Module 4 – Note Taking

The readings this week focused on teaching students how to summarize and strategies on note taking. Both of these skills are important in supporting student learning. Throughout our student’s educational career they will continue to use these strategies and need them in order to be successful. I remember my first year of college sitting in a huge lecture hall, not sure how to take useful notes. This is a scary experience and our student’s should know how to take notes long before sitting in a lecture hall. Because, I was never taught how to take proper notes it is something that I am passionate about teaching my students.

The text discussed several key elements to note taking: teacher-prepared notes, teach students a variety of note-taking formats, and provide opportunities for students to revise their notes and use them for review (pg.1547-kindle version). Each of these areas is essential in teaching students the proper way to take notes.

It was very difficult for me to do an accurate self-reflection on this topic. Last year was my first year of teaching (student-teaching), and after reflecting on my current practice of note taking I found that I have a lot of room for improvement. On a scale of 1-5 I would have to rate myself a 1 in teaching note taking. Looking back on last year, I only taught my students one way to take notes, and it was more of an introduction to note taking. Unfortunately, I did not teach them various formats, give them feedback on the note taking, or build much time into my lessons for note taking.

One area that was difficult for me to admit was the fact that I did not provide various formats. In special education this is extremely important, according to the text, “Some students are primarily linguistic learners, and informal outlines and bulleted lists might make the most sense to them. Other students are primarily nonlinguistic learners, and webbing might resonate best with them” (pg.189). Looking back, I should have provided my students with various learning capabilities with these various formats of note taking. My reasoning behind not teaching this skill, I felt that many of my students were too young to be learning how to take notes. After the reading this week and doing some self-reflection I believe that this is a very important skill regardless of the grade level and something that I need to be teaching my students at a very young age.

Next year I plan to focus on this area to improve. I plan to make room for note taking in every lesson and build note taking into each story we read. The more repetition the more likely our students will become successful with this skill.


Module 3 – Cues & Questions

The readings this week focused on helping students to access prior knowledge and introduce them to new information. As educators we are constantly introducing new information and searching for better ways to help our students succeed with each new lesson. Cues and questions are extremely useful when beginning a new topic, they help students to personally relate to the information and anticipate what they will learn next.

The text recommended four areas to focus on when beginning a new lesson: focus on what is important, use explicit cues, ask inferential questions, and ask analytical questions. Each of these areas allows students to access the information and anticipate the direction of the new unit/lesson.

After doing some self- reflection in the area of cues and questions I found some areas I excel at and others that could use some improvement. One area I feel confident in, “Do I focus on what is important as I provide information, share examples, and engage students in activities that tightly align with the learning objective?” An example of sticking to the essential information could be shown in a reading lesson done on a book that refers to students creating an Olympic game at their school. Instead of discussing in great detail the history of the Olympic Games I stuck to the relevant information and gave a brief introduction of the Olympics and immediately moved into the relevant factors of the Olympic Games at the school in the story. The learning objective was to use close reading to read the story and write a summary, therefore a detailed explanation of the Olympic Games was unnecessary.

One area I can improve in relates to the question, “Do I help students develop an understanding of how their background and prior knowledge connect with what they are about to learn?” Although I often try to apply this question to my teaching I find it difficult to apply in certain subject areas. One specific area I struggle with is low level math, how can I connect prior knowledge when teaching word problems or simple addition problems?


Module 2 – Survey of Instructional Strategies

One of our most important jobs as an educator is to teach students that they are capable and competent. One way our students learn they are capable is by beginning to recognize the correlation between effort and achievement. Some teachers are successful in teaching their students this crucial knowledge; other teachers are unable to provide these skill sets to their students. According to Carol Dweck there are two types of teachers, “There are those, holding a fixed mindset, who behave in a manner that reflects a belief that intelligence cannot change – some students are smart, whereas others are not” (pg.39). For these types of teachers they find it difficult to teach students the more effort they exert the better they will do on an assignment. Whereas some teachers, “The second set of beliefs is found in individuals who possess a growth mind-set, which is a belief that intelligence can be developed through knowledge and the application of effort” (pg.39). These teachers believe that all students can learn and create a positive learning environment for their students.

After reading about the different types of teachers and how they impact their student’s learning I wanted to reflect on my own teaching strategies. I decided to use the rubric for Reflecting on Current Practice: Reinforcing Effort, to reflect on which type of teacher I am and how I reinforce effort in my classroom. After filling out the rubric I realized that there is an area that I need to improve in, “2. Do I continually provide students with examples of effort and stories about people who have overcome odds and/or worked hard in order to succeed?” As I read in, Classroom Instruction that Works, it is very important to provide success stories for our students to teach them effort and achievement correlation. I thought this was a great idea; unfortunately I had to answer “no” to the question. I have never thought of reading my students success stories, and explaining the similarities to my students. I have realized this is something that I will need to incorporate into my lessons next year. My district just adopted a new curriculum, Wonder Works, this is an English Language Arts curriculum that has paired readers with each lesson. After reviewing the paired readers I found that most of the short stories are non-fiction that are based on individuals who have worked hard to overcome trials in order to achieve their dreams. I think it would be a great idea to include these paired readers into my lessons and tie it to my students and their effort/achievement. There are many different practices that I plan on implementing with my students next year to ensure that they understand the correlation between their effort and achieving their goals.

photo copy

Module 1 – Survey of Instructional Strategies

After reading chapter 1 of A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works I was able to get more information about setting objectives and giving feedback to my students. Pitler and Stone discussed how, “students learn most efficiently when they know the objectives of a specific lesson or learning activity” (p.3). In order to be successful in this area we must study to become familiar with the common core state standards and the benchmarks our students must meet in our district. When we become more informed in this areas we are better able to explain and discuss the learning objectives with our students. One way that I use this strategy is by having a detailed compilation of all the common core state standards by subject in a binder. When I am planning a lesson a find a standard that best aligns with what I am teaching, I then redesign the standard in student friendly language. Each day I write the goal on the board in the form of “I can…” at the beginning of the lesson I have a student read the goal and we have a discussion about what the goal means. I think this is an effective strategy because it provides a goal for the students to work towards and a chance for them to discuss and ask questions about where the lesson is heading.

I enjoyed reading about the information in regards to feedback in chapter 1. One important detail that stuck out to me was how we must provide feedback but in “spoon-size portions” (p.23). After reading through this I couldn’t agree more that we must provide valuable feedback but in small portions. When a student is receiving too much feedback at once it can be overwhelming and all the value can be lost. One way I provide feedback is by meeting with my students after a test or large writing assignment. We go through the rubric together and discuss one area that they can improve on for next time and make a plan to make it happen. After filling out the reflection on feedback shown below, I noticed a few areas that I can improve on. One area that I answered “no” to ways “After providing feedback, do I give my students the opportunity to rework until correct?” After providing feedback I do not usually give them the opportunity to redo the assignment, my thought is that they can apply the feedback to the next assignment. After reading over this I am considering allowing my students this opportunity.

feedback reflection

Reflection E1 – Student Survey

E1 – Exemplify professionally informed, growth-centered practice. Teacher candidates develop reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practices reflection (1). To me, E1 is one of the most essential of the HOPE standards. This standard means that as a professional educator one is able to find new ways to become informed of their teaching and analyze those results to become a better educator (1). Below I have included evidence from a survey that was designed and given to my students. The survey was designed to collect accurate information in regards to my teaching to review the feedback and improve on my practices. The survey was given to 15 students in the resource room. The students range from 3rd to 5th grade. These students come to the resource room four days a week for math, reading, writing, and/or social emotional. Each of these students has an IEP. Another adult in the room gave the survey, while I left the room. The way a survey is given is extremely important in getting accurate results. Students were asked to anonymously fill out the survey, which helped them to feel more comfortable in being honest (2). As you can see by the survey below I have included the results for each question. The results show less than half of the students answered ‘always’ to “My teacher tells us what we are learning and why.” Based on these results I plan to implement a goal setting system. This system will help students to keep track of what the goal is for each lesson; this will help them to determine what we are learning and what the objective is. According to Marzano, goal setting should be used to organize curriculum based on student needs. Marzano discusses how goal setting can improve student’s attention and test scores (Marzano 2007) (2). After analyzing the survey I was able to take the information and apply it to my teaching by implementing new systems like the goal tracking system. I was focused on growth-centered practice by taking the students feedback and looking for ways to make positive changes to my teaching (3). I learned a lot by giving my students this survey. Not only did the survey reinforce many of the things I am doing well but it also revealed several areas that I can improve in. This was very important because without the survey my students would have never vocalized where they needed more support (4). When students see that I take what they say seriously and care about their learning they are more likely to share concerns with me. After taking my students comments and making changes they trust me more and feel that they are being heard (5). Using this survey to gain insight on where my students need more support is very beneficial. In the future I plan to use a survey on a monthly basis to help me improve my teaching practices (6).


  Always Sometimes Never Not sure
I like the way my teacher treats me when I need help. 8 5 0 2
My teacher in this class makes me feel that she really cares about me. 13 2 0 0
My teacher tells us what we are learning and why. 5 4 1 5
Being in this class makes me feel sad or angry.   3 10 2
The teacher in this class encourages me to do my best. 9 4 1 1
This class is a happy place for me to be. 13 2 0 0
When doing schoolwork for this class, I try to learn as much as I can and I don’t worry about making mistakes. 1 9 2 3
If I am sad or angry, my teacher helps me feel better. 12 3 0 0
Because of my teacher, I think more about going to college. 0 0 11 4
My classmates behave the way my teacher wants them to. 6 3 1 5





Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Reflection – P3

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)

Student Sequence Multiple Choice Question Compare/Contract Multiple Choice Question Give two details from the selection to support the stated author’s purpose Total Points

and Level








Level 2.5









Level 2.5









Level 3

a 1/1 0/1 1/2 2/4

Level 2

1 2 4 Untitled

Reflection – E3

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).

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10