Teacher Work Sample Term Paper

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Teaching Unit for an 8th-Grade Language Arts and Literature Class

Contextual Factors

Community, District, and School Factors

Classroom Factors

Student Characteristics

Learning Goals and Objectives

Pre-Assessments Aligned with Learning Goals and Objectives

Evaluation of Pre- and Post-Assessments

Criteria Used to Measure Student Performance for Learning Goals

Plan for Formative Assessment to Gauge Student Progress

Design for Instruction

Explanation of Selected Activities: No. 1.

How Content Relates to Instructional Goal(s) and b.

How the Activity Stems from Pre-Assessment Information and Instructional Context

Materials and Technology Required to Implement

the Activity

d.

Plan for Assessment of Student Learning During

and/or Following the Activity

Explanation of Selected Activities: No. 2.

a.

How Content Relates to Instructional Goal(s) and Objective(s)

b.

How the Activity Stems from Pre-Assessment Information and Instructional Context

c.

Materials and Technology Required to Implement

the Activity

d.

Plan for Assessment of Student Learning During

and/or Following the Activity

Instructional Decision-Making

Analysis of Learning Results

Entire Class

Subgroups

Individuals

Reflection and Self-Evaluation

Developing a Comprehensive Teaching Unit for an 8th-Grade Language Arts and Literature Class

Introduction

According to Dorn and Sabol (2004), much of the national educational reform effort to date has been focused on the creation of standards, based on the need to provide some type of consensus about the issues that are central to the education of students, including content, knowledge, skills, and processes. To this end, this teacher work sample provides the basis for a comprehensive unit with goals and objectives based on the 8th grade language arts and literature class this author will be teaching. An assessment plan designed to measure student performance before (pre-assessment), during (formative assessment), and after (post assessment) is followed by an analysis and reflection on the instructional design, educational context, and learning gains demonstrated by the students as a result of this comprehensive teaching unit.

Standard 1. Contextual Factors.

Community, District, and School Factors.

Geographic location

Rural/Urban.

List unique features of community.

List contributions of community to school.

School System.

Name of school system.

Number of students in school system.

Number of students in school system on free or reduced lunch.

School.

Grades served.

Student enrollment.

Classroom Factors.

Contextual Factor

Instructional Implications

Gender: 10 boys, 10 girls

Equal number of boys and girls provides opportunity for competition; 4 ESL students require additional attention and modified vocabulary lists as required

Achievement: 4 below, 13 at grade level, 3 above 8th grade level

The 4 below will require peer or adult assistance and extra time from the teacher; 3 of the 4 below are ESL students; these students will be provided with extra assistance and modified vocabulary lists as required

Student Characteristics. According to "Schooling in Georgia: Still Unequal" (2004), "There's a serious problem in Georgia. Three in 10 African-American 4th graders cannot read on grade level, compared to 1 in 10 white 4th graders. Almost one in two African-American 8th graders cannot do math on grade level, compared to one in four white 8th graders. These achievement gaps were practically unchanged from 2002 to 2003" (1). Indeed, nationwide, many middle schoolers are faced with declined interest in reading; after they complete elementary school, reading for other than school assignments declines for many students. According to Senator (1995), "MTV and videos compete for the student's attention and time, as do sports practice and games, and even jobs, all of which pull students away from forming the habit of reading. Thus, our problem is not only with the illiterate, but with those who know how to read but do not" (xi). Today, educators have to work to create a school climate that is solidly based on interest in ideas, books, and words. Because of the proliferation of data in this Information Age, schools must give students opportunities to evaluate and use information to solve problems; further, because this is a multimedia society, teachers must use a wide array of methods for developing students interest in words and ideas. "Our approach has to be on many levels and in many areas," Senator adds (xi). The need for helping middle school students achieve good reading skills is clearly important. According to Papalewis, "Poor reading skills in children are the prevalent indicator of dismal public school practices. Poor readers are the result of many factors. Blame for producing poor readers is sometimes leveled on variables school's have little or no impact on -- poverty, English as a second language, poor attendance, etc." (24). Studies have shown time and again, though, that teachers and principals, and the curriculum they use, combined with strong teacher professional development, can and do make a difference in how well these young students learn to read (Papalewis 25). "What is known is that if a student cannot read by the 8th grade, the likelihood of dropping out of school is almost a given. By today's standards without a high school diploma one cannot enter military service, or work in many entry level service-oriented jobs" (Papalewis 25).

Standard 2. Learning Goals and Objectives.

The learning goals and objectives that will guide the planning, delivery and assessment of this unit are as follows:

District Goal No. 1. Standard: Applies word recognition strategies (e.g., roots, affixes, and compound words) to acquire new vocabulary.

Content Knowledge Objectives: Examines, interprets, and evaluates reading elements, styles, and techniques; identifies author's intent in writing; predicts plot and characters' actions in text; generalizes underlying theme and concepts based on what has been read; identifies cultural experiences and how these experiences differ between societies; separates information supported by data and information based on author's perception; recognizes similarities and differences in fiction and nonfiction text; uses details from stories to interpret situations, character thoughts, and events; analyzes information from nonfiction text to reach a conclusion; and examines text for underlying theme and concepts.

Skill/Performance Objectives: Examples include: determining author's purpose, analyzing author's point-of-view, identifying literary techniques, making predictions, making generalizations, analyzing characters, recognizing that literature reflects human experiences, recognizing cultural diversity, recognizing biases and stereotypes, distinguishing between fact and opinion, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions/making inferences, recognizing persuasion techniques, and determining implicit main idea.

Reasoning Objectives: The supporting rationale for this approach ... "Intervention programs are overdue in public schools, especially for urban, low socio-economic schools with older students that need help by credentialed teachers to accelerate their reading skills" (Papalewis 25).

Standard: Applies word recognition strategies (e.g., roots, affixes, and compound words) to acquire new vocabulary.

The teacher will prepare a list of words based on the needs of the students as identified through the pre-test based on the list available on the following Web site: http://lh050.k12.sd.us/PSAT_Vocab.htm.

Each student will be given a word, then instructed to create a pantomime acting out the word. After the students have had time to create in their minds a way to pantomime the word, have them begin presenting them. When students begin presenting their word to the class, they will post their word on the board, wall, etc. beside them so that all students may see the word clearly. Other students sitting at their desks will use a dictionary as needed to decide if the person has correctly performed the definition. If a student thinks he/she will do a better pantomime of the same word, he/she may try. By the time this has ended, everyone knows the meaning and correct spelling of the word.

Standard 3. Assessment Plan.

The following assessment plan will be used to provide an initial benchmark against which progress can be determined, a formative assessment to identify individual progress, and a post-assessment to identify gains made as shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Assessment Plan.

Learning Goals

Learning Objectives

Type of Assessments

Format of Assessment

Adaptations

Applies word recognition strategies (e.g., roots, affixes, and compound words) to acquire new vocabulary.

All students will improve their vocabulary by 10%.

1. Pre-assessment

2. Formative Assessment

3. Post-assessment

Performance-based, paper-and-pencil

ESL students will be provided additional peer/teacher assistance and a modified vocabulary list as required

All students will improve their ability to spell the newly acquired words correctly 25% of the time.

1. Pre-assessment

2. Formative Assessment

3. Post-assessment

Performance-based, paper-and-pencil

ESL students will be provided additional peer/teacher assistance and a modified vocabulary list as required

All students will be able to more accurately assess the meaning of the pantomimed words based on the definitions provided 50% of the time.

1. Pre-assessment

2. Formative Assessment

3. Post-assessment

Performance-based, paper-and-pencil

ESL students will be provided additional peer/teacher assistance and a modified vocabulary list as required

Pre-Assessments Aligned with Learning Goals and Objectives. According to Torgesen (Spring/Summer, 1998), once a program of reading instruction has started, the most accurate predictor of future reading growth is current reading achievement, and the most critical indicators of good progress in learning to read are measures of word reading skill (6); in addition, monitoring of the growth of word reading ability should include out-of-context measures of word reading ability, phonetic decoding ability, (as measured by the ability to read non-words), and word reading fluency (8).

Evaluation of Pre-…[continue]

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