Internship Week 11: P1 – Practice Intentional Inquiry and Planning for Instruction

P1 – Practice Intentional inquiry and planning for instruction. This program standard emphasizes the importance of preparing curricula that is personalized to the diverse needs of each individual student. The evidence presented is a smart board slide from a math lesson covering the topic of line plots. Though the slide may seem simple in appearance, it was made in a way to meet the diverse needs of each student.

Visual and Sentence Frame

This evidence demonstrates the use of multiple methods to communicate more effectively towards the students in my class. Since the school is so diverse, many of the students have been or still are considered an ELL student. Due to this, it is essential that when I am planning my instruction to always consider the needs of the ELL students. The evidence utilizes the combination of a visual representation as well as a sentence frame structured around the essential question on the slide. Incorporating visuals or simple clip-arts in regards to the topic are great ways for supporting ELL students. In addition to this, sentence frames can help all students to more effectively communicate their responses. Both aspects in the lesson plan were created in order to personalize the lesson to the diverse needs of my class. The slide as well as the entirety of the lesson is based upon the state standard of being able to represent and interpret data using tools like line plots. This has benefited me in a variety of ways. First, I understand the importance of using standards-based curricula. Though, I also must be aware if this curriculum does in fact meet the diverse needs of each student or not. In addition, I have learned the importance to make the necessary adaptations to promote student learning and understanding. Student learning can improve when I use and make the necessary adaptations to standards-based curricula. Adaptations may be simple in nature by incorporating visuals or sentence frames, but have shown to improve student comprehension. For example, a student was trying to articulate their response or answer; I simply referred to the sentence frame. From this, the student was able to articulate their response effectively.

In the future, I would like to devote more time for intentional inquiry and planning for instruction, so I can better meet the diverse needs of each student. I believe this involves being aware of possible student struggles and making the necessary adaptations to minimize these. In addition, I will continue to learn new tools for adapting curricula to meet the needs of struggling learners as well as high achieving students.

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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.

 

EDU 6150: Project-Based Learning

Research has indicated that many lessons require outcomes at the lower levels of cognition and those students cannot think independently of the teacher or go beyond the content being taught (Borich, 2010). One approach to help students facilitate a higher level of learning is project-based learning. Project-based learning has three ideas of the importance of learning the process not just the product, helping students set goals, and uses instructional groupings to draw out cooperation from all group members to complete the project (p. 351). Why is project-based learning so important to the development of students? Borich (2010) states that project-based learning plays a critical role in the development of intrinsic motivation to the learning task (p. 351). This is important because as increasing of age is occurring in schools today students are experiencing a decline in academic motivation (Pressley, & McCormick, 2007, p. 261). It is crucial to develop student’s intrinsic motivation in that the work being done is not because it is what the teacher wants, but because the students have a desire to learn and grow academically.

What makes up a good project then? Borich (2010) states several key components which good projects possess. These characteristics are: extended duration, requiring weeks to complete; link several disciplines; focus on the process as well as the product; and involves the teacher as a coach and utilizes small-group work (p. 351). Projects can also be more meaningful towards students when they present a real-world or authentic challenge; allow for student choice and control; be an achievable task in the time allotment; requires collaboration; and can produce a tangible product (p. 351).

One common project that many schools partake in is the egg drop challenge. On the surface this project may seem only like a fun activity, but this activity can not only be engaging as well as incorporate many aspects of a “good” project. Students can be encouraged to experiment with a number of different designs for the challenge. These designs are to be drawn and rationales explained in the group journals. Additionally, the challenge can be used as an analogy to make it an authentic task – the egg being precious cargo re-entering the atmosphere from space and must safely land on the earth’s surface. Also, this project can use several disciplines of science, math, and require writing aspects through the journaling. Most importantly, students will have to work together to design and build their ideas in the given time frame. This is just a brief explanation of how the popular and fun projects can be adapted into a meaningful lesson that will intrinsically motivate students.

 

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

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

EDU 6150: Direct Instruction

One of the essential academic learning requirements (EALR) for third grade mathematics is for students to be able to round whole numbers through 10,000 to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand (OSPI, n.d.). This reflection post will be a brief lesson plan for the direct instructional method approach. The reason for using direct instruction approach is the effectiveness it has towards the teaching of facts, rules, and actions of sequences (Borich, 2010). Additionally, this approach has a greater emphasis on the teacher rather than in the indirect approach where the responsibility shifts towards the students (Scheuerman, 2013). Using direct instructional approach will be a simple and precise method to teach students what are whole numbers, specific number places, and concepts of rounding.

The first strategy of the direction instructional approach is a daily review and checking session. The primary function of this is to emphasize the relationships between lessons or knowledge previously learned (Borich, 2010). For this example students were given a worksheet to identify specific number places of either tenths, hundredths, and thousandths – then students will trade papers in class with a partner to correct and grade. By doing so, the teacher will gain useful information on whether or not the students have learned sufficiently to further proceed in the math unit (Borich, 2010).

The second strategy consists of presenting and structuring new content. For lesson would take the approach of sequential relationship which is the structuring of content through ordering – teaching content so that students will master the EALR goal of rounding whole numbers to the tenth, hundredth, or thousandths. By beginning with a homework assignment for students to identify number places, it will become obvious if students are ready to begin rounding numbers to the specific number place. The overall approach would take a sequential approach of learning what whole numbers are (this should be prior knowledge), recognizing number places, and being able to round to the nearest place.

The third strategy is guided student practice. This results in presenting stimulus material and then eliciting practice which is directed by the teacher and done of the desired behavior (Borich, 2010). One aspect of guided student practice is providing prompts, hints, and any other type of supplementary instruction. This lesson section would primarily involve verbal prompting so that students can be reminded of proper place values and to indicate which numbers should to be rounded. Likewise, modeling is another form of guided student practice. This would be achieved through the teacher demonstrating the proper way or ways to finding the solution. The teacher may be beginning to introduce the concepts of rounder numbers to the specific place and would demonstrate rounding the number 1,355 to the nearest hundredths. Teachers model because they want their students to be able to repeat the same actions when they are longer present (Borich, 2010). Additionally, students can be visual learners or need to see a problem completed once in order to gain a firmer grasp of new concepts.

The next strategy is to provide feedback and correctives. According to Borich (2010) students will respond in four different approaches: correct, quick, and firm; correct but hesitant; incorrect due to carelessness; and incorrect due to lack of knowledge (p. 238). Depending on the response to problem example, the teacher need to review information, explain the steps, prompt with clues or hints, or using different but similar problem to guide the student to the correct answer (p. 240). For example, if a student is struggling with which place is the tens and the hundreds – then it would be appropriate to review this information.

Finally, provide students with the opportunity for independent practice. This will result in unitization, which is the individual unit or steps in the problem-solving and automaticity, which is to connect the unit into the entire sequence (Scheuerman, 2013). Students here will practice problems on their own while the teacher can circulate to provide feedback or assistance when required.

The purpose for using direct instructional approach is to teach facts and content through active teaching and re-teaching if necessary. Through this approach students will learn in a sequential order of what whole numbers representing, number place values, and ultimately to learn how to round to the nearest number.

 

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

Scheuerman, R. (2013, April 29). EDU 6150 Course Lecture – Session 5: Direct and indirect instruction.

Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2013 from http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/learningstandards.aspx

 

EDU 6526: Final Thoughts

This course has not only been an enjoyable experience but has been very though provoking in the realm of pedagogical styles that have widely influenced the educational practices we see in schools today. For the most part I was unfamiliar with many of the instructional strategies introduced in EDU 6526. This course has given me a deeper knowledge base and has equipped me with various teaching models that will help me become a more efficient educator. Some of the instructional strategies that I found particularly influential were induction, cooperative learning, Bloom’s taxonomy, learner-centered approaches, and direct instruction. I particularly value the concept of inductive learning. This strategy requires the process of learning by example where a teacher will establish an instructional focus, develop conceptual control, and where skill or concept understanding is developed (Scheuerman, 2013). Intellectually, I am beginning to apply these strategies and think about how I would use them in my future classroom.

More importantly this class has taught be the importance of using a variety of strategies in the classroom. Students are becoming more and more individualized and not one method best suites the entire class of students. Teachers need to be equipped with a variety of instructional strategies that can be applied to the classroom. These strategies not only have their strengths but they too have weaknesses. For example, many times teachers will only use the strategy of cooperative learning. The overuse of this strategy can cause students to become “bored” where in reality students also need time in individual activities. Just because a method is effective, does not mean it should be used during every learning experience.

I know that path to becoming a teacher will not be easy or as direct as one intends, but it is that journey that really helps the development of practical ideas and strategies. Additionally, becoming a teacher as well as being a teacher is an active process. One can never state the importance of professional development so that we can continue to develop as an educator.

Scheuerman, R. (2013). EDU 6526 Course Lecture Notes.