Monday, November 26, 2012

My Literacy Rich Classroom

This semester, I have been surprised by the literacy levels of my students.  They are able to verbally express their ideas and participate in classroom discussions.  They are also able to express their ideas by writing in their composition books and answering daily warm-up questions.  I have noticed some of my students have trouble with answering some of the warm-up questions without guidance.  Students sometimes still struggle when I tell them the answers are in their notes from the following day.  When students do find the correct answers, generally they do not write them in complete sentences.

September 30, 2013
My literacy rich classroom looks like students are beginning to feel comfortable discussing content with their peers.  Students will be required to write in composition books on a daily basis and they're writing will continue to improve.  Often times, I give stamps for points for correct answers.  When I have my own classroom am I going to begin correcting grammatical errors to improve student writing.  My students will be actively engaged in classroom discussions and be required to answer open-ended questions on a daily basis.  My students will be reading and presenting weekly articles to be discussed with the class.

December 15, 2013
My literacy rich classroom looks like students are now comfortable with classroom debates and discussions.  Students have improved their writing skills and are not making as many grammatical mistakes.  I have now implemented a classroom blog where students will be required to answer questions and comment on each other's blogs.  Each week students will be selected to ask their classmates a question to promote critical thinking in regards to the content.  A few students will be assigned each week to pick out a few questions from the content that will be discussed in a forum.  Students will continue to pick out news articles that will be discussed in class.  Daily warm-up questions will also continue as the school year progresses.

May 30, 2014
My literacy classroom looks like students are now leading classroom debates and discussions.  Students are making less and less grammatical errors and they're writing every answer in complete sentences.  The classroom blog is being used on a daily basis to comment and interact with other students on a variety of science topics.  Students are able to connect content from the beginning of the year to the content towards the end.  Classroom discussions are being led by the students and each day students choose a question from the content to be discussed by the entire class.  Students are able to write a research paper and present their material as a presentation to the entire class.  The class continues to use a classroom blog to offer feedback to one another and discuss various science topics.  Students are able to independently write and read content on their own and are able to come up with their own ideas by critically thinking about the material.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Project Tomorrow


Project Tomorrow is a national education nonprofit group based in Irvine, California, that prepares today’s students to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, and engaged students. 

In the report, “Leveraging Intelligent Adaptive Learning To Personalize Education,” two-thirds of principals (67 percent) noted that the use of digital content in the classroom increases student engagement in school and learning, and 45 percent see digital content as a new pathway for personalized instruction for each student.  In my opinion, I think the statistics prove that when students are taught with technological tools they are familiar with they’re scores increase.  These students have been raised in the digital age, but the problem is, most teachers were not.  I am shocked to see that in 2007 only one in ten teachers were using some type of digital games within instruction.  Teachers need to make learning the particular subject fun for students, and I think by adding more digital games will make the subject matter more entertaining as well as encourage competition.  What doesn’t surprise me is that 59% of principals would like to see incoming teachers to arrive with experience in adaptive learning tools.  With the majority of parents wanting technology solutions that provide individualized instruction, administrators need to find teachers that share the same vision.  Since I am going to be one of the new teachers looking for employment, I think I have the knowledge and experience that promotes adaptive learning.  One idea I have is to implement a class website and blog where students can work at their own pace while working collaboratively with their peers.  I will also use online games that students can play that will help with their learning process.

After watching, “Speak Up in Learning to Change, Changing to Learn” different CEO’s explained how crucial it is to change our educational system from what we are used to into a new, technologically centered learning atmosphere.  The people interviewed explained how learning involves more than what takes place in the classroom.  Students are learning by communicating with others, through the community, and also by visiting museums.  What surprises me after watching the video is that even the people interviewed believe that teaching to the test is a terrible way for students to learn.  Why are we still teaching to the test?  Students are not learning how to critically think by memorizing content in order to pass a test.  By implementing different technological ways in which students are used to, teachers can promote an environment that focuses on critically thinking.  I think creating a classroom blog will allow students the ability to offer constructive criticism while using technology that they are used to.  Instead of giving students pointless homework assignments, teachers can give students meaningful discussion questions that can be answered on the blog and students will be able to see different viewpoints.  Nowadays, with the use of technology, teachers can go to websites while teaching a lesson and show students specific examples from museums or from the natural environment.

I think the program “youth TEACH2Learn” by Project Tomorrow, is an excellent way to start preparing students to become future educators.  This program is designed to encourage high school students to begin teaching science and math to elementary school students.  Studies have proven that when children between ages of eight and nine are introduced to math and science are more likely to pursue a career in one of the two fields.  At my new school, I can encourage the administration to adopt a similar program.  Just as AVID helps prepare students for college and teaches students responsibility, this program will prepare students for a career in teaching, as well as earning them 3 units of transferable college credits.  Not only will this program help with preparing future teachers and give students college credits, it will also be a great resume builder, college reference, and provide these students with work experience.  

We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Creativity in the Classroom


Teaching students to be creative is a major part of the curriculum in my classroom.  The lessons taught in my classroom on a daily basis emphasize creativity by allowing students to perform labs, color and draw, as well as many other activities.  For example, one lesson we had students work on a few weeks ago was to invent an Alien real estate company and sell properties on the different planets in our solar system.  Students were required to create a brochure and write a persuasive essay in order to convince their peers in class why their property on their planet was best suited to meet their needs.  Activities such as this one allows students to learn the material while having fun doing so.  Science can be extremely boring for a lot of students, but a successful teacher finds ways for the students to have fun while learning the content.

While teaching these same labs and activities, students will be challenged to think critically and solve problems.  Not only are students thinking critically while conducting labs, they also are required to answer a challenging daily warm-up question.  One example of how we teach students to think critically in my classroom came when I was discussing features of our ocean.  I decided to do a discrepant event in my classroom called, “Ocean in a bottle.”  The experiment is a great example of a processing activity.  During the experiment, I filled a 32 oz. bottle halfway full of water and a few inches of sand on the bottom.  I took a thermometer and placed it in the middle of the sand.  I told the students that I would be shaking the bottle for 5 minutes and asked them whether they thought the water would warm up or cool down.  The students were required to write their answers on a piece of paper.  Secondly, I asked students what type of energy was being displayed.  I then asked students to tell me where in our environment this action occurs.  I continued to ask different questions until the students were able to figure out the correct answers.

Communication, discussion, and collaboration happen on a daily basis in my classroom.  Students work in groups while conducting lab experiments, projects, as well as other activities.  While I am teaching a lesson, I will frequently ask students to ask their partner what they think about a particular topic.  I will also ask students to tell their partner what they think the correct answer is.  After students talk amongst themselves, I will then facilitate an entire class discussion about the topic.

As an educator, I think one area where I could improve is allowing my students the ability to conduct more research and activities online.  The majority of the lessons I teach are taught in a classroom that lacks computers and other helpful technological tools.  For the particular Alien lesson, students were able to work in the computer lab for two hours to obtain the information they needed to complete the assignment.  I think I would implement more media centered activities if the school had more resources.  On two occasions, I was fortunate enough to be able to take my class to the computer lab to access information.  Other than the two times in my class, students have only been able to utilize computers at school at their leisure. 

Information literacy is extremely important in my class.  Often times, students are required to read newspaper articles about a specific topic that we are covering in class and by using an AVID strategy (NEWS, Noteworthy, Evidence, What does it have to do with me, and Science connection) are able to write about the main ideas.  We then, as an entire class, discuss those ideas on how they are related to what we are doing in the classroom.

We try to teach the students autonomy whenever possible.  Students need to develop ways on how they can think independently.  The warm-up questions we ask students every morning on done independently.  After all students have received a stamp for achieving the correct answer, we then discuss the topic as a class.  Homework assignments and certain worksheet activities are completed independently.  For the homework assignments, students are given nine different assignments where they are asked to pick three to complete.  Only one of the nine assignments weekly has to be completed.  For the rest of the assignments, students are given the opportunity to choose which other two they would like to complete. Group settings are also encouraged in our classroom.  In a few years, the majority of the students will be entering the work force and it is important that we allow students to develop as “team” players.  Students work together as a team in our classroom to complete labs and certain activities.  I think it is important for me to allow students to work to their strengths.  For example, students were able to decide amongst themselves which part of the Alien assignment they would complete.  Some students really wanted to use their creative skills to draw the brochure while other students used their creative strengths and chose to write the persuasive essay.  I believe it is extremely important to give students choices, allow them to be creative, and to teach them how to effectively use technology because all of these skills will be used throughout their entire lives. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Unit Plan


UNIT TOPIC:  Discovering the Sun

1. UNIT CONTEXT       

Subject/Content Area

Course: Earth Science

Grade Level: 9-12      

Length of Unit: The unit will cover Tuesday (1 hr), Wednesday/Thursday (2 hrs), and Friday (1 hr).

2. FACTS ABOUT THE LEARNERS     

Whole Class Information

·       Number of students in class: 38
·       Demographic Information: The students’ ethnicities range from 22 being from Hispanic decent, 13 Caucasian, 2 African-American, and one Middle Eastern.  Approximately, half of the students are female and half are male.  The class consists of 18 ELL students and 3 students with IEPs, including one who is “gifted.”  A majority of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches.
·       Developmental Needs: Elena and Maria are both at the Early Intermediate CELDT level, so I would use the i + 1 strategy and teach them at an Intermediate level.  Elena enjoys going to Mexico and visit with family, and Maria enjoys watching her siblings for her mom.  Elena also enjoys reading Spanish literature.  Both Elena and Maria are shy socially, and they do not like interacting in large groups.  Elena and Maria would both benefit from learning visually as well as textual rather than auditory.  Elena and Maria will be paired with a Bilingual partner who is at a higher CELDT level.  Alex has difficulty with literacy skills.  He is currently reading at a seventh-grade level and continues to struggle with decoding words.  Ryan, on the other hand, is extremely smart and read and writes two grade levels ahead.  Both Alex and Ryan do not like working in large groups.  Alex enjoys drawing and playing video games by himself.  Ryan enjoys reading, science, and drawing during his spare time.  I am going to place Alex and Ryan with a partner that will be best suited for their needs.  Alex will be paired with an easy going, probably a girl, who enjoys helping others.  Ryan will be paired with another student, probably a student with a good grasp of science (so that they won’t frustrate Ryan).  Alex learns better kinesthetically and visually.  Ryan prefers learning visually and textually.  I will give Ryan and Alex an option to work by themselves if by working in a group of two makes them uncomfortable.  Erik is a student that has an IEP which states that he is allowed extra time on tests and only needs 75% of the points to receive an A.  Erik works really well with others.  He generally works well with the same partner on all projects/labs.  He is interested in skateboarding and hanging out with friends away from school.  Erik does not seem to learn any differently using the various learning styles. 

 

Individual Student Information and Differentiation Strategies

Provide the following information for 5 specific students
·       Elena and Maria
·       Alex and Ryan
·       Erik
1.     Elena is an ELL student at an Early Intermediate CELDT level.  She is a Hispanic girl (recently moved to the United States one and a half years ago) who is in the tenth grade.  Both of Elena’s parents are professionals and the family is very close.  The report cards we received from Elena’s school in Mexico indicate that she consistently receives above average grades.  The primary language in her home is Spanish.  Elena would like to further her education in college.  Since Elena is in tenth grade and at an Early Intermediate level, I will be teaching her at the Intermediate level.  Time is of the essence and since she only has two more years to reach the advance level, I will challenge her.  Elena will be paired with a student at a higher CELDT level who is Bilingual.  She does not really like to work in large groups and is rather shy, so I am going to allow students to either present their research and findings as a presentation, or students will be allowed to make a poster board and present her findings to me.  Elena will be able to use an English to Spanish translation while looking up the questions on the Internet.  The teacher will also provide Elena a copy of the PowerPoint that guides the students on how to write the persuasive essay.  Elena and her partner will be assessed by providing the teacher with her persuasive essay, packet of work, brochure, and presentation/poster board.  In order to monitor progress, I will use an informal formative assessment by observing Elena and her partner working on their project.  I will also provide oral feedback to her and her partner.  The next step to facilitate the student’s needs, I would have Elena present her project to me so that she can work on her English verbal skills.
2.     Maria is an ELL student at an Early Intermediate CELDT level.  She is a Hispanic girl (recently moved to the United States two years ago from Mexico City) who is in the eleventh grade.  Maria lives with her mother and three siblings.  Her dad still lives in Mexico and rarely speaks to anybody in the family.  Maria is the oldest child and in many cases has been responsible for taking care of her siblings when her mother is at work.  She did not have proper schooling even when she lived in Mexico.  The primary language at home is Spanish.  Maria would like to grow up and own a bakery.  Her mother is currently working in a bakery, and Maria would eventually like to own one.  Maria and her partner are going to be required to turn in her packet of work, which will include the persuasive essay, brochure, and the answer to the 15 questions.  Since Maria is extremely shy, I will allow her to create a poster board and explain her project to me. Maria will use English to Spanish translation while looking up the questions on the Internet.  I will also provide the PowerPoint slides for her to look at while I explain the persuasive essay part of the project.  In order to monitor her progress, I will use an informal formative assessment by observing Maria and partner.  I will have Maria present her project to me verbally so she can work on her English skills.  I will offer any assistance that she may need.
3.     Alex is a 15-year old boy in the tenth grade that has a learning disability that has been detrimental to his literacy skills.  He is currently reading at a seventh grade level while he is in the tenth grade.  Alex also suffers from asthma, so occasionally he may have to step out to use his inhaler.  I think the best situation for Alex in terms of this project is to pair him up with a sweet, kind-hearted person who likes to write.  Since Alex has problems reading and writing, I think the brochure part of the assignment would work out nicely for him.  He likes to draw in his spare time and he doesn’t like to work in large groups, but I think slowly getting him to work with other people will help break this barrier.  I will also allow Alex and his partner to present a poster board to me instead of going in front of the entire class.  The last thing I want to do is make any student feel uncomfortable because they may become too scared to even come to school.  In order to make sure Alex is still learning the content of the unit, I will assess him verbally to check for understanding.  I will assist Alex in any way needed for him to do well on the project.
4.     Ryan is a 14-year old gifted boy that has a learning disability that has been debilitating to him working in groups.  Ryan reads and writes at an eleventh grade level.  He is extremely smart, but lacks social skills.  Ryan really enjoys science and it seems he knows more about the subject than any other person.  In his spare time, Ryan enjoys reading about science and drawing.  At times, it is difficult for Ryan to get out of his seat.  When the class is working in groups, Ryan prefers to sit in his seat and work by himself.  There is one student in the class he has been bonding with, so I think pairing the two for this project would work out best.  Ryan is extremely ready for this project, and in fact I may need to challenge him a little more.  I am going to have him do additional research on our galaxy, the Milky Way.  If Ryan is not challenged, it seems as if he just shuts down.  Since Ryan does not like interacting with the rest of the class, I am also going to have Ryan and his partner create a poster board and verbally tell me what they did for the project.  I will assist in any way needed for Ryan to do well on the assignment.
5.     Erik is a tenth grade student that has an IEP, which states to allow him extra time on tests and a 75% on assignments equals an A.  To me, it does not seem like Erik has a learning disability.  He is extremely smart and very sociable in class.  Erik is popular, respectful, and is a hard working student.  Erik was born and raised in the area and has a nice family background.  Both of his parents are hard working blue collared workers.  One of Erik’s favorite hobbies is skateboarding, which he is very good at.  For this project, I am going to pair Erik with a girl he normally does his work with.  They have a great working relationship and always do well together.  Erik and his partner will decide which part he will do because he is the type of student that could do either or.  I gave Erik and his partner the option to either present or make a poster board for me, and they decided to present.  The only thing I will do differently for Erik is make adjustments to his final score so that if he completes 75% of the assignment, that is the equivalent to 100% for another student.  I will assist Erik in any way needed for him to succeed on the assignment.   
   

2. Unit Rationale: Enduring Understandings & Essential Questions

The unit is extremely important for the students to understand the different facts about our Sun and the planets in our solar system.  The unit will allow students to be creative while making a brochure and persuasive essay.  This unit meets the “big picture” and goals for the students because students are learning about the Sun, planets, and the entire solar system in one activity.

Enduring Understandings (EU)

At the end of the Unit, students will know facts about our Sun, our solar system, and planets.  Students will be able to illustrate (using a brochure), convince (by persuasive essay), and explain (by presentation) facts about our Sun, planets, and solar system.

Essential Questions


Essential Questions:
·       What makes our Sun good for this solar system?
·       What planets would be good for a species looking for a rocky surface?
·       Why are terrestrial planets located where they are?
·       What makes it difficult for life to thrive in gaseous planets?
·       What is going to happen to the alien’s Sun?
·       What would happen to our Sun at the end of its life?

Reason for the Instructional Strategies & Student Activities

3. STANDARDS

Content Standards

1a. Students know how the differences and similarities among the Sun, the terrestrial planets, and the gas planets may have been established during the formation of the solar system.

1e. Students know the Sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to helium.
I & E 1i. Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g. relative ages of rocks, locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an ecosystem). 
I & E 1l. Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science.

ELD Standards

Cluster 3 I: Make oneself be understood when speaking by using consistent standard English grammatical forms and sounds; however, some rules may not be followed (e.g. third-person singular, male and female pronouns).
Cluster 9 I: Prepare and deliver short presentations on ideas, premises, or images obtained from various common sources.
Cluster 4 Writing I: Recognize structured ideas and arguments and support examples in persuasive writing.

 

 

 

4. UNIT OBJECTIVES

Day 1:
·       After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to explain the differences and similarities among the Sun, terrestrial planets, and the gas planets that may have been established during the formation of the solar system by answering the 15 questions they researched. Students will be required to think-pair-share with other groups after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.
·       After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to infer that the Sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to helium by answering the 15 questions they researched.  Students will be required to think-pair-share after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.
·      After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g. relative ages of rocks, locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an ecosystem) by answering the 15 questions they researched.  Students will be required to think-pair-share with other groups after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.
·      After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science by answering the 15 questions they researched.  Students will be required to think-pair-share after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.
Day 2:
·      After completing the brochure or persuasive essay, students will be able to illustrate or explain facts about our Sun, solar system, and planets by their writings or drawings.  Students will be required to think-pair-share with other groups once they are finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their brochure and persuasive essay are coming along smoothly.  The same standards from above are being met here.

Day 3:
·       After the students have completed their brochures and persuasive essays, students will be able to convince their classmates why they should purchase real estate in our solar system through their company by presenting the information they obtained throughout the project.  Students will be required to turn in their packets, persuasive essays, and brochures for a final grade after presenting. The same standards from above are being met here.

* The standards listed above are being met throughout the entire unit.  Students will be provided a rubric before they begin working on the unit to show them what is expected.

 

5. ASSESSMENT PLAN

Have an assessment for every objective and standard in unit. Cross-reference the objective and standard for each assessment. Example: Assessment (Objective/Standard #)

Include the following information about each assessment:
Name of Assessment: Day 1
·       Formality: informal
·       Type: formative
·       Purpose: To make sure students are answering the questions correctly.
·       Implementation Method: written
·       Communication of Expectations: modeling, verbally, rubric
·       Evaluation Criteria: One rubric for the entire unit.
·       Feedback Strategies: Peers think-pair-share before the end of class, teacher reviews each group’s work.
·       Student Self-Assessments: One rubric for the entire unit.
Name of Assessment: Day 2
·       Formality: informal
·       Type: formative
·       Purpose: To make sure students are on track to finish their brochure and persuasive essay.
·       Implementation Method: written
·       Communication of Expectations: modeling, verbally, rubric
·       Evaluation Criteria: One rubric for the entire unit.
·       Feedback Strategies: Peers think-pair-share before the end of class, teacher reviews each group’s work.
·       Student Self-Assessments: One rubric for the entire unit.
Name of Assessment: Day 3
·       Formality: formal
·       Type: summative
·       Purpose: To assess student knowledge of the standards for this particular unit.
·       Implementation Method: verbal and written
·       Communication of Expectations: modeling, verbally, rubric
·       Evaluation Criteria: One rubric for the entire unit.
·       Feedback Strategies: Teacher and students grade each other’s presentations.  The teacher will then combine the presentation grade, brochure, persuasive essay, and answers to the 15 questions for a final grade.
·       Student Self-Assessments: One rubric for the entire unit.

The assessments address all standards.  Students will be assessed informally for the first two days and then summatively at the end of the unit.  At the end of the unit, students will present their project to the class, and turn in their packet for a cumulative grade.  I will have a pretty good understanding if students are learning the material by reading their essays, watching their presentations, looking at their brochures, and reading through their answers to the 15 questions answered on Day 1.  Students who are too nervous or shy to stand up in front of the class can make a poster board and present their project to me only.  Students also have a choice as to whether they want to make the brochure for their group, write the persuasive essay, or if they want to split them 50/50.  The criteria for the assessments are modeled, verbally given on the first day, and a hard copy of the rubric is provided in each of their packets.  Before students turn in their packets, they will self-assess their project prior to turning it in.  The ticket out the door on days one and two are for the groups to think-pair-share with another group and then to show me as they are leaving.  I will be able to informally assess the students daily as they are leaving class.  The assessments that I am implementing into this unit promote the students to think critically.  Having students write a persuasive essay, create a brochure, and present in front of their peers encourages the students to think “outside” the box. 

6. STEPS OF INSTRUCTION
Provide the into, through and closure/beyond for the unit as well as the lesson designs for each day with all needed materials (ppts, graphic organizers, rubrics…).

Into: Day 1      
Objectives/Standards:
The objective for the first day is to have the students form groups of two and by using the Internet be able to research the answers to 15 different questions.  The first step of the day will be to walk over to the computer lab and get into groups of two at a computer.  The teacher will pass out the entire packet, describing what is expected of the students for this project.

 Student Activity

The Mission:  Friendly aliens have recently contacted NASA and have communicated that the Sun in their solar system is beginning to crash.  Once our scientists got over the shock of communicating with aliens, they found out why they were speaking so urgently: they want to relocate to a different solar system and want to know all about our Sun.  NASA has determined that this is low on their priority list and has asked all solar system real estate companies to present information to the aliens and try to sell them planetary property.  It will be your company’s mission to gather as much information about our Sun, and at least some of our planets, and report to the aliens as soon as possible. 

Students are given the scenario in order to draw their interest and imagination. 

The Task: Working with your business partner (Groups of 2), you will use the Internet to search at least 5 websites that give information about the Sun and our solar system (be sure to list which website you researched at the bottom of your paper written on Day 2).  You will do this in one class period!  Each Group is responsible for organizing the material, searching the Web, recording the information that is important, and assessing validity of the information (checking another website to make sure the information is the same).  The questions are attached at the end of this Unit Design.  
           
·       Prior to this lesson students have been working on Astronomy since the beginning of the school year.  Students should already be able to use some of the information used in prior lessons to draw on and make connections.
·       Students will work in the computer lab for the entire first day. 
·       I will place students into groups so that ELL students and Special Ed students work with partners that will help them.  However, I will try to pair friends up to work together.
·       Students that misbehave and don’t work on the activity will receive a 0 for their part.
·       I will show students a sample persuasive essay and brochure from a previous class so the students have a better understanding of what is expected out of them.
·      Each day the students will have to focus on a different part of the unit.  Day 1 will consist of conducting the research by answering the 15 questions.  Day 2 the students will need to come up with a name for their business, design an appealing brochure, and write a persuasive essay.
·      Students will be informally assessed through think-pair-share and the teacher will look over their answers prior to them leaving for the day.

Through:
Day 1: On the first day students will get into their pairs and answer the 15 questions given to them by the teacher.  The teacher will hand each group a packet that describes the activity in detail and what is expected.  The teacher will go over the rubric with the class and model a persuasive essay and brochure from a previous class.  Students will be placed into groups; Elena and Maria will be paired with a Bilingual student with a higher CELDT level.  Elena and Maria are able to use English to Spanish translation online to do their research.  Orion and Alex will be paired with students that would better fit their learning styles and personalities.  Other students will be placed with friends or acquaintances.  Students will use at least 5 different sources from the Internet to answer the 15 questions provided to them.
·       After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to explain the differences and similarities among the Sun, terrestrial planets, and the gas planets that may have been established during the formation of the solar system by answering the 15 questions they researched. Students will be required to think-pair-share with other groups after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.
·       After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to infer that the Sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to helium by answering the 15 questions they researched.  Students will be required to think-pair-share after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.
·      After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g. relative ages of rocks, locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an ecosystem) by answering the 15 questions they researched.  Students will be required to think-pair-share with other groups after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.
·      After completing page 2 of the packet they were given (15 questions), students will be able to Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science by answering the 15 questions they researched.  Students will be required to think-pair-share after they have finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their project is running smoothly.

 Day 2: On the second day students will arrive back to the normal class and partner up.  The teacher will again model for the students a persuasive essay and brochure from last year.  The teacher will go through a PowerPoint presentation, which will model what should be written on the first page, second page, and third page.  For the ELL students, the teacher gives Maria and Elena’s group and copy of the PowerPoint presentation to help them.  Students will now decide how they will split the work.  The majority of students decide one will write the paper and the other will complete the brochure.  After completing the brochure or persuasive essay, students will be able to illustrate or explain facts about our Sun, solar system, and planets by their writings or drawings.  Students will be required to think-pair-share with other groups once they are finished.  The ticket out the door for the day will be to show the teacher that their brochure and persuasive essay are coming along smoothly.  The ELD standard covered on this day is Cluster 4 Writing I: Recognize structured ideas and arguments and support examples in persuasive writing.

Day 3: On the third day, students will present their project to the class.  Students will have the opportunity to make a poster board and present it to me if they have anxiety or are scared to present their project.  After the students have completed their brochures and persuasive essays, students will be able to convince their classmates why they should purchase real estate in our solar system through their company by presenting the information they obtained throughout the project.  Students will be required to turn in their packets, persuasive essays, and brochures for a final grade after presenting. The assessment on day 3 will be a summative assessment on all of the material the standards covered.  The ELD standards covered on this day are Cluster 3 I: Make oneself be understood when speaking by using consistent standard English grammatical forms and sounds; however, some rules may not be followed (e.g. third-person singular, male and female pronouns).
Cluster 9 I: Prepare and deliver short presentations on ideas, premises, or images obtained from various common sources.

*  The following content standards were covered on all three days:

1a. Students know how the differences and similarities among the Sun, the terrestrial planets, and the gas planets may have been established during the formation of the solar system.

1e. Students know the Sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to helium.
I & E 1i. Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g. relative ages of rocks, locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an ecosystem). 
I & E 1l. Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science.

Closure/Beyond:

·       Students will be required to participate in a Jeopardy game for extra credit on the following Monday in preparation for their test.
·       The final product the students will produce consists of their packet with answers to the 15 questions, 3-page persuasive essay, brochure, and responses from their peers and teacher in regards to the presentation.
·       Students will continue to use the information they learned from this project to help them with the next section on the solar system.
·       This lesson helps prepare the students for the next lesson on solar systems, as well as for the Benchmark test coming up.

WEEK OF LESSON PLANS
See attached.  The unit was over a 3-day period because I am only at SMHS Tuesday-Friday.  Wednesday and Thursday are block schedule for our school. 

7. MATERIALS/RESOURCES

See attached.  The packet contains all materials needed, including websites. 

8. REFLECTION          

·       I think the unit plan was differentiated really well.  ELL and Special Ed students were able to work with partners that helped them and at the same time challenged them.  High-achieving students were able to go at their own pace.  For students that were able to finish early, they were able to work on perfecting their presentation.
·       A strength of the assignment was that it pretty much touched on all different learning styles.  A possible limitation in the plan is that if students were not present on the first day, they were not able to go to the computer lab to answer the questions.  If they do not have a computer at home, it could be challenging for them to complete the questions. 
·       One way to measure the students’ understanding of the material will come on Monday when we play the Jeopardy game as review.  I will also read each essay and answers to the questions to make sure students were able to obtain the correct information.
·       Teachers definitely need to plan on mistakes or the high-achieving students finishing early.  Also, teachers need to take into consideration technological setbacks.  Since my school is fairly old, some of the computers seem like they were invented in the 1920’s.  When students finished the questions early, I just had the begin working on their persuasive essay or study the answers to the questions.
·       Be prepared for setbacks.  I need to make sure I have a plan in mind in case something goes wrong.


9. RUBRIC WITH SELF-ASSESSMENT
·       Highlight the criteria on the unit plan rubric that you believe best describes your unit plan.
·       Turn in your highlighted scoring guide as an attachment to your unit plan.
·       If you did this unit plan with a partner, you should each score yourselves individually. You should also include at the bottom of the scoring guide an evaluation of how you and your partner worked together.