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Planning commentary
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Planning commentary
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Planning commentary

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  • 1. Planning Commentary Laura Kroncke October 26, 2012 EPS 513
  • 2. 1.Content Focus and StandardsSummarize the central focusfor the content you will teach in this learning segment.Describe the standards that relate to this content The central focus for the content I will teach in this learning segment is howto map time. The objectives for this lesson are to 1) define century, decade, andmillennium, 2) identify ways to date time, and 3) apply knowledge of mapping timeskills. Students will be learning about different ways of using time, vocabulary thatrelates to time, and how labels of time are applied differently depending on thesituation. They will also be practicing finding the number of years betweencenturies, labeling centuries on a timeline, and identifying what century a specificyear belongs in. The standard that this lesson aligns with is Illinois State Standard16.A.1a Explain the difference between past, present and future time. In this lesson,students will think like historians to identify dates and question if time reallymatters.2. Knowledge of Students to Inform TeachingFor each of the categories listed below (a-d), describe what you know about yourstudents’prior learning and experiences with respect to the central focus of thelearning segment. What do they know, what can they do and what are they arelearning to do? Be very specific about how you have gained knowledge about yourstudents. What sources of data have informed you? What teaching experienceshave informed you?a)Academic development (e.g., prior knowledge, prerequisite skills, ways ofthinking in the subject areas, developmental levels, special educational needs) The first thing that I did prior to planning my first lesson for my classes was tolook at test scores of my students as well as IEPs of the students in my classes. Forthe freshmen, I looked at their 8th grade NWEA (Map Test) scores and saw that I hada wide range of reading abilities in my classes. I had several students who were verylow readers, but did not have an IEP so it was essential that I identified thesestudents to enable me to best help them. I made a copy of each of my classes’ datathat was provided by the school counselors and have kept it tucked away forreference. Another useful source of data to learn about my students was to consulttheir IEPs. I have several students who have identified learning disabilities as wellas one student who has a physical disability. It was important for me to look at theirIEPs so that I could learn about the type of support they need in the classroom aswell as academic strengths and weaknesses. IEPs hold a lot of information aboutstudents aside from just their academic information so I found that I learned a lotabout my students from looking at the IEPs. There was information about studentinterests, family life, and information that their parents wanted to share with theteachers. I think it would be useful for all students to have some type of record withthat information because it has made it easier for me to build relationships withthose students based on that information.
  • 3. Another source of data that I used to learn about my students’ academicdevelopment was to talk to other teachers who have the same students that I do. Ihave all freshmen and sophomores so I found it useful to speak to teachers whohave the same students or that had my students as freshmen last year. I discoveredthat my students have different learning preferences in different classes. I alsolearned that the strengths my students have in other teachers’ classes were things Ineeded to consider in my classroom. For example, one of my students struggles withreading, but I did not know that until I spoke to another teacher who offeredstrategies to help that student such as modeling talking to the text and providinggraphic organizers. I knew that the student was doing poorly on tests and quizzes,but I did not know the direct reason. Speaking with other teachers has beenbeneficial to me so far this year because we can exchange useful information. I thinkthat collaboration is an important part of teaching, and a great way to collectinformal data through teacher observations. For this learning segment, I knew that I needed to differentiate my instructionfor the students in my classroom. Because there is such a large gap in learning levelsin my classroom, I knew that I had to have different activities. In my planning, Iscaffolded the information in the lesson by giving whole group instruction and thenreleasing the students who I predicted would understand the material whileworking directly with the rest of the students. The students who understood thematerial quickly would get practice worksheets to work on silently while the rest ofthe students would get a more in-depth explanation and practice with the material.b)Academic Languagedevelopment (e.g., students‟ abilities to understandand produce the oral or written language associated with the central focusand standards/objectives within the learning segment) Through observations of my students, I was able to determine the levels ofvocabulary and content understanding that a majority of the students in myclassroom had. I knew that all of my students understood what time was, but thatmany of my students would struggle to understand that time takes many forms suchas time in years and time in minutes, seconds, hours, etc. To gain a quick sense ofwhere my students were at with this, I planned for a quick write where studentwould define time. I planned to walk around and observe what my students wrotedown so I would know who had a more concrete understanding of time, and whoneeded more assistance. Another challenge that I foresaw students struggling withwas the difference between centuries, millenniums, and decades. I planned toaddress the different prefixes so that students would understand why the wordsmean what they do. In regards to the written aspect of my lesson, I planned to modelon the overhead projector the spelling of the main vocabulary. I planned to assistwith oral skills of this lesson by having the students repeat unfamiliar words as awhole class.c)Family/community/cultural assets (e.g., relevant lived experiences, culturalexpectations, and student interests)
  • 4. The majority of the students at my school are Latino. One thing that I knowfrom working with Latino students before and discussing with them time is that inMexico, time is not as important as it is here. In Mexico, time is different becauseeverything is more laid back and they are not as focused on the rushing and beingon time as we are here in the United States. I also knew that many of my studentsrecently exited the ELL program and would have some confusion about time havingso many different meanings. I planned to explicitly explain time in the sense that wewere going to use it. Another thing I had to carefully plan was a discussion abouthow historians label time. In my classroom there are students from many differentreligious backgrounds as well as some students who do not believe in any type ofGod. I learned about my students’ religious backgrounds by listening toconversations about students discussing their churches as well as anautobiographical essay students wrote in the beginning of the year in which someexpressed religion to either be a large part of their life, and some discussed that theywere atheist. When dating time, historians use Before Common Era and CommonEra (BCE, CE). People who believe in religion use Before Christ and Anno Domini(After Death). Because my students’ religious backgrounds vary, I had to plan toexplain that in our classroom we would be dating time as historians because we area history class and we do not bring religion into school. When planning for thislesson, I realized that all of my students have lived in two different millenniums,three different decades, and two different centuries. I wanted to address this withstudents to make the content relevant to them. I also planned to have studentscreate a timeline of their lives because I knew that it would help them understandthe content better and make it relevant to their lives.d)Social and emotional development (e.g., ability to interact and expressthemselves in constructive ways, ability to engage in collaborative learning,nature of contributions to a positive literacy learning environment). The classes that I planned to do this lesson in are freshman classes. Many ofmy students came from different schools and did not know many other students inthe school. To fix this problem and create a positive classroom environment, we hadimplemented many group activities as well as frequent think-pair-shares wherethey switched partners. Through these activities I was able to identify whichstudents were likely to volunteer and share answers, which students worked well ingroups, and which students worked best alone. I also learned about my students’social and emotional development just from observing lessons that my co-residentor mentor teacher taught. It is easy to pick up on student behavior throughobservation. I also learned about my students’ social and emotional developmentthrough informal conversations with my students. Some of my students expressedthat they had a particular group of people or single student that they worked wellwith, and some expressed that they are just quiet in general and do not like groupwork or volunteering. One major strategy that is used in my classroom is coldcalling. This means that when I draw a popsicle stick from a cup, any student is asequally responsible for the answer as another student. I also always implement theno-opt-out strategy in which I always make a student answer whether they figure it
  • 5. out on their own, I have to prompt them, or another student assists them. In myclassroom, students know the expectations from me and know that they areresponsible for their learning and contributing positively to our classroom. Whenplanning for this lesson, I included a think-pair-share to allow my students to workin pairs as well as an opportunity for students to share and explain their work totheir classmates. I always plan for opportunities in which students share andexplain their thoughts and work so that all students are engaged in learning.e) Learning strategies: what instructional and learning strategies have beeneffective for your students? How do you know? The instructional strategies and learning strategies that have been extremelyeffective in my classroom have been think-pair-shares, modeling of tasks, andexplicit instruction. Think-pair-shares are always extremely effective becausestudents can share their thoughts with their partners and gain insight from whateach other says. When they think-pair-share, I always call students at random toshare what they discussed, and I have never had a student not share. I also get morein-depth responses from students when I have them think-pair-share because theyare engaged in learning and explaining their thought process. The most effectiveinstructional strategy used in my classroom is modeling of tasks. Before I releasestudents to work on a task, I always model what they should be doing and how to doit. Usually this takes the form of doing a question on a worksheet, or providing anexample of a finished product that they will be completing. Sometimes it is even assimple as modeling what to do when they are done taking a test and need to turn itin. By doing this, students have the opportunity to understand what is exactlyexpected of them, and see how it is done. I have found that some of my moststruggling students have benefited extremely from modeling. Some students in myclass do not need the modeling portion and could be released right after I explainthe instructions, but I do it because I have observed that the majority of my studentsbenefit from it. The few times that I have forgotten to model the tasks chaos hasensued in the form of hands in the air with questions. When this happens I have tobring the class back and explain it again. I have learned that always modeling thetask works best for my students. Something that is related to modeling is explicitinstruction. I find that when I use explicit instruction, my students are focused andprocessing the material. I always chunk and chew the material by breaking it up sothat students are not just listening to me talk, but instead processing what they havelearned. When we do this, students are actively engaged and paying attention to theexplicit instruction. In my lesson plan for this learning segment, there are manyopportunities for think-pair-shares, explicit instruction, and modeling the material.3. Supporting Student LearningRespond to prompts a-e below to explain how your plans support your students‟learning related to the central focus of the learning segment. As needed, refer to theinstructional materials you have included to support your explanations. Citeresearch and theory to support your explanations.
  • 6. a)Explain how your understanding of your students’ prior learning,experiences and development guided your choice or adaptation of learningtasks and materials, to develop students abilities to successfully meet lessonsegment outcomes. I know the students in my class, their socioeconomic/cultural/religiousbackgrounds, learning abilities, and learning preferences which helped me plan thelesson. I implemented learning tasks and materials that I knew were favored by thestudents in my class and proven to work. I created materials that could be easilyscaffolded through modeling and releasing. Using I do- We do- You do, studentswould be learning new material and applying it on their worksheets. I also knowthat I have many students in my class who are active students and find it difficult tosit still for an extended amount of time so I planned for activities that would allowstudents to move around. Think-Pair-Shares are used in almost every class sessionand have been proven to help students so I planned for one in my lesson.b)How are the plans for instruction sequenced in the learning segment tobuild connections between students‟ prior learning and experiences and newcontent skills and strategies? Plans for instruction are sequenced in the learning segment to buildconnections between students’ prior learning and experiences by starting with a donow question that is based off the homework that students will be assigned thenight before. The do now connects to the homework by defining millennium,century, and decade. Students will have researched those definitions for homeworkand created vocabulary cards. In each segment of the lesson, students are recallingand identifying information related to time, and then applying it to a new situation.During the entire lesson, we will be examining time mainly in the form of centuries,and at the end students will be learning how to identify which century a specificyear falls under as well as finding the years between two centuries. The lesson isscaffolded in a way where previous information is identified first, and then newmaterial is taught. After learning the new material, students are given severalopportunities to practice.c)Explain how, throughout the learning segment, you will help students makeconnections between skills and strategies in ways that support their abilitiesto deepen their content learning. I open the learning segment with a discussion of time. This allows students toargue whether or not time is important. From there, students will be working withcenturies, decades, and millenniums. Throughout the learning segment, I will askstudents to identify how the material connects to them. Because they were born in aspecific year and have had many events happen in their lives, they have an informaltimeline already created in their minds. I will help them identify these things byasking them to draw out a timeline. I will also emphasize the timeline of Before
  • 7. Common Era and Common Era because when we begin looking at history of LatinAmerica in a few weeks, they will need to be able to understand the time frame ofevents that occurred there. They should be able to identify when things happened inrelation to where we are in time today. I would also like students to be able to figureout how many years ago events took place. To do this, they need to master theability to add and subtract centuries on a timeline. I will emphasize this as theycomplete the third activity where they practice adding and subtracting years.d)Describe common developmental approximationsand misunderstandingswithin your content focus and how you will address them. Common misunderstandings within my content focus are things such as theuse of math to add and subtract time, identifying centuries, and creating timelines.Students in high school should be able to do multiple-digit addition and subtractionbecause that is a developmental approximation, but I do not think that all of mystudents will be able to do it without the assistance of a calculator. In this lesson,students will be working with years adding and subtracting them which can causeconfusion for many students. To address this, I will model a problem on the boardand allow students to use their calculators. Another misunderstanding during thislesson is identifying which century a year belongs in. It is complicated becausestudents automatically assume that whatever the first number is identifies what thecentury is. I have planned to draw out a timeline of centuries and have students addon the last seven centuries. Through doing this, they will be able to identify patternsthat exist and create a rule that helps them as an individual identify a specificcentury. The last misunderstanding I anticipate is drawing a timeline. We haveworked with timelines before, but some students still do not understand that theygo in chronological order. To help students identify this quality of a timeline, I willcreate a sample one and have students think about characteristics of a timelinebefore I release them to create their own.d) Describe any instructional strategies planned to support students withspecific learning needs. This will vary based on what you know about yourstudents, but may include students with IEPs, English learners, or giftedstudents needing greater support or challenge. As previously mentioned, I planned to scaffold the material in my lesson.Beginning with modeling the different skills will allow me to reach out to alllearners. Once I have modeled the material, I will release students to complete therest of the practice worksheet as I pull students into a small group who may stillneed additional modeling or explanation. I have several students with IEPs wholearn best in small group situations so I will pull them and other students who Ipredict may struggle into a small group for some of the activities. I also haveplanned for activities where students are putting their material on the board and Iwill call up the students who have finished the worksheet first to put up theirresponses. These are typically the higher level students who may be bored with the
  • 8. material and move quickly. By allowing them to demonstrate their knowledge onthe board, they will not just be waiting at their desks for their classmates to finish.4.Supporting Student Understanding and Use of Academic LanguageRespond to the prompts below to explain how your plans support your students’ academiclanguage development.a)Identify the key academic language demandand explain why it is integral to thecentral focus for the segment and appropriate to students’ academic languagedevelopment. Consider language functionsand language forms, essential vocabulary,and/or phrases for the concepts and skills being taught, and instructional languagenecessary for students to understand or produce oral and/or written language withinlearning tasks and activities. In my lesson, the key academic language demand students will be using is labeling,sequencing, and organizing. These language demands are integral to the central focus forthis segment because students need to be able to put time in order and label start and endpoints. These are language demands that they can transfer across content areas as well aswill need to use in the future on standardized tests. Vocabulary words that students need toknow for this lesson are timeline, century, decade, and millennium. These are words thatare applicable to real life because they classify time and identify where we are in the historyof the world. Students need to be aware of these things to have a greater understanding ofhistory and the current world in general. Instructional language I will use is words such aslabel, identify, circle, underline, draw, create, and write. These are all action words that arefamiliar to students and things that they will be physically doing.b) Explain how planned instructional supports will assist students to understandacademic language related to the key language demand to express and develop theircontent learning. Describe how planned supports vary for students at different levelsof academic language development. The academic language used in this lesson is timeline, century, decade, andmillennium. To address these words we will define them at the beginning of the lesson andthroughout the lesson. For homework, students will have already written definitions of thewords, their own definition of the words, and drawn a picture to help them visually identifythe word. Students who still need help with these words will be giving additional support byme. I will provide examples of each of the words and break down the words using theirprefixes. Students will be expected to know the words for the rest of the year and in historyclasses beyond mine so it is essential that they have a deep understanding of the words andare able to apply them in different settings.5. Monitoring Student Learninga)Explain how the informal and formal assessments you select and/ordesigned will provide evidence you will use to monitor student progresstoward the standards/objectives. Consider how the assessments will provideevidence of students’ use of content specific skills and strategies to promoterigorous learning.
  • 9. Informal assessments that I will use during class to monitor student progressare checks for understanding, observations, do now, and exit tickets. I will havestudents work on tasks by themselves and check for understanding by cold callingstudents to see what their answers are. I will also do observations where I walkaround and check students’ work as they are working. I will assist any students whoappear to be struggling by giving them additional information and checking back inlater. The do now is an informal assessment at the start of class so I can see what mystudents know about the material and vocabulary we are going to be coveringduring class. If it appears they do not know it, we will spend time going over it priorto beginning the lesson. Exit tickets will tell me the most information about thestudents’ learning during the class because I will be able to see who understood theinformation from the lesson and who needs more support. The exit tickets willconsist of all of the major content from class such as timelines, turning years intocenturies, adding and subtracting years, and identifying years within a century. If amajority of the students do poorly on the exit ticket, I will know that we need to goover the information in a different way during the next class session.b) Describe any modifications or accommodations to the planned assessmenttools or procedures that allow students with specific needs to demonstratetheir learning. Students with specific needs are required to complete the exit ticket, but theycan come in during office hours to verbally explain the content or use their materialsto elaborate on the information they wrote on the exit ticket. The format thatstudents with specific needs get to complete their exit ticket in depends on what iswritten on their IEP as well as observations that are made in class. For example, oneof my students with an IEP struggles to write out their thoughts, but they are able toverbally explain concepts in a concrete manner. All students are able to redo theirexit tickets if they do not meet standards, and when they redo them they arerequired to write how they know the new answer is the right one. Support isprovided for all students during office hours regardless of if that student has specificneeds as identified through an IEP or not.

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