Evidence from 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 School Years:
The sequence of learning activities follows a coherent sequence, is aligned to instructional goals, and is designed to engage students in high-level cognitive activity:
Coherent sequence aligned to instructional goals:
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These are appropriately differentiated for individual learners. Instructional groups are varied appropriately, with some opportunity for student choice:
- Students choose between ten novels each round of Lit Circles. They give me their top 5 choices and I try to give them their first or second choice. Students may ask the Lexile or student rating of each book & I share these with them while they're choosing books.
- Independent reading is completely student choice.
- When assigning "final writing assessments" for each unit, I give students their choice between 5-10 prompts.
- Although jobs are assigned in our classroom, students are not expected to do their job, only to ensure that their job gets done each day. Therefore, students do any jobs that they want to, any time that they want to.
- There are many times when I will create a Google Sheet and project it on the board. I will choose sticks, and students will choose which group they'd like to be in. The last child chosen knows not to complain because it was as fair as possible!
- In our Try Engineering Together units, students select between 6-9 articles to read. They get placed into groups based on the article they select. Then, their pen pal reads the same article and they discuss it.
Learning experiences connect to other disciplines:
- I've chosen to incorporate several programs or units that integrate subjects effectively and efficiently. For example, Try Engineering Together is a program where each of my students have been partnered up with a science or engineering professional who reads the same articles as my students, write back and forth with each other, and ask & answer questions. This incorporates writing, reading, science, and 21st Century skills.
- In science, we have expanded our Energy unit to include a debate! Students learn persuasive/argumentative writing techniques, research skills, and presentation skills. In addition, they learn how to listen in order to evaluation and judge to make a vote on which team had a stronger debate. The technology integrations into this unit have really made it a fun experience!
- In order to make measurement, unit conversions & finding the mean more authentic to my kiddos, I've integrated science investigations into our weekly schedule. These investigations include measuring distances using meter sticks, using timers on iPads, calculating averages, and interpreting data. Lots of math skills in our science lessons!
- Students are put into Words their Way groups based on a pre-test score at the beginning of the year and at least one other time during the year. This ensures that students are learning spelling patterns, rules, and affixes at their readiness level.
- In math, students are given a packet with "Reteach," "Extra Practice," and "Enrichment" pages. Students have been taught to work on the reteach pages when they are struggling, the extra practice pages when they get the material but don't feel like an expert yet, and the enrichment pages when they completely understand the material and want a challenge. This is done whenever they have a free minute in math class.
- During WIN Time, I pull students to work on "Reteach" math pages, skills that they're struggling with, and I also pre-teach upcoming lessons. We do IXL together and the goal is to give direction, feedback, and support to ensure that each student is academically successful.
- In Passion Time, students choose topics of interest and do activities that are at their grade level. I modify my expectations for each child based on their abilities & challenges. I spend time giving feedback and asking students to make improvements over time.