Andrew HenwoodIn Fulfillment of Content Guidelines Eastern Michigan University Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction
Table of Contents1. Introductory Comments2. Resume3. Program Requirements4. Setting in Which Portfolio Evidence was collected5. Philosophy of Education6. Educational History7. Personal Professional Goals i. Short Term (currently working towards) ii. General Approach to Long Term Goals8. Standards-Based EvidenceSection 1: Discipline, Teaching Methods, Strategies – focuses on content, units, lessons taught &Teaching / Learning Strategies Standard 7.3: Vary Perspectives to inform decisions about instruction / assessment / classroom management. ARTIFACT 1: Curriculum Mapping
Table of Contents (cont.)Section 2: Class Environment – Organization and Structure of the Classroom Standard 2.6: Learning and Development. The Program prepares masters educators who are committed to and understand how to address all learning Domains ARTIFACT II: “Life is But a Walking Shadow…” A Differentiated Approach to Teaching the Play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare. CURR 655Section 3: Preparation & Organization – Planning and Instruction Standard 3.5: Knowledge, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment. The Program prepares masters educators who know their subjects and how to teach them to use a variety of instructional technologies to cultivate learning ARTIFACT III: Screenshots of a variety of digital learning programs and software I use in the classroom on a daily basis for all of my classes
Table of Contents (cont.)Section 4: Student Evaluation – A Focus on Student Assessment Standard 4.4: Classroom and Learning Management. The Program prepares masters educators who are effective classroom managers. They include multiple strategies for evaluation and assessment of academic learning and individual growth and development. ARTIFACT IV: Standardized Skill-Based Rubric (by Dr. Robert Marzano) and Self-Designed and Created Standardized Skill-Based GradebookSection 5: Other School Involvement – Other Responsibilites Carried Out By the Teacher Standard 5.1: Reflection. The Program prepares masters educators who think systematically about their practice and learn from experience. They draw on educational research and other data to improve their practice ARTIFACT 5: Standardized Grading Review of Literature Project for CURR 616
Table of Contents (cont.) Section 5: Other School Involvement – Other Responsibilites Carried Out By the Teacher Standard 6.1: Collaboration and Professional Development. The program prepares master educators who see themselves and function as members of learning communities. They collaborate with colleagues to improve schools and advance knowledge and practice in their fields. ARTIFACT 6: Clarkston Community Schools Advanced E.L.A. Vertical Curriculum Workshop PowerPoint9. Concluding Comments
Introductory CommentsI, first and foremost, consider myself some sort of hybrid between a builder, an architect, a surgeon and a teacher. My interests and passions are easiest described with these professions because of their eclectic nature, but because they are all hands-on positions where creation, modification, and problem solving are taking place. I have been lucky, professionally, to consistently find myself in a position to apply the trade I love so much to a career field I love so much. In a practical sense I have navigated my way within my school district to be a part of courses where I have been able to design from the ground up (currently teaching 3 different courses, but my design total is up to 10) as well as teach. My school district, Clarkston Community Schools in Clarkston, Mi., is a wonderful place to work in that I have been given professional flexibility to turn my classroom into a theoretical, pedagogical, and experimental setting for nearly a decade.Also of note, my journey to completion of this program has been anything but linear. I started down my current path here at Eastern Michigan University in 2008 and have witnessed a change in graduation requirements, and I have also completed nearly all of my courses online during the Spring and Summer terms with a reduced and accelerated pace. So, in a way, I found a path that required me to work twice as fast for twice as long. In a small sort of way, this enigma represents me quite accurately.
Introductory Comments (cont.)Because of the very fragmented nature of my advancement to degree completion, and because I (as my principal recently told me) cannot help but immediately implement the changes in pedagogy and practice I pick up in my adventures in coursework, training, and research, a majority of the artifacts contained within come from courses I have designed and materials I have actually used within the classroom.Where noted, work may have been completed in conjunction with a teaching team, such as the development of my Utopia Curriculum that was a modification of an actual course of study taught by a team of teachers, of which I was the “captain” (as our school refers to it) of the curriculum for the course as well as the lead advocate and defender of the course curriculum, vision, and learner profile – addressed in a reflection later in the portfolio. Unless noted then, materials within are of my own creation and have been used and modified by me at least once over the course of their use.
Setting in Which PortfolioEvidence Was CollectedAll of the evidence contained within this portfolio consists of work completed within courses of study at Eastern Michigan University, work that was completed for my professional duties as a classroom educator, or work that I do as a professional development facilitator within my school district (Clarkston Community Schools) and within my local Intermediate School District (Oakland Schools).The school where I teach (Clarkston High School) is a primarily middle to upper middle class socio-economic community with a rapidly increasing low socio- economic representative population. The community has traditionally been very homogenous (with a mostly Caucasian population) but in the past 10 years the racial minority population in the school has nearly doubled (in percentage of total students) from a number less than 5% to a number slightly over 10%.The ISD I complete work for (Oakland Schools) is a well-funded organization committed to providing professional development (amongst many other services) to teachers within Oakland County and beyond. Their current work on developing a vertically-scoped and scaffolded Common-Core ready English Language Arts Curriculum for grades 6-12 is the project I am currently spending time working on them piloting, reviewing, and eventually facilitating at a professional conference this coming June in East Lansing, Michigan.
Statement of Educational PhilosophyIt was once said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I cannot help but smile thinking back to my first manifesto of teaching, realizing I have, in many ways, remained exactly who I was when I first wrote the belief statement a decade ago; while at the same time I have changed in so many profoundly interesting ways as well as a result from my myriad of experiences.My father used to say to me as a young man, “Andy if you aren’t working at getting better, you’re working at getting worse.” It’s hard to remove the echoes of our fathers from our heads sometimes, and amazingly (although not necessarily surprisingly) I have grown into a teacher that has come to live and grow by this simplest of credos.As a result of this fundamental belief I have been able to grow by leaps and bounds from the young man I was back in 2003 when I first drafted a personal professional belief statement. Fundamentally, at my core, I have not changed. I believe all people (here: specifically, students, teachers, parents, administrators) can stand to grow as people, communities, and as a culture as a result of the work that is done in a classroom. I still believe with all my heart that every student can learn. This implies that I still believe that every student has something to learn when they enter my classroom. I still also believe that community, and class culture, are essential if a student is to become willing enough to take the types of risks I expect in the classroom.
Statement of Educational Philosophy(cont.) What I didn’t expect in 2003 was the fact that I would become hyper-involved with educational training and professional growth, impacting me so deeply that I now don’t see myself as a teacher (as I once did) – the term is too limiting. I now see myself as an advocate for educational reform at the local, state, national, and to a degree international level. I never would have predicted the light with which I hold educational research and how highly I hold its findings, particularly work dedicated to unraveling the mystery of what the 21st century learner and 21st century classroom “should” be. I have become a devout believer in data-based decision making, not as the end-all be-all perfect form of making decisions, but if and when I can I have made a shift to decision making based on what is qualifiedly and quantifiably established as best practice – even when it outright challenges the status quo. Particularly, my rooted belief in the role teaching to understanding and the coaching of skill sets plays in the definition of what, and whom, a teacher is. I also believe that the noun “teacher” and the verb “to teach” are undergoing a period of linguistic reform; an incredibly exciting time to be an agent of change in the field of education when the term used to represent the profession is under contestation and challenge from any party that is remotely concerned or connected to a classroom! I believe the impact Google (which because a recognized verb as well as noun!) and the immediate access so many people have to broad and deep pools of knowledge has shifted my role professionally in the classroom.
Statement of Educational Philosophy(cont.) Gone are the days where my job was to find interesting and entertaining ways for students to know information, using my professional expertise and access to information to place challenging and interesting materials in front of my students – something that they could not do seemingly anywhere else. The world has changed and that simply isn’t enough for a teacher to do to prepare students for the reality they will face as adults in the 21st century. I try to define myself with a word now and it is much more difficult. Teacher, coach, shaman, guide - all these terms are a part of what I do but not the sum of the parts of what I do. What I do now is predict what might be and push my students to improve themselves every day I work with them. I believe in standards (for both teachers and students) and I believe the highest bar is the only bar ever worth perusing.
Plans for Professional DevelopmentShort-term goals and specific plan: Long-term goals and specific plan:• Short-term goal: Broaden Professional Influence • Long-term goal: Become a professional workshop – Work with Oakland Schools Pilot and Review Curriculum facilitator Workshops designing curriculum – Use MAISA experiences (being a paid facilitator) to – Design Professional Development modules and module workshop with other school districts and create template for a MAISA conference in July opportunities to work with other schools or ISDs – Attend annual workshops in International Baccalaureate curriculum development • Long-term goal: Become an advocate for Standards-Based Grading and an Agent of• Short-term goal: Push CHS curriculum to contain Change for this practice more cross-curricular and interdisciplinary learning – Work with district Task Force to present research on taking place Standardized Grading – Design another workshop module for CHS teachers to – Attempt to make contact with other school districts use Theory of Knowledge as a bridge to push cross- who might be looking into this same practice curricular and interdisciplinary learning opportunities – Push Administration to include within our Teacher • Long-term goal: Become a Literacy Coach / Evaluation Model language that requires interdisciplinary learning opportunities or assessments Subject Area Coordinator / Curriculum Director / Assistant Superintendent of a School District – Application currently submitted for Macomb Intermediate School District as a Literacy Coach • Long-term goal: Earn Doctorate Degree and become a University Professor of an Education Course focused on Standardized Grading, Formative Assessment Practices, and Differentiated Instruction and Differentiated Assessment – Time, funding, and the right Doctoral Program are significant hurdles. Within the next 15 years I hope to begin saving enough money to pay initial term costs, apply to a variety of local programs, and find an effective way to incorporate my university work into daily professional life.
Section 1: Discipline, Teaching Methods, Strategies – focuses on content, units, lessons taught &Teaching /Learning Strategies Standard 7.3: Vary Perspectives to inform decisions about instruction / assessment / classroom management. ARTIFACT I: Teaching Utopia Curriculum Project Part III - ELA 11: Literacy in the 21st Century I and II An English Language Arts Curriculum designed to combineinstruction of traditional and 21st century literacies for students in response to the social problems of mass over-consumerism and its relationship to the changing nature of global economies and personal wellness.
Artifact I: Curriculum Mapping First Attempt at a MapSection 1: Discipline, Prior to being accepted toTeaching Methods, Eastern Michigan University I had a passion for trying toStrategies – focuses on figure out “what a course iscontent, units, lessons made up of” given that I had never really been trained ontaught & Teaching what made a course. The first/Learning Strategies artifact was my starting point on a journey leading to this Standard 7.3: degree. Educational Equity- Utopia Curriculum The program prepares Over 5 years and a painstaking master educators who number of formal and informal understand the team meetings, trial and error, ideas and compromise, this importance of course outline was created. educational equity and Over this span I had been its effects on schooling. introduced to the pedagogy They use varying of Curriculum at Eastern perspectives to inform Michigan University and the decisions about impact is quite apparent. instruction, assessment and management
In 2005, Prior to Any Specific CurricularTraining, this was my first attempted Mappingof a Course
Eventually, Over a Span of 5 years,the Course Was Mapped as Such.
Rationale for Artifact 1: Teaching Utopia Curriculum Project Part III – ELA 11:Literacy in the 21st Century I and II Section 1: Discipline, Teaching Methods, Strategies – Focuses on content, units, lessons taught & Teaching / Learning Strategies Standard 7.3: Vary Perspectives to inform decisions about instruction / assessment / classroom management.Early in my career I was very lucky to fine my way to a team of teachers (well not entirely lucky per-se, as I volunteered) who were ready and willing to rethink how our decisions as teachers at the curricular level were having ripple effects not only on the quality of student work we were receiving, but also on our quality of instruction, the quality (and authenticity) of the formative and summative assessments we required, as well as our own theories and practice of classroom management.The artifact contained represents an autopsy of the course “Literature and Modern Media: 21st Century Literacy in Action” from Clarkston High School. I say autopsy because the course was summarily euthanized by my department three years ago. In a last-ditch effort to preserve a course I had previously invested hundreds of hours, and countless team meetings lasting well past 11PM into building I created this course outline (that was eventually modified slightly and reorganized to fulfill course requirements for CURR 616 with Dr. Harder) to make a legal-esque defense in order to try and preserve this course based on an 4-pillared argument:
Rationale for Artifact 1: (Cont.) Teaching Utopia Curriculum Project Part III – ELA 11:Literacy in the 21st Century I and II 1. There was an obvious student interest in the course, measured in 4 consecutive terms of section number increases due to students requesting the course of study 2. Impact on student learning – we had created pre- and post- unit assessments with data measuring student improvement on identified course skills and demonstrations of critical thinking; 3. Students were passionately engaged with the learning, practicing, and applying the skills we were fostering on the assessments we had painstakingly designed from scratch; 4. We had a lock-step alignment of formative and summative assessments as measures of student ability on identified state standards for English Language Arts (the first course at Clarkston High School to be so thoroughly mapped in regards to state standards). I presented this defense to my department, who had a very vocal minority unwilling to recognize any of the 4 pillars of my argument – focusing instead on an inability (or unwillingness) to see pieces of modern media (such as film, Television, Advertisements, Social Media Outlets) as “texts” that were “worthy” of a center piece for a course curriculum. In a two-hour defense I was questioned (at times feeling more like an interrogation) over and over about the “lack of difficulty” (as “rigor” wasn’t an available buzz term yet) in a skill-based curriculum that focused on visual and verbal and cinematic interpretation as a means of making authentic (particularly to the interest in the lives of our juniors) the traditional English Language Arts skills of observation, interpretation, making claims, and synthesizing texts leading to an expression of a unique perspective from the student as a learner. My peers were unwilling to recognize the value in practicing smaller sub skills of English Language Arts (such as quality observation of a thematic moment in a text) in anything under the umbrella of “modern media” - Ironically, the very practice that allowed for data driven evidence of student growth of the applied skill in a blind passage environment like the ACT and MME. They did this without observing a single class period of a single teacher of this course. In the end I, and my team, lost and the course was dismantled and disseminated (meaning: I see other teachers taking materials I had designed and using them in other courses without telling me as such.)
Rationale for Artifact 1: (Cont.) Teaching Utopia Curriculum Project Part III – ELA 11:Literacy in the 21st Century I and II I bring this artifact to my portfolio because it is a piece of my work (and professional life) that I am most proud of. This course was the most pure, dedicated, and concerned group I have ever been a part of that were simply bent on researching, discovering, synthesizing, and fostering as many perspectives as possible in the creation of a course that was, at least in my home district before the rolling out of the Common Core, a decade ahead of its time. When our team came together there were 3 young male teachers with a combined 5 years of experience professionally in the classroom (all of us fresh from university undergraduate studies) and a female teacher with 23 years experience in the Social Studies and English Language Arts classroom. We were a perfect storm of varying perspectives and professionals with time to burn – and we burnt it (particularly the midnight oil on more than 1 occasion). We did research in professional journals together (where we discovered Dramatic, Cinematic, and Literary as meaningful lenses of study in an English Journal) and engaged daily in inquiry, trial & error to try and create a course from thin air…something none of us had done, but all of us were interested in doing in order to challenge and change the status quo of the English Language Arts classrooms of our building (where status quo was reading a canonical novel, taking reading quizzes, perhaps doing a “fun” project (barely connected to any kind of learning purpose) then write an analytic essay to be graded on an abjectly arbitrary rubric demarking qualities based on being “excellent”, “good”, “adequate”, or “developing”. We knew that we, and our students, could do better. And we, all of us, did.
Rationale for Artifact 1: (Cont.) Teaching Utopia Curriculum Project Part III – ELA 11:Literacy in the 21st Century I and II I vividly remember a day when I realized our shift was paying dividends. Prior to this day, prior to our changes being implemented in the classroom, we started this course with an established in-class novel, “The Catcher in the Rye” that had a prescribed curriculum that included 4 reading quizzes (90% knowledge- based with 1 short answer requiring independent thought), a 50-question multiple choice exam covering the text (everything within the text) as well as an essay analyzing the character of Holden and his developing identity. That first year was horrible. Students didn’t want to read, or discuss, and quizzes (or “annotation books”) were viewed by all parties as babysitters and sentencing guidelines for a lack of willful engagement. All students did was work, so rarely did they think. After a year (and dozens of meetings lasting multiple hours) curriculum was developed and put into place where students were responsible for much more differentiated expectations such as creating a screenplay for the novel via a storyboard “pitch” to a team of teachers / students to see whose group had the most “interesting vision” for turning the novel into film. The day I so vividly remember was when 4 students (whose academic profile led me to believe would have been the type of students “requiring” a threat of grade punishment for them to engage) voices began to elevate during group work (now a centerpiece of our classroom environment) and I was convinced that they had fallen off task because why else would they be arguing with one another with such a personal tone in their pleas. When I asked them why they were getting a bit “amped up” one pointed out: (now, I paraphrase here, but this is very accurate to the moment) …
Rationale for Artifact 1: (Cont.) Teaching Utopia Curriculum Project Part III – ELA 11:Literacy in the 21st Century I and II Ok Henwood…we are debating our interpretations of the book and how to frame a short around Holden’s sister Phoebe reaching for the Golden Ring on the Carousel at the end of the book. I think Holden watching and crying is a metaphor for him rising to the challenge of adulthood and breaking away from childhood and he should have a “hero shot” with “hero music” and these guys think it is another moment of him reaching to hold on to his childhood via being angry he couldn’t ride the ride anymore and the actor should have a childish frustration to his tears. I was floored. The degree of analysis and personal investment they were demonstrating was so far above and beyond my experiences with the novel the year before that I literally had a moment with my moth open and nothing to say…which doesn’t happen often…because they were doing on their own the very thing I used to have to pry out of them via cohersion and grade-threatening. It was in that very moment that I realized my belief in the power of curricular reform was possible – coincidentally this was also the very year was admitted to this program at EMU. So it was in LMM (as we called it) that I discovered that varying perspectives for how to engage with literature actually existed and was simply waiting to be discovered and engaged with. Since then I have been a wrecking ball of influence, trying to bring pedagogical variety to every team and course (7 thus far in my career) I teach, trying to facilitate change at the curricular level that can create the type of learning environment that can abandon, as Daniel Pink called it in his novel “Drive”, a “carrots and sticks” approach to driving student engagement and learning.
Section 2: Class Environment – Organization and Structure of the Classroom Standard 2.6: Learning and Development. The Program prepares masters educators who are committed to and understand how to address all learning Domains ARTIFACT II: “Life is But a Walking Shadow…” A Differentiated Approach to Teaching the Play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare. CURR 655
Author’s Motivation – A Differentiated Artifact II: Approach to Teaching “Macbeth” by Shakespeare Everyone remembers their first time hearing that they would be responsible for teaching a work of Shakespeare. For some it was embarrassing, othersSection 2: Class thrilling, but the bottom line is that everyone remembers the first time. The problem with the studyEnvironment – of Shakespeare is that most people are so intimidated by the daunting nature of something as prolifically,Organization and majestically…unattainable…that they miss out on what could be a wonderfully cool learning opportunityStructure of the for themselves as professionals, but also for their students.Classroom When I was in high school I hated studying Standard 2.6: Shakespeare. I would have completely forgotten this ironic fact if it weren’t for me running into my former AP Learning and English teacher one afternoon at the grocery store (the very boring vegetable section). When he heard Development. that I was a high school English teacher he, in his wryly gruff tone of voice snickered, “figures;” but it was his The Program prepares reaction to hearing that I teach a course dedicated to masters educators who the study of Shakespeare – willingly – that he flat out are committed to and dropped his potatoes. He exclaimed, “are you kidding me Henwood!? You? You HATED Shakespeare when I understand how to taught it to you.” It was at this point a little blood address all learning pooled atop my tongue as a I managed to say aloud Domains the very tip of the surface of what I was feeling and thinking: “Well, time changes many things.”
In this case it didn’t though. He was boring. I can say that now. Theteacher I liked so much was boring. This is why I hated Shakespeare as ateenager. A wonderfully passionate man who was thrilled every day hecould open a play, but he simply didn’t know how to approach thedelivery of the material; the engagement method of capturing the interestand attention span of a teenager that thought with all his heart there wasno way, none, that I would ever see any measure of validity in studying thestuff. After all, was it even English?Once I was hired into Clarkston High School in Clarkston, MI. I leapt at theopportunity to teacher a recently teacher-less (mostly because nobodywanted to teach it) senior elective course in Shakespeare. It was a“medal-on-the-chest” course, like surviving it was enough to grant thelucky chap an extra .5 on their G.P.A. or something. I knew I had tochange things. For me, I took it upon myself to never allow one of mystudents suffer the way I had: from a passion that was just below thesurface – fogged over but most definitely there. I needed a different wayto engage them.For years I delivered the curriculum I was given, swung, and missed. Itwasn’t for a lack of effort; I simply had a lack of know-how. I finallyempathized with my high-school English teacher….I needed to new way toapproach the same material that I fell in love with during a study abroadin England while studying in my undergraduate at Michigan StateUniversity. Thankfully I found a course at Eastern Michigan University inDifferentiation: precisely what my Shakespeare course (among all myother courses!) needed.
Don’t get me wrong…I took enormous strides with my Shakespeare course inthree short years. I trimmed the curriculum (going from 5 plays to 2 and a filmstudy) in order to have more depth of understanding in their studies thanbreadth of content covered. I created a final exam project (whoseinstructions and rubric has been added to the end of this unit since it wassubmitted to Dr. Boyd for a grade) that forces students to take up the penand write a research-based one scene play that consists entirely of a singleSoliloquy using all the literary devices we studied in our course (referenced onthe rubric) connecting the works of Shakespeare to details of his life via acentral theme to answer whether or not William Shakespeare lived through hiswriting, or if his writing was a reflection of the life that he lived. I had theopportunity to meet the Lord Mayor of London, England when he was touringour high school prior to our marching band competing in England. In hiswords he referred to this unit as “impressively ambitious” with a distinct raise ofhis eyebrows.I had this assignment, but I always knew I needed more lessons in place thatcould engage my students in the same way I know my final project did. This ishow “Life is But a Walking Shadow” was born.This unit was designed specifically for the context mentioned above. This is asenior elective group. I have a student body ranging from seniors who don’tneed any additional English credits to graduate who sign up for my becauseit is a “different” sort of English course, to AP students on the bring of writingthe next great novel, to some students with I.E.P.’s in place to let me knowthat they currently read at a 3rd grade level. I have them all and they are allwelcome. This unit allows the opportunity to engage all levels of learnersevery day of this unit of study in aw ay that isn’t mundane or ordinary – it issurprising, engaging, and dare I even say .. Fun. So no matter what previousexperiences my students have had with Shakespeare, be it exhilarating orterrifying, their last high school experience with Shakespeare will bememorable, wonderful, enjoyable, and hopefully leave them with a longer-lasting impression that I had when I pushed The Bard away after high school.
Rationale for Artifact 2: “Life is But a Walking Shadow…” A Differentiated Approach to Teaching the Play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare.CURR 655 To this point in my career I have plenty of experience building various aspects of curriculum ranging from a skill-scaffold approach to 6-12 advanced English Language Arts to a 2-year course of study for the International Baccalaureate Program, but this artifact represents the most specific and concerned effort I have ever made in the development of a single unit of study. Within this artifact there are lessons, task cards, learning contracts, rubrics, and learning materials. The learning standard being addressed represents, to me, more than anything, a commitment to meeting the individual learning needs of individual students in the classroom; this is the clearest differentiation (pun intended) from a standard, or traditional, form of teaching where every student is treated as being similar enough to all others from their “model year” (see Ken Robinson’s thoughts) that one lesson can be delivered, and expected, of all students in a class period. The work contained within this artifact is one of my best efforts at identifying, based on meaningful and accurate language, the difference between having a variety based on student interest, student ability, and student readiness.
Rationale for Artifact 2: (Cont.) “Life is But a Walking Shadow…” A Differentiated Approach to Teaching the Play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare.CURR 655 The original purpose of this artifact was in fulfillment of the unit of differentiation assignment for CURR 655 with Dr. Boyd. This artifact was actually used once (and soon to be twice) in one of my classes as a unit of study – a course dedicated to the study of Shakespeare with students ranging from Sophomores to Seniors – an environment needy and perfect for a focus on differentiation. With an environment so conducive to differentiation ready, I found this space a wonderfully receptive place to practice a new wrinkle to my professional pedagogy: when possible, and when appropriate, get out of the way and let students discover what it means to learn without someone holding their hand, directing and redirecting every time they hit a hurdle or potential challenge. This unit (and course of study) armed me with tools to finally understand how to do this. For years I had valued grouping and placing students into learning positions where they were dependent upon one another, but I had no idea what I was doing – I was either “throwing darts” and making groups at random, or allowing my students to chose. I was definitely not making professional choices based on professional reasoning – thus a very ineffective practice. I had read for years about student-centered classrooms, but what most of the theory I had read failed to point out was where and in what capacity a teacher should take in a student- centered learning environment. After my introduction to meaningful differentiation by Dr. Boyd, I finally had access to a simple fact that had previously eluded me: a student-centered learning environment has more than one center. Also, as this unit demonstrates, I was able to learn that expectation, progress, and the environment of the classroom were one in the same. When every student’s progress is a measurement of incorrectness – a subtraction of a seemingly unattainable 100%- the environment is bound to be mired in negativity, deficiency, and an atmosphere of students trying to find ways to inch closer to the unattainable (or all-too often inflated) 100% “A”. Now, I see that when different students were put into positions to actually demonstrate success (and feel the resulting pride that comes from getting better at a task) they took off…simply flew. Learning in this unit made my classroom unpredictable and predictable simultaneously: students knew they were never expected to be on some mythical and utopian (or delusional) “same page,” while still discovering daily who the best students were to work with on a given day for a given task. It was here that I felt a true sense of mastery over the identification of, and teaching towards, multiple learning domains.
Section 3: Preparation & Organization – Planning and Instruction Standard 3.5: Knowledge, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment. The Program prepares masters educators who know their subjects and how to teach them to use a variety of instructional technologies to cultivate learning ARTIFACT III: Screenshots of a variety of digital learning programs and software I usein the classroom on a daily basis for all of my classes
Artifact III: Online Learning Platforms – Ning • Not included due to free service being shut downSection 3: / no longer in use by myself or our programPreparation and – EdmodoOrganization – • Used primarily as interdisciplinary tool for Clarkston High School InternationalPlanning and Baccalaureate ProgramInstruction – Schoology • Online platform used for a variety of purposes for Standard 3.5: my Oral Communications, Shakespeare, and 20 th Century American Literature Courses Knowledge, – YouTube Curriculum, • Used as a hub for videos taken in the classroom Pedagogy and for a variety of purposes ranging from digital Assessment – sharing of best practices within the district to students Formatively reflecting upon The program prepares performances, to a continuation of an in-class master educators who discussion know their subjects and – Turnitin.com how to teach them; use • Used as a Bulletin Board for student-generated a variety of instructional Questions and Answers for specific tasks technologies to cultivate learning • Online Portfolio of written work
Edmodo – Online Communication and CollaborationAcross Subject Areas for the CHS IB Program
Turnitin.com – Discussion Boards / Forums For QuestionsStudents Can Ask and Answer One AnotherRegarding Specific Projects
Turnitin.com – Peer Review, PlagiarismPrevention, and Online Portfolios of Work
Schoology – A Central Place for Links toResources As Well As Essential Materials
Schoology – Using Online Discussion Forums asExtensions of In-Class Discussions
Schoology – Using Embedded Videos as apart of an Inquiry – Driven Lesson on Satire,History and Culture
Schoology – Maintaining Online Discussionswith Embedded links to videos as a part ofmodeling practice
Small Group “Fishbowl / SocraticDialogues continued onto You Tube
Rationale for Artifact 3: Screenshots of a variety of digital learning programs and software I use in the classroom on a daily basis for all of my classes When our high school began investigating the International Baccalaureate Program for the first time in 2006-2007 every teacher involved in the creation of this “school within a school” knew we had to do some things differently, not only for the benefit of our students, but also for one-another professionally. One such method was the incorporation of more technologies to aid us in the delivery of a higher volume of content at a more complex level, but also because learners within this program came to expect an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways at a variety of times for a variety of purposes. The artifacts contained within this section show an evolution I have made professionally that started from our inquiry into delivery as a part of the IB Program, and becoming a more refined process I have demonstrated in other courses I teach including Shakespeare and 20th century American Literature. The first online-learning program I used was Ning, and eventually teaching teams I was a part of progressed to Moodle, Edmodo, Turnitin.com and most recently Schoology. These artifacts are screenshots of discussions, assignments, or assessments done partially or completely online to cultivate learning from all, not a portion of, but all my students.
Rationale for Artifact 3: (Cont.) Screenshots of a variety of digital learning programs and software I use in the classroom on a daily basis for all of my classes These artifacts are the tip of the iceberg for I how I have involved technologies to cultivate rather than prescribe the learning taking place in my courses. In order to meet this change in the educational paradigm (a concrete difference between work done in class and work to be done at home) I had to be willing and flexible to rethink my planning and instructional practices to accommodate a shift of this magnitude. By “flipping” my learning environment I finally put myself professionally where I always wanted to be – facilitating or coaching the process of learning – not punishing incorrectness. Online learning technologies have also made available for me meaningful inquiry opportunities for students at the drop of a hat. Specifically, the work I am doing on Turnitin.com and Schoology have allowed me to place students in a position nearly daily where I can project a timer digitally onto a whiteboard counting down and ask them to find as much information as they can about a particular topic (such as Satire, The Cold War, or Iambic Pentameter) and post the results to our Schoology discussion page. In 15 minutes students have done the traditionally “homework” aspect of the lesson and I was there to guide students who were not at a truly “independent” state of readiness when it comes to finding, sorting, and valuing information they found online. Subsequent discussions (that took place immediately after searching) led to discussions of what quality evidence was on a scale that we created. This sort of lesson was nearly impossible 10-15 years ago. This evolution in technology has led to an evolution in the responsibilities a teacher has within the classroom to wield this new weapon effectively and meaningfully…a challenging process to say the least. Because of my new teaching philosophy – get out of the way whenever possible and let students learn – I know see myself as primarily placing my students into a position to discover information, learn how to effectively think about it, and then create a product to demonstrate their thinking. Without technology I am not sure if this revolution would be as deep with the potential it currently has…at least for me.
Section 4: Student Evaluation – A Focus on Student Assessment Standard 4.4: Classroom and Learning Management. The Program prepares masters educators who are effective classroom managers. They include multiple strategies for evaluation and assessment of academic learning and individual growth and development. ARTIFACT IV: Standardized Skill-Based Rubric (generic – Dr. Robert Marzano) and Self-Designed and CreatedStandardized Skill-Based Gradebook
Artifact IV:Section 4: StudentEvaluation – Focuseson StudentAssessment Standard 4.4: Classroom Learning and Management The program prepares master educators who are effective classroom managers. They; include multiple strategies for evaluation and assessment of academic learning and individual growth and development.
A 4- Level Model for Rubric Generation Received atan IB Conference at Macomb ISD Facilitated by LouisMarchesano
A Working Model for Tracking Student Progress onStandards using a 4-Level Standardized Scale(Designed by me in EXCEL)
Sample Visual Graphic I Can Create toRepresent Data of Student Growth onPrescribed Standards Using 4 – Level FormativeAssessment Model Progress With Reading Standards Literary Analysis 1 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 Reading for Main Idea 1 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 Skill Level 6 5 4 3 2 1 Pretest Assessm ent Num ber
Self-Designed Online Grade book to Monitor StudentProgress Using 4 – Level Standardized FormativeProgress Model
Representing Student Progress Visually Over 6Assessments Translating 4-Level System IntoPercentages With My Value-Added Formula
Creating Data Tables, Writing Formulas, and ReportingStudent Progress for Other Teachers 2013 English A1 Predicted Marks 2 1 7 6 5 4 0 1 2 1 4 16 3 29 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 7 2013 English A1 Predicted Marks 30 25 1 20 6 15 10 5 1 2 0 2013 English A1 Predicted 0 1 Marks 4 2 5 16 29 3 4
Rationale for Artifact 4: Standardized Skill-Based Rubric (generic template created by Dr. Robert Marzano) and Self-Created Standardized Skill-Based Gradebook, Data Tables, Charts and Graphs In the profession of teaching it would be poetically appropriate if assessment were a four-letter word or at least appeared on George Carlin’s list of words that “can’t be said on television.” When I completed my undergraduate it was understood that “traditional” practices were flawed – yet I was still measured in terms of my professional “readiness” on a gigantic high-stakes multiple choice exam – an irony that did not go unnoticed and something I still scoff at today. Since that moment I wanted a third-rail for assessment: something rigorous, accurate and also meaningful for students while they are learning, not simply an after-the-fact comparative representation of how they performed compared to their peers. Without the necessary time to conduct broad- reaching research on how to create this third rail I simple dove into the water to find out how deep it was. The result of this personal quest is the next artifact in my portfolio. In another wonderful quirk of timing I happened to attend an International Baccalaureate Program teaching workshop at Macomb Intermediate School District shortly before I had begun teaching a 1 term elective course in Oral Communication (long-accepted as students, staff, and administration as a “blow off” class for students who needed a Language Arts credit and, as an unnamed administrator once told me, and I quote, “these students aren’t exactly going to go out and change the world”). At this workshop I was introduced to a measurement system developed by Dr. Robert Marzano that had a 4 – level system generic enough to apply to any learning task in any subject area. I nearly jumped out of my seat, arms waving and shouting Amen!
Rationale for Artifact 4: (Cont.) Standardized Skill-Based Rubric (generic template created by Dr. Robert Marzano) and Self-Created Standardized Skill-Based Gradebook, Data Tables, Charts and Graphs The year before this workshop I had taken many, many hours to create a similar rubric for a single unit of study (Hamlet) to measure critical thinking as opposed to content knowledge. With this more generic template I finally had the means of transferring my trial and error rubrics confidently, knowing it was in fact grounded in a wide and deep pool of educational theory and research. What resulted was a drastic re-organization of this “blow-off” course. Students were expected to demonstrate growth on 7 different communication skills I identified (which was a process, given that I was told that the only measurable criteria that every other teacher evaluated was time and the only “curriculum” – used loosely – was a list of 6 different speech titles) on a range of evaluative speaking tasks. When I applied the variety of pedagogical shifts I discussed in sections I-III and combined it with the work I had been reading from Dr. Marzano, evaluation, assessment, individual growth and development took on the following form that we used for each speaking task:
Rationale for Artifact 4: (Cont.) Standardized Skill-Based Rubric (generic template created by Dr. Robert Marzano) and Self-Created Standardized Skill-Based Gradebook, Data Tables, Charts and Graphs 1. Students were given a speech theme (such as “Telling a great story to family”) and were given the task of finding “master storytellers” online and posting a video of the individual speaking onto our Schoology Discussion page. 2. Students would then jigsaw-read a chapter from a university communications textbook I obtained on a free trial and had to transfer connections from the chapter to their master-speaker online. 3. Students would work in ability groups (based on a pre-unit speaking performance I evaluated on a 4-level rubric I designed) and draft a speech- specific rubric specific to their abilities (with an option for 1 personal skill they wanted to improve, such as an international student of mine choosing “pronunciation” as a category requesting feedback for improvement) on 4 of the 7 different class skills. Students were never measured for every skill on every task. They were allowed to choose. 4. Students would perform their speech to their ability groups and have it recorded. After all speeches of a group were complete I would publish the videos to my You Tube channel. 5. They would view, and reflect, on the videos in their ability groups (usually from their cell phones in class) and create an appropriate “mark band” for translating the levels they were performing to a letter grade. 6. I would dialogue with them on how they progressed on a given skill and they would determine if they wanted to perform another speech on a given topic to demonstrate a higher level of ability on a given skill.
Rationale for Artifact 4: (Cont.) Standardized Skill-Based Rubric (generic template created by Dr. Robert Marzano) and Self-Created Standardized Skill-Based Gradebook, Data Tables, Charts and GraphsThe beauty of this process (well there were many beautiful things from my perspective) was that I had empowered students to progress as learners independent from me. I still coached them, I still introduced and helped clarify points of understanding, but they were self-directed autonomous learners working towards mastery on a purpose of their own choosing (again referring to the work of Daniel Pink in his book “Drive”). Also, in this process there was a complete removal of points and letter grades from the formative process. They were present at the summative end (and required me to write a program in EXCEL to translate levels into points) but not the formative process…instead the dialogue had shifted away from “getting points” to “getting better”.Students had simply bought-in to the idea that Language Arts had skills and that they had come into the classroom with room for measurable improvement, and I was free from the cycle of using abstract metaphors and arbitrarily chosen point totals (I still never really understood how I would chose a task to be worth 20, 25, or 50 points) to represent formative progress to actual using accurate descriptors of what did, and what did not, happen in student work. This eventual appreciation for the value in improvement gave students ownership of their own progress and mastery (choosing skills to be evaluated on a given task, designing their own rubrics with their own language, self-grading and reflecting after a performance) and we were able to turn a “blow-off” course into a fantastic learning experience for both the students and myself. They told me their friends “didn’t have to work nearly as hard” for other teachers of the same course, but in the end, even they said, “They actually learned how to communicate and not just give speeches”… and I think that was supposed to be the point of the course.
Section 5: Other School Involvement – OtherResponsibilities Carried Out by the Teacher Standard 5.1: Reflection. The Program prepares masters educators who think systematically about their practice and learn from experience. They draw on educational research and other data to improve their practice Standard 6.1: Collaboration and Professional Development. The program prepares master educators who see themselves and function as members of learning communities. They collaborate with colleagues to improve schools and advance knowledge and practice in their fields. ARTIFACT 5: Standardized Grading Review of Literature Project for CURR 616 ARTIFACT 6:Clarkston Community Schools Advanced E.L.A. Vertical Curriculum Workshop PowerPoint
Artifact V: • Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject of Standardized Grading and Grade Reform – Literature Review • Many sources (both Peer Reviewed, and not Peer Reviewed) were consulted to gain a better understanding of the research foundation that exists regarding the practice of grading. “Best Practice” is, as it seems, tenuous at best. The release of The Common Core Standards as well as The Smarter Balanced Standardized examSection 5: Other School will have a tremendous impact on how student learning is measured and, in my opinion, how teachers will eventually be evaluated. These documents were theInvolvement – Other most impacting pieces of reading I did as a part of my graduate studies.Responsibilities Carried Out bythe Teacher Standard 5.1: Reflection The program prepares master educators who think systematically about their practice and learn from experience. They; draw on educational research and other data to improve their practice. Standard 6.1: Collaboration and Professional Development The program prepares master educators who see themselves and function as members of learning communities. They collaborate with colleagues to improve schools and advance knowledge and practice in their fields.
Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject ofStandardized Grading and Grade Reform
Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject ofStandardized Grading and Grade Reform (cont.)
Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject ofStandardized Grading and Grade Reform (cont.)
Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject ofStandardized Grading and Grade Reform (cont.)
Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject ofStandardized Grading and Grade Reform (cont.)
Rationale for Artifact 5: Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject of Standardized Grading and Grade Reform The next artifact is a Review of Literature assignment I completed for CURR 616 combined with a screenshot of a Grade Book Program I wrote to accommodate a Standardized Grading Model within my school districts required “points and letters” online grade book. This particular assignment was a wonderfully eye-opening experience in helping me to realize I have a wealth of research backing up a small movement I am trying to start at my school (in addition to other school districts I do work with for Oakland Schools ISD). Not many teachers in my building even know about Standardized Grading, let alone are willing to rethink a change to their long- held belief systems regarding the role of grading in the learning process, but I feel a change is in the wind (and that wind is the Common Core, Smarter Balanced, and 21st Century Learning Expectations) and I am proud to have positioned myself to be a school leader when the time comes for every teacher to be aware of, if not be required to, make this shift. In fact, my grade book program was so intriguing that administration invited me to be a teacher representative on a task force investigating the “issue of grades” – as it is a distant issue regarding equity and inflation. Within my program I can clearly see how students are progressing on particular English Language Arts standards based on their performance-level description of tasks they have completed. Assignments aren’t simply work to be done, but opportunities to progress on a standard. I have identified, labeled, and organized them as such and can record progress as such.
Rationale for Artifact 5: (Cont.) Review of Literature for CURR 616 covering subject of Standardized Grading and Grade Reform The Review of Literature artifact was originally completed for CURR 656 with Dr. Harder but has been, and will continue to be, the centerpiece of a dialogue I am having with my superintendent and the grading task force to push the conversation forward rethinking how we evaluate students with a system of grading that is regularly abused by teachers as a purpose-motivator for engagement and practice. A closer examination of grading practices could, in my opinion, have the greatest of possible impacts on student learning and achievement due to the central role it plays in the process of formatively influencing student learning: for example, abandoning the practice of using zeros as a weapon to threaten students or allowing non-academic factors such as punctuality impact summative task performances) as well as the nature of achievement itself by redefining how a student must demonstrate achievement via performance, where a student is active in the process of their own learning, as opposed to “getting points” or “getting grades” which is a very passive process for students and places teachers in a too-powerfully subjective position to “give points” or “assign grades” – a process that removes accountability away from the student and places it onto a teacher which is an unnecessary burden given that the central purpose of schooling is student learning, experiencing, and demonstrating mastery over content knowledge and skills, not teacher granting approval of this process.
Artifact VI: Visual Aide / PowerPoint Presentation for Clarkston Community Schools Advanced English Language Arts Vertical Curriculum Workshop – Course MapsSection 5: Other School • Teachers were asked prior to the workshop to tryInvolvement – Other and map the content and skills of our various courses for the first time. I collected these tablesResponsibilities Carried Out by and set them to my presentation.the Teacher – Data • We were really starting to make a push on two fronts Standard 5.1: Reflection with this workshop: making concerned curricular choices based on data and the concept of The program prepares master Backwards design applying to courses down the educators who think systematically vertical chain from 11th and 12th grade AP. about their practice and learn from experience. They; draw on educational research and other data to improve their practice. Standard 6.1: Collaboration and Professional Development The program prepares master educators who see themselves and function as members of learning communities. They collaborate with colleagues to improve schools and advance knowledge and practice in their fields.
ARTIFACT 6:Clarkston Community Schools Advanced E.L.A. VerticalCurriculum Workshop PowerPoint
Standardized Template for P.D. Modulesat MAISA workshop in East Lansing, Mi.
Rationale for Artifact 6: Clarkston Community Schools Advanced E.L.A. Vertical Curriculum Workshop PowerPoint More than any other standard I struggled choosing an artifact here because it is the latest turn in my career and is full of opportunities I am taking advantage of to become a significant agent of change to improve schools and advance practice within the field of English Language Arts. The artifact I ended up choosing to use was a PowerPoint presentation I used during a professional development module I facilitated within my district for teachers that are a part of our advanced track program (Advanced ELA grades 6-10, Advanced Placement 11 and 12, IB 11 and IB 12). When our district adopted the IB program we had a significant conflict arise within our department regarding our identity as a program in addition to whether or not we are adequately preparing our students at the middle- levels for the expectations of grades 11 and 12 in either of our two advanced tracks, particularly because the learning and assessment expectations of the IB program are so vastly different than those of the AP program. I was asked by my Subject Area Coordinator (now a Literacy Consultant with Oakland Schools) to lead a workshop introducing our vertical team to how well we are doing as teachers with our students (particularly focusing on preparedness as measured by student performance data) and how we could use this data to influence our practices in the classroom. Being that this was my first module of professional development it was heavily prescriptive, but for me its value is in what it has led to for me professionally. Since this workshop I have led 3-4 different professional development modules to more closely align the skills and content of our entire English department vertically (grades 6-12) to organize our courses based on what we are asking our students to do as opposed to the chosen content being used (i.e. a unit of study is an opportunity for students to learn about the role Satire plays in the American ideal of Justice via the novel “The Things They Carried” as opposed to the unit purpose to analyze the theme of Justice in “The Things They Carried”). This work began before Common Core was rolled out, putting our overall curriculum into a prepared place for the shift in learning standards that took place.
Rationale for Artifact 6: (Cont.) Clarkston Community Schools Advanced E.L.A. Vertical Curriculum Workshop PowerPoint The other opportunity that I have taken advantage of to collaborate with colleagues to advance knowledge and practice is with the work I am currently doing with Oakland Schools ISD. The first part of the project I am working on was to be one of many teachers pilot-teaching a unit designed by Oakland Schools to teach to the expectations of the Common Core. Teachers from across the county would teach a unit then come together to discuss what went well and what should be modified when the units are made available to teachers around the world as a model for approaching the pedagogical shift and change in student performance expectations as measured on standardized tests such as Smarter Balanced. Given how contributory I was during these modules I was asked, and then chosen to be a Team Leader and Facilitator of P.D. modules at a conference to be held this June in East Lansing. Within this project I shifted from simply attending developmental workshops leading up to the conference to playing a central role developing the actual P.D. modules to be delivered at the conference – I am now training the teachers who will train the teachers. The artifact contained for Part B of Section V – an outline for other facilitators to use when determining what sort of information from their own experiences they want to bring into the P.D. modules, is the result of work I have done to try and standardize the learning opportunities within the workshop itself. It is the work I am doing with this MAISA conference that I feel; truly feel, like I have earned my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. With the mastery I feel I have obtained I am able to confidently work with other teachers through a period of tremendous change that is currently coming down on the field of education. In addition to being a hand ushering in this meaningful change in my classroom, I feel as though I am impacting classrooms around the county, the state, the nation, and the world. This, to me, is why I started the degree process that ends here, today. I am now ready, and prepared, to be the agent of change I have always wanted to be armed with a deep understanding of the nature of Curriculum and its direct and inseparable relationship with Instruction.
Concluding ThoughtsPart of me is having a hard time accepting the fact that I am done with this program of study, while the other part of me (the one who receives 5 hours of sleep per night due to a toddler struggling with the same sleeping issues that I have) has a hard time remembering when I started this journey. I suppose that is a good thing, though, that if I can’t recall the moment when it began, and am not particularly accepting of the fact that it is ending, perhaps it is because this course of study isn’t limited to obtaining a degree – the pursuit of research related to curriculum and seeing myself as an Agent of Change is no longer an assignment for a course, or a requisite of graduation, but a state of my being. And I’m ok with that. In fact, if there is any one thing I can walk away from this program of study knowing, it is that I have a future outside of the classroom that I didn’t even know was possible in 2008 when I started down this path. I know that I have some talents here, and I know that I am getting better every day at communicating my thoughts and perspectives (which, based on work I have done thus far, people want to hear). I have grown leaps and bounds in my understanding of the issues inherit with the practice of curriculum, (I say “practice” here in the doctoral sense of the word – that mastery is possible but it is an ever fluid and changing field that demands its practitioners to change based on changing knowledge and paradigms of practice) and see myself continuing head-first down a path to know and understand even more.The primary reason I became a teacher wasn’t because of a deep-seeded love of children, or because I was a passionate student of literature, or because I wanted to help students get better at something (although all are true); the reason I became a teacher struck me shortly after I dropped out of a Pre-Med. program of study in my undergraduate: I realized I could do better. I thought back to all the teachers and professors I had over my life and realized I could do better than they did. There was something about the relationship between purpose, delivery, and student understanding that simply struck me as something I have a talent at producing. Now that original purpose has brought me, armed with the same premise of reasoning, to a much larger stage with a potential of helping more and more teachers realize there is a “better way” out there waiting to be discovered.