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Kaitlyn McNamara

Professor Manion

I. Background Information

This Case Study will focus on a student named SJ. SJ is a male, nine
year-old, fourth grader at _____ Elementary School. The content areas that
I have observed him in are math and language arts. SJ moved to the
school this year. He is a kind student who likes to help other students in
any way he can. At this elementary school all students must carry pocket
files to organize students papers.

Literacy is an important part of this classroom. The students are

constantly working with partners where they are talking and listening to
one anothers answers and thoughts. SJ is very good with being respectful
and listening to his partner. He communicates well and gets his ideas
across respectfully. He tends to be a slower reader than other students.
When working through problems with another student he asks them to
slow down. I observed that SJ tends to read slower and gets stuck at
certain words. He lacks fluency when reading. SJ puts numbers in incorrect
places in math class, which tends to confuse him. His writing is neat in
other subject areas. SJ is very strong in math class. He grasps the content
quicker than other students in the class.

SJ lacks the most in the organizational aspect of school. SJ fails to give

attention to details and makes careless mistakes in schoolwork. SJ also
has difficulty organizing tasks and loses things necessary for tasks. As I
mentioned before, all students carry around a pocket file to help students
organizationally. SJ still loses papers and things necessary for tasks. I feel
it is necessary to go one step further with SJ and prepare him with
necessary organization strategies.

II. Assessment and Literacy Strategies/Activities

SJ reads at a slower pace than other students. My mentor teacher

allots a short amount of time for independent reading so during this time I
would work with SJ. I have experimented with many different types of
reading fluency strategies but there was one in particular that stuck.
Before I met SJ, he was tested by my mentor teacher for reading
comprehension. He comprehends what he is reading but he just does it a
little bit slower than other students. The first strategy I implemented with
SJ was having him reread. He would read a passage and then I would ask
him to reread it. When he reread it he was able to correct his miscues. On
his first run through of the passage he read very slowly and had five
miscues. When he reread the passage he read a bit quicker and only had
three miscues. The second strategy I tried with SJ was prompting and not
correcting. When he would be reading a text out loud and he paused
because he did not know the word I would not give him the word and just
have him move on. I would say, Read it again or Sound it out. I noticed
that after a few prompts he was able to make the connection himself.
Later on in the passage when he would see the word again he was
pronouncing the word himself and not looking for the prompt or

My mentor teacher approached me during a math unit on long division

to let me know that SJ is making careless mistakes on his tests and
quizzes. She wanted me to test his multiplication facts to see if that was
the problem or if it was his organizational skills. I sat down with him at a
back table and at a quick pace went through multiplication flashcards and
tested his knowledge. Out of 30 flashcards he got 28 correct. After seeing
the results we knew that he does know his multiplication facts. I observed
his notes and saw that he wrote numbers in wrong places so I decided to
give him graph paper when dividing so that it keeps his numbers in line.
Immediately we saw an improvement in his math work. SJ was dividing
correctly and eliminating his careless mistakes when doing long division.

SJ struggles with organization in the classroom. The school already

requires each student to use a pocket file in order to keep students
organized. I noticed that SJ tends to lose papers and forget papers at
home. At least three times a week SJ would lose a paper. I talked with my
mentor teacher about it and she told me she already tried giving him
reminders but it did not work. I decided to implement color-coding into his
pocket file. Each subject was given a certain color. Therefore he can
visually see the different pockets and place them in the correct spot. After
this strategy was implemented he still was losing papers and leaving them
at home. I decided to pair SJ with another student who is a good example
and very organized. It would be SJs responsibility to ask the student
where to put papers, what books/papers to pack for home and what was
for homework. After SJ was partnered with a highly organized student
there was definitely an improvement. He went from losing a paper three
times a week to once a week.

Another area of need with SJ is his failure to give attention to detail. SJ

is very intelligent and grasps the math content quicker than other
students. I noticed that SJ is always the first student finished in math
class. I implemented two strategies with SJ that helped him pay more
attention to detail. I had SJ annotate the math questions and show his
work. Once SJ started to mark up his paper he started catching his own
mistakes. I also reminded him constantly to check his work before handing
it in. When this strategy was put in place he was making an average of
seven careless mistakes per exam. By the end of the semester he was
checking his work without me asking him to do so. With both strategies
learned, SJ was able to minimize his careless mistakes to three per exam.

III. Evaluation
SJ has improved a lot over the course of the semester. His biggest area
of need as of right now is his organization skills. Although he made a lot of
strives in a positive direction he still struggles with organization. His
disorganization is the root of many other problems in school. For the
future, the continuation of organization strategies would be beneficial. I
would recommend teachers implement more strategies and routines in
their classroom to help all students but, in particular, SJ. Teachers could
have the homework written on the board throughout the day so that
students can constantly be reminded of it. Teachers could make it a
routine to write homework down in the morning. Also, tests could be
written down a week in advance. I think involving parents could help
support SJ organizationally. Having the parents sign off on his homework
planner and tests would ensure the parents involvement and help him
stay more organized.

SJs reading fluency is an area that needs to continue to improve. It is

definitely an area of need that requires more support. If I were to continue
working with SJ I would want to determine his silent reading rate and oral
reading rate. I would like to have him read and count how many times he
has a miscue in a two-minute period of reading. I would then count how
many words he read and how many times he had a miscue. I would divide
the miscues by the number of words read. That number would then be
subtracted from 100 to give me the accuracy rate. I would keep a chart so
that SJ could see his own improvement, which would help motivate his
continued success. My advice to teachers who will have SJ is we cannot
confuse teaching reading with the act of reading. The biggest way to
improve SJs reading is to get him reading more. I would recommend that
future teachers who have SJ contact his parents and have them work
together to get SJ reading more.

One of SJs strengths as mentioned before is his ability to grasp math

content quickly. He is very strong in math and knows it so well that he
always finishes first. This is also attributed to his weakness of not paying
attention to detail. SJ knows his math so well that he rushes through it and
makes silly mistakes like saying 6 x 0 = 6. After SJ consciously paid
attention to detail, showed his work and checked his work he was
minimizing his careless mistakes. If I had more time with SJ I would also
implement a rule where he cannot be finished with his math work based
on a certain amount of time appropriate to the activity. This way it would
force SJ to slow down and not rush through his math problems. I would
recommend teachers continue to encourage their students to check work;
therefore, it will become habitual.

Another one of SJs strengths is his ability to work so well in group

settings. He is respectful to other teachers and students. He is a student
who could work well with any student. He listens to others and respects
their opinions. He likes to ask questions to better understand students
thought process. He loves to help others and he is always offering to work
with the ELL students. He enjoys working with the ELL students and
explaining directions to them and helping them get to different places in
the building. He is a very genuine and kind student. His compassion and
respect for everyone is one that is admired by other teachers and will
prove useful for future success.

IV. Journal/Notes & Materials