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Early Childhood

Task 1: Planning Commentary

TASK 1: PLANNING COMMENTARY


Respond to the prompts below (no more than 9 single-spaced pages, including prompts) by typing your responses within the
brackets. Do not delete or alter the prompts. Pages exceeding the maximum will not be scored.

1. Central Focus
a. Describe the central focus and purpose of the content you will teach in the learning
segment.
[The central focus of this lesson is to improve students' fluency by teaching them how to read
fluently/what it means to be a fluent reader. Throughout the learning segment, they will practice
how to read at a steady rate, reading words accurately, reading using proper phrasing, and
reading with expression. The teaching and learning that will take place during this learning
segment will help students work toward the ultimate goal of becoming fluent readers, so that
they can comprehend the text they are reading.]
b. Describe how the standards and learning objectives for your learning segment support
childrens

active and multimodal learning


language and literacy development in an interdisciplinary context
[The main standards throughout the learning segment are to "read with sufficient
accuracy and fluency to support comprehension" and to "read on-level text orally with accuracy,
appropriate rate, and expression". These standards are supported by the objectives of the
learning segment, along with the additional objective of "students will be able to begin
implementing reading with proper phrasing". Children's active and multimodal learning is
supported by the daily fluency activities within each learning experience, which are directly
connected to the standards and objectives. Within each of these activities, children are actively
reading text as they focus on a particular component of fluency each day, which build on each
other, teaching the students to read text fluently.
Knowing that in order to improve fluency, a student needs continual practice with reading,
my goal is for children to improve their fluency through these active reading activities-- which
involve reading texts using various methods (such as reading words in chunks to practice
phrasing, and reading with an expressive voice). In addition, reading of the chosen passages
will take place both in whole group settings as well as a second time when students will work in
partners, each day of the learning segment (except on learning experience day 5). Furthermore,
a program called "Lexia Core 5", in which the students will practice phonics skills, with
supplement the fluency activities, as it is key for these students to know phonics rules in order to
be able to easily decode words.
While the students are not reading passages that are all within the context of one theme,
they are reading various passages that are interdisciplinary in their content. For example, they
read several short fiction pieces of text, a biographical text, and a readers theater skit that is
sequential in nature (Goldilocks and the Three Bears).]

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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

c. Explain how your plans build on each other to support childrens language and literacy
development through active and multimodal learning.
[The daily activities of each learning experience correspond with the vocabulary
word/component of fluency focused on for that particular day.
On the first day, in learning experience one, students are introduced to two components
of fluency through vocabulary terms, reading at a steady rate and with accuracy. The
corresponding fluency activity, the rapid read, involves the students reading a list of words
and locating them within a text (about a bakery)to practice reading with accuracy, as well
as reading this passage twice (as a whole group and then when working with a partner), to
practice reading at a steady rate. Students will also set a timer for one minute and mark their
stopping place on the passage, after reading the passage (if time allows during the learning
experience).
On the second day, the students will be introduced to another component of fluency,
reading using proper phrasing. The corresponding fluency activity, the chunking activity,
involves the students reading a short fictional passage in which slash marks (/ and //)
have been added, indicating when to take a short or long pause. I will model taking
short/long pauses for students when introducing this passage, and will model for them and
instruct them to lift their finger when they come across a / or //, which will serve as a
concrete way to take a pause while reading the passage. The students will also be
encouraged to read the words at a steady rate and with accuracy, building on the previous
days fluency skills. This passage will be read as a whole group as well as with a partner; if
time permits, students will set a timer for one minute and mark their stopping place on the
passage, after reading the passage to their partner.
On the third day, the students will be introduced to a fourth component of fluency,
reading with expression. The corresponding fluency activities, express it and a readers
theater play of Goldilocks and the Three Bears will provide them with the opportunities to
practice reading with expression. The express it activity involves students taking turns
reading dialogue strips of a characters speaking part from a particular story. In addition, the
readers theater activity will allow students to practice reading a familiar story with
expression in an interactive, whole group setting. Students will also be encouraged to read
the words of their speaking parts at a steady rate, with accuracy, and using proper
phrasingto build on the previous days skills.
On the fourth day, the students will practice reading with all of the components of fluency
that theyve learned so far in the week (reading at a steady rate, with accuracy, using proper
phrasing, and with expression), while reading their textbook story Mister Bones: Dinosaur
Hunter in a whole group setting as well as a fictional passage with a partner. When working
in partners and reading the passage, students will take turns setting a timer for minute and
then mark their stopping place and record their words per minute (which will provide them
feedback regarding their rate and accuracy). They will be encouraged to read with proper
phrasing and with expression as well, to apply these skills theyve that theyve learned
earlier in the learning segment.
On the fifth (final) day, all students will be assessed on their ability to read fluently; at
steady rate, with accuracy, using proper phrasing, and with expression. I will work with
students one-on-one while the other students work on the Lexia Core 5 reading/phonics
program on Ipads. I will encourage students to read fluently and implement all components
of fluency theyve learned, as they read. (I will set a timer for one minute while students read
the passage, record their stopping place, record their words read per minute, complete the
corresponding rubric, as well as provide written feedback to each student).
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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

In addition to the key fluency activities each day, the Michael Heggerty phonics program
will done as a whole group each day, decodable readers (focusing on phonics skills that are
apart of the reading curriculum for all students in the classroom) will be read on Days 2 & 3.
These activities will supplement students fluency, as it is important for them to learn various
phonics skills, in order to be able to decode the words they are reading. Furthermore, students
will be engaged in the Lexia Core 5 program on days 1,2,4, & 5, which will also assist them in
mastering phonics skills. The use of the Lexia Core 5 program allows students to interact with
technology and provides them with a multimodal learning experience.]
d. Describe how the physical environment in which you are teaching supports the active and
multimodal nature of childrens learning. (If, in your view, the physical environment in which you
are teaching does not adequately support the active and multimodal nature of childrens
learning, please describe the changes you would make.)
[The physical environment in which I am teaching this learning segment to a group of five
children is their classroom. Within the classroom, they will be seated in the carpeted area, in
which there are also crates for them to sit on/their desk chairs can be moved for them to sit on
while reading. In addition, I will be using the kidney table located in another corner of the room,
when I assess their fluency one-on-one on learning experience day 5. This classroom space is
sufficient in terms of supporting the active and multimodal learning experience that the students
will be engaged in throughout the week.]
2. Knowledge of Children to Inform Teaching
For each of the prompts below (2ac), describe what you know about the children in your
class/group with respect to the central focus of the learning segment.
Consider the variety of learners in your class/group who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., children with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners, children
at different points in the developmental continuum, struggling readers, children who are
underperforming or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted children).
a. Childrens developmentWhat do you know about their

social and emotional development


cognitive and physical development
language development for communication
[In terms of their social/emotional development, I'm aware that these students are learning
how to get along and work with others. Keeping this in mind, I've provided opportunities to
practice fluency skills in both whole group cooperative settings (with all five children) as well as
in partners. Additionally, I chose reading selections that are at these students' reading level, as
they need opportunities to build confidence in their ability to read text fluently, as well as develop
a sense of pride in their accomplishments--at 6 & 7 years of age.
In terms of their cognitive development, these students have the ability to reason logically
about concrete events/information. Knowing this, Ive chosen and created fluency activities that
are developmentally appropriate for this group of students. I will be presenting vocabulary terms
(components of fluency) in a concrete manner, and have selected passages that can be
concretely understood by the students (not ones that are abstract in nature). Regarding their
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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

physical development, these students are on target developmentally in terms of their large
motor and fine motor skills, and will easily be able to take part in the planned activities.
In terms of their language development, these students are expanding their language daily
through learning new vocabulary words, grammar rules, phonemic awareness and phonics
skills. The students in this group are usually able to grasp these skills, yet when they attempt to
read many words together at a time; they tend to read more slowly and are often still trying to
decode words, hence they need practice with reading fluently. Overall, these students are on
track in terms of language development.]
b. Personal, cultural, and community assetsWhat do you know about your childrens
everyday experiences, cultural and language backgrounds and practices, and
interests?
[All five children in this group are Caucasian, English speakers. I'm aware they are interested
various extracurricular activities, including sports. Based on previous reading lessons and
readings, they enjoy reading stories about animals and topics they can relate to. All children in
the group also have a parent/guardian who is involved in helping them gain progress in reading
text fluently; weekly readings are sent home with these children in which their parent/guardian
times their reading for one minute, marks their stopping place, and records their child's words
per minute read. In addition, all students are familiar and comfortable with using Ipads in the
classroom, and all of them have electronic devices at home as well.]
c. Prior learning and prerequisite skills related to language and literacy development
What can they do and what are they learning to do related to language and literacy
development? Cite evidence from your knowledge of this class/group of children.
[These students are learning various new vocabulary words, phonics skills, and grammar rules
daily from the whole class reading curriculum (Reading Street). Regarding fluency, These
students have had several experiences in which they have practiced reading fluently--in terms of
reading "with accuracy", through timed one minute passages in which their stopping place is
marked and their words read per minute are counted and scored by themselves or the teacher.
However, this specific group of students needs more practice with reading fluently, and
understanding the other components of fluency besides reading with just reading with
accuracy--which is the central focus of this learning segment.]
3. Supporting Childrens Development and Learning
Respond to prompts 3ac below. To support your justifications, refer to the plans and
materials you included as part of Planning Task 1. In addition, use principles from
research and/or developmental theory to support your justifications.
a. Justify how your planned learning experiences and materials align with your
understanding of the childrens development, prior learning, and personal, cultural, and
community assets (from prompts 2ac above). Be explicit about these connections and
support your justification with research/developmental theory.

[I chose the materials (reading passages) for this group of struggling readers, based on
the knowledge that these students (ages 6 and 7 years old), in terms of cognitive development,
are at the concrete operations stage--according to Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive
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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Development. This means that they are able to think about information that is concrete, but not
yet abstract in nature. Keeping this in mind, I chose text selections that align with these students
current cognitive level. In addition, I chose a variety of texts that I thought would be of interest to
the students, knowing what they're interested in. These passages include fictional stories about
a cat, a sheep, friends at a park, a man hunting for T. Rex bones, going to a bakery, and the
story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears--all of which students have some background
knowledge of which they can relate to these stories. These passages are at an early-mid first
grade reading level, which is developmentally appropriate for this particular group of students.
To explain the components of fluency that are covered within the learning segment, I
used visuals to support the terminology of reading at a steady rate, with accuracy, with
proper phrasing, and with expression to help the students gather a more concrete idea of
what these terms meant. When practicing each component of fluency, I explicitly modeled the
skill when introducing the days particular reading activity, prior to having the students try it on
their own.
I also planned the activities of each learning experience, keeping in mind Howard
Gardener's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory suggests that students learn through a
variety of modes, which is most developmentally appropriate for young children (to have a
variety of learning experiences). The experiences and activities I've incorporated involve the
interpersonal, intrapersonal, verbal/linguistic, and kinesthetic intelligences. In terms of the
interpersonal intelligence, students will be reading and working cooperatively in a whole group
setting as well as with partners. Regarding the connection of the intrapersonal intelligence,
students will need to monitor and consider how well they personally are
understanding/implementing the components of fluency; how many words they are reading
accurately, if they are reading at a steady rate (not too fast or too slow), if they are using proper
phrasing while reading, and if they are remembering to read with expression. The
verbal/linguistic intelligence will be especially used as students listen for directions, listen to text
read to them, and learn how to actively read text fluently, implementing the different components
of fluency as they read. Students will also use their bodily/kinesthetic intelligence during the
Michael Heggerty daily phonics lessons (when segmenting and counting word parts), when
lifting their finger to indicate a pause when learning how to read with proper phrasing.
Furthermore, a belief of the theorist Vygotsky supports the type of context in which
students are learning within this learning segment. Vygotsky believes that children construct and
acquire language in a social environment. I agree with this theory, and took this into
consideration when planning my learning segment. As a result, I am having the students in the
small group interact with each other, such as when choral reading passages together, and when
reading the reader's theater play together. Additionally, they will be reading passages with
partners, in which one student will monitor/help another student with words when having
difficulty. In this way, students are engaging in a social experience rather than learning
independently, and have the opportunity to interact and learn from their peers to enhance their
own learning. In addition, related to Vygotsky, I took into consideration these students zone of
proximal developmentthat which is what a learner can do with guidance, when planning the
fluency activites in this learning segment. Knowing that all the students in this group have had
experience attempting to read with accuracy, I chose to build on this learning by introducing
other aspects of fluency. I plan to scaffold students learning (through modeling each aspect of
fluency and providing positive feedback regarding students ability to read with each aspect), in
order to help them understand and implement these components of fluency on their own while
reading.
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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Also important to note, I took into account students prior language and literacy learning
when planning the learning experiences and choosing instructional materials for this learning
segment. I did this by choosing reading passages that incorporate previously learned phonics
skills, and chose to incorporate daily Michael Heggerty phonics lessons as well as continued
phonics practice on the Lexia Core 5 program (which students have previously used).
Regarding prior fluency learning, I incorporated the one minute timings (reading a passage
while a timer is set for one minute, marking your stopping place on the passage, and writing the
number of words read correctly) that students are familiar with, to continue to emphasize the
importance of reading with accuracy. In addition simply practicing fluency by doing one-minute
timings, I planned a variety of engaging fluency activities to build on students knowledge of
what it means to be a fluent reader.]
b. Describe and justify how you plan to support the varied learning needs of all the
children in your class/group, including individuals with specific learning needs.
Consider the variety of learners in your class/group who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., children with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners,
children at different points in the developmental continuum, struggling readers, and/or
gifted children).
[I will be teaching this learning segment to a group of five students who are considered to be
"struggling readers", who are below a reading level of 1.7 (first grade, seventh month). To
support these students throughout the learning segment, I plan to provide oral explanations for
directions rather than written directions, model how to read (at least part) of each day's text
selection-- based on the day's fluency skill-- prior to reading the text as a whole group and in
partners, use visuals to supplement text (vocabulary words in particular), and choose reading
selections that are within these students' grasp (that are at their ability level).]
c. Describe common developmental approximations1 or misunderstandings that pertain to
the learning experiences you are planning for the children and how you plan to address
them.
[A common developmental misunderstanding in terms of reading fluently that many students
have, is to be able to read quickly. When students believe that this is the definition of fluency,
they often rush through a text without implementing the other components of fluency such as
reading at a steady rate, with accuracy, using proper phrasing, and with expression. This is
especially evident when students complete the one minute timed readings in class. I plan to
address this misunderstanding by especially encouraging students to read at a steady rate (so
that they can comprehend what they are reading), rather than read quickly, along with
incorporating the other mentioned aspects of fluency.]
4. Supporting Childrens Vocabulary Development

For example, common beginning or transitional language errors or other attempts to use skills or processes just beyond a

childs current level/capability.

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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Respond to prompts 4ac below by referring to childrens range of vocabulary development


related to the learning segmentWhat do they know, what are they struggling with,
and/or what is new to them?

a. Identify the key vocabulary2 (i.e., developmentally appropriate sounds, words,


phrases, sentences, and paragraphs) essential for children to use during the learning
segment.
[The overall vocabulary concept that students will gain an understanding of and actively
practice is "reading fluently". The aspects of fluency are the key vocabulary (phrases) that
the students will understand and use during the learning segment. These include (reading at
a) "steady rate", (reading) "with accuracy", (reading) "using proper phrasing", and (reading)
"with expression".]
b. Identify the learning experience that provides children with opportunities to develop,
practice, and/or use the key vocabulary identified in prompt 4a. (Identify the plan
day/number.)
[The students will have opportunities to develop understanding of and use the key
vocabulary phrases during each learning experience of the learning segment. In learning
experience one, students will be introduced to the vocabulary phrases (reading) at a steady
rate and (reading) with accuracy, and will have the opportunity to practice reading,
implementing these aspects of fluency as they read. In learning experience two, students will
review what it means to read at a steady rate and with accuracy, and will then be introduced to
(reading) using proper phrasing. Students will have the opportunity to practice reading
implementing this new skill, while also reading at a steady rate and with accuracy. In learning
experience three, students will review what it means to read at a steady rate, with accuracy, and
using proper phrasing, and will then be introduced to (reading) with expression. Students will
have the opportunity through two activities to practice reading with expression; meanwhile they
will also be encouraged to read at a steady rate, with accuracy, and using proper phrasing. In
learning experiences four and five, students will review all four components of fluency as well as
have the opportunities to practice implementing them through reading various passages.]
c. Describe how you plan to support the children (during and/or prior to the learning
experience) to develop and use the key vocabulary identified in prompt 4a.
[I plan to support the students to develop understanding of the key vocabulary through use
of a vocabulary chart, with text and corresponding visuals (see instructional materials). During
each learning experience, there will be an activity directly connected to that day's vocabulary
terms. On day one, children will be introduced to and have the opportunity to practice reading at
a steady rate and with accuracy during the "rapid read" activity. On day two, the vocabulary from
the first day will be reviewed, and "reading using proper phrasing" will be introduced. The
"chunking" activity will allow children to practice using proper phrasing. On day three, I will
review the vocabulary from the two previous days with the children as well as be introduce them
2

Developmentally appropriate sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that you want children to use or create to

engage in the learning experience.

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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

to the concept of "reading with expression". Through the express it and reader's theater
activities, they will have the opportunities to practice reading using expression. On day four, all
four components of fluency will be reviewed. Students will then have the opportunity to practice
reading, implementing all learned aspects of fluency, while reading a story from their textbook
as well as a short fictional passage with a partner. Lastly on day five, all vocabulary terms will
once again be reviewed, prior to each students completing a one-minute fluency final
assessment, as the culminating fluency activity of the learning segment.]
5. Monitoring Childrens Learning
In response to the prompts below, refer to the assessments you will submit as part of the
materials for Planning Task 1.
a. Describe how your planned formal and informal assessments provide direct evidence to
monitor childrens multimodal learning throughout the learning segment.
[For days 1-4 of the learning segment, I plan to informally assess students by writing
observational notes for each student, regarding their understanding of the day's vocabulary
phrases and their ability to use them while reading. In addition, as part of my informal
assessment of each student, I will complete a rubric based on his or her performance using the
particular component of fluency (by circling 3, 2 or 1 and the corresponding description). These
observational notes and rubrics will provide direct evidence to help me monitor children's
understanding of the vocabulary concepts.
On day five, I will use a rubric (same as day 4) to formally assess each student's fluency
while reading a short passage, in which they will be timed for one minute. Their total score
based on the five criteria will give me an indication of their fluency/understanding of how to read
fluently. On the back of these rubrics, I will provide specific written feedback regarding each
students strengths while reading, as well as areas to continue working on to improve their
fluency.]
b. Explain how your design or adaptation of planned assessments allows children with
specific needs to demonstrate their learning.
Consider the variety of learners in your class/group who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., all children along the continuum of development, including
children with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners, struggling readers, and/or
gifted children).
[As mentioned before, knowing that all five children in this group are struggling readers, I chose
passages that I knew were at their reading level (an early first grade reading level). Based on
what children learn throughout the week, they will demonstrate their learning (their ability to read
fluently) through the reading of the final passage on day five.
Also important to note, I modified the length of four of the passages (used on days one, two,
four, and five) by photocopying only a section of the actual text rather than the whole text. This
way, the students will not be intimidated/feel defeated by the lengthy amount of text. Instead, I
decided it was best to provide them with a chunk of text at their ability level, and to set a
reasonable goal in terms of words per minute (61).]

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