Internship Week 2: H2 – Honor Student Access to Content Material

H2 – Honor student access to content material. This program standard emphasizes the importance for teachers to present information using a wide variety of instructional strategies. The evidence presented is a picture of the sentence frame used during one particular guided reading session. Students in my class are learning the qualities that make up a “good reader”. This particular guided reading session focused on matching a character trait with a character from the text. Students were required to support their pairing of character and trait with evidence from the text. Many of the students struggle with organizing their information, writing complete sentences, and finding detailed examples. Sentence frames are a useful tool when scaffolding instruction and can help students with both written and oral language. The evidence shows a sample work by one student during the guided reading. Though the sentence frame is not complex, it helps students organize and articulate their evidence efficiently.

Example of student work

Example of student work

As I watched the student use the sentence frame, I was able to see students effectively use them and improve their writing. The sentence frames allowed students to fill in the spaces appropriately; with little to no confusion. It helps students organize their evidence in a complete sentence format. This activity was especially beneficial in helping the students to be able to write out their thoughts about a character and their trait. Additionally, the activity incorporated concepts of “good reading” as well as being a “good writer”. Information presented using a wide variety of instructional strategies can be beneficial in helping all students become successful, especially as different learning levels are present in the classroom.

In the future, I can continue to use multiple teaching strategies to help students express their thoughts in written form. This would allow students to visualize and practice the framework of their own sentence writing. It also provides opportunities to practice writing with adequate support so that students are not relying on the sentence frames but still creating their own work. I hope to continue to develop and learn a vast range of teaching strategies to better teach each individual student.

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EDU 6363: Reflective Thinking

As John Carroll states “without sufficient time for reflection, what is taught is not internalized or connected to other learning (Scheuerman, 2014). Many times, students are not given the opportunity to reflect upon their activities throughout the day. Sometimes the issue is due to the lack of time or the teacher’s preference not to do so. Whatever the reason, the opportunity for reflection should not be disregarded. Drake and Burns (2004) state, “that students learn best when the material is relevant to them (p. 53). How can we build this relevance within our students? One way is by giving students the opportunity to reflect. Reflection on how the lesson connects with other subjects or our own personal lives. This connection which students are making will help deepen their knowledge and understanding of whatever is being taught and learned.

Allowing the opportunity for students to reflect upon a lesson does not guarantee that the student will internalize or connect the lesson to other subjects. Teachers must create an engaging lesson that will excite their students, causing them to want to learn more. Teachers need to use a variety of teaching strategies to meet the diverse learning needs of each individual student (Drake and Burns, 2004, p. 58). One way this can be achieved is through various visual organization tools. Students can utilize circle diagrams, multi-flow maps, or bubble maps in order to organize and make sense of the information. These tools also provides component for those individuals who may learn better visually. When a lesson has many dimensions or aspects to it that will cater towards the diverse needs of students, incorporating a reflection will help students to be able to connect with information at a much better level.

References

Drake, S.M., & Burns, R.C. (2004). Meeting standards through integrated curriculum. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Scheuerman, R. (2014, January 29). EDU 6363 Course Lecture – Session 4: Reflective Thinking and Language Arts Standards

EDMA 6432: TPA Lesson Plan

The final project of EDMA 6432: Elementary Math Methods, we were required to complete a written lesson plan using the Mathematics Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) template. Previously, I had written one lesson plan using SPU’s long form, and several others using the SPU’s short form so I felt comfortable and confident going into this assignment. The TPA lesson plan was much more challenging than I had expected. At times, the lesson plan seemed overwhelming with so many topics to cover. Questions were very specific and abundant in number. One thing I found particularly difficult was tying in the actual lesson activity with the rest of the form. I had a good idea of the basis for my lesson activity but many times I forgot to make the specific connections written questions. I think it would have been beneficial to work backwards beginning with the complete lesson activity in detail, then completing the rest of the TPA. I believe this way would have made it easier to make sure that everything aligns correctly.

I wrote my lesson plan on a third grade math lesson for fractions. It was a lot of hard work, but I am grateful for the experience of completing a TPA lesson plan.

Here is my lesson plan:

TPA Lesson Plan

EDMA 6432: Mini Lessons

In EDMA 6432, we were required for planning and presenting two mini lessons. These mini lessons were on different math concepts as well as one was to be for a primary elementary grade and the other intermediate elementary grade. My first lesson I chose to do on a lesson about probability for the 6th grade. What I found to be difficult was the use and implementation of the five talk moves. The classroom talk moves are: re-voicing, repeating, reasoning, adding on, and waiting (Chaplin, O’Connor, & Anderson, 2009). Prior to this, I had no experience or practice using any of the talk moves, so it felt as if these moves were almost unnatural to use in my lesson. This was also one of the few experiences I have had thus far teaching in front of a class. I thought the overall lesson went well but there were substantial areas for improvement. A few things I would have liked to change in this first mini lesson would have been to have a better flow throughout the lesson, to move around the class rather than be up by the white board, and to ask more thought provoking questions.

The second mini lesson was about perimeter for the 3rd grade. In the second mini lesson I felt confident, comfortable, and ready to present. Even from only have one practice lesson prior; I had a much better understanding how to implement the talk moves. My pace and flow of the lesson was much smoother than my first attempt. I was able to use and implement the talk moves throughout the discussion and was not isolated to the front of the classroom. At times though, I did try to use too many talk moves in a single question. I felt I provided much more provoking questions to the discussion. It was extremely helpful to already have questions written out to use. Overall I felt my second mini lesson was much improved from the first. I know and understand that the more practice I get in front of a class to practice the talk moves, the more comfortable and confident I will become. Both opportunities to present a lesson have given me great insight on areas where I have improved in the time of this course, as well as areas where I need continued practice.

Here are my the outlines for each mini lesson:

Mini Lesson 1

Mini Lesson 2

Reference

Chaplin, S.H., O’Connor, C., & Anderson, N.C. (2009). Classroom discussions: using math talk to help students learn. Sausalito, CA: Scholastic-Math Solutions.

 

EDMA 6432: Classroom Talk in Mathematics

I have always considered myself being good at math because I could recite algorithms, but I have realized through taking EDMA 6432: Elementary Math Methods that math is much more than facts, rules, or algorithms. The primary textbook used in the course was Classroom Discussion: Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn (2009) which emphasizes on five talks moves to promote mathematical learning for students. According to Chaplin, O’Connor, and Anderson (2009) classroom talk can promote learning in mathematics directly and indirectly. Classroom talk provides direct access to “ideas, relationships among those ideas, strategies, procedures, facts, mathematical history, and more” (p. 6). Students can also learn indirectly through the building of a social environment and community that encourages learning (p. 6). Classroom talk will help build students’ confidence about his or her ability especially in the engagement of intellectual discussion (p. 9). These classroom talk moves are: re-voicing, repeating, reasoning, adding on, and waiting.

In order for classroom talk to be effectively implemented within ones classroom, ground rules for respectful and courteous talk must be in place. Without ground rules for classroom discussion, students may feel unsafe to share their opinions and answers. I believe it is easy to sometimes overlook rules such as being respectful when others are speaking and to respect each and everyone’s opinions or answers. If these rules are not established and continually reminded throughout the school year, meaningful and respectful classroom talk may be extremely difficult to achieve.

All the five talk moves are important aspects of classroom discussion, and one could talk about each forever. I just wanted to address a few key points I personally feel is especially important with these moves. Simply having students repeat their own or other students’ responses will benefit students through hearing an explanation a number of times. It will also give students the practice in paying attention to someone other than the teacher (p. 72). Additionally, using wait time so that each student can have adequate time to think of an answer or response. The wait time applies to when the teacher has asked a question and also after the teacher has called upon a student for an answer or response (p. 17). Both instances demonstrate that fact that students need time to process and organize their thoughts so that it can be articulated. Again, one cannot stress each of the talk moves enough when trying to facilitate classroom talk. These two benefits really stood out to me as great ways to help promote learning and understanding.

Another important idea I took away from this text is not to simply tell students whether they are correct or wrong on their answers.  Chaplin, O’Connor, and Anderson (2009) state that, “students learn more when they consider incorrect options and then reject them based on reasoning rather than on the basis of an authority’s decision” (p. 77). This also involves the teacher avoiding simple “yes” or “no” style questions that require little to no thought for students to answer. Prior to this class I viewed math as a very straight forward subject – that one is either correct or wrong. Now I see and realize that through classroom discussion, students’ mathematical understanding and learning can be deepened.

Reference

Chaplin, S.H., O’Connor, C., & Anderson, N.C. (2009). Classroom discussions: using math talk to help students learn. Sausalito, CA: Scholastic-Math Solutions.

 

EDU 6526: Student Self-Esteem

It is very important as a teacher to foster each individual student’s self-esteem especially in their classroom work because “one of the best predictors of student academic achievement is student perceptions of their own academic abilities” (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). To simply put it, if students lack confidence in a particular subject or lesson – students will begin to lose motivation because they feel inadequate to complete the task.

One strategy commonly used to foster student self-esteem is by simply providing recognition. One method which makes effective use of recognition is referred to as “pause, prompt, and praise” (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). This method is best used when a student is facing a particularly demanding task and is having difficulty comprehending. The pause phase requires the students to stop and discuss with the teacher on the difficulties the student is undergoing and why he/she may be experiencing these difficulties. This then will progress to the prompt phase where the teacher will provide specific examples on how the student can improve his/her performance. Finally, the praise is given when the student’s performance improves based upon the suggested prompts (pp. 55-56). The success of finishing a difficult task will not only keep students motivated but will improve their self-esteem because students will realize that they can achieve anything as long as they put effort into it.

Using strategies of the “pause, prompt, and praise” will help maintain student’s self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the beliefs student has about their competence or ability to perform a task (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007). By helping students work through difficult tasks and recognizing their success, teachers can foster student self-esteem. There are always going to be instances where students get disappointed or frustrated by an assignment, but it is our responsibility to keep them motivated and by doing so, students will want to continue trying regardless of their previous failures of success.

Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instructions that works: research based instruction for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Pressley, N., & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: Guildford Press.

EDU 6526: Student Personalities and Emotions

One approach based upon the work of Carl Rogers is the nondirective teaching model. This model focuses on positive relationships which enable people to grow and because of this; instruction should be based on concepts of human relations rather than concepts of subject matter (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2009). The teacher’s role in the nondirective stance is one who guides student’s growth and development (p. 327). Furthermore, this model focuses on nurturing students rather than controlling the sequence of learning (p. 327). The nondirective approach has four qualities for its atmosphere. First, the teacher portrays warmth and responsiveness, showing genuine interest and accepting the students regardless of anything. Second, the teacher does not judge or moralize any of the students. Third, students are free to express their emotions and feelings – this does not mean they have control over the teacher and can act upon these emotions and feelings. Fourth, the teacher to student relationship is free from any type of pressure or coercion (p. 328).

I believe using these four approaches to produce a quality atmosphere can benefit each and every student. The classroom should not only feel safe and secure, but should foster the unique personalities and emotions of all students. In the nondirective approach, the teacher views every learning task as an opportunity to help the student grow as a person (p. 328). The nondirective model’s four qualities can help solve problems in personal, social, and academic situations. Each situation students would feel safe to not only express their feelings but to explore them as well. The overall theme of this model is that being a teacher is not implying a generic teacher to student relation, which is of an authoritative figure to help students learn academically. The social and emotional things students are exposed to are immense, where teachers now are becoming more and more of a counselor type role. Teachers need to address and help student’s personalities as well as their emotions.

 

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.