lesson #1
*What is Creativity? by Shots of Awe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYbA_-mAtUY
*Who Was Dr. Seuss by Janet B. Pascal
*Text Feature Posters by Kalena Baker- https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Text-
Features-Posters-2041177
*Creative Titles Thinking Map- Ashleigh-educationjourney.com

Lesson #2
*Who Was Dr. Seuss by Janet B. Pascal
*Text Feature Posters by Kalena Baker- https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Text-
Features-Posters-2041177
* My Text Features Poster by Informational Writing Resources Panicked Teacher 2013

Lesson #3
*Who Was Dr. Seuss by Janet B. Pascal
*Text Feature Posters by Kalena Baker- https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Text-
Features-Posters-2041177
* My Text Features Poster by Informational Writing Resources Panicked Teacher 2013

Lesson #4
*Who Was Dr. Seuss by Janet B. Pascal
*Text Feature Posters by Kalena Baker- https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Text-
Features-Posters-2041177

Lesson #5
*Who Was Dr. Seuss by Janet B. Pascal
*Text Feature Posters by Kalena Baker- https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Text-
Features-Posters-2041177

http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/balancedliteracydiet/Text_Structures_Genres.html

http://schd.ws/hosted_files/sbcusdri2014/58/Writing%20Workshop.pdf

https://betterlesson.com/lesson/reflection/7430/correcting-misconception

https://education.alberta.ca/instructional-supports/instructional-supports/everyone/instructional-
strategies-and-refugee-support-links/?searchMode=3

http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/ieptlibrary/lib08.html

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