Implementing Small Group Activities
The implementation of diverse activities requires proper planning, the development of all the necessary materials, and a considerable degree of flexibility. According to the existing standards, students should develop several skills that include the recognition of syllables, differentiation between sounds, and rhyming (California Department of Education, 2013). The implemented activities are aimed at the development of these skills in students from grades two and three.
Using a written plan, as well as taking notes during the implementation process is valuable as it helps the teacher to remain focused and keep track of the students’ progress (Corey Pollard, 2018). This process is also instrumental in improving the plan, training activities, instructions, and assessment. The first activity that was carried out was drawing symbols when hearing sounds. Three second-graders saw the teacher drawing funny symbols when some sounds were pronounced, and after that, they use the teacher’s symbols or created their symbols. The learners showed their symbols and discussed whether those were correctly written sounds. In the end, the learners tried to use symbols to transcribe words.
The activity that involved differentiating letters was conducted in a group of two. First graders had grids to fill with coins and pebbles that stood for letters in a word. One of the students had dyslexia, but she coped with the tasks well, although she made some mistakes. The collaboration with another student was helpful for this activity as well. It is possible to note that collaboration is not exclusively a skill to practice in compliance with the standards provided by the California Department of Education (2013). However, collaboration is an important part of the learning process.
Finally, a rhyming activity was conducted in a group of two third graders. The children had cards with written words, and one of the learners had to choose the corresponding word when the teacher pronounced some words. The other student chose the word that could rhyme with the one they heard. Although the students were advanced cards with pictures were also used to engage students and add more fun to the activity.
The implementation of the activities was a valuable experience for me that will be further used in my practice. One of the major takeaways is the need to keep the balance between engagement and hard work (Arlington ISD, 2013). The activities with faces were engaging, but, at a certain point, the students were distracted by the pictures they drew. We managed to return to our work quickly, but I felt, at some point, the necessary working atmosphere could be lost. I will use this activity in my future practice because it is effective and motivational, but I will also be cautious as to the degree of excitement.
Another valuable takeaway is linked to working with students with special needs. The girl diagnosed with dyslexia was quite successful when counting pebbles (although she made some mistakes). She was less successful when using cards to make words, but the pebbles helped her choose the right number of letters and sounds. The girl also interacted effectively with her peer, and they collaborated successfully. This collaboration was important for the girl’s progress. I also noted that the student was satisfied with having alternatives regarding the materials. She did not want to use coins but preferred pebbles. She said they would help her be more attentive. I will use rhyming activities in my future practice as they are engaging. Advanced students rhymed words quite easily (using cards with written words), but we still utilized pictures to make the activity fun. The students tried to avoid using the simplest variants, and they even tried to make small verses.
I believe these activities can be employed in my future practice, but I will, of course, modify them when necessary. The focus is always on students’ proficiency and the skills they have. I will also try to consider learners’ interests to motivate them, as in the situation with the pebbles. It is critical to engage learners, but it is also important to avoid distractions. Students can focus on materials or some elements of the activity, which can hurt the learning process. In addition to balancing motivation and the development of exact skills, I will try to utilize collaboration as an important element of the learning process (The Reading League, 2019). Students gain diverse insights when they discuss some topics, observe other learners’ performance, and work on tasks.
|Date||Title of Video Watched/Name of Mentor||Video Link/Topic(s) Discussed with Mentor||Video Length/Conversation Length||Educational Growth and Connections|
|10/17/2020||Phonological Awareness Progress Monitoring – 1st Grade||Web.||41:06||Although the featured lesson is individual, the activities the teacher uses can be used in groups. Letter and syllable differentiation activities are specifically helpful. The teacher also uses a plan she follows, taking notes when necessary, which illustrates the importance of these kinds of teaching practices.|
|10/18/202||The Reading League – March 14 2019 Presentation – Dr. Pam Kastner||Web.||2:00:23||The educator provides numerous recommendations that are relevant and helpful. One of the insights is the importance of phonemic awareness related to the way students perceive different individuals’ pronunciation.|
|10/19/2020||Texas Literacy Initiative – Phonological Awareness||Web.||1:29:28||The speaker provides various examples of the activities that can be used in kindergarten and primary school. The way she presents information is also interesting and can be seen as an example of teaching young learners.|
|10/19/2020||Phonological Awareness Activity with Hand Poi||Web.||01:34||Valuable insights regarding the educator’s attention to the production of sounds and exact position of the tongue (lips, etc.) are made.|
Arlington ISD. (2013). Texas literacy initiative – phonological awareness [Video]. YouTube.
California Department of Education. (2013). California common core state standards.
Corey Pollard. (2018). Phonological awareness progress monitoring – 1st grade [Video]. YouTube.
Phonological Awareness Activity with Hand Poi. (2008). YouTube.
The Reading League. (2019). The reading league – March 14 2019 presentation – Dr. Pam Kastner [Video]. YouTube.