“The Empty Pot” by DEMI and Touro University TESOL candidate Kate Yanovich’s Materials Critique & Redesign for EDPN 673

For EDPN 673 Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language. This course provides a historical overview of second language acquisition theories and teaching methods. Students learn how to apply current approaches, methods and techniques, with attention to the effective use of materials, in teaching English as a second language. Students will engage in the planning and implementation of standards-based ESL instruction which includes differentiated learning experiences geared to students’ needs. Emphasis is placed on creating culturally responsive learning environments. Includes 15 hours of field work.

Touro TESOL candidates submit a Materials Critique & Redesign where candidates (1) prepare a written critique description of the material or resource, analyzing its effectiveness for ELLs and (2) based on your analysis, redesign one section/activity of the original material so that it meets the need of ELLs. The materials chosen will promote culturally and linguistically responsive classrooms and instructional practices.

My name is Kate Yanovich and I teach in the New York City elementary public school in Brooklyn. I have taught students of different ages, ranging from Pre-K to middle school, and being licensed in special education, I also worked with students and young adults with special needs. Currently, I am pursuing the TESOL Graduate degree at Touro College and look forward to working more closely with second language and multilingual learners in their educational journeys.

Kate Yanovich, Touro University TESOL Candidate

The Empty Pot by Demi (1990)New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Kate Yanovich:

“Generally, this book is used for a read aloud in the 1st grade classroom. I would use this book as a shared reading to differentiate for a small group of 2nd grade ELLs on expanding level who are below grade level in reading and are working on reading comprehension. For a shared reading activity, I would use the book in its revised version (see below) to accommodate the needs of the students. According to the WIDA Can Do Descriptors, students on expanding levels are able to identify main ideas and details in illustrated texts. The focus of the activity would be understanding characters in a story and choosing words from the text to describe them and their actions. The content objective would be “I can describe how characters respond to major events and challenges.”. The language objective would be “I can discuss how characters acted in the story by choosing key words from the text to describe character’s actions and responses to the events in the story.”. Before reading the story, I would go over a list of character traits with visuals we have previously discussed and preview vocabulary words in the book using their definitions. As I read the illustrated story presented on the Google Slides, the students and I would make a list of words that students can then choose and use as details to describe how characters respond to the challenges in the story, a strategy called vocabulary selection (SIOP® 8 Components and 30 features, 2022). Here are the words I would expect for children to notice and inquire about as they look and listen to the story: hoped, very carefully, couldn’t wait, worried, transferred, ashamed, best he could do, worthy, impossible, courage, reward. After reading the story aloud, I would ask the following moderately challenging questions to guide students in their comprehension of details about characters’ actions with the purpose to achieve the lessons’ objectives and help students understand the lesson in the story: What is the major event or challenge in the story? What did Ping do to make the seed grow? In the end, why did Ping bring an empty pot to the emperor? How were the other children able to grow their flowers? What do you think about Ping and what words can you use to describe him? How can you describe other children in the story? What do you think this story teaches us?”

Book Redesign:

As far as the text goes, I would add Chinese translation on each page to promote greater understanding for ELLs with Chinese background.  This text can be used to reinforce understanding of emotions, and even though illustrations of character’s emotions mostly match the text, readers would have to look closely at the expressions on the characters’ faces.  For this reason, I would make illustrations bigger so the character’s emotions are much more visible.  I would also make an emphasis on the words that help to highlight the main character’s persistence and convey the lesson in the story.  I would make the advanced words stand out by making them bold, in a different color, and using a bigger font.  I would also add insets with definitions and visuals on some pages of the book to help ELLs understand the meaning of advanced words like tend and successor among other words.  See below.

Author: drcowinj

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today,” determined Malcolm X at the O.A.A.U.’s [Organization of Afro-American Unity] founding forum at the Audubon Ballroom. (June 28, 1964). (X, n.d.) Dr. Jasmin Bey Cowin a Fulbright Scholar, SIT Graduate, completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP™) at Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Cowin served as the President of the Rotary Club of New York and Assistant Governor for New York State; long-term Chair of the Rotary United Nations International Breakfast meetings; and works as an Assistant Professor at Touro College, Graduate School of Education. Dr. Cowin has over twenty-five years of experience as an educator, tech innovator, entrepreneur, and institutional leader with a focus on equity and access to digital literacy and education in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Her extensive background in education, administration, not-for-profit leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and technology innovation provide her with unique skills and vertical networks locally and globally. Dr. Cowin participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline as elected Vice President and Chair-Elect for the New York State, NYS TESOL organization, for the 2021 conference. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publications, presentations, and participation in academic conferences, blogging, and other scholarly activities, including public performances and exhibitions at conferences and workshops. Of particular interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education; Current Global Trends in TESOL; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English; E-learning; Micro and Macro-Methodologies in TESOL; E-Resources Discovery and Analysis; and Language Acquisition and the Oculus Rift in VR.

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