Course Profile: Grade 1 Word Study

A lot of ideas went through my head when I began thinking about the online course I would design for EC&I 834. I am on maternity leave right now, so I am not tied to a grade or subject and when I am back to work, I am teacher librarian, so this also affords me a lot of flexibility and the ability to collaborate with different grade-levels and subjects. After much contemplation and discussion with our divisions English Language Arts consultant and Information and Library Coordinator, I decided the most beneficial thing not only for me, but also our school division would be creating an online course for grade one students on word study.

 

The importance of creating smaller learning cohorts within the larger classroom environment is critical to a balanced literacy program.By creating smaller learning communities, the teacher is able to customize and personalize instruction for individual students or small groups. A first grade classroom brings a wide range of abilities, especially when it comes to literacy. Using blended learning and specifically the station rotation model, an educator is better able to accommodate and engage the individual learners as you are able to customize the lessons to the individual students. Although creating an online course for grade ones will bring challenges, I am looking forward to see how can be used to enhance and transform learning in the primary grades.

 

Please keep on reading to see my course profile. This is a working document and appreciate all feedback and comments you may have for me as I am sure this will change as I “work-through” the development of my prototype.

 

Target Audience

Students who are in grade 1 in Regina Catholic Schools.

 

Course Timeline

This course would run over the duration of the school year. This primary resource used to develop this course is Words Their Way by Invernizzi, Johnston, Bear, and Templeton. Words Their Way is a developmental spelling, phonics, and vocabulary program that is part of a balanced literacy program.

 

Course Delivery

This course will be a blended course using a station rotation model, which includes online instruction, teacher-lead instruction, and collaborative activities and stations. There will be a set time for face-to-face instruction, followed by online work. Students will be divided into groups based upon their reading level.

 

The course outline, teacher modules, and all other pertinent information will be housed on a google document. The face-to-face lessons will be reviewed through an online module that students will be able to access via a YouTube video. Students will scan a QR code to get to the appropriate module. Following review, students will learn and practice the spelling features by completing activities such as word sorting, word hunts, making words, and other games through Seesaw activities. Students will have the opportunity to work individually, with partners, and in small groups to encourage cooperative learning and individual responsibility. Communication and assessment will be communicated through the Seesaw app.

 

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

The objectives and outcomes of this course are developed from the Saskatchewan Grade 1 English Language Arts Curriculum. Throughout this course students will:

  • Explore letter and sound relationships (phonics)
  • Examine word parts to denote meaning (morphemic analysis)
  • Develop automaticity for sight words  

 

Course Materials

This course would may be most successful in a connected educator classroom; however, it due to the nature of the station rotation, this course is accessible to other classrooms who have access to a smaller number of devices. Devices such as tablets are best for the station-rotation model as they eliminate the need to log in and provide quick access to materials and lessons.

 

There is no required text for this course, but the following resources will be used:

 

  • Phonics Lessons for Grade 1 by Fountas & Pinnell
  • Words Their Way Level A by Bear, Invernizzi, and Johnston
  • Rebus Chants Volume Two “For Popular Themes” by Kim Deibert
  • Jolly Phonics

 

During the course, a variety of materials will be accessed and/or made available online and accessed through the Google Doc and Seesaw Activities.

 

Special Announcements

As this course follows a station rotation model and allows for individualized instruction, the needs of any students with a disability, injury, or illness who feels they may need academic accommodation will be dealt with as they arise.

 

Attendance and Punctuality

Regular and punctual attendance at school is an essential part of student success. It is especially important as this course is based on participation and experiential learning rather than lecture.

 

Assessment

Students will demonstrate understanding through the Seesaw app and activities. The activities and data submitted will be assessed through this app as well. Students will also complete a weekly pre-test and post-test each week as summative assessment.

 

Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed in a variety of ways including but not limited to seesaw activities, weekly spelling tests, and observations.

 

Assignments

Assignments will be shared in each individual module/lesson. As individual students require varied methods of instruction, assignments and expectations may vary dependant on student needs. This will be discussed between the teacher and the student’s family prior to the beginning of the course.

 

Blended Learning and Me

My experiences with blended learning as a student are very similar to Michael. I can also remember the time when classrooms had access to one or two computer and we used them to practice keyboarding using All the Right Type or to print banners that we could later colour in or in some of our progressive classrooms to search the world wide web. As a person who has always been interested in technology and exposed to different technologies as a child, I was always excited to get the chance to use technology to change the way I was learning something.

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ProjectManhattan [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
As I entered into high-school, the development of computing technology, the Internet, and the World Wide Web continued to shift and impact education. In grade 11, I received a scholarship to study abroad in Brazil for a year. Since our education systems are so different, in order to graduate at the same time when I came home, I had to take one class through correspondence, which introduced me to my first online learning class.  This was an interesting experience for me as I am most definitely a social learner and enjoy peer interaction and thrive off of discussion. This class was on the far right of the continuum and was fully online. I am sure distance education has changed since my experience in 2003-2004, but I never met or spoke with my instructor, my assignments were all listed through an online management system, and I was responsible for being motivated enough to get through the course on my own. I was really left to my own devices. Luckily, I was successful with the course (although I did procrastinate big time)… however, the way this course was set up wasn’t my favourite way to learn.

Through my undergrad, technology and how teachers used technology to teach really transformed and we started to see a mix between traditional classroom learning and online learning, which is typically known as blended learning. I really enjoyed reading the Bates chapters and thought the continuum to describe online learning as pictured below was really helpful to understand the different types of online learning.

Taken from Teaching in a Digital Age by Tony Bates
Taken from Teaching in a Digital Age by Tony Bates

This is my fourth graduate course I have taken in a blended learning environment and I must say I find them very enjoyable, social, and convenient. I would also say that some of my deepest learning and reflection has happened in these blended learning environments compared to the traditional classroom environment. Seems a little backwards, but it is true. I find myself more engaged and active in the online community than I do in the classroom. I also find myself making more connections when we are not in class and my learning continues through the week and is driven by open source materials, not just a singular textbook. Of course there can be the challenges of your internet not working fast enough or your mouse dying mid-broadcast (haha!), but generally my overall experience as a student in a blended environment has been very positive.

As an elementary school teacher, my experiences with blended learning have been quite limited and haven’t reached much further than station rotation blended learning.

Station-Rotation blended learning is a: “…model (that) allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule, where at least one of the stations is an online learning station. This model is most common in elementary schools because teachers are already familiar rotating in “centers” or stations.”

Taken from TeachThought

I would like to include more blended learning in my teaching, but I need to wrap my head around it and ensure that it is enhancing and transforming teaching and learning and remember the relative importance of instruction and pedagogy versus educational technology and media on the quality of learning. My goal is to jump into the SAMR swimming pool and use technology to enhance and transform my teaching.

 

Anxious, yet Eager.

It is really hard to believe that this is my fifth course with Dr. Alec Couros. It all started over 13 years ago in ECMP 355 (Intro to Computers in Class), in the Fall of 2006. Around 20 of us huddled in the computer lab working on desktops building websites using code and exploring this fairly new site called YouTube. Fast forward three years to the Winter of 2009 and I was back again with Dr. Couros in ECMP 455 (Classroom Computers Advanced). A LOT had changed in those three years. Twitter was a new and emerging tool and people were beginning to grow their Personal Learning Network (PLN). The concept of 21st century learning and bringing learning outside the 4 walls of the classroom was also beginning to get some traction. ECMP 455 was truly a game changer for me and has helped me become the educator that I am today. To be honest, Dr. Couros is the reason I decided to pursue a masters in education. His commitment to innovative approaches that promote student-centered teaching and learning is something I aspire to.

I began my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in the Winter of 2015. This is class 7 out of 10! I have taken EC&I 832 (Emerging Media Literacies) and EC&I 831 (Social Media and Open Education) with Alec, but this is my first class on a maternity leave and I am really hoping I can keep things straight! I have two beautiful girls. Isla is 2.5 years old and Scarlett is 7 months old. Needless to say, they keep me busy and there is never a dull moment.

2 4x6

I am really excited to be taking this course, but I am also feeling rather anxious. As a mother of two (both who aren’t the best sleepers), I am struggling with keeping things straight in my head. It is my hope that I don’t miss anything!

coffee smartphone twitter application
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I appreciate you all helping to keep my focused and on task through Twitter and our online course community. When I am not full-time ‘momming’, I am a Teacher-Librarian with Regina Catholic Schools. I love this position as it allows me to combine a few of my passions in teaching: literacy, technology, and innovative teaching and learning.

In Regina Catholic Schools, the school library and the teacher-librarian are integral in strengthening student learning.

​Our school libraries are home to dynamic instructional programs that connect with the educational programs of the schools.  Through collaborative partnerships, teacher-librarians and classroom teachers design and implement inquiry-based learning opportunities that support curriculum learning outcomes.

Literacy development is the cornerstone of our school libraries.  They promote the enjoyment of reading, viewing, and listening. ​Our libraries prepare students for the future by developing the abilities and skills necessary to become information literate.​

Taken from RCSD Information and Library Services

My number one goal for this course is to get through it without missing a deadline and being able to produce the quality of work I am used to producing! Three other goals I have are:

  1. To develop an understanding of the pedagogical issues (e.g., learning strategies, developing content, delivery/facilitation formats/options, developing presence, cultivating community, etc.) of blended and online learning. As an elementary school teacher, I see very few instances of blended and online learning (although we do have some excellent examples of it happening right within our school division by extraordinary teachers, such as Matthew Bresciani) and I would like to explore how we can help close that gap.
  2. To examine and evaluate blended and online course content, pedagogical practices, and tools for implementation.  To be completely honest, I don’t know what is really out there (other than YouTube and MOOCs) for designing online and blended learning. I would like to explore, evaluate, and examine the various tools used to deliver the course and the pedagogical practices that need to be in place in order for them the be successful.
  3. To create something that is useful and can be used again. This is one of my favourite aspects of Alec’s courses — everything that we do is purposeful and has true meaning and the ability to impact teaching and learning.

… but in all honesty my number one goal is to not miss anything!