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.

· 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.


·  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.


· 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.


· 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.


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


· 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.

Display: Division Family

I made a few posters to help students remember long division. When going through the steps, we used the "Division Family" to help us remember which step went next.

What is a 21st Century Teacher?

This post was collaboratively written by Amanda O., Laura F., and Ellie H in 2013. For more information on this teaching approach, check out our video on 21st Century Learning.

21st century learners require 21st century teachers. 21st century teachers are no longer standing in front of the class lecturing for the entire school day; they create and teach fun and engaging hands-on lessons. Teachers are preparing their students for real life situations with the inclusion of technology. This time period is revolutionary in the classroom.  

A 21st century teacher is one that facilitates technology in the classroom. Teachers take on the role of an adaptor, communicator, learner, visionary, leader, model, collaborator, and risk taker. To be a 21st century teacher, teachers should incorporate the usage of technology whenever possible.  This could include assigning projects that require creativity and collaboration through technological devices such as computers or iPads. Another way to incorporate technology into the classroom and connect with society is through video conferencing. Students can make connections with others outside of school, town, state, or even the country. The opportunities are endless!

Students also learn critical thinking skills and learn to collaborate through technology.  Not only are more individuals using technology for their personal use, but more and more jobs are incorporating technology; therefore it is important to prepare students for these real life situations that require technology. Students are also given the opportunities to learn through being leaders, working as teams, being flexible, and being held accountable for their work. A 21st century teacher stands behind and believes in all of these things. 21st teachers must demand new abilities of students, enforcing these demands in day-to-day lessons.

All in all, 21st century teachers give students the skills that enable them to succeed in the real world.