Monday, November 26, 2012

A Blast to the Future: Literacy in my Classroom

In this post I  have written what I am currently working on this semester. Then there are journal entries listed that I would write in the future on what my classroom would look like.

This semester, I have been surprised by the literacy levels of my students. They are able to read and comprehend most of the English instruction, but they are not able to give distinctive names to grammar points (e.g. adjectives, subject pronouns, adverbs, 1st person, etc.)

Journal……Sept. 30, 2013
My literacy rich classroom looks like students speaking to their partners about topics they have learned in class. For example, they will discuss what possessive adjectives are as well how to correctly choose each to complete a sentence. My students are reading a story about a child who liked to tell everyone what each household objective belongs to. They are engaged in writing their stories about what objects they own and what objects each of their family and friends own.

Journal……December 15, 2013 My literacy rich classroom looks like students having primary source readings on the cultural aspects the Spanish speaking culture. This means that students will be reading about school systems in different Spanish speaking cultures as well as historic events from respective cultures. My students are engaged in Spanish to explain to their partners what they have read by given their opinions by comparing and contrasting the target culture and their own. They are reading articles that have different perspectives and collaborating with their classmates to discuss the different views. They are discussion their point of view in Spanish as well as listening to others perspective to create a more informed perspective. They are writing persuasive summaries taking a stance on topics that are discussed in the class.

 Journal……May 30, 2014 My literacy rich classroom looks like have incorporated their readings, writings, and discussion as well as media and technology into their learning. My students are engaged in writing by having created a newsletter that will incorporate their readings, writing, discussion and media findings to support their learning. They are capable of independent learning in the following areas: writing to create an informed judgment using primary sources as well as discussion to support their stance, discussing topics providing and retaining different perspectives on topics and be able to write concrete sentences and summaries about their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Revised Student Questionnaire

This post contains a revised student questionnaire that I will use during Clinical Practice II.

Exploring Project Tomorrow

This blog post explores the Project Tomorrow website. Click here to view the site. 

     The 2011 Trends Update highlights how online learning is changing the classroom. What surprised me the most was, that since 2007, twice as many middle school students are learning online. I feel this is good because more students are being exposed to learning online. I hope that this growing numbers also reflects that more and more families see the importance of education. What didn’t surprise me was how administrators are concerned with the student-teacher interaction as well as the quality of online education. I would like to use this information by helping my students understand what an online class consist of.
      After viewing the video, "Students Speak Up to President Obama about how to improve their schools," I thought information was well thought out. I found it interesting that one student wanted a national curriculum as well as how many of them wanted real world job skills incorporated into the classroom. It didn’t surprise me that many students do not want to be taught for a test at the end of the year. This information helps me because students are the ones who are posing the improvements. This information helps me reflect on my teaching by incorporating some real world situations into my lesson plans. I could have students create a skit on Spanish greetings or create a video showing what their schedule is like.  
      After looking at the “youthTEACH2Learn resources” I saw that the program is beneficial to both groups of students. In order to club a group at my school site there would have to be a minimum of five students in the group and have an advisor, a teacher. Then students would have to draft up a Constitution and fill out a club application and submit it to the Associated Student Body. Once the club is up running the meetings can take place during school hours, Extended Learning Period (ELP), or after school. The club members must also have someone take the minutes of each meeting. One of the benefits of starting a “Future Teachers” program is that whether students plan on becoming educator it will teach them to collaborate with others and they will learn to become teachers. Students will also gain firsthand knowledge on what a teacher does before, during, and after a lesson. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELs

This post addresses a social and/or cultural issue that a high school English learner faces. 

One social issue some high school English learners face is that they tend to separate themselves from other Spanish Speakers who may have lived here and are more "acculturated" to American norms. I have noticed that the English learners in my Spanish Speakers class tend to sit near others to speak Spanish better. This also happens with students whose prominent language is English. English learners may do this because they feel more comfortable speaking with others in Spanish. I feel this is an issue because although it is a Spanish class they have the opportunity to speak with others in English. This can become a social issues because it becomes an obstacle for making new friends. 

Unit Plan

This is a post contains a one week Unit Plan for Spanish I.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creativity in a Spanish Classroom

            In the Spanish I class we let the students work on culminating projects were they can build a poster, make a movie, or Power Point Presentation. The students also have the ability to describe themselves. Each class we have students do warm-up activities. Within these warm-up activities we have students write sentences. The students have to make sure that they are properly conjugating verbs and describing nouns with gender appropriate adjectives as well as possessive adjectives. The students say their sentences and I write them down. As a class we correct the sentences and I have them give an explanation why the sentence is written that way. During the warm-up the students are allowed to work with a partner or group to help them answer the warm-up questions. In the classroom we also have students work on communicative activities which have both oral and written parts.
            Technology is very present on our classroom. We try to use videos that will supplement our lesson to help the students visualize certain concepts. This last week I did a lesson on Día de los Muertos. I gave the students examples on other cultures that remembered those who have died. As of right now we haven’t done much with media literacy. My cooperating teacher and I have discussed creating some assignments online that will allow them to correct their answers before they turn it in.  We encourage the students to look up podcast in Spanish that will help them build their vocabulary. We also encourage them to watch cartoons or maybe movies that they might be able to follow along because of characters features are being displayed.
            In order to help students work independently and help them to become self-directed learners we set up gallery walks at the beginning of each unit. In the gallery walks have no more than four people in a group. Each student has a job to fulfill: monitor, processor, recorder and presenter. At the end of the gallery walk I have each student fill out a questionnaire where they answer questions such as: What did you think about the gallery walk? What was your job? Did everyone participate? If so, what did each group member do? The students are given the task and as a group they have to meet the tasks and evaluate themselves. In the next class we talk about their comments and how the gallery walk could be more efficient and what they can do to make it better.
            In the Spanish speakers I class we had the class split into pairs or groups of 3, and each group had to research a topic on an ancient Latin American culture and present it to the class in Spanish. The class was able to choose the people in their group. The topics were chosen by picking the group names out of a bag and those groups would have the opportunity to pick a civilization from the names on the board, a total of 14 civilizations. The students were given time to work on the projects in class, there are 12 computers available in class. At my school site each student has a Google Apps accounts and we encouraged the students, if they were making a PowerPoint, to make it using their accounts so they would be able to collaborate with each other outside of class. This project helped students understand different cultures and they were able to interact with their peers to achieve a common goal. Since this project would involve time after school the students had to prioritize and manage their time well to complete the presentations on time. The second part to their project was presentations; we discussed the language they should be using and reminded them not to turn their backs to the audience. The students learned to present themselves professionally and be accountable for the work they each were presenting. The audience also had the responsibility to demonstrate ethical behavior; if they were being disrespectful points would be taken off from their presentation. At the end of the presentation we discussed what they could have improved on for future presentations. For example, use a background that will make the words legible, not reading off the slide, making eye contact and not using English.

TPE4: To meet student academic learning needs, candidates explain content clearly and reinforce content in multiple ways, such as the use of written and oral presentation, manipulatives, physical models, visual and performing arts, diagrams, non-verbal communication, and computer technology.  They model active listening in the classroom. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

EDSS 521: Literacy Lesson Design Using Brain and Memory

This blog post explains a brief overview of my literacy lesson design for my Spanish I class. I will take into account brain development and the use of  memory in my lesson. The picture below is a colorful skull that is used as common decoration during this tradition.

Keeney, Carolyn. papermacheskull.jpg. Spring 2001.
Pics4Learning. 16 Oct 2012 <>
After session 8 I realized I had to take many more things into account when making my literacy lesson plan. I learned that student’s prefrontal cortex changes most dramatically during adolescence. During my lesson I need to be very direct in my directions and instructions so students know what they are working on and review the goals for the lesson. As a part of the lesson I would show a small clip from Sara-Jayne Blackemore’s TED talk so they can understand the importance of education while in their  teenage years . I will tie this video with the lesson to explain why it is important to speak a new language and learn about different customs in cultures.  
I will have students close their eyes or put their heads down to have them think about traditions they may have in their lives. It could be a birthday, religious, pre-game, or school tradition like tradition. This will lead right into an explanation of memory. I will use questions like asking them how they feel during this tradition, why they have this tradition and the importance to them personally. I will have the students read an article about the origins and present day traditions of Día de los Muertos. The students will read the article with key vocabulary words in Spanish. Then they will watch a video and work on a Venn-Diagram in groups. They will compare the traditions of Día de los Muertos to Halloween in the United States. A representative of the group will write one thing on the Venn Diagram. Later each student will be handed ‘papel de china,’ tissue paper. They will be shown an example and for homework, “papel picado” which is used as decoration during Día de los Muertos. I hope with this mini culture lesson they will learn that it is not just about death but rather a tradition where decoration takes place. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

EDSS 511: Classroom Management Approaches

This blogs contains my classroom management approaches I hope to implement in my classroom. These approaches are not set in stone, I hope to update them throughout my clinical practice and teaching career.

Classroom Management Plan
The basic philosophies of existentialism and post-modernism will be included in my classroom management strategies. I most identify with these philosophies because I feel that students need to be able to regard themselves as individuals by being exposed to multiple perspectives. My classroom management strategies take the stance that each student learns differently and it is up to the instructor to provide the tools for learning and give some direction to implement those tools. However, each student chooses what is important to them and accepts responsibility for their decisions while taking into account multiple interpretations on events, actions, and readings. I also identified with other discipline strategies, which include Beyond Discipline, Noncoercive Discipline, and Synergetic Discipline. Classroom currency is another form of classroom management I would use. This management plan encompasses creating a classroom community that is supportive, student-led, and preventive.

Preventive Approach
Prevention of misbehavior is one of the keys to an effective classroom management plan. Establishing classroom norms at the beginning of the semester will set the tone of class for the rest of the year. Teacher and student interaction become a crucial part of preventive approach because it helps students identify which actions are acceptable and which are not. A way to develop teacher and students interaction is to find what both value and come to a consensus in the classroom.

1. Developing a sense of class community where students actively participate in decision making by expressing their opinions is one of the ways in which Beyond Discipline uses a preventive approach (Kohn, 1996). If the students your classroom begin to see themselves as a class, as a whole, rather than individually they will begin to work cooperatively toward solutions (Kohn, 1996). For example, establishing the norm of respect in a classroom by sharing the power when making decision. By this I mean that students feel that their opinion is valued and will be taken into account when discussing decisions for a class.
2. In order to develop a sense of community, students need many opportunities for the whole class to collaborate on group endeavors (Kohn, 1996). One way to approach this is to have students be involved in being a part of the solution. For example, giving the students the opportunity to choose their groups but teacher will make it very clear that if the class is not on task the consequence may be random grouping strategies. This makes the students accountable for their actions before they collaborate with others.
3. The curriculum must be organized to meet students’ needs for survival, belonging, power, fun, and freedom (Glasser, 1985). Letting students have fun and freedom creates a sense of individuality. If the students are allowed to be themselves in parameters where they need to be responsible, the students will be more apt to behave. For example, having the students teach a mini lesson to the class or small groups creates a sense of power and freedom where the students decided what is important and how to present the information.
4. Student involvement when discussing discipline plan and listening to suggestions they might have makes sure that everyone is involved; it is the responsibility of the teacher and the student (Charles, 2000). In the first days of school year the teacher should present the class with some
classroom norms. After presenting the norms they should the student if they feel she forgot any that the students find important. This makes the class, including the teacher, responsible.
5. At the first class meeting teacher and students must work out a class agreement for instruction, learning activities, and personal behavior (Charles, 2000). The teacher should explain to the students what boundaries are to be crossed in order to maintain a safe and secure environment. This way all students can feel comfortable voicing their opinion later on in the semester. This teaches students to respect other perspective, making clear that they don’t have to agree with that particular perspective.
6. As a teacher I would find my type of currency, what I value most in a classroom environment. Then I would find out my students’ currency, it may be quietly working or perhaps working in groups where they are talking. This approach is not just a superficial getting to know your students, rather showing the students how to learn in ways that work best for them (Jackson, 2010).

Supportive Approach
Creating a support for students in the classroom helps them to know that they are not alone. This does not mean that the students must rely on the teacher for the answers. Each student, individually, will learn what helps them be successful students. If and when the students have a need to voice their opinion they know that their classroom is good starting point. They know they can get receive positive feedback from their instructor as well as their peers.

1. In Beyond Discipline Kohn believes in involving students as partners in resolving problems by including students in decision-making & problem solving (Kohn, 1996). One example can be when students feel uncomfortable with a topic they can voice their opinion and know that steps can and will be taken to ameliorate the situation.
2. Students behave more respectfully when important adults in their lives behave respectfully toward them (Kohn, 1996). Teachers should always practice the golden rule: treat others like you will like to be treated. I always thank my students when they contribute to class whether it is by answering questions, making a comment, or welcoming each of them into the classroom.
3. Teacher needs to take the role as leaders not bosses (Glasser, 1985). Lead teachers recognize that the need for genuine motivation must arise from within the student (Glasser, 1985). My cooperating teacher explained this to me early into the semester. He said that we, as teachers, need to be the motivators because we help set the tone for the rest of day. He explains what he wants to the students to do and urges them “to get to it.” The students react in such a positive way that they follow directions because they him excited to get started on the next lesson. Incorporating this into my classroom management is exciting because there is a connection between the teacher and students.
4. Providing a warm supportive classroom climate by asking: students to do only work that is useful, do the best they can, and evaluate work they have done to improve it (Glasser, 1985). Helping students see that quality work is never destructive to oneself, others, or the environment will help them feel good about themselves (Glasser, 1985). Using non-verbal communication to get students back of task rather than singling out the student. If student is not reading the teacher can make eye contact to let them know that is not appropriate behavior and the student needs to get on task.
5. Teachers need to practice the nine elements of synergy; ethics, trust, charisma, communication, interest, class agreements, coopetition, human relations, and problem resolution (Charles, 2000). Teachers need to get to know their students more. Conducting student questionnaire can help a teacher learn about the students learning and working habits. This opens up communication between the teacher and student and lets the student know that the teacher takes their interest into account. Knowing the students interest can help with lesson planning. This way if the students’ interests are incorporated into the lesson the students may be more willing to participate, thus eliminating some unruly behavior.
6. Taking a look at the curriculum and understanding what tools students need to be successful in class is another way to provide support in classroom management. (Jackson, 2010).As a teacher I would take a look at my classroom activities and see if students understand what is being asked of them. When the students have a clear understand of what needs to be completed there is less confusion. If the students are less confused they are more likely to pay attention rather than work on something else because they don’t understand. When the students know what tasks need to be completed it decreases misbehavior because the students are focused and understand an activity.

Corrective Approach
Correcting student misbehavior can be a challenge especially at the high school level. When a teacher helps the students correct their behavior, rather than punishing them, it makes the classroom have a better ambience. I feel that the Beyond Discipline, Noncoercive Discipline, and Synergetic Discipline strategies present guidelines to help students achieve success while not repressing their individuality. Although these approaches are guidelines I hope to find more ways to help students when the school year begins.

1. The way in which restrictions are presented makes a big difference in how students accept them (Kohn, 1996). If a student is continually being disruptive, having them step outside can be part of the solution. Explaining to the students beforehand that they will be asked to be quiet, they will receive a formal warning (saying “this is your warning”), and addressing to the class what their responsibility as students are as well what the teachers responsibility. This way the interruption is focused to the class as a whole not singling out student.
2. When the problem is clarified, solutions are selected and tried (Charles, 2000). Making sure that the solutions selected will help the students rather than just reprimand a student is more beneficial to them students and ultimately to the entire class. For example, letting the students know that perhaps a seat at the back if the class is not ideal for learning if he or she has trouble concentrating. Try out the scenario and see if it productive or counterproductive for the student
3. Tell the student that after the lesson you will sit down with him/her and help find a solution
(Glasser, 1985). If repeated interruption by student moving the students away from seat can be the next step. Instruct the classroom to begin the next activity and have a talk with the student. Remain at eye level with the student by taking chairs with you to remind student you are there to help not yell at them like an angry boss.
4. Later sit down with the student and discuss how the problem started, how the rules were broken, and how to prevent future occurrences. (Glasser, 1985) Help the student find the solution by addressing what the problem was and how the student can correct that behavior. This way the student has input on solution and they are guided to correct future choices rather than having teacher solve everything.
5. Teachers should ask misbehaving students “Is there a problem I can help you with?” or “Can you help me understand why this is happening? I’d like to help fix the problem” (Charles, 2000). Having open communication with student creates an atmosphere of belonging and trust. Perhaps the student is having a bad day or seating arrangement is difficult to keep student on task. Giving the students options involves them to be a part of the solution. Teacher shouldn’t provide the answers to the solution but point out that they are meeting the classroom expectations. Don’t let students push your button, remember that you are there as a guide not as prosecutor.

The preventative, supporting and corrective approaches in my management plan address my teaching philosophies. Having the students be a part of the solution and guiding them to find their own solution by providing choices places the focus on the student rather than the teacher. My classroom management is more student-oriented because each student is different and there are many solutions to one situation. Having the students take peers opinion into account helps create a classroom where the students feel comfortable and valued. Making the classroom feel like community addresses both my existential and post modernist philosophies. Each student is growing as an individual and always taking into account other perspectives in the classroom.


Charles, C.M. (2000). Intervening When Students Misbehave. Discipline through Synergy and
Reducing Causes of Misbehavior. <

Glasser, William. (1985). The William Glasser Institute. The Glasser Approach.

Kohn, Alfie. (1996). Kohn on Classrooms as Communities. Three Bridges to Twenty-First-

Jackson, R.R. (2010). Start Where Your Students Are. Educational Leadership, 67(5), 6-10.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

EDSS 555: Accurate (i+1) Assessment for English Learners

This blog contains a picture of some section from my a lesson plan which includes an assessment for English Learners in my Spanish I class.

Monday, September 24, 2012

EDSS 555: SDAIE Strategy

SDAIE Strategy
This a a blog about a Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) that I observed while at my school site. Although it is not within an English classroom it proves to be beneficial in a Math class with students who need more direction.

Graphic Organizer
In an Applied Geometry class I the students were learning about lines. Ms. Bailey started this particular lesson by explaining to them that she realizes some of the definitions are a challenge to remember. She went on to say that there is a graphic organizer that can help them remember those definitions. She asked them to choose two of the following words: collinear, skew lines, coplanar and opposite ray. She used the word “intersecting lines” as an example, to show students how to complete the graphic organizer, which resembles the Frayer Model. There are four boxes surrounding an oval, at the center where the word that is being defined should go. The top left box is the definition in your own words, the top right box where a label or diagram should go, the bottom right box defines the word using symbols, and the bottom left box is where a drawing or a real world picture would go. She provided the students sheets of paper with the graphic organizer in place. She walked around the room to make sure everyone was on task and understood the directions.

Monday, September 17, 2012

EDSS 555: Social Injustice

Today's blog is about an injustice that I have seen. 

A History of Western Society - AP Euro Textbook 
I found it in injustice that AP Euro students are not able to check out their textbook because there are not enough books for all the students in the program. The textbooks are 7th edition and were last printed in 2003, soon to be a decade out of print, so it has become a challenge to find these books. Recently they found some textbooks, somewhere in the Mid-West. It cost about $15 to rebind these books. Currently the district does not allocate monies for AP/IB programs, the school site must pay for it through their funds. I didn't know about this, I really hope there is a way to fix this. I hope they can implement a plan to put a little bit of money aside for future textbooks for these programs. 

EDSS 521: Literacy Survey

Student Questionnaire
Today's entry is about a questionnaire I conducted in class to find out more about the students literacy.

I conducted a student questionnaire in my Spanish I class of 39 students. I wanted to get feedback from how I was teaching, getting to know their likes, what activities they are involved in as well as if they liked to read. I did open ended questions in the hope they would write sentences. The students were are asked about their least favorite subject; 5-English, 11-History, 18-Math, 3-PE, 1-Lab Bio, 1-AP Chem. Some of their answers had spelling mistakes, some responses were in complete sentences while others with one or two words. Some expressed that they didn't like English because they struggled with reading. I noticed that the first four questions dealing with school were mostly short answers. With the rest of the questions most students wrote more. The last question I asked, "Anything else you would like to share?", I received varied responses. Many were left blank or had 'no', although a handful  wrote about their favorite color, other likes and about their families.

I didn't expect to have full length answers to some questions. I primarily wrote the questionnaire to see how well there English writing skills were and how comfortable they felt expressing themselves on paper. I wanted to know this because learning a new language is very difficult and I wanted to see at what level the students were performing. Some students really opened up about the things they wanted to share with us teachers. I came away knowing more about the students. Many students are very involved in school or community activities. I also asked what TV shows they liked because I am hoping to find some clips of them in Spanish so they see some differences. I am very glad I did this questionnaire. I hope to do another one halfway through the semester with questions about Spanish language and their literacy habits; to see if they have changed. 

Blank Sample of Student Questionnaire That Was Given To Students

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

EDSS 511:My Name

Today's entry is about my name and what it means to me. On the left is a picture I took at the beach in Oceanside, CA. I love going to the beach and watching the sun set. I hope you enjoy my entry, thank you for reading!  

Oceanside Pier

My parents were procrastinators when it came to choosing my first name. I was born and they still hadn't figured it out. The nurse gave my parents a baby name book to help them out. My dad liked Leslie but wanted it to sound different so he changed the ending to -ey, so my name is spelled Lesley Gonzalez. My dad explained that the -ey ending was to change the sounding from [less-lee] to [less-leigh]. That back fired on him because everyone pronounces it [less-lee]. Also, people spell it wrong all the time. Whenever people write my name down I spell it out loud and I find them scribbling out the -ie and changing it to -ey. Having my name spelled incorrectly is one of my pet peeves. I have a cousin named Leslie to whom I refer to as Leslie with an -ie. We joke around about the correct way to spell out Lesley, which of course is with an -ey. At my school site I have met one out of the 2,553 students who spell it with an -ey. I like that my name is spelled differently because it describes who I am. I am Mexican-American, I listen to all types of music, I watch movies with varied genres, and I enjoy reading just about anything. I love my name and I wouldn't change it for anything. Just remember that I'm Lesley...with an -ey.