Saturday, October 20, 2012

Classroom Management Plan

Looking at myself and where my beliefs fall, they will be split between but not limited to Essentialism and Experimentalism. I have always believed that before you can be put into an arena of higher thinking you first must have a basic core of information.  If that can be met, than moving away from the norms of teaching and to a hands on approach would be great.  There is a big hurdle to overcome before that step can be made and that is the management and behaviors of the students and teachers and the relationships they form.  Without a working and respectful relationship, how could anyone expect to form a positive learning environment?


1.  Having a preventative approach to teaching and to classroom management starts within the curriculum itself and is designed to be part of the daily lesson.  Although it might not be on any particular topic, setting the standards for classroom rules and behavioral norms is the first step in avoiding issues all together.  As (Coloroso, 1994) stated, I would hold classroom discussions, especially in the early days, on the rules, their implications and effects they have on every student and their consequences.  Within my philosophy of experimentalism, guiding students to understand what they did wrong and giving them ownership in the problem they have created, creates a classroom where students can solve problems and develop inner discipline.

2.  How do students know what they should be doing or how they should be acting?  Having clear expectations is essential throughout the learning process as it is in life.  With clearly defined expectations, students are less likely to deviate from classroom rules or detract from the learning environment of others.  Throughout the class, I will emphasize responsibility for their own learning environment and will hold them responsible for actions that are contradictive. (Coloroso, 1994)

3.  One underlying principal I have never agreed with was to punish people in a negative way.  Although there may be a time and a place for that, using an assertive discipline, (Lee Marlene Canter, 1976), suggest a more positive approach to contradict the negative. I would much rather hand out positive reinforcements or extra credit for a job well done, than to berate, belittle or otherwise put someone down.  This type of discipline would help to build positive relationships with students and reinforce discipline.

4.  The environment of the class is very important in how I view the role of the institution; as a home for education.  With so many kids today going through so many different problems, having an area that is safe, clean and respected goes a long way in how the student views the role of the class.  Teach them to take ownership and pride in the area they work and make them responsible for maintaining it.  I see it everyday and it is the simple things like asking everyone to push in their chairs everyday when they leave and clean their areas for the next class.   If that type of discipline and ownership in continually maintained by the teacher, the students will begin to internalize it.  (Colorosco, 1994).


1.  When I think being supportive I immediately think about being positive.  It is the can do mentality that separates the quality of work we see everyday in our students. I liked reading about non-verbal discipline and to guide students to support their own self-control (Jones, 1970’s).  Modeling a positive disposition and having discipline itself be a bit more positive may not fit every situation but one that we should take a careful look at in others.

2.  Learning more about your students is one area in which you can truly show them that you care.  It seems the more names I know and the more I know about them, the easier it is to engage that student in and out of the class.  With a better understanding of their interests and or problems are, you can start to grasp what their needs actually are.

3.  Building on this you can begin to meet the needs of individual students. I have just recently been informed about a hearing problem with one of my students and understanding that she might be understanding or even hearing what I am saying is a giant first step in realizing where her disruptive behavior comes from and gives me insight on how to correct it. (Kohn, 1996)

4.  Being supportive but giving students the power to solve their own behaviors is a skill that I would love to mast.  I believe in personal ownership and taking responsibility for your own actions. Being consistent (Lee and Marlene, 1976) and holding students accountable for their behavior, good and bad, is as important as any lesson being taught.  Life is made up of choices and by being consistent with discipline will eventually build positive relationships within the classroom and reinforce appropriate behaviors and responsibility for ones actions.  Building ones selpf up slowly in a corner stone to the experimentalist’s philosophy.  It allows students to build on their experiences and their choices to evolve as a person and a student.


1.  With ever choice, there are consequences, good or bad.  Correcting students in times of bad choices is an area that I will be working on.  However, with rules being laid out from day one and continually reinforced, students are likely to slowly move away from otherwise bad choices.  Continually revisiting the class rules when needed (Lee and Marlene, 1976) will bring the class as a hole together when particular students are breaking them.  It is a reminder of what we have agreed upon form the start and will allow me to continually help instill discipline and responsibility in my students.

2.  Preventing problems before they start can be accomplished by a creating a classroom environment that is exciting and has energy.  Working with the students and not against them (C.M. Charles, 2000) can build communication and trust between you and the students and even between themselves.  It is better to deal with the cause than have to manage the actual misbehavior itself.  It puts the responsibility on the student to build a positive, productive learning environment.

3.  Students need to learn that are consequences to their actions.  Within my class, my co-teacher uses the RSVP (Coloroso, 1994) and works with students to find positive ways for students to improve their behavior and actions inside and out of the class.  He helps the students identify what they did wrong in person or he re-addresses the class rules with the students as a hole in the hopes of keeping other students from acting in the same fashion.

4.  Creating a sense of Inner Discipline (Coloroso, 1994) helps show students what they have done wrong, has them assume ownership and shows them ways to solve the problem, all while keeping face.  It is the inner discipline of the essentialist way of thinking that I want kids to get a basic understanding of the steps needed in school and in life.  It is important to teach students that it is ok to make a mistake but even more than that is how to learn from that mistake. There is a great quote that goes, “Learn to fail or fail to learn” which if taken to heart can give students a sense of power over their own learning environment and their lives as a whole.


As I see it, the classroom is your own little community, with different people, learning abilities, races attitudes, beliefs, problems and clicks.  Finding a way for all students to learn and be productive is about helping them find their way at the same time teach them the content at hand.  Respect for others, their learning environment and for themselves is what I will strive for.  If you can find a way to model that behavior and continually reinforce it in a way that will promote growth and friendship, you can then begin to branch out in other ways. It is not my goal to help students with their past, only to help them now and with their future.

Social Action Plan

How do you create a positive, supportive and safe enviornment?
Sharing about yourself and learning about your students will help
students feel comfortable to share and it is ok to have a story and
feeling a sense of belonging.
Students today, English Learners or otherwise, have issues when it comes to sharing what they know in social situations can be challenging and intimidating.  Since many times they don’t read at grade level or can only use incomplete usage, they would rather do nothing than work hard at getting better.  They will find many ways to avoid these situations such as acting or even withdrawing during class.  Creating an environment where students are encouraged and supported will allow them to work through the lack of confidence they probably have.  During readings or other projects where understanding content could keep them from even trying, I would set these students up in social groups that can support them through the process.  During and after these moments I would also set up time to cover comprehension of content and times for student feedback.  As a follow up, I would use written and oral assessments to help the student(s) keep on track and offer support.  Showing support to any student could be the one factor in their life that could be lacking and help them feel like they can get there.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Students, kids and even adults these days have no idea what respect really means.  Learning respect or disrespect is a learned behavior.  Having consistency and being diligent is a necessity. For as long as it took them to learn the behavior it will take at least as long to correct it.  We only get these kids for 1hr a day, but really that works out to approximately 180 hrs.  What you could you learn in that amount of time?

1.   Model it: If you want them to do it, you have to do it too.
2.   Expect it: When your expectations are reasonably high, children rise to the occasion.
3.   Teach it: Give children the tools they need to show you respect.
4.   Praise it: When you see or hear your student using respectful language and making respectful choices, recognize it and praise them for making positive, respectful decisions.
5.   Discuss it: Pick out times when you see other students using respectful or disrespectful language or behavior and discuss with it your students.
6.   Correct it: Be strong, firm and direct when teaching respect. At the same time, be sure you are being respectful yourself while correcting the behavior.
7.   Acknowledge it: Don’t just let things slide! Be sure to notice when respectful behavior is being exhibited and make sure to call them on disrespectful behavior!
8.   Understand it: Our students are growing and learning. Sometimes word choice and behavioral decisions are made because they do not have the correct words or behavior to relay “I’m tired,” “I’m frustrated,” or “I’m angry.”
9.   Reinforce it: Remind children of their good decisions so that they remember how it felt, the praise they received, and the overall experience of being respectful.
10. Reward it: Respectful behavior should be something that children want to do without overindulgent rewards. However, it is good to associate respectful behavior with intangible rewards such as praise, recognition, extra responsibility, and privileges.
Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

Monday, October 15, 2012

Using their brains

Think about the development of the brain of an adolescent.  What can I do to link their learning and storage with the different access points of the brain to help understanding and retention while the student's brain is continuing to grow. 

Planning, so I am starting to see, is a must have when it comes to keeping teens focused.  We see it every day, teen’s get restless and unfocused when they sit idle or are unchallenged.  Keeping this in mind while preparing for a lesson and thinking about the differences in learning styles, will help keep students engaged over the course of class time…hopefully!

Kids brains are still developing, especially in the frontal cortex, which maintains the areas for decision-making, appropriate behavior and the inhibitions that affect the rest of us.  Knowing the developmental processes of out students will help guide us to effective teach and support them.

By using specific strategies and modeling behavior, teachers like myself, can start to move students in a more positive direction.  Starting with your own demeanor and modeling the behaviors that you expect in them is the first step.  Maintain a set of standards that students will be expected to follow and enforce those standards consistently.  Knowing about teenage development and more about the differences in memory development, teachers can place specific strategies in place to facilitate learning and personal growth.

Semantic Memory:  Memory from books, lectures and presentations
Strategies to access
Graphic organizers, peer teaching (tea parties), questioning, summarizing (quick writes), debates, time lines,
Episodic Memory:  Sense of place and location-use local surrounds to relate to individual experiences.
Teaching strategies:
Bulletin boards, field trips, teaching important information from the same location, etc
Procedural memory:  Muscle memory, processes that the body does, classroom routines.
Teaching strategies
Repetition, Labs, discrepant events - movement enhances procedural memory and keeps students engaged.
Automatic Memory:  Conditioned response, ex. decoding not comprehension
Teaching strategies:
Music enhances automatic memory, repetition, quiz shows and games for review (Jeopardy)
Emotional Memory:  The most powerful memory. If it takes over, you lose logic.
Teaching Strategies:
Music, debate, role-play, teacher enthusiasm, knowledge of students and       their interests (Surveys, take real interest, how does this information affect

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Introduction to Evolution

To a degree, this type of lesson has been going fairly well.  Several reviews have mentioned liking the PPT format being outlined as Cornell Notes, doing pair shares throughout the class time to check for student understanding and the use of quiz cards for helping students with new and challenging vocabulary and with harder concepts.

After teaching the lesson, which is very similar to most of the lessons we do, a few thoughts have emerged.  During the pair share portions we have a space where we have them add one question to the side of their notes and after a few minutes we move on. I think it would be better to immediately review what questions have been written down and make it quick, down and dirty review session to help the whole class.  It would get them involved and break up the day.  I also think for periods of teaching where we are labeling something, such as labeling the cell, getting students to come up to the board and do it together and then have them do it individually would help with students not loosing interest and be more involved.

Ecology – Evolution Introduction
Biology 1A – 9/10
3A. STUDENT INFORMATION: English Language Learners
        1.) Readiness Level
2 ELL, all are above a 3.
Carlos-Recent immigrant, good English and fluent in Spanish.  Does not like to read. No previous Biology
Alleta-Good writer but poor reading comprehension. Had previous Biology but doesn’t remember much.
        2.) Learning Profile
      Psycomotor, Auditory
        3.) Interest
Soccer, friends and family
3B. STUDENT INFORMATION: Students w/ Special Needs
        1.) Readiness Level
Student with SLD – Has problems with auditory processing and reading comprehension (short term Memory)    
        2.) Learning Profile
Student is a multi Mododal learner and needs information and instruction in a variety of ways to acquire content   
        3.) Interest
     A. Enduring Understanding- Long term relations, how everything is connected.
What is Evolution?  How does Natural Selection affect differential survival of groups of organisms? Define and explain the mechanisms of Natural Selection.  How does geographic isolation affect speciation?
B. Essential Questions
What is natural Selection?  Who is Charles Darwin?  Explain the types of evolution-Macroevolution and Microevolution. How does Isolation affect evolution?  
     C. Reason for Instructional Strategies and Student Activities
Student activities will increase retention by explaining concepts to their partners.  Small group pairing is less intimidating so students are more likely to participate.

7d – Students know variation within a species increases the likelihood that at least some members of a species will survive under changed environmental conditions.

8a – Students know how natural selection determines the differential survival of groups or organisms.

8d – Students know reproductive and geographic isolation affects speciation.
Listening and Speaking 5I – Participate in social conversations with peers and adults on familiar topics by asking and answering questions and soliciting information.

El students are assessed at the I+1 standard and will be assessed during pair share activities and within response to specific Q&A from teacher.

     A. Cognitive
After the PPT lesson SWBAT students will demonstrate their understanding by answering and explaining what evolution is.  SWBAT define Natural Selection and explain it affects differential survival of groups of organisms? SWBAT explain how geographic isolation affect speciation? 
     B. Affective
Students will demonstrate their understanding through observed pair/share activities where the students are asked questions related to Evolution and Natural Selection and what they mean and how they are related through classroom activities such as think/pair/share, relating concepts taught to real world examples or experiences.  For example, moths have protective camouflage for particular backgrounds.
     C. Psychomotor
At the end of this lesson, students will Create of quiz cards with definition or concept on one side and the answers on the other.  They will further do summary writing at the end of the period on the topic(s) that was just covered.  As I walk around, I’m looking to see if they can put the ideas of the day into a sentence or two or that they are at least trying.  Writing both quiz cards and summary makes them review information again, read it and then write it again.
D. Language Development
Vocabulary and terminology of related topics will be explained.  Complicated words are said aloud with the whole class, with student repetition and break down of what it sounds like and what it’s meaning is.

      A. Diagnostic/Entry Level
Students will do a quick write on what knowledge they have or heard on the upcoming topic.  Bullet points are ok. 
B. Formative – Progress Monitoring
Students will be assessed during daily homework checks and incorporating teacher observed pair-share blocks throughout each class.  Individual Q & A throughout class, where I present questions to everyone and then choose 3-4 students to answer and share aloud.  In addition, students will write summaries at the end of the lesson or will be given essays to do as homework.
C. Summative
Weekly open note quizzes with self-grading by students and teacher guidance to correct answers.  Students will be able to self evaluate their progress in understanding vocabulary and concepts.  Students will further be assesses through end of Unit exams covering content from last test.  Included are essay questions for conceptual understanding and being able to apply what they have learned.

1.)   Content/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Students keep Biology notebook where they use Cornell notes for organization of power Point presentation.  For homework and in class, students make quiz cards of current vocabulary terms and or concepts for the day.  Checked throughout the week as a homework assignment.
2.)   Process/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Through think/pair/share students learn to explain ideas and concepts to partner.  Even simply repeating the notes as verbal practice is observed and encouraged.          
3.)   Product/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or
1.) Content/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Students keep Biology notebook where they use Cornell notes for organization of power Point presentation.  For homework and in class, students make quiz cards of current vocabulary terms and or concepts for the day.  Checked throughout the week as a homework assignment.
2.) Process/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Through think/pair/share students learn to explain ideas and concepts to partner.  Even simply repeating the notes as verbal practice is observed and encouraged.        
3.) Product/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Increased verbal explanations through pair/share activities linking written notes to oral recognition.  HELP!!!!!                

(Describe what the teacher does. Include differentiation strategies.)
       A. Anticipatory Set/Into
Students are instructed to work on bellwork, answer question of the day and write out HW assignment.  Question of the day: What is the evidence of Evolution proposed by Darwin?
(8 min)                       
       B. Instruction/Through
Provided through Power Point presentation to introduce students to new Unit on Evolution. (30 min)                                             
       C. Guided Practice/Through
Students are instructed to pair share with their partner to answer questions and terminology asked by teacher about Evolution/Natural selection.  Teacher calls on random pairs to discuss concepts or vocabulary. Twice throughout the lecture.
(5 min/each – 10 min)
D. Independent Practice/Through
Demonstrate Cornell note taking within PPT lecture with pictures of what it looks like and how it’s used.  Entire PPT is laid out as a template for students to follow.  For independent practice students make quiz cards as homework and for studying.  (8 min)
E. Closure
Students are instructed to write a summary of the lesson of the day explaining the difference in Evolution and Natural Selection and what evidence Darwin used to turn Evolution into a working theory.  (2 min)                   
       F. Beyond
Textbook pg. 371 (Fig 15-3).  Describe the 3 types and explain how each adapted to its island habitat.

(Describe what the students does. Include differentiation activities.)
       A. Anticipatory Set/Into
Students get to work on copying down homework and answering question of the day. (8 min)                  
       B. Instruction/Through
Students take notes using Cornell Notes and follow template provided through power point.  (30 min)                                              
       C. Guided Practice/Through
Students pair share with their partner to answer question asked by teacher about Evolution/Natural selection.  Teacher calls on random pairs to discuss concepts or vocabulary. Twice throughout the lecture (5 min/each – 10 min)
D. Independent Practice/Through
Students practice their knowledge through pair sharing. They receive questions from the teacher that have to ask their partner to answer.  What are the four types of evidence that Darwin uses to prove Evolution?  What is the difference between Macroevolution and Microevolution?  Give an example of each.  Define Succession and its role in proving Evolution. (8 min)
       E. Closure
Students write summaries of the day explaining the differences in Evolution and how natural selection plays a roll.  (2 min)               
       F. Beyond
Textbook pg. 371 (Fig 15-3).  Describe the 3 types and explain how each adapted to its island habitat.


SDAIE Rubric

Peppered Moth Lab – Assessed at the I+1
Early Advanced
Data and Observations
Data and observations are incorrect or missing entirely. Relevant units or labels are missing.
Data and observations are incomplete or do not include sufficient details. Relevant units or labels may be missing.
Data and observations are complete and correct.
Data and observations are complete and correct, with all relevant units and labels included. Student provides a level of detail and organization that goes above and beyond requirements.

Conclusions and Explanations.
ELD Standards-writing strategies and applications. Cluster 5 Reserchreports
Write expository compositions such as descriptions, comparison and contrast, and problem and solution, that include a main idea and some details in simple sentences.
Write brief expository compositions and reports that (a) include a hypothesis and some supporting details; (b) provide information from primary sources; and (c) include charts and graphs.
Write reflective compositions that explore the significance of events.
Write expository compositions and reports that convey information from primary and secondary sources and use some technical terms, use appropriate tone and voice for the purpose, audience and subject matter.

Understanding of Science Context
Little to no understanding of science context is evidenced from student's writing.
Some understanding of science context is evidenced from student's writing, but student does not always reason scientifically.
Firm understanding of science context is evidenced from student's writing.
Complete understanding of science context is evidenced from student's writing. Student provides a level of detail and depth that exceeds requirements.

Student does not correctly follow many aspects of the procedure.
Student correctly follows some aspects of procedure, but makes crucial mistakes or skips some important steps.
Student follows critical aspects or procedure, but has difficulty responding effectively to problems.
Student correctly follows every aspect of the procedure and supplements procedure with effective and inventive additions.

Student is unable to work cooperatively with lab partners to complete the activity. Requires continual intervention by teacher.
Student simply follows directions of partner(s) and makes little effort to actively contribute.
Student is able to work cooperatively with lab partners to complete the activity, but may not be receptive to partners' ideas.
Student works cooperatively with lab partners to complete the activity, emerging as an effective collaborator who supports the ideas and suggestions of his/her peers.