Monday, November 26, 2012

Student Literacy Levels

During this semester, I have been surprised by the literacy levels of my students. 
They are able to read and analyze text and perform assignments that involve those interpretations. One of the examples that I can provide is a Socratic seminar I had the students participate in. My students were given articles on Women in Islam and they were to read these articles and participate in an open discussion in a Socratic seminar. My students responded with great participation and really did there best to understand the role that women played in Islamic society. 
My students are not able to use their literacy skills to put together a proper AXES paragraph with 100% structure. My students seem to struggle with the fact that they cant provide good enough eXamples or Explanations of their writing assignments after they have read passages on the AXES topics. I hope that my students will be at a greater level next semester and that they stick with trying to conquer the AXES paragraphs.

September 30, 2013

My Rich Literacy classroom will look like it has word walls with important information for my students, as well as historical texts with multiple reading levels on the shelves ready for student use. My classroom will also have novels and historical biographies at various reading levels for students to use if they need to research someone or some kind of event. My students are engaged in learning about Ancient India (for world history) or the Early settlers to the America's (U.S. History). They will be studying such people as Columbus, the Aztec's,  Cortez, the Inca's, the Pilgrims, Hinduism, Vishnu, and monotheism. My students will be reading biographies on Columbus, Montezuma, Cortez, and The Truthful History of the Conquest of New Spain.

December 15th 2013 
My literacy classroom looks like students have put more words on the word wall, and replaced the words from September. My students will be working on the Mongols and Barbarians They will be reading books and biographies on gangus khan. If my students are in US History they will be working on the industrial revolution My students will be reading  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

May 30th 2013

My literacy classroom looks like my students are getting ready for finals week, their word wall in overflowing with all of the words we have been studying for the semester, and we are getting ready for the final by reviewing key words and phrases we learned throughout the semester. My students will be engaged in learing about the Rwandan, Darfur, and Yugoslavia genocides in 1994. My students will be engaged in reading such as  Shake Hands with the Devil, and Left to tell. They are capable of independent learning with AXES paragraphs as we have been practicing all year long. My students will be at the level where they can successfully create an AXES paragraph as well as write an essay, and answer a Document Based Question (DBQ) Essay. hopefully my students have made the decision to move on to AP or College Preparation courses and to continue to work hard at all of their subjects.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

EDSS 521 Personalizing the Classroom Experience

Personalizing the Classroom Experience Article: 
This report focuses on how teachers are personalizing the learning for their students. Typically teacher focus student learning based upon their own learning experiences with technology, which to me makes sense as most people (teachers or otherwise) will play to their strengths when the are responsible for other peoples education. Some of the key questions the article brings up is:
  • What are educators’ experiences with online learning?
  • How does it inform their perspectives on student learning?
  • What policies and practices are administrators considering around the “Bring Your Own Technology” movement?
  • How do we transform the classroom from a “one size fits all” model to a truly individualized learning experience for students.
based upon my experiences with technology educators experience with online learning seems to come with a stigma that online learning for the classroom teacher spells death to classroom instruction as teachers will be replaced with technology and there will be no need for them in the future. I understand this anxiety but I disagree. The role of the teacher will change from curriculum leader to curriculum facilitator. The job of a teacher will be to facilitate the learning for students and to be there when a student is struggling to understand a concept. I think of the teachers job as the "0" button when you are dealing with an automated system. Just when you get to the point of not wanting to hear another automated voices tell you the same story for the 50th time, you hit "0" and your connected with a human being. That piece is critical for our students as they may often times have to hit "0" and receive instruction from a human being, because technology cant think, it is only programed to do. having a teacher there to answer questions is vital and I don't believe they will be going away anytime soon.

I believe that technology and teachers can get along with one another and create a blended environment, such as the flipped classroom concept where students do their lectures at home online and it gives teachers more time for classroom projects in class, this is how technology is supporting teachers, not hampering them. I have experiences hybrid online classes, and I felt that I got way more out if it than listening straight through a lecture, as I was engaged and challenged to create and maintain my own website, and when I was finished I had something to show for my efforts more than papers stuffed in an overfilled binder and a grade on a transcript.  

One of the things that I found interesting about the third question was administrators overwhelming acceptance of technology as a priority in classrooms across America, however the chief complaint amongst teachers in classrooms was having reliable access to Wireless Internet. I found it deeply disturbing when the school I work at vowed to get every single teacher in the district a brand new I-Pad to use in their classrooms by the end of 2012, and come hell or high water it was going to happen. They spent an untold fortune acquiring these great teacher tools for their teachers to use in their classroom, however when their teachers opened the box, and took them out, the schools internet infrastructure, that was so old and out of date, could not sustain the heavy use of the Wireless Internet and crashed. As it turns out no one had thought through the big picture of what it would take to make this technology work, however in public forums, the mantra stays the same "Everyone of our teachers has an I-Pad." Well yes the do, and they make marvelous paper waits, but that is the extent of their function, because no teacher can utilize that technology until the infrastructure is fixed. So it begs the question if that happens with just our teachers using the I-Pads, what will it do to our students when they BYOT?

The way we transform our classrooms from a one size fits all to a more individual learning experience is, by creating situations where students and teachers use technology in a flipped classroom kind of manner, where students do lessons at home, and do more project based lessons in school. The idea of using technology to not necessarily teach your class for you, but to utilize technology to help better prepare students for the lesson you are going to teach is important, as it will create a more rich and intellectual conversation for students. I feel that students will be more engaged if they watch an I-movie on the lecture I am about to give than if they read about it in a textbook, because quite frankly, I spend more time looking at the pictures in my textbooks, than reading them, so if I'm doing it and I'm the teacher, you know our students do it a lot more often. We need to play to our students strengths and identify that our students want to learn, but we have to let them learn in their own way. I believe that technology can pave the way for our students.

Speak Up Video:
 This video was created to give a basic understanding about the Speak Up Program. I thought it was a great way to introduce how the survey's work, I like the fact that they talked about how the surveys will be used by local school districts, but that it also surveys all levels of school staff and student teachers as well as veteran teachers. The fact that they leave room for the person to give feedback for the parents, teachers, students, and student teachers...what would you do with technology if you were in charge? 
What surprised me was the level at which these survey are asked for, pretty much anyone in a school from the parents, to the administrators can take and use this data to create changes within the school community. 
One of the things that didnt suprise me was the ease with which you can take these surveys, a few clicks, a password that you share to whomever wants to take the survey and before you know it you have a database from which to pull from so that you can begin to impliment this data in your PLC, actions plans, and goals for teachers for the year. 
This information informs my philospohy and teaching practice becase I believe that data drives instruction. That giveing students and parents a voice on how they or their child is being instructed makes a better investor in education, as they have a say in what works for them. as a reconstructionist I believe at my core that having students advocate for their needs in education is critical in their development into young adults. It is so important for young people to feel that they are being listened to by the adults that are teaching them, and that they have the right to say what is on their mind in terms of their education. 

YouthTEACH2Learn resources:
 If I were to start a future teachers club on my current campus, I would have to have at least 5 students interested in forming a club, once that is established we would have to find a club adviser and get them to approach the ASB on campus. The ASB will automatically take 10% off of whatever the club makes in terms of money. Once this agreement is agreed to a charter and rules have to be established for a club, such as time and date of meetings, resources needed from the school, facilities requests...etc. Once the constitution has been ratified the club can go forward with meetings and recruitment. 
the benefits of starting a future teachers club on campus would provide students with an understanding of what it takes for teachers to teach. I think that it would be a great idea for students to shadow teachers for a day and to plan a lesson for that day and teach it. Giving students an inside look into what we go thorough everyday will give students the ability to decide if being a teacher is the right fit for them. Also I believe it will help the teachers with classroom discipline as students will have first hand knowledge as to how hard it is for teachers to get students organized and ready to learn, and I believe it will provide students with the ability to see just how teachers interact with their students and why having those relationships are so valuable. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Unit Plan Asian Philosophers

UNIT TOPIC:  Asian Philosophers

1. UNIT CONTEXT       

Subject/Content Area: Social Science

Course: World History 9 Honors

Grade Level: 9

Length of Unit:11/5/12-11/9/12

Monday Periods 1-6 (45 minutes each)

Tuesday periods 2, 4, 6 (2hours each)

Wednesday Periods 1, 3, 5 (2 hours each)

Thursday periods 1-6 (45 minutes each)

Friday period 1-6 (45 minutes each)       


Whole Class Information

·         Number of students in class
·         Demographic Information: 40% Hispanic, 40% White, 20% Black, Pacific Islander and “other.” 60% female 40% male. There are 10% of my students on Free and reduced lunch. 7 ELL students, 10 Bilingual, 1 IEP, 0 504, 3 Gifted
·         Developmental Needs: Readiness levels: 4 and 5. Most students are reclassified as proficient. Interests students have: school sports, school clubs, and after school activities. Learning Profiles: most students like to learn with interactive material such as projects and in class activities. Affective-Management Strategies & Classroom Learning Environment: The classroom is shapes with student’s desks in rows in the center of the room facing the whiteboard. Students respond well to teacher prompts to stay on task and perform well with these reminders.

Individual Student Information and Differentiation Strategies

Provide the following information for 5 specific students
·         2 English Language Learners: Elena and Jonathan
·         2 Students with Special Education Needs: Alex and Charles
·         1 student: David.
Address the following for each student:
·         What is the students’ name? Jonathan and Elena
·         What is the level of your English Learner? Jonathan is at the advanced level  and Elena is at the Early Intermediate level
·         What category does the student qualify for special education services?
Alex: Specific Learning Disability: Difficulty with Sound/Symbol relationship and word identification Charles: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
·         Describe student’s grade level: Both Alex and Charles are in 10th grade, culture: Alex and Charles are both self-isolating and often times avoid social situations, language: Both students are fluent in English. Family: Charles lives with his father, Alex lives with his parents
·         What are the student’s individual ed. goals? Reading: Alex’s goal is to use graphic organizers to help with word identification. Charles’s goal is when given content area reading passages he will define, restate, and correctly provide examples which show his understanding of specialized vocabulary words with 75% accuracy in 4/5 trials. writing: Alex’s writing goal is to be able to write a paragraph with words he has identified as important. Charles writing goal is to write a three paragraph essay with an intro, body, and conclusion with clear topic sentences and supporting detail sentences with 80% accuracy. Subject levels: Alex and Charles are currently at a 7th grade reading level.
·         Describe developmental needs (readiness, interest, & learning profile) for each student.
·         What can you do to differentiate each student’s
o    Content (curriculum materials)
§  Highlighting important text for reading, Graphic organizers for reading, Think, Pair, Shares for reading.
o    Process (student activities)
§  Project based learning, group work.
o    Product (assessment)
§  Peer review, gallery walk.
o    Affect (proactive management strategies - student activities, feedback strategies…)
§  Provide constant supervision and redirection for these students, to make sure they are staying on task and are actively participating in the group activities and to ensure they are not being left out of the assignment or activity.
o    Learning Environment (classroom space, seating, grouping …)
§  Students will be grouped in pairs of 4; the students will be working on the floor and at their desks.
Based on their developmental needs (readiness, interests and learning profile)?
·         What progress monitoring assessment would you choose to obtain evidence of the student’s progress toward a learning goal/objective?
o    Highlight of text during the readings, use of graphic organizer during gallery walk, poster activity that includes active student participation and contribution
·         What would be your next steps to facilitate this student’s learning? Consider the student’s facts - identity/demographics and developmental needs (readiness, interests, learning profile).
o    Students will highlight 10 things they found interesting from the reading, students will also complete a character chart on the different dynasties and write an AXES paragraph at the end. Students needs will be met by having students use graphic organizers to understand material and use them to refer back to for the AXES paragraph

2. Unit Rationale: Enduring Understandings & Essential Questions

What is important about unit? So that students understand the major points of Chinese philosophy and how it has created social structure why does unit matter? This unit matters because it shows that human development and knowledge equates to the growth of society How does unit fit into the overall scheme of your course and your “big picture” goals for the students? Students will continue to learn about philosophy, religion, and their equation to the building of social structure

Enduring Understandings (EU)

What do you want students to be left with at the end of the unit? Students will be left with an understanding that as humanity grows and knowledge is gained, that human culture grows. What do you want students to know and be able to do? By the end of this unit students will be able to show that they can articulate how human culture has grown over the globe.
“Students will understand that human development and knowledge equals growth.”

Essential Questions

What questions will frame the teaching and learning, point students toward key issues and ideas, and suggest meaningful and provocative inquiry into the content? Remember these guides about Essential Questions:
Why do belief systems build social structure?

Reason for the Instructional Strategies & Student Activities


Content Standards

California Common Core Standards:

Reading standards for History/Social Science Grade 9-10
Ideas and Details #2:
“Determine the central ideas or information of primary or secondary sources; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.”

ELD Standards

Participate in Social Conversations Cluster 5: Advanced
“Negotiate and initiate social conversations by questioning, restating, soliciting information, and paraphrasing the communication of others”


o    Students will be able to understand the various types of Asian philosophy and how those philosophies have shaped social culture.
·         Using the standard/framework you chose, write an objective(s) that directly addresses your standard or framework. What skills and knowledge does the lesson/unit address?
o    Students will be able to identify key ideas in text, as well as display learned material in multi-media fashion.
·         Condition: Under what conditions will the students meet objective?
o    Students will discuss the concepts of the activity as well as be provided background on the historical setting for what they are studying such as the dynastic cycle, The warring states period and sghintoism
·         Verb: What will the student do?
o    Students will complete a character chart on the different dynasties, Complete a visual representation of the three philosophies in a group setting, Students will participate in a gallery walk and fill in a graphic organizer for each belief system, students will use their applied knowledge of the three philosophies and compare it to the central themes within the video, and students will complete an AXES paragraph on the major points of Chinese philosophy
·         Criteria: How will you evaluate the student performance?
o    Students will be assessed based upon their ability to complete the AXES paragraph (formal)
·         Type: Identify if the objective(s) are cognitive (content), affective (emotional/perspective, writing), psychomotor (skills based activity) or language (Speaking).
o    Cognitive objectives: background packet, graphic organizer, AXES paragraph
o    Affective objectives: working in groups to complete poster.
·         Standard: Cross-reference with the standards - Example: Objective, Type & Standard #

o    Objective: Students will be able to understand the various types of Asian philosophy and how those philosophies have shaped social culture
o    Standard: Reading standards for History/Social Science Grade 9-10
Ideas and Details #2:
“Determine the central ideas or information of primary or secondary sources; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.”


Have an assessment for every objective and standard in unit. Cross-reference the objective and standard for each assessment. Example: Assessment (Objective/Standard #)
o    graphic organizer (formal), highlighting of text (informal), create a poster (informal), Complete an AXES paragraph (formal)

Include the following information about each assessment:
·         Name of Assessment: AXES Paragraph
·         Formality: formal
·         Type: summative
·         Purpose: assess concepts
·         Implementation Method: written
·         Communication of Expectations: supports
·         Evaluation Criteria: Provide one rubric for the unit.
o    Feedback Strategies: Students will receive comments from the teacher on their rubrics for the AXES paragraphs
·         Student Self-Assessments: Peer review.

Provide the into, through and closure/beyond for the unit as well as the lesson designs for each day with all needed materials (ppts, graphic organizers, rubrics…).

Into: Students will be able to read the background information on Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism
Purpose: Students will gain background knowledge from the readings and be able to recall that information for the poster activity and AXES paragraphs.
Student Activity
·         Describe overview of “Into” lesson for the unit. Include in the following format:
·         Hook: Ask students if they know anything about Dr. King, and use sample poster of Dr. King to illustrate how students will be able to make connections between Dr. Kings beliefs and the beliefs of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.
·         What will you do to draw on previous experience, motivating students to want to learn what’s in this unit? How will you access prior knowledge? What activities will you use to tap into prior learning and knowledge and engage ALL students?
o    Students will use pervious experience by relying on their groups collective knowledge to recall information.
o    Students motivation will be addressed by having students participate in a social activity as well as participate in a writing activity.
o    Students prior knowledge will be assessed based upon the questions on Dr. King as a reference to these beliefs, students will also have a chance to build up their own background knowledge during the background readings.
·         What are the steps to begin the activity?
Who knows something about…?
·         Buddhism?
·         Confucianism?
·         Daoism?
If students don’t know, tell them they are going to learn today.

Dr King Model (5 Minutes)
Does anyone know what a character collogue is?
Does anyone know anything about Dr. King?
Display Dr. King model on Document Camera.
·         Review key items for Poster:
·         5 key words
·         5 visuals
Break into Groups
·         Number students 1-7
·         Find out Who:
·         Draws Best – Illustrator
·         Organizes the best – Graphic Designer
·         Reads well – Researcher
·         Takes notes the best – Paraphraser
      Background information
Hand out background packets
“Each person in your group is to read this and give 10 examples
Pass out head and body pages to all group illustrators.
Hand out butcher paper and sharpies to illustrators
Walk around and check for understanding

Think, Pair, Share (2 Minutes)
Share your examples to the others in your group
o    Give students 2 minutes to share their examples to the group

·         How will you handle the room arrangement?
o    Students will move desks when they break into groups.
·         How will you handle student grouping?
o    By numbering students from 1-7
·         How will you handle transitions and misbehavior?
o    Transitions will be handled with teachers indication.
o    Misbehavior will be handled with prompts from the teacher as well as the schools discipline policy.
·         What questions will you ask to prompt learning?
·         Who knows something about…?
o    Buddhism?
o    Confucianism?
o    Daoism?
o    Does anyone know what a character collogue is?
o    Does anyone know anything about Dr. King?

·         Unit Preview - What will you preview of the whole unit?
o    The Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang Dynasties.
·         How will you connect the different activities? Transitions?
o    Activities will be transitioned by having students move to various locations around the classroom, such as: Background information at their grouped desks, Students will share out their information, and then transition to the floor to complete their jobs on the poster. After the poster is completed the students will display their posters on the wall and students will then return to their seats for the gallery walk. Students will stay in their groups for the gallery walk as they complete their character chart. Teacher will then talk about each posters unique characteristics as the students take notes. Students will complete an AXES paragraph for the remainder of time and at home
·         Assessment:
o    Completion of the elements of their character chart (formal), 5 elements on their poster activity (formal), Students ability to work together to complete a project (informal), completed graphic organizer (informal), ability to make distinctions between the video and their own prior knowledge (formal), assessed on their responses to the AXES essay (summative)

Through: Unit Calendar
·         Daily Objectives:
o    Day 1: Students will be able to distinguish between the different Chinese civilizations during the Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang Dynasties
o    Day 2: After reading background information, Students will be able work in teams to assemble a graphic representation of the three philosophies of: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
o    Day 3: After completing a summative activity students will be able to organize the main points of the three philosophies of: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. In a Graphic Organizer
o    Day 4: After completing notes on the video: Chinas Philosophers students will be able to provide the differences between the video and text information
o    Day 5: After completing the assessment students will be able to understand major points of the three philosophies of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism in a formal written response
·         Standards (Content):
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
California Common Core Standard:
Reading standards for History/Social Science Grade    9-10
Ideas and
Details #1:
“Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary
and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date
and origin of the information”
California Common Core Standard:
Reading standards for History/Social Science Grade   9-10
Ideas and Details #2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.”
California Common Core Standard:

Reading standards for History/Social Science Grade    9-10

Craft and
Structure #6:
“Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how
they treat the same or similar topics, including which details
they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.”
California Common Core Standard:

Reading standards for History/Social Science Grade

Craft and Structure #9
“Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.”

California Common Core Standard:

Reading standards for History/Social Science Grade

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity #10 “by the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.”

Standards (ELD):
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Cluster 3: Reading Comprehension: Synthesize ideas: Level A
“Apply knowledge of language to achieve comprehension of informational materials, literary text, and text in content areas.”
Cluster 3:
Synthesize ideas: Reading Comprehension: Level A:
“Prepare a brief research or synthesizing paper in a content area and analyze ideas from several sources to present a coherent argument or conclusion arranged in the proper format including a bibliography.”
Cluster 5: Listening & Speaking: Participate in Social Conversations: Level A: “ Negotiate the initiate social conversations by questioning restating, soliciting information, and paraphrasing the communication of others.”
Cluster 1 ES: Writing Strategies & Applications Level A: “Produce writing by using various elements of discourse (e.g., purpose, speaker, audience, form) in narrative, expository, persuasive, and/or descriptive writing.”
Cluster 2: Reading Fluency & Systematic Vocabulary Development: Use social and academic vocabulary: Level A: “Apply knowledge of academic and social vocabulary to achieve independent reading.”

·         Student Activities
o    Day 1: Character Chart
o    Day 2: Graphic Representation
o    Day 3: Gallery Walk
o    Day 4: Video: China’s Philosophers
o    Day 5: AXES Paragraph.
·         Assessment (formality, purpose, implementation method, & criteria)
o    Completion of the elements of their character chart (formal), 5 elements on their poster activity (formal), Students ability to work together to complete a project (informal), completed graphic organizer (informal), ability to make distinctions between the video and their own prior knowledge (formal), assessed on their responses to the AXES essay (summative)

Closure/Beyond: Label Unit Closure and Unit Transition Activities
In addition to the calendar information Obj., Stand, Activity, Assess.) address the following:
·         Closure: How will you have students summarize and make meaning of their learning?
o    Students will answer the prompt: “How did Chinese Philosophy build culture?” with the AXES paragraph design sheet as their guide (See green paper)
·         Closure: What kind of “product” will students produce as a culminating demonstration of their learning?
o    Students will have a completed AXES paragraph, as well as a group poster, and an individual Graphic Organizer
·         Beyond: How will you structure opportunities for students to continue practice and transfer learning from this unit?
o    Students will be assessed on their unit text for recall of information, as well as connect to the next unit on Religions originating from the Middle East, Asia, and India.
·         Beyond: How will you prepare students for the next unit?
o    Students will make connections with the next unit by having a basic understanding of how religion has shaped culture and how that idea will shape the religions and cultures of t he middle east, and India.
·         Write up: Objective of the closure, Standard, Student Activity, Assessment
o    After completing the assessment students will be able to understand major points of the three philosophies of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism in the formal written response. Furthermore students will be able to apply their knowledge to the next unit on religions in the Middle East and India.

8. REFLECTION           

·         In what ways have you differentiated instruction to meet the varying needs of your students including your high achievers?
o    Students were allowed to work in groups as well as provide individual contributions to a project.
·         What strengths and possible limitations do you see in your plan?
o    Some of the strengths are that it builds social interaction among the groups, and that it allows students to utilize students various learning strategies.
·         What forms of data/evidence might you collect from this unit to measure its effectiveness - gauged by actual student learning?
o    AXES paragraphs will be graded on rubrics, Students will turn in their graphic organizers from the gallery walk, and students will display their 5 elements of their assigned philosophy on their poster activities. Some of the limitations of this project are the confines of the project, such as giving a limited view of the philosophy and may offend some students views of that philosophy or religion. Students may miss the overall objective because of other students lack of comprehension on their assigned religion.
·         What have you learned about yourself, students, your unit plan topic, and/or planning in general as a result of designing this unit plan?
o    Unit planning is difficult, but achievable. Unit planning gives the teacher a sense of direction with lesson plans, as well as provides a way for you to pace out where you are going. I feel that unit planning is important so that you can prepare for what is next, as well as keep a current knowledge of where your classes are in the pace of the content area. You can also know were your students are in relation to other teachers classrooms as well as where you are in relation to district and school expectations. 
·         What do you know now that you didn’t know at the start of this unit or program?
How to plan out activities for an entire unit as well as plan out activities for a weeks time. Unit planning can be useful to teachers as it provides a sense of what you want to accomplish for a particular unit. It also helps you break down your content standards and provides a road map for you to utilize during instruction.