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.
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.
O2 – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area. This program standard highlights the teacher’s ability to plan and/or develop curricula that is standards driven so that students will develop understanding and problem-solving skills in the specific content area. The evidence presented is several journal prompt entries for mathematics. The journal prompt on the top is the hardest problem, then in the middle is harder, and the bottom is hard. Students may feel uncomfortable or incapable depending on their selection if these were labeled beginner, intermediate, or expert. Therefore, these prompts are labeled as hardest, harder, and hard in order to provide students with appropriate challenge levels in a manner that builds confidence and promotes students to strive to solve more difficult problems.
This evidence demonstrates math journal prompts that are derived based upon the state standards. Furthermore, they are developed so that the prompts will meet the needs of the various skill levels of students in the class. Having prompts that are appropriate for skill level will help support students to be able to develop deeper understanding and problem-solving skills. If problems are too difficult or too easy, then students will not be deepening their understanding or furthering their problem-solving skills because these problems would be solved with many mistakes or little effort.
This has benefited me in that I now realize the importance of finding appropriate challenges within all content areas that are derived from the state standards. This alignment will ensure that students are learning things vital to their success in future mathematical lessons and in following lessons or units. Also, working in a highly diversified school has taught me to provide appropriate challenge levels for all students in the class. This journal prompt is a great way to facilitate learning that is appropriate for the various skill levels identified within the class. It also provides a way for students to have some involvement within their learning process. Students are given the choice of which journal prompt to select. This gives students a sense of ownership and accomplishment when they can successfully answer a journal prompt they choose in order to challenge themselves. Students were able to learn in ways that is appropriate to their skill level in the mathematics unit. Providing prompts or problems that are challenging enough that causes students to tap into their prior knowledge of what they have learned and what they are learning will appropriately challenge them.
In the future, I would like to continue to create lessons that are standards based and provide every student with an appropriate challenge level. As we know students are individualized in their learning and that no two students learn in the same fashion. Due to this fact, teachers must different and individualize instruction to better meet the needs of each individual student. Providing journal prompts with various difficulties is a way to ensure that a student is receiving an appropriately challenged problem. I plan to continue to assess students in my class and to provide appropriate work so that they are not only successful but are challenged to deepen their understanding and to improve their problem-solving skills.
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.
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.
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.
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.
P3 – Practice standards-based assessments. This program standard emphasizes the significance for teachers to use standards-bases assessment that is systematically analyzed in order to monitor and improve instruction. To me this program standard focuses on using various assessment measures in order to more effectively teach students in areas where signs of misconceptions arise. The evidence presented is a formative assessment used at the beginning of fraction unit. The specific questions used on the assessment were derived based upon the state standards. Each question covered a particular aspect pertaining to the state standards in regards to fractions. This was just one of the assessment measures that were used throughout the fraction unit. Check-in questions, self-reflections, and a post-assessment were all administered as well throughout the fractions unit.
This evidence demonstrates the use of assessments in order to guide the mathematical instruction. The pre-assessment shown above was used to see student prior knowledge and the points of emphasis needed throughout the unit. For example, a majority of students had difficulties with the questions regarding equivalent fractions. Based upon this, the fourth grade team made it a point of emphasis by allowing more time to cover the concept as well as brainstorming methods to more effectively instruct equivalent fractions. Methods included using various manipulatives, drawing equivalent fractions, using number lines, and creating an equivalent fractions poster. The check-in questions and the self-reflections allows for the monitoring of student understanding. If student shows misunderstanding in either the check-in questions or self-reflections, this indicates that my instructional methods may need some adjustment in order to more effectively communicate key concepts or more time is needed on the particular concept. This has helped me realize the importance of using standards-based assessment in order to monitor and improve my instruction. This will result in more effective instruction because I will be better informed of the ability level of my students. I will be able to see students who may need additional support in addition to students who may need to be challenged more as well. Using various assessment measures has proven to be very effective in providing useful insight on student growth and development. Not only does it provide a method for me to track and monitor student learning, but utilizing self-reflections allows for student to be able to monitor their own learning as well. Likewise, aligning assessment with the state standards ensures that the essential academic learning requirements are being met.
In the future, I plan to continue to implement and use various assessment methods in order to monitor and improve my instruction. One way in which I can ensure this is to be purposeful with the assessments I use. For example in math, to always incorporate a check-out question after each lesson on a new concept. This will provide information of student learning and understanding of the lesson. In addition to this, I will incorporate throughout each unit multiple opportunities for students to be able to self-assess their own learning. Students may show an understanding of the concept by answering the check-out question successfully but in reality may be lacking the confidence or still needs more practice.
H4 – Honor family/community involvement in the learning process. This program standard highlights the importance for teachers to inform, involve, and collaborate with families or communities in the educational process. To me this program standard emphasizes the importance of being actively involved in student development. This can be achieved by collaborating with the student and their families in order to help students be more successful in the classroom. The evidence presented is the document used for the school’s check-in check-out system. This is typically used for students who struggle in the classroom following rules and procedures. It incorporates a goal for students to strive towards throughout each school day based upon a 0-2 point system. Also, it provides as a communication method with the student’s family at home because it requires the student to show it to their parents and get their signature.
This evidence shows a modified version of the check-in check-out template which I adapted for one of the students in my classroom. This student has been struggling to stay on task and make good decisions. The evidence is used to communicate home with the student’s parents. I use it to emphasize the days when the student has met his goals in addition to the subject periods where the student was off-task or distracted. The purpose is not to be a negative on the student’s performance, but to accentuate moments when the student is engaged and focused. This communication between the students home will allow for opportunities where the student’s parents could praise, encourage, or discuss what went well or what a struggle was. This experience has helped me realize the importance of keeping parents informed on both the successes as well as the troubles of the class. Prior to using the check-in check-out system, the only communication I had with the student’s parents was multiple phone calls home due to inappropriate behaviors. It has also taught me how powerful it can be to set goals with students. This document has promoted student learning since the student has become extremely aware and motivated to meet the goal. This motivation has resulted in an overall better performance throughout the school day. In addition, the student has demonstrated becoming more conscientious of when he is off-task and showed honesty by scoring himself accurately based on his performance.
In the future, I would like to make more of an effort to communicate home on a more consistent basis with each of my students’ parents. I have seen on multiple occasions how an email home to a parent can drastically improve student behavior in the class. By also communicating student successes in the classroom, parents can continue to praise and encourage their children. One way I plan on doing this when I have more own classroom is to send home monthly letters or emails updating on student performance, praises, and/or concerns. Simple communication home can really support student achievement and performance.
H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society. This program standard emphasizes the importance to prepare our students to be responsible citizens for an environmentally sustainable, globally interconnected, and diverse society. The way I interpret this standard is how we are promoting student citizenship based upon practices in the classroom. The evidence presented is a picture of a chart the class created in regards to cooperation. The class in general had been struggling cooperating in small group activities and this chart was created as a result of the difficulties the students were having. The emphasis of this chart was to make personal connections with words or phrases that reminded the students of cooperation. In addition, the class brainstormed what cooperation looked like, sounded like, and felt like.
This evidence shows student generated ideas for what cooperation looks, sounds, and feels like. From the list that was created, subsequent group lesson activities emphasized one of the three components. For example, the objectives for a social studies lesson had an academic goal as well as a cooperation goal. One specific lesson’s cooperation goal was for students to be able to demonstrate what cooperation sounds like. Before releasing the students to the group activity, the class reviewed what cooperation sounded like. Questions were asked like what words or phrases should I (the teacher) be hearing if groups were cooperating. If Ms. Estephan (the principal) walked into the classroom, what would she hear? This was to prime students brains and also make real-world connections on how cooperation should really sound like. This was also connected back towards when groups cooperate and demonstrate teamwork; they are more successful in the task at hand. Having an objective that promotes student roles in the greater society will not only improve the classroom environment, but also prepare students to become responsible and successful citizens. Incorporating charts to build a positive classroom environment has shown to be an effective tool to teach students important life skills of working with others. After the lesson, students reflected upon their groups and how well they cooperated. Students shared how they had to compromise and work together to come to a consensus decision. Additionally, students shared various dialogues between the groups members that demonstrated what cooperation sounded like. Without an emphasis played on the learning objective of cooperation, students would have been unable to learn and shown their ability to be responsible citizens in a diverse society.
In the future, I plan on continuing to incorporate community building opportunities similar to the one my classroom did on cooperation. I will take a look at the citizenship skills that my students are having difficulty with and to make a conscious effort in promoting these aspects by integrated them within my lesson plans. This is an effective measure and has been a positive experience in my classroom. Students have shown substantial improvements in the area of cooperation and as a teacher it is my responsibility to prepare my students for roles in the greater society.