Category Archives: Learning Portfolio

Reading Conferences

Reading conferences are… used to offer the students the opportunity to:

-share their thoughts about what they have read

-set goals for future reading

-receive feedback

it gives the teacher the opportunity to:

-monitor student reading

-provide formative data about the student’s progress

-monitor their level of reflection and engagement

It benefits the students by providing time to practice:




-comprehension strategy

-critical thinking

How it works…

  1. The teacher will have prepared what they want to discuss with the student during the conference
  2. Set up the class so that the students are independently reading
  3. The teacher will pull an individual student aside and conference (for approx. 10 minutes)
  4. The student will read a section of the text aloud from their reading material
  5. The teacher and the student discuss what is going on and what understanding they have gained so far
  6. The teacher and student will discuss the student’s reading goals
  7. The student will return to reading and another student will conference with the teacher

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are… used to help students simplify information and assist in stimulating their thinking skills. It is a visual representation of organized information.

Types of graphic organizers…

-concept maps


-mind maps

-venn diagram

Examples of Graphic Organizers…


Circle Pedagogy

Circle pedagogy is…an opportunity to create a safe environment where students can share their point of view. Everyone is equal and everyone belongs.

Talking circles… create a respectful approach to talking with others providing a sense of communion and interconnectedness that is not often present in the common ways of communicating in the classroom. Everyone has their turn to speak, all voices are heard in a respectful and attentive way, and the learning atmosphere becomes a rich source of information, identity, and interaction.

How it works…

  1. The teacher will have prepared a few topics or talking points for the circle to discuss
  2. Before we enter into the circle the class will establish their guidelines for the circle
  3. An object that will be passed around will be chosen.
  4. The students will be arranged in a circle
  5. The teacher will welcome everyone to the circle
  6. The teacher will introduce a topic for the circle
  7. The object will get passed around from student to student in a clockwise motion.

You can access the lesson that I have created using circle pedagogy here.

How they can look in the classroom…

Adaptation and Accommodation

We as educators we have to plan multiple lessons a day. We often have an idea of how we intend to have the students meet their outcomes but sometimes we have to be prepared to make adaptations and accommodations to our lessons for certain students within the classroom.

Accommodations are…the methods being used within the lesson are adjusted in order to help assist the students to meet the same goal as their peers. When we here the word accommodation we often think of students who struggle in class, however, accommodations can be made for students who excel within the classroom.

Example of accommodations…

-giving a student a computer in the classroom so that they can type out their responses instead of writing them.

-allowing the student access to spellcheck when writing to assist with spelling

-giving extra time for tests and assignments

-chunking information

-providing frequent breaks

Adaptations are… changes that are made to the methods of instruction and the way that assessment is carried out within the classroom. This gives the students an equal opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of a concept.

Examples of adaptations…

-oral tests

-preferred seating

-providing a scribe

-having tests read


Teaching Philosophy on Literacy

Literacy is traditionally broken up into five separate areas: speaking, reading, writing, listening and comprehension. Throughout this semester I believe that there has been a large focus on the reading and writing portion of literacy. While I do believe that it is important for the students to have a firm understanding of these concepts it should not take the light away from the other areas of literacy.

Speaking… I believe that speaking is more than a students ability to memorize and utilize vocabulary. It is important that the student also learn how to effectively communicate and hold discussions. I believe that the best way for a student to achieve this is through the facilitation of discussion and exposing the students to different ways of speaking.

Reading…I believe that reading is more than just a students ability to read from a text. We should foster students love and passion for reading so that they continue reading for enjoyment into adulthood. We must also work towards teaching our students to read critically so that they can analyze the text and determine it’s validity.

Writing…I believe that writing should be more than a students ability to form complete sentences. It should be more than their ability to write using appropriate grammar. I believe that students should be able to inspire themselves to write creatively and integrate colorful and bold language that challenges their readers to think in a more complex way. They should not feel dread when asked to write for an assignment, they should view it as an opportunity for self-expression.

Listening…I believe that listening should be more than a student sitting quietly in their desk and hearing the words that are being said. I think that listening can be listening to those around you (external) but it is also listening to the voice within. The students should not be afraid to listen to their own voice and make attempts to express themselves in new ways.

Comprehension…I believe comprehension is more than being able to retell what a student has seen or experienced. It is about how the student interprets what they experience and the connections that they are able to make as a result of this. As they develop their comprehension they can be more critical of the content that they are being exposed to and then draw their own conclusions and form their own opinions. As new information is introduced they will be able to adjust their views.


I know that not every student will be fluent in all areas of literacy. Because of this, it is essential that we as educators must provide every opportunity possible to highlight our student’s strengths and support their weaknesses. Literacy is not only for English Language Arts, but it can also be applied in all areas of the classroom. By opening these concepts up into all areas of learning you provide the students with extra chances to improve their literacy.

Assessing/ Evaluating Literacy

To be able to assess and evaluate literacy we must first understand what it is that we are assessing/ evaluating.

Literacy is…the ability to read, write, listen, speak, and comprehend. Literacy is not limited to an English Language Arts class. These strategies can be used throughout all subjects.

My experience with assessing/evaluating literacy…

For my field experience I used several different literacy strategies, none of which were in an English Language Arts classroom. The classes/ literacy strategies were:

Science: Hot Seat (Lesson Here)

Science: Rubric (Lesson Here)

Science: KWL (Lesson Here)

Health: Quick Write (Lesson Here)

For these lessons, there were different assessments used. Three of the literacy strategies can be used as assessments on their own.

  • A KWL chart can be used as a pre-diagnostic assessment tool
  • A quick write can be used as a prediagnostic/ formative assessment
  • A rubric can be used as a summative assessment

For the hot seat activity, I used a checklist to assess the literacy strategy.

Many of the literacy strategies that I have covered are assessments within themselves. If they can not be stand-alone assessments, pairing them with a checklist or a rating scale often provides it with that added level of assessment that is needed.

Assessing/ Evaluating Literacy…

When you are assessing/ evaluating literacy you are determining whether or not the student was capable of reading, writing, verbalizing and understanding. There are many different ways to determine if a student was capable of achieving literacy. Speaking and writing are likely the easiest to assess within the areas of literacy because they can be seen and heard. You can also have the student read aloud to assess their reading abilities. Comprehension is the most difficult part of literacy to assess. How do you authentically assess students understanding? That is where these literacy strategies come into play because they help a student identify and share their comprehension.



Quick write (In the Field)

To see my previous post on the quick write literacy strategy you can visit it here.

My experience with quick write… I really enjoy how versatile this literacy strategy is. Because it is intended to gauge a students understanding of a topic, and it helps them in making connections, it can ideally be used in any class. For myself, I used it in a health class that was covering the cycle of abuse. This can be a very heavy topic and it gives the teacher a tool to help gauge student understanding on a complex topic.

A lesson plan that I created using a quick write can be accessed here.

Hot Seat Activity (In the Field)

If you want to know what a Hot Seat activity is or how it works feel free to check out my previous post here.

My experience with Hot Seat… this is a strategy that I would be happy to use in my classroom. The students are given the opportunity to get up and out of their desks and learn through play. More often than not they remember and extract more meaning from the experience. I think that it can also be integrated into all areas of learning. I personally have never used it in the English classroom, I prepared this activity for Science and it could easily be brought in for social studies, math, art, and health.

Here is a lesson plan where I integrated the Hot Seat Activity into a science classroom.


Rubrics are… an assessment tool. It’s given to the student at the beginning of a project to outline the teacher’s expectations and how they will be assessed.

How it works…

  1. The teacher creates a project outline and determines how it is to be assessed
  2. The teacher creates a rubric with criteria that match what is supposed to be assessed
  3. The rubric is given to the students at the beginning of the project
  4. Students complete their assignment
  5. Students present their assignment
  6. The teacher grades the student based on their ability to match the criteria

My experience with Rubrics… I like using rubrics in the classroom because the students know what they have to do to achieve the grade that they like. If they want to get a 2 they know what is necessary and if they want a 4 they know what they have to do. There is no way to argue that they were graded unfairly because it is clearly outlined.

Here is one of my lessons where I used a rubric for an assessment tool.

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KWL Charts

KWL charts are… a great way to assess what your students know, want to know, and what they have learned. I often use this tool to follow my students through the pre-diagnostic assessment phase all the way through to summative assessment.

How to use it…

  1. have the blank chart up on the board
  2. have the topic clearly outlined
  3. First, have the students fill out what they know (K). They can do this individually or as a class.
  4. Then have the students fill out what they want to know or questions they may have (W)
  5. The teacher will conduct a lesson (or a few) on that topic
  6. The students will then fill out what they have learned (L)
  7. and additional thing students can do is fill out what they still want to know by adding in some things that they are still curious about on the topic (S)

My Experience in the field… I found that my students really enjoyed when I used the KWL chart because not only was it a good way to organize their thoughts and prior knowledge, but I made sure to always attempt to answer the questions that the students had no matter how crazy. I was also able to focus the content that I covered based on the information that the students had an interest in.

One of my lessons utilizing a KWL is available here.

Examples of KWL charts…

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