This is a Third Grade classroom in the Ampark Neighborhood School District in the Bronx. The class has 26 students and none of them have special needs. This school is multi-cultural. The physical environment of the classroom is like all other elementary classrooms. All the necessary furniture is present like the student’s tables and the teacher’s desk. There were many areas for the students to interact with each other and share their work. The student’s desks were arranged in blocks of four, and each of these tables was given names for a particular continent. There were bookcases for trade books and other materials. These books were about the community, other various cultures and many other fun stories to get the students reading and discussing their reading interests. There were bulletin boards to exhibit their work and creativity in the classroom.
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This classroom is a classroom for literacy. It has many avenues for this form of teaching. To begin it has a discussion center where the class can discuss what they are learning in the content areas and also with language experiences and sharing about themselves. There are various work stations that give the students more literacy experiences across the curriculum. The classroom has many charts where the students can find what they need to review their skills or to do their various projects. In this classroom the teacher uses all the aspects of Language Arts like skills in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. There is also a small room where students can work on big projects or if they may need personal instruction. When the children are in their seats they are arranged in groups of four and each group has a name. This setup allows for the children to use proper communication skills with the other children and the teacher may use direct instruction mode for the whole class.
According to Roskos, Christie, Richgels, 2003 even in a third grade classroom “young children need writing to help them learn reading, reading to help them learn about writing; and writing to learn about using oral language.” When teachers want to improve writing skills as part of a literacy-based curriculum one must offer the children “frequent time to write, but also give them choice of topics” and this idea is from Fu and Townshend, 1999. In a literacy-based classroom you can use worksheets, but only use them for extra practice, but let the children be creative in their learning. “Teaching literacy skills should be taught using experiences, not just using drill and practice and whole group instruction.” (NAEYC, 1998). Language experiences will increase literacy.
When making and directing a literacy-based classroom within a multi-cultural social environment the teacher should use language experiences and cultural experiences as in this case the teacher can use the various aspects of the Language Arts curriculum. The teacher can gather various trade books, CD’s, DVD’s that have a variety of languages and cultures that can improve literacy skills. The students can improve their conversation skills very well in this classroom with the equipment that is available to them.
This is a classroom that is literally rich. It has a discussion center in the middle of the room, the desks are arranged in pods of four for better communication skills and they can see the others in the room. They can work on group activities better. The classroom also has many different stations for listening, speaking, reading, writing and thinking skills.
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