Monday, September 17, 2012

ELL's and Running Records

Should a pronunciation mistake be considered an error in running records of English Language Learners (ELL’s)?

A running record is a very useful tool that not only allows the teacher of ELL’s to assess their reading level but also provides the teacher with information about the ELL’s stage of language development. ELL’s often make pronunciation mistakes when they are reading, especially if the words are new to them. Running records help the teacher to make a written representation of a student’s reading ability and learning progress.
My experience as a Literacy Coach and as an ESL and Bilingual teacher has taught me that it should be up to the teacher’s discretion to mark pronunciation mistakes as errors and that there should be some considerations to take into account such as students’ number of years in the ESL program, and if the student is literate in his/her L1.
Running records of ELL’s provide information as to what reading area (phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency) the student is struggling with. In general terms the following should be considered:
  •  If the word is a new word for the student and the student mispronounces it, it should not be counted as an error. Instead the teacher should make a note in a post-it or on the side of the running record. Also, unknown words may impede comprehension of the text, so teaching of the word later on is very important.
  • If the word is a high frequency word that has been taught and the student does not pronounce it correctly, this shows that the student has internalized the word incorrectly and new learning has to occur to correct the mistake. This should be marked as an error.
  • If the student is literate in his/her L1, English graphemes may have different sounds in L1, and the student will make errors while reading. Comprehension of the text should be taken into consideration and these mistakes should not be considered as errors if the student can understand what he/she read. Follow-up instruction and a strong development of phonological awareness skills in English are necessary.
It is important to explicitly teach the similarities and differences that may exist between L1 and English, especially in languages that share the same alphabet. This will help the student develop metalinguistic awareness of sounds that do not exist in their native language (e.g., /th/, /sh/) and develop a solid phonological awareness and phonics knowledge.
Moreover, expanding vocabulary, explaining cultural differences, and providing students with background knowledge will help students with the decoding of new words, reading comprehension, and fluency. Running records provide the teacher with a lot of information about ELL’s reading behaviors and stages of language development and help to identify students’ reading weaknesses and strengths.

-Effective Schooling for English Language Learners by P. Smiley and T. Salsberry.
-Supporting Struggling Readers and Writers by D. Strickland, K. Ganske, J. Monroe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fill a Bucket Chart

This is a great idea for the classroom to promote positive behavior through positive reinforcement. This idea was inspired by the books “ Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child” and “Have you Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. This idea teaches kids to show love, kindness, and respect to others.
It’s very easy to make the chart. You can use a hanging shoe holder, or a smaller version, like a jewelry organizer with pockets. In the picture you can see that I used a center chart that I already had in my classroom…
Before we started using the chart in my classroom, I read the book “Fill a Bucket” and I had students talk about ways of filling or emptying their buckets. Our principal gave us a bucket for the classroom, so each time my students fill their buckets or their friends’ bucket for a good action, they also fill our classroom’s bucket. The same happens when they are bucket dippers: their bucket and the classroom bucket gets emptied too.
The behaviors that I’m promoting right now are the following:
-Showing love and respect (saying nice words to each other, etc)
-Being responsible (homework, reading log, class work, center work, etc)
-Showing good behavior
I may add more behaviors later on. I use different colors to identify the behavior, but this is not necessary.
On Friday, students count their chips. The students with the most chips for the week get a prize. You can find ideas for certificates in this website:
When our classroom bucket gets filled the whole class will get a treat! Students can’t wait for this to happen!! They cheer for each other every time a chip gets in the bucket and everyone is really doing a great job!!