Literacy in Schools
I want to reflect on Amy's visit to our class last Tuesday. I thought she was an excellent guest speaker and brought the practice element to our class that is sometimes missing in education classes. Especially after our discussion in ed311 about how there is more theory than practice in education classes, I was really excited to hear Amy discuss her role as a literacy specialist in a classroom. As our class has progressed so far, I feel like we have discussed a lot about meanings of literacy in terms of technology and connections to Ghana. This definitely makes sense as the Ghana trip is the central part of the 360, but I feel like we hadn't addressed how literacy plays out in classroom situations such as at placements. I was really impressed by Amy and the way that she took initiative and responsibility for students' learning. Her handouts were really informative, especially the sheet explaining what a balanced literacy program was. I started to think about these elements in terms of my placement which was really productive in terms of helping me make connections between our class and my field placement/work at a kindergarten. Without actively realizing that I was following such a program, I realized that many of these elements are incorporated into what I do every morning when I teach. Although it is tricky to put a set definition of what sort of elements and activities make up a productive way to teach literacy, I do think it is helpful for some guidelines to be put in place as starting points for how to treat reading and writing. I am wondering how it works to address all of these elements in a classroom where individual students are at different levels of reading and writing. Although Amy addressed how books are at different reading levels, I wonder what effective exercises for all students are and also how to serve all students while also making sure that other students are not bored or falling too behind. I want to use what I have learned from Amy and see how it influences how lessons are planned in my placement and at school. I also am curious to see what parts of a balanced literacy program are emphasized more in the classroom. Also although many schools are lucky to have literacy specialists and others who directly address students' reading and writing needs, it is difficult to think about how schools without such guidance manage to help each student without these extra resources. Finally, I am really happy that Amy explained how she uses technology in the classroom. I am always wary about too much tech, but it seemed like Amy was using her iPad in a very efficeint and useful way (although not possible for all educators).