Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELs

One goal of mine as a future educator is to create an environment where each student feels a sense of belonging.  I have noticed that students who have been in the United States for many years tend to stick with other peers similar to them.  Students who are recently new to the United States seem to be segregated from the dominant race as well as their own.  It is important for me as a teacher to make sure everybody feels comfortable.  One way I plan on doing this is to introduce the class to a project I have been thinking about.  The project, “Sailing around the World,” will provide each student an opportunity to teach the class about the culture, country, and demographics of an area in the world that they are from.  Students can work in groups with people from similar backgrounds.  Each day I will have the ship “dock” in a different part of the world.  The students will also be required to tell the class how the ship was able to get there (wind currents, ocean currents, etc.).  Another idea I have is for students to pick out of a scientist from their part of the world.  The students can write a brief paper that describes who the scientist is, where he is from, and what he is famous for.  I think it is important for students to see that scientists and other famous people come from all over the world.  On the first day of school, I am going to ask each student to put their name on a placard and draw pictures of their hobbies, what they’re proud of, or what they simply like to do with their free time.  After I have learned all of the students’ names, I will hang up their placard on the wall in the class so that all of the students can see what their peers enjoy doing.  Not only will this give the student a sense of pride, but students can also see what other students like to do and perhaps form a new friendship.  It is also important that students know a little about each of their peers.  I am going to develop a classroom website where each student will have to post during the first week a brief history of their life.  Each student will be required to read and to post on at least five different student’ blogs.  By reading the blogs, students can also identify similarities in other students’ blogs and develop relationships.  Without using the blogs as a method to communicate, students would probably not be able to see what they have in common with the students outside their immediate group of friends.  It is extremely important for me as the teacher to have background information about my students, as well as the students knowing about their peers.  Catherine Little stated in her article that she was terrified of animals.  I think her teacher could have prevented a traumatic experience by simply having a little background information.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lesson Planning

My lesson planning is designed so that students can retain the information presented.  Students learn better and more efficiently when their axons are firing and with the release of endorphines.  One of the reasons we get students out of their seats to participate and engage in activity is to get their endorphines flowing.  Students can make better connections to material that is taught in an integrated way, rather than as isolated bits of information.  Brain-based learning research has shown that the brain grows and adapts in response to external stimuli.  When developing lesson plans, teachers must design learning around student interests and make learning contextual.  Teachers should structure learning around real problems, encouraging students to also learn in settings outside the classroom.  In my classroom, students are taught using many interdisciplinary connections which include science, computers, language arts, fine arts, geography, global history, and health.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Classroom Management

Classroom Management Plan


The classroom strategies I will bring into my classroom are based on the basic philosophies of experimentalists and reconstructionists.  My overall philosophy of classroom management is to not just utilize one or two discipline strategies, but to use a variety of different strategies.  In my opinion, each strategy has pros and cons, so I think as a teacher it will be in my best interest to use multiple disciplines to create a fair and balanced atmosphere.  Out of all of the disciplines, I think the one I identify mostly with is the synergetic discipline.  I like the idea of teachers working with students to create an energetic and exciting atmosphere, and when misbehavior does occur, I think it is extremely important to take care of it gently and respectfully.  A few other disciplines I identified with include, Positive Classroom, Noncoercive, Discipline with Dignity, and Beyond Discipline.  My main focus is to create a synergetic classroom environment by including students in decision-making, having students take responsibility for their own actions, and as a teacher to remain calm and respectful while dealing with misbehavior. 

Preventive Approach:

I believe the best preventative approach to misbehavior in the classroom is to have great lesson plans that keep the students engaged and working on assignments until the end of class. 

1. The most important strategy I believe in the preventive approach to classroom management is establishing rules to guide the class.  Not only do the students need to know the rules of the class, but also as a teacher it is important that I hold class discussions on the rules, their implications, and their consequences (Coloroso, 1994).  Teachers cannot assume that the students will read the class syllabus and go over the rules.  Instead, teachers should assume that the students would not read the syllabus and rules, and should take a little class time to discuss inappropriate behaviors and the consequences.

2. Not only is it a good idea to go over the rules during the first few days of school, but also it is also important to ask for student input on what the consequences should be for breaking the rules (Glasser, 1985).  Another important part in establishing the rules is staying consistent in enforcing the rules and consequences (Glasser, 1985).  Teachers need to stay consistent in combating disruptive behavior or students will take this as a sign of weakness and continue with the inappropriate behavior.  Normally, it takes one student to get in trouble for students to comprehend that they don’t want to make the same mistake.

3. As a teacher, it is also very important that the teacher is more like a leader and not as a boss (Glasser, 1985).  Anybody who has had a boss that “tells” everybody what to do instead of asking knows that telling somebody to do something is not the best approach.  A good educator knows how to effectively communicate with students and to explain to them the importance of learning the assignment for the day.  Teachers should ask their students to do only work that is useful and try to eliminate busy work (Glasser, 1985).  Students will have a better attitude about learning when they know how it will be useful to them later in life.

4. In order to prevent misbehavior, teachers should concentrate on removing the causes of misbehavior (Charles, 2000).  One of the problems I have seen in my class is students using their iPods.  In order to be effective in combating the problem with iPods, teachers should explain on the first day of school that iPod use in class would not be tolerated.  I would explain to the class that if I see earphones or an iPod out, I would immediately take it away and turn it into the VP.  After the teacher sets these guidelines, it is very important that they stay consistent.

5. Another great way I will use to prevent misbehavior is to reward positive behavior.  During my lessons this year, if students are misbehaving I will stop until I have everybody’s attention.  While I am waiting, I will thank the students who are sitting quietly.  I have noticed that just by thanking the students will encourage other students to behave more appropriately.  I think the use of incentive programs to motivate responsible behavior is a great way to create a positive atmosphere (Jones, 1970s).  Students in my classroom will also be rewarded for their good behavior by gaining participation points for the day.  In my class, participation is worth twenty percent of the student’s grade, so it is very important that they behave appropriately on a regular basis. 

Supportive Approach:

The supportive approach is used to get students back on task.  Teachers can use body language to gain students’ attention to get back on track, or they can simply use appropriate lesson planning.

1. I believe the most important aspect to the supportive approach is to always treat the students with dignity (Curwin & Mendler, 1983).  When students have a lack of judgment and make a mistake, it is crucial that the teacher still treats the student with dignity and respect.  One of the biggest problems a teacher can have is if a student shuts down because they feel like they were embarrassed by the teacher in front of their peers.

2. A supportive approach that I use inside my classroom is to send an individual a secret signal so that other students don’t know (Albert, 1996).  As I stated above, it is very important that the teacher does not embarrass any students.  Most of the times I will either shake my head towards a particular student or just give them the “eye.”  Our classroom is also set up where I can move around in between desks so that I can stand near the inappropriate behavior while I give the lesson.  Students often stop the inappropriate behavior when the teacher is standing close by.

3. One of the best supportive approaches is that the curriculum must be organized to meet students’ needs for survival, belonging, power, fun, and freedom (Glasser, 1985).  As I stated earlier, I think one of the most important aspects to classroom management is having effective lesson plans.  The curriculum needs to be taught where students are continuously challenged and engaged.  The lessons also have to be designed in which they aren’t too challenging or boring for students or else there is a possibility where students will just shut down.

4. Providing efficient help to individual students is another great way to combat disruptive behavior (Jones, 1970s).  It is crucial that the teacher provides assistance to the “helpless hand raiser.”  Students tend to get a little restless when they don’t understand the material, so it is extremely important that the teacher walks around and assists students who need additional help. 

5. Give students the opportunity to solve their own problems and ask how they plan on doing so (Coloroso, 1994).  I believe this aspect gives the students the opportunity to reflect on the disruptive behavior and it gives them the opportunity to empathize with the teacher.  Put them in the teacher’s shoes.  How would they feel if their class was disrupted, and what would they do?  It is important that students understand that there are reasonable consequences for their actions.  The main goal is to get the students to think about what they did and how they would correct the inappropriate behavior.

Corrective Approach:

The corrective approach is how the teacher handles students when they violate the rules.  Effective corrective discipline should not intimidate students or be a struggle in power.  Corrective discipline should focus on how to stop the disruptive behavior from happening again in the future.

1. Reasonable consequences are when teacher and student jointly agree on a set of reasonable logical consequences (Coloroso, 1994).  I agree with this approach that the “punishment has to fit the crime.”  I think teachers get this idea that if the punishment is severe, the student won’t misbehave anymore.  I could not agree with this more.  Going back to the leader vs. boss, most students want to please their teacher if they respect them.  Students that are severely punished for a simple mistake would lose all respect for the teacher.

2. Secondly, if the misbehavior is minor enough, I think the teacher should defer discussion to later time and let the anger pass (Curwin & Mendler, 1983).  If both the teacher and the student are “fired” up, words could be said out of anger.  Minor misbehaviors should be dealt with after school or in between classes out of the view of others.  It is sometimes important to let the student calm down for a few minutes before a discussion about a punishment ensues.  The student will be most likely be angry and the teacher’s main concern is to diffuse the situation so that it doesn’t cause a bigger disruption.

3. When sitting down with the student, it is extremely important to discuss how the problem started, how the rules were broken, and how to prevent future occurrences (Glasser, 1985).  Sometimes the teacher does not get to see the entire disruption, so it is important to discuss with the student exactly what happened.  The student may not understand what rule they broke and in order for the student to learn from the misbehavior is to first identify what that behavior was.  The teacher and the student should then discuss how the behavior could be prevented in the future.

4. If the behavior in class is a serious infraction, use the Three R’s of reconciliatory justice: restitution, resolution, and reconciliation.  That means they need to fix what was done wrong, figure out how to keep it from happening again, and heal with the people they have harmed (Coloroso, 1994).  It is extremely important that if a serious infraction takes place during a lesson that the teacher intervenes and takes disciplinary actions immediately.  The number one priority for every teacher should be to protect each and every student.  Since the student will more than likely remain in the classroom, it is extremely important that all parties involve heal together and come up with a plan to prevent future instances.

5. Since the main goal of disruptions and misbehavior in class is to prevent them from happening again, it is crucial that the teacher finds the first opportunity to recognize a student’s positive behavior after the student receives a consequence (Canter, 1976).  As the teacher you want to build the student’s confidence back up after they have been disciplined.  At times, students will act out just to get the teacher’s attention.  Instead of the student always drawing negative attention, it is very important that the teacher commends the student when they are behaving well in class.  Most students want their teachers to see them as “cool” or a nice student, so I believe the more positive attention the teacher gives the class, the more the class will act more positively in return. 

Classroom Atmosphere:

The atmosphere of a classroom plays a vital role in student success.  Students need to be able to walk into a classroom environment that is welcoming.  Studies have shown that students’ achievement levels were lower in schools that modeled more of a prison environment than a learning environment.  What type of message are we sending to our children when we send them to schools that are unkept?  To me it shows students that we do not care about their welfare or well-being when we send our children to battered and weathered schools.  Students should walk into an inviting atmosphere, halls filled with students’ work, bathrooms in good condition, a welcoming office staff, and students helping staff in a variety of roles (Kohn, 1996).  Desks in the classrooms should be arranged in groups where students can collaborate with one another and discuss the lesson content.   Classroom discussion should include students often addressing one another directly, emphasis on thoughtful exploration of complicated issues, and where students ask questions at least as often as the teacher does (Kohn, 1996). 

Start Where Your Students Are:

It is extremely important that teachers recognize what environment works best for their students.  Teachers may assume that when they explain something to their students, the students will think the same about it as they do.  For example, when a teacher tells the students that they have to do well on a certain test because it will look better for college, the students may not care enough or realize the importance at that time.  Now if the teacher knows the students are competitive, they could present the students with a friendly competition.  It is also important for teachers to take time and reflect.  Why aren’t the students doing their homework?  Is it because I am assigning too much?  The last thing students want to do when they get home from school is to sit and do twenty pages of notes for one class.  Teachers also tend to make too big a deal when students make a mistake (Jackson, 2010).  I liked the idea Cynthia had.  As a teacher, I would try to make it a learning opportunity and at the same time allow students to redeem themselves.  Everybody makes mistakes and students should not have built-up anxiety over a homework assignment.  Teachers should instruct their classes to the classroom strength.  If the classroom works better as a group, or broken into smaller groups to learn content, the teacher should let them do so.  In contrast, if the classroom as a whole likes to work on instruction independently, the teacher should try to have a quieter classroom environment.


The synergetic classroom atmosphere promotes the best learning environment in my eyes.  I think the two disciplines I will use the most are the synergetic and noncoercive models.  I like how the noncoercive discipline suggests that teaching a quality curriculum is essential to good discipline.  The number one priority of mine is to let the students understand that they have a voice in my classroom.  By preparing well-developed lessons, my classroom will be fun, engaging, exciting, which will deter students from acting inappropriately.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SDAIE Lesson Plan

Noah Barringer The Sun and Star Factories– Box Format

The Sun and Star Factories
Earth Science Grades 9-12
3A. STUDENT INFORMATION: English Language Learners
     Maria, 11th grade, CELDT level 2, Mexican-American, first language Spanish, father is a migrant worker and mother is a housekeeper, works well in small groups.
        1.) Readiness Level
Maria can read and write at an early intermediate level.  She needs assistance with scientific terms.  She also struggles with conversational English.
        2.) Learning Profile
Kinesthetic and visual.
        3.) Interest
Maria is interested in social interactions with friends and group work with similar peers.
3B. STUDENT INFORMATION: Students w/ Special Needs
Orion, 9th grade, gifted and talented.  First language is English, and he lives at home with his parents, only child
        1.) Readiness Level
Reads and writes at least two grades ahead.  Extremely intelligent in science and math.  Currently in Algebra. 
        2.) Learning Profile
He works well alone, does not like working in groups.  Visual and textual learner.  Does not like getting out of his seat and participating in activities.
        3.) Interest
Science, drawing, and reading
     A. Enduring Understanding
The Sun is a major source of the Earth’s energy.  It is essential that students understand the different parts of the Sun and what elements the Sun is made of.  Students will learn about the different parts of the Sun and how heavier elements are made within stars through nuclear fusion.
     B. Essential Questions
If helium, hydrogen, and lithium were the only elements in our Universe after the Big Bang, how do other elements form?  How does the Sun give off energy?  Which part/s of the Sun does nuclear fusion take place in?
     C. Reason for Instructional Strategies and Student Activities
My classes are composed of mostly sophomores with a few students that are in other grades.  At the beginning of every chapter or new lesson, I focus on the new vocabulary words they will learn.  Students will watch a brief video clip and PowerPoint presentation and then participate in an activity that will demonstrate how nuclear fusion takes place in stars.  The activities for the lesson will meet every student’s learning style.
1e. Students know the Sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium.
2c. Students know the evidence indicating that all elements with an atomic number greater than that of lithium have been formed by nuclear fusion in stars.
I.E.d. Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence.
Respond to messages by asking simple questions or by briefly restating the message.
Identify the main idea and some supporting details of oral presentations, familiar literature, and key concepts of subject-matter content.
Apply knowledge of text connections to make inferences.
Use decoding skills and knowledge of both academic and social vocabulary to read independently.
Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of English syntax to interpret the meaning of idioms, analogies, and metaphors.
After watching the video clip and PowerPoint presentation about the Sun and nuclear fusion (cognitive), students will be able to label and define the different parts of the Sun, describe the process of nuclear fusion, and explain how heavier elements are made by filling out a graphic organizer and participating in a stand-up activity. (language development)(psychomotor)
     A. Diagnostic/Entry Level
Students will be assessed by reading and following the directions on the graphic organizer worksheet.
     B. Formative-Progress Monitoring
As students complete their graphic organizers, I will circulate around the room to check for student understanding of new definitions.  I will also be assessing proper pronunciation of the words when students are required to say them out loud while breaking the words up into syllables.  Students will also answer questions on a graphic organizer and participate in a stand-up activity.  The teacher will make sure the students follow directions to the activity and do it correctly.
     C. Summative
Students will write a paragraph or two on the different parts of the Sun, where nuclear fusion takes place, and what the product of nuclear fusion is while using the new vocabulary words.  The graphic organizers will be stamped and graded before they place them in their composition books.
1.)   Content/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Maria is at a CELDT level 2(Early Intermediate), so I will be focusing on the Intermediate level content for Maria.  She will use a graphic organizer to follow along the PowerPoint presentation with the teacher to define and label the different parts of the Sun.  She will also draw the Sun using a diagram and label the correct parts. After the class writes the definition of the word and draws a picture, all students are required to say the word out loud and clap at the different syllables (e.g. pho (clap) to (clap) syn (clap) the (clap) sis (clap) for photosynthesis) (SDAIE strategy).  Maria will also watch a short video clip explaining nuclear fusion and our Sun.
2.)   Process/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Students are arranged into groups of about 4.  Maria will sit with other bilingual and English speaking students.  I circulate while the students are defining, drawing, and saying the words out loud to help students learn the correct meaning and pronunciation of words.
 Product/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or
I will be circulating around the room and students can see me if they need additional assistance.  I check the graphic organizers for completion and to make sure they are correct before students glue them into their composition books.  I observe the students while participating in the stand-up activity to assess comprehension.   I assist the students and read the question orally on a test/quiz to help them understand what the question is asking.
1.)     Content/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Orion will be sitting in his group and filling out his graphic organizer while following along with the PowerPoint.  He will write the definition of the Sun’s different parts, draw a picture of the Sun and label the parts.  After the students are done, the class as a whole will be required to say the word out loud and clap at the different syllables. 
2.)     Process/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Orion does not like working in groups, so he will be able to work on his graphic organizer by himself.  After the students complete the vocabulary portion of the lesson they will be required to participate in an activity that gets everybody out of their seats.  Orion does not need to participate if he does not want to.  He may just observe if he wants.
3.)     Product/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
Orion may see me if he needs extra clarification or help with any part of the lesson.  I will be circulating around the room and students can see me if they need additional assistance.  I check the graphic organizers for completion and to make sure they are correct before students glue them into their composition books. 
(Describe what the teacher does. Include differentiation strategies.)
       A. Anticipatory Set/Into
On the day prior to the lesson, the teacher had students research information regarding our Sun and planets for a project.  When students arrive to class, the teacher will go over the schedule and objectives for the day.  The students will then work on the warm-up question for the day, which is “Write down as many things you know about our Sun as you can.” While the students are answering the question, I will pass out an H, He, C, O, and Fe to each group.  The letters will be glued to a Popsicle stick. Following the warm-up question, the teacher will show a quick video clip about the different parts of the Sun and explain what nuclear fusion is. (10 min)
       B. Instruction/Through
The teacher will pass out a graphic organizer to each student.  After students receive the graphic organizer, the teacher will go through each individual page with the students and explain what is expected of them.  The teacher will give a brief PowerPoint presentation on the different parts of the Sun and nuclear fusion.  The first few slides will consist of the Sun and it’s parts, and students will follow along, labeling and defining the different parts of the Sun on their diagram.  The next slide will be a big explosion, which will simulate the Big Bang.  The following slides will explain how nuclear fusion occurs and the life cycle of a star. 
(15 min)
       C. Guided Practice/Through
The teacher will go through the PowerPoint slides with students, saying and defining each word.  The teacher will also show pictures of each word, and identify where each word goes on the Sun diagram. Words will be said out loud by the teacher.  The words will be broken into syllables (clapping at each syllable) so that students will know how to pronounce each word correctly (SDAIE strategy). Following the slides, the students will hear a big explosion from the speakers.  The teacher will tell the students that the Big Bang just happened and that all of the Hydrogens need to stand up.  After they stand up, the teacher will tell them they need to pair up (fuse together).  The next step the teacher will tell them that the Hydrogens are running out of fuel, and that the Heliums need to stand up and fuse together.  The class will continue doing this until they get to iron.  After the class gets to iron, the teacher will have the students with the iron placards accumulate to the center of the class.  Finally, the teacher will tell the students that on the count of three the star will explode and that they all have to scatter. (30 min)
       D. Independent Practice/Through
The teacher will say and define each new vocabulary word.  The teacher will describe each word and explain what part of the Sun it is and what occurs in that specific area of the Sun.  (10 min)     
       E. Closure
At the end of class, the teacher will require the students to paste their graphic organizers into their composition books.  The teacher will go over the main ideas and points from the lesson at the end of class.  The teacher will ask students to identify the six parts of the Sun, and what nuclear fusion does. (5 min)
       F. Beyond
The following week, the teacher will quiz the students on new vocabulary words during a test review Jeopardy game in which students will be put into teams to answer specific questions about the new terms. (1 hour)
(Describe what the students does. Include differentiation activities.)
       A. Anticipatory Set/Into
The students worked on a project the day before to answer questions regarding our Sun and planets.  The students also answered a warm-up question, “Write down as many things you know about our Sun as you can,” once they arrived to class.  Following the warm-up question of the day, students will watch a brief YouTube video clip about the Sun and nuclear fusion. (10 min)
       B. Instruction/Through
The students will receive a graphic organizer from the teacher.  After the teacher gives the students the graphic organizer they will go through the organizer as the teacher gives them instructions on what they will do.  The students will then watch a brief PowerPoint presentation about the different parts of the Sun and nuclear fusion.     
       C. Guided Practice/Through
Students will follow along while the teacher is going through the PowerPoint slides, saying and defining each word.  Students will also view pictures of each word and observe where each word goes on the Sun diagram.  Students will write the definitions to each word on their graphic organizer.  After students are finished writing the definition to the new word, the teacher will instruct the students to say each word as a class (clapping at each syllable of each word).  After the students have said the word (clapping at each syllable) two times, the students will be required to say the word as they normally would (SDAIE strategy).  Following the slides, the students will hear a big explosion from the speakers.  The students will be told that the Big Bang just happened and that all of the Hydrogens need to stand up.  After they stand up, students will be told that they need to pair up (fuse together).  For the next step, the teacher will tell the Hydrogens that they are running out of fuel, and that the Helium need to stand up and fuse together.  The process will continue until the class gets to iron.  After the class gets to iron, the teacher will have the students with the iron placards all accumulate in the center of the class.  Finally, the students will be told that on the count of three the star will explode and that they all have to scatter.  (30 min)
       D. Independent Practice/Through
Students will draw and label the parts to the Sun diagram on their graphic organizers, using the model on the PowerPoint slide as a guide.  Students will continue to work on their graphic organizers until they are completed. (10 min)
       E. Closure
The students will be required to paste the graphic organizers they completed into their composition books.  The students will write a summary to the questions the teacher asks.  (Parts of the Sun, What nuclear fusion does, etc.) (5 min)
       F. Beyond
The following week, students will participate in a quiz on new vocabulary words during a test review Jeopardy game in which they will be put into teams to answer specific questions about the new terms. (1 hour)
PowerPoint, graphic organizer, video                                                                                                                                  
Reflection:  I think the lesson was designed pretty well.  All of my students were able to understand the lesson and complete the graphic organizer. Maria was able to work with a bilingual peer and do well.  The lesson was designed for each learning style.  At the beginning of class, I asked a warm-up question and showed a quick YouTube clip to gain the students’ interest.  I placed the Sun diagram with the different parts labeled and defined on PowerPoint so that all students could see the words while we said them out loud as a class.  After we completed the vocabulary part of the lesson, the students had a lot of fun with a nuclear fusion activity. Following the activity, students worked together in think, pair, share, as well as finishing their graphic organizer.  Right before the end of class, I was able say the definition of one of the new vocabulary words and call on volunteers.  The students will also required to write a quick summary on what they learned for the day and what objectives they covered.  Clapping at the syllables was a great SDAIE strategy.  Not only could all of the students see the word and definition, but I also said the word and definition out loud, showed them a picture of the word and had them draw one of their own, and finally clapping at the syllables in order to pronounce the word correctly. Overall, I was very pleased with the class working together in groups and being able to do well on this assignment.