My Learners and Their Needs:
This deficiency in early literacy skills was not only prevalent in my classroom, but was evidenced in a Northern California school district’s DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessment data for incoming Kindergartners, in which three quarters of their Kindergarten students in 2017 entered behind before their first day even began. California’s shortcomings in overall English Language Arts student performance as measured by CAASPP is a direct reflection of the phonemic deficiency present in our primary classrooms. In 2017, only 48.56% of tested students met or exceeded the ELA/Literacy standards. The need I set out to fulfill with the creation of ABC ME was to ensure that gaps in reading readiness skills become closed, and to make sure that students leave a year prepared rather than behind. This need created an additional audience for my work, an audience composed of primary educators in search of a way to improve the early literacy skills of the specific learners in their classrooms.
The SITE Model:
Department of Education’s 2017 CAASPP Test Results news release suggests that early literacy skills are an area in California’s educational system that is lacking and in need of improvement. The school district of this study has adopted the use of the DIBELS Next assessment to measure the acquisition of early literacy skills in elementary students. The district yielded the following results for the beginning Letter Naming Fluency section as measured by the 2017-2018 DIBELS Next assessment: 63% of Kindergarten students were likely to need intensive support, 12% were likely to need strategic support, and 25% were likely to need core support. In addition, 45% of Kindergarten students were likely to need intensive support as measured by the beginning period’s First Sound Fluency section of the 2017-2018 DIBELS Next assessment, 22% were likely to need strategic support, and 33% were likely to need core support. This district-specific data, suggested that over half of the incoming Kindergarten population was in need of intensive support to meet the core benchmark standard in Letter Naming Fluency, and nearly half were in need of intensive support to meet the core standard in First Sound Fluency in the 2017-2018 school year. This need for intensive measures among incoming Kindergartners has created a significantly wide gap among students’ readiness to read in regards to their acquisition of early literacy skills, such as letter identification, letter-sound relationships, sight word identification, phoneme segmentation, reading consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, and overall phonemic awareness. Isolated phonics instruction as taught solely according to the appointed district curriculum does not meet the needs of every learner and has not closed the gap in reading readiness that is so prevalent in the classroom.
Napa Valley Unified School District will have been acquainted with the DIBELS assessment, and the corresponding skills/terminologies, such as, Letter Naming Fluency (LNF), First Sound Fluency (FSF), Phonemic Segmentation Fluency (PSF), and Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF-CCS and NWF-WWR), but those originating from other districts will not have such a familiarity with DIBELS, its’ assessments, and nor will they therefore have the ability to view the results in a conclusive and inferential manner. Some of my target audience will obtain knowledge of and experience with the technological tools present in this product (PowerPoint, YouTube, iTunes, laptops, and projectors) while others will have limited to no experience with these technological resources. NVUSD teachers have access to devices, such as laptops, and projectors, but it cannot be assumed that every primary teacher outside of the district also has such access. As indicated by California’s overall performance on the English Language Arts/Literacy Standards, in which less than half (48.56%) of all tested students in 2017 (12.09% of English Learners, 35.52% of economically disadvantaged students, and 13.86% of students with disabilities) met or exceeded these standards, California in general is in need of improvement in ELA/Literacy content areas. At the very foundation of these literacy-based curricular areas is phonemic awareness, and the acquisition of early literacy skills. Students must obtain the skills necessary to read before they are able to read fluently and they must be able to read fluently before they are able to read to comprehend. Therefore, all primary teachers, especially those in California, share a common need, and that is to teach students early literacy skills in a way that they can employ them outside of the phonics instruction.
Google Slides may be attained by some of the educators in the district, but it is not a guarantee. As far as I am aware, there have been no formal and required trainings on the use of one of these programs for teachers in the district and therefore those who do use it, employ it in accordance to knowledge acquired through their own experience and/or professional development or because of professional development that has taken place at their individual sites. If any technological training is done, it is typically through personal or site-oriented professional development. Educators in other districts may or may not have access or knowledge to any of the previously discussed technological resources in response to what their individual districts provide them with, as well as, the professional development they have had the opportunity to participate in.
specific phonemic assessment and the target goals their district has for their grade level on that assessment. Those primary teachers in the NVUSD would refer to the goals set by DIBELS, which can be found by grade-level on the DIBELS website. In order to determine the specific sight words for your grade-level, teachers must find and refer to the requirements set forth by their district, which can typically be found in the English Language Arts program adopted by their district, and/or is located on the district website. In addition, appropriate grade-level sight word lists can be retrieved through an online search. Writing standards for their individual grade-levels must also be referred to, and can be found in their Common Core standards, as well as, in their district’s writing assessment rubrics. Along with the district adopted ELA curriculum, letter cards can typically be found, and therefore an associative animal or other image for each letter can be identified. Furthermore, educators also need to the ability to create, and edit a slides program, and can find online tutorials on how to do so (PowerPoint: "Beginners Guide to PowerPoint - 2017 Tutorial" and Google Slides: "How To: Quick Tutorial for New Google Slides Presentation 2018"). Additionally, online tutorials can also be found on how to embed YouTube videos both on Google Slides and PowerPoint presentations. Educators will also need to become accustomed to how each of the slides/phonemic skills are implemented in the lesson, which can be found on the Learn More page, as well as, knowledge of teaching best practices that work for their individual teaching styles so as to be able to effectively adapt its' use in their own classrooms.
Capstone Video Presentation:
The design of my prototype revolved around the knowledge of my audience. My research, creation, implementation, and reflection in response to my driving question revolved solely around the audience composed of the particular student population within my classroom. Through the process of creating my prototype flowchart, I had to delve further into the audience I now was creating in response to, and that was my fellow educators. The prior knowledge and gaps/motivations of today's educators became my new starting point. I had to consistently remind myself that my audience is that of an educator, and that therefore they are an audience themselves only because of the audience they are in turn helping to bridge gaps among. Educators will be approaching my prototype with a lens constructed in direct response to their particular student body audience that they are motivated to influence and therefore the prototype, and this website were created in direct reflection of this.