Archive for the ‘Signature Artifact’ Category

For my Internship I constructed many lesson plans that highlighted different aspects and topics of U.S. History.  Specifically for the TPA process I was able to write all of my own material and created several activities that highlight my ability to engage students in content and help them develop their academic ability.  The lesson plan that I’ve provided is one of the lessons that I submitted to Pearson for review as well as my reflection on student work for the daily activities.  I’ve also included the three student work samples and the documents that were missing from the TPA submission.

TPA Lesson 2

TPA Assessment Commentary

Student Work Sample 1

Student Work Sample 2

Student Work Sample 3

24.1 The Movement Begins (Part One)

24.1 The Movement Begins (Part One) Teacher Notes

Lesson 2 Learning Objective


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These two articles highlight current issues in education.  The first article is a summary of several articles about advances in education technology and its effect on education.  The second article is an observation of a classroom that I did at a local high school and a comparison of their curriculum with what Jeannie Oakes and Martin Lipton (2007) suggest in their book Teaching to Change the World.  

EDu 6989- Final Issues

EDU 6989- Final Observations

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Instructional Strategies that Apply Directly to Social Studies and History Curriculum

By Matthew Kieswether

Approval Standard T3: Knowledge of teaching influenced by multiple teaching strategies.  This work attests to my proficiency in this standard because it proves that I know and understand a variety of instructional strategies that apply directly to my content area.  It also proves that I know how to best apply these strategies to my classes for the greatest possible benefit for my students.

Instructional strategies are created from beliefs and understandings about how the human mind works and what kind of activity or process best stimulates learning and understanding.  Each instructional strategy comes from a framework of educational theory and ideas called an Instructional Strategy Family and is categorized under the framework of ideas and understandings from which it was created.  Creators of Instructional Strategies will gravitate toward the Instructional Strategy family that best reflects their understanding and beliefs about how the human mind works.  Two Instructional strategy families are the Information-Processing Family of Instructional Models and the Behavioral Systems Family of Models (Joyce, 2009).  These two models best meet the needs of and are best aligned with the goals of a social studies or history curriculum.

The Information-Processing Family of Instructional Models is built upon the belief and perspective that education is best improved through instructional strategies that work to enhance the processing and storage of new information in learners.  These strategies are based on understandings about how the human mind takes in new information and stores it for future retrieval.  Lessons are built around tasks and procedures that present information in ways that best reflect that learning is mostly the processing and storing of new information.  Students are taught to organize information for better processing and better retention through structures, concepts, and through ways of understanding information (Joyce, 2009).

There are several instructional strategies that fall under the Information-Processing Family of Instructional Models.  The Inductive thinking instructional strategy suggests that some information is best learned in order from specific facts to more general concepts.  The idea is that studying specifics can be utilized to illuminate bigger ideas and higher order thinking (Scheuerman, 2011).  Inductive thinking closely aligns with a history or social studies curriculum because studying facts about events and people is often the task of students in a history or social studies class.   If teachers use the Inductive model, then studying history can become the task of studying dates and facts for the goal of forming an understanding about larger concepts and perspectives about ideas, people, and movements, which all have direct application to student understanding about life and how the world works.

The Concept Attainment Instructional Strategy is built on the idea that knowledge can be organized into categories and subcategories because of how the human mind organizes new information.  The human mind stores new concepts and understandings in different places based on where the information came from, what kind of information it is, what application the information has to larger understandings, etc.  If information is organized in a similar way for students to see and comprehend, then it will be easier for students to process and store large amounts of information (Scheuerman 2011).  Concept Attainment Instructional Strategy closely aligns with a social studies or history curriculum because it allows history to be organized into time periods and historical movements of interest and importance.  Dates and facts about history may have no long term retention value of their own for students but will be retained if they are an important foundation for a larger understanding of historical significance.

The Scientific Inquiry Instructional Strategy is based on the idea that students will better retain an understanding of a topic or subject if they are asked to go through the process of discovering the significance of a subject, reasons for a condition, or a solution to a problem on their own initiative and through their own mental process (Scheuerman, 2011).  This instructional strategy directly applies to when students are asked to do projects on their own or with a group about a subject for a history or a social studies class.  Students will retain the information from a unit for a longer period of time because they had to discover the information on their own and because of all the mental reasoning and processes that went into completing the project.

The Advance Organizers Instructional Strategy states that students will better learn information if they are given a framework of understanding before the lesson to gauge information’s importance and relevance to the larger curriculum and expectations.  If students at the beginning of a unit are told what the unit will be about, what they will be learning, what the individual lessons will be about, and what they should be looking for in each lesson (etc.), then they will be better prepared to understand information’s significance when it is taught and will better retain it (Scheuerman, 2011).  This instructional strategy will prepare students in a history or social studies class to see the larger picture of how individual facts about a specific time and place relate to the larger concepts and movements of that period of history.  Students are then prepped to see where information fits in its significance to the larger understandings that the teacher is trying to get across about history.

The Behavioral Systems Family of Models is based on the concept that information and abilities are best learned by doing.  Instructional strategies are set up so that teachers take students through tasks or processes to establish understanding and comprehension.  The defining feature of instructional strategies in the Behavioral Systems Family of Models is that they assume that the process itself will bring about understanding.  The Behavioral Systems Family of Models is based on the psychology that human beings are the products of their behavior, so good behaviors and correct processes modeled by students will bring about the best understanding and retention of new information (Joyce, 2009).

There are several Instructional Strategies that come from the Behavioral Systems Family of Models.  The Mastery Learning Instructional Strategy is based on Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy of thinking skills, who categorized thinking skills and abilities into levels from simple to complex.  This Instructional Strategy says that teachers should teach students about topics in a way that helps students develop the ability to move from lower level thinking skills to higher cognitive processes (Scheuerman, 2011).  If done correctly, this strategy will not only help students establish their own abilities and levels of thinking, but will also help students become inspired about subject matter and learning.  The Master Learning Instructional Strategy aligns with history and social studies curriculum goals.  If used in the history or social studies classroom, it can be utilized to help students move from facts and dates to larger understandings about the human condition through the lessons that have been learned by people throughout history.

Direct Instruction is the most common instructional strategy and is often criticized as being less effective than other strategies.  The Direct Instruction Instructional Strategy states that students are best taught through listening to lectures about the subject and through assessment routines that check for understanding.  Direct Instruction has a distinct academic focus and the materials selected to compliment Direct Instruction focus directly on subject matter and curriculum goals and standards.  The assessment routines used in conjunction with Direct Instruction are formed to gauge student achievement and to increase student ability through immediate correction.  Direct Instruction Instructional strategy also includes allotted time for multiple student practice sessions for the development of ability (Scheuerman, 2011).  The Direct Instruction Instructional Strategy aligns with social studies and history curriculums because of the amount of material about history that must be taught directly to the students.  In contrast to other subjects where a discovery strategy might be more of an effective base for the curriculum, history and social studies classes require that students take in a lot of information about the past that they could not discover quickly enough on their own.  If a teacher intends to cover a great amount of material within a history or social studies class, they must establish a curriculum where students are asked to note the important details of a historical period during a lecture, and then practice taking notes on historical significance with their textbook at home.  Direct instruction should not be the only instructional strategy that is used in a history class, but it can be effective to communicate large amounts of information about history.

The Simulation Instructional Strategy suggests that students can learn through simulating real-world tasks or experiences.  Simulations are guided activities that allow students to simulate ideas, events, and problem solving processes (Scheuerman, 2011).  The concept behind the Simulation Instructional Strategy is that having students act out or simulate experiences allows students to develop abilities and to understand motivations for actions from a clearer perspective.  The Simulation Instructional Strategy is based on the understanding that practicing behaviors allows students to understand concepts and develop abilities.  For history and social studies curriculums, the Simulation Instructional Strategy can be used to help students understand the perspective of people in history and the importance and relevance of topics and issues.  Students can take sides in debates that took place in history or can re-enact experiences of specific significance.  Allowing students to act out pieces of history gives students experiences that illuminate the thoughts and feelings of individuals in history.  Giving students the opportunity to see things from a different point of view helps students grow in their development of seeing history from multiple understandings.

The Social Learning Instructional Strategy seeks to help students establish principles of self-concept (personal value), self-efficacy (personal beliefs in one’s ability), and self-regulation (proactive efforts to mobilize effort and determine progress).   It is built on the perception if good behaviors are modeled by the teacher then students will imitate the teacher and develop an understanding of good habits and practices.  If teachers model the behavior and attitude that they want to see from their students, their students will react to that stimulus by changing their attitude and behaviors accordingly.  In this way, the teacher can help students be responsible for what is required of them and will help them see how to successfully communicate with others in the modern world.  This strategy fights against the influence of the social media, where kids are taught that inappropriate behaviors or practices are desirable and profitable in society.  The Social Learning Strategy seeks to educate students on how to be successful in society, mostly through appropriate modeling of the teacher.  This strategy also suggests that teachers pursue using as many appropriate models as possible in the classroom as well as helping students see the consequences for reprehensible conduct (Scheuerman, 2011).  This Instructional Strategy is useful in helping improve conduct in any classroom but is helpful to social studies and history curriculums specifically because it aims to meet one of the fundamental goals of teaching history: helping students understand the lessons of history so that they and tomorrow’s society might benefit.  The reason that history is taught in schools is because the lessons to be learned from it affect the conduct of today’s citizen.  The Social Learning Instructional Strategy seeks to help students become better citizens by helping them see the consequences of their actions, often through historical examples.  The Social Learning Instructional Strategy fits into a social studies or history curriculum by helping students understand that lessons from history have modern day applications.  By helping students see the importance of behavioral conduct and its effects on quality of life, this strategy helps students start the life process of analyzing new information for its application to personal attitude, perspective, and actions.

Instructional strategies help teachers adapt curriculums to meet the needs of student understanding and processing.  Each instructional strategy comes out of a larger family of instructional strategies that hold to a specific understanding and belief about how education can best be modified for student benefit.  Two instructional strategy families that directly relate to social studies and history curriculums are the Information-Processing Family of Instructional Models and the Behavioral Systems Family of Models (Joyce, 2009).  The Information-Processing Family of Instructional Models includes The Inductive Thinking Instructional Strategy, The Concept Attainment Instructional Strategy, The Scientific Inquiry Instructional Strategy, and the Advance Organizers Instructional Strategy.  The Behavioral Systems Models includes The Mastery Learning Instructional Strategy, The Direct Instruction Instructional Strategy, The Simulation Instructional Strategy, and The Social Learning Instructional Strategy.


Joyce, B., Weil, M., Calhoun, E. (2009).  Models of Teaching. (8th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Scheuerman, R. (2011).  EDU 6526: Survey of Instructional Strategies.  Seattle Pacific University

Graduate Program, Seattle, WA.  Lectures 1-9.

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The development of individuals intellectually and morally at the initial levels of education is the foundation upon which society is built.  The character of a society is defined by the beliefs and actions of its inhabitants.  Education is the Paideia where individuals develop their sensibilities and ability to discern truth.  Educators have the singular privilege and opportunity to enrich and improve the development of an individual’s place in society.  The most important goals of teachers are the improvement of the moral and social fabric of students and the raising of academic achievement (reflective of increased intellectual development).  The intellectual and moral development of individuals is essential to a good and stable society.  Education is power and the ability to provide for and defend oneself and others.  Society needs to have institutions that focus on the development of the individual, so that the intellectual capability of the populace is cultivated for the betterment of society and the world.

There are many thinkers who have written on the importance of an individual’s intellectual and moral development and on how this is to be accomplished.  Plato (n.d.) wrote in “On breaking the Bonds of Ignorance” and other works how an individual can find the most fulfillment through a true philosophy of truth seeking.  Plato believed that tradition and society obscured the observance of truth as defined by reality.  True understanding comes from a process of taking specific examples as evidence in the process of discovering general truths.  Important to Plato was an individual’s ultimate perception of what is ‘good’ or what is beneficial to individuals and society.  The true pursuit of knowledge, therefore, should produce virtue (wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice) (R. Scheuerman).  If we follow Plato’s argument to its logical conclusion, then truth or reality is something observable and knowable by everyone.  True understanding, comes from observing or learning from others what reality is.  Truth that is absolute engenders confidence of information’s future application and necessity.  Education, therefore, needs to be established on the principle of a knowable reality so that understanding and morality can follow.

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1773) writes in Emile about the importance of nature and its observance in education.  Knowledge and understanding for the individual are the products of curiosity about the nature of things.  If someone desires to develop an understanding of morality, one must first observe nature and how the world is affected by actions and consequences.  Morality is taught to students through personal example and through having them practice good deeds.  Education should be focused on the development of an individual’s feeling and conscience to a greater degree than reason and science (R. Scheuerman).  Rousseau looks to the natural state of things for the development of an individual’s understanding of morality.  Morality and the understanding of what is ‘good’ comes from the observance of what happens in the world around them.  The teacher should be working to develop an individual’s perception of morality through real world examples and observations of consequences for actions.  Understanding what is beneficial to themselves and others develops an individual’s understanding of their responsibility to do what is good because of the consequences they have observed in the natural state of things for specific actions or behaviors.

Johann Friedrich Herbart (n.d.) wrote in “The Ethical Basis and Aim of Instruction” about the need for the development of an inner motivation to and understanding of morality.   Virtue is inner freedom and the relation between volition and insight.  True education and religion depends on the awakening of a moral sense in an individual, not the fear of punishment.  A society that is educated without morality is not sufficient: it must have a moral or ethical foundation.  Understanding of morality is accomplished through experience and through observance of the teacher.  Students should take historical studies for the heart: in other words, their moral understanding should be derived from their observance of the experience of others (R. Scheuerman).  History is a perfect setting for developing an understanding of morality.  Society and it’s laws loosely define morality, but suffers if individuals don’t have an understanding of what is good for them and those around them.  A good education includes an understanding of morality and ethics.  Teachers must teach their students morality and responsibility through discussing consequences in history and through providing a good example for students.

Horace Mann (1848) wrote in “On Education and National Welfare” about the responsibility of the state to the physical wellbeing of individuals.  The best way for the state to provide this is for individuals to be taught how to provide for themselves.  Individuals should be taught from an early age to work hard so that they can reap the profits of their labor.  Unlike European nations where individuals are forced to serve upper classes, the people of the United States pride themselves on their ability to affect their environment for the enrichment of their lives.  Education in this way is the means to change your life for the greatest good and the ability to protect yourself against the selfishness of others.   America is a land of great opportunity where individuals are given the ability to choose the conditions of their life which will affect its overall quality.  Students need to be taught to see the rewards that they will receive for the work that they put into their education and other pursuits.  Education often determines an individual’s quality of life. This understanding should motivate students to work hard and take their education seriously.

John Dewey (1859 – 1952) wrote about how education is about the life long intellectual development of an individual.  Students are important to the fabric of tomorrow’s society.  Education, therefore, should focus on the development of the individual, with instruction bending to their needs and curiosities.  Because of an individual’s crucial part in society, instruction needs to focus on problem-solving with practical instruments and scientific approaches.  Optimism for tomorrow should be produced in the pursuit of preparing an individual for their future place in society (R. Scheuerman).  If individuals can be taught their future responsibility in society, perhaps they can be motivated to be educated.  Understanding of purpose for learning eradicates the feeling or perception of futility.

In conclusion, individuals need to be taught that truth is knowable by everyone, that it is knowable through instruction and observance, that morality is understandable in observing consequences, that future quality of life will be determined by amount of hard work and effort, and that education should be taken seriously because in the future they will be asked to take a responsible part in society.

Of all the individuals and philosophies that we discussed in class, the ones that had the most effect on me were Johann Amos Comenius, Leo Tolstoy, and John Dewey.

Johann Amos Comenius (1592 -1670) was a Moravian Brethren minister who wrote several works on education that were not published until after his death.  In The Great Didactic (1633 -1638) and other works Comenius wrote about the role of the teacher as a servant whose mission or goal is the cultivation of young minds to understandings of order and truth.  Reason and science reflect God’s design, purpose, and ideas.  From these understandings of how the world works, God can then transform the soul of the individual for his purposes (R. Scheuerman).

These perspectives and beliefs resonate with me because I agree with his perspective about teachers taking a serving role and because I share his religious motivations.   I am a Christian who believes that God reveals himself to mankind through revelation and through nature.  I believe that reason and order in the world point to God.  I want to see others come to Christianity, but my classroom is not a pulpit.  I believe in absolute truth and absolute reality that is knowable and understandable by every individual.  Observance and study of this truth, I believe, brings people to belief in God.  But I also believe that the best leaders are those who serve those that they are leading.  Often, for the cognitive development of students the teacher must ask questions that inspire inquiry on important subjects. This often must take place instead of the teacher simply informing students what they believe.   Religious convictions are deeply personal and teachers must allow their students to make their own decisions.

Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) is one of the most fascinating characters in Russian history whose writings recorded and challenged many aspects of Russian society.  In “On Popular Education” (1860), Tolstoy writes about how the masses resist the education that government and society provides for them.  Human beings have the natural tendency to resist whatever is being forced upon them.  The Russian Education system at the time had a curriculum which boasted many classical and religious works and understandings.  To an audience who was becoming modern and Atheist, the curriculum seemed pointless and useless.  It therefore begs the question, according to Tolstoy, what is the legitimacy of a certain curriculum being forced on individuals?  Tolstoy’s conclusion is that education should not be restricted to a hard curriculum of information that may or may not be useful.  Education in Russia, Tolstoy argues, should be defined by freedom to learn what is necessary and interesting and by experimentation with the system for the best possible outcome.

What Tolstoy brings up here is a question that needs to be answered by all educators and asked by every student.  Often, the perspective of students for education is limited to the punishment they will receive if they do not participate or perform.  How often do students and teachers ask about the legitimacy of being forced to learn specific information?  What reason does society give for asking individuals to learn a specific amount of information they find important?  The answer is that society has agreed on this information as being necessary for students to prepare them for being future responsible citizens.  If students are brought to understand the significance of their place both in education and in their future community, perhaps more motivation to studies and learning can be cultivated because of its significance and importance.

John Dewey (1859 – 1952) was an American educational reformer who wrote about the centrality of a student’s interests in effective education.  Dewey believed that the future involvement of an individual in society should define the focus and instruction of the educational system.  Therefore, instruction should focus on the intellectual development of the individual and be set up to bend to their curiosities and interests.  Education should not be about learning specific information as much as preparing an individual to fix problems in tomorrow’s society.  By preparing individuals to deal with tomorrow’s problems, schools will be working to create optimism in schools about the condition of the world and their place in it (R. Scheuerman).  The central motivation of this system is the empowerment of the individual.

John Dewey’s focus and beliefs appeal to me because he identifies the core of education: the development of the individual for their future wellbeing.  Often it seems that educational systems can lose their perspective of the needs of the individual if curriculums and testing focus on the benefit of only the majority of students.  If teachers teach with the perspective of reaching only the majority, they miss the opportunity of developing relationships with students who are struggling with their studies.  The central motivation of most teachers is the enrichment of individuals.  The process of helping students succeed where they otherwise would have failed often legitimizes a teacher’s perception of themselves and their ability.  Teaching is about reaching individuals and often different individuals struggle with different things.  Humanity is enriched by the differences between human beings and the variance in human beings creates the best society.  Therefore, having an individual centered perspective on instruction which highlights the differences and abilities of individuals allows those individuals to become who they are meant to be to the betterment of tomorrow’s society.

From the writings of Comenius: teachers should be servant leaders who put the development of their students before the justification of their own beliefs and perspectives.  From the questions of Tolstoy: Students should learn to ask why they are learning what they are learning so that they can gain a perspective of the future application of their education.  Finally, from the writings of John Dewey:  individual differences enrich the fabric of society.  Teachers should focus on empowering individuals with instruction centered on their development with the perspective in mind of their future place in tomorrow’s society.


Scheuerman, R. (n.d.).  EDU 6120 Foundations: American Education Past and Present (Lecture Notes).

Retrieved December 3, 2010, from

(Lectures 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10)

Plato (n.d.).  On breaking the Chains of Ignorance.   Retrieved December 3, 2010, from

Rousseau, J. (1773).  Emile.  Retrieved December 3, 2010, from

Herbart, J. (n.d.).  Ethical Basis and Aim of Instruction.  Retrieved December 3, 2010, from

Mann, H. (1848).  On Education and National Welfare.  Retrieved December 3, 2010, from

Comenius, J. (1633 – 1638).  The Great Didactic.  Retrieved December 3, 2010, from

Tolstoy, L. (1860).  On Popular Education.  Retrieved December 3, 2010, from

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