I conducted my student teaching at a public charter that began back in 2012. The students in my classroom came from rich cultural backgrounds, with 45% white students, 25% Hispanic/ Latino, 8% African American, 8% Asian, and 0.8% falling under the category of “Other” .See figure 1. Of the 24 students in my classroom, about three-fourths received free and reduced lunch at school. The classroom itself is well lit and has two doors, one door leading to the office and the other leading to the play area and lunch tables. It has two large whiteboards that the teacher has decorated with calendars, star incentives and the classroom agenda. There are six tables with multiple chair options for students to sit at, including stools, floor cushions, foot stools, tall chairs and the standard elementary sized chairs.
This was a 1st and 2nd grade combination class so students were grouped within the room by grade. They were also grouped by their math and literacy test score. They were placed in groups designed to support their growth and help foster a space for learning for each individual student. The teacher used an extensive number of strategies to have her students contribute to classroom participation. When sitting on the carpet the students were placed in two different setups; the circle around the rug where students often spoke down the line or used a “talking piece,” or their assigned seating where they used the standard raised hand and a second “who would like to add on?” When students were expected to discuss what they had learned, they turned to either their “peanut butter and jelly partner” or their “chips and guacamole partner.”
Since a majority of the lessons started as whole class and then became small group rotations, I noticed the large variety of techniques the teacher used to support students’ learning. When students worked in small groups for math, they utilized multiple strategies and manipulatives in order to correctly solve the problems in their packets. I became interested in the metacognitive strategies the students selected to complete their activities. The tools they used for math were centimeter cubes, place value tools, counting up and counting on. When students worked on literacy they were given sentence starters to help them begin their writing or as they answered clarifying questions from a book they had read as a class.
The classroom environment encouraged students to be curious. Students who utilized these tools were more successful than their peers who did not. As the students in my class grew physically and mentally so did the strategies we used to teach them. During my student teaching in Fall 2017, I observed various metacognitive strategies, not limited to utilizing manipulatives, think pair shares, and modeling. The students in my class were constantly working in pairs during whole and small group lessons to answer questions with minimal guided support. Working in pairs encouraged the students to vocalize what they thought they should use to either add two whole numbers or when they made inferences in a text.
Literature Review: Metacognitive Strategies
Thinking aloud, using manipulatives to show work, and modeling different strategies are effective ways to promote learning and monitor growth (McGregor, 2007). Students who are able to vocalize or demonstrate their work are more likely to understand and retain the information of the lesson. Furthermore, the work of Piaget and Vygotsky play vital roles in a child’s elementary development and how it can affect their learning, (McGregor, 2007) In all, providing activities that are academically appropriate and asking guiding questions teachers are exposing their students to critical thinking. (McGregor, 2007) Students were no longer being told asked yes or no questions, students were actively working with their partners to show how and why they got their answer. Metacognitive strategies implied that students in literacy were reading complex books to understand the text over a series of days. Additionally their math also focused on how they got their answers, whether they got the answer correct or not, they were explaining their own rationale through manipulatives and partner talks. Baas, D., Castelijns, J., Vermeulen, M., Martens, R., & Segers, M. (2014) describe Assessment for learning, AFL as a process that teachers use to assess their students needs by collecting information and personalizing it to fit their students needs. From there the students are given the support they need to continue to successfully complete their work.
Metacognitive Strategies for ELA
Certain skills such as activating prior knowledge and comprehension on the text are prevalent in student success. Israel.,Block., & Bauserman (2005). both as micro and macro-processes For example a close read is when a selected text is read daily focusing on a different element of literacy. Close reading helps the students understand the text in a deeper level through the questions that are asked. One day may be focused on general understanding, vocabulary, author’s purpose and finally opinion with evidence. By doing a close read students are utilizing their prior knowledge to look for deeper connections within the text. Fisher and Frey (2015) state that not all texts require a close read, it is mainly used when a text is complex. When students were asked to review and summarize a book during close read, they were able to look at the text through a multifaceted lens and dive deeper into the focus of characters’ traits and understanding. Teaching literacy to young children or early readers requires strategies to help promote regulation and awareness. Israel, et al., (2005.)
However, whole class close reads were guided because the teacher or myself would read aloud to the students.. There were times when a reading strategy such as “sliding to the end” was introduced, however we read aloud to the students to help them focus on the content rather than their fluency. The teacher and myself would often model what this sounded and looked like, such as in the case of the word “reading”: “read… read…ing…. reading.” Reading is a purposeful activity that supports a student’s comprehension. This strategy helps the student recognize that they can break apart a word known as “chunking it” and then blending it together to form the word entirely. Most recently, Ozturk found in his 2015 study that it focuses metacognitive skills, (2015)in a study of third grade students who were taught metacognitive strategies over a period of 2 months, Ozturk found that the students were self regulating as they read by making connections, asking questions, and making conclusions, in direct comparison with their peers who had not been taught those strategies and struggled struggled with the material (2015).
Meanwhile, Assessment for Learning is a standard process where teachers and educators assess a student’s learning by collecting information about their skills and struggles, in order to supply those with any additional or directed resources (Baas., Castelijns, Vermeulen, Martens, & Segers, 2015). Students however should not be expected to self reflect without any support or feedback from their teacher, Baas., et al., (2015). Students in a 4th grade classroom were studied to research how students evaluate their work for math in written responses Martin, C. S., Polly, D., & Kissel, B. (2017)
Ozturk argues that the assumption that all students who read fluently become competent readers is false (2015). Students must be able to display an understanding of the text. Effective readers use both cognitive and metacognitive strategies because they display multiple strategies. For young children the important strategies to review need to be informed to them, practiced and then the outcomes need to be reviewed. Ozturk (2015)
In addition within our classrooms we have students who may also have learning disabilities, or who are on the autism spectrum. Reciprocal teaching has been recognized as a means of supporting students on the spectrum, as the technique encourages students to work collaboratively to understand the meaning of a text. Turner, H. h., Remington, A., & Hill, V. (2017) Held in a group discussion, reciprocal teaching aids reading comprehension by individually assessing the student’s understanding of the material and information. Secondly, it supports metacognitive skills such as inferencing, summarizing, and questioning. This is especially difficult for students who are on the autism spectrum because they have difficulty linking events within a story. Turner, et al (2017) Students who are on the autism spectrum may struggle with making deeper connections within text such as those requiring inferencing.
Additionally supporting English Learners is an important task because they comprised about
Metacognitive strategies in Math
The way we think about Math has continued to change in the way we teach it and the way we expect students to learn. Students’ thinking is now being challenged because as well as finding the answer, they must also rethink why they made specific choices and cannot just simply provide their answer without reasoning. In a study done, it was found that people who struggle with solving word problems have weaker working memories than those who do not. Metacognition directly correlates to mathematical achievement like problem solving because it challenges students to regulate their own mental processes, for instance focusing on underlying cognitive processes and working memory. Cornoldi, C., Carretti, B., Drusi, S., & Tencati, C. (2015) Metacognitive beliefs transfer into working memory and eventually problem solving components. Therefore, children with poor problem solving skills benefit the most from small group teacher guided lessons,Cornoldi, et al(2015). Students who are still young are generally inept in formally assessing their own thinking unless they have had practice in it. Supporting students in small groups can greatly improve their general understanding of the material and eventually encouraging their own thinking on the material to develop.
The Achievement Goal Orientation (AGO) (elaborate) was assessed and evaluated in a primary school in Britain, similar to the United states, many girls had lower views on their math proficiency than their male peers. After the trial girls motivation levels in math increased after students were equipped with multiple learning strategies.Bonnett, V. V., Yuill, N., & Carr, A. (2017) Some included self reflection; how children view themselves as learners affects their way of thinking and their own performances. Girls were more inclined to feel confident about themselves if they maintained a mastery oriented perspective. Those children who have mastery orient are more likely not to succumb to failure if they believe hard work is needed to succeed unlike performance oriented. Similarly students who demonstrated high levels of creativity also maintained high levels of metacognition. Erbas, A. K., & Bas, S. (2015). Performance orient solely relied on rewards and wanting to be the best. Mastery oriented children show greater levels of metacognition because students who explain their thinking while working on problems demonstrate consolidation in addition can increase self esteem. Bonnett, et al. (2017). The project was successful because child led students had the option utilize the manipulatives they desired. In the end the results proved that students expected to work as a team, listen to the teacher, and collaborate with one another. Metacognitive reflections were different than those given in the beginning. The children made personal connections within the projects because of the freedom and creativity they created while working together. In the end female students ranked higher than in the beginning of their project.
In another study completed by Chwee Beng Lee1, c., Noi Keng, K., Xin Le, C., & Choon Lang, Q. (2012) noted that in Singapore students metacognitive strategies with money were responses to metacognitive thinking alters drastically when their parents impact it by controlling the situation or manipulating it with rewards. (Chwee L, et al (2012)