Hi, I'm Erin, and I teach English. This portfolio chronicles my educational accomplishments. You can e-mail me at ekkross@gmail.com.

Professional Conduct and Leadership

SPED 405 Assignment C 11/30/06

Mikala's Lesson Plan 7th Grade:

Student Questions:

Why am I learning this?
Students will learn this plot diagramming material in order to better understand the basic format of novels and later apply the knowledge to other more complicated texts.
What am I supposed to learn?
Students are supposed to learn how to determine which plot points are important in a novel and how they fit into the "big picture" of the text in order to create a complete story.
What do I already know about it?
Students will already know what "plot" means, as well as resolution or conclusion, and many will already know about climax.
What ideas are important?
It is important for students to end the lesson with an understanding of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
How is the information organized?
The information will be organized in chronological order according to the order of events in the novel.
How am I going to use it?
Students will use this same organization process to sort through important plot points in future novels.
How am I going to remember it?
Students will be able to remember the information presented in this lesson because they will have a printed copy of the plot diagram in their notebooks. They will also repeat this process for other novels, thus using repetition to enforce retention.
Where am I going to use it?
For the most part, this process will be used in school, however, some kind of mental plot diagram is almost always being developed as students read any book, whether it is for school or pleasure.
When am I going to use it?
While students are still learning about this type of organization tool, they will use it throughout the entire novel. However, as their skills in this area develop, the plot diagramming tool can be reserved for post-reading activities.
How do I apply it?
Students will apply it by using knowledge from this plot diagramming lesson for this particular book to replicate the process for future novels.

Lesson Plan: Plot Diagramming

Goals:
Materials Needed:
Activities:

Opening

10 minutes
I will ask the students to tell me what the main events in the novel have been so far while I write them on the board. I will ask them to take notes on this in the plot section of their journals.
Body
2 minutes
I will then draw an outline of a plot diagram on the board without the labels of the different parts.
5 minutes
I will ask students to volunteer to tell me what the different parts of a plot diagram are and where they belong. We will talk about what each part means or "does".
3 minutes
Once we establish where the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution belong, I will ask students to get into groups 8 groups of 3 and 1 group of 4. I will ask them to be in groups with people they don't always work with.
3 minutes
The students will take their journals and gather around a computer with their group.
20 minutes
I will direct them to the website: ReadWriteThink Plot Diagram where they will follow the directions to make an electronic plot diagram using their list of events.
3 minutes
Students will print off their diagram to put in their journals.
Closing
3 minutes
I will restate why we look for important events while reading.
1 minute
I will remind students to read chapters 15 and 16 and keep adding to their journals.
Formative Analysis:

Mikala

Key focus areas to assure success
One of the first areas I would focus on for Mikala would be to ask her what has caused this change in her ability to stay on task. Unfortunately, teachers sometimes ignore parents and students as resources for problem solving. Thus, I would first focus on working with Mikala and her family in order to get their help keeping her on task. I would also like to collaborate with some of Mikala's other teachers, including other general educators as well as the school's special education teacher for ideas about how to help Mikala stay focused in class as well as what might be causing her verbally challenging behavior.
After getting Mikala and her family's input on how to help Mikala stay on task, I would try and implement their suggestions to the best of my abilities. I would keep in mind that Mikala might still need some help adjusting to being in the general classroom for longer periods of time. I would discuss ways to remind Mikala to stay or get back on task with her, so that we might come to some kind of agreement about how to best remind her, while still allowing her to "save face" in front of her peers. It is important to make sure that she is able to feel some kind of autonomy in my classroom, which is one reason I would like to include her in the planning and problem solving processes. At the same time, during a private conference, I would make sure that I firmly told Mikala that her challenging words are not constructive and will not be tolerated in the classroom, but we would try to find other ways for her to express her frustration.
Overall, I would be encouraging Mikala to practice and improve her communication and problem-solving skills, self-direction, and self-awareness to make sure that she is conscious of what she needs during class. We would work out ways for her to tell me that she needs to take a break from work when she needs one, while still using class time in a productive manner.
Adaptations or accommodations for managing behavior and providing instruction for the lesson
Because Mikala seems to need help with managing her own behavior, I would give her a few different options about how to do so in a constructive way. I would encourage her to first be able to identify when she needs to take a break from the activity and then assess what would be the best way for her to handle the situation appropriately. I would allow her to do constructive things with the time she spends away from the plot diagramming activity, like standing up to stretch, or working on a different, but class-related task for a few minutes. This would allow her a few minutes away from work that might be frustrating her, hopefully allowing Mikala to calm herself and collect her thoughts a bit before getting back to work.
I would also accommodate her need for reminders by finding subtle ways to let her know that a behavior in which she is engaged is off-task or a positive use of class time. I would want to make sure that I did this in a way that would not embarrass her in front of her peers and therefore cause her to use her verbally challenging language. I would write a note on a post-it and place that on her desk to let her know that I would like her to re-focus herself. I would also use positive comments to let her know that I like the way she is staying on task, but thanking her for doing so in front of the class or writing a note on another post-it and sticking that to her desk. All of these signals allow her to "save face" in front of the rest of the students, but also serve as constructive and non-challenging reminders about her behavior. Ideally, Mikala would eventually need fewer reminders to stay on task. When there is a decline in the number of reminders, Mikala spends noticeably more time on task rather than off, and her verbally challenging words have become very infrequent, I will feel as though my accommodations have been successful.
Assessment for student performance and overall success in the classroom
For part of my assessment for Mikala's performance and overall success, I would like to work with the special education teacher to evaluate her performance and improvement over the quarter or semester. This kind of collaboration would also hopefully yield some new ideas about how to continue to support Mikala in the general classroom and help her be successful. I would also discuss her progress with Mikala's other teachers because I believe the goal for her would be to improve these problems in all of her classrooms. Our combined evaluation of her improvement would give a "big picture" idea of how the accommodations and adaptations we have made have helped Mikala find more success in the general classroom. This also builds a constructive working system in which the teachers who have Mikala in their classrooms can collaborate to make Mikala's education useful and beneficial to her as a student.
Much of Mikala's assessment will be informal. I will observe and take note of any changes in her verbally challenging behavior, as well as her ability to stay on task for extended periods of time. I will pay close attention to the ratio of how many times she needs my help to remind her about staying on task compared to how often she is able to manage her own behavior. If her ability to stay on task improves, her grades are likely to follow suit, which would allow a more formal, qualitative evaluation of her progress. I will know the adaptations I have made in my classroom are successful if she seems able to manage her own tasks and behavior more constructively than when we had our initial conference. Additionally, if her grades have improved at all, I will see this change as a valuable and measurable level of success in the classroom as well.

Julio and Katlyn's Lesson Plan 10th and 11th Grade:

Student Questions:
Why am I learning this?
Students will learn about this because it is essential to their continued existence as healthy and productive people to be tolerant and accepting of those who are different from themselves. This lesson is meant to encourage and facilitate this growth.
What am I supposed to learn?
Students are supposed to gain at least a basic understanding of the gay rights movement, as well as about the struggles that face many members of the gay community.
What do I already know about it?
This will vary from student to student. Some kids will know a lot about the issues surrounding gay rights, others will have very limited experience with and exposure to the issues that will be addressed in class.
What ideas are important?
The central ideas of tolerance and acceptance are the most important.
How is the information organized?
The information is organized according to what form the information takes, ranging in form from periodical reports of past events to personal accounts of events in the individual lives of certain authors.
How am I going to use it?
Students will use this new knowledge to build on their own accepting and tolerant personalities.
How am I going to remember it?
Students will remember the main ideas because they will be primary rules specifically rules about respecting and accepting each other in the classroom.
Where am I going to use it?
Students will use these acceptance skills in any social setting they encounter.
When am I going to use it?
Students will use these acceptance skills throughout their lives to help them better deal with all different kinds of people.
How do I apply it?
This is mostly a matter of practice. Students will apply the ideas of acceptance and tolerance to their own lives, practicing these skills on those around them.

Lesson Plan: LGBTQ Issues Discussion in Preparation for Reading The Laramie Project

Time/Setting

The lesson will take place in a 90-minute class period. For a specific breakdown of how the time is spent in class, see the Procedure section below. If necessary, the discussion could be continued on for multiple days, before, during, and after reading The Laramie Project.

This lesson will take place in a junior English class of approximately 25 students. The classroom will be set up with desks arranged into a circle or u-shape around the edge of the classroom in order to provide maximum visibility for the students. Ideally, this lesson will take place around the Day of Silence in April.

Objective

Students will be presented with an opportunity to openly discuss issues specific to LGBTQ people, including, but not limited to the process of coming out, stereotypes, and social/political issues such as gay marriage, the right of gay couples to adopt children, and the impact of sexual orientation on job security. Before and during this conversation, I will give the students access to online and text sources related to the issue, including short stories about personal experiences, articles about current disputes over gay rights, articles about the Stonewall Riots, and articles about Matthew Shepard's death. The students will then have the appropriate and applicable background information necessary to better understand the events surrounding Matthew Shepard's death and the town of Laramie, Wyoming. The students will then be able to use this new information to think about and discuss the Day of Silence.

Background

For this lesson to be successful, students will need to have the vital skills of knowing how to respect differing viewpoints, patience with those who may disagree with them, and the ability to approach a potentially controversial subject calmly, maturely, and logically before coming into class. These skills will be community traits we will have worked on throughout the beginning of the year. Additionally, my students will know that I am their ally and advocate and so they must each leave any bigotry or prejudice outside the door to my classroom. This lesson will also give students the chance to find information regarding their own viewpoint on sexuality. Beyond these things, because students will be learning about homosexuality, they need not know much about the subject beforehand.

Materials
Preparation
Procedure
2 minutes
Take attendance and allow students to get settled.
7 minutes
The class will make a collaborative list of rules for appropriate and respectful discussion to be recorded on a whiteboard, chalkboard, or piece of poster board and posted throughout the entire discussion.
2 minutes
I will have students help me pass out a copy of each article and text to each student.
7 minutes
A volunteer will read the article about the Stonewall Riots.
13 minutes
Volunteers will read the social issues articles.
1 minute
We will review our class rules for respectful discussion.
25 minutes
The class will discuss the articles they read/heard, using either popcorn discussion method very student-run, the current speaker chooses the next speaker or I will call on students to speak this all depends on the class' maturity and willingness to participate. See discussion ideas below.
10 minutes
Students will read the personal piece with a partner, while I pass out copies of The Laramie Project and Matthew Shepard and Day of Silence articles to each student.
7 minutes
We will discuss what we thought about the personal piece, including likes, dislikes, questions, and any other comments.
3 minutes
I will describe what happened to Matthew Shepard as a means to preface the play.
10 minutes
We will begin reading The Laramie Project, using each student as a different character if/when possible in order to help illustrate the difference between characters.
2 minutes
I will assign The Laramie Project reading, as well as the Matthew Shepard and Day of Silence articles for homework and take any questions.
Discussion Ideas
Bilingual/ESL and Dialect Accommodations

We will spend time in class reading the articles and eventually parts of the book out loud, pausing to discuss what we have read and ask and answer questions about the texts and their events. I will also make myself available outside of class to further help those who are struggling to understand the material due to language barriers. I will welcome discussion in any dialect as valid and a way to enhance the community feel necessary for this lesson to be successful.

Special Education Accommodations

Similar to the accommodations above, reading the texts aloud will ideally help those with special needs in reading to better understand the materials, specifically because they will have many opportunities to ask questions and discuss what has happened and what is being talked about in the texts. I will encourage students to come to me if they need extra help fully understanding the material. For Talented and Gifted students, I will offer them the opportunity to help me with my research on this topic before we begin the lesson, asking them to find quality information about the social issues as well as newspaper articles about Stonewall and Matthew Shepard.

Assessment

Assessment for this initial activity will be primarily informal due to the fact that it is mostly discussion-based. I will count the activities for the day under the students' participation grade, allowing for some hesitance and shyness about the subject and thus including active listeners as participants though I will encourage all students to comment and/or read at least once. I will pay attention to the body language and facial expressions of my students to determine if the discussion needs some teacher guidance. By listening to my students' comments and skills at reading aloud, I will be informally assessing their public speaking skills as well as their ability to form logical support for their viewpoints.

Extension Ideas

Future activities could include recognition of the Day of Silence, the beginning of or participation in a Gay/Straight Alliance, letters to state and national leaders intended to communicate and persuade them of the students' individual views on the social issues related to sexual orientation, and a student-run open forum or "town hall meeting" for the school or entire community about the topic of sexual orientation and its related social issues. Students could also interview a member of the community, family member, or friend who is out about the process of coming out this would be done with the interviewees remaining anonymous.

Resources and References

Julio

Key focus areas to assure success
My first focus area to assure Julio's success in my classroom would be to conference with Julio and his grandparents about what he needs in terms of support right now as a new student and in dealing with his mother's death. It would also be beneficial to consult the school's counselor or psychologist about this matter. I would also ask them for information about his learning disabilities, specifically what has and has not worked for Julio in the past. I would seek some input from the school's special education teacher as well. Hopefully, including Julio in the planning process will help him feel more comfortable initially in my classroom. This will also show him and his grandparents that I am very concerned with his success as a student.
I would also do some of my own research about Tourette's syndrome in order to better understand Julio's disorder. I would establish a firm set of rules about how my students are to treat each other in my classroom, and that teasing and disrespect will not be tolerated. It will be important to enforce these expectations because Julio's classmates have started to make fun of his facial tics. Because of his recent experiences, as well as the fact that he is still developing into an adult from a teenager, Julio's social and emotional health needs to be considered at every step of the way. One of the best ways to help him succeed in the classroom will be to make sure that he feels safe in my classroom.
To play to Julio's strengths and hopefully help build up his self-esteem and social interaction skills, I would try to incorporate some art projects or group projects that include an artistic aspect into the classroom. By using one of Julio's strengths during group work, I would encourage him to participate in group work. By showing his classmates his strength in art, he would also ideally become more accepted by his peers and feel more comfortable in group work settings.
Adaptations or accommodations for managing behavior and providing instruction for the lesson
In Julio's case, the primary accommodations are going to be based on providing useful instruction for him to ensure that he is able to keep up with the reading in spite of the fact that he is performing two years below his grade level. For this lesson, I would pass out and discuss challenging vocabulary words that students will come across while reading The Laramie Project and the supplemental texts I provide. This will give all students, but especially Julio, a little extra help in reading and comprehension even before we begin reading the play. I would also encourage all students to write down words they do not know while they are reading and bring them in to class the next day so that they might ask me about them. These two accommodations will set Julio up for more success while reading because it gives him immediate access to a text that might otherwise be a little bit above his reading level.
I might also consider giving Julio the play and supplemental texts ahead of time to read and look over. This way, when he goes through them a second time with the rest of the class, Julio will have already had time to process many of the words and can focus on understanding the plot and characters of the play.
As with all students, I will also make myself available for outside help with reading during lunch, as well as before and after school. Hopefully, this would be an accommodation that would be useful to all students who seek it. It would also show the students that I am there to ensure their success. This fact can help students feel more comfortable in the classroom and with me, thus allowing them to be more confident around their peers during class, in turn eliminating some of the nervousness that is often attached to reading. This additional confidence can be very helpful to someone like Julio who seems to be struggling with his own self-esteem due to personal events, as well as the way his peers have been treating him.
Assessment for student performance and overall success in the classroom
One of the first ways I will assess Julio's improvement in my class will be to monitor his willingness and desire to have constructive interactions with a group. I will assess this by observing him during group activities throughout the year and consistently encouraging him to join groups of students who will be accepting and help him have a beneficial group work experience. Another indicator that my accommodations have been successful for Julio will be whether he "comes out of his shell" and becomes more verbally engaged in the activities and discussions during class. I will also count it as a success when the rest of Julio's peers stop making fun of his facial tics and willingly include him in the classroom community. It will also be important to me that Julio grows to feel more comfortable in my classroom. Through conferences, I would ask him about this, and based on his response, I would know whether my accommodations have been helpful to him as a learner.
I will also evaluate his improvement in reading and comprehension throughout the term or year through class tests as well as his comments during class discussion about the texts we read as a class. As he gains a stronger mastery of vocabulary common in a 10th grade curriculum and therefore has an easier time processing and understanding class texts, he will be showing improvement in his reading and comprehension skills, which are vital to his future success in school and in the real world. Much of this improvement will also be evident in the writing he does about our class books, as well as his overall grades. This quantitative method of assessment is only helpful in the long run when combined with more informal, and in Julio's case, socially-based methods that will demonstrate Julio's personal development throughout the term or school year.

Katlyn

Key focus areas to assure success
One of the first things I will focus on for Katlyn will be the physical arrangement of the classroom. In order to allow her to move about the classroom easily and without restrictions that other children do not have, I will make sure to set up my classroom in a way that will give Katlyn some freedom of movement. In order to determine what would be best for this goal, I would consult Katlyn, her parents, and the school's special education teacher. I would also privately ask Katlyn directly what might be causing the change in her class performance. Consulting Katlyn's other teachers about her performance in their classes could give me some clue about why there is such a disparity between her test results and in class performance. With gifted children, it is often the result of feeling bored in class. It is also possible that I, as a teacher, am not keeping her interested, or that I have done something in my teaching that makes it hard for Katlyn to learn effectively.
For Katlyn, it would also be very important to make sure that the activities we spent time on in class were applicable to the real-world, emphasizing how they pertain to long-term goals. For any students, it is important that a teacher explicitly highlight why the content of the unit or class is important to their lives, specifically outside of school. It may also be beneficial to try to use Katlyn's giftedness and her attraction to education to help keep her interested in class by giving her some peer tutoring or teaching opportunities within the class. However, it would be equally important to make sure she doesn't feel obligated to always "be the teacher." Because she is at an age when students need to feel even more autonomy in their lives, I would make sure that I encourage Katlyn to be self-directed in her school work.
Adaptations or accommodations for managing behavior and providing instruction for the lesson
In terms of physical accommodations for Katlyn for this lesson, I will make sure that she, like the rest of the students, will have a place in the classroom from which she can comfortably see the rest of the class during discussion and reading out loud. If Katlyn's form of spina bifida makes it difficult for her to fully control her motor functions, I would make sure that she has some way to easily view the text we are reading as a class in order to read along. This may mean that I help her set up some way to hold onto the book or supplemental readings. If she prefers, I could also give her the texts ahead of time so that she might work with her family to come up with a way to address this potential physical issue.
If Katlyn's lower-than-expected class performance is the result of attitude or boredom, I would offer her opportunities to use existing knowledge or find new information about issues regarding gay rights, like Stonewall, to present to the rest of the class. This would give her some accountability for her own understanding of the material, as well as that of her peers. This also gives her a higher chance of retaining the knowledge she brings to class. However, I would not want Katlyn to feel that she had to do extra work simply because she has been classified as gifted. As an end of book essay assignment related to Laramie, I would encourage Katlyn to choose to incorporate her knowledge of education into her essay to make the assignment directly relate to something real for her. This would give her something interesting and personally important to write about, without giving her extra work. I would welcome any other ideas she might come up with about how to keep her from growing bored in class because she might not be receiving new knowledge. Hopefully, by giving Katlyn some responsibility for her own learning process and experience, I will be able to keep her interested, as well as give her constructive ways to be engaged in class.
Assessment for student performance and overall success in the classroom
For Katlyn, a lot of her assessment will be based on her improvement over the semester or year. I would like to use a self-evaluation as well as my own written evaluation of this particular student because it will create a useful self-reflective opportunity for her. Additionally, this method of assessment is useful for students who are gifted because it puts a lot of value on their own opinions and judgments. In situations where specific, but not only quantitative improvement is being assessed, it is important for the teacher to have multiple conferences with the student to continue to find methods of instruction that work for the individual student. In addition to the more personalized written evaluation format, there is also a quantitative measurement of performance involved in this particular case, namely assignment and quarter grades. As a result the student performance assessment will be more complete with the inclusion of two different evaluative methods.
If the initial problem was related to attitude or boredom, my written evaluation for Katlyn will include a portion based on her improvement in handling these two areas. For example, it would include questions like, "How has Katlyn changed her attitude over the course of the semester/year?" and "What does Katlyn do to combat boredom or frustration in class? Does this work? Why or why not? Is there is another method that might work better? How could this be implemented?" On Katlyn's self-evaluation, I would also ask her questions about my performance as a teacher what I could do or be doing differently to help her thrive in class. After both evaluations are completed, Katlyn and I would have a conference to discuss the results and what the next step would be in order to ensure her continued success in my classroom. If Katlyn's grades begin to more accurately represent her giftedness, she remains interested in class for the majority of the time, and she can easily access the whole classroom, I believe that these changes would be indicative that my adaptations have had some positive effect.
Professional Conduct and Leadership Rationale