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Part I: Introduction to the Instructional Context and Content Focus When I was deciding what I should focus on with

my students, I decided to look and see where many of them were struggling in our current unit. For the unit of Risking It All, students were divided by ability level based on previous grades and Case 21 results amongst the three 8th grade Language Arts teachers. Those who struggled with reading and with staying on top of assignments read The Giver, which I helped to teach for every class period. The students generally did well on homework assignments and quizzes that dealt with what was happening in the book. However, part of this unit deals with learning new vocabulary that is uses in the text. On the first quiz that dealt with some of these vocabulary words, students grades slipped to failing or near failing. As a result of this, I decided that I wanted to help my students understand the vocabulary that they would be learning at various points in the book. One of the Common Core Standards deals directly with students complete understanding of a text: RI8.4 states that students should be able to determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts. I decided that not only did I want students to learn their definitions, but I also wanted them to be able to use context clues as well in order to help them decipher definitions on their own. While we read the text, the students had a blank chart of their vocabulary words to fill out as we came across the words in the text. Students would write down the sentence from the book that contained the vocabulary word, and would

then look up the words definition in a dictionary and copy it on their chart as well. This way, students could see both the definition of the word and the context that the word was used in at the same time. For the students first quiz (that they did so poorly on), this was their only interaction with the vocabulary words before the quiz. I had a feeling, after seeing those grades, that the students were not taking in the work they were completing but rather copying the items blindly in order to be done with the work. This is what reflected in their grades, and I knew something needed to be done in order to prevent the same thing from happening again. So the second time around we started the same way, except this time I decided to take their learning further. This is where my Positive Impact on Student Learning comes in to the picture. The class that I used for my Positive Impact has twenty-two students in it ranging in ages twelve to fifteen. It is an 8th grade Language Arts classroom and it is 1st period, which meets from 8:14-9:14 each day. This class usually gets off to a slow and staggered start due to students arriving from late buses and waiting for the morning announcements to take place. The class population breakdown is as follows: 3 Hispanic, 10 African American, 8 Caucasian, and 1 from Middle Asia. There are no students identified in this class as AIG, and there is only one student with an IEP. The student with an IEP only requires extended time for quizzes as their IEP is for ADHD. There are no students in the class with an LEP. One of my reasons for choosing this particular class was due to the students that were in it. The students that came from my regular 1st period class would usually fall behind in their work or barely scrape by because of the pace of the class.

This pace is due to the fact that these students were in an identified AIG cluster class, which usually takes on a different form from other classes due to the needs of the AIG students. My differentiated class also had a new student, who while enthusiastic about the class, seemed to be slower with reading comprehension. This student does not have an identified learning disorder though, and does not have an IEP. Many of the students in this class also had issues when it came to turning assignments in on time, which is another reason why they were in this section. This differentiated section was teacher led, and the discussions all occurred in class, as well as figuring out various story elements. Lastly, this class main problem lied in staying on task, as they all became easily distracted when given any freedom. Part II: Instructional Sequence: Pre-Assessment; Informed Instructional Plans; Assessment & Analysis In this instructional sequence, my students were covering the vocabulary words that are a part of the unit they are currently in, which is Risking It All. It is important for students to learn vocabulary in order to better understand the text they are reading. Not only does it help students with what they are reading, but it also helps them prepare for the EOG as well by learning ways to decipher words that may be unfamiliar to them on the test. A goal I had for my students was for them to become comfortable with the vocabulary words so that there was no hesitation when it came to recognizing it in a sentence and then realizing how its definition contributes to the sentence. We had talked in class discussions about why the author would use certain words, and by learning the definitions of some of these

words, the students will gain a better understanding as to how word choice is important in a sentence and how it impacts the overall meaning. For the pre-assessment, which I will be featuring later in this report, I gave the students something familiar: sentences from the book. These sentences were the ones that contained the vocabulary words in them, which the students had seen twice already. The students looked at the sentences, which had the vocabulary words bolded and underlined. The students used what they could remember of the definitions of the words, as well as context clues from the sentence, to write down what they thought the definition of the vocabulary words were. The grades for the pre-assessment were low, with a class average of 34%. Out of list of thirteen vocabulary words, the students averaged getting five correct. It was evident that my students did not get anything out of solely copying down definitions for their vocabulary words. However, I did not think it would hurt to inform them of the correct definitions so they could copy them down. Based on the students initial quiz grades where they had only copied down definitions and then done poorly on that quiz, I was halfway expecting their preassessment grades to be just as low. Since the students had only worked with the words in the form of copying definitions, I figured that it was in no way enough to get the students to remember them. I decided that for our lessons, we would interact with the vocabulary words every day for rest of the week in order to accustom students to them. The following day I had students take out their vocabulary charts. This would begin our first lesson after the pre-assessment to familiarize the students with their vocabulary words. I put their vocabulary words

on the board along with their definitions. As a class we went through each word and its correct definition. For each word, I provided them with explanations of the definition, synonyms of the vocabulary words (especially using more general terms that they would normally use), and examples of what the vocabulary word meant. The students copied these down on their chart so that they would have them to study throughout the week. I was hoping that after this lesson, the students would then have more items to refer to when it came to their vocabulary words. A lot of times when students do not use a word frequently, they give up trying to figure out what it means. I wanted my students to assimilate related knowledge to these words so that when they saw the word they would immediately think of what they know that related to that word. By giving them related knowledge to the word, I also wanted them to be able to use it when they were figuring out context clues. If they could not remember an exact definition, knowing items that are associated with their vocabulary word such as a synonym, could help them fill in any blanks they had deciphering their context clues. If students feel as though they can work through the knowledge they have to define a word, then they are more likely to try to stop and figure out its definition rather than guessing what it might mean and move on to the next one. After this initial lesson, I gauged their progress with a mid-term assessment the following day, which is the second item I will be featuring. For this the students looked at the exact same sentences from the pre-assessment. This time around though I provided them with a list of definitions to choose from for each word instead of them coming up with the definitions on their own. By adding the various

choices to the mix, it resembled more of what their quiz would look like at the end of this week. Many students feel confident about what they know until they are faced with choices which might compete with their knowledge for which one is right. I was hoping that my students were able to use their knowledge built from the previous day to again help with context clues in order to pick the correct definition for each word. After this assessment, I saw that many of my students had improved greatly in their knowledge of their definitions. They were able to look at the context of the vocabulary words, and see which definition fit the word in that context. The class average for the mid-term assessment was a 92%. The class averaged twelve correct answers out of the thirteen possible. I was very happy that my students were growing accustomed to interacting with the words and definitions every day and that the information was being renewed each time they saw them, even on the midterm assessment. I figured that my students were probably getting close to being able to perform at their best for the quiz. The day after the mid-term assessment, I thought that I would do a review game that would be entertaining for the students, as well as allow me to informally grade the students with the knowledge they were retaining. This would let me see if I had any students who were still uneasy about any of the words. In class we went through the list of vocabulary words, and we played it like a spoken game of charades. For some words I would give examples of the word or parts of the definition, and the students would have to guess which vocabulary word I was describing to them. For other words, I would give them the vocabulary word, and

they would have to provide me with examples and its definition. Many of the students would say something, and then their classmates would build off what they said for their next example. The students did an excellent job of remembering their vocabulary words as well, and did not even need a list of them to refer to. For the final assessment the students took a vocabulary quiz, which is the last item I will feature in this report. For six of the words, they had sentences with blanks in them where a vocabulary word would go. They had a word bank to choose from should they need it. Each sentence contained a context clue for them to use in helping them decide which vocabulary word would be the right one. In the second section, the last words were to be matched with their definitions. I was expecting that my students would do well on this quiz, unless they had a lapse in remembering their definitions. The class average for the final assessment was an 82%. I had three students during the final assessment who were outliers, who were maybe having just an off day. If I were to remove the three outliers, the class average was a 90% which is almost right in line with what I was expecting giving the mid-term assessment average. Even with my three students who did not perform at their best for the final assessment, all of the students improved from the initial preassessment. This final assessment average shows me that by helping my students interact with their vocabulary words on a daily basis, they were able to grow in their knowledge and recall more easily what they had learned when it was time for their quiz. Throughout this sequence, I think that my lessons and assessments all worked together in order to have students create a meaningful framework for their

vocabulary words and definitions. I wanted students to not only learn their words and definitions, but to be able to recognize how they fit in to a particular context as well. The first activity, or assessment gauged both of these factors in my students. If they knew their definition, they could simply write it down. If they were unsure, then they could look at context clues to help them guess at the definition. When I then went over the words with the students I tried to help them out with words that were similar to their vocabulary words to help them remember definitions. When it was time for the next assessment, I went back and used the same template as the pre-assessment and just added choices for each word. This format allowed me to better compare to the original assessment because I could see whether or not my students had actually retained the definitions and could remember them when distracted by other possible choices. In the end, the final assessment divided up these two goals by section so that students could exercise their knowledge in both. In the first section students had to recall appropriate definitions for each word to figure out which word would fit in each sentence the best. The second part of the final assessment required them to draw on their knowledge of the vocabulary words and definitions and hopefully remember the connections we made between them with examples and synonyms in order to help them match the words and definitions correctly. I believe that all of these items together allowed my to accurately track my students progress during this sequence and also allowed for me to create more detailed activities based on the results from each assessment.

When it comes to teaching vocabulary, there are obvious challenges that come to mind for getting students to take it seriously. While vocabulary may seem like simple memorization, there is actually much more to it if you want the students to actually be able to effectively use the words at a later date and to have them retain the associated skills of how to inference meanings through context clues. Needless to say that this is not the most interesting topic to teach middle school students, but it is a very valuable one to teach them that they will continue to use throughout their school years. This is why I chose the activities that I did for my assessments and my lessons, because my students would easily have become bored if I had spent an entire class period lecturing them on the words and definitions. Instead we broke it down to 15-minute lessons each day and every day for a week so that they were constantly interacting with the words in a new way. The assessments that I used for my students tested only the essential skills and goals I wanted the students to learn. I did not want to over complicate the assessments and confuse the students needlessly. Below are the examples of the pre-assessment, the midterm assessment, and the final or post assessment. Each will have a brief description and a corresponding graph to show how my class did on each assessment. The pre-assessment as described earlier, consisted of the sentences that the thirteen vocabulary words were a part of in the text. The students used any knowledge they had of the definitions or context clues to come up with a definition for the words on their own. The pre-assessment looked like the following, with each sentence on its own slide:

Pre-Assesment 1. Fours, Fives, and Sixes all wore jackets that fastened down the back so that they would have to help each other dress and would learn interdependence. 2. Each family member, including Lily, had been required to sign a pledge that they would not become attached to this little temporary guest, and that they would relinquish him without protest or appeal when he was assigned to his own family unit at next years Ceremony. 3. The audience applause, which was enthusiastic at each Naming, rose in an exuberant swell when one parental pair, glowing with pride, took a male newchild and hear him named Caleb. 4. Jonas watched the new Nines gravitate toward their waiting bicycles, each one admiring his or her nametag. 5. My swimming instructor said that I dont have the right boyishness or something. Buoyancy. Jonas corrected him. 6. The community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made. 7. Like the Matching of Spouses and the Naming and Placement of newchildren, the Assignments were scrupulously thought through by the Committee of Elders. 8. The Instructors of Threes were in charge of the acquisition of correct language. 9. Jonas, she said, looking down at him, I apologize to you in particular. I caused you anguish.

10. Integrity, she said next. Jonas has, like all of us, committed minor transgressions. She smiled at him. We expect that. We hoped, also, that he would present himself promptly for chastisement, and he has always done so. 11. He had been trained since earliest childhood, since his earliest learning of language, never to lie. It was an integral part of the learning of precise speech. 12. The bed, in an alcove at the far end of the room, was draped with a splendid cloth embroidered over its entire surface with intricate designs. But the most conspicuous difference was the books. 13. It was the same sort of speaker that occupied a place in every dwelling, but one thing about it was different. This one had a switch, which the man deftly snapped to the end that said OFF.
Chart Title 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

As can be seen from the chart above, my class performed quite low on the pre-assessment. On the Y-axis, a 1 represents a 100 on the pre-assessment, which no one came close to achieving. Their average was a 34%, which told me that we had a

long way to go if I wanted them to do well on their final assessment. After this preassessment we had our initial lesson which then followed with the midterm assessment. The midterm assessment looked exactly like the pre-assessment, except now there were answer choices to choose from (correct answers are bolded): Midterm Assessment 1. Fours, Fives, and Sixes all wore jackets that fastened down the back so that they would have to help each other dress and would learn interdependence. a) the act of being mutually dependent b) extremely careful and precise; concerned with details c) the act of acquiring (knowledge, ability) d) essential to completeness

2. Each family member, including Lily, had been required to sign a pledge that they would not become attached to this little temporary guest, and that they would relinquish him without protest or appeal when he was assigned to his own family unit at next years Ceremony. a) to let go; surrender b) full of unrestrained enthusiasm joy; extreme in degree, size or extent c) skillfully d) to be attracted by, or as if by, an irresistible force 3. The audience applause, which was enthusiastic at each Naming, rose in an exuberant swell when one parental pair, glowing with pride, took a male newchild and hear him named Caleb.

a) to let go; surrender b) full of unrestrained enthusiasm joy; extreme in degree, size or extent c) skillfully d) to be attracted by, or as if by, an irresistible force

4. Jonas watched the new Nines gravitate toward their waiting bicycles, each one admiring his or her nametag. a) to let go; surrender b) full of unrestrained enthusiasm joy; extreme in degree, size or extent c) skillfully d) to be attracted by, or as if by, an irresistible force

5. My swimming instructor said that I dont have the right boyishness or something. Buoyancy. Jonas corrected him. a) to let go; surrender b) full of unrestrained enthusiasm joy; extreme in degree, size or extent c) the tendency or capacity to remain afloat in a liquid or rise in air or gas d) to be attracted by, or as if by, an irresistible force

6. The community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made. a) the act of being mutually dependent

b) extremely careful and precise; concerned with details c) the act of acquiring (knowledge, ability) d) essential to completeness

7. Like the Matching of Spouses and the Naming and Placement of newchildren, the Assignments were scrupulously thought through by the Committee of Elders. a) obvious to the eye or mind b) extreme pain, stress, or anxiety c) exact, careful, attending fully to details; having high moral standards d) adherence to a code of moral conduct

8. The Instructors of Threes were in charge of the acquisition of correct language. a) the act of being mutually dependent b) extremely careful and precise; concerned with details c) the act of acquiring (knowledge, ability) d) essential to completeness

9. Jonas, she said, looking down at him, I apologize to you in particular. I caused you anguish. a) obvious to the eye or mind b) extreme pain, stress, or anxiety c) exact, careful, attending fully to details; having high moral standards d) adherence to a code of moral conduct

10. Integrity, she said next. Jonas has, like all of us, committed minor transgressions. She smiled at him. We expect that. We hoped, also, that he would present himself promptly for chastisement, and he has always done so. a) obvious to the eye or mind b) extreme pain, stress, or anxiety c) exact, careful, attending fully to details; having high moral standards d) adherence to a code of moral conduct

11. He had been trained since earliest childhood, since his earliest learning of language, never to lie. It was an integral part of the learning of precise speech. a) the act of being mutually dependent b) extremely careful and precise; concerned with details c) the act of acquiring (knowledge, ability) d) essential to completeness

12. The bed, in an alcove at the far end of the room, was draped with a splendid cloth embroidered over its entire surface with intricate designs. But the most conspicuous difference was the books. a) obvious to the eye or mind b) extreme pain, stress, or anxiety c) exact, careful, attending fully to details; having high moral standards d) adherence to a code of moral conduct

13. It was the same sort of speaker that occupied a place in every dwelling, but one thing about it was different. This one had a switch, which the man deftly snapped to the end that said OFF. a) to let go; surrender b) full of unrestrained enthusiasm joy; extreme in degree, size or extent c) skillfully d) to be attracted by, or as if by, an irresistible force
Midterm Grade

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As with the first graph, the 1 on the Y-axis represents a 100 on the midterm assessment. There were lots of perfect scores on this assessment, which showed me that my students were really picking up on what they were learning. Based off of their performance on this assessment, I decided that the last activity/lesson would not have to be as intense as I had initially planned, and could be something more laid back.

After the final lesson/activity, it was time for the final assessment. The final assessment looked like the following: A. Interdepence B. Gravitate C. Relinquish D. Buoyancy E. Exuberant F. Meticulous

__B__1. People tent to ___________________ towards jobs that they feel they would be good at or enjoy. __F__2. I was very ___________________ when I carefully created my project for Science class. __C__3. Carmen hated to ____________________ her favorite seat in class, but someone was already sitting there when she arrived. __E__4. Many people are ____________________ when their favorite team wins a game. __D__5. People have been known to survive in the water at sea for days, but only with a ___________________ aid. __A__6. The _______________________ of countries around the world is shown in the ways they depend on trade with one another. A. Scrupulous B. Integrity D. Acquisition E. Integral F. Anguish G. Conspicuous

C. Deftly

__G__7. Obvious to the eye or mind __D__8. The act of acquiring (knowledge, ability) __E__9. Essential to completeness __A__10. Exact, careful, attending fully to details; having high moral standards __C__11. Skillfully __F__12. Extreme pain, stress, or anxiety __B__13. Adherence to a code of moral conduct
Chart Title 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

This graph uses the same scale as the first two, and really shows how far my students have come since their initial pre-assessment. After the amazing grades I saw on the midterm assessment, I was expecting high grades on the final assessment as well. I am happy to say that my students did extremely well on their final quiz for their vocabulary. I had three students (as can be seen on the graph)

who were having an off day or simply did not feel like taking a quiz that day, but we all have those days. Comparing the graphs together you can really see how each student did over the course of the sequence:

Quiz Grade Activity Grade Pre-Assesment Grade

The blue bars represent the quiz grades, while the red is the activity or midterm grade. These grades usually corresponded closely with one another for each student, with all students showing major improvement from their initial preassessment, which is in green. For students missing a red or green bar, it was due to an absence in the class that day. I was very proud of how well my students did considering where they all began. For some students I knew that they tended to slack off when it came to lessons such as this one, so having them make 100s on their final grades really showed me what they are capable of when given the attention they need to succeed.

When it came to picking my three students at the beginning, I had several in mind but knew it would be tricky. Since the classes were differentiated for our unit, I knew that I had no labeled AIG students. It didnt take long to realize though which students in the class were perfectly capable of being challenged, but often times just did not want to be. I also had my students who just dislike school in general, and often do not apply themselves to choose from. Here are the students that I wound up choosing to look at: