3rd: Reading and Writing with “The Simpsons”

Student: Mike (teacher asked that I do not use his name)
Session: Reading and Writing

Student level of proficiency:
Oral: 4-according to Holistic Oral Language Rubric.
Reading: Developing/Beginning-according to Developmental Reading Rubric
Writing: Beginning-according to Holistic Scoring Rubric (writing samples)
Grade level: 3rd

*Rationale for choosing activity: Mike has shown very little interest in learning, and really dislikes having me help him. When he is supposed to write in class, he will draw pictures, but not actually produce any thing. Also, he does not often get one-on-one time with his teacher for writing activities, so I think this could help him. This lesson combines his interest in “The Simpson’s” cartoon, and gets him interested in writing. He does not like to write, so I figured that if he was given something fun to write about maybe he would be more interested.

Materials: paper, pencil, “The Simpson’s” book

Lesson Objective: I wanted Mike to focus on forming thoughts before he writes, and his basic writing skills. He has not been improving with his writing because he does not write about things of interest to him. During his normal writing time in class, he will sit there and doodle. When I have tried to brainstorm with him on ideas, I do no get any response from him. This is why I think this book will work.

ELD Standard: Mike is a beginning/early intermediate learner for reading and writing. This activity would reinforce both of these skills. I am hoping that he will be able to compose and write simple sentences with some assistance from myself. He speaks English very well, but he really needs help with reading and writing.

Anticipatory set-into-motivation: I am going to show Mike the book, and see how he responds. I am expecting a very positive response from him. I have a feeling that he will be more interested in looking through the book and not actually doing any work. I figure if I encounter this problem, I will make a deal with him. I am going to suggest that we look through it, write what we saw, then look through it some more. I think that this will make Mike feel that he is getting a good deal since he is able to look at the book twice and only has to write about it once. I think that he will be happy that he is able to look at a book other than the classroom selections because he really dislikes them.

Activities for reading: We are going to look through the book together and I am going to point out funny pictures. We are not going to read anything before we write, because I figure this will be a reward for him. Also, the print is very small and I do not want to overwhelm him. After we have gone through the book, I am going to have him pick a picture to write about. I will help him with his sentences, if he needs it, because I want to build his confidence with his writing.

Check for understanding: Once he has completed his first sentence, I will ask him to give me another one. I figure that this will show that he is grasping the concept of the activity. Also, I will be looking at his writing to see where he needs additional help and which skills he is struggling with. I know that Mike will understand the lesson, because he speaks English well and always understands his assignments.

Closure: I hope that this will be a fun activity that Mike will enjoy. It is a little less traditional than his normal writing assignments, so I think that alone will bring some enjoyment. Since, he likes this particular cartoon so much, I think that it will really get him interested in the activity.

Reflection on implementation:

a) Mike was very excited to do this activity as soon as I pulled out the book. When we began, he did just want to look through it rather than do any work, but I was able to convince him to do the activity. I was really surprised and happy at how enthusiastic he was about the exercise. He looked through the pictures and decided to write about one in particular. Once he wrote one sentence, he picked another picture and wrote about that. I helped him with spelling, but I tried to have him sound out the words and write what he heard. He really had a fun time doing this, and this is the first time that he did not mind having me there. I really felt that there was a breakthrough with him during this exercise. He had such a fun time doing this; I left the book for the teacher so that he could do this while I was not there.

b) There were not many weaknesses that I found in this activity. Next time, I would like him to focus on one picture and come up with a couple different sentences about the one picture. Instead, he gave me two sentences from two pictures that really had nothing to do with one another. He did not understand the concept that a story should flow, and that one sentence should have something to do with the next. Also, he really needs practice with his letter sounds before he writes more. He does not hear the letter sounds before he writes the words. I did not correct his spelling, but I did correct when he had an entirely different letter sound in a word. For example, he wrote the word “food” and he wrote it as “fouk”. I sounded out the word with him and then helped him sound it out as he spelled it.

c) One thing that I would change is that I wish we had more time to work on this. We had to cut the lesson short because the class had another activity that he needed to be involved in. He was really enjoying himself, and was improving with his brainstorming on the pictures. I think that he was really headed towards a positive breakthrough with his work.

d) I realized the importance of finding something that the student is interested in. Before I found out his love for “The Simpson’s” he showed no interest in me or my help. This has really opened him up and made him want to interact with me. I guess he saw me as more of a fun friend than a teacher. Also, I realized the importance of creating a stress-free environment. Mike was away from the rest of the class, and he was not worried about making mistakes. I could tell that he felt a little freer to try and not necessarily succeed. I just let him be himself and have more fun with learning. Also, I only gave positive feedback about his work. I really tried to make this a positive and fun experience that made him forget that he was doing schoolwork.