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Megan Cato: Standard 2

Standard 2

The M.Ed. candidate is committed to all students and their learning.

Element A: Developmental Characteristics of Students

Element B: Teaching to Individual Learning Abilities

Element C: Selection of Resources to Meet Range of Students’ Needs

Element D: Expectations for Learning and Achievement

Element E: Positive Climate

One of my favorite units that I teach in the 5th grade each year is a figurative language unit I developed during my first year of teaching. The unit was designed to follow Max Thompson’s Learning Focus model for lesson plans. This means that throughout the unit I included activators, standards of learning, summarizers, and explicit plans for learning that will engage all learners. Through the use of each of the components, I show that I am meeting the developmental needs of my students. In 5th grade my students still need hands-on and encouraging activities, and I believe I provided for this in my figurative language unit. As well as providing for their developmental needs, I also demonstrated through my lessons that I took into account the needs of all my students. I know that students learn in a variety of ways, and I included activities throughout the unit that would appeal to my students’ diverse learning needs. There were physical activities, such as blowing and playing with bubbles. There were lessons that included chanting or singing for the more musically inclined. There were group activities for the interpersonal learners, and there were individual, thought provoking exercises for the intrapersonal learners. Since I have begun teaching this unit, I have not found a student that did not enjoy at least one aspect of the lessons.

To make the unit more enjoyable and engaging for my students, I included in the unit the use of Apple’s Photo Booth application. Students were able to use this fun program to create their pictures for their “Figurative Fugitive” posters. I also gave the students current copies of newspapers, magazines, and catalogs to find examples of the different types of figurative language that we had studied. The use of such materials show that I routinely use supplemental materials and outside resources to met my students’ needs.

As I started off the unit, I simply introduced each type of figurative language and checked for mastery at the end of each lesson. We completed quick, yet meaningful activities over each type of language to build the students’ knowledge. However, as I progressed through the unit I let the students know that at the end of the unit they would be taking their knowledge they had learned from each lesson, and they would have to write a narrative paper including several different examples of figurative language in their writing. This type of teaching where I started off by guiding the students through the learning and then having them perform an individual task using their new knowledge shows that I appropriately challenge students by presenting material at qualitatively higher levels.

I am a language arts teacher, but I think this is a fun unit for any learner. My students really enjoyed when I took their work and displayed it in the classroom and in the hallway on the bulletin board. This display of student work is evidence that I provide a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. The students do not just feel they are in my classroom, but they feel as if they have ownership in their class as well. This is vitally important in creating a learning community.