This semester I am surprised at the literacy levels of my students in my 10th grade world history class as the lack of writing and reading skills they when they encountered a problem. This lack of proper resources has limited their ability to succeed when facing a tough reading prompt and they had this mentality to throw their hands up in the air and give up. However, in working with these students I have taught them about graphic organizers, chunking, finding key words or the main idea amongst other resources to combat their frustrations when faced with a challenge. My students at the beginning were able to read and have basic understanding of the material without the essential facts or information in the source if they managed to get through the entire material. I do have a few exceptional students who understand the material without any complications but for the most part my class as a whole needed the extra support in building their literacy confidence.
By September and working with my students for a couple of months, I have instilled the resources to help them get through their readings. I still challenge the students as I don’t want their education to become stagnant in implementing primary source documents, however, now my students can get to the meat of the article. By implanting think alouds, we as a class can have a valuable discussion on the passage. Furthermore, the students are now more engaged in the material as I am getting better classroom participation. The first months of my teaching I had them break up in groups as they are a social bunch and then I would find out that only a few students would do the work and then they would copy off of each other. The part in which I have seen the most progress by my students is in their writing. I now see that their writing is more direct to the prompt with the proper flow. This is because I have given them samples of different organizers and then I have them write after they have completed the graphic organizer of their choosing.
By December I hope to step out of the guiding stage a bit more by allowing my students to take control of their learning. They will now have the skills in their reading and writing to further their education and therefore I could sit back and take more of a supportive role. I would do this by having them have a class debate on a historical issue that is relevant to the standards that I am addressing. In doing so, I would hope to get the students more amped up in the content matter but also foster a deeper understanding. By switching up my role as a teacher and still making sure the flow is consistent I could see real improvement in my students. This would complete the turn around from when I first saw the students and would bolster their education prior to being juniors.
The following May I would hope to continue to build off of their knowledge and skills from that December by getting out any of the kinks and flaws in the system. I will have been working with the students enough to know their strengths and weakness to where I can adapt the lesson or challenge a student more in a GATE assignment. I would make sure that I can continue the professional relationship and work with the student in reaching their goals by being the best asset that I can be for them. I would hope that they have become comfortable and confident in their literacy skills to where they know how to tackle tough prompts. They are going to hopefully continue this on for the rest of their lives and not forget about this, thus meaning a better more literate society in the future.