Category Archives: S: Subject Matter and Curriculum Goals

Standard S: Subject Matter and Curriculum Goals

Being nearly two months into teaching, planning ahead has never been so important. As I develop new lessons and units, I have been very aware of state and school standards to help guide my thinking. Being at a private school gives me a unique perspective on these standards as I draw from them and supplement them with school-specific standards. In addition to the influence that these standards have on my planning, I take into account the level and ability of my students as well as their individual interests and passions. Throughout my internship and time at Seattle Pacific, I have had many experienced teachers inform me of the importance of a compelling curriculum. Student engagement and interest plays an extremely influential role in how I have continued to plan and is a skill that I have begun to develop. A key aspect of student engagement and learning has to do with their ability to make connections to either outside content areas or prior knowledge. Tapping into this resource is extremely important and has allowed students to flourish and succeed.

It is important for students to understand the purpose of learning. Each time I begin a unit, I give students an overview of what they can expect from me and what kind of work I expect from them. Before introducing a new topic, I review the previous one in order to help students make connections from one to the next. In doing this, students are given a purpose for their learning and they can be sure that the things we are doing in class were deliberately planned. Furthermore, a school-wide practice that I will adopt into my future teaching plans is that teachers share at the beginning of each lesson a daily objective. This guides student thinking and expectations and allows them to see a purpose for the class session.

Integration of various subject matters is extremely important for student learning and engagement. When students are able to make connections to previous knowledge, they will be more likely to remember the material. That being said, it is also important to help students develop additional skills that may not appear obvious in certain subject areas. For me, reading and writing go hand-in-hand with the social studies. When planning my lessons, I am continually trying to think of different ways in which I can incorporate reading and writing into the lessons. Researching different reading strategies and writing activities has helped, and one of the things on which I focus is bringing in material that students may not typically see in a history classroom. For example, one specific lesson that I recently conducted in the American history class involved the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. This lesson is a strong example of how I incorporated reading and writing into history while accessing prior knowledge that the students had. Earlier in the school year, the students heard a guest speaker share about their experience living in an internment camp. I first asked students in the class to share with me what the learned and remembered from the speaker. After sharing more information about the internment camps, I gave students a copy of excerpts from a novel that shares the personal experiences of a Japanese American girl living in Seattle during World War II. After starting the reading together in class, they were to finish reading the selection on their own and then write a one page response to the reading. Part of what made this lesson so successful, I believe, was that students were interested in the material and were given a homework assignment that was meaningful to them. The lesson also gave them another chance to improve their reading and writing skills, which is something I strive to do as often as possible.


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Filed under S: Subject Matter and Curriculum Goals

Teaching Secondary Social Studies

Throughout this course I learned about the importance of integrating different subjects into my social studies lessons. It has become apparent to me throughout my internship that students can retain more information when they are able to make connections to prior knowledge or are able to see the relevance of their classwork. That being said, it is essential that I intentionally plan lessons that allow students to draw on knowledge from other classes that they are taking. One activity in this unit specifically requires students to work as a factory owners and families to see how wages and cost of living were very important during the Industrial Revolution; the math portion of this activity gave students the opportunity to strengthen their skills while giving certain students the potential ability to use their math talents. In addition to math, I make every effort to include reading and writing into the class on a daily basis in order to strength their skills and give them the opportunity to practice outside of the Language Arts classroom. By using integration across the content areas, students begin to see the importance and relevancy of the learning taking place in the classroom.

Unit Plan

Lesson Plans

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Filed under L1: Learner centered, S3: Integrated across content areas, T2: Intentionally planned

Reading & Writing in the Content Areas

The attached documents attest to my ability to deliberately plan lessons in which social studies content is combined with reading and writing strategies. The topic and assessment were carefully chosen based upon a number of factors including state standards in social studies and writing. I also liked the idea of giving students step by step instructions to formulate this essay; reseach shows that determining cause and effect for particular events helps comprehension. Additionally, I felt that the use of graphic organziers could be particularly helpful in this process. By providing students with a well-planned process for how to accomplish their final product, they know what to do in order to succeed and I have integrated reading and writing into the social studies classroom in a meaningful way.

Cause and Effect Essay Lesson Plan

Cause and effect PowerPoint

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Filed under S1: Content Driven, S3: Integrated across content areas, T2: Intentionally planned

Standards Based Assessment Project

This project was developed over the course of several weeks during the Standards-Based Assessment class. While it speaks to a number of different standards, T1 is specifically demonstrated throughout this project. Standard T1 shows that the work is “informed by standards-based assessment (analysis using formative, summative, and self-assessment.)” This project is based on the “Causes of Conflict CBA” for high school history from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. I spent a great deal of time researching both the CBA and different standards for the social studies as I started planning this project. Another helpful document in this process was the recommended rubric attached to the above-mentioned CBA; this helped me to plan out specifically what I expected of students. One of the important ideas that I kept in mind throughout this planning was the fact that I wanted to allow students the opportunity to do sufficient research for the project while giving them the tools to succeed. By giving students specific criteria, including a detailed rubric, they know exactly what to expect and know what they need to do to succeed. Not only is this project informed by standards-based assessments, but it was very intentionally planned in that the standards were deliberately chosen to help students create their own project and aligns with several state social studies EALRs.

Conflict in Africa – Classroom Based Assessment

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Filed under S2: Curriculum Standards & Outcome, T1: Informed by standards-based assessment, T2: Intentionally planned

Unit Plan

The attached documents are a unit plan written for an eighth grade social studies classroom. Studying indistrialization, urbanization, and immigration  is an important part of United States history, and this unit was designed to give students important information while encouraging them to make personal connections and think critically. The first document is the unit plan, which includes Desired Results, Assessment Evidence, and a Learning Plan. The second includes several corresponding lesson plans that include more detail about the specific lessons.

This unit plan was created using a backwards planning method, which we learned about in General Teaching Methods (EDU 6135) through our text, Understanding by Design. I started my planning with establishing clear objectives and defining the unit’s essential questions and enduring understandings. I then proceeded to create more detailed performance tasks and lesson plans.

Approval Standard S2 is “aligned with curriculum standards and outcomes,” focusing on “student learning targets and progresses to meet them.” My preparation of this unit plan demonstrates my competency in this area in that, first and foremost, I constructed this unit plan with specific standards and goals in mind. I chose several assessments and skills that students would know and be able to do by the end of the unit, and I create daily lesson plans to help accomplish that goal.

Unit Plan Part 1

Unit Plan Part 2

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Filed under L1: Learner centered, S1: Content Driven, S2: Curriculum Standards & Outcome, T2: Intentionally planned, T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies