Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Differentiating ELA Instruction in Grade 1: A 4-Week Plan to Get Started

Books from the Grade 1 Read Aloud Unit

As many of you know, I have the pleasure of working inside classrooms alongside teachers co-teaching and coaching.  This past week I have been working with two first grade teachers, both of whom are early in their careers. They are keenly interested in differentiating instruction based on emerging understandings of their students. These teachers team teach a group of 25 youngsters. This is powerful work that is complicated and complex. To help the teachers, I have developed an initial plan to get them started and will be checking back with them in a few weeks. At that time I'll co-teach with them again and then we will debrief the experience (plan) to see what worked, didn't work, what they changed, maintained, new insights they have, and so on.  They have carte blanche to make alterations along the way as they will need to do.  In this post I will share links to the plan, the read aloud uni,  and the independent reading targets.  First though, some background.

I have worked with the two teachers foe two years and have worked with the staff at this school in Newark, NJ for the last four years. The relationship we have developed allows me great latitude to design and to experiment. I respect these colleagues greatly. I have blogged about the work at this school (two campuses in Newark) in lots of posts and am pleased that the students continue to meet with significant academic success that rivals (if not surpasses) the most affluent districts in NJ. The students in this first grade are without question the most academically gifted children I have ever worked with in my career.  The majority of the children (16 out of 25) have already met all of the exiting grade 1 reading benchmarks. Five students are close to meeting these benchmarks and the four remaining students perform like typical grade 1 children at this time of year.  Our assessment information will alter as this school has made a commitment to using STEP assessment (University of Chicago) this year--which delights me. (No more DRA, yeah!) The use of this assessment system will allow us to deepen our capacity to name how learners comprehend text.

Here are the links as promised.

  1. You can access the plan here. (This includes monitoring sheets for guided reading, writing, and phonics.)
  2. You can access the 1st read aloud unit here.
  3. You can access I Can Statements for independent reading for grade 1 here
Let me know what you think.

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