Sarah Klaiber 10/30/11 CI475 Individual Child Study For my Individual Child Study I chose a student that really stood

out to me. From the first day I was in my cooperating teacher’s third grade classroom Java regularly caught my attention. Her personality is one that I found unique. She is a very talkative, curious, imaginative child. Yet, these characteristics get the best of her, often distracting her and others from their work. It is obvious that she likes attention, so I thought this would make her a good student to study for this project. I knew that I she would be excited to work with me, and give me honest answers to questions I asked her. My co-op agreed that she would be interesting to study. Throughout the time I observed her, Java was eager to tell me what she thought about books she was reading. She also really enjoyed reading out loud to me. The first time I heard her reading out loud I was surprised by the amount of expression she uses. There wasn’t a single dull sentence when Java was reading. I think personality can play a big role in learning. It impacts the way a student interacts in the classroom and the way they learn. Java’s reading scores reflect that she is slightly below the expected grade level. She scored a 24 during DRA testing at the beginning of third grade and the expected level for third grade is a 28. This means she is at an instructional 28, and a level behind where third grade is supposed to be. The DRA test and interview with my co-op gave me a pretty clear understanding of where Java was starting third grade, as well as her areas of strength and areas to focus instruction. When reading a level 24 book she read with 99% accuracy. She fell into the Independent category for words per minute, oral fluency and comprehension. She fell into the

Instructional category for reading engagement. Her areas of strength included expression, accuracy, rate, retelling, and reflection. Yet some areas of her reflection need to be focused on for further instruction. One question asked what the main point the author was trying to tell in a story. The story was about a rabbit who has his friends help him eat a big cabbage so he can fit it into his house. Java said “never try something big though your door.” This shows that she did not fully interpret the meaning of the story. She also didn’t use examples from the text to support this interpretation. She was able to read the words, but couldn’t fully comprehend the message. My co-op concluded that she needs help identifying the important message in a story. Based on her responses, she also concluded that Java needs help with using examples from the text to support inferences. Java inferred that the cabbage would fit in the rabbits home, when the opposite was actually the issue of the story. Before doing the DRA testing, Java completed a reading survey. The books that she had recently finished included Lizzy McGuire, a joke book, Hannah Montana, and Green Eggs and Ham. It seems to me that Java likes books that are funny and fictional. My co-op recommended that Java focus on finding a variety of genres to read. I never witnessed her read a nonfiction book, and there are plenty to chose from in the class library. I think she would benefit from reading a variety of genres. I feel like I learned more about Java’s reading habits from observing her than from looking at her DRA scores. I observed many of her reading and writing habits during class. During shared and guided reading lessons, Java raises her hand to answer almost every question. When she is called on she gives very lengthy explanations for her ideas, although they are not always founded contextually. She likes making personal connections to stories, and telling stories about things that have happened to her. I noticed that she becomes very interested in the story

being read. She also gives accurate summaries of what was read the day before. Sometimes she gets so excited that she calls out answers. She often has to be reminded to raise her hand or to stay on subject. During Read to Self, Java has some issues. The class is supposed to read for 20 minutes and then do Write About Reading, where they write about what they read and what they think about it. She picks a book that often is not at her reading level. The books she choses can be either too easy or too hard. Either way, she gets bored and distracted. I feel like I have to constantly remind her to stop talking to other students, or to move on to her writing. She reads for a little while, most of the time out loud. Yet, she can never stay on task, but she hates being reminded to do her work. Any time I ask her what she is working on she gets defensive, or lies and says she has already finished. During this time, the students are given the responsibility to do their reading, write about reading, and then do their Words Their Way sentences. They have to learn how to manage the time they are given in order to finish everything for that day. It is plenty of time to finish everything. Yet, when I checked Java’s Write About Reading journal the other day, she had not completed an entry for two weeks! Her other entries were sloppily done, only consisting of a couple sentences. Java could talk for hours if we let her, but she either has trouble, or just doesn’t want to write down her ideas. I think it is a mix of the two. In every subject it is a struggle to get her to do her work, even though she has the knowledge to do so. My co-op has expressed her frustration to me about Java’s lack of effort. It is hard to watch a student with great potential chose not to use it. We encourage her, give her positive feedback, have her finish her work at lunch, but nothing we do seems to motivate her to do her work. She would rather decide to sit at her desk and play with a pencil sharpener, or stare at the pages of a book that is too hard for her. This is when behavior issues impact learning. If she

continues to not do her work she will not progress they way she should. She will not be getting the writing or reading practice she needs to improve. She is a positive, energetic child until she is told to do something, and then she shuts down. Yet, it is hard to figure out the root of the problem. Is she having trouble academically, so she choses to not do her work? Or, does she have behavior issues rooted in personality or problems at home that impact her academic achievement? I think it is a combination of the two. I think she is naturally easily distracted by others around her. I also think she has trouble organizing her thoughts. This would make writing hard for her. She has so much to say but can’t get it down on paper. I don’t think she has trouble with handwriting, but with the process of writing. I think she gets antsy and frustrated because it takes her longer to write what she is thinking than if she says it out loud. If she gets stuck on a word, she stops writing and gets distracted by someone or something else. It is sort of a cycle. She does not feel comfortable writing, and she gets easily distracted. She ends up not doing her work, and then doesn’t get the practice she needs to improve. Then, she continues feeling uncomfortable. I think it is important that a structured plan is set in place for Java to ensure her progress this year. Java needs both a behavioral plan and academic plan. She is behind grade level, but has potential to catch up. I think that if she was focused and on task more of the time her reading and writing would greatly improve. I have learned that standing over her shoulder reminding her to do her work is not effective. Java needs a way to stay engaged in the activities we do in class. She is so curious and energetic and enjoys reading, but needs help focusing on the current task at hand. She needs motivation. It is really challenging for me to know how to do that. I think instead of taking away her recess if she doesn’t do her work she needs positive reinforcement for staying on task. Because she gets upset when she is nagged to do her work, doesn’t really seem

to care about losing recess, positive reinforcement seems like a good option to try. I think it would work because Java thrives on attention. I would want to individualize a behavior plan for Java founded on positive reinforcement. Yet, don’t want Java to start expecting a reward every time she does what she is supposed to. I would start by making sure that I give Java as positive feedback when she is on task and when she completes work. I would try different ways of reminding her to do her work so she does not feel threatened and then not continue not doing her work in retaliation. I admit that I get frustrated when I see that she has not done any work after a period of time. I will make sure that I do not seem annoyed with her, and ask her more kindly to continue reading or writing about reading. I will also give her a sticker to put on her Write About Reading journal when I notice that she is staying focused on her work. I think this small gesture of acknowledgement would be greatly motivating for Java. She loves positive attention. I know this because of the games she plays with her friend. Java told me about a reading club she has with her friend at recess. Every time Java reads a certain number of pages, her friend gives her a sticker. She is very proud of her stickers and puts them on her desk. She loves telling about the club and how many stickers she has earned. I also think time management is an issue. My co-op gives students an hour to finish three different assignments, reading, write about reading, and sentences. They are responsible for using this time to finish their work. I believe in student self responsibility, but I would break up this time so they know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. I think breaking up this time would help keep all students on task. One strength of Java’s is talking about what she has read. I think building on this strength could be a great way to help her complete her work. For Write About Reading, I can help Java by

having her explain to me what she is going to write before she actually writes it. When I am circling the classroom during this time I can stop at her desk and prompt questions about what she read. Whenever I notice she hasn’t written very much I try to ask her questions about what she read and she always has a lot to say. I think writing her thoughts is intimidating to her. If I ask her questions it will help her organize her thoughts to write. She will know what she wants to say before having to put her ideas on paper. I think Java needs more low pressure writing practice. I would like to work one on one with her to help learn to her organize her thoughts. I could give her graphic organizers to help her with organization. I would teach her how to use the organizers and then put her thoughts into paragraph format. During dailies, 15 minutes could be dedicated to writing practice. Part of the issue is that because she isn’t doing her work, she isn’t getting the practice she needs to improve. If a small amount of time is dedicated to helping her writing everyday it could be greatly beneficial. Java’s DRA testing and observations indicate that she needs work making inferences based on the text. She often makes very imaginative inferences and predictions, yet they are not based on the text. During read to self each week I will work with Java one-on-one. She can read out-loud to me, and I will stop her and ask her questions that require her to infer, predict, and find the important messages in the story. If she does not use the text to prove her answers I will ask her questions that require her to do so. We will also talk about exactly what an inference and prediction is, and how they depend on what is previously read in the text. We can also practice writing by making charts about what she infers or predicts, and what in the text gave her that idea. She can use words and sentences from the text to support her thoughts. I think individual work with me would greatly benefit Java’s interpretation of what she is reading.

Practice and guidance will help Java organize and focus her thoughts when she is reading. During this time I could also teach Java about choosing books that are not too easy, too hard, and from a variety of genres. Java is an intelligent, energetic student. It is obvious that she loves reading, yet has behavior issues that are impacting her academics. She also has a very active imagination that at times gets in the way of her interpretation of texts. I think with individualized behavior management, as well as one-on-one instruction, Java will improve her reading and writing abilities. Students like Java need individual attention and positive feedback. They shut down when they feel like they feel looked down on. I think using Java’s unique personality characteristics as part of instruction would be very effective. Allowing her to verbalize her ideas, receive positive feedback, acknowledgment, and individual instruction will increase engagement and therefore learning.

Teacher Interview What are some of Java’s strengths and weaknesses? Java is very enthusiastic and loves to participate in discussions. This enthusiasm is very obvious when she reads, she is so expressive. She is interested in reading, but sometimes gets distracted. Based on her DRA testing she is below grade level. She is reading at a level 24, and students should be at a level 28 at the beginning of third grade. She needs to work on using text to support her answers. Sometimes she comes up with really obscure predictions that are creative but have little to do with what she read.

What do you recommend I observe? I’d say you should listen to her responses when we are doing shared readings. See what sort of connections she is making to the reading. Also, observe her when she is doing Read to Self and Write About Reading. I don’t think she is as on task as she should be. Her writing is very limited so far. See what kinds of books she is choosing to read, and if they seem appropriate for her level.

What goals do you have for the student? I want to bring Java closer to grade level reading, but my main goal is for her to make a year of improvement. I also would like to see her start to focus her ideas. She has so many great ideas but has trouble organizing them, or knowing when her input is appropriate.

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