This course will focus on a grade five English Language Arts class. The course module will specifically focus on an Identity (Exploring Heritage) Unit for the comprehend and respond ELA strand. I chose CR5.1 from the Saskatchewan Curriculum as the learning outcome for this unit. According to the outcome, by the end of the unit, students will be able to comprehend and respond to a variety of grade-level texts (including modern and classic visual, oral, written, and multimedia materials) on the topic of identity and exploring heritage. This module will cover eight lessons that will allow students to explore other heritages, as well as explore their identity and heritage. The course will take approximately three-four weeks to complete.
Target Student Population & Demographics
My target audience for this course will be grade-five students. For this specific course, I will be focusing on the grade five class that I will be teaching this fall. I have taught the same diverse group of students for two consecutive years now and will be going into my third year of teaching this same group. I have spent a lot of time pondering how I can best suit their unique needs. My target group of students has a great range of diversities in reading and writing levels, as well as diverse interests. This group consists of below-grade level readers and writers, as well as learners who are achieving at and well above grade level in English Language Arts. My target audience consists of fourteen grade-five students. The students are a mix of diverse race, gender, abilities and socioeconomic status. One of my students is diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, however, loves using technology. I hope to provide this student with appropriate tech tools to aid them through reading and writing assignments. I also have one student who struggles with attending school regularly, therefore I hope to use my Google Classroom space to keep this student on track with assignments.
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The format for this course will be a blended format with both synchronous and asynchronous tasks. The course will take place in the physical classroom with the integrated use of Chromebook assignments. Students will be given verbal face-to-face instructions as to what their daily tasks will be for each ELA class. These instructions will vary throughout the unit depending on what lesson we are focused on. Please see an outline of each lesson below:
Lesson 1 – All About Me T-Shirt Activity – Non-Digital Activity – to be done with a paper copy in class
Lesson 2: Identity Conversation Starter – Mentimeter Discussion – whole group synchronous
Lesson 3: “When I Was Eight” – Read Aloud (verbal and digital options) – whole group synchronous
Lesson 4A: Names/Nombres – Students will independently Listen or Read the Story in a digital format – independent asynchronously
Lesson 4B: Names/Nombres Story Quiz – digital via Google Forms – to be completed independently in an asynchronous manner
Lesson 5A: Raven Power – Watch the Video – whole group synchronous
Lesson 5B: Raven Power Responses – to be completed in a digital format independently in an asynchronous manner
Lesson 6: Exploring Heritage Interview – to be completed in a digital format independently in an asynchronous manner
Lesson 7: Identity & Heritage Choice Assignment – options for physical assignment or digital – to be completed independently in an asynchronous manner
Lesson 8: My Family Heritage Final Project – to be completed in a digital format independently in an asynchronous manner
LMS: Google Classroom
Other Educational Technologies: Google Workspace including Google Drive, Google Slides, Jamboard, Google Forms, Mentimeter, YouTube, Rover (Edonline Sask) Videos, Flip, Vocaroo
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Assessment will be done in a variety of ways. There will be several opportunities for formative assessment through Jamboard activities as well as in-class and online discussions via Mentimeter. Students will also have several opportunities to provide summative assessments throughout the eight lessons. Some of the summative assessments include “When I Was Eight” Comprehension Questions, Book Quiz on “Names/ Nombres”, Flip Video Response on “Raven Power”, Exploring Heritage Interview, Identity & Heritage Choice Assignment and My Heritage Final Project. Assessments will always be differentiated for each learner’s diverse needs. Therefore, although it is not advertised on google classroom when I am marking assignments I will always consider each student’s needs. For example, this may include having higher expectations for students who are achieving above grade level and expecting more thorough answers when completing assignments. It is my philosophy that all assessments will be differentiated to best suit the needs of my learners.
Course content will focus on the theme of “Identity and Exploring Heritage”. In this unit students will have the opportunity to discover themselves and others and celebrate differences. Students will have the opportunity to learn about other cultures including First Nations and Metis culture within Saskatchewan. Students will develop an understanding of who they are, where they come from and their connection to others. Amongst their connection to others, students can recognize and celebrate differences as well as similarities. Toward the end of the unit, students will have the opportunity to take their learning further by involving their families and asking about family heritage. Students will conclude the unit by exploring their heritage in a final project.
CR5.1 – Analyze and respond to a variety of grade-level texts (including contemporary and traditional visual, oral, written, and multimedia texts) that address:
- identity (e.g., Exploring Heritage)
- community (e.g., Teamwork)
- social responsibility (e.g. What is Fair?)
- (a) View, listen to, read and respond to a variety of visual, multimedia, oral, and print texts that examine the diverse range of personal identities, perspectives, and backgrounds (e.g., appearance, culture, socio-economic status, abilities, age, gender, sexual orientation, language, career path) including First Nations and Métis texts.
- (b) View, listen to, and read a variety of texts related to the theme or topic of study and show comprehension by:
- understanding, retelling, and explaining the ideas and information presented in the texts
- analyzing the text structures and features
- analyzing the texts and developing responses with evidence from the texts, personal experience, and research.
- (c) Describe and build upon connections between previous experiences, prior knowledge, and a variety of texts.
Considerations for Common Concerns
Tech. Issues: When using technology it seems that no matter how well you have something planned out there always seem to be tech issues that arise. The benefit of using a blended learning model within the physical classroom setting is I (the teacher) will always be there to help solve issues. To plan for foreseen tech issues I always like to have extra Chromebooks available if a Chromebook is to come upon an unfixable issue.
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EAL Learners: My foreseen target students for this course model do not have any EAL learners at the moment however with an ever-changing school roster that is not to assume that I will never have future EAL learners. Ways that I can adapt this course model for my EAL learners are to provide audio recordings in the translated language of origin or spend more one-on-one time working with this student. I can also teach my EAL learners how to use text-to-speech digital translation tools.
Attendance: Students who have poor attendance and can access Google Classroom remotely will be provided with specific instructions for how they can complete coursework from home. For example, since day-to-day instruction will happen face-to-face in the physical classroom, absent students may be e-mailed these same instructions or be provided with daily posts on the classroom stream so they can keep up with classwork from home. If students with poor attendance do not have access to technology at home, I will ask for special permission from our administration to see if it is possible to send a Chromebook home with students.
Given that grade five students’ reading and writing levels can be quite inconsistent it is beneficial to teach ELA in a blended learning format. For this blended learning course I have chosen to use Google Classroom as my LMS due to students being very familiar with this LMS from previous school years. Google Classroom and Google Workspace are also very accessible and the recommended LMS within our school division. Students with diverse needs require significant variety in learning expectations. Throughout a blended learning format, expectations can be differentiated for each learner. Students who are reading below grade level, for example, can have texts altered to their reading levels or be given audio versions of grade-level texts to reduce reading. Another benefit of using a blended learning approach in grade five ELA is that students with difficulty writing due to fine motor issues can use voice-to-text, which reduces the quantity of writing. If student reading and writing are not differentiated to students’ individual needs this can create severe frustration for students who are achieving below grade level as they cannot reach success with such high levels of learning. It is also important to note students reading above grade level can also be challenged by using technology. The use of a blended learning format gives all students a chance to take responsibility for their learning by creating more independence. However, blended learning in a classroom-type setting still allows for the classroom teacher to support students as necessary.
At the age of grade five, students also have very diverse interests. Technology is a way for students to access a world of information. Through websites such as Epic Books, students can find books that interest them. This website also has a read-to-me option for students who may have lower reading stamina or perform below grade level in reading. Another tool for engaging students in writing is the website WriteReader, which is a book-creation website to engage students in writing. Repetto et al. suggest that the use of blended learning in elementary learners is a more engaging way to learn than in a traditional classroom. If a blended learning style is not used in upper elementary ELA classes students may show little engagement or interest in reading and writing. According to Macaruso et al., blended learning is highly beneficial in supporting elementary student reading as compared to traditional classroom methods. Therefore, blended learning is a great way educators can motivate, engage and differentiate for their diverse learners.
Link to ADDIE template