For this week in EDU 6526, we read chapter 8, Identifying Similarities and Differences, of our text, Classroom Instruction That Works, by Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, and Stone. For this blog post I will be self- assessing my teaching performance in this area using, A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works, by Pitler and Stone.
In reflecting on my time student teaching, I would give myself a 2 out of 5. This is an area that I would like to improve on. One way that I used similarities and differences was in introducing students to the five themes of World Geography. I made a power point slide that first defined the word theme for the students, and then prompted the students to identify some themes for the Seattle Seahawks. With the Seahawks winning the super bowl this was a great way to get their attention, build excitement, and also activate their prior knowledge. The students did a great job of identifying some of the themes for the Seahawks and then we moved on to the five themes of World Geography. In initially studying the five themes of World Geography, we applied them first to the state of Washington and specifically the Seattle region to promote familiarity with the topic.
There were also lessons I taught were I could have done a much better job of having students identify similarities and differences. For example, I taught a lesson on renewable and non-renewable energy sources. For this lesson, I introduced the major industries and then we made pro’s and con’s list for each one. I could have also led the students in making a Venn diagram or a Comparison matrix as the Handbook suggest (Pitler & Stone, p247-248). This would have been a great way to get the students interacting further with the content, and tie it all together. Through participation in our classroom discussion, a classmate suggested using metaphors to compare our emotional states, specifically with anger. This sounds like a great idea and I will have to do something similar next year.
According to our text, “many people consider these strategies to be the core of learning” (p119). The text also mentions the importance of variety among the different strategies, “comparing, classifying, creating metaphors, and creating analogies” (p121-2). I need to create activities that will focus on the latter two strategies. There were times when I provided the students with analogies or metaphors but I didn’t have the students work to create their own. An example of this came during a lesson on the greenhouse effect. I had the students think about the schools double pain windows and then described my single pain windows at home and the heat exchange that occurred. This is similar to the greenhouse effect and adding gasses is similar to adding layers of glass that will limit the exchange of atmospheric gasses. However, I need to provide the students with increased opportunities to think on their own.
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.