Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Link: Teaching Reading: K-2

Martha Duran-Contreras's Second-Grade Class

Looking Closer


Staying on Topic

Video Summary

The Teacher and the Class

Analyzing the Video
  Before Viewing
  First Impressions
  Looking Closer
  Summing Up

Making Connections

Selected Resources

Take a second look at Ms Duran-Contreras's classroom to deepen your understanding of specific literacy strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.


Writing: Video Segments

Ms. Duran-Contreras talking with students.

Find the first segment 2 minutes and 30 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 3 minutes and 59 seconds. Find the second segment 5 minutes after the beginning of the video. Watch for 5 minutes and 31 seconds.

Ms. Duran-Contreras plans varied writing assignments for students throughout the week. In the first segment, Ms. Duran-Contreras confers with a student about a piece of creative writing, clearly communicating observations about the student's progress.

  • How does Ms. Duran-Contreras guide the conversation with the student? What kinds of questions does she ask? What elements of writing does she encourage the student to focus on?

In the second video segment, Ms. Duran-Contreras emphasizes the theme "staying on topic," giving students small objects to write about. She confers individually with students as they write independently.

  • What is Ms. Duran-Contreras's approach to supporting students' writing? How does she use oral rehearsal to elicit background knowledge with both native English speakers and English language learners? How does she encourage students to help one another, and to monitor their own learning?
  • What lessons about writing does Ms. Duran-Contreras encourage students to internalize?

Independent Reading: Video Segment

Find this segment 16 minutes and 49 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 4 minutes and 14 seconds.

Ms. Duran-Contreras talking to her students.

During independent reading time, an important part of Ms. Duran-Contreras's literacy curriculum, students read self-selected books. Ms. Duran-Contreras reads silently herself, or confers with them individually.

  • What explicit directions does Ms. Duran-Contreras give to students as they get ready to read? What does she learn about students during independent reading time?
  • As you watch, note the different kinds of reading materials used by students. Why might it be important to provide English language learners with reading in their own language? How do Ms. Duran-Contreras and the aide work together to make the independent reading time successful for everyone?
  • What do you think about the timing, structure, and management of Ms. Duran-Contreras's independent reading? How would this work in your classroom? What role would the teacher and the students have? What do you think about the use of DEAR with English language learners?

Author's Chair: Video Segment

Ms. Duran-Contreras talking to students.

Find this segment 16 minutes and 49 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 4 minutes and 14 seconds.

Students share their written work with the whole group, and then in pairs. Students develop oral expression while celebrating their role as authors. Ms. Duran-Contreras is explicit about the purpose of this exercise, saying it makes it clear that writing is to communicate to an audience.

  • How does Ms. Duran-Contreras keep everyone prepared and engaged?
  • How does this Author's Chair activity compare to approaches used by other teachers in the Teaching Reading library? To approaches of other teachers you know?
  • How would you organize an Author's Chair? What other components of literacy might you want students to focus on in addition to oral expression?

Next > Summing Up

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