3.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Students . To me, 3.1 means that teachers use their knowledge of individual students and groups of students to present information in a way that best utilizes students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency. According to Birnie (2015), “As teachers learn more about differentiating successfully, as they modify and refine approaches and techniques, as they include more and better technology in the mix, they will become more proficient in differentiating instruction. Instead of being abandoned, it should become an increasingly important strategy in every teacher’s tool kit” (pg. 63). Students studied The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and I wanted to facilitate students in making connections between the text and informational texts, which results in students to analyzing the accuracy of how Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is portrayed in the novel. Two of the articles I selected were less complex and more straightforward. The language was less dense and the main claims were clearer. I assigned these articles to lower-performing students who I have identified as struggling with reading comprehension and developing claims. In contrast, I selected two articles that encompassed more complex ideas in order to challenge students who I have identified at or above standard. Students were provided these informational texts with no knowledge that I had distributed each text based on the prior identified skill levels . Students were assigned the same graphic organizer (Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2) to fill out the column designated to their article.
I deliberately selected each informational text in order to give students a wide range of different perceptive in regards to ASD. Students would share their responses to Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2 to their group members. The article from MSNBC, “Autism seen as an asset, not liability, in some jobs,” by Chris Tachibana, outlines how individuals with ASD have valuable assets in particular professional settings. An article published by The New York Times, “A School District That Takes the Isolation Out of Autism,” by Michael Winerip, describes a school district’s effort to integrate students with ASD into general classrooms and how students have responded positively to this emphasis. An article, also published by the New York Times, “School Bullies Prey on Children with Autism,” by Anahad O’Connor, describes how bullies are targeting students with ASD and the effect bullying can have on students. Lastly, an article from The Seattle Times, “I want my daughter to have opportunities,” by Becky and Paige Bisbee, which explains the progressive legislation and increasing professional opportunities for individuals with ASD. Students were instructed to analyze their respective article through guided questions. These guided questions included academic language, such as, claim and textual evidence to further understanding and usage of these terms.  Students were responsible to share their article, guided by the questions in Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2. According to Pressley and McCormick (2007), “One reason individual accountability is so crucial is that many students are tempted to coast when there are in small learning groups, with only one or two participants working hard (Hogan et all., 2000; Lindauer & Petrie, 1997)” (pg.277). This form of differentiated learning allows students to access a reading that meets their comprehension and analysis skills, while prompting students to contribute to their group in the same capacity as higher-performing students. The next step is identifying additional circumstances for differentiated instruction when students are reading the same primary text. This will be accomplished by consulting with colleagues and implementing differentiated instruction in order to facilitate analysis of the text .
Birnie, B. (2015). Making the Case for Differentiation. New York: The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 88:2, 62-65, Reading Horizons, 50(3), 147-168.
Pressley, M., & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York: Guilford Press.
2.1 Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques . To me, 2.1 means that teachers engage students in furthering understanding of material through high quality questions by allowing for adequate response time. I utilize high quality questions during small group discussions that progress from lower-order questions to higher-order questions as a form of differentiated instruction. According to Pressley and McCormick (2007), “First of all, the different heads have different prior knowledge. Moreover, the different heads have attended to different aspects of the information being considered. As the talk in the group proceeds, connections are made” (pg.118). Students were presented guided questions to facilitate discussions and asked to listen to one another and respond by furthering their point or providing a completely new point or respectively disagreeing with a group member. All these options should be supported by textual evidence. Figure 1.1 is the PowerPoint slide presented to students for their small group discussions .
The questions deliberately increase in difficulty as students progress. This is exemplified in the first question when students make connections between the text, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and students’ community and high school. This question allows for students less comfortable with the text to participate by making connections to their community and high school. Students are provided ample response time because students are presented all the questions at the same time. If necessary, students can identify a question that strikes their interest and have ample time to construct their response while listening to classmates. I included high-order questions (#5 and #6) in order to challenge students who need to be challenged. The questions I present to students elicit responses that require explanations rather than “yes” or “no” responses. I often include the word “how” in questions to encourage students to explain their responses. I verbally encourage students to support their responses with textual evidence to strengthen contributions.  The organization of these questions allows students to explore the author’s use of point of view (POV). Another set of high quality questions are presented to students in order for students to analyze plot (Figure 1.2). Organizing these questions into different sets of questions allows students to focus and analyze these two different elements of the text.
 “It is the teacher’s job to share expert reading, writing, and critical thinking with students and incrementally bring students up to a higher cognitive and critical level” (p.164). These questions allow students to analyze POV and character relationships designed to further student understanding through high quality questions and discussions. Students have the opportunity to share ideas and gain different perspectives from classmates. Students are encouraged to disagree, in a respectful way, to create stimulating conversations. Students were also given the opportunity analyze these two elements through verbal discourse, which can increase confidence in both verbal and written discourse. Through these high quality questions, students can practice supporting claims with textual evidence and listen/use academic language in verbal discourse. Key academic language is in bold font to encourage student understanding and use. The next step will be providing students additional response time through pair-shares prior to the small group discussion. In addition, collaborate with colleagues regarding methods that elicit participation from all students in the small group .
Gritter, K. (2010). Insert student here: Why content area constructions of literacy matter for pre-service teachers. Reading Horizons, 50(3), 147-168.
Pressley, M., & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York: Guilford Press.
1.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy . To me, 1.1 involves how a teacher understands student’s interests and connects those interests to content in a natural and cohesive manner. As Nasir (2008) states, “Offering learners ways to participate that incorporate aspects of themselves. Learners in out-of-school activities sometimes talk about the importance of feeling connected to an activity because it gives them opportunities to be themselves within it.” Students were assigned the prompt during our Romeo & Juliet unit– How does Shakespeare accurately represent the workings of the brain through the characters in Romeo and Juliet? Figure 1.1 is a graphic organizer for students to use during the unit and Figure 1.2 is a portion of the rubric for the assignment .
This prompt was deliberately created to integrate student’s own personal experiences and apply real-world information to better understand the text. Students were assigned two informational texts to support their claim regarding love and the development of the teen brain. This activity was furthered when I asked guided questions to facilitate student’s connection to the prompt. For example, “Is there a time in your life when you were not able to identify the future effect of your actions?”. This deepened student’s connection to the text and assisted in the valuable connection between Romeo and Juliet and a relevant topic in student’s lives – the developing teenage brain . Students were not only required to look at the text through a different lens, but it required students to synthesize information from multiple different texts. The implication for students is that they were able to look at Romeo and Juliet from a different perspective. Romeo and Juliet can be difficult for many students, but being able to analyze the text while applying current research in regards to brain development made the process less daunting for many students. Students were more engaged and interested in the essay than more conventional essays we have previously assigned . Nasir (2008) notes, “In sum, learning in settings outside of school is supported both directly and indirectly. It is supported directly by the provision of access to information and knowledge, along with the tools, strategies, and resources that enable one to learn something one does not already know.” This assignment allowed students to analyze Romeo and Juliet, but it also provided pertinent information into the developing brain, which can influence how students view their own growth. The next step in this process is incorporating individual experiences from each student and how those actions align or contradict with Shakespeare’s portrayal of the teenage brain. This will increase the individuality of the assignment and allow students to directly connect content to their lives. A couple of resources for assisting with this process include State standards and collaboration with fellow colleagues .
Nasir, N. S. (2008). Everyday Pedagogy: Lessons from Basketball, Track, and Dominoes. Phi Delta Kappan, 89, (7), 529-532.
Trigger Question: Are there up-to-date high school lessons plans designed to educate students on technological privacy/safety issues and strategies to maintain a positive digital footprint?
I looked through the different resources presented and I believe that students would find “Manners Matter Infographic” informational. It presents some basic information for students to keep in mind as their time spent online continues to increase. I think a beneficial activity would be handing out this graphic and allowing students to discuss the importance of the information in their own lives. It is important that students are aware of these different issues due to the lasting effects negative online activity can have on individuals.
I think these three resources would work well together to begin the conversation with students about their online and App activity. The infographic gives students a broad idea of what is important and then the Snapchat article presents evidence regarding one commonly used App.
Davidson, J. (2014). The 7 Social Media Mistakes Most Likely to Cost You a Job.Money Magazine. Retrieved from http://time.com/money/3510967/jobvite-social-media-profiles-job-applicants/