In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course
ED355, Language Arts Methods
Division of the School of Education
University of Guam
Dr. Jacqui Cyrus
November 21, 2007
I found a wonderful lesson on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website, under teacher’s resources “The Quest for Less” that is relevant to current issues and interesting enough to capture the imagination of an eleven-year-old. Armed with a lesson, there were key questions to address. What do I know about my students? What accommodations and modifications will I need to make? What do the students already know that will enable them to complete the lesson? What do I want them to learn? What media and materials will they need to complete the lesson? How will they utilize the media and materials? How will I get them to participate? How will the lesson be evaluated?
I based the hypothetical assumptions about my student’s SES, ethnicity, and gender on the “Tamuning Elementary School’s Annual Report Card” retrieved from the Guam Public School website linked to the Superintendent’s page. The learning styles are hypothetical. After reviewing web-posted Individual Educational Plans examples for an autistic student and a paraplegic student, I specified accommodations and made modifications to the lesson plan to meet the IEP requirements.
To determine the prior knowledge of the students regarding natural resources, environmental issues, conservation, and computer technology I reviewed the Guam Public School System’s Standards. Based on the standards I was able to make certain assumptions about what the students already know.
The overt lesson plan objectives are reflective of the assignment criteria, that is, reading and writing, speaking and listening. This presented a major challenge. While the task of compiling one paragraph of research on a specific topic given the source of the information sounds easy enough to accomplish in a single class period, it did not turn out to be a realistic expectation. In retrospect, having them print, read, rewrite, and recite would have probably been more expedient. However, the research process and collaboration are the real learning experiences, not the regurgitation of given information. . In addition, it was necessary to incorporate technology research tools, in this case, specifically related to the National Educational Technology Standard and Performance Indicators for Teachers (NETS*T) “I. Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum: Teachers implement curriculum plans that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning” (NETS*T. 2002). The lesson plan “facilitates technology-enhanced experiences that address content standards and student technology standards” by meeting the criteria of NETS-S “5. Technology Research Tools: students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources” and “students use technology tools to process data and report results” (NETS*S. 2002). This is accomplished through the use of the internet for research, Microsoft Word for data processing, and Microsoft PowerPoint for the class presentation.
It is easy enough to submit a lesson plan with all the supporting information, such as handouts, activity sheets, and examples in a packet. But if the teacher is absent how will the students be able to access relevant information and supporting materials online? This creates a new set of problems. What do the students need to complete the assignment?
To begin with, the assumption had to be made that the students have access to gmail and know how to use it. I began by asking myself what I would want if I were doing the assignment. In addition, I needed to know that the tools the students were given actually worked. Thus, I choose a resource and did the research. To guide them through the research I developed a version of “The Research Process” based on the guide published by Instruction Fair, modified to fit the assignment. It included a lot of “smiley” graphics and illustrations. This proved problematic when I upload to gmail. The pictures did not upload and none of the text boxes were in the right place. I tried attaching it as an email but realized that I would have to give my password to the world in order to open the document. It had to be rebuilt in gmail.
Following “The Research Process” I wanted to provide the students with examples of the index cards. Again this did not upload and I had to recreate in gmail.
All of the links on Wikipedia worked. However, the data for my resource was limited and I had to dig a little deeper to find the size of the mine. I modified the essays questions to include, “if you cannot find the answer to a question, ask a different question related to your resource.” I wanted to give them access to the lesson facts for review. The lesson was a part of a 236 page document on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website and included all the teacher’s materials. I did not want the students to have everything, just the pertinent pages. Since the document was created as a “PDF” file I was unable to remove pages. I printed them, but the blue print and background did not scan well and by the time it was save as a photo and inserted into a word document, it was illegible. So I tried the copy and paste method. This worked but it pasted in a columnar format and it took some time to realign the text. Once it was in a text format it uploaded to gmail without any problems.
I had no problems uploading the Microsoft Word documents and the PowerPoint sample. Had I uploaded the PowerPoint first I could have saved myself a lot of work by putting the “research process” and the index cards on PowerPoint. Initially, the students were to record a portion of their presentation on “Audacity” and then insert it into the PowerPoint presentation. I checked the microphone and made a recording on “Audacity” before I began working on the lesson plan to determine if it could be uploaded to gmail. I found gmail does not support WAV files. So I included instructions for making the recording and inserting into the PowerPoint presentation. It was item six in the objectives and the last issue I addressed to complete the lesson plan. My microphone would not work. So I had to take it out.
At this point I had numerous working documents. The masters on my desktop, the files uploaded to gmail, and the lesson plan on my gmail blog. It seemed every time I looked at a document I would find something else wrong and it was overwhelming to keep up with the corrections. Once the lesson plan was uploaded to the blog, changes were challenging. A single change can change the entire section format. I finally got everything uploaded and linked.
I devised the lesson plan to be interactive and broke down the components of the assignment to ensure all the students had an active roll in the research and development of the project. By going though the process of the assignment I found problem areas and modified the assignment accordingly. I created assessment rubrics and posted them on gmail linked to the assignment so they would know exactly what would be evaluated. I also asked the students to evaluate me as the teacher to get their feedback on the instruction and lesson. Overall, this was an incredible, painful at times, but a great learning experience. I am sure I will utilize these resources in the future.
It seems every week we are introduced to a wonderful new way to engage students in the learning process. It is like being in a candy store and invited to sample all the wonderful flavors. During this process I discovered how a diamond field was discovered under a lake and men moved the lake to exploit the resources beneath. That is how I feel about the technology. It is a multi-faceted diamond just waiting to be discovered! It is through discovery learning becomes personal. I am looking forward to starting on the next project!
National Educational Technology Standards. NETS for Students. Retrieved November 21, 2007 from http://cnets.iste.org/currstands/cstands-netss.html.
National Educational Technology Standards. NETS for Teachers. Retrieved November 21, 2007 from http://cnets.iste.org/currstands/cstands-netst.html.