The broad content knowledge that I am going to be focusing on is teaching first graders how to read. Specifically, I will be focusing on the students’ understanding of the silent e and how the silent e impacts the sounds of the words they read.
Prior to this lesson, the students will have practice in reading and phonological awareness; however, the extent of their word knowledge is typically with consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as hat. Therefore, when the silent e is added to the end of the word, the students typically pronounce the word as if it were a consonant-vowel-consonant word. For example, they would pronounce hate as hat. The silent e lesson will serve as their first real instructional experience for how to pronounce words with the silent e.
This lesson will be taught through direct instruction and collaborative center activities. The students will have the opportunity to work together as a whole class, to work in small collaborative groups, to work with partners and to work independently. There are a few students with IEPS and they will have the opportunity to work with the classroom aide. These students will still do all of the same activities. The students will get to experience several different technologies to emphasize the silent e content area, and offer a different pedagogical approach to learning this content area.
- Discussion of Tele
The introduction of the silent e topic is very complex for children. It is hard to understand why a vowel would sound one way at one time (e.g., the short a sound in hat) and why it would completely change to another sound with the addition of another vowel (e.g., the long a sound in hate). Due to these complexities, it is very important that I utilize technology in my lesson. According to the Mishra and Koehler article, “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge”, “technology knowledge is knowledge about standard technologies, such as books, chalk and blackboard, and more advanced technologies, such as the internet and digital video”. In addition, technology knowledge, “[involves] the skills required to operate particular technologies”.
While introducing the silent e topic, I plan to use several technologies. I believe the students will be able to understand the difficult concept of the silent e easier if they are able to utilize different technologies. I plan to use YouTube videos, Smartboard activities, and computer games on Starfall and BrainPop Jr. All of the students and myself are familiar with these technologies, which means that using them in the context of the lesson will help us and not be a hindrance.
Technological Content Knowledge
Technological content knowledge is important because according to “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge”, “although technology constrains the kinds of representations possible, newer technologies often afford newer and more varied representations and greater flexibility in navigating across these representations”. With respect to the silent e lesson, using technologies will greatly enhance the lesson. I plan to begin the lesson by playing two different videos on the silent e. These videos will convey knowledge to the students about the silent e in ways that would not be possible without technology. For example, in one video, the letters talk to each other and in the other video, the letters dance around the screen as a silent e song plays.
In addition to the videos, I will use the Smartboard and games on Starfall and BrainPop Jr., educational game sites, to convey knowledge to my students about the silent e. The Smartboard is effective because the students will be able to visually see the information about the silent e and they will also be able to interact with the board. The games will allow the students to use a different technology, the Chomebook, to continue practicing concepts about the silent e.
Pedagogical Techniques Using Technology
According to “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge”, “technological pedagogical knowledge is knowledge of the existence, components, and capabilities of various technologies as they are used in teaching and learning settings, and conversely, knowing how teaching might change as a result of using particular technologies”. While teaching the lesson on the silent e, I plan to utilize different technologies that will enhance teaching. For example, the use of YouTube videos will enhance the teaching since the students will hear about the silent e in an interactive and digital format. I also plan to utilize the Smartboard, which will help convey the meaning of the silent e visually and interactively, since the students will be able to come up to the Smartboard and will be able to write on it. In addition, I also plan to use Chromebooks so the students are able to play games while learning about the silent e. These technologies will enhance my teaching style, so I am not strictly giving direct instruction on the silent e. Instead, the students will be interacting with the concept, in ways that would not be possible without the use of technology.
Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge
According to “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge”, their model of “technology integration in teaching and learning argues that developing good content requires a thoughtful interweaving of all three key sources of knowledge: technology, pedagogy, and content”. Through technology and teaching, the cognition is distributed between the teacher, the students and the technology.
As stated above, I plan to build interest, by using the two different YouTube videos. The YouTube videos are fun and energetic and will increase student interest before the lesson begins. The content in the videos is specific to the silent e lesson. These videos lessen the direct instruction of the teacher so I can have more time helping students with analysis; the videos also allow the students to learn about the silent e in a different context.
When learning about the silent e, it is very important that the students develop decoding skills. Decoding skills are what will help students learn the connections between letter patterns and the sounds they represent (e.g., when there is an e at the end of the word, the other vowel will most likely say its name, or have the long vowel sound). To develop these skills, I plan to utilize one of the pre-reading activities suggested on the Activity Type website, which is to use an interactive whiteboard.
I plan to use the Smartboard to discuss the silent e topic. Students will be able to come up to the Smartboard and write the e and visually see how a word changes with the silent e. The use of the Smartboard will distribute the cognition from the teacher, onto the Smartboard and onto the students. The students will visually be able to see what the teacher wants to teach on the Smartboard and they will also be able to come to the Smartbaord and interact with the technology.
The students will also develop their decoding skills using Chromebooks to play games on Starfall and BrainPop Jr. about the silent e. Through this game, the students will get a different perspective about the silent e; knowledge will transfer from the game onto the students.
The technologies are considered to be effects of technology. The purpose of effects of technology, according to Salmon and Perkins, is that the learner will use the technology as a scaffold, with the goal that once the technology fades away, they will still understand the content. After viewing the YouTube videos, using the Smartboard and playing educational games on the Chromebooks, the goal is that the students will understand how the silent e works. The use of the three technologies scaffolds the student to reach the understanding of the silent e. Once the technologies are gone, the goal is that the students will be able to successfully read silent e words.
In addition, some of Martin’s concepts from, “Connection, Translation, Off-Loading, and Monitoring: A Framework for Characterizing the Pedagogical Functions of Educational Technologies” are also used through the silent e lesson. The YouTube videos about the silent e are meant to connect the students to the lesson. Without these videos, the students might not be as enthusiastic about the topic. The use of the computer games on the Chromebook serves as a type of off-loading. The games serve as a way for the students to continue to learn about the silent e topic, and allow the teacher to focus on questions the students may have about the topic, rather than spending all the time on direct instruction.
Through the silent e lesson, there are several of Gee’s principles present within the lesson. Gee’s principle of “pleasantly frustrating” is present through the topic. The silent e rule does not seem logical to a beginning reader, which makes it frustrating, however, through the magic e videos, and the other classroom activities, the silent e lesson goes from being strictly frustrating to pleasantly frustrating.
In addition, the “cycle of expertise” is also present through the silent e lesson. This principle states that students will do something until it becomes automatic and then they will get a new challenge and work on that area until the students are able to master the content. Prior to the silent e lesson, the students have become experts on consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as bat. Since they have become experts on this topic, the introduction of the silent e is a new challenge to be presented in the cycle of expertise.
Another principle evident in the silent e lesson is the “fish tank” principle. This principle states that it is more effective to isolate a few factors and then introduce a few other factors, rather than introducing everything about the topic at once. This relates to the silent e lesson because we would not hand a student Romeo and Juliet and expect them to read it as their first text, instead, it is more effective to isolate certain aspects of the reading process, such as the silent e, and not introduce these elements all at once.
- Web and/or Digital Resources
“Nessy Reading Strategy: Magic E”
The first video is a digital story, “Nessy Reading Strategy: Magic E”, and is about how consonants make the vowel next to them weak. The video shows the word “hat” on the screen and says that the “t” takes all of the strength away from the “a” making it have a “weak” sound, or the short “a” sound. Then, all of a sudden, the “magic e” comes flying in and gives the power to the “a”. Since the “e” gives away all the power, the “a” has a strong sound, or a long “a”, and the “e” has no sound.
Since I did not create this digital story, I am not familiar with the author’s process of putting everything together. However, it is evident to me that the author took into consideration Lambert’s seventh step of digital storytelling which is “Sharing Your Story”. A major component of this step is having an understanding of the audience that you will be sharing to. In the case of this video, it was very clear that the author had a strong understanding of the fact that the video would be shared with early childhood students; therefore, there were many fun elements of the story, such as talking letters, which young students would thoroughly enjoy.
“The Magic E Song”
After playing the Nessy video, I plan to play “The Magic E Song”, another YouTube video. This video offers a very catchy song in which the video sings words without the magic e, and then with the magic e, and then sings the chorus below, in-between singing the magic e words.
Makes the short sounds long
This is the Magic E song
Similar to the Nessy video, this offers the students another way to learn about the magic e, using technology. During this video, I would allow the student to stand up and move around and sing along while the video played.
I plan to utilize the Smartboard to first show students words that do not have the silent e, such as, rob. And then have students come to the board and write the silent e next to the consonant-vowel-consonant word and see how it transforms the word. For example, in rob; the addition of the silent e would change the word into robe. The students would write the silent e in a different color than the other text so the silent e would be able to really stand out. This exercise will positively impact the students’ kinesthetic modality.
In addition to this activity, I would have the students do a silent e scavenger hunt around the room. I would give the students a worksheet with pictures of silent e words, such as kite, bike, lime… Around the room, I would put word cards with the corresponding words for the pictures on the worksheet. For example, a word card that read “bike” would be hanging in my classroom; the students would use this word card to write the word bike next to the image of the bike. The students would be responsible for going around the room and looking at all of the word cards and putting the correct word next to the picture. After the students completed the scavenger hunt, I would pull the worksheet up on the Smartboard and have the students fill out the information on the Smartboard.
Chromebook Games (Starfall and BrainPop Jr.)
The students will utilize their Chromebooks to play silent e games. I will instruct the students that they will be able to use BrainPop Jr. or Starfall to play predetermined silent e games. These websites will be a fun way to reinforce the topic of the silent e. The students will be able to interact with the words by dragging the silent e and hearing how it affects the word, in the Starfall game. In addition, the BrainPop Jr. Game will allow students to look at silent e words and hear how they are pronounced. The students will also be able to take online quizzes on BrainPop Jr.
- Organization of Tele
Since the technologies used in this lesson are from the Chromebook, the Smartboard and through YouTube videos, the students will not have any problem with the technological knowledge of these three technologies. The students will be introduced to all of these technologies in Kindergarten and will be able to carry that knowledge forward into the first grade.
In addition, these technologies will be engrained into our everyday learning environment. I will use the Smartboard every day in many different contexts teaching a variety of content. The students will utilize the Chromebooks almost every day during center activities. In addition, Starfall and BrainPop Jr. will be two of the websites that we will most frequently use. Therefore, the students will not face any learning curve using these sites.
The silent e lesson will be taught over a period of two days. The lesson will begin by showing the students the “Nessy Reading Strategy: Magic E”. This video will introduce the silent e and how it impacts the words that it is in. After this video, I will play “The Magic E Song”. During this song the students will be able to get out of their seats to dance and sing along.
After playing these two videos I will pull up words on the Smartboard. The first word will have no silent e and then the silent e will be added to the word and the students will see how it is transformed. The students will verbally say the words out loud as they appear on the Smartboard. I will also select students to come to the Smartboard and write out the silent e. After the silent e is written, the students will verbally say the new word with the silent e.
After this exercise, I will introduce the silent e scavenger hunt. The students will receive a paper with pictures of silent e words; kite, bike, rake… Next to the pictures there will be a blank space for the students to write out the corresponding word. The words will be written out on word cards and will be hung all over the room. The students will get out of their desks and will try to find the corresponding word card, and use it to correctly write out the word next to the picture. The purpose of this exercise is to get the students up and moving, have the students see the words in a different context (e.g., on word cards around the room versus on a paper in their desks), and use their decoding skills to sound out the words and match them to the corresponding image.
Once the students complete the silent e scavenger hunt, I will pull up the worksheet on the Smartboard and have the students come up to the Smartboard to write out the words they chose. After the students write the words, we will say them out loud, verbally, to the class.
The second day of the silent e lesson will be done through center activities. There will be four different centers. One center will have word cards with consonant-vowel-consonant words and a stack of stars with the letter e on them. The students will work in pairs at this center and will read the consonant-vowel-consonant word card to their friend, then add the star with the e on it to the end, and read the word again with the silent e ending. If the students finish this activity early, there will be whiteboards available and the students will be able to write out all of the words from the word cards onto the whiteboard. The next activity will be a silent e puzzle. The students will receive a puzzle piece with one part of a word, for instance can, and the students will have to put together the puzzle by adding the silent e piece with a picture of what the word will become. For example, the puzzle piece with can will need the puzzle piece of the silent e with a picture of a cane next to it since when the silent e is added to the word can, the word becomes cane. Each student will receive their own set of puzzle pieces with the consonant-vowel-consonant words and the corresponding silent e and picture. The next center will be a teacher directed center, which I will be leading. I will give the students several silent e passages to read and as they read them to me, I will make notes on what the students get correct and what words they miss. I will use my notes to assess whether the students understand the concept of the silent e and if I will need to continue to review the concept. The final center will be the Chromebook center. The students will use their Chromebooks and will be directed to play silent e games at either Starfall or BrainPop Jr. The students will stay in each center for 12 minutes and will be directed to when they should rotate to the next center. The students will visit all of the centers in the class.
After the students visit all of the centers we will convene as a whole class. To conclude the lesson I will do a read aloud of the book, “Here Comes Silent E!” by Anna Jane Hays. After reading the book I will play “The Magic E Song” one more time on YouTube and have the students get up and sing and dance along. I will also hang silent e words on one of our bulletin boards with the heading “Magic E Words”, so the students would be able to reference them even when the instruction on the silent e is over.
During the silent e lesson, the students are learning in several different contexts. During the YouTube videos, the students are together as an entire class and are at their desks watching the videos. However during “The Magic E Song” the students are able to get out of their seats and dance around.
The first Smartboard activity involves all of the students sitting at their seats and looking at the Smartboard to verbally say the consonant-vowel-consonant words aloud. Students are also able to get out of their seats and come to the Smartboard to write the silent e. During the silent e scavenger hunt, the students are all able to get out of their seats to look around the room for silent e words. While all of the students will have their own independent scavenger hunt paper, they will be encouraged to work collaboratively in small groups. The students will then come back together at their desks for whole group instruction but will be able to come to the Smartboard to write the words they found on the scavenger hunt.
The next day during the center activities, the students will be placed in small groups. The first center will encourage the students to work with one other person. The next center, the silent e puzzle, will encourage the students to work collaboratively while they all complete their own puzzles. The teacher directed center, where the students will read silent e passages, will be completely independent, as it is important that I assess each student. The technology center on the Chromebooks will also be independent because the students will have their own Chromebooks and will be playing the games independently.
The students will be actively engaged in conversation about silent e words during the collaborative parts of the lesson. For example, during the silent e scavenger hunt, the students will be excitedly looking for words and sounding the words out, out loud to their friends, when they find them.
The differentiated environment will allow the students to get up and move around, which will make them excited about the lesson. For example, getting up to dance around to “The Magic E Song” increases their excitement about the topic of the silent e.
My role throughout the Tele is to serve as a support for the students. I have created a lesson that attempts to meet all of the students’ needs, a major purpose of the TPACK design. The students are learning about the silent e through direct instruction, using YouTube videos and the Smartboard, collaboratively, through activities on the Smartboard, and independently, through silent e games, on the Chromebooks. Through all of these tools and teaching strategies, the hope, as the teacher, is to support the students’ knowledge of the silent e.
The few times that I am offering direct instruction, using the Smartboard, I am allowing students to come up to the board and experience the technology too. When the students are working on the silent e scavenger hunt, I will be walking around the classroom to offer support to those who need it. During the center activities, although I will be running a center, I will be available if a problem should arise. However, since my class is very accustomed to centers, as we do them every class, I do not anticipate that this will be a problem. In addition, prior to the students beginning their center activities, I will model what the students will do at each center, so there is not any confusion.
As an observer, the classroom will appear to be very conducive to collaborative learning. There are not be rows of desks, instead the desks are pushed together to form a cluster and create a small table. In addition, all of the furniture is child-sized and there is not be a teacher’s desk. Instead there is a large kidney shaped table that the teacher uses for teacher-directed collaboration. At the front of the room there is a big carpet where all of the students are able to sit during group time. The Smartboard is also in the front of the room.
While I do not anticipate that we will have any difficulties with the technology, since we use it every day, the school IT specialist will be available to look at anything should a problem arise. In addition to myself there will be a classroom aide in the room. This aide will be responsible for providing extra one-on-one attention to the students with IEPs. All of the students will be doing the same activities; however, the aide will help the students who might need some more time grasping the concepts. In addition, the aide will continue to review the silent e lesson with these students after the lesson is over, if they continue to need extra assistance.
Gee, J.P. (2007) Good video games + good learning : collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy. Chapter 4: Good video games, the human mind, and good learning. New York : Peter Lang. pp. 22-44.
Lambert, J. (2012) Chapter 5: Seven Steps of Digital Storytelling, Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community. (4th Edition). Routledge : New York, NY. pp. 53-69.
Martin, L. (2012). Connection, Translation, Off-Loading, and Monitoring: A Framework for Characterizing the Pedagogical Functions of Educational Technologies.Technology, Knowledge & Learning, 17(3), 87-107.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
Salmon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005)”Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology.” In: Robert Sternberg and David Preiss (Eds.). Intelligence and Technology: The Impact of Tools on the Nature and Development of Human Abilities. Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, Publishers. pp. 71-86.