Video Analysis 2

Self Reflection Video – Resource Room 5th Grade: Teaching Adjectives

This spring I had to complete an in depth project called edTPA. The projects focused on one unit where I was asked to video myself and then reflect on my teaching strategies. I decided to use one of these short clips to analyze for this assignment. Throughout the video I focused on different areas we have covered in our reading including: setting objectives, questions, providing feedback, reinforcing effort, providing recognition, cooperative learning, cues, advanced organizers, non-linguistic representations, summarizing, and note taking, providing practice, identifying similarities and differences, and generating/testing hypotheses.

This was a lesson focused on partition sets of fractions. The students had been struggling with this concept, this lesson was meant to teach them a new strategy to solve the problems.

The first thing I noticed that I included in the lesson was writing the daily objective on the board. Although not seen in this clip, I always had a student read the objective at the beginning of the lesson. “Setting objectives is the process of establishing a direction to guide learning” (pg.254 Kindle Version). Many questions were asked throughout the lesson; I always try to involve students when I am teaching a new strategy. I demonstrate the first time, then the students walk me through the steps, finally they will try it independently. I believe I did give feedback to students, telling them ‘good job’ when they gave the right answer or redirecting them when they gave the wrong answer. I also provided feedback to Janani when she was confused about how to finish solving the problem; we walked through each step to figure out where she was stuck. The students did use an advance organizer (expository) to work out each problem on their desk as I was doing it on the board. “Expository advance organizers describe or explain in written or verbal form the new content students are about to learn, and they emphasize the important content” (pg. 1044 Kindle Version).

A few strategies that were used in this lesson that you did not see in the short clip included cooperative learning, non-linguistic representations, and providing practice. The students were later given a non-linguistic representation, which was a bag of M&M’s they got with a partner (cooperative learning) and were asked to use the M&M’s to demonstrate and solve each fraction problem (providing practice).

A few strategies that were not used in this lesson include: reinforcing effort, providing recognition, summarizing and note taking, identifying similarities and differences, and generating/testing hypotheses. If I could go back and do this lesson again I would reinforce effort and provide more recognition. The students seemed a little bored and tired (first group of the morning), so I can see where recognition and a little reinforcement may have motivated them a bit more. “Motivation influences how much effort students expend and how long they persist in the working on tasks, and the amount of effort and persistence that students put forth influences their level of academic success” (pg.507 Kindle Version).

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works research-based strategies for increasing student achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, Va.: ASCD.


Module 7 – Generating & Testing Hypotheses

It is important that we provide our students many opportunities to think critically. In the future our students will need to be able to form hypotheses, test their hypotheses, and draw conclusions. In order to ensure that our students are able to do this successfully we must give them opportunities to practice this strategy. To effectively use this strategy you must, “Engage students in a variety of structured tasks for generating and testing hypotheses and ask students to explain their hypotheses and their conclusions” (pg.2252 Kindle Version).

I thought the text did a great job of focusing on making inferences, which is essential in generating and testing hypotheses. This is also something that tends to be very difficult for many of my students in the resource room. Ms. Stein used a Character Traits Advance Organizer (found on pg. 276) to help students develop inferences based on information from the book. This is a great tool to use so students can visualize what they are putting together.

In doing some self-reflection this week I felt more confident in my ability to teach my students these strategies.

3. Do I intentionally have students explain their thinking and justify their conclusions?

With this prompt I felt very confident. I almost always have my students explain and justify their thinking. This helps students in a variety of ways: speaking in a group, understanding and defending their points, and debating with their peers. Regardless of the subject we would always have our students explain their answer. I found that this was a great tool and helped students to think about what they were going to say before raising their hand. However, I did find a flaw with this strategy, I found that sometimes students would back track and change their answer because they thought I was asking questions because they were wrong. I had to explain many times that I ask questions because I want to know more not because you are necessarily giving me a right or wrong answer.

One area I can improve on is by providing students with useful and relevant graphic organizers to help them frame their thinking. Visuals are very important for my students; they need to see on paper how they are going to fit everything together. I made the mistake of making graphic organizers for specific lessons (summary writing, social skills building) I need to develop more graphic organizers for a variety of uses and lessons.

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Module 6 – Similarities & Differences

The readings this week focused on teaching students strategies on working with similarities and differences. According to Dean et al. (2012), “There are four strategies in the identifying similarities and differences category: comparing, classifying, creating metaphors, and creating analogies” (Kindle Version pg.1945). Along with the four strategies there are also three recommendations: teach students a variety of ways to identify similarities and differences, guide students as they engage in the process, and provide supporting cues to help students identify similarities and differences.

In doing some self-reflection this week I was able to positively answer parts of the reflection prompts. I say ‘parts’ because I did not use metaphors or analogies last year and therefore had to answer no to part of the prompts.

  1. Do I provide explicit instruction related to comparing, classifying, creating metaphors, and creating analogies?

With this prompt I am able to say that I do provide explicit instruction related to comparing and classifying. I often use Venn diagrams with my students, before having them use the Venn diagram I teach them the different elements of the organizer and how to best utilize it. “ Students can use graphic organizers as a visual tool to help them make comparisons. The most common is the Venn diagram, which uses two or more intersecting circles to show how items are similar and different” (pg. 246).

One area that I can improve in is by implementing more metaphors and analogies. We did not use this strategy due to the high number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students with ASD have a difficult time grasping concepts that are not direct and concrete. Even though I will have students with ASD next year, I may try using metaphors and analogies with my other students.

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Video Analysis 1

Video 1 – 3rd Grade: Teaching Adjectives

I enjoyed watching and analyzing this video of a 3rd grade classroom learning about adjectives. Throughout the video I took notes on the different areas we have covered in our reading including: setting objectives, questions, providing feedback, reinforcing effort, providing recognition, cooperative learning, cues, advanced organizers, non-linguistic representations, summarizing, and note taking. I found that the teacher included several of these strategies into her lesson but she also left some of these strategies out.

The teacher did use specific strategies; she was great about setting the objective at the beginning of the lesson. This strategy was effective because all the students were aware of what direction the lesson was heading in and were engaged. She addressed the fact that the students would be learning more about adjectives but, the lesson would also include a discussion on the five senses, “today we are going to learn something different about adjectives.” She asked a ton of questions; throughout the video she was always asking questions to get the students thinking, “why would we be talking about the five sense when we are talking about adjectives?” The teacher did fairly well at reinforcing student effort. After students would offer an answer she would tell them “good job”, she also thanked the students for their polite manners. I noticed that after students would give an answer several times she said “maybe”, I didn’t like that. It would have been better for her to say “good job” or “try again”. She did offer an advanced organizer with the senses web; this was helpful for the students while they were planning their descriptive paragraph. The use of the Oreo was a great non-linguistic representation; the students could smell and taste the Oreo in order to write a descriptive paragraph.

Although the teacher did a great job in using many of the strategies we discussed she also left out several strategies that could have been useful to the lesson. She gave some feedback for example, “a more specific way to describe the ocean not how you feel about it.” I think she could have given the feedback in a more positive way, other than this statement I didn’t see any other feedback. One cue that I noticed, “can you get a pencil from a friend?” this was a good helpful cue but, she could have offered more cues throughout the lesson. I did not notice the teacher providing recognition, cooperative learning, summarizing, or note taking.

One thing that I may do differently with this lesson is to add in a portion of note taking. In the beginning of the lesson when the teacher was talking about the five senses would have been a great opportunity to include some note taking practice. As we have learned in the reading, note taking can support student learning in many ways. When students take notes they are able to take a lot of information and filter through to access the most important aspects. Students are then able to put that information into notes using their own words. This process allows students “to process the knowledge and assimilate it in their own understanding” (pg. 1550-Ipad).

Overall I think the teacher did a great job with this lesson. It is difficult to include each of these strategies into one lesson, she did a good job with including most of the strategies.

Module 5 – Homework

The readings this week focused on homework and whether or not it is a beneficial part of our student’s learning. Throughout the last several years skeptical parents and teachers have seriously evaluated the use of homework as a teaching device. The fact is homework can be as beneficial as we make it. Many of the old ways of giving homework are not useful to our students but by implementing a few recommendations given in the reading we can transform homework into a useful tool. Growing up I hated homework, most of the time it was very difficult and I needed my mom to help me. Even after turning in my completed homework I rarely received any feedback besides a total score. This was frustrating as a student and I struggled to understand the value of it.

The text offered several recommendations in changing the way we look at homework: develop and communicate a district or school homework policy, design homework assignments that support academic learning and communicate their purpose, and provide feedback on assigned homework (pg. 1728 Kindle Version). If we apply these recommendations to homework assignments our students will understand and appreciate the purpose of homework.

In doing the self-reflection this week I had to consider the homework I approved through the general education classrooms. Working in a resource room last year we did not assign homework to our students. Instead, the general education teachers would check with us to review the homework they sent home to our students. In reflecting on assigning homework, “Do I provide corrective feedback on all homework assignments?” I rated myself highly on this question, because I make a point to always provide corrective feedback on homework assignments. I would have my students bring their homework assignments from their general education teacher into the resource room to review with them. We would go over each question that was incorrect and work out the problem together, if there was a specific area they struggled in we would focus on that in the resource room. It is very important to provide feedback so our students can improve and become more independent.

In reflecting on assigning homework I found an area I can improve in, “Do I help my students provide self- and peer feedback on homework assignments?” Although I always encourage my students to give self-feedback, I never allow students to give peer-feedback on homework or assessments. I have always thought that this could be a dangerous thing to do with my students who already have low self-esteem. I’m not sure that I agree with peer-feedback. I believe teacher feedback and self-feedback is sufficient. Next year I may try peer-feedback and see how my students do with this addition.


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?