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International Literacy

International Dyslexia Association



ILA Standard 4: Diversity

IDA Standard A: Foundation Concepts about Oral and Written Learning

Sped 639



Writing Unit

(artifacts 1&2)

SPED 638/

Differentiation for a CSR Lesson Plan(artifact 3)

Synthesis of Assessment Standards

ILA Standard 4 attributes good teaching preparation to the professional’s understanding and acceptance of the diversity of each student which ensures individuals are respected and represented through democratic instruction. Students differ in terms of culture, religion, native language, and skill. External factors such as social setting, environment, language spoken at home and beliefs, or internal factors such cognitive or behavior deficits all create a diverse body of students in a classroom. IDA Standard A acknowledges that literacy specialists are proficient in pinpointing specifically where a particular student needs assistance with understanding that the interruption in their language development may be due to aspects of cognition, behavior, environmental, cultural, or social factors. Literacy specialists know the causal relationships among component skills of oral language, reading, and writing and apply instruction to meet needs of students at different points of language development. They use reasonable goals and expectations for learners based on training in the field of literacy. Suitable goals and expectations for academic outcomes are developed when the literacy specialist considers how a student’s culture, home language, social, and environmental factors affect that student’s views and beliefs. ILA standard 4 and IDA standard A respect that diverse students are approaching learning with different background knowledge, beliefs, skill sets, and capabilities. Both standards operate with the understanding that there are certain aspects of cognition, behavior, and environmental factors that affect reading and writing which influences literacy development. This requires educators to provide a curriculum that values and promotes diversity and includes

all individual students. ILA Standard 4 states that the diversity within society is viewed as a strength that can open awareness versus a deficit that should be discouraged. Both standards acknowledge that literacy specialists act in the best interest of students with reading difficulties and provide support through genuine concern for students through well planned instruction that addresses the individual’s diverse needs. Individualized plans address students with cultural diversity as well as students with reading disabilities. Both standards require professional educators to develop strategies that advocate for equality and acceptance of diverse students. While ILA Standard 4 focuses on acceptance and respect for diverse students, the IDA Standards A:2 and A:3 focus on internal and external factors, respectively, that impact how a student learns.

Summary of Artifacts

Artifact 1 is a graphic organizer I used to develop a writing unit for SPED 639 Advanced Fundamentals of Language and Literacy. The writing unit is targeting middle school students. The unit incorporated books whose characters represented cultures that are part of Hawaiian communities. Through exploration and discussion of themes, the student’s are inspired to connect and express themselves through written work. The writing assignment gives the student 2 choices. After reading the book Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury, the student could write a persuasive essay that considers the traditional views of their family heritage and how these views differ or align to the current values and beliefs within their community. They must compare and contrast these two sets of views in a 3 paragraph essay. Alternatively, the student was offered the option to write an informative report using at least two additional sources besides the Eyes of the Emperor to explain some of the conditions and challenges faced by Japanese-American citizens during the Second World War.

Artifact #2 shows a table that was submitted as part of a Diversity Writing Unit for the SPED 639 class. I created a tiered activity that supports different student’s skill levels in a 6-8th resource special education class. The beginning group will receive teacher support and guidance throughout the activity, while the intermediate group will receive initial explicit instruction and be provided with a model to follow. The advanced students will be given an exemplar and then will work independently (or in pairs). All 3 groups are required to produce a 5 sentence paragraph as a persuasive essay but receive varying levels of support in reaching their goal. Levels of support include teacher instruction and guidance, modelling, exemplars to guide and working in groups, pairs or independently.

Artifact #3 from SPED 638 Fundamentals of Language and Literacyis an excerpt taken from a Reading Comprehension Toolkit assignment. It is the part of a lesson plan on Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) specifically addressing differentiation. CSR is an instructional strategy that teaches students how to collaborate in groups while monitoring themselves. Before students collaborate in groups they receive direct instruction on pre/during/post writing. The nature of CSR requires students to work in small groups of 4-6.

Teachers must be cognisant to group students wisely by considering many factors such as individual personality types, cultures, language and differing skill levels. Differentiation is built into CSR by a knowledgeable professional such as a literacy specialist or teacher.

Justification of Artifacts

Diversity (ILA 4). Develop awareness, understanding and respect valuing differences in our society.

Understanding and ability to explain other aspects of cognition and behavior that affect reading and writing (IDA: A2).

Ability to define and identify environmental, cultural, and social factors that contribute to literacy development (language spoken at home, language and literacy experiences, cultural values) (IDA: A3.)

Planning skills for a writing unit based around diversity are demonstrated in my first 2 artifacts. The unit offers students’ the ability to choose a book they were drawn to reading based on what resonates with them. The book choices represented different cultures that are part of Hawaiian communities. The graphic organizer in artifact #1 represents first generation Japanese who were Hawaiian born. Other books representing a variety of cultures are available to the student in the unit. I attempt in the writing unit to reach students through representing not only different cultures, but also different environmental and social situations (IDA A:3). For example, regarding the Eyes of the Emperor, a student may connect with the book because they have Japanese heritage. Others may connect with this book because they find meaning through alignment with being raised in Hawaii. Other possible connections could be based on themes from the book such as generational gap. Careful planning and implementation of a diverse unit such as this demonstrates my ability to create material that engage students (ILA 4). Literacy Specialists must be aware of individual students who they work with and appreciate their diversity. It is valuable for students to gain knowledge about one another regarding their differing backgrounds and cultures. Highlighting our diversity in the classroom creates respect and understanding.

My understanding of how to differentiate lessons to meet the diverse needs of students in a classroom is apparent in artifact 3. Differentiating lessons requires the literacy specialist to consider the current skill levels of students and to know why skill levels are impacted. These factors may be internal factors such as a cognitive delay or a behavior disorder; or they may come from external factors such as environment, culture or having English be their second language. It is essential to know students well enough to understand that cognition, behavior, and language may play a part in their current limitations. Literacy specialists know also that social and environmental history and current factors also determine a student’s ability level. This

artifact demonstrates my ability to meet a student where they are presently performing and guide them to grow.