Reflection, Adaptation, and Modification

I. Ayo - 11th Grade World Geography

Ayo implemented the strategy with twenty-five 11th Grade students. The students did not know about the Anticipation Guide before Ayo explained it, and how it is used to them. He modeled the process of responding to concepts and marking columns on the Anticipation Guide worksheet before and after reading. Students were advised to take notes when reading the text, and to write reasons on the worksheet for change or no change of opinions after reading the text. Students were placed in groups of five before being given the worksheets. The worksheets contained five statements/concepts that were related to the reading selection. They were not taken directly from the text, but were inferential so that students would really have to read the text and think about it. The reading selection was titled Why Are Different Places Similar, in Robenstein, J. (2011). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Person Education, Inc. page 28. The reading uses elementary concepts of Geography to explain why geographical areas we classify as different regions or states or countries may be similar notwithstanding our classification. The students read the statements/concepts, responded “Agree” or “Disagree” to the statements/concepts in the Before Reading column based on their prior knowledge of the subject-matter. The responses were shared and discussed in the groups before the text was passed out to the students to read. After reading the text, the students responded “Agree” or “Disagree” to the same statements/concepts - based on new information and knowledge acquired from the text - in the After Reading column. The students wrote reason(s) for change or no change of response for each of the listed statements/concepts at the bottom of the worksheet.

After the worksheets had been completely filled, Ayo led the students in a whole class discussion. At the class discussion, the concepts/statements and the text were revisited. The students shared examples from the text where their responses before reading were either supported or challenged. From the discussion, Ayo could infer deep understanding of what the students read. This was also evidenced by the reasons given for changes or no changes in responses. Students’ feedback about the strategy was positive. They confirmed that the strategy activated their critical thinking about the subject-matter before reading the text, and when writing reasons for their responses. The students look forward to another opportunity to use the strategy.

II. Ann - Adult English Education as a Second Language

Ann's group consisted of 10 adult students in an intermediate-level ESL classroom. Ann first wrote the initials JFK on the white board and asked if any students knew who JFK was. Two students were familiar with the initials JFK and stated his last name, Kennedy. Ann then displayed the first part of a PowerPoint presentation about the Kennedy assassination (slides 1-4). After giving the students a brief introduction to JFK, Ann passed out an anticipation guide and asked students to agree or disagree with each of the eight statements in the middle column. Once all of the students completed answering the "Before Reading" agree or disagree statements, Ann handed out a short reading entitled JFK Assassination (Rong-Chang, Short Stories for ESL Readers) and asked the students to read it independently. When the students finished reading JFK Assassination, Ann asked the students to complete the "After Reading" column for each of the eight statements and find evidence from the text to support their claim. After all of the students completed the anticipation guide, Ann proceeded to use her PowerPoint presentation. The students took turns citing evidence from the reading (also displayed on the overhead monitor) to support their claims and discuss the reading. The evidence from the reading led to a lot of class discussion and open ended questions about the JFK assassination. Ann's JFK Assassination PowerPoint contained images and video clips pertaining to the Kennedy assassination to further demonstrate the impact of the events in Dallas on American society as a whole.

Ann found that this strategy engaged her students and would describe it as a very effective reading strategy. During the "Before Reading" anticipation guide activity, the students resisted "agreeing" or "disagreeing" and asked me instead to elaborate on each statement. I think that the "Before Reading" activity really peeked their curiosity as they carefully read through each statement and underlined new vocabulary words. It was also interesting that the students had to either "agree" or "disagree" based on little prior knowledge, thus forcing them to carefully read and analyze the wording in each statement. The "After Reading" responses of Ann's students indicated that the majority of the students fully comprehended the text and could cite specific wording/sentences from the text to support findings.

Ann discovered that some students did not understand two core concepts from the reading, including "lone-gunman theory" and the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald, because they answered the "After Reading" column incorrectly. However, Ann directed the class to discuss the information stemming from the anticipation guide, the JFK Assassination reading, and the JFK Assassination PowerPoint presentation. During that discussion any student confusion about the reading was addressed. For example, Student N. "Agreed" that Lee Harvey Oswald was serving a life-term in her "After Reading" column and using citations from the text, Student A. clarified for the class that Lee Harvey Oswald was assassinated by Jack Ruby. The post-anticipation guide conversation gave students an opportunity to ask questions and to share their own opinions about what may have happened. The post-anticipation guide discussion was student centered and the teacher observed the conversation.

Ann did not have to make any changes to the reading strategy during its implementation. Ann believes that the post anticipation guide conversation is crucial for greater student comprehension and analysis of the text. While Ann used images and video clips from the internet to enhance the post-reading strategy discussion, she does not believe that images or video clips are necessary in order to have a vibrant class discussion on a particular topic. Ann believes that this strategy can be very useful both in the fields of social studies and ESL as it forces students to deeply analyze the reading content in the evidence citations section and make conclusions based on their analyses in the "After Reading" response column. Finally, the post-anticipation guide class conversation gave the students the opportunity to ask questions of one another and share their differing opinions about the text.

III. RikkiLynn - 8th Grade Social Studies

RikkiLynn’s group consisted of 27 8th graders in a social studies classroom. Throughout the lesson, the students read two different documents pertaining to the Era of Reconstruction in the United States. These documents included “Hiram Revels” and “Letter from Freed Slave to Former Master.”

Prior to participating in this reading strategy, RikkiLynn’s students participated in a discussion-based lecture about the Reconstruction Era, which provided a foundation of knowledge about the condition of the United States after the Civil War. RikkiLynn’s students have a lot of experience with the reading and discussion of various primary and secondary documents, but they had never used anticipation guides before. In order to fully understand the concept, RikkiLynn began by asking the students if they knew what an anticipation guide was. Although they did not know exactly what it was, they were able to explain what they thought it might be based on their understanding of the word “anticipation.” RikkiLynn then discussed the role of anticipation guides and explained how they are used to check understanding of a particular topic before diving into a specific reading. She then explained how the students would revisit the same statements or questions again after reading a document to see if their understanding shifted at all.

In order to practice this strategy for the first time, RikkiLynn gave her students the anticipation guide worksheet that related to the “Hiram Revels,” the first African-American Congressman. The students were given time to mark whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of five statements. The students then discussed their answers as a class and read the “Hiram Revels” together. After, the students revisited their worksheet and completed the “After” column. RikkiLynn then instructed the students to compare their answers in the “Before” and “After” columns and reflect on how and why their understanding did or did not change. This was followed by a class discussion about the changes in understanding they experienced.

Once the students had a clear understanding of how anticipation guides should work, they participated in a second activity, but this time using a “Letter from Freed Slave to Former Master.” In order to give students more independence in the process, RikkiLynn gave the students a new anticipating guide worksheet with statement regarding the conditions for freed slaves in the Reconstruction Era. The students completed the “Before” column of the worksheet individually, but then spent five minutes discussing their responses in small groups of four. As a group, the students then read “Letter from a Freed Slave to Former Master.” After reading, students again completed the “After” column and compared their understanding of the topic before and after. In the same small groups, students discussed these changes in understanding and any other information they found important from the reading. To make sure all students understood the process, RikkiLynn then led a whole-class discussion about the things students discussed in their groups.

Overall, this strategy went really well. Since the students had experience with discussion, they knew how to work well with other members of the class. It was interesting, however, to see how much the completion of the anticipation guides, both before and after reading, forced students to examine their own understanding of the topic. They were forced to pay attention to the reading in order to support or negate their previous knowledge and made them examine their prior knowledge. They had to make connections between prior knowledge and new information from the reading, which was an extremely beneficial process for students to experience. It is a thinking process that pushes them to reexamine the notions they have and rethink their understanding of a topic.

RikkiLynn did not have to make any changes during implementation, but it would be interesting to ask for specific details for each question or make the after column more specific in terms of thinking about why their understanding may have changed. I think this is very useful with social studies topics that students may have preconceived notions about or topics that require deeper thinking and connections to prior knowledge.

IV. Overall Analysis

The implementation of the Anticipation Guide reading strategy in our three different classrooms was a success. The strategy was used in three varied classrooms - 11th Grade, 8th Grade, and English Language Learners'. In all the classrooms, the Before Learning strategy prepared the students for the readings and helped them with comprehension of the readings. The students activated their prior knowledge of the subject-matter of their respective readings, and were able to link new knowledge with prior knowledge. The group discussions offered good opportunity to analyze prior and new information, and to synthesize ideas with those of group members and the whole class. For Ayo and his students, there was no need for any modification, and the process worked from the beginning to the end. Ayo believes the maturity of 11th grade students helped with his implementation. On the other hand, Ann did not have a group discussion before the reading because of the limited knowledge of the students about the subject-matter of the text. The same with RikkiLynn's first implementation. Her group of younger students left out the group activity before reading the text the first time the strategy was implemented. This was to avoid roudy group discussions since the students were not used to the strategy. With this, the strategy was successfully implemented as was the case in Ann's class. When the strategy was implemented the second time by RikkLynn, the students were already familiar with the strategy. The group discussion before reading was therefore included in the second implementation.

In all the classrooms, it was important that appropriate texts of students' independent reading levels were used. The worksheets' responses, reasons, evidences and the whole class discussions helped Ayo, RikkLynnn and Ann to assess the success of the strategy in students' prediction of the texts, comprehension of the texts, and ability to analyze and synthesize information from the texts. The students confessed to their curiousity about the texts being aroused by the strategy and they all looked forward to using the strategy in future. The permanent teacher in the class Ayo used as a substitute teacher has invited Ayo to come and repeat the strategy when he is in class so that he (the permanent teacher) can understand the strategy. His students told him about the strategy and how helpful it was, when the teacher returned from a day away from class.

The same worksheet was adapted to the individual classroom's needs with Ayo's class writing reasons for responses, Ann's class writing evidences for responses, while RikkiLynn's students verbalized reasons and evidences for their responses. To avoid monotony, next time each of us is to repeat the strategy in the same class, the worksheet may be modified. Also, video clips can be used in classes where they have not been used, and the group discussions can be in groups of two. With the matured students, one or two of them can be asked to moderate the whole class discussion while the teacher plays a passive role. These future changes are intended to ensure the students' interest in Anticipation Guide strategy is kept alife.