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Early Childhood

Task 1: Planning Commentary

TASK 1: PLANNING COMMENTARY


Respond to the prompts below (no more than 9 single-spaced pages, including prompts) by typing your responses within the
brackets. Do not delete or alter the prompts. Pages exceeding the maximum will not be scored.

1. Central Focus
a. Describe the central focus and purpose of the content you will teach in the learning
segment.
[ For the learning segment, the central focus is on Presidents Day. The learning segment works
with the students across the content areas with a strong focus on technological applications tied
to their work with language and literacy skills in social science. The ability to use of a variety of
technology tools is becoming integral in classrooms. Providing students with a means of
learning how to use these tools, even at a young age, will only benefit them. The learning
segments intent is to help the students build upon their existing language and literacy skills
through writing, along with being able to compile their research and writing in a variety of ways,
all while using the key vocabulary in the learning segment. Students will not only be able to use
their research skills to gather information about their assigned president, but will be able to
convey it through a written paragraph and a presentation. Thus, they will work on their research
writing skills, comparing and contrasting skills, and their presentation abilities.]
b. Describe how the standards and learning objectives for your learning segment support
childrens

active and multimodal learning


language and literacy development in an interdisciplinary context
[ The learning segment features standards and objectives from across content areas,
particularly those of language and literacy and social studies. Language and literacy
development is a crucial area of early childhood development. The day 1 lesson will incorporate
literature as a book about George Washington is read aloud. It will also allow students to work
on their writing skills, in terms of constructing a formal informative paragraph while using proper
conventions of Standard English. Not only does this lesson incorporate crucial language skills, it
provides children with a chance to work on their research and presentation abilities as well.
Students also will have to write an opinion statement regarding whether or not they believed
their president was or was not a good leader. Students will also work on their skills at comparing
and contrasting in the day 3 lesson.]
c. Explain how your plans build on each other to support childrens language and literacy
development through active and multimodal learning.
[ For the day 1 lesson, the students will incorporate vocabulary words relevant to their
presidents, such as president, elect, leader, and vote into their paragraphs. Many of the
key vocabulary words are inherent to the nature of the central focus and theme, therefore, these
such words should appear throughout the entire learning segment. At the start of the week the
students were given a list of these words. Although outside of the direct learning segment
discussed here, this list was reviewed with the class at the start of the week. The students had
to put the words into sentences, and then were given a spelling test on these words at the end
of the week. Thus, the students were already familiar with the vocabulary prior to the learning
segment.]
d. Describe how the physical environment in which you are teaching supports the active
and multimodal nature of childrens learning. (If, in your view, the physical environment in

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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

which you are teaching does not adequately support the active and multimodal nature of
childrens learning, please describe the changes you would make.)
[ The physical environment somewhat supports the active and multimodal nature of childrens
learning. Since it is a second grade classroom, there are no centers for each subject and
learning area such as would be in a preschool environment. However, the classroom is clean
and fairly spacious, providing the students with plenty of room to walk around and work without
feeling cramped. There is always childrens artwork and projects displayed around the room on
the walls and any other open space, which makes the room feel very child-centered and
positive. One possible change to the environment would be to include a science and math
discovery area, where children could conduct experiments and investigate topics as related to
the current unit in the curriculum. This area could include tools for measurement, scales,
magnifying glasses, a variety of materials for investigation, and even relevant books and
literature. This would provide students with opportunities for hands-on exploration during the
day.]
2. Knowledge of Children to Inform Teaching
For each of the prompts below (2ac), describe what you know about the children in your
class/group with respect to the central focus of the learning segment.
Consider the variety of learners in your class/group who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., children with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners, children
at different points in the developmental continuum, struggling readers, children who are
underperforming or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted children).
a. Childrens developmentWhat do you know about their

social and emotional development


cognitive and physical development
language development for communication
[ There are no students with IEPs or 504s in the class. In terms of social and emotional
development, there is one student who has some minor behavioral issues, but there have been
no formal accommodations made for him. He has difficulties paying attention, staying on task,
and properly following directions. He has been monitored throughout the year and if no
improvement has been made, steps may be taken to provide some modifications and put in
place a support system for him if necessary.
In regards to cognitive and physical development, all students seem to be on track with this
area. However, there are 9 students (8 males and 1 female) who have been placed in a higherlevel math group and are further ahead cognitively than the rest of the class. Twice a week, a
resource aide comes and pulls these children from class for 30 minutes on these days to
provide them with enrichment activities related to math. This group is based on their
standardized test scores in math.
Finally, for language development, there is one student who has a mild case of dyslexia and has
a few of her own accommodations made outside of the school for her that can be incorporated
into the class. For example, she receives her own spelling list from a tutor, and has separate
spelling homework and tests than the other students. She also has all of her tests read aloud to
her. One other student has recently been struggling with test anxiety and has been having some
accommodations made for her, such as being given extra time to complete exams and having
her test read aloud. There are no students who currently require any form of speech therapy.]

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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

b. Personal, cultural, and community assetsWhat do you know about your childrens
everyday experiences, cultural and language backgrounds and practices, and
interests?
[ The children come from largely middle to upper class families. Almost all of the students are
raised by both parents, except one student whose parents are divorced and another student
who is mainly looked after by her grandparents. Almost every single student is White/Caucasian
and all speak English. Every child in the class is Catholic except for 4 students who are of other
related denominations. There are no English Language Learners in the class. The students
share many of the same interests and hobbies. Many of the students participate in team sports
and clubs, and almost all of the boys are in Cub Scouts and the girls in Brownies.
The students all have parents and guardians that are actively involved in their school lives,
assist them with their homework daily, and frequently come into the classroom for parties and
other activities. Having parents so actively involved in these students lives has proven to be
highly beneficial for the childrens education and social relationships.]
c. Prior learning and prerequisite skills related to language and literacy development
What can they do and what are they learning to do related to language and literacy
development? Cite evidence from your knowledge of this class/group of children.
[ In terms of language and literacy development, all the students are able to read and write at
their appropriate grade level. The school has Accelerated Reader testing, and many of the
students are able to read at a grade 3 and above level. The students all express enthusiasm for
reading. They have 15 minutes every day dedicated to silent reading after lunch. Any free time
they have during the day they will pull out a book and read. During class read alouds with the
teacher, they are attentive and responsive and prepared to ask and answer questions. The
students love to offer their own stories and make meaningful connections from books to their
own lives.
For literacy development, the students are able to compare and contrast two versions of the
same story, can use grade-level phonics to decode words, identify main topics and themes, and
understand key details in a text, both in literature and informational texts. In regards to language
development, the students are able to demonstrate command of Standard English in both
speaking and writing, to produce paragraphs with simple and compound sentences, participate
in positive conversations with both adults and their peers, and produce informal presentations to
the class. These are only a few of many more skills that the students are able to do that are
affiliated with the language arts Common Core standards; overall they are strong, competent
readers and speakers both in every day and with curriculum. ]
3. Supporting Childrens Development and Learning
Respond to prompts 3ac below. To support your justifications, refer to the plans and
materials you included as part of Planning Task 1. In addition, use principles from
research and/or developmental theory to support your justifications.
a. Justify how your planned learning experiences and materials align with your
understanding of the childrens development, prior learning, and personal, cultural, and
community assets (from prompts 2ac above). Be explicit about these connections and
support your justification with research/developmental theory.
[Lev Vygotsky is an influential theorist in education. He emphasized that children develop
cognitively through complex social interactions between individuals (Neff, n.d.). This social
environment in turns influences the learning process. Learning can take place through social
interactions with peers, teachers, their parents, and so forth. In terms of the learning segment,
keeping in mind his ideas on social interaction is important. Throughout the learning segment,
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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

the children will be engaged in discussions with the teacher and their peers. Children will
discuss their research and what they have learned about their presidents with their partners,
and will also share this information with the whole class. These are all social experiences that
will lend to their learning. Vygotsky also stressed the importance of language, and how it is the
main tool when it comes to learning. Language promotes reasoning, problem solving, critical
thinking, reading, and writing (Neff, n.d.). These are all skills that children need to develop as
they continue to learn. Learning is dependent on the social context and language. In the
learning segment, children will have a variety of opportunities to use their language in a
meaningful social setting, some of which was discussed earlier, as social interactions heavily
rely on language.]
b. Describe and justify how you plan to support the varied learning needs of all the
children in your class/group, including individuals with specific learning needs.
Consider the variety of learners in your class/group who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., children with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners,
children at different points in the developmental continuum, struggling readers, and/or
gifted children).
[ For the day 1 plan, in order to support those who may require extra support, the teacher will
stay in proximity of students who need extra reminders to stay on task, as well as to answer any
questions the students may have while they work on writing their paragraphs. Students who
need extra time to write their paragraphs can be given extra time later in the day if necessary.
Students will also be assisted with spelling words upon request.
For their media presentations on day 2, for students who are gifted/talented, they will be
instructed on how to do more advanced things with their presentations, such as how to create
transition effects or bullet points in their presentations. For students with other learning needs,
they will be given extra time to complete their presentations, as some students are slower at
typing and working with the computers than others. Students may also need help on how to find
relevant images or how to choose a theme or edit their slides, and will be assisted in doing so.
On the day 3 lesson when they create their Venn diagram, those who are gifted/talented will be
allowed to fill out more than 3 differences and 2 similarities for their presidents. For students
with other learning needs, they may need assistance in coming up with ideas for similarities
and/or differences for their presidents, so the teacher can assist them with this and guide them
to some other resources they can use to look up more information.]
c. Describe common developmental approximations1 or misunderstandings that pertain to
the learning experiences you are planning for the children and how you plan to address
them.
[ One common misunderstandings for second grade students is knowing the difference between
comparing and contrasting. They still will get these two terms mixed up, and they will need to
know these in order to fill out their Venn diagrams for the day 3 lesson. In order to address this, I
will go over these words with them and their meanings at the beginning of the lesson. After a
brief overview, I will do an example Venn diagram with the class on the Smart Board so that
they will have a visual example to follow. ]
4. Supporting Childrens Vocabulary Development

For example, common beginning or transitional language errors or other attempts to use skills or processes just beyond a

childs current level/capability.

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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

Respond to prompts 4ac below by referring to childrens range of vocabulary development


related to the learning segmentWhat do they know, what are they struggling with,
and/or what is new to them?
a. Identify the key vocabulary2 (i.e., developmentally appropriate sounds, words,
phrases, sentences, and paragraphs) essential for children to use during the learning
segment.
[ The students will be using a list of key vocabulary words for the learning segment. These
words will be given to them in the beginning of the week for their spelling list. These vocabulary
words include: White House, February, president, elect, vote, leader, country, Washington,
Lincoln, slogan, penny, and dollar. Lincoln and Washington are included because these are two
of the most famous, well-known presidents, and being familiar with these names is important.
The vast majority of the students will already recognize and know these vocabulary words, but
they are important to know how to read and pronounce on sight as well as how to spell them, as
the students will be using these words to write their paragraphs, for their presentations, and
their Venn diagrams. Aside from this list, there are a few more key vocabulary terms that the
students will be using, which include: compare, contrast, similarities, and differences. These
words will be primarily associated with the day 3 learning experience. ]
b. Identify the learning experience that provides children with opportunities to develop,
practice, and/or use the key vocabulary identified in prompt 4a. (Identify the plan
day/number.)
[ In the first plan for day 1, the students will use many of the key vocabulary terms while they
write their paragraphs. They will use the terms president, White House, leader vote, elect, and
depending on their president, will use the term dollar and penny (if they have Lincoln). Some
students may bring up a famous presidential slogan while they write their paragraphs. In day 2,
the students should be using the same words as they are using their paragraphs to create their
media presentations. As mentioned previously, the students will use the key vocabulary words
compare, contrast, similarities, and differences, in the day 3 learning experience. These terms
are crucial to the lesson, as they are completing a Venn diagram. Many of the key vocabulary
terms are inherent to the nature of the theme of this learning segment and should appear
regularly both in writing and in conversation with their peers and with the teacher during the
learning segment.]
c. Describe how you plan to support the children (during and/or prior to the learning
experience) to develop and use the key vocabulary identified in prompt 4a.
[ As previously discussed, prior to the learning segment I will have given the students a list of
vocabulary words that they will need to learn. They will not only have to learn how to spell these
words for a test at the end of the week after the learning segment, but they will have to use
them during the learning segment. Giving them the list ahead of time will allow them to review
the words and become familiar with them, as they will be commonly appearing throughout the
learning segment. ]
5. Monitoring Childrens Learning
In response to the prompts below, refer to the assessments you will submit as part of the
materials for Planning Task 1.
a. Describe how your planned formal and informal assessments provide direct evidence to
monitor childrens multimodal learning throughout the learning segment.
2

Developmentally appropriate sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that you want children to use or create to

engage in the learning experience.

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Early Childhood
Task 1: Planning Commentary

[ In terms of informal assessment, observations will be made throughout the learning segment
for each days lesson. Such observation will include monitoring whether or not the students are
able to stay on task, pay attention, and follow directions. Written notes of the observation will be
included for the day 3 lesson, where the teacher will write notes about the students
engagement in the activity and their ability to collaborate with their partner, as well as whether or
not they accurately filled out the Venn diagram. In terms of formal assessment, the lesson for
day 1 will use a checklist, and the lesson for day 2 will use a rubric. Day 1s lesson will use a
checklist to determine whether or not the student wrote a grade-level appropriate paragraph. It
will also assess whether they used proper conventions of Standard English, if it was factually
correct, and if it used a variety of vocabulary and sentence structures. Day 2s lesson will use a
rubric to assess the students media presentations. Checklists and rubrics are particularly
practical when it comes to assessing children's work, as they can be used to make comparisons
between children in the class, and can easily align with the standards and objectives for the
learning segment, which will provide direct evident of childrens learning.]
b. Explain how your design or adaptation of planned assessments allows children with
specific needs to demonstrate their learning.
Consider the variety of learners in your class/group who may require different
strategies/support (e.g., all children along the continuum of development, including
children with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners, struggling readers, and/or
gifted children).
[ Its important to keep the variety of learners in mind and make all necessary adaptations in
order to best support each individual child and allow them the opportunity to participate to the
best of their ability during any learning experiences. As discussed earlier, there are no children
with IEPs or 504 plans in my class. However, there are 9 children who are in a gifted program
for math, and 2 students who receive some accommodations for test taking. The two girls who
receive accommodations for test taking also typically need extra time to complete lessons and
activities. The assessments for the learning segments will include a checklist, a rubric, and
written observation notes. These forms of assessments are more authentic and child-centered
than simply having them take a test on what they have learned about their presidents. Allowing
them to show what they have learned through various means such as writing, a presentation,
and comparing and contrasting this information is much more beneficial to their learning and
assessment overall than an exam.]
References
Neff, L. (n.d.). Lev Vygotsky and social learning theories. Retrieved from
https://jan.ucc.nau.edu/lsn/educator/edtech/learningtheorieswebsite/vygotsky.htm

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