Course Reflection

Learning environments. The mentor teacher fosters a safe environment by acknowledging and facilitating the relationship between learning and the well-being of the student. He does this by building trust with every student, making himself available for these students and approaching issues with professionalism and adult advice. He builds trust by keeping their secrets (within the confines of the law) and by being a listener. He connects with student experiences and this encourages students to come to him for guidance on not only scholastic concerns, but also emotional and intellectual concerns. He provides this guidance not only for his past and present students but also for students of other teachers.

Experiences with reporting. I asked about times that he had to file reports for issues that crossed the line, or were required by law and he took a very textbook approach about it, but also had an optimistic outlook of the process. He looks up the name of their counselor and their admins, writes an email and sends it to both. Makes himself available to any conferences or meetings regarding the issue but finds that because of the trust he has built with his students, it is often a case of a student confiding in him, in regards to their concerns for their peers. He is then able to report on behalf of that student for another. I believe this to be a true testament to that teacher creating a safe learning environment that his students feel genuinely cared for.

Implications. I have learned that I could create a classroom where students feel like they could trust me with sensitive information, by just being present in the moment with them. That seems like an easy thing to say, but it is much harder to do on a minute-by-minute basis, when the success of a class day can pivot on getting or not getting ten minutes of prep time. My mentor teacher did not take his work home, which I found respectable, as the inverse seems daunting with a 9 month old. Instead, he patiently and compassionately handled every students concerns as they happened. I assumed the confidence of doing so came from years of experience yet he has not yet reached a decade of teaching. Therefore, I still have much to learn about managing the well-being of the students with the requirements of the group and someone highly skilled in doing so has set the mark. I have learned I have much farther to go in being an active listener and look forward to doing so.


EDTC 6431 Individual Project

Phase 1:

The lesson will be identifying parts of an atom and how they relate to the periodic table of elements. I plan to modify an existing lesson plan I created and introduce some technological elements. It includes protons, neutrons, electrons and electron shells as well as a few of the column and row patterns in the periodic table of elements

Phase 2:

  • General characteristics – 9th grade, age-14/15, ethnic group-mixed, sex-mixed.
  • Specific entry competencies -The pre-assessment for these learning targets and lesson plan would be that they have ipads or computers with which to interact and that they are aware substances are made from some 100 different types of atoms which combine in various ways. Pure substances are made from single type of atom, and each ones has characteristic physical and chemical properties. So I would ask the class to think of all the elements they know. Compile the list on a whiteboard as the students make suggestions. If some students suggest compounds (such as water or air), clarify the difference between elements and compounds.

Learning Objectives:

  • Audience: Who are the students?
    • 9th grade students will
  • Behavior: What action will they be asked to demonstrate?
    • Label the subatomic particles of an atom, and describe an organizational pattern of the columns and rows in the periodic table as it relates to the subatomic particles to atomic mass, number and electron shells.
  • Conditions: What is the activity or condition under which the behavior will be observed?
    • On the handout working alone or in a group
  • Degree: What is the desired degree/level of mastery for the learned skills?
    • Within 15 minutes and achieve a score of 100%


RST.9-10.7 “Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words. (HS-PS1-1)”

ISTE 1 “Creativity and Innovation- Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. A. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes. B. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression. C. Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues. D. Identify trends and forecast possibilities.”

ISTE 2 “Communication and collaboration- Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. A. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a veriety of digital environments and media. B. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats. C. Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures. D. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.”

Central Focus:

“Students who demonstrate understanding can: Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.”

Academic Language (that the student is already familiar with):

Vocabulary of elements, atoms, shells and subatomic particles

Phase 3:

The strategy and resources I have chosen for my lesson would be to Q&A previous knowledge, introduce with powerpoint, have students draw or demonstrate knowledge on Seesaw, share a few with the class, go back to the powerpoint that has a link to a periodic table of elements modeling software and take questions and manipulate the model, do a group activity with an elemental guessing game then perform an exit survey.

I would need to work the night before to make sure the links work and that I will be able to answer questions regarding the materials.


For resources I would use the following to address my instructional strategies:

They will need ipads/PCs or smart phones, hopefully I work in a district that provides those things, and if a student prefers to bring in/use their own I hope there are no rules against it. The room will need a projector and PC for the powerpoint (or a smart board). The technology I have chosen helps support the lecture, but also adds to the unifying community nature through the use of boards and real time sharing.


The Substitution: Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change

  • Online textbook is substituted for paper text

The Augmentation: Tech substitute, with functional improvements

  • Seesaw features allow for students to draw the structures instead of just label them on paper

The Modification: Tech allows for significant task redesign

  • Sharing their work online with other students with the use of seesaw to get feedback

The Redefinition: Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable

  • Having the students explore electron properties and publish their findings based on ideas of how something might interact
  • Create their own quiz questions based on the modeling of the behavior of electrons from that exploration

Phase 4:

  • What will you do to actively engage your students in the lesson?
    • I will be introducing the materials, recapping previous knowledge, moving around the room to make sure voices are heard, questions are answered and students are engaging in the activity. Working with the seesaw app to have students draw and label parts of an atom. Submit the work to the board
  • How will you engage your students to practice new knowledge or skills?
    • I will draw a name out of a pile of Popsicle sticks to get each person to interact with some element of the technology and offer one “phone a friend” but get put back in the pile.
  • What role will technology play in supporting the learning?
    • They will be cementing the knowledge by interacting with the models and demonstrating understanding by submitting materials online for review. The exploration of the properties of electrons through electronic modeling is something that could not be done without expensive resources and time. If I can get the students to understand those properties with that technology then it greatly supports the future learning of all things related to electrons
  • Where would you place your use of technology in the SAMR Model?
    • I believe they would be creating new tasks, so I place the use of technology at the redefinition stage
  • How will you provide formative assessment during your lesson?
    • There is an option to comment on each post as they come in, so I plan to do that as an extension of lab notebooks each assignment can be properly stored in folders or tagged with people and concepts for later reference.
  • How will you determine whether the lesson was successful?
    • An exit survey and positive test results!

Outline of how I will:

  • Require active mental engagement
    • Each student will have a choice of how to interact with the lesson whether it be drawing, coming up with quiz questions or modeling the electron properties and explaining it to others.
  • Require practice of new knowledge/skills
    • Have each student participate, and follow up with them on the assignments when they are due. The practice of the new knowledge is fundamental to it sticking!
  • Support learning with tech and media
    • I would encourage the students to reach out for more resources if they find this particular lesson interesting. I would also encourage them to relate this to a current event, personal interest or even a video game idea. If I can support the students learning through other means, and they can create a new model for understanding that would help future students I am all about it.
  • Provide performance feedback prior to formal assessment
    • I plan on leaving comments with each submission if needed. That is easily done with seesaw, and I wouldn’t need to collect hundreds of possibly contaminated paper notebooks to do it! I could provide them with real time feedback from anywhere.
  • Determine success of lesson
    • I imagine a teacher has a pretty good impression if a lesson connected with students and what can be improved, outside of that I would be relying on an exit survey.

Materials and artifacts from lesson:

I can ask these questions that I have put together:

Example questions


And they can answer by drawing and submitting materials on seesaw:

Seesaw example.png

They can use the online textbook to help come up with answers:

Text example

And they can use the modeling technology to compare the behavior of electrons to that of other charged particles to discover properties of electrons such as charge and mass to help solidify their ideas and understandings.:

Modeling example

Here is a snapshot of the PowerPoint that would display the exit question:

Exit survey

Phase 5:

I did not have much time between Phase 4 and 5 so I am not able to review the plan with a live student audience or in front of another instructor. But in doing the exercise I can see where I might run into some snags on time. So I might trim down the pattern recognition part, or introduce it only to delve into it the following day.

ASSURE Instructions from the Teacher:

The “A” stands for Analyze the learner. Who are your students? While this seems to be common sense, the step is important because keeping your students in mind will help ensure that you work diligently to find those materials and resources that will be most appropriate and useful to your students. You should know who your students are (e. g., demographics, prior knowledge, academic abilities) on a multitude of levels, and use this knowledge in every lesson you plan. For those of you who are in administrative roles at your institutions, you will first need to determine who your students are for this activity. You may choose to create an activity for existing students at your institution or for other educators.

The first “S” stands for State standards and objectives. If you are a classroom teacher you most likely have a curriculum to teach with specific standards and objectives that will become a focus of individual lessons. What are these standards and objectives? What should be the outcomes of the lessons that your students will know or learn? Each lesson will probably be tied to curricular standards/objectives and this step reminds you to keep these as a focus of the student learning. If you are in an administrative role at your school, you will need to identify standards/objectives for the students you have chosen. Besides content standards, you should identify ISTE standards students will meet in your lesson.

The second “S” is Select strategies and resources. When choosing strategies and resources to help you teach a lesson, you will first choose a strategy for delivering your instruction. For example, you might decide that having your students work in small cooperative groups is most appropriate, or you might determine that a lesson is best taught using a tutorial. You then select the technology, media, and materials that best supplement or enhance the method of teaching you have chosen. You will have to decide which technology, media, and materials can best help your students master the learning objectives you have identified.

The “U” stands for Utilize resources. In the last step you identified specific strategies, technology, media, and materials to help meet your learning objectives. In this step, the lesson is actually taught and strategies, technology, media, and materials get implemented. In this step you should preview all resources you plan to use to make sure they are good fits for your students and the lesson. Next, you will prepare the resources. This may include things like the following examples: set up accounts for students (technology), create links to YouTube videos (media), and create web pages with instructions (materials). Then you will prepare the environment. Where will you be teaching this lesson? Online? In a classroom? What will you need to do to prepare the learning environment for the activity? Next, you will prepare the learners. Are they prepared to learn the content and technology skills in your lesson? Finally, you will provide the learning experience. What teacher-centered and student-centered learning activities will you provide to your students? You will teach your lesson with your own students or organize a group of learners to participate in the lesson. Note: While it would be great if you were able to teach this lesson to a group of students that you work with regularly, we realize that this might not be possible so you may need to find a group of learners for this lessons.

The “R” stands for Require learner participation. Your students will find learning more meaningful when they are actively involved in the learning process. Students must be mentally engaged in their learning in order to demonstrate understanding of new knowledge and skills. What strategies can you use to get your students practicing? Thinking? Solving? Creating? Developing? Analyzing? While a lecture can be an efficient way to deliver instruction, it may not invite students to move beyond passive learning. Integrating technology into a lesson almost necessitates that you use a teaching method beyond lecturing. How will you support learning with technology and media? How will you provide feedback on student performance prior to formal assessment?

Finally, the “E” stands for Evaluate and revise. This is one of the most important steps and should not be overlooked. As part of this step, you will evaluate your own teaching, evaluate the student learning, and make needed revisions for the next lesson and for the next time you teach the current lesson. Evaluation includes determining the worth of your teaching methods and the media used. During the evaluation stage, you utilize traditional and authentic assessment to determine student achievement of the standards and objectives. You should ask yourself questions such as, “Did this lesson address the objectives?” “Did students learn from this lesson?” “How can this lesson be improved?” “Would individual work or group work be more effective for parts of this lesson?” “Was the technology and media appropriate?” “Are there other technology solutions that might have worked better?” While this is not a comprehensive list of questions, this should provide you with some direction for the evaluation phase. You should also ask students to reflect on their learning and the experiences they had during the lesson. Perhaps your students will have feedback that could help you to improve the lesson for next time or feedback that could help you improve future lessons for them. Having things go wrong during a lesson does not make a teacher a bad teacher. However, failing to reflect and take corrective and preventative actions for the future is bad teaching. After reflecting on your lesson, you will make a list of possible changes you would make before teaching it again.


The ASSURE model is just one strategy to effectively integrate technology into curriculum. As you become more experienced with ASSURE, you may find that the steps in the model are second nature, and you may even modify them to better fit your own curriculum development. As you revise lessons from year to year, remember to keep in mind new and emerging technologies that might be more effective.

The ASSURE model is not a lesson plan by itself. It is an Instructional Systems Design (ISD) process used to design instruction that integrates technology.  Using it along with a lesson planning tool of your choice can help you design and develop appropriate learning activities for your students. You can use SPU’s lesson planning template if you like. For this project, you will use the ASSURE model to create a lesson or activity that you will teach during this term. Remember, the lesson can be for students that you teach as part of your job or can be for a group of learners that you organize specifically for this project.

Phase 1 Deliverables

Create a Google Doc that you will add to throughout the project. Within the Google Doc create a Phase 1 section where you will describe the lesson or activity that you plan to use for this project. It can be an existing lesson with minimal technology integration that you plan to modify or can be a new lesson. You should provide a brief overview of the lesson without going into details about standards, objectives, etc. Complete the document by reflecting on any concerns that you have as you begin this project. Note: You do not have to teach the lesson as some may not be in a position where this is possible. Finally, begin the process of creating a table of contents for this document so that it will be easy to access any part of the document as you add phases.

Phase 2: Analyze Learners | State Standards and Objectives

In this phase you will describe who your learners are and the standards and objectives the students will be working towards to achieve competency during the lesson.

Analyze learners

Before working on the actual lesson, you need to know who your target audience is. Who are your students?  Write down the following information about the students who will participate in the lesson:

  • General characteristics – grade, age, ethnic group, sex, mental, emotional, physical, or social problems, socioeconomic level, and so on. Your students may be adult learners. The lesson you design may be for professional development rather than a student course.
  • Specific entry competencies – prior knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

State standard and objectives

Once you are confident that you know who your students are, you can begin describing the standards for the lesson.  What standards will be addressed in this lesson? You should address both content and technology standards.

Use the standards to create learning objective or a learning target for the lesson. Think in terms of what students should be able to take away from this activity. Consider using the ABCD method to write at least one learning objective for your lesson. Note: The YouTube video link uses the term “instructional objectives.” For our purposes instructional objectives and learning objectives are the same thing.

The ABCD’s of writing learning objectives are:

  • Audience: Who are the students?
  • Behavior: What action will they be asked to demonstrate?
  • Conditions: What is the activity or condition under which the behavior will be observed?
  • Degree: What is the desired degree/level of mastery for the learned skills?

Example:  Eighth grade social studies students (Audience) will score proficient or higher on (Degree) all rubric criteria (Behavior) for their digital storytelling project (Condition).

In this case the entire rubric is referenced in the learning objective because it would be difficult to write a learning objective for individual criterion that require qualitative judgements such as “excellent use of a dramatic question.”

Note: There is a wide variety of tips on how to write learning objectives. While it is important for you to organize your project with learning objectives, feel free to use another format that you are more familiar with or that is required by your school.

Phase 2 Deliverables

Add a Phase 2 section to your project Google Doc. Include a general analysis of your learners. Avoid adding details that will identify specific students. List the standards and objectives that will be addressed in your lesson.


Phase 3: Select Strategies and Resources | Utilize Resources

Select Strategies and Resources

Once you know your students and have a clear idea of what standards and objectives they should meet by completing the activity, then you are ready to determine the strategies you will use to address the objectives and select the appropriate resources which include instructional methods, media, and materials.

  • Strategies: What instructional strategy or strategies are most appropriate to address the standards and objectives for your students.
  • Resources: What resources are most appropriate to address your instructional strategies?
    • What technology will be support these strategies?  Technology includes websites, software programs, music, videos, and images. You will also need to include the necessary hardware such as computers, cell phones, clickers, projector, interactive whiteboard, etc. Look for ways to use existing technology and free tools where possible.
    • Media: What media would best support your strategies, technology, and students?  Media options include text, still images, video, audio or any combination.
    • Materials: What other materials will be needed to help students master the objectives? Textbooks, library resources, etc. should be identified.
    • This is a good place in the project to use the SAMR and TPACK models to inform the decisions you make about the use of technology in your lesson. For example, is the technology you have chosen a simple substitution of a non-digital technology without additional benefits that can transform the lesson? -OR- Does the technology you have chosen support the pedagogy but adds very little to helping students better understand the content?

Utilize Resources

Once you have the strategies and resources identified, it is time to prepare and utilize the resources by teaching the lesson. In this phase you will prepare and in Phase 4 you will teach the lesson. The first step is to preview all resources and test all equipment in advance to be sure all elements of the lesson work as expected and you know how to use them.  Since you will using digital equipment and digital tools, do not assume that everything will work for the activity.  Be sure to have a plan B.  Do not get discouraged if technology fails.  Do your best to prepare and test your resources and be prepared to alter your plans if the technology or another element of your lesson fails.

Phase 3 Deliverables

Add a Phase 3 section to your project Google Doc. Describe the strategies and resources you chose for your lesson. Explain how the technology, pedagogy, and content work together to enhance or transform the lesson. Describe what you did to preview and prepare the resources and learning environment.


Phase 4 Utilize Resources and Require learner participation

Students learn best when they are actively involved in the learning.  Incorporate questions and answers, discussions, group work, hands-on activities, and other ways of getting students actively involved in the learning of the content.

Require learner participation

In Phase three you prepared your students and learning environment. Phase four begins with you providing the learning experience. This is where you will teach or pretend to teach the lesson. I would love to be able to give you feedback on the lesson so it would be great to arrange for me to come to your school and watch if possible. Otherwise just simulate as if you taught the lesson and image what might happen.

Questions about the lesson

As you prepare to teach this lesson consider the following:

  • What will you do to actively engage your students in the lesson?
  • How will you engage your students to practice new knowledge or skills?
  • What role will technology play in supporting the learning?
  • Where would you place your use of technology in the SAMR Model?
  • How will you provide formative assessment during your lesson?
  • How will you determine whether the lesson was successful?

Phase 4 Deliverables

Submit a Google Doc of lesson/activity plan outlining how you:

  • Require active mental engagement
  • Require practice of new knowledge/skills,
  • Support learning with tech and media
  • Provide performance feedback prior to formal assessment
  • Determine success of lesson

Submit materials and artifacts from lesson.

Phase 5 Evaluate and revise

A good learning activity evolves into a great activity over time. It become great by incorporating an iterative process where you reflect upon the lesson, the stated objectives, the instructional strategy, the instructional materials, and the assessment and determine if these elements of the lesson were effective or if one or more of them need to be changed the next time the lesson is done.

Evaluate and Revise

What will you review and change as you look to improve the lesson?

  • Review conventional and authentic assessments from the lesson to determine learner achievement of standards and objectives.
  • Examine the instructional process and impact of using tech and media.
  • List modifications to lesson to address any concerns.

Phase 5 Deliverables

Blog post with lesson and reflection. Include lesson artifacts where appropriate.


Module 4 Question and Resource

My Triggering Question: This is my favorite block of content so far, as I love games. What games exist that will help me with engaging kids and deliver the chemistry content?

Turns out there is not much in the way of games that currently exist, but I was excited to find out how easily a flash game could be made, and then it got me thinking about getting the students to create their own flash game ideas and content to go along with them. If I got them started at brainstorming from the beginning of the semester, then perhaps as a class we could build something by the end of the term. I did find a resource that lets you essentially fill in the blanks for several flash games (so not only chemistry) called I tried a few of thier demos and I think it would be a great model to start the students out with. I am imagining the kids in class that already have experience with that engaging with the content in new ways as well as getting the rest of the class up to speed with what they bring from their experiences.

Module 2 Comments and Questions

What software’s exist that integrates a language translation function to communicate with other countries?

I was thinking about integrating the Google translate capture image function with the seesaw software to see how well it could translate student made content. This could be integrated within the blog on seesaw as well.

In reading “facilitating students global perspectives” I get the impression that setting up a classroom wiki of the content from seesaw would allow for cross-cultural communication. I wonder if the blog section of seesaw is exportable to a Web 2.0 application, will look into it!

Ertmer, P. A., Newby, T. J., Yu, J. H., Liu, W., Tomory, A., Lee, Y. M., et al. (2011). Facilitating students’ global perspectives: Collaborating with international partners using Web 2.0 technologies. The Internet and Higher Education, 14(4), 251–261.

Comments on Module 1 and ChemSketch 3D add on

First off I would like to say that I really enjoyed the resources in the guiding questions. I did end up using the but I ended up getting distracted because it really ended up inspiring me to fill out a family tree instead. I could see using it for work until I get more familiar with its potential applications in the classroom.

I was thoroughly impressed with seesaw which was a redirect from the shadow puppet link. I started a little fake classroom and thought I could end up using something like that for lab notebooks so that I don’t have to go carting around a bunch of paper every time I need to grade them!

I have used Prezi before for work, and I liked it a lot but its a bit cumbersome for large files and big presentations. So I was kind of thrilled about the Haiku link because not only did it have cool aesthetics but it also came with the image files already built in. I was a little sad that the free version doesn’t allow downloading but it makes sense.

Google forms and Survey Monkey are great, but I think the school that I use has some kind of functionality of clickers with surveys built into the PowerPoints. Desmos is AMAZING! How fun is that? I keep getting lost in these examples.

In exploring the reading for Module 1 I related most to the sentiments of Dillion in this quote “The noise of this digital information can be overwhelming. It can create a numbness to the outside world and limit the ability to retain and reflect on essential learning.” I was thrilled to see scientific journals among the reference resources and because I am more familiar with reading those and I am not sure my eventual classroom will have ipads (like in the Deaton paper) for everyone but I loved the idea of making stop motion films for science, and I appreciate that they used ImageJ for the first round of film production. Because it’s true that by the time a project like that is finished many of the students know it so well they could teach the materials.

I could not agree more with the statement from the Digital Storytelling paper by Robin “simply adding computers to conventional teaching strategies is an unsophisticated approach that, it is not surprising, adds very little to students’ experiences in the classroom.” I had witnessed that in the classroom I spectated last semester, all of the biology classrooms had computers at either each desk or each station, and all of them gathering dust. It must be as stated in the Explorations paper by Syh-Jong “Therefore, an important challenge for science teachers is to determine how to design science curricula in order to integrate effectively the use of technology in an effective and practical way”

So my question of “How can a Chemistry teacher incorporate new technologies within the current learning strategies in a meaningful way that overcomes the hurdles of contamination concerns (in-lab exercises) and overcomes the hurdles of complicated and/or proprietary resources and utilizes the schools provided resources and facilitates powerful follow up?” is based on witnessing the struggle of successfully using technology in the classroom and the question is getting trimmed down for this exercise!

What tools and models can I find for the use in a Chemistry class, that is of the Quandry, Code Academy and Desmos level? I took a class on POGIL creation this semester, and it took about 40 hours to create one (on paper activity) for the students and my peers tore through it in less than 10 minutes. So I imagine creating online resources like those mentioned would feel insurmountable for most teachers, and out of the scope of my abilities this quarter. But with that being said I did find some electronic resources that were already made that could serve as classroom materials:

Nave, C. (2012). HyperPhysics. Retrieved from:

This hyperphysics site contains some interactive some chemistry models (even though it’s a physics site) in regards to radiation, matter and Thermodynamics etc.

As far as helping my future students withdrawing molecules this site looks promising! Its a function of ChemSketch that switches whatever they draw between 2D and 3D modes and would be valuable to incorporate with organic chem lessons.

I am still unsure how efficiently I would be able to incorporate this software into my class curriculum, but I believe that is something I would have to consider once I am immersed in the lesson plans. I imagine my first year of teaching will be a struggle for time when I am turning those vacant PCs into something useful for the kids.


Reflection of Program Standard 2. Instruction

“The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.”

In a way of summarizing my end of class learning in EDU6150 General Inquiry Teaching Assessment Methods I will reflect on Program Standard 2. Instruction. I was able to impact student learning this quarter by researching instructional practices and applying them in the classroom that I was observing during my field experience.

Some effective instructional practices as summarized by Koetje from Rosenshine that I have been considering when providing classroom instructions:

  1. Review of previous lesson content
  2. Segmenting new material into comprehensible bits
  3. Asking questions to promote student engagement
  4. Teacher modeling the use of strategies or procedures (think aloud)
  5. Frequent check for understanding across a lesson
  6. Scaffolding supports to increase successful outcomes
  7. Independent practice
  8. Frequent review across days, weeks and month

For example I was able to provide hands on help during a cat dissection lab. For the first day I became familiar with the handouts that were provided to the students and walked around the classroom to get an idea for the culture and overhear some of the common struggles that would prepare me for the next day. When I arrived I had come prepared with some additional resources and was able to sit with a few of the groups that had fallen behind and review what they already knew and had been graded on before getting into the next fill in the blanks on the handouts. I was asking them questions about their thoughts on locations of muscle groups and organs to check their familiarity with the terminology as it relates to the human body and comparing them with the cats. During the moments that I was physically performing a task I was thinking out loud so they felt comfortable with their own struggles and to understand how my own thoughts worked in the discovery processes of dissection. I was also checking back in with them on their own understandings before jumping into the next discover-able groups of muscles and then would move to another group and come back and check on them for techniques and progress.

So my next curiosity came from how do people learn? I have recently read some heated debates as to whether or not the fundamentals we were basing our “how do people learn” practices on were still holding true, so I was pleasantly surprised at how universal the instructions were from this 1999 paper by Donovan titled “How Do People Learn?”

In this paper there are 3 core concepts:

1. Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that are taught, or they may learn them for purposes of a test but revert to
their preconceptions outside the classroom.

2. To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must:
(a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.

3. A “meta-cognitive” approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them.

So within these 3 concepts lies the implications that:

1. Teachers must draw out and work with the preexisting understandings that their students bring with them.

2. Teachers must teach some subject matter in depth, providing many examples in which the same concept is at work and providing a firm foundation of factual knowledge.

3. The teaching of meta-cognitive skills should be integrated into the curriculum in a variety of subject areas

And within the classroom environment it is best that:

1. Schools and classrooms must be learner centered.

2. To provide a knowledge-centered classroom environment, attention must be given to what is taught (information, subject matter), why it is taught (understanding), and what competence or mastery looks like.

3. Formative assessments—ongoing assessments designed to make students’ thinking visible to both teachers and students—are essential. They permit the teacher to grasp the students’ preconceptions, understand where the students are in the “developmental corridor” from informal to formal thinking, and design instruction accordingly. In the assessment-centered classroom environment, formative assessments help both teachers and students monitor progress.

4. Learning is influenced in fundamental ways by the context in which it takes place. A community-centered approach requires the development of norms for the classroom and school, as well as connections to the outside world, that support core learning values

These were straightforward enough to help me consider how I would incorporate them into my teaching and classroom environment. Instructional practices I was not able to incorporate this quarter but am eager to use and have exposure to (as summarized from Koetje PowerPoint):

  1. Identifying similarities and differences
    1. Venn diagrams
    2. graphic organizers
    3. teacher/student lead
  2. Summarizing and note-taking
    1. Information familiarization
    2. Information analysis to make connections and prioritize
    3. note-taking might be better handled with handout- student age in minutes of note taking
  3. Teacher generated cues and questions
    1. necessary for effective follow up
    2. prepare ahead of time
    3. important information
    4. wait time, and pair-share
  4. Non-linguistic representations
    1. Visually
    2. Auditory
    3. Kinesthetic
    4. more planning/resources
  5. Homework
    1. Aligned with lesson goals
    2. matches student ability
    3. independent
    4. involves feedback system
    5. 10 min/night per grade level
  6. Cooperative learning
    1. group note-taking
    2. 3-4 students
    3. organization of group-know your students
  7. Reflection
    1. personalize knowledge
    2. reconcile prior knowledge and experience
    3. application at anytime during lesson
    4. variable media
    5. results used to dictate next step


Donovan, S.M. (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Retrived from:

Koetje, K. (2016). Selecting Instructional Practices to Deepen Knowledge and Skill [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Rosenshine, B. (2012). Principles of Instruction Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know. Retrived from:

Subcategories of Program Standard 2:

2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.
2.1 Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
Most of the teacher’s questions are of high quality. Adequate time is provided for students to respond.
2.2 Engaging Students in Learning
Most activities and assignments are appropriate to students, and almost all students are cognitively engaged in exploring content.
2.3 Reflecting on Teaching
Teacher makes an accurate assessment of a lesson’s effectiveness and the extent to which it achieved its instructional outcomes and can cite general references to support the judgment.