P3-Practice standards-based assessment. Teacher candidates use standards-based assessment that is systematically analyzed using multiple formative, summative, and self-assessment strategies to monitor and improve instruction (1). Standards-based assessments are a useful tool in education. They are used to plan lessons, choose lesson objectives, learning targets, and measure student understanding. I came to learn how important it is to get accurate standards-based assessment results in order to collect data to determine student progress (1). For example, I currently have a reading group whose IEP goals are focused around reading comprehension. We consistently use formative assessment, summative assessment, and self-assessments to monitor student progress. Currently my mentor teacher is working on collecting data to ensure that each student is progressing towards meeting their IEP goals. We recently prepared a standards-based assessment for the students to complete to measure their progress towards their goals from the fall (2). Before giving the students a summative assessment we had been focusing on reading a text and using a graphic organizer to write a summary as well as answering comprehension questions related to the text. Throughout each of these lessons we used formative assessment and self-reflection to evaluate student progress. Below you can see the assessment that was given, the assessment test scores, and the grading rubric (3). The entire process of formative assessment, self-reflection, and summative assessment is an important part of education. Educators must use efficient and quality instructional practices to enable students to complete the assessments. Students must be able to independently to complete the assessment that includes information that was presented as a group (3). Through this experience I learned that standards-based assessments are effective in measuring student growth and it provides data to measure students against their peers (4). This process is necessary for improving student and teacher achievement (5). One way I can improve in this area is by becoming more familiar with the OSPI website that provides released items for students to practice reading skills. I can also practice grading using the standards-based grading rubric provided by the state. It would also help me to use more formative assessment throughout the lessons to ensure that students will be able to complete the summative assessment at the end (6).
5th Grade MSP Released Item (Trail Mix)
Sequence Multiple Choice Question
Compare/Contract Multiple Choice Question
Give two details from the selection to support the stated author’s purpose
E3, Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies. Teacher candidates demonstrate knowledge of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and policies (1). To me, E3 discusses how each teacher has professional responsibilities and policies required by the school, the district, and the state. In this post I will discuss how teachers in my school fulfill the many professional responsibilities and policies required by the district (1). For example, each week my mentor teacher partakes in many required responsibilities and fulfills required policies; one requirement that I have observed is partaking in a PGE team. I was not familiar with a PGE team. It was important for me to observe this process as I will be required to be part of a PGE team my first year of teaching. This is a new requirement that aligns with the common core state standards (2). We are begun the second semester of classes and therefore it is required to complete many professional responsibilities. Below you will find a few different pieces of evidence from my observation of the PGE team. The first is data collected by my mentor teacher in regards to our PGE goal. The goal is set at the beginning of the school year by the district (our goal information can be reviewed below) and each grade level works together to collect data (some data can be reviewed below), plan assessments, and evaluate the data collected. This determines how each student is progressing towards standard in that goal area. This year our PGE goal involved the ability to compare texts and answer reading comprehension questions. The PGE team meets on scheduled PGE days and discusses the data they have collected and the assessments that have been given, this is also a time set aside for determining next steps. As you can see from the data below I have also included assessment scores throughout the last few months to show how students are progressing. The assessments measured how the students are currently performing on this goal. We recently had a meeting to discuss the results and what we need to work on between now and the next assessment (2). In order to complete all that is required within the PGE team there is a great deal of policies and professional responsibilities that must be adhered to. For example, there are specific policies that must be met that are set in place by the state in order to submit your PGE information. One of these policies is that everything you submit must align with a learning standard, you must also submit your rationale for student needs and the strategies that are tried throughout the year. As far as professional responsibilities, each team member must do his or her share of the work. This includes hosting and attending meetings, collecting data for their sub-group of students, using appropriate instructional techniques, and designing assessments (3). I learned a great deal of valuable information throughout collecting this evidence and the experience as a whole. Not only was I able to observe four teachers interacting and working together but I was also able to see every detail of how to collect data, create an appropriate assessment, and what to do to help my students succeed (4). This process is necessary to increase student achievement in any academic area not just for the PGE team. For each topic you must provide a pre-assessment, collect data, and determine next steps to help your students learn the material before giving a post-assessment (5). One way I can improve in this area is by learning more about the policies and responsibilities that must be fulfilled by a special educator throughout the year. By being aware of these procedures and policies I can prepare myself for my first year as a teacher (6).
P2, Practice differentiated instruction. Teacher candidates apply principles of differentiated instruction, including theories of language acquisition, stages of language, and academic language development, in the integration of subject matter across the content areas of reading, mathematical, scientific, and aesthetic reasoning (1). To me, P2 discusses how teachers should be differentiating instruction and expectations based on student needs (1). For example, we have a writing group four times a week. The writing group has three different students all at various levels of comprehension. I observed my mentor teacher teaching this group this week and was able to take note on all the ways she differentiates for one group (2). During this observation the teacher introduced a new writing prompt to the students. The writing prompt was, “What is something you know a lot about?” The students must go through the planning stages of the writing (plan, rough draft, edit/revise, publish). Throughout this process each student has different needs, this is where the differentiation of instruction comes in. For student A, the teacher modeled and offered minimum support. Student A is able to take the information presented and plan his writing, create his sentences, use his edit/revise check list independently, and type his sentences. For student B, there is a bit more support needed. With student B the teacher will model and then will work one-on-one with the student to generate his ideas for his sentences. After the teacher helps him to come up with the ideas he is able to write out the sentences independently. The teacher then needs to model the edit/revise step. After this step student B is able to independently type his sentences. With student C there is a great deal of differentiation. Although she is able to use the same writing prompt, after the teacher group model, the teacher must go to student C and work one-on-one with her to explain the directions/process for a second time. Then the teacher must scribe for the student, as she dictates her ideas. Student C will then be able to copy the teacher’s scribe and independently go through the edit/revise checklist. Finally, student C is able to publish (type) at a slow pace. Often the teacher will type two sentences for every one sentence the student types (2). As you can see from the evidence below the work from Student A, Student B, and Student C varies significantly. With student A you can see that the student is able to independently write his sentences. Student B needs differentiation in instruction by prompting and modeling for him to come up with ideas for his sentences. Student C needs differentiation in instruction by a second set of directions, scribing, and help with typing/publishing. Each student’s needs are different, and therefore it is important to differentiate the instruction so each student is able to access the material (3). Through this observation I learned how important it was to differentiate instruction for your students. I always thought that each student was able to understand the concepts with the same level of support. After this observation and learning throughout my internship I have realized that differentiation is essential when teaching multiple students at the same time (4). Differentiation is necessary in order to see student achievement. It is also important to develop student’s motivation and self-esteem. When we do not differentiate the student is feeling the pain of constantly struggling with the material (5). One way that I can improve in this area is to take a closer look at each of the areas that my students are struggling in. This well help me to determine how I can differentiate the instruction to help them succeed (6).
H3, Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning (1). Before this observation I didn’t realize how far creative thinking could go when it comes to our lessons. I never considered using the classroom environment as a learning tool. After observing the Safety Net program I learned more about this standard and how we should be utilizing our classroom as a part of our student’s learning (1). For example, as I was observing in the classroom, I noticed how the teacher used her classroom as a learning tool for the students. I was able to learn how posters, calendars and informational boards around our classroom can aid our students in learning specific tasks such as short vowel sounds. The lesson was broken into two parts; first the students reviewed short vowels and gave examples from a reading. Next, students were instructed to independently complete a worksheet using the classroom to find words with short vowel sounds. Below you will find a few examples of where students found short vowel words in their classroom. The classroom became a great learning environment for the students. Each student was able to independently discover words they had been learning about. This was a new approach to teaching that has many benefits (2). Using the classroom community as a milieu for learning enables students to practice applying what they have learned in the classroom as opposed to a written test. This approach allows students to work independently and move around the classroom. This lesson was diverse in that it catered to several types of learners. Included all in one lesson I observed: direct instruction, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning and independent practice. The students felt accomplished when they discovered new words that have short vowels on their own. Throughout the lesson the teacher helped to direct students if they were having trouble finding words. At the end of the lesson the teacher went over each new word the students found and had students read their words aloud to the group (3). After this observation I realized the importance of using our classroom as a learning tool. This promotes student independence and gives them a chance to apply their learning. This is also a great way to check for student understanding (3). Through this observation I learned how I can use my classroom in the future as part of a lesson. I also learned that I could use different teaching styles all within one lesson (4). By using the classroom in new ways and making it a part of student learning we are able to teach students how to apply what they have learned to their environment. Students begin to realize that the classroom is not only a place to sit and listen, they can also make real world application of what they have learned (5). I can improve in this area by beginning to use my classroom as a source of learning. I can encourage my students to discover new ways to include the classroom environment throughout their lessons (6).
H2, Honor student access to content material (1). The last 6 weeks I have been doing my independent teaching in the resource room. I decided to do my second unit plan with the same group that I did my first unit plan with. This is a math group consisting of 4 students in 5th grade. I was able to learn a lot through this second unit plan because I was responsible for every aspect of developing and implementing the unit. Standard H2 applies to our student’s right to have access to content material regardless of their disabilities (1). For example, the unit Fraction Meanings and Concepts, began with a pre-assessment that was taken from the 3rd grade Focus Math curriculum. This pre-assessment was given based on the previous unit the students completed as well as the pre-assessment that was given at the beginning of the school year which determined concepts each students were struggling with. The students IEP goals and common core state standards were also considered before beginning this unit. The unit was organized chronologically and included eight lessons. Each lesson contains a purpose, and shows how the students can apply the information. Guided practice and independent practice goes along with each lesson. Equal Parts was the unit before this one and the next unit consists of geometry concepts, Making New Shapes from Shapes (2). This unit provided a lot of support in relation to allowing student access to the content material. The concept was delivered to the students in a variety of ways including guided practice, independent practice, partner practice, technology, manipulatives, and worksheets. Each activity was followed up with a learning check and formative assessment to check for understanding. At several times throughout the unit students were unable to access the content because of the presentation of the material, this required me to be extremely flexible and creative in presenting the same material in unique ways that were easier for the students to understand and access. After students would complete independent work I would provide a short post-assessment to determine if the students were ready to proceed to the next concept. The learning targets in this unit are as follows: students will identify and show a fraction of a region, students will identify and show fractions of a set, students will use objects to solve problems involving fractions of a set, students will identify and name fractions that are equal to one whole, students will use the benchmarks 0, ½, and 1 to estimate fractions for given parts, students will use improper fractions and mixed numbers to name fractions greater than 1. Each of these learning targets helped the students to master the unit goal and was broken down into steps, which made the content available to the student to comprehend. We could not proceed to the next learning target until students were able to access the material in the current learning target. This was made clear after I gave the students their post-assessment for the unit. Each student failed the post-assessment. After grading the post-assessments I realized that the students were unable to access this content and they needed to be given alternative strategies in order to access this material. I went back and gave the students another strategy to use to solve problems involving fractions of a set. After the re-teach 4 out of 5 students scored 100% on the post-assessment (3). After completing my first unit I realized that it is essential to ensure that each student has access to the content material. This can be difficult when you are teaching five different students that are categorized under five different disabilities. It was imperative that I used a variety of instructional practices such as, check for prior knowledge, direct instruction, guided practice, independent practice, formative assessment, model, provide examples, demonstrate, differentiation. I also learned the importance of re-teaching. If you realize that students are unable to access the material you need to re-teach the concepts to ensure they are able to access the information (4). This unit proved to my students that I would never leave them behind when they couldn’t understand something. I gained the students respect by re-teaching parts of the unit until I was sure they were able to access the content material and were ready to move onto the next lesson (5). I learned a great deal by working through this unit. One of the most important things I learned is that each student has the right to access content material and it is my job to ensure they are making progress to master that material. If I notice that even one student is confused I need to stop and re-teach the section that is not allowing them to master the concept (6).
E2, Exemplify collaboration within the school (1). Before this observation I had never seen collaboration quite like this. After observing a kindergarten class I learned more about this standard and how we should all be working towards a higher level of collaboration with our colleagues and setting a better example for our students. Standard E2 applies to the way we should be collaborating with our colleagues (1). For example, as I was observing in the classroom, it happened to be a day where the school counselor came in to do a lesson on behavior. Right away I noticed how well the school counselor worked together with the general education teacher to prepare for this lesson. The school counselor was able to come in and completely take over the class all while implementing the teacher’s rules. I was able to learn about what real collaboration looks like and how it should be used in our classrooms. The example you see below was the daily schedule that was on the board, as you can see the school counselor’s visit was worked into the schedule and listed for the students to see. This wasn’t going to be a visit where the counselor just popped in began her lesson. This was an activity that they had worked together on and prepared for. Before this observation I had an image of collaboration as simply discussing things with a colleague, but I never knew how beneficial real collaboration could be when used properly in the classroom (2). Collaboration in the classroom makes everyday tasks more efficient, it shows the students how adults work together, as well as showing students that each adult in the building, whether your teacher or the school counselor, is someone that should be respected. As you can see from the picture below the simple act of making room in your schedule to allow a colleague to come into your classroom and take over for an hour can be a huge gesture. Just by observing the students actions change from their teacher to the counselor you could see that at first they were attempting to see what they could get away with. At first they would blurt out and have side conversations. Right away the counselor began implementing the teacher’s rules and following through on discipline. Students immediately realized the counselor was no different than their teacher and they were going to have to follow the same rules. When a student acted out the teacher didn’t step in and take over she sat back and allowed the counselor to respond to the disruption. This form of collaboration displays an act of trust and reliability (3). After this observation I realized the importance of collaborating the right way. I also realized that collaboration is essential within a school and without it we could be limiting our students and ourselves. Students follow our example; by showing them a good example of collaboration they are sure to replicate that with their peers (3). Through this observation I learned the importance we should set on collaboration in and out of our classroom, whether our students are watching or not. This is just another way we can prepare our students for the future (4). Collaboration within the school may not always be easy, there are often different opinions and different point of views we must stretch to understand. By practicing collaboration our students can learn how to work in a group setting, how to solve new problems, be accepting of diverse opinions and working together to reach a common goal (5). I can improve my collaborating skills by giving my colleagues the chance to step in and take over when I may need an extra hand. I can also be more aware of others opinions and consider that my way is not always the best way (6).
There is much controversy surrounding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Many individuals deny that the disorder exists, others refuse to treat it with medication and others are suffering from the disorder. A child who is diagnosed with ADHD is likely to have difficulty with attention and impulsivity that interferes with their learning. ADHD has two classes of symptoms. There is the well-known type of ADHD where a child is hyperactive and impulsive with their behaviors. There is also another class of ADHD where the child is simply inattentive, from the outside it may appear as if the child is paying attention but really he/she is in their own world. According to Pressley & McCormick, “These symptoms must be present for at least 6 months to be relatively certain that the symptoms are an enduring pattern of behavior and not the consequences of some transitory developmental or environmental factor, and exist before the age of 7, since the developmental pathology is theoretically present by then and so the ADHD diagnosis does not get confused with other conditions that may occur later in life”(p379).
There are many different strategies that can help students with ADHD. One important strategy that is helpful for these students is to reduce distractions. A child with ADHD has a difficult time paying attention and it is not helpful when there are unnecessary distractions. A few ways to limit distractions is to place the student in the front row in the classroom, facing the board, close to the teacher’s desk. This will help the student to focus without the distractions of other students, windows, or hallways.
Another way to limit distractions is to offer the child to wear silencing headphones. We use these a lot for ADHD students and they love them. Along with limiting distractions it is also helpful for ADHD students when a teacher is constantly checking in. When these students receive prompts and reminders on what they should be working on, they are much more successful.
Although there are many different strategies that can help students who battle ADHD nothing compares to medication. Several of my students with ADHD are on medication and there is a huge difference in how well they are able to focus with the medication. It just makes the child’s life so much easier, they are able to complete work and focus on conversations.
ADHD makes it difficult for many students to participate in activities that come so easily for others. We can make their life a bit easier by applying practical strategies that help them focus their energy.
Pressley, M. & McCormick, C. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York, NY: Guilford Press.