Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

Lauren Scott Context Varied is a common theme that has stood out to me since I have been student teaching

g at Russell Byers Charter School (RBCS). Before school even began, I discovered that the students come from all areas of the city, bringing with them variations of school experiences, home life, and interests ranging from football to chess to angry birds. Throughout the start of the year, RBCS exposed the students to an even greater array of activities including squash, canoeing, and ballroom dance. Variation continued to stand out to me in August when I realized I was not the only individual new to the RBCS fifth grade. In fact, nearly half of our fifth graders are brand new to the school due to a large exodus of 4th grade students who were placed in Philadelphia magnet schools at the end of last year. I began to notice the significant variation this seemed to cause in terms of the degree to which students were accustomed to the RBCS way of doing things as well as variations in friendships and general socialization. Since Russell Byers is a charter school that pulls from all sections of the city, the students socialize with one another (for the most part) only while at school. Therefore, the difference exists as the returning RBCS students have been going to school with one another for the past five years, while the new students are just getting to know one another for the first time this year. In addition to the social differences, there is also significant variation in students levels of academic achievement and need. We have some students reading at an 8th grade level while others are struggling to read at a 2nd grade level. This has caused a tracking of students for both math and reading blocks, as a means of differentiating instruction. My classroom mentor teachers the higher level math block while teaching the lower level guided reading block. Russell Byers feel strongly about providing as much intervention as possible, which allows for several students to receive guided reading from one of the reading specialists, as well as math intervention in place of social studies, which has created a varied social studies experience for students as well. In addition, returning RBCS students

have undergone social studies learning expeditions, such as the third grade focus on The American Revolution, and have therefore expressed more readiness and more eagerness to participate in our social studies lessons. Our social studies lessons have seemed somewhat varied as well due to the fact that we are trying to cover the scope and sequence established by the school while also covering an unrelated yearlong learning expedition. The schools scope and sequence requires coverage of the first U.S. colonies, The American Revolution, westward expansion, and The Civil War. While the 1700s through the 1800s is covered by this scope and sequence, we are also attempting to get through a learning expedition focused on The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. This sequential gap has the potential to cause confusion if not addressed. My proposed unit focuses on young leadership, which I plan to center my literacy and social studies curriculum around. I think it is important to not only learn about the major figure heads of history, such as Martin Luther King, but also to gain an understanding of the, every day people and events that shaped our nations history. Therefore, there will be a strong focus on the role young people played during the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s during our expeditionary learning, literacy, and writing blocks. In addition, we will continue the students writing practice of five paragraph essays, a major focus of RBCS fifth grade scope and sequence. In order to do this, we will also research current events to understand the ways in which young people can be advocates in todays society so as to end the unit with a five paragraph essay advocating for change in an area of student interest.