M7U2A2 Reflection on My Three Lesson Plans

The purpose of this blog entry is to reflect on three lesson plans that I will be teaching in the coming week.  In this reflection I will (a) examine what I have planned and determine whether I could do more in these lesson plans to (i) integrate technology, (ii) build schema in my teaching, and (iii) integrate twenty-first century strategies into these lesson plans.  I will also (b) reflect on areas I may have overlooked in my lesson plans and how these could be implemented, and (c) areas where I believe I need more training and support and how I could obtain these (possibly with the assistance of my mentor).

 

Lesson Plan 1

In terms of my first lesson plan (topic: Dictation and Vocabulary), (a) (i) I have integrated technology by sourcing and displaying images for the vocabulary words that the class will review at the start of the lesson and for the ones that will be taught during the lesson.  This is simultaneous a way to (ii) build schema of the concepts in my students’ minds.  In addition, to further reinforce their mental schema, I will be supplying definitions and examples of the usage of the words and students will suggest examples that I will correct orally for all to hear.  Although I believe the images alone may be sufficient to cement the words in my students’ consciousness, we will also be doing a show-and-tell homework assignment where they will bring in an object associated with each word to show and discuss with the class.  This activity will further build schema about the word concepts.  (iii) This latter show-and-tell activity exploits the twenty-first century skill of knowledge building because students find different connections to the vocabulary word.  In addition, students are made globally aware because the vocabulary words are all sourced from the African novel we are reading in class – a novel which is autobiographical in nature and explains in detail the author’s childhood and life experiences in an African community.  (b) An area I feel I may have overlooked in this lesson plan is enhancing formative and summative assessments with technology.  To this end, I think it is important for me to find concrete yet innovative ways to instantly assess and verify struggling students’ understanding of the material (viz. vocabulary words).  I am hoping some of my cohort members’ reflection blogs contain some ideas on this because I cannot think of anything to use in such a circumstance.  (c) An area that I could improve upon is my application of the ‘stretch-it’ (elaboration) and ‘right-is-right’ (complete answers) techniques promoted by Robert Marzano (2007).  I am acutely aware of the embarrassment low-achieving students could experience when they are asked a question to which they do not know the answer.  I tend to be far too empathetic and feel this embarrassment for them.  As a result, I simply move on to another student rather than pressing them for the answer or to elaborate on the answer.  What I need to do instead is to remember to apply Marzano’s ‘no-opt-out’ technique where he allows another student to answer but then comes back to the first student to have them repeat that answer.  (Marzano attests that this technique allows the low-achieving student to feel some form of success when they finally are able to answer the question correctly.)  I could also explicitly state to my class that “There is nothing wrong with not knowing the answer.  What is wrong is not trying.”  I am also aware that I need more training in how to acquire ‘with-it-ness’ – or as I prefer to call it ‘teacher acumen’ (since a perfectly good word exists to adequately describe this concept and since learning and using this word will also help build teachers’ vocabulary!).  In reviewing my baseline teaching video I observed that I was not managing what was going on at the back of the class and that I often simply do not see students at that back of the class raise their hands.  I believe this is a skill that may be perfected with practice, but at least I am now aware of it and can try to work on improvement.  Nevertheless, I plan to establish some form of hand-signal code with my mentor so she can tell me when I am not monitoring all students well enough.  (She may actually need to call or shout out to me, because sometimes I do not even hear the students at the back or others calling my name when I am absorbed in explaining something to a student!)

M7U2A1 Lesson Plan 2017-03-01 1

 

Lesson Plan 2

In my second lesson plan (topic: Patterns and Algebra), (a) (i) I had not planned to use any technology.  However, on reflection, I think I could reserve and set-up one or two laptops with exercises from the Khan Academy for struggling students to practice the math concepts with and perhaps for others in the class to take turns on.  This second lesson plan is (ii) very heavy on schema building.  Patterns were drawn on the board and in notebooks, and manipulatives such as popsicle sticks were used to represent the shapes.  I think that an extended exercise on schema could be to use art materials and glue to build 3-D objects, (though I would only want to do this later on in this unit because it could complicate things).  (iii) In effect this last activity would also integrate twenty-first century skills because using art makes the math lesson interdisciplinary and creative.  In addition, the activity would then involve even more problem-solving and collaboration than it already did in their groups of four and pairs (the latter during the textbook exercise).  (b) Although I love mathematics, teaching math is more stressful for me because answers are usually either right or wrong.  I have a great fear of teaching my students something that is wrong or simply making a mistake and appearing incompetent.  This anxiety leads me to come across as more stern and standoffish than I really am.  I am not really sure what – if anything – I could do to change this.  I believe that the nerves I experience may diminish with more time spent in the classroom and once I gain more confidence in my new profession of teaching.  In terms of this lesson, I could have introduced the metacognitive strategy of self-regulation by telling students what they should be able to do by the end of the lesson.  E.g. “Students Will Be Able To:” (SWBAT).  In addition, I know that one of my weaknesses is figuring out how to plan better for low-achievers.  (c) Perhaps my mentor can model for me her interactions with such students during the lesson and give me some insights into how to do this while not ignoring the rest of the class.

M7U2A1 Lesson Plan 2017-03-01 2

 

Lesson Plan 3

If possible, I think I could (a) (i) successfully integrate technology into this lesson plan by pre-typing my poster and using a projector to display the example on the board, rather than just sticking it up there with tape.  It would also be good to source and display images to go along with and enhance the themes, quotes and connections discovered in chapters 1 and 2 of the novel.  (ii) On reflection, I think that I could find a better way to build the schema in this lesson plan.  A good exercise could be to use the initial posters as a draft and then have the entire class work together to make final decorated posters chronicling the themes through each chapter of the novel.  This would definitely help students remember the novel in its entirety and make sense of all the themes within it.  Another option would be to have the entire class work together to either create a mind map poster or an electronic mind map of the novel.  Pupils in this class are already familiar with drawing mind maps, but doing one electronically could be a fun twist to this activity.  (iii) Such an activity would require even better student collaboration and interpersonal communication, so I might have to give students some guidelines on acceptable ways to communicate things to each other and outline to them how to work together in harmony (also known as social competency).  This lesson plan involves extensive group work (collaboration) and skilled communication (creating a poster and presenting it to the class, and using various media) which are both twenty-first century skills.  I mentioned in the plan possibly making the groups into jigsaw groups (where each member is assigned a specific role) to ensure full participation of all members.  I recall that this method would also help students to develop and demonstrate leadership and responsibility, which are also desirable twenty-first century skills.  In this third lesson plan, (b) I know from beforehand that one of my greatest challenges will be time-keeping.  I will have only one period of forty-five minutes to teach my lesson, after which my mentor will be introducing them to and teaching a new topic in English Language Arts and she will need the entire next period to do so.  Being inexperienced in teaching – and tending to be rather ‘long-winded’ as a general rule! – I find it difficult to get to the grain of things and to explain things clearly and concisely.  (c) A strategy my mentor has already suggested is that she get my attention and point to the clock if I am running on or taking too long on a part of my lesson.  Unfortunately, this tends to fluster me and make me lose my train of thought, so I am now in a bit of a conundrum as to what to do.  (b) In particular, I know I have issues with classroom management during group work activities and may need more training and support on how to master this.  In this lesson, (a) I feel I may have also overlooked harnessing the power of some simple metacognitive strategies.  (c) One simple way I could do this in all lessons is to tell the pupils the purpose of the lesson (viz. to learn how to thoroughly analyze a text, pull out important parts, synthesize it and make connections to other texts and to their personal lives).  I could also get students to self-regulate by giving them a rubric to auto-evaluate their group presentation and peer-evaluate those of their classmates.  I would also love to have time to pre-teach students some metacognitive text scanning strategies.  I learned most of these in a speed reading class I took in university and they have been invaluable throughout my life.  Strategies such as the following would definitely help my students be more efficient in a limited time scenario when they need to scan a text and draw out the important or relevant parts of it to present to the class.  E.g. Scanning each line of text with your finger; looking for clues to meaning in word roots, word origins, prefixes and suffixes; taking note of words in bold, in italics or with the first letter capitalized; and reading the entire first and last paragraphs but then only the first and last line of all other paragraphs in the chapter.  Another useful strategy to teach could be to tell each pupil to take notes on the chapter assigned and then have group members commiserate and compare notes at the end.  (b) With my low-performing students (of which we have two in the class), I could try to prepare some leading or guiding questions on theme to try to scaffold their learning and improve their group participation.  It seems to me that more structured activities are easier to scaffold for this group of learners (e.g. the scaffolding in Lesson Plan 1).

M7U2A1 Lesson Plan 2017-03-01 3

 

References

Aronson, Elliot.  (1970).  The Jigsaw Classroom.  Retrieved from https://www.jigsaw.org/index.html

Bass, Jossey.  (2010).  Chapter 1: Setting High Academic Expectations.  In Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion.  pp. 27-56.  San Francisco.

Carter Andrews, Dorinda.  (2014.)  Teaching Across Cultural Differences: Equity in Instruction and Classrooms.  Education Writers Association.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSpAJk4yd9U

Cole, Robert W.  (2008).  Educating Everybody’s Children: Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners.  revised and expanded 2nd ed.  Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107003/chapters/Educating-Everybody’s-Children@-We-Know-What-Works%E2%80%94And-What-Doesn’t.aspx

Colorin Colorado.  Differentiated Instruction for English Language Learners.  Retrieved Feb. 3, 2017 from http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/differentiated-instruction-english-language-learners

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative.  (2017).  English Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading, Grade 6.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/7/

Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B.  (2012).  The Nine Categories of Instructional Strategies.  Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement.  (2nd edition).  Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD, p. xviii.

Edutopia.  (Dec 6, 2011).  How to Engage Underperforming Students.  Cochrane Collegiate Academy.  North Carolina.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0H5XsZ1gzA

Edutopia.  (Dec 9, 2009).  High Expectations: Students Learn to Rise to the Occasion.  Faubion Elementary School.  Portland, Oregon.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=derUjqnlEzs

Equity Initiatives Unit.  (2010).  A Resource for Equitable Classroom Practices, 2010.  Office of Human Resources and Development, Montgomery County Public Schools.  Maryland, U.S.A.

Glossary of Education Reform, The.  (n.d.).  Backward Design.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from: http://edglossary.org/backward-design/

ITL Research (2010). “Innovative Teaching and Learning Research: The Pilot Year Full Report – October 2010”.

ITL Research (2011). “Innovative Teaching and Learning Research: 2011 Findings and Implications”, www.itlresearch.com

Knoster, Tim.  (Jun 15 2011).  The Nuts and Bolts of Preventative Classroom Management: PBIS in the Elementary School Setting (Classroom Management Strand).  Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Retrieved from http://www.pattan.net/Videos/Browse/Single/?code_name=pbs2011_tape11

Lemov, Doug.  (2010).  Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.

Linson, Michael.  (August 17 2009).  The Only Classroom Rules You’ll Ever Need.  Retrieved from http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2009/08/17/the-only-classroom-rules-youll-ever-need/

Linson, Michael.  (June 03 2009).  The Not-so-Secret to Effective Classroom Management.  Retrieved from http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2009/06/03/the-not-so-secret-to-effective-classroom-management/

Manley, Julie.  (n.d.).  Jigsaws: A Strategy for Understanding Texts.  Grades 6 – 8, ELA, Reading.  Retrieved from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/jigsaw-method

Marzano, Robert J. (2007).  The Art and Science of Teaching.  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  Virginia, U.S.A.

McLendon, Kelly.  (Apr 26, 2011).  Helping Low-Achieving Students Succeed.  Funderstanding: Inspiring People Who Care About Learning.  Retrieved from http://www.funderstanding.com/curriculum/helping-low-achieving-students-succeed/

McTighe, Jay.  (2012).  Common Core, Big Ideas 4: Map Backwards From Intended Results.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/common-core-map-backwards-jay-mctighe-grant-wiggins

Miss Wiebe’s Homepage.  (n.d.).  Teaching and Learning Strategies.  Retrieved from http://misswiebeshomepage.weebly.com/teaching-and-learning-strategies.html

Mrs. Holowicki’s Classroom Website.  (2016).  Mrs. Holowicki’s Classroom Expectations, Rules, Procedures and Consequences.  Brighton Schools. Retrieved from http://www.brightonk12.com/webpages/mholowicki/index.cfm?subpage=581663

Noonan, Madeline.  (n.d.).  SWBAT: Communicating Learning Goals.  Retrieved from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/making-lesson-objectives-clear

P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning.  (n.d.)  Framework for 21st Century Learning.  Washington, D.C.  Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

Pinantoan, Andrianes.  (2014).  Introduction To Teaching Strategies.  Retrieved January, 24th, 2017 from: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/teacher-resources/teaching-strategies/

Porter, Roberta.  (2017-01).  5 SMART Objectives: for an English Language Arts Common Core Standard.  Retrieved 2017-02-07 from https://magic.piktochart.com/output/19615685-5-smart-objectives

Porter, Roberta.  (2017-03-01).  Lesson Plans 1 – 3.  Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B_4BhgdIQcnXM1ozbDBoa1p0VEE

Rosenthal, Robert & Jacobson, Lenore.  (1968).  Pygmalion in the Classroom.  Holt, Rinehart & Winston, lnc.  Retrieved from https://www.uni-muenster.de/imperia/md/content/psyifp/aeechterhoff/sommersemester2012/schluesselstudiendersozialpsychologiea/rosenthal_jacobson_pygmalionclassroom_urbrev1968.pdf

Stokes, Lori.  (2015).  Creating a High Performance Learning Environment.  Retrieved January 20th, 2017 from: https://learnerlog.org/acrossthecurriculum/creating-a-high-performance-learning-environment/

Teaching Channel, The.  (n.d.).  Modeling Strategy: I Do, We Do, You Do.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/modeling-strategy-getty

Teaching Channel, The.  (n.d.).  SWBAT: Communicating Learning Goals.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/making-lesson-objectives-clear

Teaching Channel, The. (n.d.).  Think Alouds: Unpacking the Standards.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/understanding-the-common-core-standards

The Education Trust.  (May 2013).  Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Low-Income Students and Students of Color.  Shattering Expectations Series.  Washington, D.C.

Wiggins, Grant (2010).  What is a Big Idea?  Retrieved on January 22nd, 2017 from: https://authenticeducation.org/ae_bigidea/article.lasso?artid=99

Wiggins, Grant.  (2005).  Understanding by Design.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from http://www.grantwiggins.org/documents/UbDQuikvue1005.pdf

M5U2A2 Planning Formative Assessments

The purpose of this blog entry is to detail three formative assessments that could be used to evaluate one of the educational objectives or performance objectives I have created for the educational standard I plan to teach.  The educational standard I have chosen is one of the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards.  I will be adapting it to a Grade 6 class.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

 

Performance Objective #2:  I have chosen to detail herein formal assessments for the following educational objective:

Students will be able to identify the literal meaning of selected phrases containing literary devices.

 

Formative Assessments

I will use the following formative assessments with my sixth grade class.  These assessments would be useful for a double period of English Language Arts (where each period lasts 45 minutes).

  1. Random Register Roll Poll: Students will be given a text containing twenty highlighted and numbered literary devices. Their task will be to rewrite each of these devices into “plain English”.  [Time allotted will be 15 minutes.]  The teacher will provide the class with one example and the top of the worksheet will contain another example of how this can be accomplished, successfully using the modelling strategy “I Do – You Do”[1]E.g. Literary Device: She could talk the hind leg off a donkey! (hyperbole); Meaning: She talks so much that even a stubborn animal like a donkey would find it unbearable and wish to run away (or his legs might wish to run away).  Since the class contains twenty students, we will use equity sticks[2] with students’ names on them to go down the register roll until all students have been called upon to give their answer to one of the questions.  After each student answers, students will be asked in a poll whether they think this is the correct meaning of the literary device as used in the text.  The poll can be accomplished using individual whiteboards[3], folded pieces of paper[4] or simply orally as a whole class with hand raising or a noisy shouted out response (the latter of which children love).  E.g. All those in favor say “ay”, all those against say “nay”; or a show of hands by those who agree.
    • An extended exercise for high achieving students could be to also write the name of each literary device used. E.g. Zoomorphism.
    • An even more extended exercise could be to also write the definition of the literary device used and perhaps give another example of that device.
    • For low-achieving students, they might be paired together at the start of the lesson to complete the worksheet as a pair. (Two heads are better than one!)

Rationale:  The rationale for using this type of assessment is to ensure that every single student in the class must respond.  In this way the teacher can verify that every student in the class in fact understands this particular concept.  I find that equity sticks only work if you have the same number of questions as the number of students in the class.

  1. Think, Pair Share[5]: Students will be given a three paragraph short story written without the use of any figurative devices. Their task will be to rewrite it using figurative devices of their choice, limiting their use of similes and metaphors to only one of each throughout their version of the essay (because they are much overused by students).  [Students will be allowed 10 minutes to read the short story and write down their figures of speech.]  Students will then be paired up and asked to share their suggestions with each other.  As a pair, students will rewrite the whole story using agreed upon figures of speech.  [This should take about 7 minutes.]  Each pair will then read out their story to the class.  [This part of exercise should take about 20 minutes and it should be quite entertaining for students.]

Rationale:  The rationale for using this type of assessment is so that students can help each other to do the assignment faster and can also supplement each other’s learning.  The fact that students know they will then have the opportunity to share their work with the rest of the class is also good motivation – for the most part I have observed that elementary school children love to share their achievements with everyone else and receive praise for it.  Working in a pair also decreases some of the stress that a student might feel from presenting individual work to the class.  In addition, pairs are easier to manage that groups (for the teacher).  This activity will demonstrate mastery of the objective to the teacher because students are creating something[6] not only analysing it.  Furthermore, hearing the imaginative literary devices and the different versions of the story each pair comes up with should be entertaining for all in the class.  This latter is also a learning device for them because they will all see the pleasing impact literary devices can have and they will see how much they change the nuances in the text.

  1. Examples and Non-Examples[7]: Students will again be given a text containing twenty highlighted and numbered phrases. This time they will need to state whether each phrase is an example of a literary device or not and if it is, what the literal meaning is.  [They will have 13 minutes to complete this exercise.]
    • An extended exercise for high achieving students could be to again provide the name of each literary device used.
    • Low-achieving students could again be paired together to complete the worksheet as a pair.

Rationale:  This exercise is more of a final formative revision to catch and remediate any students who have not completely grasped the lesson on literary devices.  Being able to differentiate literary devices from non-literary devices should eliminate any remaining confusion students may have and it should also prevent them from over-generalizing and thinking that everything is a literary device.

 

End Notes

[1] Teaching Channel, The.  (n.d.).  Modeling Strategy: I Do, We Do, You Do.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/modeling-strategy-getty

[2] NWEA.  Dyer, Kathy.  (2012).  Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Ideas 2 through 6.  Retrieved on January 26th, 2017 from: https://www.nwea.org/blog/2012/classroom-techniques-formative-assessment-idea-number-four/

[3] NWEA.  Dyer, Kathy.  (2012).  Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Ideas 2 through 6.  Retrieved on January 26th, 2017 from: https://www.nwea.org/blog/2012/classroom-techniques-formative-assessment-idea-number-four/

[4] Pinantoan, Andrianes.  (2014).  Introduction To Teaching Strategies.  Retrieved January, 24th, 2017 from: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/teacher-resources/teaching-strategies/

[5] NWEA.  Dyer, Kathy.  (2012).  Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Ideas 2 through 6.  Retrieved on January 26th, 2017 from: https://www.nwea.org/blog/2012/classroom-techniques-formative-assessment-idea-number-four/

[6] Integrating It.  (n.d.).  Using Bloom’s Revised Domains to Improve Instructional Practice.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from: http://farr-integratingit.net/Theory/CriticalThinking/revisedcog-creating.htm

[7] NWEA.  Dyer, Kathy.  (2012).  Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Ideas 2 through 6.  Retrieved on January 26th, 2017 from: https://www.nwea.org/blog/2012/classroom-techniques-formative-assessment-idea-number-four/

References

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative.  (2017).  English Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading, Grade 6.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/7/

Davis, Vicky.  [The CoolCat Teacher]  (2015).  5 Fantastic, Fast, Formative Assessment Tools.  Edutopia.  Retrieved on January 31st, 2017 from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/5-fast-formative-assessment-tools-vicki-davis

Glossary of Education Reform, The.  (n.d.).  Backward Design.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from: http://edglossary.org/backward-design/

Integrating It.  (n.d.).  Using Bloom’s Revised Domains to Improve Instructional Practice.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from: http://farr-integratingit.net/Theory/CriticalThinking/revisedcog-creating.htm

Lemov, Doug.  (2010).  Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.

Literary Devices.  (n.d.).  Literary Devices and Terms.  Retrieved on January 17th, 2017 from: http://literarydevices.net/

McTighe, Jay.  (2012).  Common Core, Big Ideas 4: Map Backwards From Intended Results.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/common-core-map-backwards-jay-mctighe-grant-wiggins

NWEA.  Dyer, Kathy.  (2012).  Classroom Techniques: Formative Assessment Ideas 2 through 6.  Retrieved on January 26th, 2017 from: https://www.nwea.org/blog/2012/classroom-techniques-formative-assessment-idea-number-four/

Pinantoan, Andrianes.  (2014).  Introduction To Teaching Strategies.  Retrieved January, 24th, 2017 from: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/teacher-resources/teaching-strategies/

Regier, Natalie.  (2012).  Book Two:  60 Formative Assessment Strategies.  Regier Educational Resources.  Retrieved on January 31st, 2017 from: http://www.stma.k12.mn.us/documents/DW/Q_Comp/FormativeAssessStrategies.pdf

Stokes, Lori.  (2015).  Creating a High Performance Learning Environment.  Retrieved January 20th, 2017 from: https://learnerlog.org/acrossthecurriculum/creating-a-high-performance-learning-environment/

Teach Thought.  (2013).  10 Assessments You Can Perform In 90 Seconds.  Retrieved on January 25th, 2017 from: http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/assessment/10-assessments-you-can-perform-in-90-seconds/

Teaching Channel, The.  (n.d.).  Daily Assessment with Tiered Exit Cards.  Retrieved on January 26th, 2016 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/student-daily-assessment

Teaching Channel, The.  (n.d.).  Modeling Strategy: I Do, We Do, You Do.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/modeling-strategy-getty

Teaching Channel, The.  (n.d.).  SWBAT: Communicating Learning Goals.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/making-lesson-objectives-clear

Teaching Channel, The. (n.d.).  Think Alouds: Unpacking the Standards.  Retrieved on January 20th, 2017 from: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/understanding-the-common-core-standards

Wiggins, Grant (2010).  What is a Big Idea?  Retrieved on January 22nd, 2017 from: https://authenticeducation.org/ae_bigidea/article.lasso?artid=99

Wiggins, Grant.  (2005).  Understanding by Design.  Retrieved on January 19th, 2017 from http://www.grantwiggins.org/documents/UbDQuikvue1005.pdf

Wormeli, Rick (2010).  Formative and Summative Assessment.  Retrieved on January 24th, 2017 from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJxFXjfB_B4

M5U1A4 Reflection about Unpacking Standards, Backwards Mapping and Writing Objectives

During this unit, I unpacked a standard for the first time ever.  I found the process to be lengthy, but in the end, I can definitely state that I know this standard inside-out and by heart.  I learned that a standard is basically the educational goal that is used to create a unit plan.  The standard I unpacked was an anchor reading standard from the Common Core in the English Language Arts domain.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Backwards mapping is the concept of starting with the educational standard and from there, breaking it down or “unpacking” it and then finally designing lessons and educational activities around what the teacher now knows is the educational goal.  The first step in unpacking a standard was to pull out the verbs, nouns and (where relevant) the context of the educational standard.  In so doing one gets to the ‘meat’ of the standard.  If possible, verbs (and possibly nouns) are then simplified further to make it absolutely clear what the unit must teach the students.  This process undoubtedly makes unit planning and lesson planning more streamlined: I can understand why Teach-Now insists on its candidates learning it.

At this stage, one usually attempts to discover the “big idea” in the standard.  I had some difficulty with this step, I think the reason being because I have always been a precise and detail-oriented person.  The “big idea” tends to leave out a lot about what the standard is meant to accomplish and so feels incomplete to me.  However, I am not convinced that this is a necessary part of the process of unpacking a standard.  It came across to me more as a tool to help prevent a teacher from getting lost in the details.

The next step was to define the proficiencies or skills that students will need develop during the learning unit.  The premise of this idea is that content is less important than teaching students the skills they need to continue and expand on their learning.  If one reflects on this in terms of reading, that is absolutely true.  Pupils may not remember the first books they ever read, but they will remember the process of decoding text (letters, words and sentences) to read fluently.  This process is actually what stays with students and allows them to read increasingly complex books and to build upon their knowledge.  Proficiencies are roughly defined as the skills that a student will need to master in order to attain the learning objectives.  In other words, I student who knows the content underlying the standard, will be able to do certain things which demonstrate the knowledge they have acquired.  Truthfully, I am still a bit confused regarding this step.  I will probably ask the instructor to explain it to us in more depth or with some visual props to aid understanding.  Nevertheless, I believe I have acquired the general idea about what a proficiency is.

Most revealing for me was the last step of defining and writing the SMART objectives.  These are objectives which are written in such a way as to be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (and results-oriented) and Targeted to the learners – in my case, targeted to a sixth grade class in an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Costa Rica.  My experience was that simply stating what Students Will Be Able To do (SWBAT) is the easiest way to create realistic SMART objectives without having to think too much about them.

Last of all, a teacher will think of activities and lessons that meet the SMART objectives and satisfy the SWBAT.  To assist with this, there are unit plans and lesson plans a-plenty available on the internet.  Many of these are of quite high quality as they are provided by school boards, ministries of education for various U.S. states and by teachers who seem to ‘have it all together’.  My favorites are from these sites:  http://www.ereadingworksheets.com, https://sharemylesson.com, and http://www.teachersfirst.com.  I am looking forward to creating lesson plans and educational activities in our next unit.  Without this last step, the whole process feels incomplete to me.

M5U1A2 Standards and Backwards Mapping

Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to develop a unit plan using the planning method called backwards mapping.  Backwards mapping is when a teacher starts with the specific educational standard that they wish to teach and designs the lessons in their unit around satisfying that standard.

 

The Educational Standard Chosen

I have chosen the following English Language Arts Common Core State Standard and I will be adapting it to a Grade 6 class:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4

Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

To meet this standard students must first understand what the terms “technical, connotative and figurative” refer to, in order to determine the meaning of the text selection.

The technical, literal or denotative meaning could be roughly explained as the most obvious meaning.  The connotative meaning is something that makes reference to emotions or to some external knowledge or association that the author expects the reader to be aware of.  E.g. According to Dictionary.com the word “modern” strictly means “belonging to recent times”, but the word’s connotations can include such notions as “new, up to date, experimental”.  The figurative meaning is the meaning that can be derived from the use of a literary device.  E.g. The metaphor “He is burning up” means the person is extremely hot.  The connotative meaning of this is that he probably has a fever.

In addition to this, students will need to know how to define and identify the tone of a text and provide examples from the text to support their conclusion.  Sixth grade pupils will already be able to identify the central theme of a text, but identifying the tone takes their analysis of the text a step deeper.

According to LiteraryDevices.net, “Tone is the attitude of a writer [or interlocutor] toward a subject or an audience.  In written composition, tone is generally conveyed through the choice of words or the viewpoint of a writer on a particular subject.  (Every written piece comprises a central theme or subject matter. The manner in which a writer approaches this theme and subject is the tone.)  The tone can be formal, informal, serious, comic, sarcastic, sad, and cheerful or it may be any other existing attitudes.”

Once my students are able to do all of the above, they will be required to compare and contrast how the use of specific words affect the meaning and tone of the text.

 

Why this Standard?

I chose this standard because it is one of the anchor standards for college and career readiness in reading.  As such, this standard represents basic skills students will need to master when they enter high school next year.  Another reason I chose this standard is because I think it builds upon the knowledge and vocabulary that sixth graders should already have gained in previous grades.  For example, in order to fully exploit this standard, pupils will need to build upon a good workable vocabulary and a solid understanding of text concepts.  Furthermore, they will need to demonstrate proficiency in:

  • identifying various literary terms,
  • defining various literary terms,

Students will also need to demonstrate proficiency in engaging higher order thinking skills such as:

  • analyzing the meaning of specific sections of the text both from a literary perspective (i.e. determining the literal meaning or the figurative meaning) and from a general knowledge and world current events perspective (i.e. determining the connotative meaning),
  • evaluating which literary device is being utilized in a particular text selection,
  • synthesizing their understanding of the text with their knowledge of the author’s background and the time period in which the text is set.

 

Curriculum Requirements

In addition to the Common Core State Standards, my lessons will need to adhere to the curriculum framework and guidelines of the European School of Costa Rica, where I am volunteering.  The European School uses an IB World Diploma Programme Model as its curriculum framework.  (See the diagram of the curriculum framework below.)

This programme emphasizes international-mindedness, creativity, action, and service.  Language acquisition and learning about individuals and societies are also ranked highly in the programme; it is an educational programme that emphasizes humanities versus mathematics, sciences and technology.  The International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profile (in the diagram below) explains the intellectual and character traits that an IB teacher attempts to cultivate within their students.

I do not have any native English speakers in my sixth grade class.  English is my students’ second or third language.  Nevertheless, as a result of them having eight years of immersion in an English-speaking school environment (since kindergarten), they now speak and write English at almost native level.

Additionally, there is a Character Growth Rubric sourced from Character Lab that is used to assess students’ conduct and maturity on a daily basis – including in non-academic activities (e.g. Morning Music, lunchtime, field trips and hikes, Cultural Days, etc.).

 m5u1a2-curriculum-guidelines-ib-diploma-programme-model-en

 

m5u1a2-curriculum-guidelines-ib-learner-profile-diagram

m5u1a2-curriculum-guidelines-charactergrowthcard-explanation

 

Unit Plan

The unit I will design based on this standard will be entitled Literary Devices.  It will span approximately thirty-two lessons.  The timetable I follow for my grade six class entails eight English lessons per week; therefore, I should cover this unit in four weeks.

 

Learning Experiences

  • The first lesson I will do with my students to embark on the Literary Devices Unit is to read a poem which contains numerous figures of speech. Poems are a great source of literary devices and I particularly like the poem I Sing the Battle by Harry Kemp, sourced from EReadingWorksheets.com.  The learning exercise would consist in students memorizing the poem and practicing it in preparation for performing it in front of the class.  Students will make a drawing of a figurative scene from the poem.  This drawing will be their visual prop when they recite the poem.  Alternating with the class presentations, I will discuss with students the definitions of personification, similes, metaphors, alliteration, mood and theme.  I will solicit their participation in identifying these figures of speech in the poem and listen to their explanations on how they concluded what the mood and theme of the poem are.  At the end of the class presentations, students’ drawings could be displayed on the bulletin board near the classroom that is reserved for that purpose.  (These learning experiences fit in well with what the students in this class are already accustomed to doing: each month students must memorize a poem selected by the teacher and recite it in front of the class.  Each poem must be accompanied by a hand-drawn illustration.)

 

I Sing the Battle       By Harry Kemp

I SING the song of the great clean guns that belch forth death at will. 

“Ah, but the wailing mothers, the lifeless forms and still!” 

I sing the song of the billowing flags, the bugles that cry before. 

“Ah, but the skeletons flapping rags, the lips that speak no more!”

I sing the clash of bayonets, of sabres that flash and cleave. 

“And wilt thou sing the maimed ones, too, that go with pinned-up sleeve?”

I sing acclaimed generals that bring the victory home. 

“Ah, but the broken bodies that drip like honey-comb!” 

I sing of hosts triumphant, long ranks of marching men. 

“And wilt thou sing the shadowy hosts that never march again?”

 

  • My second lesson in the Literary Devices Unit is drawn from the Race to the Top Series by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It will consist in starting to read as a class the book Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck.  This book contains a lot of rich vocabulary and figurative language.  Students will have reading chapters assigned as homework and must take notes on the chapter while reading it in their Reading Notes Notebook.  After taking notes, students will share with the class figurative language they discovered in the chapter and the tone of the chapter, citing examples which support their conclusions.  Each student must identify at least one sentence or word in each chapter which uses a connotative meaning.  In addition, students will be invited to ask me about words or figures of speech which they did not understand.  Sometime throughout the reading of the text, I will have students complete a worksheet in which they analyze how the words the author chose to use in selected phrases or sentences affected the meaning and tone of that paragraph or chapter.   In this way we will satisfy the educational standard above and cover all the literary devices on my syllabus list.  Viz. simile, metaphor, oxymoron, hyperbole, illusion, imagery, onomatopoeia, personification, irony, sarcasm, pun, idiom, metonymy, synecdoche, litotes, tautology, understatement, allusion.  (This is another learning exercise which fits in well with what students are accustomed to doing in their 6A class because they often have a book assigned to read and must take notes on it in their Reading Notebook.)

 

  • My last lesson in the Literary Devices Unit will involve essay writing. Students will be told beforehand to study connotative meanings and identify positive, negative and neutral connotations.  They will write an essay about a personal journey they took.  During the essay they will be required to use at least five different types of literary devices, not including similes and metaphors (which they are already quite familiar with).  I will request that they limit simile and metaphor use to only one of each throughout their essay and use a connotative meaning at least once.  Knowing that English is my students’ second language, I will pay particular attention to thoroughly teaching connotative meaning, which I have found that, in general, they are quite weak at identifying and understanding.

 

Rubrics

My mentor teacher at the European School has provided me with a specific rubric with which students are to be evaluated during activities which involve Teamwork.  Most activities at the school are collaborative and as such, this rubric counts towards 30% of the final grade designation.  Furthermore, two other rubrics are used to evaluate students’ Critical Thinking – one rubric being more detailed than the other for more complex exercises.  In addition to these, yet another rubric is used to determine pupils’ General Competence in completing exercises.  These last three rubrics are all sourced from university websites (Northeastern Illinois University and California State University) and they all emphasize research.  (All rubrics included below.)

It might at first seem like these rubrics are too advanced or rigorous to use with primary school students, but amazingly, due to the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme’s focus on research, the sixth grade students at the European School are already quite good at conducting scientifically rigorous research.  It is truly extraordinary to encounter 11 and 12 year olds who are so capable in their research – and even know to cite their sources!  Another novel experience for me is that the European School does not use numerical grades or the traditional letters (A through F) to designate students’ competence or lack thereof.  The rubrics are used in combination and varied weightings to arrive at a designation of: U = Unsatisfactory; NI = Needs Improvement; S = Satisfactory; and E = Excellent, (called the E-S-N-U Grading System).  I researched this grading system and discovered that apparently in the early twentieth century it used to be the most popular elementary school grading system in the United States (source: Wikipedia).  Moreover, in line with the school’s philosophy and the IB Framework, conduct is considered very important.  For more on this latter, please refer to the rubric for Character Growth described above.

m5u1a2-curriculum-guidelines-subjective-grade-rubric-outcome_d_teamworkrubrics

m5u1a2-curriculum-guidelines-rubrics-for-critical-thinking-general-competence

 

Assessments

  • About half-way through the unit I will assign a quiz to the class as a formative assessment to see how well they know all the definitions of the literary devices and whether they can correctly think up examples of them. This quiz will have both examples of figurative language they are familiar with and things that are completely new to them.  We will grade this quiz as a class by switching papers in pairs.  The class will come to a consensus on the answers through participation from everyone and citing examples from specific quizzes.  Depending on the median grade of the class, I will re-teach various literary devices and skills related to the standard.

 

  • Summative assessment in this unit will include a timed imaginative essay which uses at least five literary devices. The tone in which the essay must be written will be assigned to the students from a choice of two.  In addition, the imaginative essay will be inspired from a connotative sentence given to them.  E.g.

 

“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”  (Voltaire)

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”  (Bill Nye)

 

  • After essays have been marked in accordance with the rubrics, they will be handed back out to students. Pupils will work in pairs to improve their essay based on the points on the rubric and feedback from their partner.  This is a form of informal peer assessment and at the same time is a learning experience because students must re-write their essay and improve on it.  Giving feedback to their peer and re-writing their essay incorporating both the teacher’s and their peer’s feedback will help students to think critically and improve on their analysis skills.  The final essays will then be marked again by the teacher, revised by their partner and the student will type-up the final copy with corrections.

M4U5A1 Applying Positive and Negative Consequences in the Classroom

Blog on Applying Classroom Rules and Procedures

As humans, we naturally seek approval by others.  Not receiving this approval can be detrimental to one’s self-esteem and lead to depression, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, demotivation, ill health and an assortment of other physical and mental issues.  In other words, receiving approval or validation by others is not only desired, it is necessary for a normal healthy life.  This does not mean that everyone need approve our actions, however, we do need to feel that certain key persons in our life appreciate us and love us.  For in truth, approval and validation are just simplified forms of love.  Science has proven that love is a non-negotiable human need[1].  Hence positive feedback is essential in all areas of life.  On the other hand, negative feedback, though not desired, has its place.  Negative feedback allows one to continue to receive positive feedback: envisage it as simply as a course-correction.  Once someone is back on course, more positive feedback will be available to them.  To have the desired outcome of behavior modification, negative feedback must be given in a loving way, i.e. it must be clear that the person is not being criticized, simply that their actions were unacceptable.  Understanding this philosophy can assist teachers in providing both positive and negative feedback effectively – i.e. to give feedback in ways that will incite behavior modification for the better.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can be provided in many ways.  Typical formats of positive reinforcement used in a classroom setting are praise, recognition or call outs (i.e. drawing public attention to student’s good behavior (in the moment or afterwards)), merit certificates, gifts, gift certificates, notes (to the child and or to the parents), e-mails to the parents, and phone calls to parents.  E.g. In episode 1 of the video series Tough Young Teachers we saw that Nicholas rewarded students’ excellence in their work by bringing in the head teacher to commend them and read out some of their work.  His students were visibly thrilled and it was obvious they all wanted to continue to excel to receive further recognition in future.  This is the power of positive reinforcement in the form of public recognition.  I definitely intend to incorporate such recognition and the other standard formats mentioned above into my teaching.

In addition, I would incorporate The Five Love Languages into my reward system for positive behavior.  The Five Love Languages is a method of demonstrating love and caring developed by psychologist and reverend Gary Chapman detailed in his book of the same title.  Through his experience and research counselling couples, Dr. Gary Chapman discovered that every human being (a) has a love tank that needs to be filled before you can reach them, and (b) can communicate love in different ways, but most importantly desires to receive love in specific ways.  There are five different ways in which people can communicate and receive love: (1) words of affirmation, (2) acts of service, (3) receiving gifts, (4) quality time, and (5) physical touch.  The way in which a person prefers to receive love is their love language.  Nearly everyone has a single dominant love language, though some may have a secondary love language that also rates highly for them.  I am one of those people: my main love language is (1) words of affirmation, but (4) quality time also rates highly for me.

The love languages expressed in the standard educational reward formats above concentrate mainly on (1) words of affirmation – viz. praise, recognition, merit certificates, notes, e-mails, phone calls, and 3) receiving gifts – viz. gifts, gift certificates.  This communicates love in only two love languages.  This means that only those whose love language is (1) words of affirmation or (3) receiving gifts will actually feel rewarded.  Students whose love language is (2) acts of service, (4) quality time, or (5) physical touch will still feel neglected and unrewarded no matter how much (1) words of affirmation or (3) gifts they are given.  The notions of a love tank and of demonstrating love in someone’s love language are very important and powerful concepts to understand and apply in society.  A simple questionnaire can reveal a person’s love language.  It may be a little more challenging to come up with and apply rewards in the other love languages, but I am convinced it will be absolutely worth the effort!  Therefore, as I teacher I will demonstrate love to my students in the way they would like to receive love, i.e. in their love language, and in so doing I will fill their love tank and inspire them to want to cooperate with me and please me.  For example, a reward for a student whose love language is (2) acts of service could be that I clean up their desk after art class.  For a student whose love language is (4) quality time, I could invite them to tea with me one break time in the staff lounge.  For a student whose love language is (5) physical touch, their reward will be a hug, a high five or a pat on the shoulder.  To be fair, and to connect the positive reinforcement to the behavior I desire in my classroom, I will make reward certificates with one or two in each love languages category.  I could even have students choose their own reward from my prepared reward certificates – which will surely reveal to me their love language.

Negative Reinforcement

The standard formats of negative reinforcement in schools are: reprimands, time-outs, detentions, overcorrection, punishments, sending the child to the principal’s office, notes to parents, e-mails to parents, phone calls to parents, and suspensions.  I intend to apply all these chastisements on a graduated scale with students who are misbehaving.  Please refer to the flow chart below for more details and to see how these will be applied.  In addition, I will have posters (possibly infographics) of rules and procedures posted to the walls of my classroom so that I can refer to them as a reminder and as a justification for castigation.  Furthermore, for the most part, the punishments I use will be based upon The Five Love Languages concept.  E.g. The punishment for a student whose love language is (2) acts of service could be that they have to rearrange or organize the bookshelf.  For a student whose love language is (4) quality time, their punishment could be to forfeit time with their friends and instead do homework during that time.  For a student whose love language is (5) physical touch, their punishment could be no physical contact with anyone in class for the rest of the day.

Of course, as I learn more about being a teacher and gain more experience I will discover which rewards and punishments are practical and which are the most effective.  Nevertheless, the gist of The Five Love Languages principle is that each person must be treated as an individual.  It is essential that the teacher find out the likes and dislikes of each student and know what really makes a student feel loved and what hurts them the most.  This knowledge can also be shared with students so that they too can have a greater understanding of themselves and others.  It will help students to rationalize how they are feeling and to give less weight to the actions of others when they hurt them, i.e. they will take more control of and responsibility for their emotions.  E.g. A (4) quality time love language student will feel especially hurt if their friend who is (2) acts of service does not spend time with them.  The friend may feel that they have already shown they care by helping them with their classwork earlier, so there is no need to also visit them at their house to play.  If they both understand their reactions and the effect of their actions, then both can work harder not to hurt their friend’s feelings and they can also weaken the effect their friend’s comportment has had on them because they will know that the friend did not intend to hurt them, thus avoiding misunderstandings.

m4u5a1-flow-chart-2016-10-29

[1] Source: Raghunathan, Raj (Ph.D.).  (Jan 08, 2014).  The Need to Love.  Psychology Today.  Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sapient-nature/201401/the-need-love

M4U3A1 Setting High Academic Expectations

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

child-prodigy-stephen-r-stafford-ii

Photo of child prodigy Stephen R. Stafford, II

 

Introduction

Putting in place a plan of action and applying specific strategies to promote and demand high academic expectations is important because we all have inherent and unconscious biases and prejudices.  The idea is to instigate measures to combat or temper these biases and thereby create a learning environment that ensures all students achieve their full potential.  Setting high academic expectations is not about being mean or unfair to students; it is about sufficiently challenging them, scaffolding learning where necessary and rewarding each pupil for incremental achievements so that they too can perceive their ability and envision their own eventual success.  Having high expectations is also about teachers understanding that it is fundamental that they truly believe in their students’ capacity to learn the material and triumph academically.  Without that belief, teachers unconsciously transmit their lack of faith and demotivation to their students – whose learning then suffers.  Teachers must demonstrate and maintain a positive attitude and be enthusiastic and optimistic about the outcome, no matter the situation.  Furthermore, the teacher must communicate their high expectations to their students through their words and their actions.  After all, if the teacher does not believe in the students – or the students’ perception is that the teacher does not believe they can succeed – how can the teacher expect the students to believe in themselves?  Children naturally mimic adults (Cole, 2008) and expectations are self-fulfilling.

 

Some Techniques to Utilize in Setting High Expectations for Students
Technique Name My Mnemonic Explanation Goal Effectiveness
·     No Opt Out 1.      You must try to succeed ~     Every student must try to answer.

~     Circle back to any student who does not try or gets the wrong answer so they can try again.

~     A wrong answer must always be replaced by a right answer so that student can experience success, even if it is just to repeat the answer provided to them

~     To let students see themselves being able to answer the question and thereby increase their self-confidence and force their participation in class. ~     It demonstrates to the student the teacher’s belief in their capacity to learn and their ability to succeed.

~     Classmates who are able to answer the question without prompting get a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and are recognized for their effort.

·     Right is Right 2.      Hold out for Mr. Right ~    Only the full complete answer is the right one. ~    To set and defend a high standard of correctness. ~    Students must provide the kind of answer that would be considered complete in college or by an independent third party before the class can move on to another question or theme.

~    It acknowledges what a student knows without letting them get away with sub-par performance.

·     Stretch It 3.      Look for consistency ~    Verify that the students’ correct answer can be replicated for similar questions. ~    To ensure competence regarding the content taught.

~    To apply their learning to various examples and situations.

~    To consolidate their learning.

~    It ensures that the student has truly grasped the content.
4.      Mr. Right is just the beginning ~    Learning continues after you receive the right answer.

~    Ask different, tougher questions next.

~    Vary the context and type of content.

~    Ask various questions of different levels.

~    Reward learning with more learning

~    To achieve mastery of the content. ~    It creates a vaulting point from which students can build on their learning.

~    It probes the student’s brain to discover the breadth of their understanding.  E.g. “Did they only memorize the definition or do they actually understand the concepts behind it?  Do they understand how to apply this information?  Can they adapt and modify this knowledge using creativity and imagination?”

·     Format Matters 5.      Accept only the complete package ~    Do not accept the right answer in the wrong format.

~    Identify the error.

~    Begin to correct or correct the error.

~    Accept only accurate and precise terminology.

~    Accept only the ‘language of success’.

~    To increase the students’ vocabulary and area-specific terminology and improve their comfort with academic terms. ~    The teacher encourages the student to substitute better words or phrases into their answer.

No Opt Out

25-tech-gifts-that-will-make-dads-giddy-mainphoto-cropped

You must try to succeed.

“We are all here for some special reason.  Stop being a prisoner of your past.  Become an architect of your future.”

 

Right is Right

bebe-3d-art-image

There is no escape from the right answer.

 

world-in-my-hands

“The right answer is just the beginning.

star-trek-space-ship-in-galaxy

 

Stretch It

checking-for-understanding-digitalsandboxweebly-com-2

“Look for consistency.

 

electric-circuits-kids

“Look for creativity and imagination in students’ application of knowledge.

 

Format Matters

lego-class-1        cottage-house

“Accept only the complete package.  A Lego house is not the same as a real house.

 

learning pyramid

“Make sure your students attain mastery.

 

Summary

It is important to set high expectations in academic achievement for all students because “the distinction between proficient and advanced is an important one, with advanced representing a greater degree of critical thinking and an ability to communicate, generalize, and explain answers, which seems indicative of the kind of deep understanding we would want to foster in all students” (Education Trust, May 2013).  Furthermore, research shows that enforcing high goals of achievement at all levels also contributes to increased student learning at higher levels.  In other words, setting high expectations for everyone leads to the top students performing even better than usual.  The pivotal Pygmalion study conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) unequivocally demonstrates the importance of teachers having high expectations for all their students.  Human behavior is intricate and complex.  Conscious and subconscious behavior communicate far more to others than words could ever do.  What people actually listen to is the feeling behind the statement.  E.g. In the business world it has been shown that the tone of a comment affects the receiver far more than the meaning of the actual words – hence why there are so many workshops done on how to provide excellent customer service.  The fact that the tone is more important than the words can even be demonstrated on animals – nature in its purest form.  E.g. One can say absolutely horrible things to a dog but in a sweet tone and the dog visibly responds.  The inverse is also true.  The same effect can be shown in adults.  All this is to say that the response of another being has more to do with the behavior of the actor than the receiver.  We unconsciously respond by fulfilling the expectations another has for us.

 

Setting High Expectations in My Classroom

I will ensure I set and abide by high expectations in my classroom by consistently and lovingly applying all of the strategies mentioned in this presentation.  I will demonstrate emotional objectivity and I will actively listen to my students at all times by disassociating my emotional response to a student’s behavior from my outward physical response and using calming techniques to assist me with this endeavor.  I will build a relationship with each of my students and force myself to see them all as individuals by learning about their personal interests, their family background and personal life and by sharing certain personal and professional information about myself.

b8ac6f21a1b614f90fc458

“A good relationship and good communication are important.  No relationship means no interaction which probably means no learning or exchange.  Students rarely learn if they have not built a positive relationship with their teacher.

I will use positive reinforcement to motivate my students incorporating the Five Love Languages so that every child will feel rewarded regardless of their love language.  I will phrase commands using “we”, “let’s” or as a rhetorical question that is understood to be a euphemistic command (e.g. “How about if we start on the essays now?”).  I will also use equity sticks (popsicle sticks with students’ names on them) to ensure I call on all students fairly.  Most importantly, I will project enthusiasm, exhibit confidence and preparedness to my class by always dressing professionally, smiling and being energetic and maintaining a proper work-life balance so that I can always give them my best in class.

Isaiah Early

Furthermore, I will keep educating myself for my own success and improvement.

latino-boy-reading-in-library     key-keep-educating-yourself-imageseimo0ltm

 

References

Bass, Jossey.  (2010).  Chapter 1: Setting High Academic Expectations.  In Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Championpp. 27-56.  San Francisco.

Cole, Robert W.  (2008).  Educating Everybody’s Children: Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners.  revised and expanded 2nd ed.  Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107003/chapters/Educating-Everybody’s-Children@-We-Know-What-Works%E2%80%94And-What-Doesn’t.aspx

Edutopia.  (Dec 9, 2009).  High Expectations: Students Learn to Rise to the Occasion.  Faubion Elementary School.  Portland, Oregon.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=derUjqnlEzs

Edutopia.  (Dec 6, 2011).  How to Engage Underperforming Students.  Cochrane Collegiate Academy.  North Carolina.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0H5XsZ1gzA

Howard, Gary R.  (Mar 2007).  As Diversity Grows, So Must We.  Responding to Changing Demographics.  vol. 64, no. 6.  pp. 16-22.  Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar07/vol64/num06/As-Diversity-Grows,-So-Must-We.aspx

Marzano, Robert J.  (2007).  The Art and Science of Teaching.  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  Virginia, U.S.A.

McLendon, Kelly.  (Apr 26, 2011).  Helping Low-Achieving Students Succeed.  Funderstanding: Inspiring People Who Care About Learning.  Retrieved from http://www.funderstanding.com/curriculum/helping-low-achieving-students-succeed/

Rosenthal, Robert & Jacobson, Lenore.  (1968).  Pygmalion in the Classroom.  Holt, Rinehart & Winston, lnc.  Retrieved from https://www.uni-muenster.de/imperia/md/content/psyifp/aeechterhoff/sommersemester2012/schluesselstudiendersozialpsychologiea/rosenthal_jacobson_pygmalionclassroom_urbrev1968.pdf

The Education Trust.  (May 2013).  Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Low-Income Students and Students of Color.  Shattering Expectations Series.  Washington, D.C.

M4U6A3 Reflecting on Concerns and Fears when Managing Challenging Student Behavior

Throughout this module I have learned that classroom management consists of three main domains: the affective domain, the disciplinary domain, and the professional domain.  This is my own definition and to me it means that we must be affectionate and caring to our students, temper this by showing them sufficient and consistent discipline so that they can grow into healthy and balanced human beings and then we must also be professional about it all by mastering emotional objectivity or being able to distance oneself from students’ behavior towards us.  I have also learned that effective classroom management is essential in order to create an environment where learning can take place.  Practices such as putting in place rules and procedures and establishing norms (such as PBIS – Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) assist teachers greatly in managing students, but they also establish greater clarity between teachers and students in terms of what is expected of them.

I firmly believe in the importance of establishing a good relationship with each student, and it is a skill that comes easily to me.  This is a good thing because I tend to have difficulty being frivolous or light-hearted and in general I am a very serious person.  (I mentioned in the virtual class that I am horrible at telling, or even getting jokes; but thankfully being humorous is not a job requirement.)  As a result of my tendency to take things too seriously, my greatest skill to master will be emotional objectivity and learning to creating sufficient separation between work and my personal life.  I have already started working on this and I feel that I am improving rapidly in this area and I certainly can see what it is so important.  My greatest fears are also linked to this identified weakness: they are the fear of being confronted in a negative way by my students’ parents and the fear of not pleasing the school administration.  Thankfully, long before I decided to pursue this career I was a natural teacher and have always been good with children and adults.  For years everyone has assumed I was either a teacher or a nurse although in truth I was working in finance.  I actually know that my teaching skills are pretty good; things that some people have to learn seem obvious to me.  Therefore, the professional undertakings that would have the greatest benefit for me, would be to increase my confidence, so that I can better apply all the theory I have learned.  I can think of two ways to achieve this.  The first is to complete my practicum and the second is to do the Teach-Now masters so that I will feel that I am super qualified as a teacher.

In terms of contributing to improving specific skills on the job, I do find it difficult to deal with belligerent students.  Unfortunately, some children have been through so much that they just cannot open-up initially.  However, I firmly believe that “a gentle drop of sweet rainwater on stone wears the stone away”.  Said in another way: “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”.  Given sufficient time to develop a relationship with students, I know I can reach each one of my students – and, I am not a softie either.  I believe that discipline is essential and should absolutely be consistent, but it must be used with understanding of the full situation a child is experiencing.  With my being from a Caribbean background, although I agree that corporal punishment is no longer acceptable or necessary in almost all cases, I do feel that the saying “spare the rod, spoil the child” is still accurate if “the proverbial rod” is conceived to be discipline – an essential pillar of the nurturing in any child’s life, even the messengers of God.