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 <http://pics.tech4learning.com>
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. <http://cc2010.csusm.edu/file.php/8866/discipline_

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.