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Journal Entry 5

ckeifer's picture

Today I had my first field placement.  I am placed in a 6th grade classroom at a college prep school designed for students with learning differences. The thing that jumped out at me the most at my field placement today was that the “how” of literacy education was really coming through in an obvious way in this classroom. It was obvious to me today that many of the students in this class, because they have learning differences, have been grouped in with students who lack the literacy skills necessary to excel in regular education classrooms. This classroom is unique because it consists of predominantly wealthy white upper middle class students who come from homes that value education. They are also being provided with the support they need to acquire the literacy skills necessary to succeed in higher education.  Literacy skills were being explicitly taught in a way that would not be seen in regular education classrooms especially at a 6th grade level.

Here is a short list of some of the teaching techniques that I observed today to help the students learn literacy skills.  Many of these are things that I myself do automatically and that many kids learn to do over time on their own.

  • Read directions out loud as a class and underline key terms
  • Go over vocabulary in advance before reading the chapter, brainstorm synonyms out loud, draw pictures to supplement definitions
  • Re-read the chapter that was assigned for homework out loud as a class
  • Frequently stop while reading aloud, teacher asks questions and makes connections
  • Picture slide show to supplement imagery in the book
  • Practice inferring information with certain passages from the book on a worksheet.


Brooke Kelly's picture

Universal Techniques

I think I may have had this same placement last semester, but in an 8th grade classroom. If not, it was a very similar school. One thing that my teacher at this school told me that really stuck with me was that although the school had a reputation for being predominantly for students with learning disabilities, many parents sent their child there, even if they did not have learning disabilities. She explained that this was because the specified teaching techniques used for students with learning disabilities are techniques that would benefit all students. This is because typically these schools have smaller class sizes and more individual attention, which in my mind can never hurt. When I mentioned this to a friend, she told me that the elementary and middle school that she attended had the reputation of being for students with learning disabilities, but she had not been aware of that until she was older (she does not have learning disabilities). I found this fascinating, and wonder what the implications would be for all schools to take on these teaching styles, whether or not they were specifically a school for students with learning disabilites.

Serendipitaz's picture


This should be an actual checklist. I really enjoyed the scaffolding technique of reviewing the words and re-reading the chapters. It's strange how we often have this notion that those who can remember after first exposure is always the brightest. In reality, most people need that time to process the information. I find it interesting how different teachers have different set of procedures. I recently went to a talk where a new teacher has a very detailed classroom procedures. By detailed, I mean paragraphs dictating every action a student could take in the class. However, she soon discovered that the kids didn't read her "list." Thus, I think there is a certain value in just narrowing things down to make classroom management more focused.