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


EDU 6150: The Affective Domain

The affective domain is the development of attitudes, beliefs, and values which in the domain that will be discussed in this posting (Borich, 2010). The cognitive and psychomotor domains are likewise important, but in an elementary classroom I feel as if the affective domain can potentially have the greatest impact of the development of the students. I have this viewpoint because the affective domain not only promotes the growth knowledge but also incorporates important life skills of attitudes, believing, and valuing.

The affective domain is comprised of five levels including: receiving, responding, valuing, organizing, and characterizing (Borich, 2010 & Scheuerman, 2013). According to Borich (2010) objectives at the receiving level requires students to be aware or passively attend to phenomena or stimuli (p. 96). Receiving involves looking, listening, and noticing or being attentive. These skills are very simple but are some of the foundation pieces to developing the proper learning skills that students need to possess. The next objective is responding which requires students to comply with expectations to the given phenomena or stimuli (p. 97). Responding incorporates complying, discussing, participating, and practicing (Scheuerman, 2013). These skills are very important as it is an instrumental part of the education to be able to follow the directions and instructions of the teacher. Responding is followed by valuing, which requires students to display behaviors consistent with a single belief or attitude (Borich, 2010). The ability to value requires students to be able to act, debate, express, and help in a respectful manner. Students must learn especially at a young age, to place value upon something and to be able to justify his/her beliefs or attitude. The next level of the affective domain is organization which involves two aspects: forming reasons to value certain things and to make appropriate choices (Scheuerman, 2013). Students are expected in the organization level to be able to compare, decide, and select. Finally, the characterization level requires that all behaviors which are displayed by the students are to be consistent with their values (Borich, 2010). This involves the ability to display, manage, resolve, and avoid any issues that may come up. For example Borich (2010) gives an example that a student will have a helping and caring attitude towards students with disabilities in and outside of the class (p. 100). Characterization is the highest level of the affective domain and requires that development of skills that are necessary for outstanding citizens of society.

The levels of receiving, responding, valuing, organization, and characterization move along a path of lowest level or less authentic to highest level or more authentic. It is very important as a teacher when developing the affective domain to progress all levels and not over emphasizing one or another. This will ensure that a student’s affective domain will be developed in all levels.


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

Scheuerman, R. (2013, April 15). EDU 6150 Course Lecture – Session 3: Goals, objectives, and lesson planning.

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.