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National TESOL Standards for Prek-12 ESOL Students

English as a Second Language Content Standards for Adult Education

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

The Next Generation Science Standards

WIDA Standards

National Standards for Music Education

National PE Standards

 

 

Lesson Demonstration                                              Holden Kraus

Date: 6/12/2019                                                          Grade/Subject: 8th Grade Mathematics

Unit: Transformations                                                Proficiency Level: Low intermediate

 

Standards:

Content

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.G.A.1 Verify experimentally the properties of rotations, reflections, and translations.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.G.A.1.A Lines are taken to lines, and line segments to line segments of the same length.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.G.A.1.B Angles are taken to angles of the same measure.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.G.A.1.C Parallel lines are taken to parallel lines.

 

Language

Goal 1, Standard 3 To use English to communicate in social settings: Students will use learning strategies to extend their communicative competence

Goal 2, Standard 1 To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to interact in the classroom

Goal 2, Standard 3 To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to construct and apply academic knowledge

 

Lesson Topic:

Rotations in the Coordinate Plane

 

Objectives:

Content

Students will be able to rotate a figure in the coordinate plane.

Students will be able to explain that rotations are congruent to the original figure.

 

Language

Students will be able to use context to construct meaning.

Students will be able to follow oral and written directions.

Students will be able to actively connect new information to information previously learned.

 

Learning Strategies:

Visuals will be used to present information.

Hands-on explorations will be used to explore rotations.

Graphic organizers will be used to record new information.

 

Key Vocabulary:

Rotation, Center of Rotation, Angle of Rotation, clockwise, counterclockwise

 

Materials:

Interactive Note Sheet, Graph printouts, Parchment Paper

 

Motivation: Students have previously learned about two other transformations (translations and reflections), their effect in the coordinate plane, and congruence. Rotations are used in graphic design to create products. Start with the task of needing an arrow graphic that points upward to point to the lower right. Ask students how we can accomplish that task. Ask “Is this new arrow the same size as the original?” This ties students back to the previously learned concept of congruence.

Presentation:

Content and Language Objectives

Written on the board before the lesson begins.

Teacher and students will use Call and Response to read objectives together.

 

Comprehensive Input Modeling

Teacher and students will employ graphic organizers to recall previously learned information about the coordinate plane, to identify clockwise and counterclockwise, and to record new learning through explorations. Technology will be utilized as a tool to complete the first rotation. Parchment paper will be used to complete the second.

 

Strategies

Visual strategies will be used in this lesson along with physical and digital manipulatives.

 

Interaction

Whole group discussion will be used to complete rotation activities and illicit student comprehension of rotations in the coordinate plane.

 

Feedback

“You’ve done well completing these two rotations. Can anyone think of some physical exercises where we have to rotate our bodies?”

 

Practice & Application:

Meaningful Activities

Students will complete two rotations – one around the origin and one around a vertex of the figure. Students will write two sentences to explain how rotations maintain congruency and what information is required to complete a rotation. Students will draw their own triangle, determine their own rotation, and trade with a partner for extra practice.

 

Interaction

Students will trade figures with a partner to complete a rotation. Students will compare rotations and discuss any things that they disagree on.

 

Review & Assessment

Informal assessment of student understanding will be conducted as students complete the explorations. Teacher will review objectives at the end of class.

 

Extension

In-class explorations and assigned independent practice will only rotate in multiples of 90 degrees to take advantage of the coordinate plane. Students can extend their learning experience by rotating figures by different angles (namely 30, 45, and 60 degrees).

 

  

Lauri Cheng

EDCI 5548

SIOP Lesson Plan 1 (Following 2017 SIOP Lesson Plan Template 2)

21 June 2017

STANDARDS:

TESOL Standard:

·         To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to interact in the classroom. (Goal 2, Standard 1)

 

Content Standards (Common Core, Second Grade, Mathematics):

·         Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?

·         Find the value of combinations of dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, using $ and ¢ appropriately.

·         Find combinations of coins that equal a given amount

LESSON TOPIC: Counting money

OBJECTIVES:

Content:

·         Students will be able to determine values of coins

·         Students will be able to add values in currency form

Language:

·         Students will be able to use key vocabulary relating to money

·         Students will be able to read word problems regarding money

LEARNING STRATEGIES: Students will be demonstrating cognitive learning strategies by previewing a poem about money at the beginning of class and then later rereading it with the assistance of the teacher. The students will be identifying key vocabulary and the teacher will help the students in highlighting important information.

KEY VOCABULARY: The key vocabulary includes the following words; money, penny, nickel, dime, quarter, dollar, bill, cent, and coin.

MATERIALS: PowerPoint, one dollar and five cents for each student made of two quarters, three dimes, four nickels, and five pennies, envelopes, individual white boards for each student, copies for each student of the poem, “Smart” by Shel Silverstein (Appendix)

MOTIVATION:

(Building background): The students will have already been learning how to add and subtract. They will also be familiar with decimal points. All students from all countries will at least be familiar with the idea of money. The teacher will ask the students what money is called in their native language. The teacher may also ask students to bring in any native currency if they have it to class so the other students can see the different forms of currency around the world. The teacher may also offer some examples from other countries by showing images online of currency and explaining how to say the various words for types of currency (ex. euros, yuan, peso, etc) and the symbols used.

PRESENTATION (18-20 min)

(Content and language objectives): The teacher will begin by writing the content and language objectives on the board. “Okay class, today we are going to talk about money! By the end of class, we will all be able to count money and figure out how many coins is needed to make a certain amount. We have some new words to look at today. Let’s see our new vocabulary for today.”

(Comprehensible input modeling):  The teacher will then pull up a PowerPoint presentation with the key vocabulary terms. “Let’s go through these words together. Everybody repeat after me.” The teacher will go on to pronounce each vocabulary word slowly and clearly and then listen for the students to repeat the word back. “Some of these words might seem familiar. A lot of you have probably heard of the word, “dollar.” For example, my new shirt cost twenty dollars. In Mexico, the word, “peso,” is used. Can anybody tell me what some other countries use for the word, “dollar?” The teacher will then allow the students to offer some answers in their native languages surrounding currency or if any student brings to class an example of currency per teacher’s request in a previous class. 

(Strategies): “Excellent! Now we are going to look at a funny poem. I am going to pass out a poem about money and I want everyone to get their highlighters out so we can highlight the new vocabulary we learned today.” The teacher will pass out the copies of Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Smart.” “I’m going to read the poem aloud first. While I’m reading the poem, go ahead and read along quietly and pay attention to any of our vocabulary words you find.” The teacher will then slowly read aloud the entire poem. “Okay, so let’s look at the first line, “My dad gave me one dollar bill.” Let’s highlight our vocabulary word here. Dollar is the word we use to measure money. This is a one-dollar bill (holds up one dollar). Bills are what we call paper money. Let’s keep reading now.” The teacher will continue reading the poem and stop to let the students know when to highlight a vocabulary term. The teacher will also hold up an example of the vocabulary terms, quarter, dime, nickel, and penny, once they are reached in the poem. The teacher will also explain for these terms that they are called “coins” which is another vocabulary term. “Coins are measured in cents. For example, this quarter is equal to twenty-five cents. One hundred cents is equal to one dollar. So, if you have one hundred and one cents you can say you have one dollar and one cent. It will be written with symbols like this.” The teacher will write on the board $1.01.

(Interaction): “Okay, now I’m going to pass out some money for everyone! Everybody will get two quarters, three dimes, four nickels, and five pennies.” The teacher will pass out the money to each student. “The pennies each represent one cent. So let’s count together how many pennies we have and how much that makes.” The teacher will count with the students five pennies. “We each have five pennies so that makes five cents.” The teacher will write 5¢ on the board. “This is the symbol we use for cents. Now, let’s move on to the nickels. Each nickel is worth five cents. So let’s count together how many nickels we have.” The teacher will write 5, 5, 5, 5 on the board to signal each nickel. “So to find out how much cents we have, we need to add these together. Five plus five plus five plus five equals twenty. We have twenty cents in nickels.” The teacher will then move on to demonstrate with the remaining three dimes and two quarters.

(Feedback): “So now I want everyone to add up how much money they have total! Add up all your pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters and then write on your white board how much you have. Make sure you use the symbols and the format we talked about. I have an example written on the board (point to $1.01 written earlier).” The teacher will then wait for every student to hold up his or her white board. If the student is incorrect, the teacher will count with that student to get the correct answer ($1.05).

PRACTICE & APPLICATION (20-25 min):

(Meaningful activities): “So let’s go back to the poem. This boy said he received one dollar from his dad but he kept trading his money! Let’s separate into groups and we will figure out how much money he’s left with by the end of the poem.” The teacher will divide the students into groups of two or three. If possible, advanced students or native English speakers should be paired with beginner ESL students.

(Interaction): “I want you to look at each section of the poem and find out how much money, in cents, does this boy have every time he trades.” The teacher can have the poem also displayed on the PowerPoint with each paragraph numbered. “Start with one dollar and then look at paragraph #1 and find out how much he traded his dollar for. Then move onto #2 and continue until you finish #5.” The teacher will then walk around the classroom and monitor. The teacher will offer assistance to any groups who are having difficulty.

(Strategies): The teacher will then write $1.00 on the board. “Okay, let’s all look at our poems together. Everyone highlight “two quarters” and then can somebody tell me how much that is in cents?” The students may volunteer their answers or the teacher can call on each group. “Right! The correct answer is fifty cents. The teacher can then write underneath $1.00, 50¢. “Remember one dollar is equal to one hundred cents? He only has fifty cents now! Let’s move on to number two. Everyone highlight “three dimes” and somebody tell me how much that is in cents.” The students will continue answering and the teacher will write the amounts on the board. After each paragraph has been addressed the teacher will ask, “So how much did he start with? And how much did he end up with?” The students will answer verbally.

(Practice/application): The teacher will then pass out the envelopes to each group. Each envelope will say an amount over one dollar (ex. $1.74). “Now I have some envelopes I will hand out to each group. Each envelope has an amount of money written on it. I want your group to put the correct amount of coins into your envelope to make the amount written on it.” The teacher will monitor the groups and answer any questions.

(Feedback): “Alright, let’s see what we came up with! I’m going to have each group come up with their envelope and we will count together.” The teacher will call up each group and empty the envelope. The teacher and students will count together how much in cents the coins make up. If there are any discrepancies, the teacher will assist the students in helping to correct the amount.

REVIEW & ASSESSMENT (5 min):

(Review objectives and vocabulary): “Okay, so let’s look back at our objectives for today.” The teacher will point to the board at the written objectives and then say them aloud again. “Everyone who thinks they accomplished these objectives today, give me a thumbs up! Anyone who thinks they need to spend a little more time on these objectives, give me a thumbs down.” The teacher should scan the room and if there are many thumbs downs, the teacher should plan to review the content more in the next class.

(Assess learning): “So everybody should have some money left over in their groups. Before you leave the classroom, count as a group how much money you have left. Bring the rest of your coins up to me and let me know how much you have. Then I will see you next time!”

EXTENSION: Students who are very early beginners in ESL may need to have a paraphrased copy of the poem. The poem has some informal language that may not be understood by some students. The teacher may revise the poem to a more plain and simple language but with the same values of coins. This copy can be available to any ESL student who may need it.

  

Appendix

 

Mohammed Alshalawi
SIOP Lesson Plan 1 Grade: 6th
EDCI 5548 Subject: Science
June 19, 2019 Unit: Body System

Standards:
Content:
o CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.9
- Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
o CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3
- Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Language:
o Goal 2, Standard 1
- To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.
o Goal 2, Standard 3
- To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to construct and apply academic knowledge.

LESSON TOPIC: The Respiratory System

Objectives:
Content:
o Students will be able to identify the parts of the respiratory system.
o Students will be able to describe the functions of each part of the respiratory system.
Language:
o Students will be able to:
- Follow oral and written directions.
- Participate in full-class, group, and pair discussions.
- Actively connect new information to information previously learned.

LEARNING STRATEGIES:
Students will use pictures to distinguish between healthy and smoking lungs.
Students will use a notebook paper to write their thoughts and idea.
Students will work in groups to help each other to represent the whole group.
Students will work on what they know before and on what they learned after class.

KEY VOCABULARY: The key vocabulary includes the following words; sinus cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, lungs, bronchi, and diaphragm.

MATERIALS: PowerPoint, poster board, markers, respiratory system worksheet (Appendix A), a notebook paper, balloons, and a computer.

MOTIVATION:
(Building background): The students will be asked to breathe a couple of times. Then the teacher will ask the students, “who can tell me what just happened?”. After the teacher got the attention of the students and listened to some answers, then the teacher will tell the students that I will show you a picture of lungs and the teacher tells the students that there are two lungs. After showing a picture of healthy lungs, the teacher may say, “to breathe there are some parts are helping the breathing, we will talk about them today”. Also, the teacher will show two pictures, one is a healthy lung and the other is for a smoking lung to show how they are different. That will attract students’ attention.

PRESENTATION (20 min)
(Content and language objectives): The teacher will begin by writing the content and language objectives on the board after showing them a picture of the two lungs (healthy and smoking lungs). “Okay students, today we will learn about the respiratory system. And what is the respiratory system, and how it works? By the end of the class, we will be able to identify the parts of the respiratory system and we will be able to describe the functions of each part of the respiratory system.”
(Comprehensible input modeling): “As I showed you the two lungs (healthy and smoking). Who can tell me, what are the differences between the two of them?” After the students are engaging in the discussion about the differences between the two lungs, the teacher will begin explaining that smoking affects the lungs and make them black and smaller, so the smoker can’t take a whole breath. After the teacher makes a clear explanation of the differences a healthy lung and a smoker lung, the teacher will start explaining the mechanism of the breathing, how the air goes in and out, and show them a picture of that (Appendix B).
Then, the teacher will open the PowerPoint presentation to classify the key vocabulary terms. “Okay students, I need you to repeat after me the main word of this lesson, sinus cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, lungs, bronchi, and diaphragm.” After the students repeated, the teacher will ask the student, “which one of the key vocabularies is the hardest to pronounce, so I can pronounce it for you slowly”. After the student provided some hard vocabularies, the teacher will start to present each key vocabulary.
(Strategies): “Now I need you to be aware that we will begin explaining the function of each part. Also, I will pass out the respiratory system worksheet to you, so you can work in peers.” Then, the teacher will ask the students to label the part as they go over it. Also, the teacher will instruct the students to write the definition and explanation of each part as the teacher will explain it to them and as it is written in the respiratory system worksheet. “Great work everyone. Now, I will explain to you that the sinus cavity is the area around the nose and eyes that cleans the air people breathe in.” After the teacher explain that, he or she will move to the next part and will ask the student to stop him or her at any point to ask a question. The teacher will inform the students that the pharynx is behind the nose and mouth and that the larynx is in the neck and contains the vocal cords. The teacher will continue explaining that the trachea connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs and is responsible for the passage of air, while the bronchi are small tubes that bring air to and from the lungs.
(Interaction): “Now, I want you all to stand up. Okay, Take I deep breath. Do you know, what is the thing inside you that goes big and comes back to be small? That is the lung which is the main part of the respiratory system and puts oxygen into the bloodstream.” After that, the teacher will continue explaining that the diaphragm is a muscle that moves up and down to expand the lungs. “This is what helps you to breathe.”
The teacher will give each student a balloon and ask them to blow up the balloon. “Now I need you to write how this happened with the balloon when you blow it up with air in your notebook paper”. After the students take a minute or two to write their answers, the teacher will ask them again to write one sentence, but they must use one or two of the key vocabulary. The student will share their sentence with the class.
(Feedback): “Good job everyone. Now I need you to be in a group of four or five, I want you to be in five groups.” After the students make groups, the teacher will provide them with pieces of each part of the respiratory system. The teacher will ask the student to distribute the role between them so each student will talk about one part of the respiratory system. The teacher will ask each group to choose one part of the respiratory system and then they have to choose one student to represent the group to talk about that part in front of the class.

PRACTICE & APPLICATION (20-25 min):
(Meaningful activities): The teacher will
“You did a great job. Now stay in your group and I need each one of you to write on the notebook three sentences that you didn’t know about before the class and three sentences you know about after the class. The sentence should start with, before the class I don’t know that …., and after the class, I knew that …” The teacher will walk around and see how they write the six sentences and he or she will hope that the writing will meet the objectives.
(Interaction): “Now, I need you to pass your paper to the one who is in your left so that you can see what they wrote. (Excellent). Now, each student will choose one sentence to read it loudly to the whole class.” Then, the teacher will ask the students to say some comments about the other student word. This will help the student to be more judgment. After hearing about the students what they wrote and corrected them, the teacher will divide the board by putting a line in the middle.
(Strategies): After the teacher puts a line to divide the board, he or she will ask the students to use this dividing to write in the board. The left side of the board is for the name of the part of the respiratory system. And the right side is for the function of the part of the respiratory system. “I need a volunteer from each group to come here and write one part and its function.”
(Practice/application): “Now, who can tell us, how does air travel through the system?” The teacher will read a passage to the students explaining how the air travels through the system. “Okay, listen carefully because I will ask one of you to say it again. Air enters the body either by the mouth or by the nose. If it goes through the nose, the mucus in the nose moistens the air, and the nose hairs in the nose collect particles of dust, and other debris, and stops it from entering the lungs. Once it has gone past the mouth or nose, it goes down the pharynx in the throat till it gets to the larynx or windpipe. Once there, it goes down the trachea to the bronchi. The bronchi branch out like trees to the alveoli which is the part of the respiratory system that actually hands off and receives gasses. The alveoli are in the lungs, the major organ of the respiratory system. it gives oxygen to the blood and receives from its carbon dioxide through diffusion. Then the carbon dioxide goes back up the respiratory system to leave the body. The way that the lungs expand and deplete, and change pressure is by the diaphragm rising and lower.” While the teacher says the passage to the students, he or she will demonstrate the whole process to them.
(Feedback): “Now after you heard the passage, who can tell the class what is about?” After a student answers, “Great job, you did a great job, can anyone say it again?” After another student explains it, the teacher will ask the whole class to clap for their mates.

REVIEW & ASSESSMENT (5 min):
(Review objectives and vocabulary): “All of you did a great job. All right, so let’s review the objectives together.” Then, the teacher will read each one of the objectives and ask the student to repeat them after him or her.
(Assess learning): “I want to take out your balloons and blow it up. Good job everybody, now stop and tell us how the air goes to your lungs?” After one student explains it the class, the teacher will ask the student to use the respiratory system worksheet to answer his or her question.

EXTENSION: Students who answered the teacher’s questions will leave the class. Such questions will be like, what is the mechanism of the lungs? How the air enters the lungs? Describe the functions of lungs, bronchi, and diaphragm together. The student can ask the ones who already answered to help them answer the teacher’s question.


 

Holden Kraus                                                                        EDCI 5548

SIOP Lesson Plan 1                                                              Date: 6/19/2019

Grade/Subject: 8th Mathematics                                           Unit: Linear Functions

Proficiency Level: Intermediate

STANDARDS:

Content:

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.EE.B.6 Use similar triangles to explain why the slope m is the same between any two distinct points on a non-vertical line in the coordinate plane; derive the equation y = mx for a line through the origin and the equation y = mx + b for a line intercepting the vertical axis at b. (Strikethrough is used to indicate standard components that are not included in this lesson and will be included in future lessons.)

 

Language:

TESOL Goal 2, Standard 1 To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.

TESOL Goal 2, Standard 2 To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to obtain, process, construct, and provide subject matter information in spoken and written form.

 

LESSON TOPIC: Slope

 

OBJECTIVES:

Content:

Students will be able to explain that the slope of a non-vertical line is the same between any two points on the line using similar triangles.

 

Language:

Students will be able to explain, elaborate, and extend other people’s ideas and words about slope.

Students will be able to represent slope visually and interpret slope when presented visually.

 

LEARNING STRATEGIES:

Students will use preselected points on a line to draw the triangle that can be used to identify slopes.

Students will use Think-Pair-Share to identify lines with a given slope using slope triangles.

Students will independently explain why two slope triangles drawn from the same line yield the same slope.

Students will work in small groups to create a poster of what they’ve learned about slope.

 

KEY VOCABULARY: similar triangles, rate of change, slope, non-vertical line, linear, constant

 

MATERIALS: SMART presentation file, graphs of linear functions will pre-selected points, slope sorting cards, individual white boards with coordinate grids, dry-erase marker

 

MOTIVATION: (5 minutes)

Students are familiar with unit rates and proportional relationships from earlier courses. Students will be asked to provide some specific examples of unit rates (like 70 miles per hour, $2 per pound, 5 cookies per person, etc.) and the graphs of these unit rates will be quickly provided by the teacher using technology. Once we have several graphed examples, the connection will be teased out between unit rates and the shape of the graph (a line) and the constant nature of the rate of change.

 

PRESENTATION: (20 minutes)

“Now that we have seen a few examples of unit rates graphed on the coordinate plane, we can start working on our main topic for today: slope. All of our graphed examples were lines and we noticed that the rate of change was the same, or constant for the entire line.”

 

“The rate of change, or slope, of a line is the ratio of the amount of change in one variable to the amount of change in the other variable. We use x to represent our independent variable and y to represent our dependent variable, so we have many different ways to write this same definition. We can call the slope the ratio of the amount of change in the dependent variable to the amount of change in the independent variable or, simply, the ratio of the amount of change in y to the amount of change in x.”

 

“Now, I’ve said a LOT of words that mean something to me but may not mean anything to you yet. Let’s break down the definition of slope and see if we can write a class definition that we can all understand.”

 

(spend 2 minutes deciphering our definition to generate a mathematical way to write the definition as a ratio.)

 

“Let’s look at some of the examples we came up with at the beginning of class. For example, 70 miles per hour is a rate of change, or slope, for the graph I made. The number of miles increases by 70 every time the number of hours increases by 1. This fits our definition and the formula we wrote to calculate the slope of a line.”

 

“We don’t have to have a specific context, or story, like miles per hour to graph a linear relationship. Sometimes, we’ll just have a graph and an equation… because the relationship is linear, it still has a constant rate of change, or slope. We need to figure out how to find the slope from a graph and from an equation. So, let’s look at some new graphs.”

 

(display a new graph on the board.)

 

“In order to calculate the slope of this line, we need to figure out how much change there is in each variable. When we have a graph, we can find both of the values we need by counting the amount of change from one point on the line to another. These changes in value can be shown on the graph by drawing imaginary arrows. One arrow will always be vertical to show the change in y. One arrow will always be horizontal to show the change in x. So, we have a vertical line segment, a horizontal line segment, and the line segment between the two points – 3 line segments. What shape does that create? (wait for answer: triangle) And what are we using this triangle to calculate? (wait for answer: slope). Great! Now, mathematicians aren’t creative when naming new things so we call these triangles, slope triangles.”

 

“Let’s work on drawing our slope triangles and calculating the slopes of a few different linear graphs. When I think you’ve got the idea, I’ll give you the independent practice.”

 

 

PRACTICE & APPLICATION: (22 minutes)

(Project one linear graph on the board)

“Example 1. Can someone please give me the location of the first point on the line so we all know where it is? (Wait for answer) Excellent. Can someone else give the second point? (Wait for answer). We’re going to draw the slope triangle between these two points so we can calculate the slope of this line. We will start at the leftmost point on the graph because we do math like we read books – from left to right.” (Starting at the leftmost point, draw a vertical arrow to represent the change in y.) “From where this arrow stops, we’ll start drawing the horizontal arrow for the change in x. Our second arrow will end at the second point.” (Starting at the endpoint of the vertical arrow, draw the horizontal arrow that will end at the second point.) “With our slope triangle drawn, we can start counting the lengths of those arrows to find the amount of change in y and amount of change in x that we need to find the slope.”

 

(As a whole group, count out loud the length of each arrow. Use pencil or mouse cursor to show the counting on screen. Write the length of each arrow beside the arrow. TEACHER TIP: I also like to utilize two different colors throughout our work on slope. With the amounts of change in each variable counted, substitute them into the formula we established earlier.)

 

(Do one more example together.)

 

“How can we use triangles to find the slope of a line?” (solicit answers).

 

“Do you think we can use any triangle? If we use a larger triangle, we will get a greater slope?” (solicit guesses)

 

(Display the first graph again. Draw two new points on the line.) “Let’s look at this one again since we already know the slope of the line. I’ve drawn two new points on the line so we can draw a different slope triangle. Please work with a partner to draw the new slope triangle on your white boards and calculate the slope of the line. I want you to answer questions 1 and 2 on the left side of your notebooks. If you forget what I want you to do, the instructions are on the screen.” (Display instructions and questions on board.) “When you’re finished, raise your hand and we’ll talk.”

 

(As student pairs work, move from pair to pair to offer guiding questions. As students finish the task, check understanding through their work and their answers to the prompt. Students can begin the problem set as they are finished.)

 

“Let’s wrap up this problem. What do we notice about the slopes that we got from both triangles? (Wait for answers that the slopes are equivalent expressions.) These similar triangles will always give us the same value of the slope. To me, that’s really cool! It also means that we can use ANY two points on the line to find the slope of the line. We’ll learn another method to find the slope tomorrow.”

 

REVIEW & ASSESSMENT: (3 minutes)

As an exit ticket assessment, students will be asked to give an example of where slope is an important characteristic (ski slopes, wheelchair ramps, etc.) and how they might calculate that slope. Collect these tickets at the door as they leave.

 

EXTENSION:

Students who understand slope triangles quickly will be pushed to discover the second method of calculating the slope of a line (the Slope Formula). The change in both variables can be found by subtracting one value from the other corresponding variable value. This is how distance on a number line is defined and is integral to the Slope Formula that we use most often to calculate the slope of a line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Shoemaker

July 04, 2014

EDCI 5548

Reflective Paper 4

 

SIOP® Feature 7: Linking Concepts to Students’ Background Knowledge

Our professor for EDCI 5548, Dr. Wei, mentioned an idea one evening in another class a previous semester that has come back to me time and again. The idea was this: our master’s program will expose us to hundreds of concepts each semester in each class we take, concepts we will have time to only briefly consider among everything we need to study and learn, yet each concept is itself worthy of a lifetime of study. It was an idea that was a bit humorous for us students to hear for the first time as Dr. Wei held up his hand and gestured at the very tip of one finger and asked us to imagine spending an entire life devoted to the study of just one of those terms, a single word on one page in our text. Indeed, I remember several of us in the class smiling and laughing a little after hearing the comment, but, as often happens with new ideas over time, it was an idea that has clarified and become more comprehensible with each semester. As the relationships between classes and teaching experiences begin to materialize over time, concepts which for beginning students may at first seem to be just isolated words with a paragraph or two devoted to them in a text can reveal themselves to be deep and comprehensive fields in their own right. The concept of subsumption, or meaningful learning, is one such concept that has broadened significantly since my first exposure to it in that previous semester’s course, EDCI 5547.

Perhaps the first point to address, of course, is how a concept from a previous semester merits as the theme for a paper for our current class focused on Sheltered Instruction and our text, Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners.  The reason, interestingly, is that SIOP® feature seven: “Concepts Explicitly Linked to Students’ Background Experiences” in chapter three of our text (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008, pp. 54-57) strikes me as essentially a pedagogy-focused restatement of David Ausubel’s cognitive theory of subsumption, or “meaningful learning” (e. g., Brown, 2007, pp. 91-94). Ausubel highlighted that for learning to be effective and long-term, new concepts must be cognitively related in meaningful ways to students’ current knowledge and experience; otherwise, learning risks becoming a process of rote memorization, and new concepts stand to remain abstract and disconnected and quickly forgotten. Such a summary of Ausubel’s Subsumption Theory could just as easily be a paraphrase of SIOP® feature seven, such as when chapter three in our current text advises, “Taking a few minutes to jump-start students’ schemata and past learning, to explicitly find out what they know or have experienced about a topic, and then explicitly linking their knowledge directly to the lesson’s objectives will result in greater understanding for English learners” (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008, p. 76). It seems, clearly, that Ausubel and SIOP® feature seven are in essence describing the same core concept, with the difference of Ausubel being focused more on theory and SIOP® feature seven aimed more at application. This relationship between SIOP® feature seven and Ausubel’s theory of subsumption, I think, is in itself a powerful illustration of the concept of subsumption: even though I was reading about SIOP® feature seven for the first time in our current text, it felt familiar and easily comprehensible, and was therefore more meaningful, due to its clear connection to my previous knowledge of Ausubel’s Subsumption Theory.

I think it is useful to recognize that this process of meaningful learning is not just one-way, from connections of previous knowledge and background to the formation and comprehension of new concepts. Rather, through this process of using previous knowledge and experience to make meaningful connections to new ideas, new meaning is in turn created for the old ideas as well – every new experience that I have and new concept which I learn which benefits from a connection to something I already know or have experienced also potentially deepens and broadens my understanding of that previous concept or experience, since there is now a new idea or experience which is connected to it and which now helps further elucidate that original idea or experience. This is, essentially, a central aspect of the constructivist learning that I touched upon in reflective papers one and two, whereby learners do not gain new knowledge passively by having teachers ‘pour’ such knowledge into their heads, but rather by the learners themselves actively constructing their own understanding of the material. The multi-directional nature I describe above, incidentally, is certainly not a new idea on my part; it is what Jean Piaget referred to as assimilation and accommodation, wherein assimilation refers to the learning and comprehending of new material by relating it to what the learner already knows and/or has experienced, and accommodation is the term for the changes that take place in the learner’s understanding of previously learned concepts as they are adapted to or expanded by the assimilation of the new ideas (Block, 1982, p. 282).

One example of this multi-directionality of learning for students comes from the Second Language Acquisition course, EDUC 5589Q, which I taught just this past semester at Allen Village. One of the new concepts which the students were struggling with one evening was illocutionary force (Brown, 2007, p. 233). The key to helping the students find useful meaning for this abstract concept, according to Ausubel or SIOP® feature seven, was to connect this new concept to something the students already knew or had experienced. For this topic, the background knowledge I chose to elicit was something that the students had experience with every day – asking and answering questions. I asked the class to think about the kinds of questions that they ask people every day. I asked them to come up with examples of questions, and we then discussed what the speaker’s purpose was for each question example – that is, some questions, like “What are you doing?” were typically questions, looking for a genuine answer from the listener, while other questions, such as “Would you help me move this?” or “Why are you still here?” were often not really questions looking for information, since their goal was for the listener to do something, not say something. Syntactically and semantically up to the sentence level, however, all of these examples were questions, and as such had possible answers, such as “I’m looking for the ice cream” for “What are you doing?”, but sometimes those possible answers are not what the speaker wants; there is a meaning that the speaker is expecting the listener to draw from the situational context. For example, I asked the students to imagine that they are at home in the kitchen getting dinner ready, and their child walks in and opens the freezer for ice cream. The students (as the parent) cross their arms and ask what syntactically appears to be the genuine question, “What are you doing?” I then asked the students to think about the purpose of this question - why did they, as the parent, say this? The students easily identified that the goal was for the child to realize that it was not okay to eat ice cream before dinner, and to put the ice cream back in the freezer. From there it was a short step to explain to the students that this purpose which is communicated inside everything we say, such as the questions we were discussing, is what our text was calling “illocutionary force”, and especially for everyday questions, the meaning encoded in the syntax of the question and the meaning encoded in the speaker’s purpose – the illocutionary force – are not the same.

This was a very useful realization for this group of students, who were K-12 instructors who worked with ELL’s in their classes every day, because the instructors suddenly understood why their ELL’s often gave rather odd answers to questions. The answers were not odd for the students because they were responding to the purpose communicated by the syntax of the question, but for the teachers the answer was odd, because they were focused on the illocutionary force. Once the EDUC 5589Q students realized that there can be two separate meanings encoded in one statement or question, which helped them first of all comprehend and find meaning for the new concept of illocutionary force, these students also gained much useful understanding of their previous background of experiences with trying to explain to ELL students how to properly answer certain questions, which the teachers hasn’t been able to do without explicitly being able to see the two potential meanings encoded in the questions they were discussing.

In conclusion, I can say from my own experience that SIOP® feature seven does indeed describe an effective approach to leading students to create meaning for new material. And for myself, SIOP® feature seven is also an example of how the process of subsumption, upon which SIOP® feature seven is founded, has worked to deepen and broaden my own understanding of subsumption and its role in David Ausubel’s theory of learning. And how so? In even this one paper, it seems clear that to have a fuller idea of subsumption, it would be necessary to include understanding of Piaget’s work, of the work of scholars involved with constructive learning more broadly and, of course, of the work related to SIOP® feature seven, all of which would certainly lead to many more areas which all relate, in one way or another, to our original seed, the word “subsumption” with which we started on one page in one text, a word and concept which promises to expand into a topic that not even a lifetime of dedicated study would come close to fully exploring.

References

Block, J. (1982). Assimilation, accommodation, and the dynamics of personality development. Child Development, 281-295.

Brown, H.D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. (5th edition). White Plains, NY: Pearson Longman.

Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2008). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

 

 

Seohyun Penn

06/12/09

EDCI 5548

Reflective Paper 1

 

How to Teach Social Studies in English to Korean Students

 

Ever since the new president of South Korea, Lee Myung Bak was elected, Korea’s English education has been going through tremendous change.  He promised free education and equal opportunity for everyone during his election pledges.  Part of the education restructuring program has included trying to get rid of expensive so-called after-school curricula in the form of Hakwons or cram schools since he believes that they have been the leading cause of pushing up the costs of education.  He has also been advocating that schools teach every subject (math, History, science, etc…) in English thereby creating a competitive advantage for every Korean and for the country as a whole and thus reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.  The President is an economically minded person as he used to be the CEO of Hyundai Motors.  In his mind, the way to differentiate Korea from the other Asian countries is to run Korea like a successful business therefore increasing Korea’s international competitiveness as a global country.  Of course his plan is very ambitious and has sparked much controversy from the education sector.  Administrators and faculty are overwhelmed at the prospect of acquiring the correct resources to teach with perfect English ability including the recruiting of native English teachers.  This also raises concern in many Korean teachers’ minds of loosing their jobs to foreigners if their English speaking ability is not up to par with the government’s preferred standard.  To most economists and business leaders, a few lost jobs in exchange for a more competitive and leaner ran system will add overall total value to their business and set their company apart as well as put them on the global playing field.  This seems to be what President Lee has in mind for Korea.  Therefore, schools are going through a trial and error process at this time as well as evaluating the future costs of this kind of change.  

Several years ago I had a chance to work with and tutor some students who were planning on going to the U.S. and Canada to study English.  We were working on Social Studies only it was all in English and I noticed that the only learning method these students knew how to apply were solely memorization of the definitions.  Unfortunately, I was not much help to them other than using a word quiz or flash cards that were part of the course because I myself was using the same “technique”.  Since then, I have been searching for how better to teach English and other content-area subjects in English to EFL students.  Therefore, chapter 7 gives clear guidance with various techniques and suggestions on how to teach social studies to Korean students.

Even before I started this TESOL master’s program at UMKC, I have always been interested in teaching and learning English and bilingualism.  Thus, I often asked Korean students who were studying in the United States what the hardest subject in their class was and they would answer social studies without hesitation.  I believe that this was due to a mixture of reasons.  Carrasquillo and Rodriguez (2002) precisely summarized these reasons as “inadequate background knowledge, gaps in instruction and insufficient English academic language skills” (p. 113).  Most Korean students’ general understanding of how to study social studies is that it is something to be memorized.  Therefore, relying on or using only memorization to study history, political science, geography or philosophy has been prevailing among most Korean students.  It is true there are some concepts and terms that they might have to memorize from time to time.  However, social studies cover subjects which are conceptual in nature and must be processed and discussed in order to really grasp the concepts.  It stands to reason that if Korea really wants to achieve the goal of teaching social studies in English effectively to students, the notion of memorization has to be changed not only in students’ minds but in the minds of educators as well. 

Second of all, there are going to be numerous times EFL students encounter new vocabulary.  If they have to memorize every time they come across new words, they are going to get frustrated, burned out, and lose interest and/or possibly give up studying it all together.  Therefore, teachers need to help students strategize when they stumble upon new words.  For example, we could help them to guess the meaning of new words by taking a step back and evaluating the bigger picture or context of how the word is being used in the sentence.  Knowing how to use dictionaries or search new words and phrases online would also enrich the learning process instead of simply explaining it to them right away.  In this way we can lead them to develop autonomy in their study as teachers won’t be around to help them all the time in everyday life. 

Thirdly, in reflecting back on my English studying experience, one of my professors from college used a word search whenever she introduced core vocabulary and or terminology in our lessons.  While I would work on these “games”, I got familiar with the words for that day without stressing over or memorizing them.  Our teacher would then build her lesson for the day on top of those new vocabularies.  Since we got familiar with the vocabulary while we were doing our word search, we could easily guess or understand the words in class.  At the end of every class, she also handed out homework, which included a crossword puzzle using the vocabulary and definitions we learned that day.  I believe that using word searches and crossword puzzles can be very effective tools in introducing new terminology and vocabulary as well as contextualization to the student.  This simple activity can act as a stepping stone for students to “connect the information with what is already known” (Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002, p. 117).

Fourthly, we should use various materials to teach these subjects.  It is our job to provoke students’ interests in learning more.  When we teach history, we should use visual aids like movies, video, or audio as in historical music and instrumentation to bring the past to life.  When teaching geography, use big 3D maps and videos from Discovery or National Geographic magazines.  With using these simple yet effective hands on tools, students are going to learn better and remember longer.  If you teach Civil War, show them a movie about Civil War so students can easily connect the concepts and historical events as vividly as possible.  Later when they read about the historical events in their textbook, they will tie the images and reading together in their long term memory.  Using video and pictures are particularly effective methods for Korean students because they are mostly visual learners.  If you talk to them about social problems or employment, having real experts in the field visit your classroom and speak about what they do would benefit your students.    

Fifth, cooperative grouping can be a useful group-leaning method not only among heterogeneous groups of students but also homogeneous classes like in Korea (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, as cited in Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002).  The reason I called Korea a heterogeneous group is that all the students start to learn English at the same age using the same textbook across the nation.  However, even among homogeneous groups like Korean students, levels of English command and knowledge vary from student to student.  In cooperative groups, students who have different levels of English could work together.  While students work cooperatively on assignments or projects in class or outside, they could be required to use English as a communication tool.  This activity will increase the opportunities for EFL students “to hear and produce language and to negotiate meaning with others” (Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002, p. 122).  For instance, because UMKC professors encourage students to work in groups, I’ve made a lot of friends and got to know them more closely while working together on a regular basis inside and outside the classroom.  In the same way, I believe that cooperative group leaning will give the chance for my students to get to practice the language, learn together and build a life time of friendship.

Lastly, as part of “facilitating the use of prior knowledge”, we need to try to help our students to connect the new information or concept with what they already know and learned (Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002, p. 117).   Carrasquillo and Rodriquez (2002) underscored that “learning is continuous and progressive, and what is learned is based on what is already known” (p. 117).  Therefore, academic language skills developed in the first language will transfer to the second language acquisition learning even in social studies.  Therefore, Korean students’ first language as prior knowledge will contribute to the development of language skills in the second language acquisition and learning and will, without a doubt, also work as a “positive force” (Cummins & Swain, as cited in Brown, 2007).  To help students to facilitate the prior knowledge, teachers need to continuously remind and refresh students’ memories and help them to connect what they already learned to newly introduced concepts and items.  

Korea is just now starting to lay the ground work for teaching English in all content subject areas.  It is very obvious that Korea still has a long way to go so it would be premature to say they’re ready.  However, I strongly believe that when I do go back to Korea and start teaching English, the methods that I learned from this class will help and equip me to become a better teacher.  Old habits are really hard to break.  Therefore, if we want to be better teachers, we need to let go of some stale and generational inappropriate methods and, like our students, keep studying and researching to find better teaching methods that are more suitable for countries specific to EFL like Korea. 

 

References

Brown, H. D. (2007).  Principles of language learning and teaching (5th ed.).

White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.  

Carrasquillo, A. L., &  Rodriguez, V.  (2002).  Language minority students in the mainstream classroom (2nd ed.). Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters.

 

 

Patricia V. Crawford

EDCI 5548:  English as a Second Language in Content Areas

June 17, 2008

Reflection Paper 2

            As I read Chapter 8, which deals with integrating language into Science, the most important idea that I related to was that Science should be active and engaging (Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002, p,  131).  In my work with young children, primarily kindergarteners, who sometimes have not had many formal school experiences —that is an objective that I work hard to follow for all of their learning.  This becomes especially important if the children I am working with come from poverty households.  In most, if not all the early childhood settings I have worked in, we are often told that unless children experience things, including learning, they will probably not retain the information; because being told or shown something is not enough.  In my professional experience, students must get these experiences in their muscles.  Interestingly, most of my students love science (and social studies) and it becomes easy to engage them in science lessons.  The sad part is that in most schools where I have worked, the main focus is always work on Communication Arts and Math, with little time left for Science and Social Studies.

            Young children love the topics we study in science.  They enjoy learning about living things, especially animals.  They can classify animals into categories that scientists use—mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, and insects. They are curious about how things work and like to talk about inventions and technology that make our lives easier.  They are great at studying the weather and being the meteorologist during circle time to

report the daily weather conditions.  They are very open to doing what has to be done to stay healthy.  They take very seriously their job as stewards of the Earth and are willing to learn ways to protect animals, plants, the lands and waters of the Earth to keep living things from becoming extinct, like the dinosaurs that they thrive on pronouncing and discussing.  All of these topics bring with them a tremendous number of words and definitions—all wonderful ways to expand vocabulary and skills for all students, young or old, and for the limited English speakers.

            In practice, when I find that I  have not taught as much science, I make a concerted effort to replace my communication arts lessons and stories with reading, writing, and spelling Science GLES and concepts that have not been directly taught.  The scientific method and all its vocabulary, along with experiments and the names of the equipment and materials, observations, and conclusions drive our morning communication arts time; and the students then read, write, and talk about science ideas.  Scientific words and concepts are challenging and interesting.  They get to wear goggles and learn safety measures.  They are always thrilled to work on science in the morning, because inevitably they work in groups with other students and they work on science skills and ideas that they seem to find fascinating.  They are happy to discuss what they have observed and write their findings in their science journal, using sequencing words, and by drawing conclusions.  For months, they remember every experiment that we worked on —including terminology and the hard “scientific” words. 

This is a natural fit for LEP/ELL students, because they are able to learn from each other, especially when it comes to language skills (Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002, p.  141).   At first, I felt guilty, as if  I was cheating them of instruction, but in reality, after thinking about it, when I do Communication Arts with a Science GLE focus, I am more efficient with my instruction, getting in all my Reading, Writing, Speaking, (sometimes even Math), as well as Science.  All my students are engaged and love the work they do. 

Another Science activity that I make a huge effort to do every Friday is cooking.  I work to tie the activity into something we are learning about.  For example, when we were talking about the parts of a plant, my students not only did not realize the difference between fruits and vegetables; but they were also very surprised to find out that fruits are seed protectors.  So for that week, we decided to make a Friendship Fruit Salad.  Sometimes students are asked to bring ingredients, which builds community and focuses on the importance of everyone contributing and being part of the cooking team. They all brought their favorite fruit to share.  Then before we started to make our salad, we started cutting up the fruits, to observe where the seeds were and what was protecting them. They always have recipes with directions and pictures to follow and they always work in small cooperative groups.  I read the recipe and ask for interpretation of more obscure words and explain any words they may not know.  I also model how to follow certain steps in the recipe if they are not sure what the step means.  Then we all read the recipe together and talk about the directions again, before they put the recipe together.  Once every step is followed, everyone is served and then we eat our food together.  To continue the literacy part of the experience, we sequence the events we followed to put the recipe together, highlighting vocabulary, science ideas, tastes, sounds, smells, textures, and other observations in a shared writing activity.  At the beginning of the school year, I ask them to work as a group to write and illustrate their group’s recounting of cooking the recipe.  As the year progresses, they do the writing part individually and then share their writing and their illustrations.

Not unlike the work with science experiments, students retain a lot of vocabulary and skills from the weekly cooking activity.  Like the science experiment, cooking experiences also provide many opportunities to learn and use sensory words for description purposes, like what ingredients looked like when they were first mixed, or what it smelled or looked like after something was cooked.  The LEP/ELL students learn a lot of language from participating in the community activity of cooking.  Many of the words are everyday words that have to do with eating and manners and describing things.  All of these experiences just like with the science experiments go a long way to improving everyday and academic vocabulary, as well as reading, writing, spelling, measurement and science skills that ultimately lead to critical thinking skills.

            If I could have my way, I would set up a Reading instruction series for each grade level that had fiction and nonfiction writings to coincide with each grade level’s Science (and Social Studies) GLEs, so that Science and Social Studies instruction would happen every day when reading, spelling and writing was taught, during the literacy block time.  The most challenging part of the instructional day is getting in all the skills that have to be taught and doing it well.  It makes sense that at the younger grades, the majority of instructional time should be dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of Reading, Writing, Spelling and Math.  But since it is observed that children enjoy science and social studies so much, perhaps book publishers for Reading series should consider teaching the literacy skills through Science and Social Studies.  Basic skills and language would be acquired possibly more easily because the children would be engaged in what they were learning, especially if the activities included more hands-on lessons, where the children were doing, in addition to listening.

            Along with cooking, other practical science applications lend themselves to engaging learners.  When we studied plants, we planted a flower and vegetable garden.  We cut the flowers for Mother’s Day and we ate green beans, radishes, and small cherry tomatoes from the garden.  We also helped with caring for a hamster and a fish tank.  Nothing beats having the real thing in the classroom for engagement.  One year, because we could not go out a farm on a field trip, I borrowed a friend’s rooster and brought it into the kindergarten classroom.  The children got a chance to hear it crow and watch it calm down (upside down, hanging from its legs) when it got too excited.  Students talked about Thunder the Rooster for a long time.  For Earth Day Week, we also organized a clean-up of our school grounds, recycled as much as we could and traded things we no longer wanted for gently used things classmates had, that we wanted. 

            True life application of science makes its mark.  Not only does active learning help with retaining information and increasing word power and vocabulary, but is authentic work with understood purpose.  That is why it makes sense that active science learning has become a fast favorite for most students.

 

REFERENCE

Carrasquillo, A. L., &  Rodriguez, V.  (2002). Language minority students in the mainstream classroom (2nd ed.). Tonawanda, NY:  Multilingual Matters.

 

 

Geoffrey Talboy

Dr. Wei

EDCI 5548

Reflective Paper 5- SIOP 4-6

The SIOP model gives a list of strategies and techniques used to make the classroom of English as a Second Language students, along with mainstream English speaking students more successful.  The problem may lie in the teachers’ and administrators’ willingness to change and hold change long enough for it to take effect.  It seems a common scenario in education that once change is made if results are not somewhat immediate or something new comes along that seems to be better or more innovative we, in the education world, switch up our strategies to fit this new system.  This poses problems to all groups involved, but mostly for students, who suffer from a lack of consistency.  In my educational practices, I have changed from 6 Trait Writing curriculums to the Write What You Read practice, where students write from prompts given from works of literature, to our new benchmark system, where students are not taught writing in class until eighth grade.  Now, for students to move from curriculum structure to curriculum structure makes for a difficult assimilation process and if you are not a native English speaker the change is more difficult and confusing.

            When a student does not feel like he or she is doing something correctly or if they do not feel confident in their knowledge of the subject, they usually do one of two things, they either become very reserved and quiet, or they act out to change attention from their lack of knowledge to their behavioral problems.  “In our observations of classes, many “behavior problems” are often the result of students not being sure what they are supposed to do” (Echecarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004, p. 68).  These students are usually given poor grades and most times are put on Individual Educational Plans or IEP’s, which gives teachers an automatic reason to push them onto a Special Education Coordinator or the Paraprofessional working in the room.  Most of these students just need a little bit of time to be allowed to think and maybe a bit of repetition.  Sometimes a teacher needs to explain the instructions to the whole class then go around the room and spot check on those students who seem to have difficulty.  This practice is helpful for English as a Second Language students, as well as your mainstream students and Special Education students. 

            The presentation of information by a teacher is in complete correlation with the response of the students.  It is often the joke of the monotone teacher standing in front of the class lecturing bores the class, but the teacher who is easily frustrated with students not understanding information, scares the students.  I found myself in this spot during second semester of the school year, because I was frustrated with the way our school was emphasizing testing and rating the according to our students scores, I found myself becoming more and more short tempered with my students.  I finally asked another teacher, who I had a great amount of trust in, to come and assess my presentation.  In her evaluation, she stated that I would give instructions during the lesson and I had a tendency to bounce from subject to subject without any noticeable transition.  I would then quickly restate the information needed to understand the instructions, give the instructions, and then stand at the front of the class.   She admitted that at times she was unsure exactly what I was looking for in my instructions.  Many of the words I used were not leveled for the group I was teaching and I was unable to come up with a suitable synonym during the instructions to better help with understanding, I simply passed over it and continued.  With this evaluation, I was able to change the way I taught my class, I had to see my techniques through the eyes of another person, who was looking at me like a student, but it made me a better teacher.  I was able to begin to reinvent my classroom to a place of true learning, where the focus was not on test scores or grades, but on learning.  I brought in new strategies, new materials, and new ideas, which made for a better more enjoyable classroom.

            The strategies I used in the reinvention of my classroom somewhat mirror those outlined in the SIOP Model.  I began to scaffold and to incorporate things like Mnemonic devices and graphic organizers.  With my inclusion of these, I asked for help from the art teacher and had students creating posters for our Mnemonic devices and other information to post on the walls.  My class took a page from the Read 180 curriculum and I created a station rotation in my classroom.  This would act as a small group and peer group working, after a whole class discussion or instruction.  I wanted the students to move away from having me always checking on them and begin to watch themselves, to become responsible for their own leaning.  “The ultimate goal is for students to develop independence in self-monitoring and self-regulation through practice with peer-assisted and student-centered strategies” (Echecarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004, p. 83).  I found that after leveling out my expectations and repeating them rather regularly during the first two weeks, the students began to take them as a mantra to begin their work.  At a place where I would have to constantly be hovering to stop inappropriate behavior, I was able to leave the students to do their work and work with my small group of students.

            In our district we are expected to submit examples of higher level questioning in our weekly lesson plans.  I found this to be very difficult at the start of the year, but then once I developed my new strategies for my room, I created a station purposefully intended for students to work with higher level questions.  This station provided students with a specific group of questions to begin to introduce them to what higher level questions were and how they are worded.  “As children are acquiring proficiency in English, it is tempting to rely on simple questions that result in yes/no or other one-word responses” (Echecarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004, p. 88).  The goal of this station was to give students these higher level questions, but not putting them in the spotlight to answer them.  Before I began this station, I asked my students to answer a series of questions on a piece of paper.  There was no text or written questions, I read the questions and they answered them on their paper.  When we finished, I asked for a volunteer to answer question thirteen, only two hands went up.  When I asked why no one else was volunteering, I was hit with a very simple answer from a student who I trusted.  She said, “We don’t want to get it wrong in front of everyone.”  This made sense.  So, the station for higher level questions was completely written down and turned in to the submission box on my desk.  After a while, to my surprise, the students began to ask if we could take some time in class where they could share their answers.  They would begin to ask students how they came up with their answers and start discussions without my facilitation.  “Successful learners know how to use question-asking to help them construct meaning while they read. They ask questions and challenge what the author says if something does not make sense to them” (Echecarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004, p. 88).  I was very proud of my students because I felt that they were becoming more in tune with their actual leaning and not relying on the assistance of others to spoon feed them the information, which they would regurgitate when necessary.

            As I stated earlier, the interactions with my students changed the way in which I structured my classroom because it was not working the way it should work to foster learning and thought.  In reading Chapter 6 in the SIOP Model, I feel I have failed my students again in the way in which I interact with them verbally.  As I have stated in earlier papers, the two ways in which most people teach is either how they have become accustomed or how they were taught.  My interactions are based largely on how I was taught.  “When students were given an opportunity to respond, it usually involved only simple information-recall statements, restricting students’ chance to produce language and develop complex language and thinking skills” (Echecarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004, p. 99).  It seems like something that should make complete sense, you need to move your students towards the answer, but you should not walk them up to the answer and point at it and say there it is.  I believe the reason we do this type of interaction is because we do not feel our students are not ready to be challenged or don’t want to embarrass them in front of the other students.  Regardless of the reason for it, it is not the way to make our students more intelligent or more critical thinkers.  “Effective SI teachers structure their lessons in ways that promote students discussion and they strive to provide a more balanced linguistic exchange between themselves and their students” (Echecarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004, p. 103).  It is not an easy thing to do, or an easy change to make, but it is necessary for the betterment of the students.

            I felt the growth I made in my teaching was reflected in the chapters read.  I think I still have miles to go but I feel I have accomplished some very good things.  What I do believe is that if a teacher can become aware of their weaknesses or faults and is open to change then they will be able to become a better teacher.

Reference

Echevarria, J., Vogt, M.E., & Short, D. (2004). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

Copyright © Dr. Michael Wei