This semester, I have been surprised by the literacy levels of my students. They are able to read the biology textbook passages without much difficulty (with the exception of the English learners). However, they are not able to comprehend fully what is stated in the text. We routinely spend some time reviewing the content in the textbook to clarify or elaborate on the new ideas introduced in the readings. My students have difficulty with writing complete thoughts when completing their lab reports.
What will my literacy-rich classroom look like?
Journal - September 30, 2013
My literacy-rich classroom looks like a classroom full of students that require a lot of guidance toward proficient writing skills. My students are engaged in hands-on activities like the lab exercises. However, they have difficulty completing their lab reports. Most of my students are reading the textbook at grade level, but they have some difficulty with reading comprehension. They also have difficulty writing grammatically correct sentences in the lab report. My classroom is a print-rich environment with a word wall full of difficult biology vocabulary words for the students to see and connect with ideas and concepts. I have my students write about their lab observations and sketch what they see in the experiment on their lab reports.
Journal - December 15, 2013
My literacy-rich classroom looks like a classroom full of students that have made improvements in their writing skills in their lab reports. The students have been provided with a rubric for every lab report so they are aware of the expectations. We have spent some time in class working on how each section of the lab report (problem, introduction, hypothesis, data collection, data analysis, conclusion) should be constructed. My students are engaged in multiple activities throughout the period to keep them engaged. They are reading their textbooks more efficiently and are better able to comprehend the content. I model proficient writing for the students therefore, they are writing better quality lab reports with grammatically correct sentences. Their discussions during interactive activities are rich with detail and the students are contributing more to the discussions. My classroom instruction incorporates strategies that support ELLs to learn and understand the biology vocabulary and concepts as well as English language skills.
Journal - May 30, 2014
My literacy-rich classroom looks like a classroom full of students that are proficient readers and writers. They are able to complete a lab report without much difficulty and have less corrections made by the teacher. My students participate in collaborative activities such as group projects and Think-Pair-Share and are able to orally communicate their thoughts and ideas efficiently and proficiently. They are also capable of independent work. They are engaged in every activity, which are purposeful, meaningful and productive. They are capable of independent learning in the following areas: (1) following directions, (2) making predictions and generating a hypothesis, (3) analyzing data, (4) making logical conclusions, (5) collaborating with peers, (6) self regulating their own learning/taking responsibility for their own learning. My students are awesome and I am so proud of their accomplishments this year.