EDU 6526 Video Analysis

Video Analysis- Third Grade Teaching Adjectives

I decided to watch video #1 third grade teaching adjectives.  This post will use the text Classroom Instruction That Works, by Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, and Stone, to analyze this lesson.  The lesson starts out with the teacher asking the students to recall their prior knowledge by asking them if they remember what adjectives are.  Students give examples and then the teacher launches into the lesson.  The teacher was very clear in stating that they were going to work on adjectives in a new way.  This was a form of what are text recommends doing of connecting the learning objective to previous and future learning (p8).   However, I don’t know if she created a visual for the students to view.  Our text states that “it is important to communicate learning objectives to students explicitly by stating them verbally, displaying them in writing, and calling attention to them throughout a unit or lesson” (p7).  As an online observer I wasn’t totally clear on the learning target.  It was also hard to see all of the writing on the board.  Perhaps there was an area of the board or room where this was posted.  From my interpretation of the lesson, the learning target would have something to do with applying the five senses to improve the students understanding of adjectives

In going into this lesson, the teacher ask the students if they remember the five senses.  It is clear that they have worked on this before. As a class, they apply the five senses to come up with a good description of the ocean.  This is accomplished through guiding questions of the teacher. This could be considered a technique are text describes as an explicit cue (p54).  “Explicit cues activate students’ prior knowledge by bringing to mind relevant personal experiences or situations that they encounter on a regular basis” (p54).  This might not have been what the teacher was going for, but if the purpose is to activate prior knowledge, has everyone been to the beach?  Maybe something a little closer to home or even the school would work better.  What is the cafeteria like?  What is the playground like?  By using these situations, every students’ background knowledge will be activated.  This portion of the lesson could also almost be considered a form of what are text would call a narrative advanced organizer (p58 text).  Our text states, “this type of advanced organizer serves to engage students’ interest while at the same time activating their prior knowledge on a topic” (p 58).  The ocean, I think was perhaps used as a hook for students’ interest. If the teacher told more of a story it might better the fit into the category of a narrative advanced organizer.

The teacher did an excellent job of asking lots of questions during instruction.  Often these were in the form of inferential questions.  Our text mentions that by asking inferential questions, we are making our students access their prior knowledge thus creating a solid foundation for more learning to occur (p54). Specifically, when she asks them to use words that describe the Ocean and then the Oreo cookie.  Often times there will be several possibilities to these but they will still need to somewhat fit in.  The teacher does a great job of also accommodating student’s different responses. For example, when one student describes the ocean as quiet and the next person describes it as noisy.  The teacher wrote both down on the board as being possibilities. There was no right or wrong and I thought this was great.  Another thing that the teacher did during this questioning was to often repeat what the student had said.  I wasn’t sure of the purpose of this.  Was this for her own understanding or the other students?  In my own teaching, I did this for my own understanding as well as others. I also encouraged students to project their voice so their classmates could hear, and also there were times when I would ask students if they could repeat what their classmates had said.  I would stress during these interactions the importance of listening to each other’s insights and comments and the potential to build new thinking around our different thoughts.  For me, this relates to our texts chapter on reinforcing effort.  Listening, thinking, adding, and building upon each other’s comments, are characteristics of the learning community that I would like to see practiced my students.  It takes effort on behalf of the whole class in order to do so.

For summarizing and note taking the teacher provided the students with a type of teacher prepared notes (p90-1).  This was called a sentence web sheet that she handed out for the students.  It would have been great to get a quick glimpse of this worksheet.  However, the teacher was writing down student voice/responses that students were putting forth as descriptive adjectives around the Oreo: hear/sound, look like, smell like, feel, and taste.  “Teacher-prepared notes can also be in the form of a template that the teacher prepares and distributes to students.  By using this approach the teacher models how to take notes” (p91).  This is exactly what the teacher is doing in the video.

By including an actual Oreo in the lesson, the teacher is creating a type of kinesthetic activity.  Our text states, “As students engage in physical movement associated with specific knowledge, they generate a mental image of that knowledge” (p73).  The teacher also utilizes the text example of nonlinguistic representation of “generating mental pictures” with the example at the beginning of the lesson that uses the Ocean (p66).

Overall, I thought this was a very good lesson and the students looked to be engaged and participating.  Involving the Oreo brought a noticeable increased excitement level for the students that was fun to see.  I don’t think carrot sticks would create the same level of excitement, but I wonder if the same amount of engagement could be created using a healthier snack.  The lesson contains numerous techniques that are text mentions as being effective for creating student growth.


Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H. and Stone, B.  (20012). Classroom Instruction That Works.

2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.



EDU 6526 Summarizing and Note Taking

For week 4 of EDU 6526, we focused on chapter 6, Summarizing and Note Taking, of Classroom Instruction that Works.  Frequently, these are skills that teachers expect their students to be able to do.  Research has shown that students need to be taught explicitly, to ensure that students are able to pull out the important information that is contained within text and lessons.  Utilizing the companion text, A Handook for Classroom Instruction That Works, assisted me in self-assessing my teaching practice in these areas.

The process of self-assessment in this area of instruction helped me to identify this as an area that I need to improve upon.  I would score my-self 3 out of 5 for the note taking section.  Through-out my student teaching, I was very good at providing my learners with teacher-prepared notes and modeling for students how to use these effectively.  However, I generally found that I needed to be more explicit in explaining my expectations for note taking and the purpose behind notes. I always tried to incorporate questions in my lesson planning that would, if not in a student’s memory, require them to go back through their notes and try and find the answer.  At first, students looked at me with blank faces when I asked them to do this.  I had to model doing this for them, but after a little while, it became more routine and entertaining with students trying to find the answers in their notes.  This allowed me to access students’ prior learning, highlight important facts, link previous material to current, and stress the importance of writing legibly with proper titles to assist students in finding important information.

In reflecting on my teaching practice in summarizing, I would rate myself a 2 out of 5.  I would often start out each lesson by asking a student to summarize the previous days learning or remind the class of what we have been working on.  I also liked to provide an activity at the end of a learning segment that would allow students to summarize their learning.  However, I never explicitly taught my students how to do this.  I could be more effective in my teaching by utilizing the six different styles of summary frames: “narrative, topic-restriction-illustration, definition, argumentation, problem-solution, and conversation” (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, p83).  I also like the texts idea of creating posters around these different themes to serve as reminders for students.  It would be nice to be able to re-use these summarizing techniques without having to reteach them each time.  I think these frames could also be modified to fit the particular group of students that I find myself working with next year.

A classmate of mine also highlighted the use of reciprocal teaching to allow students to work on summarizing.  Utilizing the reciprocal teaching strategy asks students to work together to summarize, question, clarify, and make predictions (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, p88).  I particularly like this strategy because it can be done through cooperative learning groups.  By creating lessons focused on summarizing skills, making classroom posters for the different styles, and repeatedly having my students work on these skills, my learners will improve in their abilities to summarize important information in their classes, and sift through the immense amount of knowledge available through our technology World.

Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H. and Stone, B.  (20012). Classroom Instruction That Works.

2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012) A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. 2nd edition.  Alexandria,

VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

EDU 6120 Learning Illustrated

“Learning Illustrated”

For the fourth week in EDU 6120, we are asked to write on the following prompt learning illustrated.  This week’s learning covered some of the major thinkers of the Roman era and included readings by the historic figures Plutarch, and Quintillion.  We also had a reading, Educational Reform, by Arthur Ellis.  After completing the readings and listening to the online podcast, the terms classroom management, building relationships, and school climate were brought to mind.

From the Plutarch reading, The Education of Children, I enjoyed reading about his thoughts on the treatment of children.  Plutarch suggest that we should encourage children in a positive manner, yet this encouragement should be based on reality of their skills.  He also mentions that it is best to lift a student up when they are down and make sure to bring them down or utilize this time to correct them if they are too high.  Interacting with students in this manner will assist us in trying to create the Plutarch ideal of a student that might be able to be a “master of his passions”.  I want to make sure my interactions with students are overwhelmingly positive in nature.  I want to do this by building up their skills and enabling them to have success in the classroom by providing instruction that is at their current level.  I would like to celebrate success with them as well but also let them know that there is more to accomplish.  I also really like the thoughts of remaining balanced to the high’s and low’s that we all face, not just in the classroom, but in life.

From the The Institutes of Oratory (sel.), by Quintilion, I also found some of his comments related well in regards to classroom management and building relationships.  Quintilion suggest that teachers should have a “parental attitude towards pupils” and the majority of our talk should be “discourse on what is good and honorable” (Book II).  This also aligns well with my desire to be focused on what students strengths are and building them up accordingly.  Finding out my students’ strengths, and interest, and utilizing these in instruction will allow me create the positive environment that students will enjoy being a part of and put forth good effort.  The relationship will also be firm yet caring with high expectations.

The Arthur Ellis reading, Educational Reform, highlights the importance of creating learning environments that have good order and control of discipline problems.  The overall school climate can be a gauge in the level of success of the students.  Establishing rules and procedures with the students and being consistent with enforcing these rules will be at the forefront of my interactions with students.  When presented with challenging disruptive behavior, I will need to be able to quickly deal with this behavior in a positive manner.  I can do this by making sure that I am commenting on the good behaviors of students, yet, I must ensure that I am also making corrections that will allow my students to know that I am doing so based on the high expectations that I have for them.  I will make sure to build strong connections with students that are struggling and encourage and support them by sharing my belief in their abilities.


The Education of Children” by Plutarch (46-120 AD)

The Institutes of Oratory (sel.), byQuintilion (35-95 AD)

Educational Reform, by Arthur Ellis

EDU 6526 Nonlinguistic Representations

This week in EDU 6526, we studied chapter 3 Cues, Questions, and Advanced Organizers, and chapter 4 Nonlinguistic Representations, from Classroom Instruction That Works by Dean, Hubble, Pitler & Stone.  In addition there were also some helpful videos that went along with the readings.  For this blog post, I will focus on self-assessing myself in my use of Nonlinguistic Representations.

I am fortunate to have been able to student teach at a school that realizes the effectiveness of ELL strategies for all learners.  We had a few professional development days in which we were able to analyze the frequency that we used some of these techniques.  This had been an ongoing professional development and was referred to as High Leverage Teaching Moves for Language Acquisition.  These High Leverage Moves were listed on a chart as: pictorial input chart, comparative input chart, color coding, A/B partnerships, vocabulary, chants, visual aids, and cues/signals.  Part of this process for the teachers at this school was to keep this chart in a visible place, and track the amount of times that they were able to include these teaching strategies.  I also found this to be helpful during my student teaching.

In self-assessing my use of nonlinguistic representations, I would put myself as a 2.5 out of 5. A lot of my classroom lesson plans involved having students draw pictures to help illustrate concepts such as the greenhouse effect.  I also had students draw cotton maps to draw the potential path their clothes might have taken from seed to shirt.  I had students draw garbage maps to track how our waste is handled.  I was also intentional about trying to find an image to go with vocabulary words.  In utilizing A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works, by Pitler and Stone.  There are several areas that I could improve my instruction in Nonlinguistic representation.   Kinesthetic movement is a suggested practice to utilize.  I would love to try and use movement more in the classroom.  I was able to observe a teacher that had placed an A, B, C, and D on the different walls of his classroom.  He was able to use this for learning activities by giving blind pre-assessments.  Students would then switch papers and go to the area that represents the different letter for each different question as they were read aloud.  It was a great way to get students moving, take all the pressure off from being right, and it was a memorable activity to see how the rest of the class was thinking.

An additional type of Nonlinguistic activity that is mentioned in the handbook is utilizing manipulatives in classroom activities.  I would like to do a better of job of creating more hands on experiences for my learners in the future.  For a lesson on culture, I cooked a special family waffle recipe with the sixth grade students.  The level of engagement in this hands on learning activity was awesome.  Afterwards, I was left wondering how I could create similar activities for different areas of instruction.  As I continue to grow as a teacher, I plan on incorporating more nonlinguistic activities into my lesson planning.  Students really enjoy them and they are proven to be effective.  There is a strong correlation between enjoyment and learning.

Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H. and Stone, B.  (20012). Classroom Instruction That Works.

2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012) A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. 2nd edition.  Alexandria,

VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

EDU 6120 “Clear and Unclear Windows”

“Clear and Unclear Windows”

This week in EDU 6120, was titled Judeo-Christian Knowledge and Teaching and Learning in the East.  After listening to the podcast and doing the readings including one involving a tribute to a truly amazing teacher, I am left with a very clear window as to my obligation and duty to facilitate my students in developing a personal well-being that will help them to understand the importance of participation in their immediate community with pro-social attitudes towards their culture (Scheuerman Podcast).  Likewise, all students are still trying to develop or gain an understanding as to the nature of their being.  From podcast 1, Scheuerman discussed how the modern era of personal development has changed.  It is now more of a rarity that students have strong familial generational presence in their lives that was historically responsible for providing for a complete education for personal well being.  Today, most children will spend more time with their peer group, spoken in the lecture as the “tyranny of the peer group”.  Children begin learning from each other by watching and playing with one another from very early ages.  However, children also need to have a presence in their live that will help them to build a strong sense of identity and support in making the right choices through-out life.

As a teacher, I will strive to create a positive supportive climate that inspires participation in the classroom and encourage active socially engaging lives.  One of the ultimate goals of education is to inspire and prepare our students to participate in our Democracy.  In order to be prepared to do so, they will need to have a skill set that will enable them to be good learners but they will also need to be able to interact with one another, voice opinions, share thoughts, debate merits of one particular view point over another, and use good evidence in order to back up their beliefs or the perspective they were asked to represent.  The common core will help guide us in some of these areas.  The climate and culture will also need to be created. How can I design lesson plans that will allow my students to actively participate and socially interact with the knowledge and subject matter?  This is something that is always on my mind during lesson planning.  I would like to try and create authentic interactions for my students around the content.  I loved the examples from the lectures of rethinking assemblies for Veterans Day.  These sounded incredibly powerful and memorable for everyone involved.  I too was moved.  From Morning Stars, I love the teachers comment about discussing the classroom as an extension of the family.  I hadn’t thought of looking at the classroom as such but it would be a great way to work on establishing the social and moral etiquette that is expected in the classroom.  It also sounds like a great way to build a bond between the students and their families.  I am particularly interested in utilizing techniques that will strengthen the teacher, family, student bond.

Just as I need to create an interactive participatory classroom, I can also steer my students in the right direction outside of the classroom.  I am looking forward to communicating with family about students learning but I will also encourage them to become involved in other areas of the community if possible.  I can do this by filling the families in on the extra-curricular activities that are happening at school and in the community.  By establishing good relationships with the students and finding out their interest I could also connect different students that have similar interest to one another.  I will also seek to involve myself more in extra-curricular activities in the learning community that I become a part of.

EDU 6526 Week 2

For the second week in EDU 6526 we studied chapter 2, Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition, and chapter 3, Cooperative Learning, in Classroom Instruction That Works by Dean, Hubble, & Stone.  For the purposes of this blog, I will be self-assessing my teaching in these areas, and make plans for improvement based on the research that is provided in our text.

In self assessing myself on how I do in providing feedback that reinforces effort and recognition, I would rate myself a 3 on a scale of 1-5.  Previous classes at SPU stressed the importance of providing feedback that reinforces students’ effort in a very positive manner.  During my student teaching, I would always try and provide feedback to students that was constructive and simultaneously positive in praising their effort in what they had already accomplished.  Through participating in our class blackboard discussions, a classmate suggested the idea of a teacher being vigilant in looking for that good behavior and praising them in the moment.  By being well prepared to teach lessons, I will be able to be vigilant and focused on catching my students being good.  I could improve in this area by utilizing some of the suggestions in Classroom Instruction That Works.  One of these strategies is to use an effort rubric to go along with assignments (p26-28).  After students finish an assignment they could self-assess their effort.  In utilizing an effort rubric, as the text suggest, I could also create a graph that could depict the effort that students self-assessed on an assignment, or test, along with the resulting grades that were achieved.  This would be helpful to show the students a visual correlation between overall effort and achievement.  Additionally, the text mentions making sure that our praise is thoughtful, limited and individualized to the student (p31).  In making lesson activities that allow for differentiation, students will be able to be operating at the edge of their present level of performance (PLOP).  This will also assist me in being able to provide feedback that is personalized, constructive, and growth oriented.

In self assessing my-self on cooperative learning, on a scale of 1-5, I would have to give myself a 2.  In the middle school special education self-contained classroom that I was student teaching in, cooperative learning groups were not always encouraged.  There were often students that were on no contact contracts with one another.  I did utilize the think-pair-share strategy and a jigsaw activity.  Reflecting on these activities, it was very clear that I needed to spend more time establishing the expectations for the group work.  The text mentions some great ideas about being very explicit in defining roles for each member in the group to ensure that everyone is equally involved.  In my own classroom, I would like to spend time discussing with students the importance of cooperative learning and getting along with one another as well as the expectations for the different activities and roles for each group member.  For this week we also watched videos that described great ways to utilize jigsaw strategies, the silent card shuffle, and numbered heads together.  I really enjoyed watching these videos.  In special education, instruction often is occurring in very small groups.  However, I will still try and get creative, and adapt these different activities for my learners.  Special Education is very goal oriented towards academic goals.  As I am learning in EDU 6120, the goal of education is also to promote citizenship.  Cooperative learning is a great way for students to build social and communication skills that will be necessary to be good active participants in our democracy.

Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H. and Stone, B.  (20012). Classroom Instruction That Works.

2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


This week in review 7/6/14

This week in EDU 6120 focused on studying the Greeks and the notion of Paideia.  We had a reading from Arthur Ellis that pointed out the distinction between education and schooling and also writings by Plato and Aristotle. After reading the essay Schooling and Education, by Arthur Ellis, there is further proof of the importance of collaborating and working with all individuals involved in a student’s life in order to promote an education that will extend beyond the duration of the short school year.  Education begins the instant we are born and continues through-out our lives.  The major purpose of school is to promote citizenship (podcast 1).  We need basic skills in order to be good citizens as well as numerous other skills that can’t be measured by a test.  What is meaningful?  This question was posed by Professor Scheuerman at the beginning of the first lecture and served as a guide for this week’s learning.  To answer this question, we looked towards the system the Greeks had in place and some of their best thinkers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  The Greeks lived their lives in very segregated fashion of a class system that only allowed those of the higher echelon to participate in this process of the “public square”.  We are fortunate to be living in a time period when every child is granted a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  As a special education teacher, I find myself entering a field that is relatively new and very much still evolving.  Special education teachers are able to set educational goals that can be specific to math, reading, and writing.  However, there can also be goals that will lead students in the direction of becoming meaningful participants in society, or the “public square”.

How will I as an educator try and operationalize teaching students’ skills that will promote citizenship?  I will serve as a model for my students by making sure that I am fully participating in the community that I am involved in.  I will also work very hard to establish classroom rules and procedures, with my students, which will promote a positive supportive learning environment for all.  This type of learning environment will foster growth towards students’ educational goals and even more importantly growth and understanding towards the 5 pillars of responsibilities that we all need to strive for in society: Service, Honesty, Civility, Kindness, Participation, and Commitment (lecture notes week 2).  The classroom is a microcosm of our society where students area able to work on developing these skills.  I will be on the look-out for students that are portraying these qualities and praise students accordingly and in the moment.  I can also write goals in students IEP’s that will promote good citizenship with the long range goal of promoting citizenship in society.