Training for All Teachers

Fall 2002 E27.2275 Syllabus


E 27.2275 Language and Literacy Acquisition in Middle School
© Deanna Moinester-Albert, PhD

Fall 2002 - Tuesdays, 4:00-5:30 pm at District 6. School site: IS 52 (additional hours arranged for group and individual research through Title III project coordinator)

Deanna Moinester-Albert, PhD

Dept of Teaching and Learning, NYU

Course Overview: This course builds on "Teaching Second Languages across the Content Areas" given in Spring 2002. This course provides exploration and reflection on the process involved in language and literacy development during grades 4-8. We will examine instructional philosophies and perspectives involved in reading, writing, listening, and speaking across the curriculum to better understand a "balanced literacy approach to teaching and learning." We will develop insights into effective teaching strategies using observation and evaluation of our students as a guide to continually inform our instruction.

To be effective content area teachers, we need to understand the strategies that proficient readers and writers use to understand and relate to text. Thus, we need to immerse ourselves in the process of being a reader, writer, and learner. This course is therefore designed as a reading/writing workshop: class experiences will include participating in the writing process, conferencing with partners and in groups, and sharing of our ongoing responses to professional readings and children's literature (fiction and non-fiction).

Throughout these collaborations, we will gain insights and confidence in teaching and learning as a process of continual reflection. We will discuss what to look for when observing students' learning over time, and how to facilitate learning using mini-lessons, small group instruction, and evaluation. Additionally, we will explore the concept of "learning how to learn" students from diverse cultures to achieve "a balanced literacy approach to teaching and learning." (Sept 10-Dec 10*)

In this course, you will learn to:

· Understand aspects of literacy as a tool for learning across the curriculum,

including cultural, critical, and balanced literacy to meet the needs of English

language learners.

· Understand approaches to teaching reading and writing as a process of

constructing meaning across a variety of genres.

· Develop insights into how reading and writing workshops are conducted, and

better understand yourself as an active reader and writer.

· Explore cognitive strategies to facilitate self-monitoring and independence.

· Foster students' construction of meaning though the use of literature circles

based on a thematic approach, and match appropriate texts to their needs and


Required Texts/ Readings:
Atwell, Nancie. (1998). In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing,

Reading, and Learning. 2nd Edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann/Boynton/


Harvy, Stephanie and Gouvdis, Anne. (2000). Strategies that Work:

Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding. York, Maine:


 Readings from the Supplementary Packet of Professional Journal Articles

Choose One of these three paperback trade books for literature circle groups:

1. Lord, Bette Bao. (1984). In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. NY: Harper Tropy.

2. B. Lowry, Lois. (1989). Number the Stars. Bantam Doubleday Dell. (reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin as a Yearling Newberry paperback).

3. Cisneros, Sandra. (1984). The House on Mango Street. Vintage Contemporary Edition (1991) Reprinted: Division of Random House.

Optional Readings:

Manning, Manning, and Long. (1994). Theme Immersion: Inquiry-Based Curriculum in Elementary and Middle Schools. York, Maine: Stenhouse.

Course Requirements:

Maintenance of a Reading Response Log related to Selected Weekly Readings are to be kept in a separate folder or loose-leaf section, and brought to class each session. Please try to keep these on disc on your computer so it will be readily accessible. Class discussion will be based on your questions, thoughts, ideas, and reactions to the readings. In a One-Page Reflection, explore issues and questions related to your professional development and knowledge. Your responses, together with the readings, should help to establish a theoretical and philosophical foundation shaping your instructional practices. Be as reflective as possible, using either Atwell's response format of ("what do you notice, question, feel, relate to?) or Harvey and Gouvdis' text-self, text-text, text-world format. I will periodically review and respond to your response log. Additionally, you will select responses that are most meaningful for you for inclusion in your literacy professional file. We will begin each class session by sharing our responses in conferences with a partner or in small groups. (15% of grade)

Attendance and Punctuality: Attending class on time is expected at all class sessions. If, for any reason, you are unable to attend, you are expected to contact me prior to class by phone or e-mail. If you must miss a class, you are responsible for handing in all assignments on time and for obtaining any work you missed from a fellow classmate so you are prepared for the next session. Missing more than two class sessions will be considered excessive and will affect your grade. (10% of grade)

Participation: Collaborative learning is an integral part of the learning in a balanced literacy classroom, therefore, your active participation is encouraged and vital to professional growth. You are expected to come to class well prepared to discuss the readings with either a discussion group or a partner using your response log as a guide. (10% of grade)

Literacy Papers and Projects: Please note that your writing should effectively and clearly communicate your ideas. Please use 12-point font on all your papers. Additionally, we will develop a rubric in class to guide you in assessing the quality of both your own and your students' writing.

Late work is not accepted in this class. If you must miss a class, please either give your assignment to a fellow classmate to hand in or mail it to me so it is postmarked by the due date.

A. Small Group Mini-Lessons based on a Comprehension Strategy related to a piece of literature developed in class in "Guided, Shared, or Interactive Reading." Plan, implement, and evaluate one mini-lesson which you will present to your fellow classmates, and one mini-lesson targeted to a small group in your class. You will hand in a typed two or three-page discussion of the needs and purpose for your lesson, implementation, observations, and ongoing assessment. Since all effective teaching is based on our understanding of both our students and ourselves, please reflect on what you thought was positive for the students and you, how you would use your observations to inform future instruction, and what you would do differently the next time based on this teaching and learning experience.

Class presentations for Mini Lesson #1 are Due Oct 15 and 22.
Mini lesson #2 Due Nov. 12 (20% of grade)

B. Response to Literature: Trade Book Section - Use the text-self, text-text, text-to-world format developed in Harvey and Gouvdis' book. Please come to our Literature Response Session with a two-page typed response along with an attached graphic organizer demonstrating an overview of your response to either "In the Year of the Boar…", "Number the Stars", or "The House on Mango Street." Include in your response a section exploring how you would pair this trade book with non-fiction trade books in developing a non-fiction theme inquiry. Your response will facilitate our in-class literature. Due Oct. 29 (15% of grade)

C. Professional Literacy File - This is a portfolio of your learning this semester, and is ongoing throughout the course. Make conscious choices demonstrating "snapshots" from your writings this semester which are representative of who you are as a reader/writer and as a teacher and learner.

An integral part of this portfolio is a reflective narrative piece describing why your selections were made, reflecting on the teaching philosophies and practices for which you have developed insights and understandings.

Please organize the contents using the following categories in a 1" soft plastic or fiber three-ring binder: 1) selective highlights of your weekly reading response log and reflections, 2) literacy workshop papers and materials-teaching plans, mini-lessons developed, literature circle response, 3) a two to three-page reflective narrative about your progress as a teacher and learner throughout this course and rationale for selected materials in the professional literacy file.

Due: Dec 3. (10% of grade)

Please number all pages and include a table of contents. Please do not use plastic sleeves.
Provide a 1st-class stamped self-addressed envelope (weigh it!) large enough to hold your literacy portfolio so that I may mail it back to you.

Oral Presentations of highlights of your professional file are 5 minutes each on Dec 3.

D. Written Action Research Project due: Dec 10 to Dian Loyet, Title III Project Coordinator. (20% of grade)

Oral presentations of your research project will take place on the Sat. Jan 11 conference at NYU. Additional information from Diane Loyet to follow.

Course Grades will be based on the combination of your participation/work in class, and completion of all course requirements: response journals/log, all literacy papers and projects including response to children's trade-book, mini lesson and reflections, semester's professional literacy file, and completion of your action research project.

E27/2275 Language and Literacy Acquisition

Middle School
Readings - Weekly Topics
© Deanna Moinester-Albert, PhD

Deanna Moinester-Albert, PhD

Dept. of Teaching and Learning, NYU

Fall, 2002

Tuesdays, IS 52M, District 6

Session 1: Sept 10 Overview of Course and Requirements

Getting Acquainted Using and Auto-Bio Poem

Discussion of "What do children need in order to learn?"

According to your current belief, What is "Reading?"

Develop concept of Multiple Literacy (Cultural, Critical, Balanced) What does "Balanced Literacy Mean?"

Develop Rubric to Assess Written Response

Session 2: Sept 17 Reflective Learning in Literature Environments

Atwell, Chapters 1 and 2

Harvey and Gouvdis, Chapter I (Strategic Thinking) Part I of corresponding videotape #1 (in class)

Supplementary Packet: Models of Learning; Discussion of journal article: "Voices of Teenage Diasporas"

Action Research text with Diane Loyet. Pp. 98-101

Session 3: Sept 24 Language Learning/ Approaches to Teaching Reading

Harvey and Gouvdis, Chapter 2

Supplementary Packet- Barrentine's "Interactive Read-Alouds", and Fountas and Su Pinnell's section on "Guided Reading", including "The Essential Elements"

Ivy and Broaddus' "Tailoring the fit: Reading instruction and middle school readers"

Session 4: Oct 1 Constructing Meaning in Reading/Writing Workshop:

Making Connections and Modeling Strategies

Atwell Chapters 4 and 5

Develop lists of your Reading and Writing Territories

Harvey and Gouvdis, Chapter 3: Chapter 6, pp. 67-76

Corresponding videotape #1- Parts 2 and 3 (in class)

Supplementary Packet- Carr and Ogle, (1987) "KWL Plus"

and Bryan (1998) "KWWL: Questioning the Known"

Action Research Text, Chapter 8, with Dianne Loyet


Session 5: Oct 8 Towards a Balanced Curriculum: Exploration of Issues

Harvey and Gouvdis, Chapter 4

Atwell, Chapter 6: What is a "Mini-Lesson?" pp. 148-162; Chapter 3, p. 71-85 (optional)

Supplementary Packet: Select one of the first two articles:

1. Heald-Taylor (1998). "Three Paradigms of Spelling

2. Rupley, Logan, and Nichols (1999). "Vocabulary Instruction in Balanced Reading".

All to read:

3. Overview of Fountas and Su Pinnell's (2000) "Mini-Lesson"
From "School Talk" (2000): "Rethinking a Balanced Curriculum"

Session 6: October 15 Planning for Instruction in Reading, Using Resources, 
and Assessing Comprehension

In-class presentations Harvey and Gouvdis, Chapter 12 and Appendix F of mini-lesson #1

Begin Atwell review Chapter 6

Supplementary Packet- Baker and Tracy. (2002) "Strategic Planning: recognizing patterns for reading instruction." From Fountas and Su Pinnell "Knowing Readers - A foundation for Selecting and Introducing Texts" and "Factors related to Text Difficulty."(one page each) Also, overview of Keene's MPI.

Session 7: October 22 Developing Schema for Effective Questioning and
Visualizing Strategies in the Reading/ Writing Workshop

In class presentations of mini-lesson #1 end Harvey and Gouvdis, Chapters 7 and 8

Corresponding Video #2 will be used as Model (in class)

Be prepared to relate to trade books you are reading