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Kristin Sarboukh March 26, 2013 Second letter to co-op Dear Miss Schroeck, I wanted to start off by thanking

you for all you have done for me so far this semester. In just a few short weeks, I have learned so much from you and how you teach than I ever could in another classroom. Through your methods of teaching, I have learned how to better myself both personally and professionally. Seeing you apply in the classroom what I am learning from text books is so rewarding. Thanks to you, I have been able to understand not only what I am learning in class, but also to apply it to what I am doing in your classroom. Throughout my college career, there have been many different texts I have been assigned to read for class but they never made much sense until I stepped foot in your classroom. There are a few books in particular that have had a significant impact such as Balanced Literacy for English Language Learners by Linda Chen. In her book, she talks about some of the different domains in literacy: comprehension, writing, fluency, and vocabulary. In your classroom, I have seen each of these areas not only touched on, but built upon and strengthened in each child through a variety of techniques. For example, I have seen some students start with a basic understanding of comprehending with who, what, where, and when and through the help of your scaffolding, coming out with a whole new understanding. This also helps build more independent readers which is one of the literacy development levels Chen stresses that I have seen you stress most in the classroom. This is a skill the students will be able to take with them and use for years to come. I have noticed how you also take extraordinary risks and use interactive read alouds as a model to help demonstrate and mold children into critical thinkers. Chen talks about the planning process for read alouds and how it should be a scaffolded experience in which students will talk and further deepen their understanding of the text (Chen, 38). Through your read alouds with the book 100 Dresses and using a post-it model to help children organize their thought and comprehension, I feel you have truly given your students this experience Chen describes. Another book I have read that I feel has truly been demonstrated in your classroom is The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing by Lucy Calkins. In the book, she stresses writers workshops and the structure they should exemplify. She talks about the environment, the

components of the workshop, and managing classroom issues which are all things I envy in your classroom and writing lessons. You very skillfully use the space in your room to grasp students attention; are able to manage the mini-lesson, writing time, and conversation or sharing time which are all essential components; and you have the respect from your classroom and ideal management skills so students are always on task and troubles are considered ahead of time. Of course, Calkins also stresses the role the writers play in the mini-lessons. Your ability to get the students to understand their job as writers and their responsibility during your lessons emulates in their attentiveness and completed work. While you have demonstrated a significant amount of what I have been reading, it does not stop there. I have also learned a lot in class that is either demonstrated or reiterated in your classroom. In class, we learn all about teachable moments and how when we want to teach a student something, we should focus on one thing. You did the exact same thing in class when we were reading each childs poetry. You explained to me that even though there may be ten things wrong in a childs work, you need to pick one thing that they can focus on and that can be used in their writing as a whole. This can range from capitalization, adding detail, or even correcting punctuation. Another thing we talked about in class that I always see you stress in your classroom is the idea of just right books. This is so important when looking for independent reading books for student or when wanting students to participate in books club. Thanks to you, I also learned how to do a running record which is how to determine what books are just right for students, and which books you could use for scaffolding. These tools are very crucial to have as a teacher, no matter what classroom you are in. I just wanted to thank you again, for how prepared you are making me as a future teacher. The advice and skills you are teaching me are things I can use in all the classrooms I step into from this day forward. I love how open you are and how I am able to ask you anything. You have given me a new light and a new perspective on teaching, and for this, I could never repay you. I greatly look forward to what is left of the semester we have together and hope to learn just as much, if not more than I have so far!


Kristin Sarboukh