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Section IX. Information for MentorsOverviewAs educators, we must be able to identify whether and how our instruction impacts student learning. TheTeacher Work Sample (TWS) creates a formal opportunity for interns to carefully examine therelationship between planning, teaching, and assessing students’ learning in the fall semester. To complete the TWS project, interns complete the following tasks: gather contextual information from school and classroom data that could inform their planning; plan a lesson or series of lessons where they (a) define clear goals for student learning; (b) develop a pre- and post-assessment; (c) use pre-assessment data to develop a lesson plan; and (d) explain why they selected particular instructional tools teach those planned learning activities collect and analyze evidence of student learning analyze their instructional decision making and reflect on their practiceBy completing the TWS project, interns will gain a deeper understanding of the relationship betweendesigning, teaching and assessing learning opportunities for students. They will also develop skills inplanning, teaching, and assessing. Finally, they will develop as a professional educator, gaining skill inreflecting on their practice in order to learn and grow.Mentor’s RoleIn addition to providing ongoing support as interns designs learning opportunities and teach in theclassroom, we ask that you provide three formal means of assistance: 1. Analyze pre-assessment data with your intern – please use the protocol below to help your intern make sense of students’ current understanding and act on that information in future instruction; 2. Conduct a formal observation – when your intern is teaching from his/her TWS lesson plan(s), please complete an observation while s/he is teaching then provide written feedback that the intern can submit as part of this project; 3. Analyze evidence of student learning - again using the protocol below, help your intern determine whether/what students learned from his/her instruction and how best to use these results to determine next steps.
Assessing Students’ WorkThe following process, which takes about an hour, is designed to help interns learn how to assessstudents’ learning and act on that information in their future instruction. Mentor and intern sit down withthe work that students completed at the intern’s request during his/her Teacher Work Sample lesson(s).Step One: Clarify why the intern assigned the task or homework. What was s/he after? What criteria will s/he use to evaluate the students’ work?Step Two: Both intern and mentor read through the papers, sorting them into three piles (approaches, meets, and exceeds expectations)Step Three: Choose one paper from each pile. For each of the three chosen papers, consider: What does the student seem to understand/not understand? What’s going on here?Step Four: Consider the learning needs of these three students. What would the intern need to do to support each of these three students’ learning?Step Five: Looking ahead… What are the intern’s next steps for planning/teaching based on what s/he has learned from this careful examination of the students’ learning?Teacher Work Sample Page 2 of 6
Framework for Interpreting ObservationUsing your observation notes, consider the following questions about the lesson. Provide evidence tosupport your interpretations.Did the lesson have a clear purpose(s)? What was it?INTERN did a great job planning for the topics she had for her 4 day takeover. We spent severalhours looking at the content she had to cover, and then she clarified the purpose of learning thecontent. She knew that because investment is the key to helping countries grow in the future, it wasessential for them to know how to create more capital for investment. She also explained howimportant it was to see how interest rates affect the way households and firms behave in the macroeconomy. Both topics will be key for the students to understand when they conduct theirdevelopment project at the end of the semester.How well did the learning activities support the purpose?The learning activities helped to deepen students’ understanding of the concepts. The first day,THE INTERN had the students read an excerpt from the book over the problems facing developingcountries. At the beginning of the day, she did not have questions for them to guide their reading;however, she added some after the first half of the day, which helped to engaged students more intheir learning as they searched for the meaning behind the text. This day, the students were eagerabout her choice to use four corners to see how students reacted to capitalism.The second day INTERN taught students about how individual choices can affect the macroeconomy. This day, she chose BINGO as the way to practice the concepts. The video clip sheshowed at the beginning helped to show students how everyday decisions can actually be tied toeconomics. Throughout the day, Melendy discovered that she might have needed to give thestudents some practice problems before playing BINGO. This was a great epiphany, as she was ableto add this guided practice into the next day.The final day of her take-over, she taught students about the Investment demand curve. This day,she allowed students to review the material from the previous day, so as to clarify any ambiguity.She introduced them to the concept of Investment Demand, and then she allowed the students tocraft ways to remember the ways that this demand can be changed. As she moved through the day,she tweaked each class period’s lesson to better meet the needs of students.Teacher Work Sample Page 3 of 6
How well did the intern understand the subject matter/content being taught? Evidence?Considering the fact that THE INTERN has not taken as many Economics classes as Historyclasses, she did a wonderful job of understanding the content of the lesson. She was very clear aboutthe relationship between interest rates and household and firm decisions. THE INTERN had nevertaught math before, and one of the days was very much based on the instruction of mathematicalconcepts, so she was able to grow as she saw the difficulties in teaching math.The second day that she taught about the Money Multiplier, her speed through one of the powerpoint slides seemed as if she might have been unclear about one of the topics; however, after shetaught the objective more than once, she no longer seemed as if she didn’t understand the topic. Shedid a great job presenting a topic that was new to her for the first time!Did the lesson build on students’ prior knowledge? If so, how?All of the economic concepts throughout the content grow, and throughout the lead teach, THEINTERN would specifically describe ways some of the topics connected to content covered inprevious classes. She mentioned the connection to Real and Nominal GDP when she described theReal and Nominal Interest Rates. She also reminded students about the factors of production whenshe discussed capital. She also connected information to the Webquest that students had done toresearch developing countries the previous week.How did the lesson accommodate individual differences?Before students began the unit, THE INTERN placed students into heterogeneous groups to enablestudents to learn from one another. As assignments were given, students who had mastered thecontent on previous assessments served as aids to her as they helped to re-explain difficult conceptsto their peers—a great usage of the zone of proximal development. She also implemented multipleactivities that reached several intelligences in the classroom—kinesthetic and verbal linguistic (fourcorners), musical (chant or rap), logical-mathematical (BINGO math problems), interpersonal(group problem practice), intrapersonal (reflection questions over the reading excerpt). Herrepertoire of activities enabled her to facilitate learning among all learners.Teacher Work Sample Page 4 of 6
Did the opening of the lesson motivate students and focus their attention on the content or task?THE INTERN did a great job of selecting “hooks” to get the kids attention. She used her questionof the day to find out what kids would do with their money. Also, she had a video clip to grap theirattention on another day.How did the management of materials, time, space, behavior support the learning?As is common among novice teachers and was seen in my first year teaching, THE INTERNdiscovered that students don’t always immediately stop talking when teachers talk. As the weekprogressed, she did a better job of redirecting students and getting their attention with a loudervoice.At the beginning of the take-over, she sometimes ran overtime with the lesson, but when she got awatch, she improved greatly on her timing and pacing of each lesson cycle. This enabled her to fullymaximize the fifty minutes of instruction.She did a great job of constantly refining her lessons to better accommodate the needs of students.Every lesson cycle, she would come to ask how she could improve before the next lesson. Shediscovered clear directions and assertiveness can minimize confusion and distracting conversationsin the classroom.Was there evidence of student learning?All of the material taught to the students was new to them. Economics is fairly intuitive to moststudents, but they have not ever been exposed to the material. Therefore, students clearly showedan understanding of the material that she taught them. Some of the struggling students still haddifficulties understanding the content, but one student in particular came in for help and improvedhis score on this assessment of THE INTERN’S (a C) to an A+ for the following assessment afterthis one.Based on your analysis of the lesson and what you know about the intern and the context, what would bean appropriate focus or goal for the intern’s development? Why? How would you go about helping herlearn?Experience and confidence are two keys for growing as a teacher. I believe that with more practiceTHE INTERN can learn to redirect students quicker and minimize the side conversations.Managing our loud classes is a challenge, but by using appropriate classroom managementstrategies more frequently, I believe her command in the classroom will greatly improve. Also, asshe teaches more, her confidence will increase and enable her to feel more comfortable in front ofthe class (although she already seems to feel more at ease in front of students than most newteachers). Both of these two focuses will enable her to be a more effective teacher who can easilyexpress herself in front of students. She will better connect with students and engage them. I willstrive to help THE INTERN practice with classroom management techniques throughout the nextTeacher Work Sample Page 5 of 6
few weeks in our larger classes to better prepare her for her lead teach and equip her with aplaybook to use when situations arise next semester.Teacher Work Sample Page 6 of 6