Final Guide – Let’s Explore My Neighborhood

Describe in what way your Final Project is useful or original for your students, or might represent an innovation.   In cognitive psychology, executive cognitive functions integrate working memory and inhibitory control with the goal of guiding the learner towards the higher executive functions of reasoning, planning, and problem solving (Diamond, 2016). Students already have in their schema mental maps of places in their neighborhood. These become the foundation of building English vocabulary. However, it is not enough to know the English words. Students must use the new vocabulary to plan, reason, and problem solve, thus developing their working memory into higher executive functions.  

Source: Diamond, A. (2016). Why improving and assessing executive functions early in life is critical. In J. A. Griffin, P. McCardle, & L. S. Freund (Eds.), Executive function in preschool-age children: Integrating measurement, neurodevelopment, and translational research (p. 11–43). American Psychological Association.    

Describe how your Final Project contains teaching materials and practices that are effective to produce learning and how they might be adaptable to other contexts, such as different age levels or subject areas.

Let’s Explore My Neighborhoodis a unit developed with an eye towards deeper cognitive process as Benjamin Bloom described with his Taxonomy. The knowledge of English words for places in the neighborhood is at the lowest level of cognition.

The teaching materials – Block paper and rulers so students can construct a map of their neighbor / town – deepen cognition towards the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Comprehension, Application and Analysis. Students will build a 3-D map of their neighborhood, identifying buildings and streets. They will give directions with toy vehicles of different types (car, truck, fire engine, ambulance, etc.) of how to go from one place to another on the map. These skills are higher executive functions that deepen cognition.  

Starting with basic factual knowledge, the categories progress through comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

• Knowledge – Remembering or recalling information.

• Comprehension – The ability to obtain meaning from information.

• Application – The ability to use information.

• Analysis – The ability to break information into parts to understand it better.

• Synthesis – The ability to put materials together to create something new.

• Evaluation – The ability to check, judge, and critique materials.

Outline a topic related lesson with an effective integration of digital tools. Your FP should respond to these questions: 

–  What topic are you teaching?  Places in the neighborhood; Modes of transportation; Numbers from one to 20; Telling directions between two places with a physical map

–  What are your objectives?

  1. Students will apply their knowledge of places in the neighborhood through the building of a 3-dementional map in a group, identifying at least 10 buildings.
  2. Students will successfully navigate their modes of transportation throught the streets of their maps, saying, for example, “I take the ambulance to the hospital” and demostrating their understanding with the map.
  3. Students will label their streets with numbers from one to 20, learning the ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) as they already know the cardinal numbers. They will use ordinal numbers in their description of map locations. For example: “The bakery is on the corner of Third Street and North Avenue”
  4. Students will tell directions between two places with a physical map using “right, left, straight ahead, turn, north, south, east, and west.”

– What materials are you going to use?

  1. Block paper, scissors, tape, markers and rulers so students can construct a 3-dementional map of their neighbor / town.
  2. Little toy vehicles (e.g. fire engine, truck, car, train, etc.) for students to use to navigate their map.
  3. Youtube videos:
    1. Sesame Street – “Places in Our Neighborhood”
    1. Means of transport: The Song – English Educational Videos | Little Smart Planet
    1. Places in My Neighborhood 1st Grade
      1. During the first 1:34 of the video, the presenter prepares teachers to teach context clues and pre-reading activities such as genre study
      1. At the 1:34 mark, the narration of the book starts.
  4. Book- Places in a city – Little Smart Planet

– What is the timing for your lesson?

5 class periods

–  What is the teacher’s role?

The teacher’s role is the academic leader of the classroom.

The 5 E’s is an instructional model, called the Learning Cycle, based on the constructive pathway to learning, which says that learners build or construct new ideas on top of their old ideas.  The 5 E’s can be used with students of all ages, including adults.  Each of the 5 E’s describes a phase of learning, and each phase begins with the letter “E”: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.  The 5 E’s allows students and teachers to experience common activities, to use and build on prior knowledge and experience, to construct meaning, and to continually assess their understanding of a concept.

Engage: This phase of the 5 E’s starts the process. An “engage” activity should do the following:

  1. Make connections between past and present learning experiences
  2. Anticipate activities and focus students’ thinking on the learning outcomes of current activities. Students should become mentally engaged in the concept, process, or skill to be learned.

Explore: This phase of the 5 E’s provides students with a common base of experiences. They identify and develop concepts, processes, and skills. During this phase, students actively explore their environment or manipulate materials.

Explain: This phase of the 5 E’s helps students explain the concepts they have been exploring. They have opportunities to verbalize their conceptual understanding or to demonstrate new skills or behaviors. This phase also provides opportunities for teachers to introduce formal terms, definitions, and explanations for concepts, processes, skills, or behaviors.

Elaborate: This phase of the 5 E’s extends students’ conceptual understanding and allows them to practice skills and behaviors. Through new experiences, the learners develop deeper and broader understanding of major concepts, obtain more information about areas of interest, and refine their skills.

Evaluate: This phase of the 5 E’s encourages learners to assess their understanding and abilities and lets teachers evaluate students’ understanding of key concepts and skill development.

–  What is your role as a LA?

Language Assistants always are supportive and complementary role in the classroom. In this lesson, the language assistant will assist in the “explain” and the “elaborate” phases of the learning cycle.

–  How are you and the teacher working to complement each other?

The teacher may modify its implementation of the Learning Cycle. The Language Assistant may clarify the lesson’s intent or activities, only if asked by the teacher. Ideally, there will be time in advance to present the lesson to the teacher. Then, the Language Assistant can better understand how the teacher interprets the lesson for implementation. Later, the Language Assistant may help with the organization of materials, small group assistance, and individual mentoring.

–  What activities are the students going to do?

I. Preparing the Class- The Engage Phase of the Learning Cycle

  1. Choose places of the neighborhood the children know or pre-teach the places for the song – bakery, fire station, store, police station, school etc.
  2. Prepare photos of each place in neighborhood for all children in the class. These photos will have written the vocabulary in English.
  3. Prepare slips of paper to match photos and their written vocabulary.

II. Introduction to the Lesson:

  1. Create a classroom mural titled “What We Know About Places in Our Neighborhood.”
  2. Display a model map to generate interest in the new classroom theme (might include vehicles, buildings, street signs, etc.).
  3. Distribute the pictures of each places of the city to all children in the class. Check that they know the English word for their places.
  4. Engage the students’ cognition about their favorite place in the city.
  5. Have the student listen to the recording of “Sesame Street – “Places in Our Neighborhood”.
  6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 with the video “Means of transport: The Song.”

III. Step-by-step Procedures for Teaching the Objectives:

  1. Listen to the video of the book; ” Places in My Neighborhood 1st Grade.”
  2. Do a Cloze reading procedure with the students as a writing assignment.
  3. Form groups of four students. Display a Google Map of Colmenar Viejo with the “Street View.” Students can discover how maps represent street views.
  4. Teach the students the ordinal numbers (e.g. first, second, etc. to 20th).
  5. Distribute the block paper and the supplies to construct a 3-dementional map. This is the “Explore” Phase of the Learning Cycle.
  6. Share with students the expectations of how many buildings must be built, how to name the streets, and how to design the map.
  7. Teach the students the vocabulary for giving directions (turn, left, right, straight ahead, etc.) through the use of Total Physical Response (TPR). Students will act out the verbal directions of the teacher without responding orally.
  8. Have students practice giving directions from one place on the map to another place demonstrating their understanding with different types of vehicles.

–  How will you be evaluating the activities

IV. Closure and Review of the Lesson:

  1. The students will be assessed on the accuracy of their maps according to the expectations outlined in III. 6.
  2. At the end of the third day, students will complete an alternative assessment, called The Muddiest Point.  Students will be asked to write which concepts of the lesson are the most confusing or unclear. The teacher will read the responses anonymously aloud to the class. The teacher will clarify the misunderstandings. This corresponds to the “Explanation” and “Elaboration” phases of the Learning Cycle.
  3. Children will give a series of directions in English to other students in their group to go with a specific vehicle from one place on the map to another place. For example, “With the ambulance, go from the fire station to the hospital.” The student receiving the directions will have to narrate their progress as they go from one place to another. For example, “I start at the fire station on Fifth Street. I turn left and go for three blocks. Then, I right on Eighth Street to the hospital.”
  4. A more advanced assessment- One student gives the set of directions that the other student has to follow without telling them of the final destination to see if the student can arrive at the correct place in the neighborhood.

– How will the students know they have achieved the learning objectives?

The students will give a series of directions. They will follow correctly someone else’s directions with a car on a 3-dimentional map that the group created. The expectation is that they will achieve the objectives at the 80% level.

–  How will you be responding to diverse learning styles and levels of achievement among your students?

There are three different levels of proficiencies assessed. First is the construction of the map. Are the words spelled correctly? Did the group follow the expectations given at the outset of the project? Second, is the student able to follow a set of directions to arrive at a specific location? This is a listening comprehension assessment. Third, is the student able to direct someone with a set of directions in English on a map? This is an oral comprehension assessment.

Levels of achievement are the outcomes as measured against the initial objectives of the lesson. For this, a Bloom’s Taxonomy chart with verbs and activities will guide the teacher in determining the level of achievement along the Taxonomy’s continuum.   

Select the digital tools and resources you will use to elaborate your Final Project:

  • Presentations and slideshows can be used to enliven almost any content: to explain the rules of a game or a sport, to illustrate a real or imaginary trip, to create a display, or to introduce a workshop.
  • Multimedia content can be used to create a virtual museum, illustrate and tell stories and tales, create flashcards and posters, set up a photography workshop, examine famous works of art, or generate your own art. 

   – Uses of social networking to share experiences and reinforce relationships and collaborations. It is very important to make an adequate and especially a safe use of these resources when working with schoolchildren, especially when they are minors. Students will work in groups of four. Social learning activities, such as large group, choral repetition, and small group interaction are more appropriate. They are incorporated into this lesson.

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