Internship Week 14: P2 – Practice Differentiated Instruction

P2 – Practice differentiated instruction. This program standard emphasizes the significance for teachers to apply principles of differentiated instruction. This includes theories of language acquisition, stages of language, and academic language development in the integration of subject matters. The evidence presented is the place value poem which was utilized and recited during the decimal unit. It was presented as a smart board slide but was also recreated as a poster to place on the walls of the classroom for students to reference throughout the decimal unit.

Place Value Poem

This evidence demonstrates the use of differentiated instruction as it incorporates a poem which was recited by the entire class in order to help students say and write decimals. This was used in combination with the district curriculum which places an emphasis on a place value organizer. The combination of both the poem and the organizer helped students become more successful in writing and saying decimals. The place value poem also helped promote students language acquisition of tenths and hundredths. This was a struggle for many of the ELL students in the classroom as they had difficulties spelling and saying both of these place values. The poem also promoted students’ academic language development as one of the focal points of the lesson was to be able to say decimals accurately. Many students began the unit saying for example 0.43 as forty-three hundreds rather than hundredths. By the end of the lesson, students were more successful in saying and writing decimals. During the next day’s lesson, the whole class reviewed the poem and practiced as a group saying various decimals.

This experience has helped me realize the importance of differentiating instruction for all students. Not only did the place value poem really benefit those students who had language acquisition deficiencies, it promoted all students in the classroom to really grasp and understand the concept of saying and writing decimals accurately. In additional to this, this experience taught me how important it is to differentiate the instruction due to the fact that each student individually learns in a unique way. The place value poem incorporates reciting (reading and saying) and has a visual component (for visual learners). It also requires students to chant tenths and hundredths at the end which is good practice for saying these decimal vocabularies and realize the difference between tenths and tens. It provided multiple approaches to reach the objective of saying and writing decimals because when students are able to say decimals correctly, they can then write them.

This evidence has promoted student learning in that the majority of the class were able to successfully say and write decimals. Students demonstrated their ability during whole group instruction and in small groups. Furthermore, students showed their acquisition of being able to say and write decimals throughout their homework which was turned in the next day. Students really enjoyed and were engaged with being able to recite the poem. It also allowed students to make the connection with their background knowledge of individual names. This really helped students understand how to write decimals as they are all familiar with first names and last names.

In the future, I plan to different instruction in a variety of methods. I believe that utilizing instructional strategies of reciting poems or songs provides students with a different type of exposure rather than just directly instructing the students. I hope to continue to use and learn methods to differentiate my instruction so that it best meets the needs of each individual student in my class.

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EDTC 6431: Learning Tool Exploration 3 – Slideshare

For my third learning tool exploration I decided to take a look at slideshare. Slideshare is an online community where the user can share their presentations, documents, PDF’s, videos, and webinars. Slideshare is free to sign up but does offer a “pro” version for an additional fee. On slideshare you can upload your presentations either publicly of privately and download or view presentations shared by other users.

Slideshare home page:

Slideshare Main Page

What I valued most about this tool is the ease to use and the ability to share your own presentations. As a teacher I can upload my documents and power point presentations on slideshare where students could refer to. I can simply give the students my user name and then students will have access to any presentations I have shared on slideshare. This can be extremely useful for students who may be slower at taking notes or maybe needed a reminder on a certain presentation. Students can also print off slides or lectures prior to class which will help in note taking. Instead of emailing students presentations or notes, simply stating that all my documents are on slideshare will save the hassle of trying to get the documents out.

Sample of a shared lesson:

Sample Lesson

Another great feature about the tool is the ability to search for presentations shared by other users. Many of the presentations are sample lessons, teaching tools, and workshops taught. As a teacher these presentations shared by others will help me continue to learn about various topics as well as provide supplemental materials that could be used in my classroom.

Sample of a search result:

Sample Search Results

The one feature I wished it had is a more detailed organizational method. Currently, the user can organize by presentations, documents, infographics, and videos. It would make things easier for example if under presentations, you can organize those files into categories like subject or class. Other than that I find this tool extremely helpful in presenting materials in a quick and efficient manner that can be easily accessible to my students.

EDTC 6431: Language Dancing

The chapters by Christensen and Johnson (2011) were very interesting. Since I have had classes that have discussed in some detail about student motivation, I was more intrigued by Chapter 6: The Impact of the Earliest Years on Students’ Success. The one fact that jumped out was Christensen and Johnson (2011) stating “the children whose parents did not begin speaking seriously to their children until their children could speak […] suffered a persistent deficit in intellectual capacity, compared to those whose parents were talkative from the beginning” (p. 2592). I have always known that early development for children was extremely important, but never thought about the importance of the child’s intellectual development between 0-12 months and how communication can affect it. Christensen and Johnson (2011) talk about “language dancing” which is essentially talking, thinking aloud, and commenting on what the child or parent is doing or planning. This has shown to cultivate curiosity in children (Christensen & Johnson, 2011, p. 2614).

How can a teacher who may work with children as young as 3 (for pre-k) help facilitate growth and development that occurs at home? The solution Christensen and Johnson (2011) give is to teach children how to be parents before they become parents (p. 2683). They state that high school can be a place where classes could teach students early cognitive development for future parents (p. 2683). I personally feel that this could be beneficial and could be a lesson added on to the sexual education unit. Even though I think that this could be beneficial I am not convinced that students would care or get enough out of the lesson or unit to have a significant impact. My fear would be it would just be another thing that “goes in one ear and out the other” as students would not pay attention because they don’t have kids and won’t have kids for some time so why does it truly matter to them. It may be difficult for high school students to see and understand the big picture of the importance of “language dancing”.

This chapter also reminded me of the importance of demonstrating the proper use of words and language in the classroom. Not communicating at the cognitive level of your class, but communicating using dialect rich in vocabulary. For elementary, this could be to use the new vocabulary words throughout the week so that students become familiar with the sound, articulation, and the usage of the new words. The importance of using high levels of communication rich in vocabulary is similar towards the importance of “language dancing” for infants. Children may not totally understand the vocabulary or sentences but the exposure is important and will require students to explore definitions and sentence contexts.

E-Text Screen Shot

The research article shared about E-Texts was really interesting to me. On one hand I do understand and believe the E-Texts are extremely easy to use and can be much more portable then the standard textbook. They offer quick and easy ways to highlight, bookmark, make notes, and organize information. Students won’t have to worry about losing a textbook or damaging from writing inside when using E-Texts. On the other hand I think having technology such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops allows for more opportunities for students to be multitasking or doing other work. How many times have you been in a computer class and had another window open for something unrelated to what you were working on? I believe this problem would be significant for students and the reason why they like using E-Texts. They can easily go from their E-Text to checking their facebook with the teacher even knowing.

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

EDTC 6431: Students as Teachers

Textbooks are something that has been a part of education for some time now, and I personally do not see that changing anytime soon. More and more texts are available online, but I still do not see actual texts going anywhere. I agree with Christensen and Johnson’s (2011) frustration with the current education using textbooks. Christensen and Johnson (2011) mention that the industry focuses on creating and commercializing books for the large undifferentiated masses of students (p. 2296). Furthermore, textbooks by their very mature are fixed and static (p. 2296). In the course EDU 6133: Diversity in America, I was given an assignment to review a textbook. What I found about the textbook is that the material presented followed the traditional or typical elementary social studies texts for the information that was introduced. Just as Christensen and Johnson (2011) is that textbooks are typically fixed and static meant for the majority of the population. Those students who excel at reading and interpreting information from texts will learn from utilizing textbooks, but what about those who struggle in this academic area?

The solution that Christensen and Johnson (2011) foresee in the near future is through the usage of integrated software. Integrated software “can incorporate pathways for different types of learners as methods for teaching in these different ways become understood” (p. 2333).  In essence students can learn from other students as well as share their findings or methods to others on the network. I am not totally sold on this digital approach, but I do believe that these efforts to meet the needs of the individual students are extremely important. Christensen and Johnson (2011) best puts it by saying “we often learn better when we teach than when we listen to a teacher” (p. 2437). Students need to be actively engaged and this can be achieved by having students teach their classmates. I really like the idea of students sharing what they have discovered or how they came for their answer. Some students just learn better when other students articulate their answers rather than listening to the teacher. Online learning is not the only way to differentiate instruction, teachers can still create lessons that stray from the traditional elementary approach of worksheets or high school lectures. I believe there is no denying the potential towards these online approaches and even in the next five years it will be interesting to see their educational impact.

Dropdown Bar

I feel totally comfortable and familiar with using the eReader now. A new feature that I used this week was the dropdown bar in the notes and markings section. It makes it much easier to find the specific note, highlight, or bookmark by organizing through the specific category. Instead of having to scroll through all my notes and highlights to find the one bookmark, I am able to view just the bookmarks. This function especially now that I have a bunch of markings comes in handy.

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

EDTC 6431: Learning Tool Exploration 2 – Brainscape and Flashcardlet

For my second learning tool exploration, I decided to search for something that would not only benefit myself as a teacher, but also a tool that could be utilized by my students as well. I began to search for SmartPhone applications because of the growing number of younger students who have and are able to efficiently work or play on their phones. Thinking back upon our previous modules one key aspect that continued to stand out towards me was in Module 2 about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.  The multiple intelligences approach should be in alignment with the individual’s stronger intelligence so that understanding and learning can come easier and be done with greater enthusiasm (Christensen, Johnson, & Horn, 2011).  I stumbled across a free application called Brainscape more specifically the flashcardlet function. Brainscape in an application that allows users to create and share your flashcards and explore the expert content Brainscape has to offer, though this content was limited. There is a free flashcardlet app as well that allows users to create simple flashcards on their SmartPhone devices. On this separate application you can download other user’s flashcards specifically for your devices as well.

Sample flashcard making

Sample flashcard making on Brainscape

What I valued most about these applications is that it provides students with another method for learning new material and is conveniently done so on their SmartPhones or tablets. I can either create my own set of flashcards for students to use or use flashcard sets already made by other users that would help students further learn the particular topic. These flashcards can be large decks in number and can include images and sounds as well. Furthermore, having flashcard decks already made for students to use will save students time. Not only can these applications be used by my students, but as teachers we need to continually learn as well. I can use these applications to study up on a topic that I may be a bit rusty on or just need to be simply reminded on key elements.

Flashcardlet

Sample flashcardlet flashcard

Some challenges with these applications are that to create any sort of flashcards with images or sounds you must do it online at Brainscape.com. It said that syncing between ones Brainscape account and Flashcardlet account will be done automatically, but I was unable to figure out how to do so. The tutorials and help online were very limited, so it was frustrating that two applications that are to compliment each other were not syncing. Additionally, with anything free comes the advertisements which is a drawback for these apps.

Another positive to both applications is the ease to storing and sharing of flashcard decks. This can be achieved through using Dropbox or emailing flashcards to the intended recipients.

Sharing via email or dropbox

Sharing via email or dropbox

One of the challenging things with any sort of SmartPhone or tablet application is that not every student has access to these types of technology. This application is currently only available for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch. I think that Flashcardlet can be a great tool for students to learn and study about any topic and they can conveniently do so wherever as long as they have the device. Brainscape seemed more geared towards older students or for teachers but the flashcardlet app could be beneficial for younger students wanting to use flashcards on their devices.

https://www.brainscape.com/

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

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.