Internship Week 12: H3 – Honor the Classroom/School Community as a Milieu for Learning

H3 – Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning. This program standard emphasizes the importance implementing classroom/school centered instruction that is in direct relation with the communities within the classroom and school. More specifically, this includes the knowledge and the skills for working with others. The evidence presented is several smart board slides from a class building activity. Several times throughout the week, we try to have some sort of class building activity that places a focus on building the classroom community and various social and cooperative skills.

11A

 

 

 

11B

 

This evidence demonstrates several components of honoring the classroom community as a milieu for learning. First of all, one of the goals for the activity places a focus on a community skill of being able to use complete sentences while maintaining a friendly conversation. Prior to the activity, I demonstrated with a student an example of a friendly conversation and students shared what they noticed. For example, students noticed eye-contact, smiling, and not interrupting each other. In addition to this, students were able to find out more/new things about their classmates because they were given various questions to ask different students in the classroom.

This has benefitted the class in a variety of ways both academically and socially. First, students were able to practice good conversational skills while participating with various members in the class. An emphasis was placed for students to seek out individuals who they normally don’t talk with. In addition, students were given the instruction that sticks would be drawn for sharing something new they found out about any of their classmates at the end of the activity. The activity provided an academic skill of using complete sentences when asking questions and responding. Students in the class have been struggling using complete sentences and this activity helped support this skill. Likewise, the activity requires students to give their partner a high five when beginning and ending. The combination of taking turns in a friendly conversation, high fiving, and finding out new things about the class has really shown to improve the community atmosphere. Students were eager to share the new things they found out about their classmates and I even observed students who typically don’t participate, were seeking classmates to have a conversation with. Students were able to learn skills necessary for working with others. Skills such as taking turns, maintaining eye-contact, and finding a new partner all help facilitate students’ ability to work cooperatively with others.

In the future, I would like to devote a consistent weekly time for social and/or community building time. This is especially important in promoting a positive environment where students feel comfortable and work cooperatively together.

EDU 6363: Aligning Assessment and Instruction

One difficulty that may arise is the ability to align assessment and instruction within a unit. It is the goal for teachers to create a unit that is rich in the connectivity to curriculum goals, student interests, potential for complex associations, and collaborative projects (Scheuerman, 2014). Even though a unit may provoke all these aspects, it is important to complement ongoing instructional activities with ongoing assessments. As Drake and Burns (2004) states teachers should be asking, “How do I know when the student knows this?” and at the same time be considering, “How do I make this an interesting and relevant activity?” (p. 77). It can be difficult to implement a meaningful assessment activity that will complement the unit activities. Some ways a teacher could achieve this are through clear expectations, reflections, or by students teaching others. Clear expectations can be made through having specific performance criteria or a rubric (p. 78). Rubrics allow students to understand the criteria for assessment before beginning the project. Reflections can be done through daily journals, discussions, or self-assessments. This is a great approach in providing an ongoing assessment that can be easily referenced. Finally, one can assess a student’s teaching performance through tutoring or demonstrations (p. 78). When students truly know the material, they are able to articulate and teach it to their peers.  These are all methods in which a teacher can align their teaching and assessment with their learning principles.

References

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

Scheuerman, R. (2014, February 5). EDU 6363 Course Lecture – Session 5: Integration, Academic Integrity, and Language Arts Methods (I).

EDU 6363: Integrated Curriculum – Multidisciplinary

According to Drake and Burns (2004), integrated curriculum is about making connections. These connections are made across academic disciplines, real life examples, skill-based, and knowledge-based information (pp. 7-8). There are three approaches to integrations, they are: multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary integrations. Each has their benefit and schools implement these approaches for various purposes. This reflection will focus on the multidisciplinary approach for several reasons. Multidisciplinary integration is having “separate subjects, but may be organized around a unifying theme” (Scheuerman, 2014a). I feel that the multidisciplinary integration method would be the most effective method for a newer teacher. I believe it will keep things simple enough not to overwhelm a new teacher but also provide the necessary learning elements for students to not only enjoy but excel in.

This can involve a fusion where teachers fuse skills, knowledge, or even attitudes into the regular school curriculum (Drake, & Burns, 2004). Additionally, teachers can create a themed-based unit where various subject areas are involved in the study of the theme. An integrated culminating activity could be done at the end of the units where it involves all aspects of each subject area (Drake, & Burns, 2004). Regardless of which integration approach a teacher or school decides to implement, there are many important factors where creates an environment for successful social studies learning. The factors that really stood out were to use a variety of teaching strategies and to build real-world relevance and applications of knowledge. Using a variety of teaching strategies incorporates active and passive acquisition of knowledge (Scheuerman, 2014b). Through utilizing projects where students have to recreate or use the skills learned in the units will promote their active and passive skills of knowledge. Furthermore, it is crucial to build real-world relevance not only in social studies but across all academic subjects. When knowledge has real-world relevance to students, they can make personal connections as well as apply it to their own lives.

As I grow and develop as a teacher, I hope to be able to incorporate an integrated curriculum approach that utilizes all three approaches of: multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary integration.

References

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

Scheuerman, R. (2014a, January 15). EDU 6363 Course Lecture – Session 1: Ideas, definitions, and co-teaching approaches.

Scheuerman, R. (2014b, January 15). EDU 6363 Course Lecture – Session 2: The discovery metaphor and social studies methods I.

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

H3 Principle: Honor the classroom/ school community as a milieu for learning

To me, H3 involves setting up and creating a safe classroom community where each individual has the opportunity to grow and develop as a student. This involves establishing clear rules and procedures, organized classroom set-up, utilizing disciplinary interventions, and building a positive teacher-student relationship. One way I would honor the classroom as a place for learning is through the establishment of my own management philosophy. A management philosophy is a summary of how I would create a positive learning environment through my instructional approach, organization of classroom structure, and handling typical challenges.  Figure 1 shows my management philosophy that I will continue to adapt to better meet the needs of my students. I wrote this for EDU 6130: Classroom Management. Figure 1

To become an effective teacher, I have learned that I must establish order in the class, actively engage students, and elicit cooperation so that teaching and learning can occur. Marzano (2003) states “effective teaching and learning cannot take place in a poorly managed classroom.” This means that a teacher must properly manage the classroom as a setting for learning. Marzano (2003) suggests through creating rules and procedures, effectively organizing the classroom, using disciplinary interventions, and building a positive teacher-student relationship effective teaching and learning can occur. Classrooms become an environment for learning when students feel safe, respected, and are actively engaged. Much planning and adaptations must take place when establishing a management philosophy. One cannot simply create a management philosophy based upon what they think is required necessary for students and for the classroom. Having a management plan set up is important, but knowing and willing to adjust the management plan based upon the students needs is crucial. One way to ensure that my plan is effective is to continually reexamine the management plan and to assess my students. This can be achieved by asking students if they feel safe in the classroom, or how I am doing implementing the management plan. A resource I could seek for further assistance is through the help of my peers whom I could collaborate effective methods for honoring the classroom as a milieu for learning.

Marzano, R. J. (2003). Classroom management that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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 6150: Effective Teaching

There are five key behaviors which are considered essential for effective teaching. These key behaviors are: lesson clarity, instructional variety, teacher task orientation, engagement in the learning process, and student success rate (Borich, 2010; Scheuerman, 2013). All five behaviors are extremely important but the focus of this reflection will be specifically on lesson clarity and teacher task orientation.

According to Borich (2010), lesson clarity refers to how clear and precise a teacher’s presentation is to the class (p.8). There are multiple indicators which teachers can harness in order to be clear in their presentation. Being clear consists of several factors of creating a sound lesson plan as well as understanding the audience whom the lesson will be presented to. An effective teacher will inform the learners of the lesson objectives and give directives slowly and distinctly (p. 9). Additionally, effective teachers will provide students with advance organizers, examples, illustrations, and demonstrations to explain or clarify (p. 9). Much time and effort can go into creating a lesson with various learning materials to help further learning. This time and effort may be for nothing if the teacher does not understand their students. Effective teachers will check for task-relevant prior learning, and will know the ability levels of the students and will teach at or slightly above these levels (p. 9). Finally, teachers that are effective in providing lesson clarity will incorporate a review or summary at the end of each lesson (p.9). All these are indicators for lesson clarity and are used by effective teachers. I hope to incorporate these aspects of lesson clarity in order to better present information and to make ideas clear to learners in various levels of understanding.

Teacher task orientation is a behavior that refers to the classroom time a teacher devotes to teaching an academic subject. Borich (2010) states, “the more time allocated to teaching a specific topic, the greater the opportunity students have to learn” (p. 10). Effective teachers will demonstrate many skills for teacher task orientation. Several simple aspects which are not necessarily easy to achieve are how a teacher handles administrative and clerical interruptions and how a teacher stops or prevents misbehaviors with minimum class disruption (Borich, 2010). Teachers should have some sort of rules and consequences established in regards with misbehaviors. Additionally, effective teachers will develop a lesson plan that reflects the most relevant features of the curriculum. From this, teachers can select the most appropriate instructional model for the objectives being taught (p. 12). Finally, an effective teacher builds the unit outcomes with clearly definable events such as weekly or monthly review, feedback, or testing (p. 12). This can be done by establishing a schedule where the classroom activities are beginning and ending with events that are clearly visible and known to the students. Overall, it is very important to allow students adequate time on specific topics, stay focused on the key points of the lesson, and to reduce any sort of distractions that may arise.

In addition to developing these five key behaviors, I will strive to continue to develop and improve my personality in order to build a cohesive learning environment and my attitude towards the students, teaching, and subject matter (Scheuerman, 2013). The combination of these skills will help me develop into an effective teacher.

Borich, G.D. (2010). Effective teaching methods: research-based practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Scheuerman, R. (2013, April 1). EDU 6150 Course Lecture – Session 1: Effective teaching: key and helping behaviors.