Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lesson Plan: Fall Poem

Subject: Writing
Grade: 5th (can be adapted for other grade levels)

Title:  Fall Poem

Integration of Learning Outcomes:
  • Students will be able to write a short poem about fall.
  • Students will be able to complete the steps of the writing process.
Standards
  • 1.4.5.A: Write poems, multi-paragraph stories, and plays.

o   Include detailed descriptions of people, places, and things.
o   Include literary elements and devices.
  • 1.5.5.F: Use grade appropriate conventions of language when writing and editing.

o   Spell common, frequently used words correctly.
o   Use capital letters correctly.
o   Punctuate correctly.
o   Use correct grammar and sentence formation.
  • 1.5.5.D: Write with an understanding of style, using a variety of sentence structures and descriptive word choices (e.g., adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs) to create voice. Include specific details that convey meaning and set a tone. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lesson Plan & Presentation: Narrative Leads

The following presentation is a combination of a lesson plan and a Power Point presentation to display to the class. The presentation covers the different types of leads to use for narrative writing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lesson Plan: Adding & Subtracting Decimals

This lesson utilizes enVision Math, but ideas can be adapted for other texts.  Many of the hyperlinks will direct you to a place to download the resources used throughout this lesson. (Note: You must have ActivInspire downloaded to view the Promethean Board slides)

Subject: Math
Grade: 5th

Source: enVision Math 2.6 & 2.7 (2 day lesson)

Integration of Learning Outcomes:

· Students will be able to compute sums of decimals involving tenths, hundredths, and thousandths by making sense of problems and persevering in solving them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments and critiquing other’s reasoning, looking for and making use of structure, and looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. (enVision)

· Students will be able to compute differences of decimals involving tenths, hundredths, and thousandths by reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, attending to precision, and looking for and making use of structure. (enVision)

Standards

· 5.NBT.7: Add and subtract decimals to hundredths, using strategies based on properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.

· 5.NBT: Add and subtract decimals to hundredths using concrete models or drawings.

· M05.A-T.2.1: Use whole numbers and decimals to compute accurately (straight computation or word problem).


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lesson Plan: Problem Solving: Multi-Step Problems


This lesson utilizes enVision Math, but ideas can be adapted for other texts.  Many of the hyperlinks will direct you to a place to download the resources used throughout this lesson. (Note: You must have ActivInspire downloaded to view the Promethean Board slides)

Subject: Math
Grade: 5th

Source: enVision Math 2.8

Integration of Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to use multi-steps to solve a variety of problems by making sense of problems and persevering in solving them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, attending to precision, looking for and making use of structure, and looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning.
  • Students will be able to add and subtract decimals by solving word problems.
 Standards
  • 5.NBT.7: Add and subtract decimals to hundredths; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.
Anticipatory Set

· “Multi-step problems can be challenging. It is important to figure out what you know and what you need to know and to plan the steps necessary to solve the problem. Suppose you are given this problem:”
o   Julia wants to buy three pens at $1.99 each and two notebooks at $2.50 each. What is the total cost?
o   Students will list what they know, what they need to know, and the steps to solving the problem before solving the problem.
o   Drag the parts of the question into the appropriate column on the Promethean Board.
o   Students will write out the steps to solving the problem
§  Find the cost of three pens at $1.99 each. ($5.97)
§  Find the cost of two notebooks at $2.50 each. ($5.00)
§  Find the total cost. ($10.97)
o   Students will solve problem on their whiteboards.

Lesson Plan: Math "Figure Me Out"

This lesson was adapted from "Fourth Grade Fun in Florida" and "Beyond Traditional Math."

Looking for a Back-to-School (or End-of-the-Year) math activity? "Figure Me Out" is a great idea to get students thinking about math and numbers.  This activity gets students to use all operations.

First, have students do a rough draft. Students pick some facts about themselves that involve numbers. They write these down, then develop a number sentence that gets them to that number. When students are on their good copy, they write the fact with the answer underneath. Then, they put a post-it with their equation overtop their answer.  Make sure that their names are on the back and not the front!
Source: Fourth Grade Fun in Florida

Once they are decorated and colorful, hang them around the room (or in the hallway). Students go around solving the problems, and guessing whose is whose.

This can be differentiated for higher-level math students as well. Students might have to develop equations that follow PEMDAS.  Answers could also include solving for variables.

Here is a simple rubric that I developed with requirements for the mini poster. This was used for 5th grade at the end of the year:


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lesson Plan: Solving Equations with Fractions

The embedded Algebra lesson is on solving equations with fractions. Included in the lesson is a notes sheet.

Click the following link to view the lesson on solving equations with fractions.  Download the task cards on The Teacher Sharing Network's Teachers Pay Teachers Page.  The Two-Step Equations Maze can also be found on Teachers Pay Teachers.

 

Lesson Plan: Mental Math with Decimals

This lesson utilizes enVision Math, but ideas can be adapted for other texts.  Many of the hyperlinks will direct you to a place to download the resources used throughout this lesson. (Note: You must have ActivInspire downloaded to view the Promethean Board slides)

Source: enVision Math 2.1
Subject: Math
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes

· Students will be able to compute sums and differences mentally using the Commutative and Associative Properties of Addition, compatible numbers, and compensation by making sense of problems and persevere in solving them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, attending to precision, and looking for and making use of structure.

Standards

· 5.NBT.7: Add and subtract decimals to hundredths using strategies based on properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

Anticipatory Set

· Ask: “What kinds of numbers do you find easier to add and subtract mentally?” Students will do a think-pair-share with a partner. Have 2-3 students share their responses. Mention that we will be doing metal math, and that we will break down the problems in order to solve them mentally and quickly.

· Students will work on a modified version of the Problem-Based Interactive Learning (PBIL).
o   PBIL: Suppose you want to buy new video games.  Just Dance costs $20.75. Minecraft costs $10.59, and Super Mario costs $18.25. Use mental math to find the total cost of all three games ($49.59).  Use mental math to find how much more Just Dance is than Minecraft. ($10.16)
§  Students will solve the problem by discussing with their group.  They must use mental math and talk through the process of how they solved it.  Have a few groups share their responses to the class.  Ask if students changed the subtraction problem at all to make it easier.  Model and demonstrate different ways to solve problems when necessary.


Lesson Plan: Rounding Whole Numbers & Decimals


This lesson utilizes enVision Math, but ideas can be adapted for other texts.  Many of the hyperlinks will direct you to a place to download the resources used throughout this lesson. (Note: You must have ActivInspire downloaded to view the Promethean Board slides)

Source: 2.2 enVision Math
Subject: Math
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes
  • Students will be able to round whole numbers through millions and decimals through thousandths by attending to precision and looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning.
Standards
  • 5.NBT.4: Use place value understanding to round decimals to any place.
  • M05.A-T.1.1.5: Round decimals to any place (limit rounding to ones, tenths, hundredths, or thousandths place).
  • CC.2.1.5.B.1: Apply place value to show an understanding of operations and rounding as they pertain to whole numbers and decimals.
Anticipatory Set

Complete a modified version of the Problem-Based Interactive Learning. The problem will be posted on the Promethean Board. Students will work independently and write their answers on their white board.
o   Numbers: 1,280; 1,213; 1,215; 1,208
o   Problem: For each number tell if the number is closer to 1,200 or 1,300.  Tell how you decided.
o   Reveal the number line after a few moments.  Have students draw a number line on their whiteboards.  Have them record where the numbers should be.
§  Have students come up to the board to plot the points while the others work at their seats.
§  Ask: “Which numbers are closer to 1,200?” (1,208, 1,213)  “Which numbers are closer to 1,300?” (1,280).  Show that 1,250 is right in the middle.
§  Show that this can be determined through subtraction (1,213 – 1,200 = 13; 1,300-1,213 = 87; Therefore, 1,213 is closer to 1,200.)
§  Have students round the numbers to nearest hundred on their whiteboards.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Display: Figurative Language

Check out this interactive figurative language board! Students can find examples from books, write the quote on post-it notes, and stick them to the board!




You can purchase these posters on The Teacher Sharing Network's Teachers Pay Teachers Page! Click here to download!

Display: Turn & Talk

Turn and Talk is a great strategy to use in the classroom. Students are given a chance to discuss their ideas with a partner.

Here are some of the benefits of Turn and Talks or Think-Pair-Shares:

  • Every student gets to share his or her ideas.
  • Students can build ideas and knowledge off of each other.
  • Students can learn from their peers.
  • It helps to build a classroom community.
  • Providing a chance of dialogue in the classroom can decrease out-of-turn talking, or other disruptive behaviors.
  • It is an easy check-in. Listening in can serve as a formative assessment to see if the students are understanding.
  • Builds communication and speaking skills.

Check out this anchor chart with Turn and Talk guidelines and expectations.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lesson Plan: Revising with Proper Nouns

This lesson was adapted from Mentor Texts by Lynn Dorfman.

Brainstorm: Think of places the class is familiar with. Mention specific things you might see as you walk through.

Example: Place- West Chester University
  • Main Hall --> Killinger Hall --> Hollinger Fieldhouse
  • Recitation Hall --> Brandywine Hall --> Farrell Stadium
  • Starbucks --> Sykes Student Union --> Francis Harvey Green Library
  • Lawrence Dining Hall --> The Village --> Church Street
Model: Write a short piece that describes things you see. Keep it general so students can revise later. Then revise by placing proper nouns from brainstormed list.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Interview: Special Education

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about special education. The post is set up in a question and answer format. These answers were last updated in 2013.  The source to many of these answers come from Teaching Students with Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting.

Define and describe special education. 

Special education is specially designed instruction provided by the school district or another local education agency that meets the unique needs of students identified as disabled according to federal and state eligibility criteria. 

Define differentiated instruction and explain its usefulness in meeting the needs of a diverse classroom.

Differentiated instruction is “the planning of curriculum and instruction using strategies that address student strengths, interests, skills, and readiness in flexible learning environments.” It is a “philosophy that guides your thoughts about, and actions with, children in the classroom” (167). Differentiated instruction is important because it tailors teaching to meet the needs of all the students in the class. Typically, teachers will teach to one set of students, but everybody in the class learns differently. Differentiated instruction meets all of the needs of the students in the class.

Essay: Banking and Problem-Posing Concept

This essay was originally written in 2013.

In chapter two of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, author Paulo Freire discusses what he feels is an important educational issue. Freire's chapter focuses on two types of teaching: the banking and problem-posing methods. He clearly believes that one form of education is better than the other. Freire strongly criticizes the banking approach, but genuinely supports the problem-posing method.

To open his discussion, Freire starts with a brief scenario and description introducing the banking approach. He describes the banking concept of education as teachers depositing information into the heads of students, who are only capable of receiving the information. Banking is when teachers talk and lecture, and the students simply memorize what is being said. Through this process, students will not understand the meaning behind an answer. They will not know how an answer is derived, nor why something is the way it is. Students will not fully comprehend an explanation; they will just memorize facts without understanding the reason or significance. No critical thinking is involved with banking. Freire shames the approach for these reasons.

Freire strongly criticizes the banking method throughout the chapter. He believes that memorizing minimizes creativity. Students are not able to think outside the box when they are absorbing a teacher's rant. Students do not have the opportunity to think hardly about something with banking. Freire believes that this is a problem because it will eventually lead to students accepting the world, which will basically be handed to them. Those who are depositing the information may want this since it keeps everything the same, but students won't be able to have their own thoughts or interpretations with banking. Freire goes on to mention an alternative to the banking method.

Essay: Piaget and Educational Psychology

This essay was originally written in 2011.

The subject of educational psychology is extremely broad, but important for future teachers to know. Educational psychology is defined as “the discipline concerned with teaching and learning processes” (Bangs, 349). There are hundreds of subtopics and psychologist that appear in the educational psychology field. The are many important names that relate to educational psychology, but nobody may be more important than Jean Piaget. Piaget believed that “children are not empty vessels to be filled with knowledge but active builders of knowledge who are constantly creating and testing their own theories of the world” (Papert). Piaget brings up several key points in educational psychology, with his stages of cognitive development being the most famous.



Monday, March 2, 2015

"Brain Break" Ideas

"Brain Breaks" are becoming increasingly popular in school. These short breaks may add some physical activity into the classroom, but they have also been proven to increase educational performance.  We may call it a "break" but movement actually energizes and activates the brain. This causes students to re-focus, thus limiting off-task behavior.

I've seen "Brain Breaks" in several different fashions. Many teachers have task cards with the activity printed on the card, which is picked at random. I've also seen a table where you roll two dice and match those numbers with the coordinates of the table to determine the activity. Also, Popsicle sticks with circular printouts attached to the top are picked out of a mug. The printouts tend to have a picture of the activity on one side and a description of the activity on the other. For a more 21st century style, the site GoNoodle has interactive Brain Break videos. All of these resources are great, but personally I think it's harder to incorporate your own ideas while matching the original resource's format.

Personally, I prefer the traditional "task on a Popsicle stick" method. There aren't any fancy pictures or descriptions on the sticks, but I found that it was the easiest to make and also to add your own. And to be honest, it's much cheaper than the Brain Breaks you might pay for on Teacher's Pay Teachers.


All you need are the following supplies:

  • Sharpie Permanent Marker
  • One small piece of construction paper
  • Colored Craft Sticks (You can buy a 75-pack at AC Moore for $2.50)
  • A cup (I bought a 3-pack of cups from the Dollar Store)
I wrote the "Brain Break" onto a Popsicle stick, and put it in the cup. That's it!  The question is, what kind of activities did I use for my Brain Breaks? 

Below is a list of activities with the description for each Brain Break. You could do each activity for a timed period, or do a specific number of each.  Print out the list so you can refer to it as a reference when Brain Breaks are picked out of the cup.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Intra-School Communication & Self-Esteem

This information was originally written in 2012.

The following article discusses communication within middle-level schools and families.  Communication between the teachers, parents, students, and faculty is extremely important.  When everybody is involved, it creates the best learning environment for the students.  It can also help address and resolve serious issues such as self-esteem.  There is a large variety of ways to communicate within schools, including conferences, newsletters, meetings, as well as other forms.  Communication sets the students up for success.

The article also covers how to communicate when self-esteem issues arise in students.  The article assess do's and don'ts for communicating when there are students who lack self-esteem.

Sample: Inquiry Chart

An Inquiry Chart, or I-chart, is defined by Reading Rockets as "a strategy that enables students to gather information about a topic from several sources. Teachers design the I-chart around several questions about a topic. Students read or listen to several sources on the topic and record answers to the posed questions within the I-chart."

Depending on the grade level, the teacher can provide the questions, or the students could create their own.  The sources should not be limited to simply text and instruction. For example, videos make a great resource for I-charts. Also depending on the grade level, students could be assigned sources, or choose their own.

Below is an example of a completed science Inquiry Chart on the topic of weather.    

Essay: What is RAFT Writing?

This essay was originally written in 2013.

In “Student-Directed Written Inquiry: Transferring Ownership to Students,” Brenda A. Shearer discusses an alternative to content area writing. Shearer particularly discusses a “framework of inquiry called RAFT – Role, Audience, Format, Topic” (210). She includes various strategies that potentially improve the skills of writers. Through her examples and ideas, Shearer instantly sold me on the RAFT framework. The ideas presented in her piece show that RAFT can easily be implemented into a classroom since it gives students more writing options and ownership.

Choosing a role begins the framework, as students decide who they will be (211). The role may include anything, such as a particular person or a concrete object like a coffee pot. I love the fact that students can pick the most absurd role, but turn it into a magnificent piece of writing with a new and unique perspective. Too often, students write from a similar point of view. Using different roles expands the possibilities. In addition, I believe that the concept of “role-choosing” is important for developing students into critical thinkers. Students are able to walk in the shoes of another through this strategy. They can think outside the box and look at something in a way that they never have before.

Next, students select their audience, or who they intend to write to (211). In a regular setup, students typically make the teacher their primary audience (218). Having the teacher as an audience really takes away from a piece, in my opinion. Through RAFT, students are able to make their audience more specific and relevant to their piece. I think it is important to target various audiences since it is a large part of the writing experience. Different cases cause for different audiences. Students need to learn how to adapt to various audiences, so selecting an audience is perfect practice. Audience selection also makes the piece more personal, easier to relate to, and more enjoyable for the reader. Shearer was spot on when she talked about the importance of audience framework. The pattern continues as a similar thought can be applied to format.

Format tells how students will present their writing (211). This could be in the form of an essay, letter, or something out of the ordinary such as an obituary. Format was something that I never considered before, but Shearer convinced me that format is important because it changes the aspect of an entire piece. Also, format is an important concept so students can learn that there are various forms of writing besides the traditional five paragraph essay. By tinkering with different formats, students will eventually develop an understanding about which format best fits certain topics or situations. Varying formats also makes writing more appealing. I believe students will enjoy writing more if they can use a nontraditional format. I also feel that varying and choosing format is key for differentiation in the classroom. English language learners or students with disabilities can greatly benefit from choosing format since it appeals to different styles of learners, as students can pick formats such as cartoons, plays, or poetry.

As far as topics go, RAFT stresses that students should choose their own topics, rather than being assigned (p. 211). Teachers show that they trust their students by giving them the opportunity to choose their own topics (p. 215). Students are definitely more engaged in the writing process if they have the ability to choose their own topics. By writing about topics that they enjoy, voice is stronger because students are passionate about the topic they already know. Being assigned an uninteresting topic certainly takes away the heart and soul of a piece.

Shearer's activities can easily be applied to the classroom. Shear provides many strategies that can be adapted and used for the writing process. Expanding brainstorming activities is a significant idea that Shearer discusses. She focuses on asking questions that lead to the writing process. Shearer guides students to asking good questions, transitioning from questioning to inquiry charts. I believe an important part of critical thinking is asking questions, and through Shearer's ideas, this can be accomplished. The inquiry chart allows students to keep those questions organized, and also answer them along the way. These brainstorming ideas can be applied to a classroom in order to help students improve their questioning and critical thinking skills, in addition to clearing up confusion.

Brenda Shearer provides a new framework for writing. I agree with her concept that there is a time to step away from the traditional content area writing. By using the role, audience, format, and topic framework, students will be more engaged and greatly improve their writing. They will become better questioners through brainstorming and better critical thinkers altogether. Applying Shearer's concepts into a classroom will create stronger writers and a better writing community.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lesson Plan: Paraphrase, Quote, Summarize

Source: Teaching with a Mountain View
Subject: Reading/Language Arts
Grade: 5th (can be adapted for other grade levels)

Integration of Learning Outcomes:

· Students will be able to define paraphrase, summarize, and quote by looking at their graphic organizer.

· Students will be bale to paraphrase, summarize, and quote portions of a text from the article “A Smaller, Smarter Phone?”

Standards

· 1.6.5.A: Listen critically and respond to others in small and large group situations.
  • Respond with grade level appropriate questions, ideas, information, or opinions. 
· R5.A.1.3.2: Cite evidence from text to support generalizations.
· R5.A.2.5.1: Summarize the major points, processes, and/or events of a nonfictional text.
· E05.B-K.1.1.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences and/or making generalizations from the text.
· CC.1.4.5.W: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
· E05.B-K.1.1.2: Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

Lesson Plan: Possessive Nouns

Subject: Writing
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes:
· Students will be able to identify and use the correct rules for possessive nouns.

Standards

· 1.5.5.F: Use grade appropriate conventions of language when writing and editing.
o Spell common, frequently used words correctly.
o Use capital letters correctly.
o Punctuate correctly.
o Use correct grammar and sentence formation.

Procedures

· Walk through Active Inspire presentation and discuss the various rules for possessive nouns. Provide examples. Have students fix certain examples by applying the correct possessive noun rule. Students will take notes in their writing notebooks

· Complete the possessive noun match game (adapted from Teachers Pay Teachers). Each student will get a card. Half will have a sentence with an underlined word. The other half will receive a card with the underlined word’s correct version of the possessive noun. Students with the sentence will have to find their match of the correct possessive noun.

· Complete possessive noun worksheet (p. 9 of WRITE! Foundations and Models for Proficiency)

Formative/Summative Assessment
· Collect worksheet
· Observations

Materials/ Technology

· Active Inspire presentation
· Possessive Noun Worksheet (p. 9 of WRITE! Foundations and Models for Proficiency)
· Possessive Nouns match game cards
· Writing notebooks and pencils
· Computer and projector
· Promethean Board

Note: Click here to download the Active Inspire presentation on Possessive Nouns. The presentation is compatible with Promethean Boards. You will be directed to Google Docs, which will prompt you to download the presentation (NOTE: You must have Active Inspire downloaded on your computer to be able to view).


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lesson Plan: Explode the Moment

Subject: Language Arts
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes
· Students will be able to use sensory details to improve writing pieces.

Standards
· 1.5.5.A: Write with a clear focus, identifying topic, task, and audience.
· 1.5.5.D: Write with an understanding of style, using a variety of sentence structures and descriptive word choices (e.g., adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs) to create voice. Include specific details that convey meaning and set a tone.

Lesson Plan: Inferring with Commercials

Parts of this lesson was adapted from Classroom Magic. Changes were made to the original lesson.

Subject: Reading
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes

· Students will be able to make inferences by watching short commercial clips and filling out a graphic organizer.

· Students will be able to make inferences while reading short passages.

Standards

·  Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text is about and when drawing inferences and/or making generalizations from the text.

· Develop the analysis using a variety of evidence from texts to support claims, opinions, ideas, and inferences.

· R5.A.1.3.1: Make inferences and/or draw conclusions based on information from text.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Display: Spelling Garden

Looking for a good spelling display?  How about this spelling garden?!

The spelling garden features the vowel sounds in the center of the flower.  The stems and leaves include examples that go with the sounds.


Lesson Plan: Compare/Contrast "The People Could Fly" and "Tar Beach"

The following lesson was adapted from Read Write Think. Changes were made to the original lesson, but many of the ideas come from the Read Write Think lesson.

Subject: Reading
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes

· Students will be able to compare and contrast The People Could Fly and Tar Beach by creating a Venn Diagram.

Objectives From Read Write Think:

· Students will discuss multicultural literature in a meaningful, complex manner.

· Students will be able to become familiar with how genre and historical context are used to interpret texts.

· Students will be able to discover how to compare and contrast text to uncover their intertextual links.

· Students will be able to develop ideas in verbal and written form.

· Students will be able to learn how literature and art can be used to express inspiring visions of freedom and liberty.

Standards from Read Write Think:

· Compare and contrast stories in the same genre. Students will compare and contrast their approaches to themes and topics that are similar.

· Students will break down the structure of a text to compare and contrast events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts, noting patterns such as chronology, cause/effect, or problem/solution

· Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

· Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

· Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features

· Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes

Lesson Plan: Sequencing Events Using "Paul Bunyan: A Tall Tale"

The following lesson was adapted from Read Write Think. Changes were made to the original lesson, but many of the ideas come from the Read Write Think lesson.

Subject: Reading
Grade: 5th

Integration of Learning Outcomes:

· Students will be able to listen to the story of Paul Bunyan while focusing on the important events in the story.

· Students will be able to write complete sentences and draw illustrations describing events from the story.

· Students will be able to work with their classmates to discover the sequence of events by putting the illustrations in order on the class timeline.

· Students will be able to write journal entries about how finding the sequence in a story helps increase their understanding.

Standards

· CC.1.4.5.P: Organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally, using a variety of transitional words and phases to manage the sequence of events.

· R5.B.3.3.1: Identify, explain, and/or interpret text organization, including sequence, question/answer, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, or problem/solution.

· 1.6.5.A: Listen critically and respond to others in small and large group situations.

o Respond with grade level appropriate questions, ideas, information, or opinions.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Teacher Interview: Assessment

I interviewed a second grade teacher back in March, 2013.  We discussed how the teacher utilized assessment in the school.  The interviewees name has been removed to protect the individual's identity.

Q: How do you assess students?

A: Our assessments are broken down by subject.  For math, we do unit tests, which are created by the Investigations program.  We also have district created benchmarks, which are done once per trimester.  At the beginning of the year, there is an assessment to see what skills the students have and see if they know the skills they were supposed to learn in the previous grade. This is also district created.

For reading, we use Fontas and Pinnell, which assess guided reading level. They are given a short story and have to comprehend it.  There's also DIBELS.  We assess fluency and ability to phonetically sound out words by giving them nonsense words. So the words aren't real but we see if they can pronounce them using phonetic rules.  There are also weekly unit tests and benchmarks created from Journeys, which is from Houghton Mifflin.

For writing, there's three benchmarks which are at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. They are district created.

For science, we have checkups to see if they understand the skills.

Q: How is Response to Intervention (RTI) implemented in your school?

A: We have a performance tracker program.  It tracks all the kids in the program. We use data to respond to what is going on. I also compare to the benchmarks, question by question.  I also give instruction.

Q: Do you do any benchmarking? If so, how?

A: Yes, we do a lot of benchmarking for reading, writing, and math. Many are created by the district.  (see question 1).

Q: How do you determine good test questions?


A: We assess to the state standards. If we teach to the standards and follow the standards, good questions come from what is taught.  If most of the kids get a question wrong, I check and see if it was worded correctly. I think about if I taught the material well enough, the wording of the question, or how it relates to the standards.  When there are numerous students who get a question wrong, I meet with them in a group, go over the question, and touch base with them to what went wrong. It goes along with RTI.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lesson Plan: Order of Operations with PEMDAS Shuffle

Subject: Math
Grade: 5th, can be adapted for other grade levels


Integration of Learning Outcomes:
· Students will be able to solve mathematical problems by using the order of operations.

Standards

· M05.B-O.1.1: Analyze and complete calculations by applying the order of operations.
· M05.B-O.1.1.1: Use multiple grouping symbols (parentheses, brackets, or braces) in numerical expressions and evaluate expressions containing these symbols.
· CC.2.2.5.A.1: Interpret and evaluate numerical expressions using order of operations.

Procedures

Beginning
· Take Pre-Assessment side of worksheet (see below)

Middle

· Order of Operations Study Jams. Ask questions along the way.
· Draw PEMDAS boxes on board (see picture). Students will copy into their notebooks.

Essay: No Child Left Behind vs. Race to the Top

This essay was originally written in 2012. It compares No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top.

In the United States of America, politics often affect the education system.  The government may attempt to improve the education for all students; however, different actions are perceived differently by different individuals. There may not be a clear answer as to how the government should control the education system, but there are currently two federal education initiatives that are often discussed and spark debates.  No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTTT) are two important topics that come up when discussing education and politics.  The debates surrounding No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top focus on standards and assessments, data and accountability, effective teachers and principals, and ways of turning around low-performing schools.

Essay: Pennsylvania's Code of Conduct for Educators

The following is an essay with information regarding Pennsylvania's Code of Conduct for Educators. The essay was originally written in 2012.  The full code of conduct can be found by clicking here.

Pennsylvania's Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators relates to daily issues and practices for classroom teachers, both in and out of the classroom.  The formal document's goal is to provide “leadership for improving the quality of education in this Commonwealth by establishing high standards for preparation, certification, practice and ethical conduct in the teacher profession” (Section 1).  The document clearly states what is appropriate for teachers and what is not.  Failure to follow the laws result in violations or consequences; therefore, it is imperative to obey what the document says.  As an aspiring teacher, it is important to know these rules since many implications regarding the code of conduct may appear.  

The purpose of Pennsylvania's Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators is that the students should “receive the highest quality of service and that every professional maintains a high level of competence from entry through ongoing professional development” (Section 3).  The code of conduct enforces teachers to provide the best quality of education.  A teacher's number one priority should be the student's learning.  Educators need to keep current with research and technology in order to give students the greatest education possible.  In addition, educators must take responsibility for their students, along with their potential.  In other words, teachers should do what is in the best interest of their students.  The students should be put first, and teachers must take responsibility for the class.