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Megan Cato: Standard 1

Standard 1

The M.Ed. candidate knows the subjects he/she teaches and how to teach those subjects to all students.

Element A: Knowledge of Content

Element B: Interdisciplinary Approaches when Teaching Content

Element C: Student Engagement

Element F: Media and Technology

Element G: Oral and Written Language

As a 5th grade reading, language arts, and social studies teacher, I frequently had the opportunity to integrate all of the subjects into one core unit. One particular unit that I taught dealt with Westward Expansion as the social studies component, yet I taught this knowledge through my reading lessons showing that I often use an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. As I sat down to write the unit on Westward Expansion, I used the Georgia Performance Standards, the Curriculum Guide, and Wayne County’s pacing guide. By using these resources I was able to develop the unit so that all of the skills that I was required to teach at the particular time were integrated into the unit showing that I possess a solid knowledge of content in my grade level.

The Westward Expansion was an interesting time in our nation’s history, and I wanted to make the unit an experience that none of my students would ever forget. Showing that I often connect the content to my students’ lives, I began the unit by taping off a small section of my classroom and telling all of my students to bring their books with them to the square because that is where we would all be doing our work for the duration for the class. We worked for several minutes this way before I began asking students if there were any of them who would like to return to their seat so they could spread out to do their work. I then launched a discussion with the students about how it feels to be crowded and how it feels to have space. Through this discussion I used language that was clear and correct, and I used vocabulary that was appropriate for my students’ age levels. Also, as a part of the introduction, I showed my students a short segment from “How the West was Won” to give them an idea of what it would have been like to move out west. Plus, we viewed pictures on the Promethean board showing the crowded city slums. Throughout the duration of the unit, students were able to get on the laptops and view websites to enrich their learning, and they used laptops to create projects on PowerPoint and other applications. I believe these instructional techniques show that I consistently use media and technology to enhance instructional impact.

Throughout the unit I conducted informal assessments to gauge my students’ learning. I would take the information from those assessments to group the students based on their learning needs. In the groups I would use various instructional strategies to bring them up to pace or to accelerate them based on their progress. For the students who showed they were struggling through the assessment, I would provide more hands-on explicit instruction. For those who seemed to grasp all the concepts, I would use more self-directed activities to increase motivation and knowledge. By using these assessments and different teaching styles, I am using different instructional strategies based on the subject matter and the needs of the students, and I show I can use a variety of ways to group students.

This 5th grade unit on Westward Expansion was an exciting series of lessons for my students and me. We had fun learning and exploring together about what life was like for the settlers. I believe teaching my reading and language skills through history raised the level of student engagement and productivity.

Element E: Quality of Questions

According to the Armstrong Atlantic State University Masters of Education conceptual framework, Standard 1 deals with the teacher knowing the subject he or she teaches and knowing how to teach that subject to all students. I believe I hold to this framework with my artifact because I developed questions from an article in Time magazine that went all the way up Bloom’s Taxonomy. Developing questions on all different levels shows how I use a variety of questions for higher order thinking, student engagement and assessment. The questions I formed for each level can be used to check individual performance skills, or I could place the students in groups to create a learning environment that causes them to problem solve together. I am a big supporter of critical thinking, and if I can hook them from the beginning of the lesson by having them discuss the article about girl wrestlers as a group, I think they are more likely to understand and gain knowledge from the questions that they are to answer. If the students are actively engaged in the learning and are able to input their ideas and analyze what they read, they will get more out of the lesson. I will strive everyday to have my students thinking at the evaluation level of Bloom’s Taxonomy because it causes their brains to be more active and boosts their performance skills.