So far in my RIFF Insider project I have met with my partner and with the host teacher to discuss what our duties in the classroom will. His teacher, seems very willing to have us in the classroom and even suggested which two students we should focus on for our assignments. I have not decided which of these students I will focus on. Both of them are in a class for seniors who, for whatever reason, did not do well on the PSSAs even while they do well in school. Both students seems to have problems with Reading comprehension and since they both plan on going to college, this a skill that will help them in their long term goals. The class is not exclusively PSSA review however. They study poetry and other forms of literature and also have reading journals, called accelerated Reader Logs, to help them practice. For example, the first day we will be going they will be studying a poem about a bombing, and comparing it to the historical events (through an article) and writing reflections and having a class discussion on it. It is similar to a regular English class (even though it is separate from their English class) and is just aimed at giving these students more practice. When they are finished a certain number of tests that say that they reached the level they need to, they are phased out of the class and back into a regular cycle. While in the class, His teacher wants us to work one on one with a student and to figure out ways to help them with reading comprehension; making meaning of stories, picking out the most important parts of an article, examining poetry etc. so that they can do this when they go into higher education. We are planning to go on Wednesday afternoons to observe and help out so tomorrow (2/22/12) will the be the first actual day with our students, who have already agreed to be observed and have notified their parents already.

Sounds great, Colleen! What are your initial impressions of the student(s)? Or are you waiting to comment once you've observed them more? You might consider using pseudonyms for both your mentor teacher and the student throughout this project so that people who search online won't stumble across our wiki somehow.... Looking forward to hearing more! - sherrymi sherrymi

Update 2

So at this point, I have gone to my classroom three times and so I have been working on artifacts one and two. Artifact 1 was the classroom observation (which is being typed and will be posted) and for the most part I simply watched what happened that day as the teacher taught them a poem called "The Ballad of Birmingham". I watched my student, let's call him "Mikey" throughout most of it but I also wanted to see how the class was generally run. Mikey seemed not to pay attention through the majority of the lesson but he would always answer when called on. I noticed also that he got up a few times throughout class just to seemingly walk around. Now a question for the teacher, who didn't remark on this so I assume it happens all the time, would be whether Mikey has an attention deficit issue or whether he just needs to stretch his legs occasionally. He is rather tall so maybe this is just something he needs to do. I have decided to do my interview a little bit differently than I had originally planned. Since I will be working with Mikey exclusively for as long as he remains in the class, I want to do it a little more informally. I realized that I had already asked him some of the questions that I had planned to ask him for the interview and it didn't make sense to repeat questions when he had already given me answers to some of them. I will collect all of my answers then compile them into one single "interview". I have helped Mikey with his writing for the majority of the time I'm with him because even though he says he likes writing, his scores are not where they could be. So far we've gone through 2 papers (which I have copies of for artifact three which I will focus on later) and by the time we were finished with them he said that he was happier with them. Most of Mikey's problems come in because he knows what he wants to say but can't come up with the words to say it. Then he doesn't really go back to check if what he has said made sense or not but is just glad when it's over. He says that he like to write and I think maybe informal assignments in class would help him get the need to write out so that when it comes to his papers he knows that this is the time for serious writing. I don't think that I'll be able to do that with him however because in this class they are specifically learning to write formal papers in the style of the PSSA's. I also found out that the last paper we went over was actually rewritten from an earlier draft that had been plagiarized and so we were starting over from scratch because the new paper didn't have a thesis and when I got to it was basically a summary of the short story that it was on. I go back in two weeks and they will be preparing to take an accelerated reader test so I will help him to prepare for that and I will find out how his papers went then.

Colleen, I like the moments here when you record your observations of Mikey without first interpreting: that he got up and walked around, and that the teacher didn't comment on it are intriguing things to ask about. At other times, it sounds like you're seeing something and assuming you know what it means: that he's not paying attention, for example. You might be right...but tracing this to certain behaviors could help you better understand when and why that happens (or if in fact something else is happening that you couldn't see or guess). Once you've made these observations, what do they suggest to you together about this student and how to teach him better? That is, how will you INterpret what you saw and your interactions? And what else do you want to know? P.S. Please remember to remove identifying labels like the name of the teacher from this and previous posts. I look forward to reading more! - sherrymi sherrymi

*note* I changed his name without realizing it. This whole draft refers to him as "Danny" not "Mikey".
Brown YALIT case study.docx

This copy is the final Case study (with annotations)
Brown YALIT case study.docx

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