Education Past and Present

The following two essays summarize some of the key elements of the information I learned from the course American Education: Past and Present. I cite expert opinion, research findings, lecture notes and my own investigatory opinion while answering the following two questions:

  • Taking into consideration the three best ways by which we obtain knowledge (received, discovered, constructed), what are the implications for achieving proper balance in teaching and learning?
  • Of all the individuals and philosophies we have discussed during this course, select one or two whose ideas have influenced you the most. What are those ideas, and what relevance do they have to your own philosophy?

Paper

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Educating Exceptional Students

2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.

3. Differentiation – The teacher acquires and uses specific knowledge about students’ cultural, individual intellectual and social development and uses that knowledge to adjust their practice by employing strategies that advance student learning.

Course Reflection

I really enjoyed taking the course, EDSP 6644 Educating Exceptional Students. Throughout the course I was able to examine the learning needs of students with a wide variety of disabilities and learn strategies for inclusion of these students in my general education classroom. In addition, through classroom reading assignments, instruction, and blackboard discussion I gained a deeper understanding in how to support students with specific learning needs, more explicitly how to modify lessons, provide classroom accommodation (environment) and implement appropriate social behavior skills.

One assignment that helped me really closely examine how I can do this in my own classroom was the peer-reviewed assignment. This assignment required me to research a special education literacy topic from two or more peer-reviewed journals, evaluate the content and then summarize how it could be applied to teaching instruction. I spent about a week trying to narrow down my research topic and had the opportunity to read through many peer reviewed journals and articles.

I believe this was the most significant learning portion of the assignment. Not only did I learn where to locate online professional resources, but also read many different articles about supporting students with learning needs! The benefit of reading through so many articles was that I saved these articles and placed them into my literacy unit folders as a way to reference support strategies for students when creating lesson plans.

The literacy topic I ended up researching was handwriting support for elementary students with learning disabilities. The article I read Teaching Handwriting to Elementary Students With Learning Disabilities: A Problem-Solving Approach, written by Shawn Datchuk explored how teachers can more effectively support students with learning disabilities improve on their handwriting skills. The article gave a very specific and clear problem solving approach that included: how to evaluate student work, collect evidence, and target specific handwriting problems in order to provide specific handwriting support to each student. I have started using the problem solving approach suggested in the articles and have actually passed it on to the first, second and third grade teachers in my school.

In conclusion I learned that, while educating exceptional learners can be a difficult challenge for the general educator, with the right knowledge, tools and resources it is can be done and done well. The peer-reviewed assignment was an excellent way for me to narrow down a broad topic like handwriting support for students with learning disabilities and explore it in greater detail and depth.

To read my peer reviewed assignment please link to: york.peer.review

Reference

Datchuk, S. (2015). Teaching Handwriting to Elementary Students With Learning Disabilities: A Problem-Solving Approach. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 48(1), 19-27. doi:10.1177/0040059915594782

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Building a Teaching Community

Why is it important to observe or build community?

  1. Professional Practice – The teacher participates collaboratively in the educational community to improve instruction, advance the knowledge and practice of teaching as a profession, and ultimately impact student learning.

“Time spent in collaboration with colleagues is considered essential to success in most professions.”

-Rick DuFour

I love working with my colleagues! I enjoy observing the way they teach their classes, how they make lesson plans and engage with their students. While it would be easy to isolate myself in my own classroom and stick to what works best for me, I would find this stifling and un-fair to my students in many ways. What I have discovered over the thirteen years I have been in education is the more information I seek out from my colleagues, through observation and discussion, the more effective teacher I become. I like to watch, listen and observe so that I can implement and make change within my own classroom. Not only do I benefit from this, but my students also get to learn information in new and exciting ways. Harry Wong, author of First Day’s of School notes that, “Effective teachers have the ability to implement someone else’s’ work, regardless of their grade level, subject matter, or even professional field. They are able to steal the work, change it to fit their own situation, and use it in their classrooms. They observe, reflect, invent and apply” (page 306). This is exactly why I love collaborating with my colleagues.

This past year I have had many opportunities to observe my colleagues. I have learned unique management techniques during transition time in class, how to effectively use technology in the class, and how to support learners by using multi-sensory teaching instruction. The three following observations were especially useful to my own teaching practice:

IMG_59941st Grade Teacher:

Miss. C does an excellent job managing and teaching her 1st and 2nd grade split class. I observed her teach math. I was interested in how she would teach math because she was using two different math curriculums (1st grade Houghton Mifflin Math and 2nd Grade Houghton Mifflin math). What I noticed right away was how organized and efficient the class ran.

She divided her student into 4 groups (group names were designated by directions: North, South, East and West). Each student not only knew which group they were in but also where to go. This definitely helped during the short 1-minute transition time between each 15-minute math lesson. Miss. C designed the class so that each group would circulate through 4 – 15 minutes centers. One of the centers included a mini lesson on the math-learning target. During the mini lesson she taught, modeled and guided students in how to use the math concept. Each of the hands on center/activity then reinforced the learning target. The activity that followed the math mini lesson was practice math worksheet, followed by a hands on manipulative to support academic language and demonstration of content learned and then moved into either a computer or math game that also paired with the learning target.

Because of Miss. C’s classroom management, transitional procedures and instruction all the students stayed on task. I was very impressed with how well the class went. I also teach a 4th and 5th grade split class. Using the mini-lesson and center activities instructional approach as a way to teach both math levels definitely supports overall students learning.

4th/5th Grade Part Time Science and Social Studies Teacher:

Miss. I is my 4th/5th grade-teaching partner. We split content so that she teaches science and social studies and I teach English Language Arts, we both teach math. We really enjoy team teaching because we have such different teaching instruction; however, both of us agree and implement classroom management the same way. We are also very intentional communicating daily about individual student learning, classroom engagement and behavior. At the beginning of the year we observed each other’s classes often to learn each other’s teaching styles and to make sure we were both implementing the same management procedures.

I really enjoyed observing Miss. I’s science classes. One class that stands out to me was when she was taught a lesson about the brain. The step-by-step multi-sensory approach that she took with her students was an excellent way to enhance student learning. First she had students write down the learning target in their science journal, then she had them use think-pair-share with a partner about what they knew about the brain. Next, she taught a 15-minute mini lesson about the 3 parts of the brain. As she taught the mini-lesson she had students follow along filling in notes on a graphic organizer. At the end of the mini lesson she broke students up into groups as they brainstormed what activities you could do using specific parts of the brain. Miss. I met with each of the groups throughout the activity asking them questions that elicited academic language and student voice regarding the learning target. At the end of the lesson she passed out individual exit tickets. The 45-minute class was engaging and there was student proof (verbal and written) that they understood the learning target.

6th Grade Teacher

Miss. G had a small class to manage, 5 girls, however, I was surprised at how much “chit-chat” happened among the students between transition time and throughout the lesson. The girls seemed to respect Miss. G when she was teaching, but would often call out answers or interrupt each other. This was very frustrating to Miss. G, but based on what I observed there were no classroom conduct rules to reinforce listening procedures.

The lesson was well formatted. Miss. G started the lesson by reviewing what they had already learned about poetry. Students each shared a poem they wrote on the website http://www.storybird.com. This was exciting for me to see because I was the one who introduced this website to teachers while giving a technology training to the staff a couple weeks before. The students were so engaged with this part of the lesson and really proud of their work. From this point Miss. G transitioned into introducing Shakespearian poetry using the poem “All the World is a Stage”. She had the student’s listen/watch to the scene in the play, As You Like It. Then she explained the meaning of the play and how the actor delivered the monologue. Next, she showed a video of Morgan Freeman delivering the same monologue. From there she had the students compare the similarities and differences between the two monologue deliveries. Finally, she showed a video that students listened to and read.

I really liked how she used technology to enhance the visual, audio element of introducing monologues. The students heard the poem 4 times (they wanted to watch the live actor again). They had a chance to determine which reading they liked most: one preferred Morgan Freeman and three preferred the actor’s performance. Miss. G ended the lesson by having students pull out the poem from their ELA pre-pared packet and told them that over the next few days they would memorize the poem and then perform it for the class. All five of the students were excited about this.

Summary of Teaching Observations:

There are three instructional strategies all of these teachers used that not only maximized learning but also supported teacher effectiveness:

  1. They were all well prepared. Their teaching materials were ready, centers well stocked and workbooks easily assessable.
  1. The teachers all taught, modeled, guided and allowed for individual exploration/practice in the learning target.
  1. Teacher’s differentiated learning to support students. The first grade teacher arranged her lessons and activities to support two different grades; the 4th/5th grade teacher used hands on materials, and the 6th grade teacher used technology and learning packets.

Observing and noting how my colleagues teach is a great way for me to grow as an educator. I have implemented and used several of the strategies I observed and found them helpful toward students learning.

Extra-Curricular Observations

The purpose of attending extra –curricular events was to observe student-to-student interaction, student-to-adult interaction, and make comparisons between students behavior in class vs. at an event. In addition to this, learn how to make connections with students and build rapport.

Harvest Party

In October our school hosted a harvest party for the students at our school and for the ex-patriot families living in our city. This was my first event at the school and I while I was not part of the “planning committee” I volunteered to help at the event. I was interested to see how well the staff would work together and what the outcome of the event would be. The “planning committee” consisted of three people, the events organizer (games), scheduler, and food coordinator. IMG_6181The committee did a good job communicating with us each week about what progress they were making regarding the schedule, games and activities four weeks leading up to the even. I felt like they worked well together and helped inform the rest of us in what our role should be.

The 1st/2nd grade teacher and I volunteered to be in charge of the “flat bread” making station. The way the schedule was set up allowed students 30 minutes at each of the 3 stations. At the end of the hour and a half they sat down to a thanksgiving feast while watching the high school drama team perform a play. On the day of the event each volunteer group were given their materials for the activity. Upon receiving all the baking items for my station we realized that we did not have a pan to cook the flat bread in. With some quick thinking and help from two high school students I managed to keep the flatbread cooking and students fully engaged during the activity! Overall the harvest party was a success because of the great communication, flexibility and teamwork lead by the harvest party committee members.

It was fun to watch the high school and elementary students participate in some of the same events. The high school students did a wonderful job helping out with the younger grades and I was happy to see positive behavior from all the students!

Fast Forward to the Future

I am a huge advocate for student reading. When I saw the list of events that needed committee leaders I was more than happy to sign up for the two week Reading Emphasis in March. Being new to the school I was not sure what I was signing up for, but was very pleased with my choice.

The committee I was on had two other teachers, the pre-Kindergarten teacher/Librarian and the 3rd grade teacher. I was thankful because both of them had participated in the previous years reading week. Our committee met two months before the Reading Emphasis weeks. We planned out an outline of reading expectations and details of how we would log and keep track of student’s daily reading. Our theme was “Fast Forward to the Future” with an emphasis in Science Fiction. Something that our committee really had to think through was how to engage and motivate K-12th grade students to read and how to apply the reading theme throughout all the subjects. We came up with a brilliant idea (in my opinion)! Each class created their own planet and each student got their own paper rocket. Based on the number of minutes a student read they would reach different levels. At each new reading level achievement they got to move their rockets around to other class planets. Furthermore, each class could include “elements” of their planet and in return they would be re-warded with a “space” template to put up around their planet.

The students all got into the reading weeks. Students were motivated to create their planets, physically move their rockets, and brag about what they were creating! We had such positive feedback from the teachers as well. There were so many details that had to come together to pull off the Reading Weeks, but with teamwork, communication and staff support the event was a success!

In conclusion, I have noticed that when I seek out advice and support from my colleagues, they are more likely to seek out support and advice from me. What we are creating is a community of teachers working toward a common goal: seeing our Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 4.38.28 PMstudents succeed. In the article, Work Together Only If You Want To, author Rick Dufour states, “There is abundant research linking higher levels of student achievement to educators who work in the collaborative culture of a professional learning community” (page 3). Educational trends are constantly shifting as research and politics navigate the type of instructional support teachers give their students, therefore, creating a professional learning community with my colleagues is a “core” strategy in improving student achievement (Dufour, page 4). In addition we will continue to refine our teaching practices using the most current instructional methods, activities and teaching practices.

Reference

Dufour, Rick (2011). Work Together But Only If You Want to. kappanmagazine.org V92 N5.

Wong, H.K. and Wong, R.T. (2009). The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.

For more information on teaching collaboration please see my post: 

tamarayork80.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/instructional-coaching-reflection

 

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Bridging the Communication Gap Between Home and School

7.1 Communicating with Families

Teacher communicates with families about students’ progress on a regular basis, respecting cultural norms, and is available as needed to respond to family concerns.

Introduction

It is necessary for educators to bridge the gap between home and school in order to help student’s succeed. According to Harry K. Wong author of The First Days of School, “The more the school and the family are joined as partners in educating young people, the greater the children’s chances for success” (page 45). There are many ways this can be done and many of them should start even before students walk through the classroom door. Before the beginning of the school year I started making a list of different ways I could communicate with my student’s parents. Based on my experience managing a bi-lingual Kindergarten as well as being a parent I had several ideas of how they might like to communicate with me and how I could strategically communicate with them regarding their child’s learning progress.

I established three ways of communication at the beginning of the year and added a fourth one in the middle of the year:

  • Email/messaging
  • Friday Folder
  • Monthly classroom email update
  • We Chat

Email/Messaging

I started communication via email even before school started. In the initial email I introduced myself, shared what their student would learn over the year, and reminded parents of how they could support their children during the school year. I also included an attachment of the classroom syllabus (globalclassmanagement.wordpress.com/class-syllabus). I made sure to tell parents that email would be a great way to communicate with me. Since I knew many of my student’s parents personally I also told them they could message or call me if they had any questions, comments or concerns. I also use email and messaging as a way to communicate positive messages about student behavior (Marzano, 2007, page 139). For example, if a student does well in class or has an outstanding piece of work, I email the parents to let them know how well their child did. I try and send out positive emails like this as a way for parents to take pride in their child’s academic accomplishments as well as keep a line of connection between home and school.

Friday Folder

In order to pass on graded homework and notes throughout the month I use Friday folders (See figure 1). At the end of the week I gather up each student’s homework, put it in his or her folder, mark the date and make a few comments on how the student performed over the week.

IMG_6776

Figure 1

The important step using the Friday folder is making sure students give their parents the Friday folder to look through and sign. On Mondays, when students come back, they must turn in their folder. When they turn it in I can check to see if it has a parent signature and that the homework was taken out. On occasion I have had parents write a note back with a question or comment. If this happens I respond via phone call or email.

 

Monthly Classroom Email Update

At the end of each month I send out a classroom update (see link:Oct.ParentupdateApril.Parent.Update). This is a great way to update parents on what we did as a class, send pictures and inform them of any upcoming events. Usually, more than half of the parents respond with a ‘thank you’ response acknowledging that they got the update.

We Chat

I also use We Chat. We Chat is similar to Twitter or Voxer in that it is a social media app people join to connect and communicate with others. This semester I opened up a We Chat group for parents to join. Nine out of the ten parents are in the group. I use we chat to send pictures and also give brief updates. I also use We Chat to connect with individual parents.

IMG_6819

Figure 2

For example, one of my students has been in Thailand for a month because of medical issues. I want to continue to support her learning so I not only sent all her schoolwork with her to Thailand, but also “We Chat” pictures of lesson plans, instructional materials and send comments about weekly learning progress (see figure 2). In addition to this, the students like to send their classmate messages and pictures, which is a fun way for the student to feel involved from afar.

Communication Improvement

A resource and tool that I believe would enhance communication with parents would be a classroom blog. We live in a digital age and I think parents would appreciate being able to log onto a website and follow what their children are doing at school. I would like to create a classroom blog by the beginning of the next school year. This is such a wonderful way to keep up on going communication with parents. I could update the blog daily, weekly and/or monthly. In addition, I could post homework assignments, a student news page where students can contribute and a photo page. I have looked at several wonderful blogs and gathered ideas for what I could use in the future.

Conclusion

Since I have laid such strategic lines of communication for parents, I have not had any conflict in parents voicing their concerns, comments or questions. I really enjoy helping parents feel involved in their student’s learning journey. As a parent I understand the importance of having an open line of communication and as a teacher I see the value in it!

Reference

Marzano, R. (2007). The art and science of teaching a comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Wong, H.K. and Wong, R.T. (2009). The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.

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edTPA Reflection Part 3

edTPA Reflection Part 3: Reflection

 Professional practice 8.2 Growing and Developing Professionally

Teacher welcomes feedback from colleagues when made by supervisors or when opportunities arise through professional collaboration.

 Final Reflection:

I felt like the most difficult part of the edTPA process was writing up the commentary. I had so much observational data (video footage) and assessments that it was a bit difficult for me to choose specific pieces to focus on while writing answer to the commentary questions. I sought the advice of a friend who had also gone through the edTPA process, but we discovered that some of the requirements had changed since she did hers.

I believe that this part was also a bit more challenging for me because I am an online student. Many of my classmates were able to meet with their professors, ask questions face to face, seek advice from other classmates and had access to extra curricular edTPA prep classes. Furthermore, there were parts of the edTPA handbook and rubric that were confusing. Instead of meeting with a professor or colleague I had to email my questions, wait for a response and then answer accordingly. In addition to all of this, I am also a bit of a perfectionist so I wanted to make sure I answered each question so that it met the highest score of each rubric. I wanted to make sure that I presented information of high quality and represented my dedication and hard work to my profession over the past 10 years as an educator.

For those who are about to start the process here are some practical steps and advice:

  • Read through the handbook and rubric
  • Plan your lesson sequence (3-5 lessons)
  • While planning the lesson sequence put together materials and assessments at the same time.
  • Choose 3 focus students
  • Document everything when you teach the lessons
  • Record data and feedback – written and student verbal reflection
  • Video tape each lesson from start to finish
  • Have a colleague watch some of the footage to provide feedback and support in planning commentary
  • Follow the Evidence Chart for submitting the edTPA portfolio found in the handbook. Using this document, as a checklist will help keep you organized.

Part Three Conclusion:

Upon reflection of the whole edTPA process I understand the value and purpose of such a rigorous teaching evaluation. I believe it calls student teachers to a higher standard. While there were times that I would get frustrated by the tediousness of the rubric and repetition of the questions, it did force me to demonstrate and evaluate my own teaching practices.

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edTPA Reflection Part 2

edTPA Reflection Part 2: Assessment Evaluation and Feedback

 Assessment 6.3 Designing Student Assessments to inform planning

Teacher plans to use assessment results to plan for future instructions for groups of students.

 Assessment 6.4 Using Assessment to Provide Feedback to Students

Teacher’s feedback to students is timely and consistently high quality.

 Part Two: Lesson implementation, evaluation of data and feedback

I really enjoyed teaching this lesson sequence. The step-by-step approach in which I planned my lesson sequence supported students learning the essential literacy strategy and related skills. The pre-assessment revealed that majority of the students had very little understanding about poetry language and elements of poetry. This was also reflected in student self-reflection documented in their lesson one poetry graphic organizers (see figure 1.1).

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.29.00 PM

Figure 1.1

The daily progression of lessons provided students multiple opportunities to build their understanding of the learning targets and make connections in what they were learning throughout the lesson sequence. At the end of each lesson I was able to evaluate each students growing understanding of poetry by how they participated (answer/ask questions) in class, how they filled in their notes and/or activity sheets and exit tickets. At the end of the lesson sequence I analyzed the data. Based on the post assessment students understanding of poetry language and how to identify the elements of poetry in order to understand a poems meaning (central focus) increased (Figure 1.2). The progress of overall student understanding was evident in both student work samples and exit tickets. Overall analysis of student work samples and self-reflection indicated that by lesson three students were able to demonstrate what elements of poetry were, how to identify them in poems and give examples. Based on exit-ticket reflection, many of the students revealed that they used the strategy to read stories more than once and/or work with a partner to identify elements of poetry.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.27.15 PM

Figure 1.2

To gather vital verbal feedback (students voice) after each lesson, I individually met with each student at some point before the end of the day. Each conference followed the same format: positive feedback about their performance in class, review of the learning target, tasks/assessment and student reflection. I used student feedback to help navigate and further their learning related to the learning targets when the class transitioned into segment 2 of the poetry unit.

Based on what my students learned in segment one, what they demonstrated in activities and assessments (formative and summative) I believe my students needed a second sequence of lessons to reinforce and practice what they were learning about poetry. I predicted that my students would need this extra week of practice and had strategically built it into the unit. During segment two, lesson sequence I gave them the freedom to explore poetry researching poems that reflected something unique from the country they come from. Next, I had them narrow down their search to two poems. I asked them to identify elements in each of the two poems and then compare and contrast them (learning targets from segment one). Finally, they presented their work to the class.

I continued to support students throughout the unit in three ways. First, at the beginning of segment two, lesson one I met with each student and reminded them of the specific goal they had going into segment 2. I put post it notes on their learning target notes as a visual reminder of what their goal was. I encouraged them to review their poetry language notes and elements of poetry charts and reference them throughout the week if needed. Second, at the end of each lesson I continued to meet with each student in order to help them connect what they learned in segment 1 to what they are learning segment 2. I used the feedback (comments from activities and the conference notes) from segments 1 to make connections to the learning targets and learning tasks in segment 2. On going materials were kept in the student’s poetry project folder. Throughout learning segment 2 I continued to make personal notes to examine what areas they were improving in and/or gaps in content knowledge. Ways that activated student’s background knowledge during these meeting was to use phrases and questions such as, “Let’s look back at last weeks lessons. Do you remember what imagery is?” Can you give me an example? Remember when you pointed out that you preferred working with a partner? How could using a strategy like that be helpful with today learning target”? I noticed that asking them questions like this not only helped them track their learning achievements and support positive self efficacy, but also supported them in connecting each lesson as it built on the next. Third, I provided specific tools (computer) and activities (hands on materials) for the students depending on their needs in order to reinforce and practice what they learned in segment one. For example, I gave an English language learner and struggling reading student a set of academic language flashcards to practice with. I gave two second language learners poems with wordplay to identify and I provided two students with more challenging poetry activities that required them to write more, transitioning them into the third segment (writing a poem) of unit.

Part Two Conclusion

At the end of segment 2 I gave them a formal assessment. At this point in the unit, I believe my students will be ready to begin writing their own poem. Segment three consists of eight lessons. During this lesson sequence I will provide them with a poetry template, instruct, model, and guide them in how to write a poem using the writing strategies practiced in our class (prewriting, drafting, revising, proof reading and publishing).

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edTPA Reflection Part 1

edTPA Reflection Part 1: Content Knowledge and Assessments

Content Knowledge 4.2: Setting Instructional Outcomes

All the instructional outcomes are clear, written in the form of student learning. Most suggest viable methods of assessment.

 Assessments 6.2: Designing Student Assessments With an Emphasis on Formative Assessment.

Teacher has a well-developed strategy to using formative assessment and has designed particular approaches to be used.

 edTPA Process

The edTPA process can be quite daunting for student teachers. However, when equipped with the right professors, resources and attitude the project is manageable and practical for completing a teacher-training program. When I started the edTPA project I decided to break the project into 3 parts. The first part included, determining what the edTPA objectives and requirements were and then based on that deciding what lesson sequence I wanted to use. The second part was implementing the lessons, documenting the process, collecting and evaluating the data. The third part was writing up the commentary for the edTPA tasks and then reflecting on the whole edTPA process. In this post I have included the first part of the edTPA process.

Part One: edTPA Objectives and Lesson Sequence

First I thought about what content I wanted to use for edTPA, Elementary Math or Literature. I decided to plan my lesson sequence around a poetry unit I was just about to begin with my 4th and 5th grade students. Once I made this decision I then downloaded the edTPA handbook and rubric for Washington State Elementary Literacy. I read through each of these several time to familiarize myself with what information I would need to include in my lesson sequence.

Second, I examined the curriculum I use for literature in my class, Houghton Mifflin Reading. I previewed the poetry unit objectives, learning targets and assessments and then made modifications to those centered on what I know about my students.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.21.21 PM

Figure 1.1

Based on all of the student’s prior academic learning and personal, cultural, and community assets I decided that my students would need explicit instruction, engaging materials, practice, cues, questions and organizers during each lesson. While brainstorming and drafting the lesson sequence I noted how I would teach information in a variety of ways to meet the varied learning needs of my students. I made sure to provide them not only with a visual representation of what they would be doing but also hands on activity like note taking and learning tasks to learn content. I designed posters and graphic organizers that aligned with the learning targets and academic language (see figure 1.1).

Third, I wrote up four detailed lesson plans that included, a mirrored pre-assessment, scripted teaching instruction, activities, and informal/formal assessments. I made sure that each lesson’s learning target built on the next lesson’s learning target, in order to meet the learning standards and central focus of the poetry unit. Throughout the lesson sequence I provided four formal assessments: a mirrored pre-assessment, an in class assignment, a homework assignment, and a mirrored post assessment. I strategically planned each one of these formal assessments throughout the lesson sequence to help me determine which students might need more support, decide which areas I would need to review/clarify and evaluate overall class achievement aligned to the lear
ning targets.

I also integrated a number of informal assessments throughout each lesson. Informal assessments comprised of question/answer, class discussion, one-on-one conferencing, and activity interaction as well as exit tickets. My students enjoy filling out exit tickets and I have found that exit tickets are a wonderful way for students to self-reflect what they are learning. On each of the exit tickets I made sure to include a section about the learning target, for example, “explain the learning target in your own wScreen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.24.28 PMords”, a numeric self-reflection of understanding and a question that aligned with the learning task for them to demonstrate what they learned (Figure 1.2). I also gave students an opportunity to share personal reflection or ask a question. This is was a way for me to “listen” to the needs of my class and reflect on how I might need to make changes to my lesson to meet their needs.

Part One Conclusion:

Once I had the lesson sequence planned out, posters, graphic organizers, activities, and assessments planned I emailed them to my classmate to examine. Using her feedback and encouragement I refined a few things on the lesson plans and prepared all of the materials. I was ready to begin part two of the edTPA process.

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