The first video in the playlist that we were required to watch for module four was Rick's Reading Workshop: Mini Lesson. In this video he talked to students about how active reading requires us to create theories about the characters and how they can change throughout the story. He reads the class a story about a girl and her grandmother. He uses the dialouge in the book to create (with students) a theory about the relationship between the girl and her grandmother.
As the video he has created has a purpose of not teaching elementary students but rather informing and teaching future educators/ informing others of the teachin process, he approaches it in an interesting way. He explains how he explicitly says what it is he wants the students to be able to do and how it should be done. He also models the tasks for the students which gives them a guide to work off of.
I think this is a great approach to use with students, especially in literacy. I think giving them instruction on the objective or purpose of the lesson helps them to understand why they are doing something and how it is going to help them. Providing an example is important because it shows them what understanding of the skill or concept looks like and this helps them to form an idea of how they should start thinking about the topic.
The next video I found myself not as engaged in, but it still held my interest. I thought the teacher had a good approach to teaching her students about the difference between informational texts and texts that tell a story. What stuck out most to me about her lesson was that it was not all her talking or students doing work. Rather, when they were on the carpet the teacher would start telling the students new information and then have them answer questions as she was teaching. She used their answers as part of the instruction. Also, she made the lesson personable and talked about all of the different books that they were reading independently. Having the personal connections was probably beneficial in understanding the difference between "books that tell a story and books that give us information."
The third video that took place in a middle school really interested me. This video brought many new things to my attention. Never before have I seen a middle school lesson done in a "carpet style" seating arrangement. Middle school both in my prior exposures and my own experience was done strictly by group work or lecturing at desks. I found this so interesting to see. Next, the teacher had the students write the learning objective in their notebooks. A lot of people are opposed to this, but I do think it's a great idea, especially at the middle school level. Having the students write the purpose of the lesson right in front of them in their notes gives them the opportunity to look back and reflect on it. If they know exactly what skill they should have mastered by the end of the lesson the can assess themselves again and again if they think they are meeting it or not. This allows them to take initiative for their own learning for some degree which is an imperative skill and strategy they will need in high school.
The fourth video in the playlist was a little bit different than the others. I'm actually not entirely sure why, but it just seemed to have a different feel to it. The video started with a clear explanation of what the teacher was going to do, why she was doing it, and what was going to happen. This made it easier understand exactly what was going on, but also made me less focused on it. The teacher starts the lesson with telling the students what it is they will be talking about. Then they have a whole-group discussion of the topic. For this one they discussed why readers re-read books. Then the students went off and did it themselves and shared with the whole group. I thought the independent reading after the discussion and then back to the group was a good idea. It allowed students to get the information, process it, practice it, and reflect on it. I'm almost positive that was beneficial to at least a majority of the students.
The last video in the playlist was an interesting topic to watch a mini lesson on. The teacher focused on the skill of leaving spaces between words in a sentence. She used mostly direct instruction and little student engagement. It was beyond clear that the students were not at all paying attention. Very few if any were actually engaged and following along. Perhaps she could have made the lesson a bit more student-involved or shorter at least with the lecturing. The students could be a group of kinesthetic learners which they were not getting throughout this lesson. Perhaps her teaching style could have worked better with a group of maybe second or even first graders instead of kindergarten students.