When planning curriculum and instruction, there are many components to consider: state standards, objectives and goals, materials, assessment, technology, and more. During my practicum, I designed my curriculum with all of these components in mind. I developed a unit plan called “Cooking Up A Storm.” This unit was created based on standards 2, 3 and 4 from the Earth and Science strand of the Massachusetts Science Framework (Indicator 1). While the unit was created around specific science standards, I incorporated other Massachusetts frameworks into my lessons. Sample 2 cites other state frameworks used in the lesson, including History/Social Science and ELA standards. The unit teaches second graders content on sun, wind, and types of severe storms (Sample 1). Each lesson includes clear, overall objectives and specific, short-term goals (Indicator 5). Sample 3 provides specific examples of objectives and goals, which were created before the rest of the lesson was written. I often practice the backwards design method when creating curriculum because it forces me to think about the purpose of the lessons. This leads to successful instruction. Along with this backwards approach, I included age-appropriate materials and technology (sample 4) to enhance the learning experience (Indicator 7).
I draw results from a variety of formal and informal assessments to see if my instruction is effective and students comprehend the content being taught (Indicator 2). “Cooking Up A Storm” included several formative assessments that allowed me to check for understanding. Samples 7-13 are evidence of work that assess students’ content knowledge of storms. The samples reveal the variety of ways I checked for understanding. Some of these include writing (students’ cookbooks and 3-2-1 worksheets), pictures (sample 12), and poetry (cinquain poems). I feel strongly about providing my students with as many opportunities as possible to express what they have learned. At the end of this unit, I provided students with a summative assessment (sample 5). This test made it easy for me to assess what students knew about the four types of storms. The visuals on this test were added for a student on an IEP (Indicator 8). Along with accommodations on the assessment, I created visuals for each lesson that was taught. Sample 6 shows a picture of a poster I created for students to help grasp the meaning of a cinquain poem.
Please see attached PDF file at the top of this page for the complete unit plan.
During reading, all materials are organized according to reading level to promote learning by the full range of students (Indicator 3). Students were given a colored bookmark that coincides with the labeled books in the classroom (see sample 15). For every book students read, they must write in their lucky log and they will receive a star on the “lucky chart” (see sample 14 and 16). This combination of activities promotes reading and writing, while allowing access to various reading abilities.
During guided reading, I identified necessary prerequisite skills, concepts, and vocabulary before reading a book (Indicator 4). Sample 18 provides a list of vocabulary words that were previewed with students. Often, I encourage students to write down any other words they do not know as they are reading. These words are discussed in the group. I think it is important to teach student skills for deciphering words they don’t know. I taught students to try and find meaning by context clues, pictures, the dictionary, etc.
All of the provided samples of work are examples of best practice. I strongly feel that planning curriculum and instruction needs to be done in advance. My teaching philosophy is revealed through my work and the work of my students. Planning curriculum and instruction is a thoughtful process. By taking the time to create a unit plan with end goals in mind and organize all materials appropriately, my instruction was smooth and effective. I was better able to reach the variety of learners in the classroom. This is something that I would not have been able to do if my instruction was planned and objectives were not clear.