Archive for February, 2012

This is interview that I did for EDU 6364.  It contains an analysis of two class periods I observed and interviews with the teachers about relevant and important aspects of education.

EDU 6364- Interview Paper

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For EDU 6160, my classmates and I constructed a Problem-Based Learning Model based on the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

http://sites.google.com/site/pblmodelbywekidalot/

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This is a lesson plan I constructed for EDU 6160.  The main learning activity is reconstructing maps of the area around Gettyburg, Pennsylvania for a deeper understanding of the battle that took place there.  It also contains a description and discussion of the formative and summative assessments that I included in the lesson.

EDU 6160- Lesson Plan

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Gary Borich’s analysis of successful teaching practices and perspectives in his book Effective Teaching Methods: Researched Based Practice is extremely detailed, informative, and lengthy. His analysis about what it takes to be a successful and influential teacher is extremely helpful in the process of constructing an accurate perspective of student needs and what makes instruction successful. There is an unfortunate tendency, however, that arises in the attempt to define constructive and effective teaching, that is the defining and cataloging of individuals by the social, environmental, and personal factors that surround them. If we, as teachers, attempt to define students by their environments and by certain observable traits, we do them a great disservice.
Borich’s analysis of the different factors affecting students and instruction is incredible and exemplary. His explanation of the five key factors proven to contribute to effective teaching (Lesson Clarity, Instructional Variety, Teacher Task Orientation, Engagement in the Learning Process, and Student Success Rate) and of the behaviors accompanying effective instruction (Using Student Ideas and Contributions, Structuring, Questioning, Probing, and Teacher Affect) are incredibly informative, accurate, and helpful (pgs. 7- 22). His description of the environmental, social, family, and personality factors that affect student perspectives is accurate and expansive in its breadth. The most helpful part of the chapter is the description of the multiple intelligences of Howard Gardiner and Sternberg’s definition of intelligence (pgs. 48 – 52). Chapter three’s description of objectives and the foundations for objectives is an essential understanding for the creation of lesson plans. Chapter four’s description of vertical (discipline centered) and horizontal (cross discipline) lesson planning is helpful for developing a perspective about how your lessons will fit into a greater curriculum.
Borich in the introduction in chapter one talks about how instruction is more than mastering an understanding of all of the different aspects that can affect the atmosphere and individuals in a classroom. He writes about the key behaviors mentioned above, “…you might think an effective teacher simply is one who has mastered all of the key behaviors and helping behaviors. But teaching involves more than knowledge of how to perform individual behaviors. Much like an artist, who blends color and texture into a painting to produce a coherent impression, so must an effective teacher blend individual behaviors into teaching practices that promote students achievement” (pg. 27). I would take Borich’s assertion one step farther. I would say that effective teaching is more than understanding all of the different factors that may affect or seek to define an individual or classroom. In attempting to understand all of the different ways how students can be different in their needs, abilities, and personalities, my natural tendency (at least) is to start thinking about individuals in terms of their traits, dependencies, and environmental factors, leaving very little room for students to assert their individuality and personality because of or in spite of factors affecting them. My arguments are that 1. it is important and essential to understand how students will have needs and abilities that differ in the classroom so that the teacher can adequately provide resources for them, but 2. that cataloging and defining individuals by visible factors has the effect of creating distance between students and teachers, because students are being analyzed as subjects not as individuals in the learning atmosphere of the classroom.
References:
Borich, G. (2011). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice (7th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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This is a description and comparison of Washington State and NCSS Social Studies content standards.

EDU 6150-Content Standards

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This my final paper for EDU 6160.  It describes and discusses several assessment methods focusing on Formative Assessment concepts.

EDU 6160- Final Methods Paper

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These are my the Lesson Plan and Presentation that I created for EDU 6150, as well as two commentaries about the lesson that I completed for the class.  Their focus is differing interpretaions of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and analyzing differing accounts for accuracy in historical research.

EDU 6150- Final Lesson Plan

EDU 6150- Final Presentation

EDU 6150- Final Lesson Plan Commentary 2

EDU 6150- Final Lesson Plan Commentary

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This is a lesson plan that I constructed for EDU 6150.  It explores the origins of World War II in an interesting and engaging way.

EDU 6150- Midterm Lesson Plan

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In chapter 9 of Content- Area Writing, Harvey Daniels, Steven Zemelman, and Nancy Steineke (2007) suggest the ‘Social Action Paper’ as a more ambitious writing project for your students (Pgs. 216 – 223). The idea is that your students could be assigned to research some controversial aspect of society or the environment for the purpose of taking a definitive stance on the issue. Their findings and conclusion would then form the basis of a paper meant to inform or change the perspective of their family, friends, community, or representatives. The quality of their work, therefore, will be of the greatest importance and students will be motivated by the fact that these papers will be read by people outside of the classroom.
This project sounds like a great opportunity and could be a really fun experience for your students. However, social action projects often assume that students will reach a specific conclusion about an issue and materials provided usually encourage students to take that position, offering them little option to come to differing conclusions. If students are to come to their own opinion about an issue, they must be given the freedom to explore an issue for themselves, where they may decide that they don’t agree with the teacher about the issue or what needs to be done about it.
Reference:
Daniels H., Zemelman S., & Steineke N. (2007). Content- Area Writing: Every Teachers Guide. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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Harvey Daniels, Steven Zemelman, and Nancy Steineke (2007) in their book Content-Area Writing: Every Teacher’s Guide suggest in chapter 7 several activities for engaging your students in a writing community. One of their suggestions they call a “Faction”: a creative writing project that combines imagination with factual research. Students are asked to do research on a specific topic or period of time and then write a creative story integrating their findings. The idea is that students will invent a fictional character who interacts with the events or period that the student researches. In this way, the student has the opportunity to compose a creative writing piece but must include factual details from research.
This project will be incredibly useful in my classroom for inspiring students and encouraging literacy. Not only does the project allow me to assess my student’s writing abilities and interests, but it also gives my students a chance to be creative with a subject matter or period that interests them. Historical novels are compelling and fun to read and I think that the opportunity to create one will be exciting and rewarding for my students. This project is also more challenging than most creative writing assignments as the works must be based on historical fact. This project allows me to integrate an uncommon form of writing for Social Studies into my class so that my students will have the best opportunities to develop literacy in my classroom.

Reference:
Daniels H., Zemelman S., & Steineke N. (2007). Content- Area Writing: Every Teachers Guide. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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