Approach to Editing the Lesson Plan
The most significant adjustment to my unit plan is the integration of diversity concepts in all four lessons. The lesson plans were edited to align with different social or cultural themes. Lesson Plan A, for example, was modified to allow the teacher to relate the instructional context and activities to inclusive topics. For example, the teacher may work with the students to construct fractions which reflect the racial demographics of a particular group or the entire class. Students were allowed to practice this activity by creating their fractions in groups. These minor alterations helped develop and maintain an inclusive learning environment, which may help address persistent issues such as social isolation of racial/ethnic minorities (Reid et al., 2015). These considerations encourage students to share unique and creative ideas and perspectives.
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The diversity orientation had a significant impact on how I perceived the processes of creating curriculum, assessment, and planning. Most importantly, I realized that curriculum planning starts at the end of the student’s learning process (Bullard, 2019). In light of this perspective, it is imperative for teachers to define what their students are expected to know, what they value, and what they can perform. Focusing the syllabus and evaluation methods on these expectations can enable educators to provide meaningful, high-impact learning experiences for their class (Chappuis & Stiggins, 2020). The various elements of a lesson plan should be integrated with the overarching objective of creating a lesson plan that is carefully designed to impart students with relevant knowledge and skills to solve real-life problems.
Furthermore, how curriculum development and assessment are organized play an integral role in how students construct meaning through connecting between the instructional context and their prior experience. An effective curriculum should focus on supporting learners to not only understand the new knowledge and skills they acquire from the classroom but also apply them to real-life situations (Chappuis & Stiggins, 2020). The planners should prioritize providing students with a manageable amount of context information which is well-organized into meaningful patterns. This consideration will enable the students to internalize the new information and skills they learn and apply them to real-life situations. Therefore, creating an effective curriculum, assessment, and planning necessitates instructors to embed relevant formative and summative evaluation strategies and opportunities to reflect on and direct their learning.
The Usage of Instructional Models of Teaching
I focused on aligning the core elements of the unit plan: the TEKs, learning objectives, teaching models, instructional activities, and assessment techniques. I integrated a range of instructional models, including mastery learning, cooperative learning, and concept attainment. The primary aim of creating this unity was to reinforce the TEKS and learning objectives. For instance, the Concept Attainment model aligns with the learning standard and objective, requiring students to learn how to define the whole, fractions, denominator, and numerator, and understand different fractions (halves, thirds, and quarters).
The model supported this objective by allowing the educator to present several examples of fractions on the smartboard and ask the students to explain how they are related. This activity supports TEK 3 (numbers and operations) by giving the students a chance to learn how to “recognize and represent fractional units and communicates how they are used to name parts of a whole” (Texas Education Agency, 2014, para. 9).
Similarly, cooperative learning supports the learning objectives in several ways. For instance, allowing the students to work in groups of four to six individuals helped in enhancing comprehension and the whole learning process because students can learn from their peers. For example, the reciprocal nature of this learning activity provides students with the opportunity to help and support each other to learn through sharing advice, feedback and thoughtful questions on how to name, compare, and operationalize fractions. An aligned curriculum design facilitates the achievement of learning outcomes (Alfauzan & Tarchouna, 2017). The close alignment ensured that the core elements of the lesson plans reinforce one another.
Consistently, the various teaching models had a considerable influence on the choice of evaluation methods. An effective assessment has to provide a precise reflection of how well pupils have learned what they were expected to know (Joyce et al., 2015). To achieve this goal, I ensured that my teaching approaches and tests align closely. I planned to appraise my students based on the set learning objectives. I analyzed the specific competencies I wanted my pupils to acquire, the skills and behaviors that would demonstrate their progress, and instructional techniques that would reinforce the learning outcomes and prepare them for the exams. My instructional models focused on different learning aspects, such as understanding, critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, task completion, and collaboration. Therefore, the summative and formative assessment activities were specifically designed to measure these elements.
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An advance organizer is one of the most powerful tools that I would have integrated into my lesson to complement other models. This method is uniquely designed to offer learners a cognitive framework that helps them comprehend the instructional materials (Chappuis & Stiggins, 2020). It would have been instrumental in helping the students understand fractions. For instance, cutting an orange into halves, thirds, or quarters and presenting them graphically could reinforce learning how to name and operate with fractions. The model could have enabled me to effectively introduce the structure of different fractions, consequently enhancing student comprehension and retention of the content of the lessons (Gidena & Gebeyehu, 2017). Therefore, adopting the advance organizer model could have closely aligned my instruction with TEKs and learning objectives.
Role-playing would be a logical replacement of the cooperative instruction model. This technique involves creating several activities which reflect real-life situations but under a controlled environment (Chappuis & Stiggins, 2020). It could have been used effectively during the practice sessions to help the students internalize their learning. For example, I may ask members to volunteer to play the role of a teacher to illustrate the attributes of different fractions. In addition to deep immersion in the learning, this model can promote the broadening of knowledge and understanding in this area. Therefore, role-playing can be a powerful strategy to facilitate learning and comprehension of mathematical tasks such as calculating fractions.
Unique Methods of Teaching, Diversity Scenarios and Other Takeaways
This project exposed me to new and unique instruction methods and philosophies which would have a significant impact on how I teach in the future. First, group investigation equipped me with a powerful tool to transform my elementary students into well-informed and effective citizens. Consistent with Yuanita et al. (2018), I intend to apply this technique by providing learners with opportunities to learn, experience, and exercise, making decisions democratically and addressing issues by investigating real-life issues.
Moreover, this approach will enable me to integrate a range of subject matter areas (such as science, mathematics, and language arts) with social studies. In line with this model, I will always adopt a democratic approach to my instruction by negotiating with my pupils on the most relevant topics or issues to cover, how to teach them, and the format of evaluating learning and progress. This model will permit the students to immerse deeply into and become more responsible for their learning process, consequently improving learning outcomes.
Second, the nondirective model will also have a significant influence on my instructional decisions in the future. This model requires educators to consider the learning needs, emotions, and personalities of my students when creating lesson plans and assessments (Joyce et al., 2015). I will endeavor to perceive the world from my pupils’ point of view and help them recognize that they can define and solve problems by applying their own solutions. In this context, I create and foster a welcoming environment to encourage my students to share ideas freely. Using the five distinct stages of this framework will enable me to produce students who are effective problem solvers and value life-long learning.
Finally, mastery learning will transform the way I deliver content in class. I will employ this approach when handling conventional and special classes to raise students’ achievement levels. This technique necessitates the teacher to present information in small pieces and allow pupils to work at their own pace (Joyce et al., 2015). Introducing instructional content in small chunks will improve my delivery by allowing my students to comprehend knowledge, concepts, skills, and dispositions deeply. If I implement it appropriately, this model will completely change how I teach, how my pupils will learn, and how my classroom will work. It will also transform how I plan and design curricula and how I assess academic achievement.
Innovative Assessment Techniques
Standard-based grading is perhaps the most innovative assessment technique I have learned in this project. It will refine how I organize, administer, and discuss evaluation results with relevant parties (such as students, parents, and school administrators). It reflects a shift away from the controversial traditional grading systems towards an intentional approach to tracking students’ progress and academic achievement (Chappuis & Stiggins, 2020). It requires educators to focus their attention on helping students to learn and realize their highest potential. The system will enable me to create a fair, accurate, and defensible grading system.
For example, I will capture my pupils’ progress by measuring proficiency levels for applicable standards instead of depending solely on a holistic reflection. I will construct a reliable grading system by tracking information regarding work habits and social skills separately. Chappuis and Stiggins (2020) suggest that the appropriate way of deriving a standard-based grade from summative data is by monitoring and recording information about achievement level separately from other data types such as class attendance and participation, work completion, timely submission of assignments, and cooperation with peers. Although these elements play an essential role in learning, they can compromise the clarity and reliability of the achievement records.
The various types of portfolios constitute one of the most innovative ways I have learned to analyze achievement data and provide feedback. Project, growth, achievement, celebration, and competence-based portfolios offer powerful tools for collecting, analyzing, and reporting the effort, progress, learning, and competencies pupils gain from a class (Chappuis & Stiggins, 2020). I intend to utilize these tools to measure the progress and quality of my pupils’ learning by evaluating the pieces of evidence they document. Assessing different artifacts (essays, projects, presentations, and assignments) will enable me to analyze and demonstrate the full extent of the students’ achievement beyond conventional grades.
Alfauzan, A. A., & Tarchouna, N. (2017). The role of an aligned curriculum design in the achievement of learning outcomes. Journal of Education and e-Learning Research, 4(3), 81-91. https://doi.org/10.20448/journal.509.2017.43.81.91
Bullard, J. (2019). Creating curriculum in early childhood: Enhanced learning through backward design. Routledge.
Chappuis, J., & Stiggins, R. (2020). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right—doing it well (3rd ed.). Pearson.
Gidena, A., & Gebeyehu, D. (2017). The effectiveness of advance organiser model on students’ academic achievement in learning work and energy. International Journal of Science Education, 39(16), 2226-2242. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2017.1369600
Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of teaching (9th ed.). Pearson.
Reid, J. L., Kagan, S.., Hilton, M., & Potter, H. (2015). A better start? Why classroom diversity matters in early education. Poverty & Race Research Council. https://www.prrac.org/pdf/A_Better_Start.pdf
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Texas Education Agency (2014). Texas essential knowledge and skills. Texas Education Agency. https://tea.texas.gov/academics/curriculum-standards/teks/texas-essential-knowledge-and-skills
Yuanita, R., Degeng, I. N. S., & Sudarmiatin, S. (2018). Application of group investigation model to increase learning outcomes of elementary school students. Journal of K6 Education and Management, 1(1), 21-26. https://doi.org/10.11594/jk6em.01.01.05