Category Archives: T: Knowledge of Teaching

Japanese Internment in World War II: Lesson Plan

I wanted to share this lesson that I created for the American history class. I felt like the lesson went really well; students were engaged and shared some very meaningful responses to the lesson afterwards. As I planned this lesson I tried to focus on having a variety of activities to keep students interest throughout the period. By starting with a song by an artist that most of the students would know, I could tell that they were eager to hear more about how the song related to our topic for the day. The reading excerpt that students read in class and finished as homework details the life of a Japanese American girl living in the Seattle area during World War II. As the students read about her experience, they could recognize landmarks and cities from their own area, which helped them make more personal connections to the story. Finally, in the PowerPoint lecture I tried to include pictures that would show students how severe the situation was for many people. The pictures were also helpful in showing students how the city of Seattle was affected during this time.

The attached documents include the lesson plan, song lyrics, PowerPoint, and reading excerpts used in class.

Japanese Internment lesson plan

Kenji lyrics

Japanese Internment

Nisei Daughter

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Filed under T2: Intentionally planned, T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies, Uncategorized

Standard T: Knowledge of Teaching

It seems that not many students are always comfortable with the idea of thinking critically or abstractly about how they learn. What I mean by this is the fact that many students need to be taught how to think about their learning processes and, with practice, can articulate how the process works for them. This is important on many levels, and it specifically helps students understand their progress and achievement.

Standard T1 shows that the work is “informed by standards-based assessment (analysis using formative, summative, and self-assessment.)” While planning different assessments throughout my internship, I have spent a great deal of time researching both the Washington State Classroom Based Assessments and different standards for the social studies. Another important part of standards-based assessment is the idea that students are well-aware of the expectations for their performance. 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 are my lessons informed by standards-based assessments, but they are very intentionally planned in that the standards are deliberately chosen to help students create their own product that aligns with several state social studies EALRs.

In addition to providing clear expectations for students, it is important to me that students feel that they have the opportunity to succeed. I attempt to do this by providing a variety of options for students that appeal to different learning styles. While it is easy for me to simply lecture for 40 minutes about history, this is certainly not the answer for every class session. Instead, I have tried a variety of strategies and approaches to lessons to see how students react to them. During this time, student achievement, attitude, and feedback are all taken into consideration to see whether or not it worked well. Even within one class session, I have tried using multiple strategies spread throughout the class with shorter activities. This might mean that there is a short lecture followed by silent reading, group work time, individual responses, and class discussion. By using different strategies, students are engaged in learning as they need to be paying attention to the changes. However, this can take time to accomplish as some students may struggle with the changes in strategies. I have found that providing clear verbal and written instructions helps a considerable amount.

One strategy that seems to be both a great advantage and challenge is technology. Students are increasingly familiar with different technologies that can be extremely useful in the classroom, but there is also plenty of room for students to misuse time and resources when using certain technologies, like the internet or computers. I personally try to use different technologies as often as possible for several reasons. The first, and probably most influential, is the fact that students today are so used to technology that they come to expect it. Modeling good “digital citizenship” is extremely important today and I believe that it is one of my many roles as a teacher to show students how to correctly use technology. The other reason for using it is quite simple: it is convenient! After an incident where several students used information directly copied from the internet to write an essay, I have made it a point to give credit for all of my sources when I create a PowerPoint presentation or use photographs or other media in the classroom. By showing students the proper way to use technology, I can demonstrate to them the positive relationship between the use of technology and learning.

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Filed under T: Knowledge of Teaching

Educating Exceptional Students

The attached document is a brief, albeit wordy, presentation regarding “specific learning disabilities with an emphasis on reading within the context of a high school social studies classroom.” Although written over a year before I entered the classroom for my internship, my interest in literacy spurred me to learn more about reading disabilities. Much of my research yielded results on how to help students with reading difficulties in the classroom. I have made an effort to apply many of the strategies in my classroom. Even for students who are not labeled as having a learning disability in reading, they can benefit from using these strategies. One in particular that has been extremely beneficial as I work with certain students has been the idea of model thinking. By reading aloud and then walking students through my thought process verbally, they begin to see how they can think through some of their struggles.

Specific Learning Disabilities and Inclusion

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Filed under L1: Learner centered, T2: Intentionally planned

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

Instructional Strategies Paper

This work attests to my proficiency in understanding a variety of teaching models and how each can be used in a diverse classroom. Beacause each student learns differently it is necessary to understand various models in order to adapt my teaching strategies and style in order to foster student academic achievement and well-being.

Principle Instruction paper

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Filed under T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies

ISTE NETS Standard 5: joining the digital community

As all of the ISTE NETS standards have shown, it is important for teachers to keep up with changing technologies. There are a number of ways in which to do this, but it all comes down to the teacher understanding what is available and how it can be used. One of the most effective ways in which to keep with the times is to get involved in an online community where people can share their personal experiences. Standard five says that:

Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. Teachers participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning…

Online resources and community can be found in a myriad of places. Even popular social networking sites like Twitter can help teachers in their quest to become more knowledgeable in all things technology. Ferriter, in his article about Twitter, shared his personal experience: “I focused on finding middle school language arts and social studies teachers or teachers interested in technology, knowing that people with my interests were likely to point me toward resources I could use.”[1]

Of course, this community of sharing can benefit any teacher in any subject area. I personally look forward to using resources such as this to gain new insight on issues in social studies. Having access to thousands of perspectives and worldviews (as well as years of experience) will be just one way that I can expand my knowledge and the information that I pass along to my students.

One particularly helpful resource that I have come across is called Power to Learn. The website has all sorts of reviews, articles, and ideas for the classroom that involve the use of technology or helpful sites to create resources for the classroom. I am beginning to understand just how great the role of trial and error is in the classroom, but thankfully there are resources available, like this, that allow people to share their own experiences as we all experience developing technology.


[1] Ferriter, W. Why Teachers Should Try Twitter. Educational Leadership Feb 2010 Volume 67 Number 5

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Filed under T4: Informed by technology

ISTE NETS Standard 4: Being a model digital citizen…

As I mentioned the other day, the internet has completely changed the way that students do school. With these changes brings the possibility for students to face ethical issues, more specifically with cheating. It’s much easier to copy & paste text from a website than rewrite a passage from the encyclopedia, and students have access to a lot more information than they have before.

This being the case, it’s really important for teachers to demonstrate honesty and correct use of technology in the classroom. ISTE NETS Standard 4 says that:

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers:

a) advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.

One interesting set of statistics that I found included information that “35% of students admitted to using their cell phones to cheat” and “52% admitted to some form of cheating involving the internet.”[1]

Aside from the fact that students are cheating by using technology, there is also the possibility that they are not being taught HOW to use it correctly. Teachers and other adults should be showing students the proper way to use technology as well as give credit in order to prevent plagiarism. “When students see adults using technologies inappropriately, they can assume it is the norm. This leads to inappropriate technology behavior on the part of students.”[2] In order for students to understand their “digital responsibility,” they need to be taught the right way.

I see this as a vital part of the social studies classroom. By the time students reach their high school career, they should be familiar with the concept of citing their references and giving credit for their work, but it’s also a time where they have an increased amount of schoolwork. If students see these ideas modeled by their teachers, it will make a difference. (Although it may not always seem that way, we can always hope that students will remember that their teachers stressed giving credit for work that they borrow!)

The attached document is a handout that talks about digital citizenship and cheating.

Digital Citizenship and Cheating


[1] Cheating Goes Hi-Tech. Retrieved from: http://commonsensemedia.org/cheating-goes-hi-tech

[2] Ribble, M., Bailey, G., & Ross, T. Digital Citizenship: Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior. Learning & Leading with Technology, 32(1), 6-11.

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Filed under T4: Informed by technology