EDU 6150 Course Reflection

During my time in General Inquiry, Teaching, and Assessment Methods, also known as EDU 6150, I have found great importance in the teaching skill of differentiation. This class focused on how to structure lessons as well as how to account for the unexpected when teaching a lesson. The standard that I think applies the best to what I have learned in this lesson is the differentiation program standard of 3.1.

3.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Students: Teacher recognizes the value of understanding students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency and displays this knowledge for groups of – students.

To me this standard doesn’t just say that teachers should be aware where their students are in their individual educational journey, but to also provide different opportunities for students within the same lesson to support those differences. In John Medina’s book Brain Rules (2007) he talks about how different each child is in their development and backs up the obvious need for differentiation in the classroom with his findings. In our class we had the opportunity to put this new knowledge to practice, and were able to build lesson plans and alter them over the course.

 Lesson Design Rough Draft

Final Lesson Plan with highlights

The first lesson shows my initial thoughts on how I would teach the lesson. The second is lesson shows all of the alterations and the highlights a couple of examples. I learned that I have to keep in mind all the needs of exceptional learners providing challenges, steps backwards, and possible opportunities to receive a little extra help. This class gave me the opportunity to alter my original lesson plan, to not only help me create a better lesson, but also allowed me to see my mistakes in my original lesson. I have found that when creating lessons it is so helpful to take a step back and keep in mind who the lesson is actually for. Thinking of individuals prepares a teacher to be ready to be flexible, rather than clumping the class’s abilities into one. In the future I am definitely going to have to keep in mind that my lessons are for individuals to learn, not just a whole class. To achieve this I think that I will always try to provide as much differentiation as possible, as well as doing a self-reflection after a lesson. This will always provide me an opportunity to comment on unexpected outcomes that need to be accounted for next time.

Medina, Brian. (2007). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press


Introduction to Teaching Evaluation

Over the course of this Summer I had the opportunity to take Introduction to Teaching. This class focused on the many different aspects of the world of education. The information ranged from the history of education to the details and specifics of certification. Our class journeyed through the information as a group and provided ample opportunity for group work and collaboration. I believe that this class was able to exemplify the program standard of 8.1

8.1 Example of Proficient – Relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation

To me this means that when given opportunities for interaction all individuals acted as team players as well as a support system. The reasoning for this standard is in hopes to create an environment that is supportive and caring. In addition to creating a place in which people want to be, this standard also gives students great examples of what it looks like to be in a cooperative group setting. This class utilized this standard because of the collaborative group work that we participated in. Whether it was in person or over different media sources, we were asked to share, interact, and act as a support system for one and another. . You can see here that we were involved in several group discussions during the quarter these are examples of some of my own entries and you can see that there are comments under each one.

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This is an example of 8.1 because to get the grades we wanted we had to each participate and give our group members something to build off of. This opportunity of group discussion became really cool as we entered into our face-to-face classroom sessions because the people we had been working with over discussion boards soon came to life, and became not only my colleagues but my friends. I learned a ton from this group work and have learned that it is ok to be the first to initiate a conversation or to bring up questions. These are both great ways to create some really great conversation. I also learned that when given group activities it is so crucial to have the expectation of full group involvement be communicated in the beginning of the discussion, as well as laying other ground rules.

This skill of building supportive work relationships is going to prove to be very important in my future as an educator and is also something that I would also love to implement in my classroom. As an educator I will be working with a team, and for a teaching team to succeed support must be given by every member. From a students perspective I found that hearing from others opened my eyes to topics that I would have never thought about otherwise. I would love to have weekly discussion groups and provide a space where students feel like their ideas are being supported and heard by their peers. This will give students a foundation in standard 8.1, and will be able to use later in their lives. A specific change that I would make would be to not have these discussions online because of the grade level I am going to be teaching. A specific change I would like to make within my own acts of colleague collaborative work would to be able to be that first person to bring up a topic. My goals achieve this entail writing down my questions before hand, as well as getting to know my colleagues a little better on a personal level. These relationships will show my colleagues that I do care about their opinions and hold their information to be important.

Learners In Context Meta Reflection

While enrolled in EDU 6132 we had the opportunity to work on multiple group projects. These projects gave us the ability to collaborate, critique, and connect with our colleagues. I believe that my greatest take aways from this class spurred from my group project work and have really opened my eyes to what can be accomplished when people work together. The program standard that I believe fits this kind of take away would be 8.2.

8.2 Growing and Developing Professionally: Teacher welcomes feedback from colleagues when made by supervisors or when opportunities arise through professional collaboration.

To me this standard means to welcome critique and collaboration in all that you do, in hopes to improve what was already great making it even better! Within this class we had the opportunity to complete the Theory to Practice Project, which entailed groups to gather all of the information that we had learned within the class and put it into presentation form. There were multiple phases to this project. Each phase would have us complete it by ourselves. and then join in group collaboration to create a final for the phase. This is an example of one of these phases with my individual work alongside our final.

Sydney’s Phase 3

Group Page Phase3

As you can see the final project is much different from what I had done individually, and without a doubt is much improved. This evidence shows that when minds are put together great things can come from it. From this experience I have found that if each member of a team is heard, as well as open to others ideas, something amazing can achieved. This is a copy of what we created for our project!

Password: P@ssw0rd

When I entered into this class and I saw that there were going to be multiple group projects, I was hesitant to agree that this tactic would enhance my individual learning; but boy was I wrong. Through this project I not only learned so much from the minds of Pressley, McCormick, and Medina, but have also learned so much from my team. Group work may take a little longer and may also require a little bit more patience, but the final product reveals its ultimate pay off. When teaching I would love to give my students the opportunity for group work. I want students to see the benefits that it can have on their learning. I believe that students should not only practice this form of learning, but also understand why group work is so important. In the future one thing that I will have definitely do in my classroom is make sure that all groups members are actively participating. Participation was not a problem in my group but when talking to others in the class some were frustrated with lack of communication. So in hopes to change this before starting group work I will put great importance on communication and equal share.

META Reflection Curriculum Design

Over the course of Curriculum Design I have learned so much on what it means to plan a strong, engaging, and overall effective lesson. After reading Larry Ainsworth’s Rigorous Curriculum Design, and proceeding through each weeks module, I have found great importance in the different steps that must be taken to plan a lesson. During my time in this class two of the universities program standards truly stuck out me. These standards were:

2.2 Engaging Students in Learning: Most activities and assignments are appropriate to students, and almost all students are cognitively engaged in exploring content.

4.2 Setting Instructional Outcomes: All the instructional outcomes are clear, written in the form of student learning. Most suggest viable methods of assessment

The engaging students standard means to me that I as an educator must provide a lesson that is not only working student cognitive development, but also provides an overall interest in the subject that I am teaching. This will allow for students to really connect with the lesson. Ainsworth says, “Engaging is synonymous with interesting and compelling. Experiences produce personal insights that are deeper and longer lasting than explanations” (Ainsworth, 2010). This idea of engagement is thought to bring out personal connection and result in a lasting learning. In this class I had the opportunity to create a lesson plan and brief outline of an entire unit. Within this unit I tried to implement these kinds of lessons throughout. For example placing students in role-play scenarios was a technique I tried to have students really connect with the material.

Practice Unit Overview and Lessons

Looking towards the instructional outcomes standard I found that so many different aspects of lesson planning fall under this category. This professional standard means to me that all lesson targets are clear, and that student voice is incorporated throughout the lesson and assessments. This results in the evidence of student learning. Ainsworth talks about the importance of pre-assessment, which prefaces this standard because to understand what you want students to do you, must know where they are at initially. This next leads into the importance in the actual writing of learning targets (Ainsworth 2010). This is a skill that I feel that I have achieved great growth in. In the unit I began with a set of targets and after much revision found the appropriate way in how to communicate to students what I wanted in a clear manner. The last piece of this lies in the realm of assessment. This class has taught me that informal assessments accompanied by closure assessments are some of the most important aspects to a lesson because it provides reflection on student learning. I have found that it is not only important to plan assessments with purpose, quality, and adjustability, but to also make them both formative and summative (Ainsworth 2010). In my unit lesson after revising my activities I tried to follow each with some form of assessment allowing me to gage where students were at in their learning. In addition I put a closure assessment always providing opportunity for student voice to appear.

Having experience actually implementing all that I have learned into this class has taught me so much. I was given the opportunity adjust my work as I learned and was able to mold into something more suitable for students to learn. This will hopefully be apparent when I get the chance to teach these kinds of lessons to my students, and will cultivate student learning. Overall this experience has taught me so much about lesson planning, but has taught me the most about what it means to revise and reflect. This not only will result in my lessons to continue to change, but will also result in higher student achievement when it comes to these lessons. In the future I plan to continue to use the revising process that was given to me in this class and continue to put to work the words and ideas proposed by Rigorous Curriculum Design.

Ainsworth, L. (2010). Rigorous Curriculum Design. Englewood, CO: The Leadership and Learning Center