During my time in the MAT program, I was able to experience two different classroom settings that strengthened my knowledge and desire to become an educator. Of course, the school year of 2020-2021 looked very different than expected for all in education. Carrying on education in a pandemic has been a learning experience for everyone, especially myself.

What teaching methods can secondary school teachers adopt to support diverse students’ disciplinary literacy?

Fall Internship

Springdale High School

During my first semester, I was placed at Springdale High School in Springdale, Arkansas where I taught lessons for 10th, 11th, & 12th grade ELA students. I learned a considerable amount of technology and how to implement it in the classroom. Due to COVID, there was not much interaction with the students or front of the class instruction. However, I did learn a great deal about how to create lessons for all three grades with explicit instructions. My mentor and I created the following lesson. My mentor came up with the basis and I carried it out. I guided and graded the students’ work and understanding of the lesson.

Cinderella Perspective

10th Grade Lesson

For this lesson, the students learned about perspective and how different authors from various countries demonstrate perspective in their lesson. The students read three different Cinderella stories from three separate cultures: Hmong, Caribbean, and Africa. They analyzed how the stories were different and why they were so different. They then created their own Cinderella story using their own perspective and culture. 

This was a great learning experience for me because I learned about a great way to get to know the students better and create better lessons that intrigue them. It also addresses the question: What teaching methods can secondary school teachers adopt to support diverse students’ disciplinary literacy? Our class was highly diverse with students from various cultures. Through this lesson, they were able to connect to what was being taught and they were able to connect their home life to their school work. The students were not counted off for any uses of languages other than English. In fact, the students were encouraged to use their home language or slang if it was school appropriate and was grammatically correct. There was no expectation of “standard English” when writing their story. This lesson created a greatly diverse learning community because students shared with each other their culture and their perspective. 

Through this lesson I learned how important it is to create lessons that students can make a personal connection to. That personal connection can be through race, ethnicity, gender, or anything relative to popular culture. Students are interested in learning when they identify with the concept being taught and when there is opportunity for diversity. This is a lesson that I plan to continue to adapt, modify, and use throughout my teaching career.

Student Resources & Assignments

Cinderella Mentor Texts

Graphic Organizer

Writing Prompt

Student Examples

Adaptations, Extensions, Modifications, and Strategies…

Spring Internship

George Junior High School

During the second semester, I had the opportunity to experience teaching at George Junior High School in Springdale, Arkansas. At GJHS, I taught four sections of critical reading for 8th and 9th-grade students. Most of the students placed in these classes are English Language Learners and are not on the expected reading level for their grade. I was able to interact with the students quite a bit because it was structured around small group reading sessions with about 3-4 students in a group at a time.

Cinderella Compare & Contrast

I took the lesson that was done in my fall internship and modified it for my new placement. Since it was a lower grade and the reading levels were much lower, the lesson had to be adapted for that classroom setting. I created two seperate lessons for the two different grades since the 9th graders are all English Language Learners and the 8th graders mostly struggle with their comprehension skills.

9th Grade Lesson

Cinderella Mentor Texts

-The students watched an Edpuzzle on Cinderella by Sarah Thomson while answering questions on inference and comprehension.

-Since most of the students had not watched the Disney version of Cinderella, this was a good base text to start with.

-The students then completed a “Compare & Contrast” worksheet while we read The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin in class (examples below).

Compare & Contrast Worksheet

Student Examples

8th Grade Lesson

-The students watched an EdPuzzle on The Rough-Face Girl that asked comprehension questions periodically.

-The students completed a summary worksheet for two Cinderella stories while we read Jouanah by Jewell Reinhart Coburn together as a class.

-The students completed a “Compare & Contrast” slide deck about the two stories.

Cinderella Mentor Texts

Summary Worksheet

Compare & Contrast Slide Deck

Student Examples