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Standard T: Knowledge of Teaching

Teacher candidates positively impact student learning that is:

T1.    Informed by standards-based assessment.  All students benefit from learning that is systematically analyzed using multiple formative, summative, and self-assessment strategies.

T2.    Intentionally planned.  All students benefit from standards-based planning that is personalized.

T3.   Influenced by multiple instructional strategies.  All students benefit from personalized instruction that addresses their ability levels and cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

T4.   Informed by technology.  All students benefit from instruction that utilizes effective technologies and is designed to create technologically proficient learners.

My understanding of Standard T:  Student learning is enhanced by teaching that incorporates multiple instructional strategies.  All students do not learn the same way and therefore, instruction should be taught in a variety of ways to meet their varying needs.  Student learning is positively impacted by planned informal and formal assessment that is evaluated by both teacher and student.  Assessment is a valuable tool to evaluate student understanding and the effectiveness of teaching strategies.  Instructional methods should be modified based on the outcome of assessment.

Standard T Meta-Reflection — Knowledge of Teaching

T1: Informed by standards-based assessmentsTell how you communicate the relationship between assessment and learning targets

Clear, measurable, learning targets are necessary for meaningful assessment.  Learning targets enable teachers to plan and deliver lessons that tie directly to student learning, support assessment for learning, and can be communicated to parents and administrators.  Without clear learning targets, teachers and students cannot achieve the learning goals that they are responsible for.  Assessment is meaningless without learning targets that can be measured. 

Within my multi-age learning community, students are responsible for knowing the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) for all content areas within their grade level (2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade).  As their mentor teacher, I am responsible for teaching lessons that are built upon learning targets that meet a specific standard within their grade level as well as assessing their understanding before, during, and following the lesson(s) that are meeting each target.  I am responsible for developing, presenting, and assessing lessons that meet the learning targets.  I am also responsible for sharing this information with my students,  their parents, and other teachers/administrators.  Assessment for and of learning is necessary to measure student understanding.  If we do not engage in meaningful assessment, we will never know if our learning targets are effective and reasonable.  For example, in math, prior to a new unit, I assess each student, based on the learning targets of the unit plan, on their current level of understanding.  If all students demonstrate a sound understanding of a certain learning target, we only review that concept versus re-teaching it.  If students demonstrate a gap in their understanding of information that, I build additional lessons to address the concept gaps.  For example, in third grade, students are taught the concept of perimeter and applying their knowledge to problems involving solving for the perimeter of quadrilaterals.  Therefore, in fourth grade, before we start our unit on geometry, I assess their understanding of perimeter, isolated from area, and then with area.  If they are unclear of the concept of perimeter (which should have been learned the year prior) I build in lessons to our unit that address any missing understandings that prevent their success in this upcoming unit.  Again, by using the learning targets of the lesson, I am able to develop assessments that gauge current understanding and can adjust my lesson plans accordingly.

T2: Intentionally plannedAnswer how you help students review their performance and set relevant personal learning goals.

With all informal and formal assessments, students review their work and, based on the outcome, develop relevant learning goals, either short-term or long-term.   At the beginning and middle of the school year, students write their learning goals.  Their long-term goals are shared with their parents during student-led conferences.  Their long-term goals are usually based on accomplishing the learning goals for their grade level or achieving a certain level in their reading or math assessments.  Their short-term goals are generally based on the specific unit being taught or moving up a level in their math timing practice or Word Study work. 

Within this multi-grade learning community, all informal and formal assessments are reviewed by students.  Assessment is approached as an opportunity for learning.  For example, as their daily morning work, students answer a word problem that relates to their current direct math instruction.  When I meet with their math group, we will review their work and understanding of the concept.  The question and their work is detailed in their math journal.  I will quickly assess their work as they are explaining their problem solving rationale.  This is one type of informal assessment I use to gauge student understanding and determine if they are ready or not to move on to the next step in the unit plan.  Within the informal assessment, I do encourage students to adjust their work to illustrate their understanding as needed.  I encourage them to use their math journals as a study resource.  If I observe a student is struggling with a concept, I have them sit by me during direct instruction, so that I can guide their understanding while working with the rest of the small group.  Because this is a common practice, students will opt to sit by me usually without any prompting. 

With formal pre- and post- math assessments, as a group we go over each problem.  However, they are not allowed to modify their answers.  I communicate to them that this is our tool to measure their growth in understanding of mathematical concepts.  The pre-assessment is  a great tool to show student what they will be learning and at the end of our unit, be able to accomplish.  It’s a nice road map to illustrate their future learning.  The post-assessment demonstrates what they have learned and if, we as a group or one-to-one, need to re-visit any of our learning targets for the unit.  For example, I gave a pre and post assessment to my above standard fourth grade math group (six students).  Five students effectively demonstrated their understanding of the concept of area.  However, one student did not and actually missed the same problems that she did on the pre-assessment.  Following the review of the post-assessment, we talked and identified where she is struggling with both concepts of congruence and area of odd shapes.  We agreed that she would work with my mentor teacher for additional support.  Therefore, she will receive one-to-one instruction, outside of the direct instruction time with her peers, with my mentor teacher to review and re-teach the concepts she is unsure of or not understanding (congruence and area of an odd shape). 

Pre and post assessment of congruence.   

 

Pre and post assessment of solving for area of an odd shape.

 

T3: Influenced by multiple strategiesTell how you help students use a variety of learning strategies, and how you know that students can explain their effectiveness.

Students need exposure to different leaning strategies.  Learning strategies help students understand information and solve problems.   For example, in math, during small group, direct instruction, I expose students to a variety of visual, auditory, and tactile experiences to build a conceptual understanding about mathematics based upon that days learning target.  Again, with the group that is learning the concept of area, I presented a variety of styles of which they were able to listen to, see, and touch what the concept of area is and why it is important.

First, I “unfolded” the concept of area, in relation to perimeter (which they learned the year prior).  Based on my pre-assessment, they understood the concept of perimeter (the distance around a shape).  Therefore, I asked the question, “How do we explain or describe the space inside the perimeter of a shape?”  Some students jumped immediately to the concept of area (the number of square units that can fit inside a shape), but some did not.  Therefore I proceeded to identify the perimeter and the space inside of the perimeter of more objects within our classroom.   Based on my informal assessment of understanding (verbally with each student), we then moved on to the concept that area is the number of square units that can fit inside a shape.  I pulled out a bucket of square tiles and asked everyone to build a rectangle or square.  We then identified the perimeter (by counting the sides) and then we counted the area (the number of  squares within the perimeter).  We did this activity several times.  I encouraged students to look at their shapes as an array.  Following the activity I introduced the formula, area = length x width.  I applied the formula to the rectangular shapes that they built.  I asked them to count the length of your shape, count the width of your shape, then multiply.  To check your solution, count the total number to square tiles.  I wanted students to touch and see the connection of shaping the tiles as an array and the formula of area.

I assessed the effectiveness of this approach by first asking students to draw on graph paper a rectangular shape and then solving for its area by counting squares or by incorporating the formula: length X width = area and then having them solve for the area of a shape with just the shape and its measurements (no graph paper).  Some students were able to solve for the area with just the formula, and some students drew in their own square units.

Examples of solutions for area.

 

T4: Informed by technologyAnswer how you articulate/demonstrate the relationship between the effective use of technology and learning.

 In my multi-aged learning environment, students are exposed to technology that illustrates the concepts I am teaching in math and reading.  The North Kitsap School District has incorporated the Northwest Evaluation Association’s (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).  Each student in my class, based on a computerized assessment, has a RIT score.  Based on that RIT score, students are able to engage in learning, at their academic level, via the computers in our classroom.  The activities they are performing via that computer, correlate with either the current concept we are learning about in math or building vocabulary and reading comprehension in language arts.  As students master a concept, the difficulty of activity increases.  If a student is having difficulty with a concept, the range of difficulty remains the same and the student will receive more practice.  Students can also log into their RIT level at home.  The MAP tool allows students to have more practice with a concept, at their individualized level.

Northwest Evaluation Association

http://www.nwea.org/

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