T: Knowledge of Teaching
Teacher candidate positively impact student learning that is:
- T1- Informed by standards-based assessment. All students benefit from learning that is systematically analyzed using multiple formative, summative, and self- assessment strategies.
- T2- Intentionally planned. All students benefit from a standards-based planning that is personalized.
- T3- Influenced by multiple instructional strategies. All students benefit from personalized instruction that addresses their ability levels and cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
- T4- Informed by technology. All students benefit from instruction that utilizes effective technologies and is designed to create technologically proficient learners.
My understanding of Standard T
As a teacher I believe it is essential to understand teaching at a visceral level. By this I mean I should feel that I make a difference for each individual student and that I am constantly improving my learning skills and teaching techniques. In Standard T the importance of strong connections to content, students, strategies, assessments, and technology is what will support the creation of a powerful learning environment. An understanding of assessments for a more thorough understanding of individual student areas of need and competency is essential. Examination of various student assessments will offer a better view for planning differentiated curriculum for both the individual and whole class success. Multiple strategies will be incorporated to personalize instruction. This differentiation is necessary simply because no two to learners are the same. As a teacher I am able to focus on various ability levels and linguistic demands within the same classroom. Lastly, technology must be combined with learning strategies to support technological proficiency for our learners.
As a teacher, an intentionally planned incorporation of Standard T should span all disciplines. By assessing students across curriculum and focusing on individual needs, students will be equipped to engage in curriculum and pursue academic success. Standard T ensures not only a better understanding of individual students but influences to way in which we teach both individuals and whole class..
While all assessments do not guarantee the academic outcomes of students, they do offer teachers insight into better understanding individual student comprehension skills. This specificity of assessment can help a teacher better cater a plan to meet individual student needs. T1– states that all students benefit from learning that is systematically analyzed using multiple formative, summative, and self- assessment strategies. The following artifact (Assessments/ Tests) illustrates my understanding of T1 and the important role that assessments play in any classroom. Although, I struggled a bit with the overwhelming variety of assessments I understand how each one can provide a deeper understanding of individual students learning needs for better differentiated instruction.
I explore T1 further by incorporating differentiated assessment techniques. Questioning strategies throughout instruction, group sharing, individual sharing, team tasks, practiced examples, outside classroom connections and written assessment are all seen in the following lesson plan, Encounter Lesson Plan. To fully assess student understanding and comprehension of concept a constant observation and connection with students is imperative. That is to say that understanding and knowing your students well is a vital piece to accessing whether or not they are comprehending concepts. No one assessment will tell offer the key to knowing the level of students understanding. Because of this I explore a myriad of assessments for better understanding of the many different levels of learning throughout the class.
The objectives for this lesson are as follows:
- Students will able to define epidemic
- Students will be able to analyze the causal factors of epidemics
- Students will be able to apply causal factors of an epidemic to early colonization events in United States history
You can see the multiple modalities practiced repeatedly for whole group, small group, and individual student concept attainment for epidemic and its relative historically significance.
Students are asked to participate with developing proper use of academic language, in this case epidemic, specific to the lesson. Students develop a basic definition of the action word, epidemic, which will be followed with a movement throughout the class. Students will repeat and physically mimic the modeled kinesthetic movement that supports deeper understanding of the meaning of epidemic. Furthermore, by cooperatively designing a sentence within table groups and then sharing with whole class, individuals begin take ownership of the academic language through dialogue.
Students are further instructed to make meaning of this word that is shaping the lesson, outside the class. By connecting in-class instruction to real life examples with family or community, students are able to increase their schema with the support of personal associations. All of these different modalities are used to assess student understanding by varied instruction. Just as each student learns differently, my teaching will reflect assessment options by employing a variety of strategies.
Through this better understanding of individual student needs a more intentionally planned classroom can be created. T2 offers a focus on students benefiting from a standards-based planning that is personalized. The following artifact (Demonstrating and Questioning) is an example of my understanding of intentionally planned instruction through a continual focus of specific questions to assess comprehension. I understand that good questioning is important for better understanding the student thinking process. Asking specific questions and demonstrating specific skills through intentionally planned curriculum are what is necessary to support synthesis of concepts and for strengthening comprehension.
Further evidence supporting T2 is clearly evident throughout the Social Studies-Encounter lesson. By incorporating social studies EALR 4 and G.L.E.4.2, students are challenged to understand, analyze, and apply causal factors that have shaped major events in history. As seen in role play portion of this lesson students gain understanding and application of the concept of epidemic as a “disease” spreads throughout the class with only three brief encounters. Clear and concise questions follow role play activity to more concretely sustain the concept and historical significance of the cause and effect nature of an epidemic. Although, this Encounter lesson was designed around and based on Washington State standards it was personalized to fit the needs, challenges and interests of the students in my class. Attention to identifying individual academic language use encouraging personal connections throughout the role play is evident. Additionally, you can see intentionally planned curriculum within the homework that supports personal connections, family involvement and further develops concept attainment.
By encouraging family and community involvement a more personal influence for historical and present day connections can be solidified.
A multiple instructional classroom must be created in order to support different styles of learning. T3 emphasizes the importance of developing an environment that personalizes instruction and addresses individual ability levels and cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the following artifact (Stellaluna) I demonstrate my understanding of the application multiple strategies throughout a lesson. The lesson focuses of questioning: before, during and after a reading of a book and then retelling for better comprehension. Additionally, the lesson enables students to practice skills for making connections, predicting, questioning, monitoring, summarizing and visualizing. Each strategy enables differentiated instruction to meet students at their ability level.
More evidence of my understanding of T3, as it relates to developing an environment with personalized and differentiated instruction, is evident in the following artifact as it is involved throughout the study of the temperate rain-forest. First, students are divided into teams. Each team consists of four students. Each student will then become an expert and report back to their team expert information about topic of study, in this case Salmon, Pacific Tree Frog, Banana Slug, and Roosevelt Elk. Individuals carefully learn about a specific topic then upon returning to their group become the expert-teacher to share information with the other individuals in their group. Additionally, each group is responsible for completing group tasks together (as seen in photograph below labeled Team Tasks). There are four colored pencils with each team study and they must work equally to represent work completed by each student. This is evident through colored pencils assigned to each of the four students throughout the tasks. The task list, as seen in the photograph below, includes multiple learning modalities. Each student is responsible to contributing to each task.
Modalities include but are not limited to: pictorial, graphic, written, verbal, and kinesthetic opportunities for learning. Students use self-reflective and group reflective skills throughout the course of the team tasks to assess learning by adding to an inquiry chart which was started during the whole group instruction at the beginning of the unit. Development of a Content Cognitive Dictionary (CCD) specific to academic language use encourages teams to effectively use dialogue and language applicable to the study of the rain-forest. Students additionally repeat lessons developed by teacher and process skill learned through whole group instruction. As mimicked in the student evidence seen above in the owl diagrams (on task hangers) and the following whole group lecture pictorial seen below. Students learn to convert whole group information to personal and team understanding of lessons specific to unit of study.
Teacher Developed Lecture (Northern Spotted Owl)
Expert Study Sheet with Personal Fast Sketches-Provides mnemonic support for the students in Salmon expert group
Expert study groups teach one another before reporting back their group. This team task activity is similar to “jigsaw”.
The ongoing development of T3 continually supports individualized instruction. Whether it is through whole class instruction, team tasks, expert studies or individual work, personalized instruction is supported for furthering academic progress. Lastly, by offering multiple modalities to supporting research and information development as whole host of reference materials are encouraged including technology. Students are able to search the internet, under set guidelines and supervision, to search for additional information and facts to add to their team tasks. This is a demonstration of not only personalized development of information, T3, but also utilizing effective technological tool for instruction, T4.
Student Researching Banana Slugs for Expert Study
Lastly, T4 supports instruction to benefit all students by utilizing effective technological tools designed to enhance lessons and foster technologically proficient learners. Student’s ability to understand proper citizenship within a digital culture is central for digital success in a classroom. The following artifact (Digital Citizenship) demonstrates the significance for developing socially conscious students and proficient digital learners. There is, still, a need to advocate and encourage students to become responsible citizens, to use proper etiquette and to deter them for participating in bullying. However, instruction that supports these same behaviors, for our students as they navigate through a digital world, is imperative. As a teacher I must teach children, at the elementary level, to be responsible digital citizens, to understand proper netiquette and to be an advocate against cyber-bullying.
Although I consider myself to be somewhat technologically savvy, I am still a technological immigrant. I was born without computers. While my students are “Digital Natives”; born into a world where computers are everywhere and used for everything. Even now we as prepare our students to be the pilot group for the MSP (Measurement of Student Progress) test, teachers find themselves questioning the process of using the computers while the students seem comfortable. This chasm of teacher discomfort with technology then becomes a natural catalyst for personal determination and preparation for deeper understanding of technology in the classroom. Preparation and understanding of the tools offered within the MSP testing cane be practiced before the testing date. This is seen in the following picture of the students practicing with tools for the MSP through online training videos. As the teacher I have viewed and participated in the training video and practiced the test myself. Now, the students, at a much faster rate have become comfortable with the tools provided for testing proposes.
MSP Online Tools Practice
Technology can be a wonderful tool but should not be the only tool. A continued focus of multiple modalities is what is going to allow students to grow and learn more than just what is in the book. By working in whole group, small group, pairs, and individually, through multiple tasks and projects, students not only access the benefits of collaboration but glean the importance of interdependence, too. As the teacher attention must be given to thoughtful and intentionally planned curriculum, across all disciplines, with an incorporation of multiple strategies to ensure not only academic success but social success for all learners.