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GWU Supervisor Observation, March 4, 2005

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Fairfax Transition to Teaching Partnership



Name:  Abigail Hunting                                                          School:  Robinson Secondary

Observer: Ann Lawlor                                                                        Date: March 4, 2005

Cooperating Teacher:  J. Odeneal                                           Number of Students:  11

Course Title: ESOL Literature—B1                                       Time:  12:35-2:10      Period: 7


I.          Knowledge of subject matter and how to teach it to students

II.        Understanding of how to foster learning and development, and how to address special learning needs

III.       Ability to assess students, plan curriculum, and use a range of teaching strategies that develop high levels of   student performance

IV.       Ability to create a positive, purposeful learning environment

V.                Ability to collaborate with parents and colleagues to support student learning and to evaluate the effects of one’s own teaching in order to continually improve it


Focus of the Lesson:

                                   Imagery and Figurative Language in Hatchet  

Evidence to Support:

PLANNING (students' background, content knowledge & connections, goals & objectives, methods, activities, materials, resources, assessment)


            Students have been reading the novel Hatchet and identifying the imagery and figurative language used by the author.  They are now on Chapter 12 and have had a chance to study simile, metaphor and personification.  They have also worked to identify how the five senses can be used to create pictures in the mind of how the character felt and what he thought during his experiences in the wilderness.  Use of this imagery helps the author convey his ideas in a more realistic way.          

            The objectives for this class are observable and measurable:  analyze literature and descriptive writing style; identify alliteration, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, and repetition; listen to directions and follow reading; work with peers.  Assessment is both formal and informal: completed workbook exercises to be graded and class participation with answers related to the reading.

            This unit on the novel is organized into a packet that each student has and must bring to class for each meeting.  In it are vocabulary homework exercises, worksheets on imagery and figurative language, and steps to writing a final essay about the novel.  A grading sheet with a point total of 200 is taped to the inside cover of the packet so that students know how much each assignment is worth and can keep track of their progress throughout this long-term assignment.  There is also an excellent rubric for the essay.


Strengths/ Suggestions / Questions:


            This is an excellent plan for the unit on the novel.  The well-organized packet lets students see at a glance where they are going and what they have to do to be successful.  Even if they are absent from class, they will know what to do because the lessons are organized in a logical and easy-to-follow manner.



LEARNING ENVIRONMENT (climate, rapport, learning expectations, behavior standards, physical environment)


            Instruction is differentiated for a visually impaired student with copies of worksheets and a text with enlarged print.  She also receives individual assistance as needed.  When students work in groups, the teacher pairs this student with one who is willing to help out and has a good grasp of the material already.


            The teacher sets a time limit for the quiz since all should have read the chapters for homework and paid attention during the review.  She explains some words to individuals and draws pictures on the board to help students understand the questions (spear, pine cone, pine needle).

            She uses the OHP with a transparency that is the same worksheet the students have in their packet on examples of figurative language.  The worksheet is excellent as is the explanation to illustrate alliteration, hyperbole, personification and repetition.



Strengths/ Suggestions/ Questions:


            After the quiz and as she begins the class discussion, the teacher realizes the class is sleepy and unfocused during this last period of the day on Friday.  She has all the students stand up and stretch to help them wake up and refocus.  They do and the class discussion is back on track.


IMPLEMENTING INSTRUCTION (instructional goals & procedures; comprehensible content; extending thinking; monitoring, feedback & adjusting; instructional time)


            The agenda for the day is on the board when students come in and it begins with a warm up: Brian keeps repeating he has things to do.  What are they?  Students are to write the answer to this question in their journals.  The warm up serves two purposes: it is to check to see if they have done their reading for homework and to give them writing experience with new vocabulary.

            Abby does a good job in leading the class discussion about what happened in the chapters from the novel that the students read for homework.  She uses wait time effectively to give other students a chance to participate in the discussion.  Next, she hands out the quiz on chapters 9-11.  It is a multiple-choice quiz that includes a large amount of reading.  All the questions are about the plot.  If the students have read the homework chapters carefully and listened to the review in class, they will do well.  The teacher gives them many chances to ask questions if they have any, and some do.  After the quiz, the teacher moves on to explain the new literary terms for today’s lesson.  Her examples for figurative language are very good ones:  she uses pictures, sounds, and words to illustrate each term.  On the back of each handout the teacher has written an example of one the literary terms.   She goes around the room, asks each student to read his example, and then asks the rest of the class to identify what literary term it is an example of. This is an excellent activity to check for understanding.  The teacher uses good transitions and models for teaching:  direct instruction, concept attainment, cooperative learning, and advanced organizers.  To begin the homework assignment, she reads Chapter 12 aloud. There is good attention as Abby uses her voice effectively to hold the interest of the students and pauses to explain new words when necessary.


Strengths/ Suggestions/ Questions:


Abby does an excellent job of explaining the literary terms.  She defines each term using different synonyms, gives several examples of each, and uses her drawing skills to illustrate when appropriate.


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