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Salopez's picture

Today at my Praxis, the students were still in PSSA mode. The students were going to be sitting for the writing portion of exam on Friday. Mrs. C. explained to me that the students are required to write an essay for the PSSA's writing portion of the exam, but her 8th grade beginning level students had just been introduced to the concept of a paragraph. Mrs. C. was ecstatic that I came to praxis today because I was able to provide one-on-one attention to an extremely low level student. As Mrs. C. addressed the rest of the class, I worked one-on-one with Jamie*.

Jamie is an 8th grade student that has just immigrated to the United States from Pakistan. She has little to no English and she is also does not have a strong grasp on reading and writing in her primary language. I was asked to go over an activity that taught what are the names of different rooms in a house (i.e. living room, dining room, kitchen, etc.). The activity also explained different verb constructions of "to be": I am in _____., He is in the ____. As I was going through the rooms in the house, I would ask her to repeat after me. I went through the activity that required her to identify the room in the house in which the person was. If I would have had more time, I would have asked her to draw a picture of her house or apartment and identify the rooms in which she drew. That way, she would be able to connect what she already knows with what she is learning and give life to the words. She really struggled with pronunciation. I was able to ask her questions in a different order, and she was able to still answer correctly. That shows me that she is making connections between the details in what she see's and the vocabulary that she is being exposed to. 

Mrs. C. explained to me that she is very frustrated with this class in particular because there are so many levels represented. She has 4 students that have little to no language, and 10 students that have significant language in comparison. By me being present in the classroom today, she was able to accommodate more students and actually get a really meaningful lesson in. 



jccohen's picture

one-on-one language work


Great that you were able to create this space for meaningful learning for J!  What was your sense of how J experienced your lesson, and how could you tell?

And yes, that kind of range in language can be very challenging to teach to.  Does Mrs. C use group work in which students with different language levels collaborate on a project?  If at least some of the students have the same native language, group work can allow for students to contribute in different languages and different ways and at the same time be learning both language and content...