Teaching Standard A: Plans Curriculum & Instruction Narrative
Planning curriculum and instruction was a large part of my student teaching experience. As part of my practicum, I planned and taught lessons that spanned across all subject areas. My primary focus was to develop ELA and mathematics lessons that aligned with the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks and the Common Core Standards (see Appendix: “Equivalent Fractions”). Focusing on the frameworks allowed me to plan lessons with clear objectives and relevant measureable outcomes – which I would communicate to my students at the start of each lesson. In addition, I utilized the Universal By Design method to create highly differentiated and stimulating lesson plans to address the learning needs of my students.

Assessments, both formal and informal, also contributed to my student teaching success. I found informal assessments to be widely incorporated into my teaching practice. Every morning I would begin class with a Do Now. This strategy allowed me to informally assess what students had learned from the previous day’s lesson. Based on the Do Now’s submitted, I would be flexible with my plans and tailor my instruction to meet the immediate learning needs of my students. I would always allot time in the morning for small group discussions to address student challenges. In regards to formal assessments, I created tests that provided multiple mediums for students to demonstrate understanding, including written assignments, multiple choice options, matching, illustrations, projects, etc.

Since the MCAS is a heavy component of fourth grade instruction, many of the lessons I planned were centered around teaching students the necessary skills needed to perform up to proficient levels on the MCAS test. I paid close attention to the learning needs of each student, differentiating my instruction to accommodate both special education and EL students. I collaborated with my cooperating teacher, special education direction, as well as the fourth grade team to plan lessons that were content specific, yet stimulating.

Lastly, my lesson plans were always organized and readily available due to my use of technology. The Internet provided me with an abundance of knowledge and ideas to plan lessons that have proven to be effective for fourth grade students. I utilized Microsoft Word, Power point, and Microsoft Excel to write lesson plans, create worksheets and other resources needed for the day, as well as to design homework assignments.

All of the practices listed above have contributed to my success of meeting Standard A: Plans Curriculum and Instruction. Please see below for the final version of the Standard A section.

*Please see Appendix, as well as the final PPA version below for links to artifacts that align with Standard A.

Standard A - Plans Curriculum and Instruction
1. Draws on content standards of the relevant curriculum frameworks to plan sequential units of study, individual lessons, and learning activities that make learning cumulative and advance students’ level of content knowledge.
(Specify Curriculum Framework title, learning standards, and concept and skills used [attach list if necessary]).
  • Utilizes Massachusetts’s curriculum frameworks when planning complete units and individual lessons.
  • Sample lesson plan: “Equivalent Fractions:” Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Learning Standard(s): 4.NF.1: Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a fraction (nxa)/(nxb) by using visual fraction models, with attention to how the number and size of the parts differ even though the two fractions themselves are the same size.
2. Draws on results of formal and informal assessments as well as knowledge of human development to identify teaching strategies and learning activities appropriate to the specific discipline, age, level of English language proficiency, and range of cognitive levels being taught.
  • Utilizes informal assessment (questioning, observation, homework, post-it note gathering, and other student work) to determine the pace, content and method of instruction.
  • Requires students to complete “Do now” problems every morning that assess their understanding of material learned the previous day. Actively walk around and informally assess student understanding as they are completing the problem. Will tailor instruction going forward to meet the needs of students based on level of understanding.
  • Conducts individual and group conferences to assess student knowledge.
  • Constructs anchor charts to support ELL students by providing definitions and pictures for them to read and see. Anchor charts created for multiple lessons.
  • Creates and delivers formal assessments that provide multiple mediums for students to demonstrate understanding (written assignments, multiple choice options, matching, illustrations, and projects)
3. Identifies appropriate reading materials, other resources, and writing activities for promoting further learning by the full range of students within the classroom.
  • Assists students in the classroom library to find books that are grade and level appropriate.
  • Creates graphic organizers to compliment individual open response questions for MCAS prep.
  • Wrote and delivered “Thunderstorm” poem to help students understand the poetic device of imagery.
  • Requires students to complete multiple writing prompts (personal narratives, expository essays, opinion pieces, poems, etc.).
  • Utilizes leveled reading texts to assist small group instruction.
4. Identifies prerequisite skills, concepts, and vocabulary needed for the learning activities and design lessons that strengthen student reading and writing skills.
  • Engages students in brainstorming activities to assess prerequisite sills, concepts, and vocabulary.
  • Creates vocabulary charts for Reading Street curriculum and engages in whole class discussions to ensure student understanding.
  • Pre-selects difficult vocabulary words prior to reading MCAS practice passage and will review with whole class.
  • Requires students to answer mathematics problems with written answers using unit vocabulary, example; “explain how you got your answer in 3 sentences. Use at least two math vocabulary terms”.
5. Plans lessons with clear objectives and relevant measurable outcomes.
  • Begins daily lessons by stating lesson goals, student expectations, and teacher expectations.
  • Each lesson contains informal and formal assessments to measure students’ comprehension of covered material.
  • Utilizes universal design plan strategies to ensure that objectives and outcomes are tiered to meet the needs of all students (ELL, special education, and general education).
6. Draws on resources from colleagues, families, and the community to enhance learning.
  • Collaborates with cooperating teacher, fourth grade team members, and fellow student teachers to plan and deliver dynamic lessons for fourth grade students.
  • Attends and actively participates in common planning meetings to discuss MCAS preparation strategies and other topics relevant to fourth grade curriculum.
  • Attends and participates in parent/teacher conferences and IEP meetings.
7. Incorporates appropriate technology and media in lesson planning.
  • Consistently use over-head projector to aid math instruction: specifically during fractions unit to demonstrate equivalency, landmark numbers, and parts of a whole.
  • Utilizes “School House Rock” videos to introduce and aid grammar instruction.
  • Utilizes “BrainPOP” instructional videos to introduce challenging concepts.
  • Utilizes word processor, PowerPoint, and excel to create worksheets, assessments, visuals, and relevant lesson material.
  • Created assessment template to graph student responses for reading comprehension MCAS practice.
8. Uses information in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to plan strategies for integrating students with disabilities into general education classrooms.
  • Familiar with students on an IEP plan in class (5). Understand their needs and tailor assessments and instruction to accommodate individual IEP’s.
  • Work and communicate with special education team and resource room colleagues on a daily basis to ensure that we are providing consistent and effective accommodations to students on IEP plans.
  • Make specific accommodations during class time to ensure that students feel comfortable during class: re-read instructions verbally, re-read passage verbally, create visual aids, tailor assessments to specific needs, provide hands-on materials during fraction unit to aid instruction, etc.
  • Identified that students on a reading-based IEP should be tested on half the amount of spelling words tested to students not on an IEP (8 words vs. 15).