Language Arts Unit designed by
Midwestern State University
Wichita Falls, TX
Community District and School Factors
Olfur Elementary is located in Waller county which is 45 miles south of Wichita Falls. This elementary school located in Olfur, Texas has approximately 397 students. The estimated population of Olfur is 3,396 people. The town relies on petroleum, ranching, and manufacturing for employment. The median household income for residents of Olfur is approximately $24,995.00. OES serves lower socioeconomic students, of which sixty-seven percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. Olfur is a tightly-knit community of family and friend despite the economical challenges that are present. The attendance rate is ninety-six percent which is equal to the current state average. The student ethnicity of Olfur Elementary is seventy-three percent Caucasian, twenty-four percent Hispanic, three percent Black, and less than one percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Five percent of the students are English Language Learners. Of these students, the primary languages spoken is Spanish.
Mrs. G’s classroom is large with an area for story time, floor time, and tables for centers. This kindergarten class spends about most of its time at the tables for small group activities and the remaining time on the floor for whole group instruction. There are no computers in the classroom but the students visit the computer lab every other Thursday. Each day includes reading intervention for each student, concrete math using manipulative, and centers for hands-on activities.
The students in Mrs. G's class are active and lively kindergartners. The class consists of eleven boys and six girls. Two students in the class is currently repeating Kindergarten. The majority of the students are on track to meet the kindergarten benchmarks. Several students in the class are above average in all subject areas. There is one English Language Learners who is now fluent in English. One boy in class has difficulty with his speech and has recently been referred by the teacher for speech therapy. Mrs. G has established firm, consistent limits in the classroom. All students are expected to know and follow the class rules. If a student misbehaves he or she receives a warning from the teacher. If he or she continues to misbehave he or she will have to pull a yellow (warning) card. If the behavior continues then a red card is pulled from the student‘s pocket chart. If a red card is pulled that day the parents are notified by a telephone call at the end of the day. If the class becomes too loud the teacher will turn out the lights and tell the students to "freeze." She will also say "if you can hear me touch your nose" and so on. Parent involvement is minimal in this class. I know of two parents who help in the classroom periodically. They volunteer on Thursday’s to stuff take-home folders with homework or important bulletins.
Varied Approaches to Learning
The students in the class all have various approaches to learning. Most students in this class learn quickly through listening and by participating in grand conversations. There are a few students in the class who will need additional assistance when it comes to learning how to segment spoken words into syllables. They may need additional learning strategies when it is time for them to say the words in parts on their own. I will guide the students through the activities by saying the words in parts, then holding up fingers as we says each part, and finally clapping out the syllables.
Skills and Prior Learning
The students in this class have been participating in skills development by participating in a daily friendship circle where they are discussing the sounds they hear in the environment. So the students are already familiar with some of the transportation vehicles we will learn about in this unit. The students are also working on phonological awareness skills in their reading groups by segmenting words into syllables and discriminating between soft and loud sounds. The students are expected to identify objects that make loud and soft sounds and discuss the differences with the group. In the phonemic awareness Transportation Unit I have created we will build upon these skills and add new skills as well.
I have created a phonemic awareness unit that is developmentally appropriate for kindergartners and on target with the curriculum currently being taught within the classroom. This unit will be taught in both whole class and small group settings. The activities will be varied in an attempt to take advantage of the students' multiple intelligences and to focus on the needs of the individual student.
I will work with students in small groups and one-on-one with students that have learning needs. The students who have learning challenges will be paired up with those students who are above-average in the class. The use of visual aides, literature, and manipulates will provide the necessary background knowledge for all of the students. Literature about transportation will be available for students to discover in the language arts center.
This language arts unit will focus on phonemic awareness, vocabulary, listening skills, and summarizing. This will be taught as a kindergarten transportation unit. There are three learning goals for this unit that I have selected and they are aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Kindergarten.
·Learning Goal 1: Reading/vocabulary development. The student develops an extensive vocabulary. The student is expected to discuss meanings of words and develop vocabulary through meaningful/concrete experiences (K-2).
·Learning Goal 2: Reading/phonological awareness. The student orally demonstrates phonological awareness (an understanding that spoken language is composed of sequences of sounds). The student is expected to identify, segment, and combine syllables within spoken words such as by clapping syllables and moving manipulatives to represent syllables in words .(K-1)
·Learning Goal 3: Listening/speaking/communication. The student communicates clearly by putting thoughts and feelings into spoken words. The student is expected to retell a spoken message by summarizing and clarifying. (K-3)
Bloom's Taxonomy and Gardner's Multiple Intelligences will be incorporated into the learning goals of this unit. Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Visual-Spatial, and Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligences are included in the teaching and assessment of this unit. The learning goals take into account a range of educational objectives including knowledge, comprehension, and application. The learning goals for this unit on are appropriate to the students' development. The students have some background knowledge of sound segmentation and discrimination, but have not been taught the specific characteristics and vocabulary of transportation vehicles. The students have experience with writing in their journals and drawing pictures of a specific event in a story. The learning goals are appropriate because they reflect the grade level standards for the state of Texas.
The assessment plan for this language arts unit on transportation includes pre-assessment, formative assessment, and a post assessment for each learning goal. The pre and post-assessments will be aligned with the learning goals. My assessments will include observation, checklists, and formal assessments. The teacher will administer the test individually for LG 1 and LG 2 to each student in order to accurately assess each student’s abilities accordingly. The assessment for learning goal 1 will be a checklist in order to measure where the student started at the beginning of the vocabulary lesson and how they performed at the end. The assessment for LG 2 will ultimately be a formal assessment where I will give each student a worksheet with transportation vehicles that we have previously gone over in prior lessons. The students will be asked to say the name of the vehicle, count the syllables on their fingers, and use tally marks to show the number of syllables in each word. The final assessment for LG 3 will be a formal assessment for each student to retell a story by using first, next, and last. This assessment will be given as a whole group after reading the Curious George story “Flying High” which was read earlier in the unit so the students are familiar with the story. Each student will get a sheet of paper with four boxes and it will be marked “first”, “next”, “last”, and “predict”. The student will retell the story by drawing pictures and at the end will be asked to predict what could happen next in the story.
Assessment Plan: Kindergarten
Learning GoalsAssessmentsFormat of AssessmentAdaptations
Learning Goal 1
Reading/vocabulary development. The student develops an extensive vocabulary. The student is expected to discuss meanings of words and develop vocabulary through meaningful/concrete experiences.Pre-Assessment Background vocabulary knowledge established. Pictures of air, land, and water vehicles will be shown to the student for them to name they type of vehicle and mode of transportation. Formative Assessment Read literature related to transportation and ask students to identify vocabulary words. Post- Assessment The pictures of air, land, and water vehicles will be shown to the student for them to name they type of vehicle and mode of transportation. Informal observation and checklist to see if students know the names of transportation vehicles by identifying flashcards. Informal observation to see if students understand concepts of transportation and vehicles. Observation and checklist to assess their performance. Provide actual models of vehicles for students to touch and explore for ELL students and those who need additional reinforcement. Provide students with small group instruction with the teacher and concrete learning experiences. Supply students with plenty of visual aides and cooperative group activities.
Learning Goal 2
The student is expected to identify, segment, and combine syllables within spoken words such as by clapping syllables and moving manipulatives to represent syllables in words. LG2Pre-Assessment When given words orally such as names of vehicles, the student will repeat the word and clap the syllables for the word. Then they will repeat this process and hold up a finger for each syllable. Formative Assessment Hands on activities such as visual aids of different types of transportation vehicles to sort and classify by determining the number of syllables in the words. The students will be put a tally mark for each syllable in a word. Post- Assessment A picture of the transportation vehicle will be provided and students will write the number of tally marks for the syllables in each picture. Format of Assessment Informal observation by watching students to see if they are grasping what it means to segment words by syllables. Informal observation and checklist to notate which students may need additional assistance with oral segmenting activities. Assessment will be a worksheet with pictures various types of transportation vehicles, students will provide a tally mark for syllables in each word.Adaptations Assist students who do not understand the concept of segmenting words by providing Word segment matching activities. Provide students with many opportunities to segment sounds in words which may include: clapping out syllables, holding up fingers when segmenting words, using an Elkonin box with chips, using magnet letters to build words from sounds, and making up rhyming words to segment. Assist students with difficulties by orally going over each vehicle before the student begins the assessment.
Learning Goal 3
The student communicates clearly by putting thoughts and feelings into spoken words. The student is expected to retell a spoken message by summarizing and clarifying. LG3Pre-Assessment Read a book to the class and ask students to summarize the story by recalling the main events. Formative Assessment Model how to summarize story by asking students to tell you what happened and write it on a big chart for all to see. Post- Assessment Ask students to summarize story by drawing pictures to show what happened first, next, last, and they can predict what could happen next. Format of Assessment Informal Observation Read the same story and ask students to draw pictures of the events that occurred in the story in order. Formal assessment by checking to see if elements of the story are present.Adaptations Provide the story on tape for students who learn by listening and ELL. Also try to find the story in a “Big Book”. Draw pictures for the ELL and visual learners. For ELL they can orally do this assessment if they experience difficulty.
Transportation Unit Design for Instruction
10 Day UnitLesson PlanLiteratureActivity
Mon (Lesson 1) Air, Land, Water
”“This Is the Way We Go to School” by Edith BaerVocabulary Lesson LG1 LG2
Tues (Lesson 2)“Take a Tour Through Texas”
Tumbleweed Tom on the Texas Trail By Jackie Hopkins K W L Literary Skills Lesson LG 2
Wed (Lesson 3)“Flying High”
Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon by H.A. & Margaret ReyVocabulary lesson and sequencing activity LG1 & LG3
Thurs (Lesson 4)“Dan the Flying Man Comes to our Town”
Dan, the Flying Man by Joy Cowley Writing Lesson LG3
Fri (Lesson 5)“Let’s Take a Trip”
"My Blue Suitcase" by Sharon Katz.Literary Skills Lesson LG
Mon (Lesson 6)“Little Engine That Could”
The Little Engine That Could by Watty PiperVocabulary, writing, and sequencing activity. LG1 & LG3
Tues (Lesson 7)“Clickety Clack”
Clickety Clack by Robert Spence & Margaret Spengler Rhyming/Segmenting words by syllables LG2
Wed (Lesson 8)“Driving to School”
How Will You Get There? By R. A. ReyListening, Speaking, Reading, Writing LG3
Thurs (Lesson 9)“Airplanes Are Amazing”
Amazing Airplanes by Tony MittonListening, reading, writing, LG3
Fri (Lesson 10)“Little Red Caboose”
The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter & Tibor GergelyLanguage Arts Lesson LG2 LG3
This activity is aligned with Learning Goal 2, which is for student to orally demonstrate phonological awareness. The student is expected to identify, segment, and combine syllables within spoken words such as by clapping syllables and moving manipulatives to represent syllables in words. This activity also focuses on another phonemic awareness activity which is the use of rhyme.
Read “Clickety Clack” pausing to let students fill in the rhyming words and the “clickety clack’s." Next, write the word ‘clack’ on the board and tell students that they will be going on a rhyme hunt for other words that rhyme with ‘clack’ and find words that start with the initial letter “C”. First I will say the word then I will hold up a finger for each part we say. Last we will do it together as a group and hold up our fingers to count thy syllables in the words.
Reread the story, page by page, and let students listen for rhyming words and words that start with letter “C”. Ask students to raise their hands when they hear or see a word, then they must clap out the syllables of the word they find in the story. Students can assist me in writing the words on the board. At the end of the lesson we will segment our words into syllables first by clapping then by using our fingers to count them.
This activity is aligned with Learning Goal 1, the student is expected to discuss meanings of words and develop vocabulary through meaningful/concrete experiences and Learning Goal 3 Listening/speaking/communication. The student communicates clearly by putting thoughts and feelings into spoken words. The student is expected to retell a spoken message by summarizing and clarifying.
First introduce the vocabulary related to the story that we will discuss and look into before reading begins. Vocabulary: hot air balloon, helicopter, flying, Mt. Rushmore, vacation, and car. Write these words on a big overhead chart on the whiteboard. Take a picture walk through the story of “Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon” by H.A. & Margaret Rey. Students will identify the vocabulary words given and provide words with the pictures on the board. Read story and discuss the vocabulary learned in the lesson. Also ask each student to retell the events in the story. While the students are retelling the story write the events in order on the overhead chart for the students to see. At the end of the lesson ask each student to fold a sheet of paper in half, then in half again which will create four boxes. Tell students to draw pictures of what happened in the story first, next, and last. Then in the fourth box ask students to predict what could happen next in the story.
Driving to School
This activity is aligned with Learning Goal 3 Listening/speaking/communication. The student communicates clearly by putting thoughts and feelings into spoken words. The student is expected to retell a spoken message by summarizing and clarifying. The teacher will help students write messages as part of a playful activity and students will begin to understand that writing is used to communicate ideas and information.
Pose the question: “How did you get to school today? “ As a class the students will draw the mode of transportation in which way they came to school: bus, car, train, van, or a picture of themselves walking to school.
We will create a bar graph as a class and discuss how many walked, rode the bus, or came by car or van.
Technology was used throughout the planning and implementation of this unit. The Internet was used to gather background knowledge and lesson plan ideas. Before beginning the unit I will use video technology to show a movie about various transportation vehicles in order to broaden the student’s vocabulary. I will also incorporate music such as transportation songs like “Wheels of a Bus Go Round and Round” as a way to make this an integrated thematic unit. Students will not use computers in this unit because there are not any available in this kindergarten classroom.
Assessing the performance of students is considered to be the most important thing a teacher can do for their students and it can have a profound effect on their learning. As I observed the students while they worked in centers, I could clearly see that they were interested in the topic and wanted to complete the activities. In the transportation center I placed pictures of transportation vehicles and had Elkonin boxes with chips for the students to place a chip in each box when they heard a syllable in the word. Some of the students became discouraged, frustrated, and off-task at times so I had to adjust the way I implemented the use of the center activities. Instead of having the students do this by themselves I oversaw the center and helped the students for the first 10 minutes to get them on task. This seemed to minimize distractions and the students knew how to get started in the center.
I also placed books about transportation and a copy of each book that was used in the lessons in case the students got finished with segmenting words early. This was a good thing to do because I would hear the students reading the books out loud even though they were unable to read. Most of the students remembered the story and were doing retellings on their own without being prompted.
For the ELL student when accessing LG1 Vocabulary, I would show the picture of the transportation vehicle and sometimes have to expound upon the mode of which the vehicle travels. For example I showed him a picture of a helicopter and he just sat there thinking. I could tell by his face that he knew what it was but needed to think for a while. I explained that this vehicle “fly’s in the air and is usually very loud. With the additional assistance, he knew what the picture was. I also brought in concrete objects for him to look at, feel, and discuss with his peers in order to gain a broader understanding of the vocabulary.
For some reason my ELL student did not seem to struggle with Learning Goal 2 which was to segment words into syllables. I feel that we had plenty of practice in the learning center and he grasped the concept quickly. I did change the way that we were segmenting words by modeling how to use tally marks when segmenting by writing on the white board in front of the room during classroom instruction.
My ELL student needed assistance when completing the assessment for Learning Goal 3 summarizing a story by drawing pictures of what happened first, next and last. Before beginning my assessment with him I showed him a picture book and asked him to explain the story to me. I orally asked him “now think about what happened in the beginning of the story” and so on. This seemed to help him remember the events in the story chronologically and he proceeded nicely to completing the task. I believe this helped him to accomplish the assessment for this learning goal.
Analysis of Student Learning: Individuals
For individual student learning, I chose one high-achieving student and one ELL student. In order to form an accurate assessment of an instructional unit, it is imperative to understand what motivates of these two types of students in order to make adaptations to their lessons to meet the needs of individuals.
Upon looking at the formative and post-assessments, it was clear that the high-achieving student was easily able to accomplish the learning goals, while the ELL student struggled but met the goals. This could have occurred for various reasons. The individual that I chose as a low-achieving student has an IEP and is pulled out of the classroom twice a day. Most days he was pulled out from the class during the activities. When he returned, I had to personally go over what he had missed during the time spent outside of the classroom.
The high-achieving student was easily able to accomplish all of the learning goals so I often gave her extra vocabulary words to go over. I also let her help me with students who were having problems with segmenting syllables by assigning her as a buddy to the strugglers. She motivated the other students that I paired her up with. As for Learning Goal 3, she accomplished the assessment with flying colors and finished before the others. When she completed her work, I gave her a book to read for the rest of the time allotted.
Below is the checklist for LG1, students learning vocabulary words. I gave the students 10 vocabulary words. I showed each student 10 flashcards with each vehicle on it, and students were to name the vehicle and mode of transportation. Most of the students did fairly well on the pre-assessment activity and most of them mastered it when taking the post-assessment.
Vehicle NameMode of TransportationYesNo
Ice Cream TruckLand
Hot Air BalloonAir
LG1 Assessment Scores
No Effort 0= 0 Correct
Below Average 1=1-2 Correct
Almost Average 2=3-4 Correct
Average 3=5-7 Correct
Above Average 4=8-10 Correct
LG2 Phonological Awareness by syllable segmenting rubric explanation is listed below. I gave the students nine items to determine how many syllables were in each word. The students were to say the name of the vehicle and count the syllables on their hand and then transfer the number of syllables into tally marks onto the worksheet. Most students did not excel on the pre-assessment activity as only three students placed above average. However, I was pleased with how most of them achieved on this activity with the post-assessment with eight students placing in the above average category.
LG2 Assessment Scores
No Effort 0= 0 Correct
Below Average 1=1-2 Correct
Almost Average 2=3-4 Correct
Average 3=5-7 Correct
Above Average 4=8-9 Correct
Ice Cream Truck 111
Hot Air Balloon1111
Reflection and Self-Evaluation
My students were most successful with Learning Goal 1 Reading/vocabulary development. By the end of this Language Arts transportation unit, nearly everyone could describe three modes of transportation and identify transportation vehicles. Learning Goal 1 was the most successful because we repeatedly reviewed the vocabulary in each lesson covered in the unit. I also think they were most successful with this learning goal because in the beginning of this unit I brought in concrete objects such as transportation vehicles for the students to touch and talk about. I also showed a video about the various types of vehicles used around us, so I believe that the students came into the lesson with vast background knowledge of the vocabulary covered in this unit.
My students also successful with Learning Goal 2 where the student is expected to identify, segment, and combine syllables within spoken words such as by clapping syllables and moving manipulatives to represent syllables in words in this unit. I think that the students got plenty of experience in the transportation center with using the Elkonin Box with chips and additional segmenting activities that took place within the unit’s lesson plans. I feel that my students started out shaky in this area, but with repetition and concrete experiences they were able to grasp the concept of what it means to segment spoken words by clapping out the syllables or moving manipulatives. I was really proud that most of the students excelled in this area.
My students were least successful with Learning Goal 3. When I asked them to summarize the story in their own words some of the students had trouble with what happened first, next, and last in the story. Most of the students had the events that took place in the story correct but had difficulty with sequencing the story. I could have used more sequencing activities in my unit. Looking back now I think it may have been helpful to add a felt storyboard into the transportation center where students would be able to retell various stories, not just stories about transportation, by using felt pieces. Another good activity to incorporate into the unit would be to add popular puppets, such as the “Big Bad Wolf” or the “Three Pigs” for the students to use in order to get them accustomed to retelling stories in their own words. I now realize that in order to teach concepts other learning experiences can be incorporated into the lessons to provide the student with individualized instruction.
Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of my unit. Teaching lessons about transportation was fun and challenging. Most of the students did not have any background in the area of segmenting words since it was only the third week of school for the kindergartners, so it was often difficult to activate prior knowledge. The vocabulary lessons class reached out to the students on a personal level as most of the students have experience riding in to school in a car or bus. At the very beginning of class, the students were often distracted by unpacking their material and by conversations carried over from the hallway. I felt that trying to begin a lesson as soon as the students walked in the door would have been extremely unproductive. Anything said during the first five minutes of class would not be retained. Hooking the students into listening to the lessons is a good way to remedy this problem in order to help the students learn more efficiently. The student’s success made me feel that I made a difference in the classroom. The lessons seemed to click in the minds of most of the students, and I saw a marked difference in their classroom performance as time went on. While there is undoubtedly room for improvement, I feel that my skills as a teacher greatly improved during the teaching of this unit.
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Teacher Work Sample