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Teacher Work Sample: Impact of Instruction on Student Learning

Mikehia Alexander


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Chicago

Contents

Contextual Factors

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Unit Content, Goals and Objectives

4-5

Assessment in Informing Instruction

5-6

Pre and Post Analysis of Student Work

7-8

Reflections

8-9

Student Work Samples

10-17

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Norman A. Bridge is a K-8th grade Chicago Public School and is located on Chicago’s Northwest side. The area surrounding the school is mostly Polish and the majority of the school population is Polish and Hispanic. The school’s socioeconomic status is 70% low income and most of the students get free or reduced lunch. The school is divided, the K4th graders are in Bridge on New England St. and the 5th- 8th graders are in another school on Addison. The children that attend Bridge live near or close to the school, though they have bussing services the children in my class live in the area. The school overall has a

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4 high academic performance on state wide tests and is not on academic probation. The K3rd grade school has resources for subject areas such as an occupational therapist, social worker, and reading specialist. They also have a school nurse, a full gym room, lunch room, art room, library, computer lab, a playground and large campus surrounding the school. They also have connected to the school, mobile trailers that are the rooms for some 4th grade classrooms. They have 2 resource rooms with resource materials for students and teachers. I am currently in Mrs. Cutler’s 3rd grade classroom and there are 32 students. There are15 girls and 17 boys, 24 students in the classroom are Polish, there are 4 Hispanic students and two Asian American students and two African American students of mixed race. The age range of the students is 8-10 years old. There are 8 pull out students, one for Occupational therapy for writing, a student who is pulled out for math, and the rest are for bi-lingual instruction. The majority of the class gets free or reduced lunch and the rest bring their own lunch to school. The classroom is medium sized, the students seating are arranged in 3 groups/tables of 4 and the rest are groups/tables of 6. There is a library area where the books are, and a computer area with two computers. The room has 4 large windows and around the room are phonics, reading and math posters. They have a cabinet holds all of the manipulatives for math and other subjects. Most of the art materials are in the resource room which the teacher has access to. There are not many opportunities for the children to share stories or artifacts. They have a democracy in the class, such as the jobs the children have which change weekly, and are jobs like line leader, ticket passer, etc. The class does show diversity, they study various ethnic holidays and the school recognizes the majority population’s ethnic diversity. The

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5 hallway of the school is decorated with various different ethnic flags. The teacher recognizes her classes’ ethnicities and if the children’s parents need newsletters translated into Polish or Spanish she gives that option. The classroom is very traditional and teacher directed. They are currently studying for their Isat tests and they have lots of tests, reading and math instruction. Projects are done, but are fitted in for holidays etc. The children come in the morning and have a reading prompt on the board that they write in their journals. They turn in all of their homework assignments, and then start their phonics work in the phonics workbooks. They then go over their reading/ writing work in which they have to write a response, and review reading from their reading books. They use the basil reading series and they all have to read chapter books for homework for 20 minutes. They take bathroom break altogether and then have a prep once a day, for 40 minutes. After prep they have math instruction for 40 minutes they use Saxon math and it uses lots of word problems and they do multiplication drills and use manipulatives and the overhead projector to solve the math class work as a class. The class also has a smart board and they have been using it in science. After math instruction they usually begin their Social Studies or Science instruction as a class. Every Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday they go to the computer lab and practice math drills on the computer which they work on at home as well. They are graded on this computer program as well. They have spelling and vocabulary tests on Fridays as well as math tests every week. The classroom does not do small groups, but is mainly taught through whole group instruction. The range of abilities within the class does vary and the children do well on their weekly tests. The students who have some difficulties with tests or work get the opportunity to revise and correct

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6 their mistakes as well as tutoring is available at 7:30 in the morning which the children are open to come to. The classroom is teacher directed and they do not have the opportunity to work in smaller groups, they are also teacher guided and not student guided. The work is taught from the book and can be revised to fit the needs of the children. Because of the Isat the class is teacher instructed and directed to prepare for the tests. The majority of the subjects are constructed to adhere to the questions and material that will be covered on the test. I will want to incorporate small group work and projects, art etc. They don’t have the opportunity to work on many art projects that are authentic and student guided. I also want to use more manipulatives and visual aids. Using the smart board they can have more of an engaging and authentic experience and be able to interact more with the class and the technology usage in the classroom. I think that if they can interact with the board more and not only the teacher they may get more out of the lesson. We began a Social Studies Unit on Chicago. In this unit students explored the early history of the area known as Chicago and how it became a settlement. They explored the early inhabitants and explorers of Chicago and learned how these earlier settlements helped in developing the City of Chicago. Students determined the importance of various historical, social and economic events that were vital in Chicago’s growth and development. Some of the big Ideas of this unit were economics; understanding economic systems, history; knowing your history helps you to better understand the world and make better decisions in the future Geography; people interacting with their environments and navigating in the physical world and Identity and culture; interacting with different cultures offers varied perspectives within and among your society. This

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7 unit was a set curriculum, so the guidelines were concise and went along with the scope and sequence of Social Studies unit. In their Chicago packet, which were pages of information on early Chicago to current Chicago. They were given opportunities to answer questions based on the readings and do small art projects based on the readings. In the beginning of the unit I wanted to access their prior knowledge by having the class write out a KWL chart. Writing the K and W in columns to find out what they wanted to know about Chicago and what they wanted to know about Chicago. We then had a discussion on what they had written. In the discussion we found out as a class that they had similar answers and facts they wanted to find out about Chicago. I informed them that we can go back and refer to these once we have finished the unit and write in the L, what we have learned about Chicago. In this unit we read each chapter and every 3 to 4 chapters we read they have questions they answer at the end and then we have a quiz. This will allow me to see what topics and chapters they do not understand and modify the upcoming lessons to review or discuss further. For the Post assessment I asked 3 specific questions that would gage their thinking and answering. I differentiated the questions according to their group levels but I also differentiated the way in which I posed each question. For my high group of children the question “What is the importance of knowing your Chicago history”? For my on level group I asked the question “Why was Jean Baptist Pointe Du Sable important to Chicago history? For my last question which was for my lower and ESL/ bilingual learners I asked them to “write or draw about two specific people or events they learned about”. For my high learners the question I asked required them to think deeply about why we are learning about Chicago, Why it is important to us and will it become helpful to us in the

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8 future. For my middle group I asked a question that enabled them to recall a certain person in which they learned about and reflect on why they are important to Chicago now. For my lower learners I gave them the opportunity to recall certain events or people that they liked learning about in this unit and write or draw them out. I will analyze the data by reviewing both pre and post assessments to determine how their thoughts and ideas have evolved at the end of the unit. In differentiating the various learning levels within the classroom I divided the children who have shown exceptional work into the high group, children who are on level into the middle group and the children who have pull outs for bi-lingual instruction or IEP’s into the lower level learning group. The children in the high group have exceptional skills in reading and comprehension skills. They are developmental are able to read and comprehend reading material above their grade level. The children in the middle are on level they have average reading and comprehension skills they are able to read at or a bit above their level. The children in the lower level are bi lingual students or have IEP’S. Mostly the students that are pull out bi lingual students need some assistance but can comprehend an assignment by asking for further help from a teacher or their peer. Some students are unable to write full sentences or read on their grade level. They have language delays and their developmental levels are below that of a average third grade student, most of these students are those who have IEP’s. I have chosen S.M for the High group, D.D for my middle group and E.A. for my lower learning group. In the unit I decided to use a KWL to make the learning of Chicago more meaningful to them. By asking the children to write down what they already know, will allow them to use their prior knowledge to see what they know about Chicago. This

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9 will be interesting for them to reflect and be fun to share with the class. The learning will become more intrinsically motivated if they are writing down things that they actually want to find out about Chicago and then later on when we revisit they will be able to see if their questions got answered or if they learned a lot about a topic. I knew that my classroom really likes to share their thoughts and opinions so I thought that sharing their work and having a discussion about Chicago will be more beneficial in connecting ideas with some of their peers and hearing what they know and want to learn about Chicago. Some of my lower group did not write much down, but they were able to orally tell me things about Chicago and participate in the discussion in some way. The class really was able to tell a lot of what they knew of Chicago and relate to one another in the discussion. In analyzing the post assessment S. M. from my high group wrote down questions that dealt with the economics of the city such as “I want to know how much money does Chicago have all together?” and questions that have to do with the vast population of people who live in Chicago and inhabit the buildings here. She knew facts about Chicago such as “Chicago had one of the tallest buildings in the world” and that “we also have one of the tallest Ferris wheels here”. S. M has the ability to analyze and interpret data and readings very well, she has higher order thinking skills which allows her to express in her writings or orally her thoughts and opinions well. For my middle group, D.D focused most of her questions on wanting to know some of the history of Chicago and the origins of how the city got its name. She knew some of the names of the first explorers here and why the windy city is nicknamed the windy city. She is very capable of higher order thinking skills, she at times can not express herself orally and tends to shut down when an answer is incorrect. This inability throws off her focus and she becomes discouraged and

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10 unwilling to proceed with the lesson. She is able to think deeply and reflect on learned material in order to answer a question on a test. For my lower group E.A was unable to write down his questions and answers on the KWL, but he was able to orally tell me in the discussion. Because he is a student without an IEP and is performing so poorly I placed him into the lower group. He is unable to fully write out sentences and recognize letters. He is unable to read and comprehend questions so in his post assessment I read him the questions and guided his learning by telling him to write on his favorite people and events of Chicago. He stated that he knew that the Sears Tower changed it’s name to the Willis tower and that different people came here and they still do. These observations were not said during the discussion and lead into another discussion of immigrant parents of Poland (which are the culture of most of the children in the class). He was unable to do well on the quizzes because of his inability to read and comprehend the questions on the quiz and because this is a set curriculum his work cannot be altered because he does not have an IEP. His strengths are he can orally tell his thoughts but when asked a question where he has to analyze or reinterpret a reading passage he can not, but he is able to express his ideas and thoughts very well. In the post assessment S.M. was asked the question on the importance of knowing your Chicago history and she responded with a out paragraph stating “that it is important to know this because you may need this information later in life and it enables you to learn about your city and about some of the fun places that are apart of Chicago�. She understood one of the objectives in answering the question; students will be able to become more knowledgeable about the past, so that we know what to do in the future. She is able to articulate in writing her ideas clearly and legibly. For D.D. she answered

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11 the question of an explorer whom we studied Jean Baptist Pointe Du- Sable and pointed out that he is important because he built some of the first homes and posts her in Chicago. He was one of the first settlers to live in Chicago. She thought he was a good settler. D.D really connected and understood why this person was important to Chicago and she understood the objective of knowing people places and events that changed Chicago history. E.A. was asked to draw or write about two events or people that he learned about in the Chicago unit. He decided to draw out a picture of the Hull house and a picture of The Great Chicago Fire. He explained to me that he drew the Hull house because it helped poor people and he drew the Chicago Fire because he liked when I showed the pictures and videos from the Fire. He was unable to write down his answers, but his drawings were easy to identify and were able to let me know that he liked learning about a real significant event in Chicago history and of an important and historical landmark the Hull house. His weaknesses did not improve, but he explained orally what he felt which let me know one his strengths, which is oral expression. Because he is so low it would be better to when I can ask him to orally tell me things. The questions helped them to better understand why we learn about Chicago and the importance of people and evens in Chicago history. In reflecting on this unit I really wish I had more time to fully get a better understanding of why the children in the group excelled in the questions given and the quizzes given and some did not. I was only able to rarely go back and review because of time restraints in the day, but I would have liked to revise the question asked to the lower level and I would have asked them to dictate what they have learned and write it down for them helping to scaffold their learning. I would have liked all of the groups to fully

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12 understand the importance of learning about the history of Chicago. My lessons would have consisted more of reenactments and discussion based learning which allowed them to better understand who people places and events that occurred in the history of Chicago helped shape and make Chicago the way it is present day. The children in my class is more social and like to share their thoughts and ideas so I think having them do skits and making up situations and trying to figure out some of the problems that were occurring at that time would really have had them engaged in their learning and caused them to think deeply about how people of that time survived. I have learned that though these children vary in skill level they have the ability to comprehend most of the learning goals and objectives of the unit and have a better understanding of how they learn when given question are set specifically to their level. I believe that the children all have the ability to motivate themselves, especially when learning is engaging. Given different circumstances and developmentally appropriate learning materials, units and instruction children can reflect and begin to think deeply on a set topic or unit. I have learned that children may not be on the same level skill wise, but they do have the ability to bring in their experiences, thoughts and ideas which help them to deep their thinking. The teacher is not the only means of information; children have ideas and thoughts to offer as well.

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teacher work sample