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


Teacher Observation- Co-Teaching Reading and Writing

O2. – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area.

Opener and Closer.-I observed in a first and second period 6th grade reading and writing class.  The learning goals for the period were written up on the board as “Teaching points”.  The first activity was a guessing game.  The students had previously filled out small sheets of paper in which they had provided a written example of an action, dialogue, detail, and setting.  The teacher read these out loud and the students tried to guess which student had written them.  When prompted as to why they were doing this, the students replied, “it creates teamwork”, “helps us develop dialogue”, and “keeps our moral up”.  For the beginning of new material for the lesson on “perspectives”. The teacher showed a cartoon of a man on a small island surrounded by water with hands raised saying “a boat!” and the person in the boat saying “land!”  The students were asked to give thumbs up when they understood it, then talked to their neighbor, followed by sharing with the class.  The closer was having the students write in their reader notebooks, ways in which the main characters perspective was influenced by some of the secondary character’s after silent reading.

Questioning– Both teachers used excellent questions.  Questions that asked students to think for themselves and expand on their answers to describe why they thought or felt a particular way.  Equal number of boys and girls were called on and participated in the discussion, always by raising their hands.  Questions were also used for quick formative assessment.  Show a thumbs up for when ready to discuss.  Share with the group what was discussed. Questions were also asked requiring students to process the value in doing certain activities.

Classroom Management– This was an extremely well behaved classroom.  Students were aware of the expectation of having their materials out and ready to go at the beginning of the period.  If they didn’t they would be marked tardy.  It was clear and well followed that students would raise their hands to participate in discussions.  One teacher would be talking and the other teacher would make sure the other students were listening and following along.  “1-2-3” was said out loud to bring the group back together effectively.  There were posters on the walls that the students and teachers had co-created earlier in the year.  These posters dealt with class expectations and also suggestions for learning; what does is look like to be prepared for class, how will we participate in discussions, appropriate and inappropriate dialogue, how to keep conversations going. A word wall with the alphabet and new vocab words that were added to the letters on the wall.

Instructional Strategies. Numerous instructional strategies were used that ensured an ability for the teachers to assess their students’ level of engagement.  Show a thumbs up, think-pair-share, thinking prompt with a cartoon, guess which student wrote examples of; action, dialogue, setting, detail.  Readers notebooks were utilized for creating interactions with content.  For this day, the students were working on their seventh entry: Perspective- synthesizing and then writing prompt “how do the secondary characters influence or offer a new perspective to our protagonist”. It was also suggested that students could draw a picture that would help the visual learners.  The teacher modeled a diagram of this for the students’.  During the class, the teachers also handed back a writing project that the students’ had submitted.  The writing assignment was graded on a rubric.  The rubric for the writing sample was discussed and read aloud, detailing how students could meet the standards.  Students that were not happy with their rubric score were given the option of re-doing some of their writing to improve their scores. Utilizing a rubric written in appropriate language, and allowing students to improve their score, are what I think are great examples of the HOPE standard –O2 – Offer appropriate challenge in the content areaThe teachers were encouraging students to try and improve their scores regardless of where they fell on the rubric.  This struck me as a positive way of challenging students to improve their skills for the writing assessment rubric while simultaneously achieving their writing goal for the day of “writers celebrate one another’s success & next steps”.  Marzano (2007), says “Focusing on knowledge gain also provides a legitimate way to recognize and celebrate- as opposed to reward-success” (p. 27).  The evidence provided for this post is below.  These teaching points were visible, written in student friendly language, provided the students with a good focus for the class, and an appropriate challenge in the content area.

Use of Technology. The topic of the book that the students were working with dealt with migrant farm workers.  Students were encouraged to go home and do internet researches on the author Francisco Jimenez, Cesar Chavez, migrant farming in Washington, or the grape boycott.

teaching points

Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.