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Synthesis Paper Sample

Synthesis Paper Sample

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Performance Synthesis Sample Paper
Performance Synthesis Sample Paper

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Performance Synthesis Paper

English 432 & 433: Student Teaching

2

Table of Contents:

Page 1…………………………………………………Title Page

Page 2…………………………………………Table of Contents

Page 3………………....………………………………..Section I

Page 11………………...……………………………..Section II

Page 15………………….......………………………...Section III

Page 19………………...……………………………...Section IV

Page 23………………………………………………...Section V

Page 27……………………………………………...Appendix A

Page 33……………………………………………...Appendix B

Page 36……………………………………………...Appendix C

Page 37……………………………………….……..Appendix D

Section I

Student teaching is, by far, the most valuable experience that a pre-service teacher

participates in for numerous reasons. Not only does this time in the classroom provide a pre-

service teacher with experience preparing lessons and units, but it also provides time to interact

with students and other teachers, as well as introduces them to future places of employment. My

student teaching experience was no different because it allowed me the unforgettable opportunity

to interact with wonderful students and a great staff, while providing me with more experience

than I could have ever imagined. I was privileged enough to complete my student teaching at

_______High School in ________, Missouri under the primary supervision of ________ and the

secondary supervision of Mr. ________. I feel that I learned a sufficient amount of information

from these two teachers which has prepared me to become a full-time teacher.

Initially, I was very nervous about starting my student teaching because I, like most, did

not know what to expect. I knew that I would be gaining experience, information, and material

while in the classroom, but I did not know if the students would grasp the information that I

taught them or if they would even take me seriously since I am so close to them in age. My

anxieties were eliminated when I met Fatima’s friendly and supportive staff and students. I

quickly realized that my experience at Fatima would teach me more than anything that my

classes in college did because the experience in front of a class is more effective than lectures.

Although ---------High School was not my initial choice for student teaching, I am

grateful that I was placed there. It is a unique school district because there are nearly ten small

area communities that come together to form this one district. The differences between these

communities are small, but it is interesting to see how students group together with others from

their hometown, as well as neighboring communities when in school. The entire school is no

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more than 400 students and the average grade size is about 80-90 students. Because this is such

a small school, it is easy to get to know the students on a personal basis. My actual class sizes

vary greatly throughout the day and range from 12 to 28 students per class. There is no specific

reason for the large range in class sizes because the students are not monitored or tracked in any

way. It is interesting for me to observe the way that students in each class react with each other

between the smaller and larger class sizes because each class is so different. The diverse

dynamics in each of the classes make each section throughout the day so special.

Because the students are from similar small towns, the range of diversity is minute.

There is almost no racial diversity in the school because it has over a 99 percent Caucasian

population. Because there are so many Caucasian students in this classroom, it is often hard to

bring in literature that involves other cultures because they have no frame of reference. The

gender throughout the school is about equal. Some of my classes are overpowered by females,

but others seem to be overpowered by males, and still, others are equal. I enjoy this mixture

because I can see how students at this age group work with peers of the opposite gender. In

reference to socioeconomic status, the majority of students belong to the lower to middle classes.

Very few students reach the level above the middle class because most of them belong to

families that farm in and around the area.

Upon my first day in the classroom, Mrs. Rolwes showed me her folder of students with

IEP’s and I reviewed the IEP forms for each specific student. The majority of my classes had

students with IEP’s and I had the opportunity to work closely with multiple special services

teachers so that these students’ needs were met. Mrs. Stephanie Hoffman was one of the

teachers that I worked with and she was extremely helpful to me. I provided her with tests,

quizzes, and assignments in advance so that she was able to help the students. Many of these

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students had to attend resource time with Mrs. Hoffman when completing homework, tests, or

quizzes. She usually read the questions aloud to them or modified them by changing the

directions or reducing the assignments. This helped students understand the material better and

she always made the students work independently to earn their grade. After speaking with Mrs.

Hoffman, we decided that, depending on the specific IEP student, pupils were given modified or

reduced assignments or an extended period of time to complete the assignment. If students used

their time wisely, which most of them did, I never had a problem doing this. I did not realize

that there were so many special services students in the classroom, but this time at Fatima has

shown me exactly how important it is to meet the needs of these students so that they can learn at

the highest of their ability.

Throughout my experiences at ------High School, I have found the students to be

incredibly welcoming and respectful. Because it is such a small high school, the community

sense is apparent in the actions of students. I can tell that community involvement is important

to the students and is shown through local businesses’ support in extracurricular activities and

fundraisers. Because the students are in such a tight-knit community, they are very courteous

and well-behaved and I have to give much credit to the wonderful faculty and staff of the high

school. Throughout the day, the staff incorporates ways to get to know students on a more

personal level, as well as teaching ways to be respectful to their peers and elders. The first day

that I came to Fatima to start my student teaching, I had multiple teachers offer to help me and

show me around. They were quick to inform me that they were there to assist me if I needed

anything, and I was able to relax and become less apprehensive. The administration has also

been incredibly helpful and has treated me just like the rest of the staff; in fact, the principal, Mr.

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Woody, came into my classroom to complete a scheduled observation to watch my progress,

which made me feel like a real member of the faculty.

The English Department at --------High School consists of four teachers, all of whom

teach multiple preps. My primary cooperating teacher, Mrs. ------------, has three separate preps:

English III, Mythology, and English 8th

. Because I am not informed enough to teach Mythology

or certified to teach middle school, I spend two periods of the day with the other teachers in the

department. I spend the majority of this time in the classroom with Mr. Troy Lentz during his

English IV Advanced Placement classes of seniors. The two other members of the department

with whom I am able to spend some time observing and co-teaching are Mrs. Wendy Lentz and

Ms. Nicole Cassmeyer. I thoroughly enjoyed switching between these teachers because it

showed me a wealth of different teaching techniques because they are all so diverse.

Although I learned from all of these teachers, my primary cooperating teacher, Mrs.

Rolwes has provided me with the most guidance. In my opinion, I could not have been placed

under a better teacher and we have really created a great relationship. We both have very similar

personalities and are both extremely organized. We each like to have lessons and units planned

in advance before we begin, but can think on the spot quite well if things don’t go as planned,

such as last-minute assemblies. I have really enjoyed my time in the classroom with Mrs.

Rolwes because I have gained an abundance of experience from watching her teach. I began the

semester spending everyday observing her teaching skills. Gradually, we fell into a practice of

her teaching the morning classes and I began teaching the afternoon classes. I thought this was a

good way to start the semester because it gave each of us different experiences. We were both a

little nervous about starting the semester because she had never had a student teacher and this

was my first experience in the classroom. We were prepared to go into the experience open-

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minded and ready to learn from each other, which we did. Eventually, I took over all five

section of English III with the juniors, while she observed and provided me with feedback. She

has been exceedingly helpful when giving me criticism because she equally points out the

positive and negative things that she notices about my teaching style. Her comments are very

specific, and she not only notices things, but also gives me ideas on ways to improve. It is great

to hear this information from her because I know how great of a teacher she is and how much her

comments will help me improve as a teacher in the future.

My experiences in the classroom with Mr. Lentz have also been incredibly helpful to my

teaching career. Mr. Lentz is much more laid back than any of the teachers that I have ever

worked with and it has been great seeing this different type of teaching strategy. He is always

willing to discuss classroom management, advice, assignments, and the implantation of new

techniques with me. Although Mrs. Rolwes and Mr. Lentz have very different teaching

strategies, I can also see many similarities between mine and his teaching strategies. For

example, Mr. Lentz likes to incorporate discussion in his classroom more than other techniques

because it broadens students’ thoughts. I think this is a great way to teach seniors in AP English

because it allows them to state their opinions, and also because they have to justify their

reasoning using literature or other information studied in class. This technique makes them think

on a more abstract level and prepares them for college. Mr. Lentz also allows me more freedom

when planning my lessons to teach in his class because his curriculum is more lenient. This lets

me be more creative and fun with the students which I know they enjoy. I completed multiple

assignments and lessons for the seniors that I know students enjoyed because they have told me

outside of class. I feel like Mr. Lentz and I have learned from each other and I truly enjoy the

two periods a day that I get to spend in his classroom.

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In addition to the great relationships that I have created with the faculty and staff at

Fatima, I have also gained strong relationships with the students. It is obvious that I cannot

make a special connection with every single student, but I have been able to create relationships

with many of them. Whether it is just saying “hi” to students in the hallway or joking with them

during class, it is these small things that make them more comfortable around me. One of the

best compliments that I received while I was at Fatima came from Mr. Woody when he told me

that I had one of the best social and professional relationships with the students than he had ever

seen in a student teacher. I was honored by this comment because I think it is important to have

special relationships with the students so that they are more comfortable in the classroom and

more willing to learn. I know that there is a line between having too familiar of a relationship

and I think it is important for both the student and the teacher to recognize this line. At the

beginning of the semester, I had a hard time gaining respect from the students because I was so

close in age to them, but the longer I was in the classroom, the less this became a problem. In

fact, I think it actually became more of an advantage to me because I am able to relate very well

to them and can understand things better because I know what they are experiencing. These

relationships with the students are what motivate me to attend school everyday and I think that is

a special thing.

I also had the opportunity to interact with parents in multiple ways. My first major

experience with parents occurred during parent teacher conferences in the middle of the

semester. At this point, I had already been teaching the junior classes and had given assignments

that affected their grades, so it was only fair for parents to speak with me if they had any

questions about their children’s grades. This was an interesting, but wonderful experience for

me because I met various types of parents. Some were sympathetic, while others were angry.

9

Also, some were positive, while others were desperate for help with their child. Mrs. Rolwes did

a wonderful job of remaining positive when speaking to these parents. When I spoke with

parents, I tried to mimic her style and they seemed to respond well to my suggestions and

comments. Another way that I interacted with parents was through email. I had an email list of

parents that I sent weekly emails to informing them of upcoming quizzes, tests, and assignments.

The parents that requested to be on this email list were usually ones who had children who were

not completing assignments on time and wanted to be informed when they did not complete their

homework. As soon as I started sending these emails to parents, students began turning in their

homework complete and on time. I think this interaction with parents was helpful for my future

career.

I did have one specific parent that I communicated with at least once a day through email.

Although this eventually became overbearing, I was always there to correspond with her. Her

son was in my third hour class and had flunked English III last year with Mrs. Rolwes, so he had

to pass both semesters this school year to graduate on time. He was a very lazy student and she

tried her hardest to motivate him, but it was difficult. She thought that I would be able to

motivate him because he liked me as a teacher more than Mrs. Rolwes, so I helped as much as I

could by offered tutoring before and after school for him. Despite this extra help, he remained

very low in the class. I realized through this experience the frustration that teachers go through

with specific students, especially if they are willing to put forth extra effort and it is denied.

Other than spending time in the classroom during the day, I have also attended

extracurricular activities. I have attended softball and soccer games as well as cross country

meets. I enjoy the feeling that students want me to support them outside of school and feel

honored when they ask me to watch them during these activities. I try to make it to as many

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games and meets as possible because it strengthens my bond with the students. I feel that if I

show them respect, they will be more willing to show me respect. I have also participated in the

book club with Mrs. Rolwes because she is the faculty sponsor for this club. Members of the

club read a book, prepare discussion questions, and meet before and after school once a term to

discuss the book and questions. It makes students read books outside of class and analyze the

literature. Mrs. Rolwes chooses great books that students actually enjoy and they get excited

about the meetings. I also enjoy attending these meetings because it is nice to see how students

respond to their peers’ opinions about literature. I also offered myself for tutoring in my class

and others both before and after school. I was at school forty minutes before school started

everyday and often stayed for hours after school for any students that wanted to attend and I

usually had a pretty good turn out. This gave students the opportunity to ask questions about

homework or study for tests with me. I thought this was an important option because it showed

students that I was there to help them succeed in school.

My experiences at Fatima have been very productive and informative. I have gained

great and memorable experiences by building relationships with the students, faculty, and parents

which will greatly help me in my future career. Upon my certification, I hope to teach at Fatima

or a school similar to it and I feel this time as s student teacher has best prepared me for that.

11

Section II

While I spent a considerable time outside of the classroom planning units and lessons, the

unit that I am most proud of is on a play called Our Town by Thornton Wilder. Mrs. Rolwes

provided me with extensive supporting materials that she has used in the past with this unit but

allowed me to create my own calendar and lessons with it. The information that she provided

was quite helpful and I used it while planning my lessons. However, I was also able to

incorporate my own information, activities, and assignments into the four-week unit.

My objective goals for students were very similar to most literature works. By the end of

the unit students were able to summarize the play’s plot. They were also able to analyze

characters, setting, themes, and literary techniques used throughout the play. I thought that this

was an important objective because I wanted students to think on a higher level than just

answering questions with simple statements and analysis. When students were asked to answer

end-of-act questions, I made them incorporate contextual evidence in constructed response and

complete sentences to support their answers. I also had them create a short essay in which they

had to explain one of the major themes in the play and connect it directly to their lives. I wanted

students to make a direct connection specifically between this work of literature and their

lifestyle because students who can make a connection to what they are reading will retain the

information better. I think this concept is very important in any literature unit.

Another objective throughout this unit was to have students expand their vocabulary by

taking part in a vocabulary unit. I chose 25 words found throughout the play that students were

quizzed on at the end of the unit. While teaching this play I also incorporated bell ringer

activities to gain students’ attention at the beginning of every class. Some of these bell ringers

made students respond to prompts based on their opinion of the play, but others required

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corrections of grammar and usage errors in sentences using the appropriate proofreading marks.

The writings were important because it demonstrated students’ understanding of the events of the

play and the grammar corrections showed me that students understood how to correctly edit

sentences using the same marks that I use on their papers and homework.

This unit was particularly interesting for me to create because there were so many things

to incorporate into it that met many state level performance standards. In terms of reading, the

state level Grade Level Expectations were met because students were able to apply decoding

strategies to understand unknown words and expand their vocabulary through the vocabulary

lesson incorporated into this unit. Also, students had to interpret information during and after

reading to analyze and summarize the events of the play. I could see that these standards were

met through their responses to the end-of-act questions. In terms of writing, students were asked

to correct grammatically incorrect sentences using proofreading marks and use complete

sentences when responding to essay prompts. They also had to write a multi-paragraph

reflective essay at the end of the play that compared their lives to one of the major themes in the

play. This assignment challenged their depth of analysis and style of writing. There were many

other Grade Level Expectations met throughout this unit, but these were the main foci.

The majority of students were able to meet these goals and objectives throughout the unit.

There are many types of assessment on which students were graded, both formal and informal.

Informally, students were assessed through class participation, discussion, and written responses

on their bell ringers. After reading students’ bell ringer responses, I was able to tell which

students enjoyed and connected the play to their lives and which did not grasp these points. This

was an important aspect for me because, as I previously mentioned, it is a play about a small

town, something all of these students could relate to. Formally, students were given quizzes at

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the end of each act that they had to complete silently and then were given a final comprehensive

test at the end of the play. These formal assessments showed me students’ comprehension of the

material in multiple forms: essay, multiple choice, matching, true/false, and short answer.

One essential question for this four-week unit plan is to have students ask themselves

how people take life for granted. I wanted them to use specific examples from this play and

connect it to examples that they have experienced in their lives to answer this essential question.

Another essential question that students discussed throughout this play was the affect of age on

one’s life. I think this is an important question for this specific literary work because one of the

main characters dies at a young age and, again, allows students to make a connection between

the play and their lives if they have lost someone at a young age. Unfortunately, I know many

students were close to a student that passed away last school year and know that these students

will be able to relate to this part in the play very well. One final essential question surrounded

the affect of companionship on life. I think that all three of these questions are important for

students to understand because they can truly relate them to their lives and easily answer them.

There are several concepts that I incorporated into this lesson that I feel gained students’

attention. Not only were students able to relate their lives to the events in the play, but they were

also able to act out the play as if they were actors and actresses. I think this was a good idea

because it made students move around throughout the day and not get bored just sitting in a desk

and reading. Also, I thought it was important for students to complete comprehension questions

and quizzes after every act so that the information was still fresh in their mind. Students were

better prepared for the end-of-unit exam that happened upon the completion of the play because

of these questions.

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I really enjoyed creating this unit for my junior English classes. It was the first major

unit that I got to create and implement in my teaching career and it seemed successful. I know

that there are a few things that I would change before I implement it into the classroom again,

but incorporating a mixture of discussion, action, visual and auditory aids, and technology truly

got the students involved in the material they were learning. Also, the specific connection

between the events in this play and their lifestyle really grabbed students’ attention and allowed

them to analyze the literature more deeply in connection to their lives.

15

Section III

Although I assigned multiple short writing assignments throughout the semester, I really

enjoyed a writing assignment that I had my senior advanced placement students complete. It

started as a two-day lesson, but eventually led to a three-day lesson involving the discussion of

grades and essays. This was actually the first large lesson that I got to present to the senior

classes and I thought it went over very well. I came up with the idea entirely by myself and was

happy with the outcome. While I was planning the lessons, I wasn’t exactly positive how much

time I should allot presenting the information because I wanted to make sure that I planned

plenty of time for students to ask questions; but it seemed to work out very well.

We began day one of the lesson by reviewing previous AP exam prompts. We then

discussed the AP rubric and I made sure that students understood the different levels of

achievement and at what level that they should aspire to write. I divided the class into three

small groups, had them read a prompt, and then read an example response to that same prompt.

After they read the example, they created three positive things about the paper and three negative

things. Finally, they were asked to score it based on the AP rubric that we previously discussed.

These steps were repeated until all of the groups read and graded three different example papers.

As a class, we made a comprehensive list of positive things that they should incorporate in their

writing, as well as a list of the negative things that they should refrain from using. The grades

that each of the papers received from the AP examiners in response to the grades they gave were

then discussed. It was interesting to see how close the students’ grades were to the actual AP

grade. We ended day one with a review of the things that they should write about on their

upcoming essay.

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Day two was solely focused on writing. Since students will be given exactly forty

minutes to write their essay when they take the AP exam at the end of the year, I gave them that

exact amount of time to replicate an actual testing situation. As they walked into the classroom,

I gave students the remaining time in class to focus on their writing. The majority of the students

used their time wisely and were productive, while others seemed slightly off task. Although

there was not a third day originally planned for this lesson, I wanted to incorporate one to discuss

grades and writing styles. We spent half of a class day discussing the positive and negative

points of papers and I showed a few peer examples to the classes. They had some really great

questions and seemed to understand their grades better after this discussion. I was happy with

these questions because it allowed me to express my opinions on their writing style. In fact,

since that paper, I have had many students come to my classroom for help with papers for other

classes. This discussion time also gave me the chance to explain any comments that students

questioned and let me into their thoughts about their papers and grades. I did not collect any

formal or informal writings that exhibited their metacognitive thinking because I thought that

this discussion was sufficient evidence of their learning and understanding.

Since students have the option of taking the AP exam at the end of the school year, this

lesson fit the curriculum perfectly and was introduced at an ideal time in the school year. The

focus of this senior English class is to prepare students for the AP exam that is taken at the end of

the year so a timed writing assignment similar to the actual exam prompt was a perfect

assignment for this class. Students gained pertinent information through this lesson in addition

to receiving exposure to various AP exam prompts. The similar time constraints also mimicked

exam conditions. I thought that I presented this assignment at an appropriate time during the

semester because the recent lessons focused on practice tests and discussions about the multiple

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choice section on the AP exam. By introducing the writing section at this point in the semester,

students gained a strong understanding of each aspect of the AP exam. I also think that the

students were more motivated to complete this writing assignment since it would benefit them on

the exam.

Because this is such a high level class, there are no special service students present in any

of the sections and therefore, did not really have to modify my lessons to meet these needs .

Students who are enrolled in AP classes are those who want to gain the utmost information and

education in a classroom and usually do not need resource time. I was able to meet the needs of

diverse learners because I used multiple teaching strategies in these lessons. I allowed

opportunities for discussion, both in small groups and as a class. I also used visual aids by

writing the comprehensive positive and negative aspects of writing on the overhead projector.

Finally, I had students write their responses instead of just stating them aloud. I was not aware

of any struggling learners because they all seemed to be very involved in the classroom

discussion and assignments presented to them. These techniques are only a few examples of

ways that I met the needs of diverse learners.

The levels of student learning in this assignment are very similar. Because the students

have spent so much time in the classroom together, they easily generate ideas based on each

others’ comments. I feel that the example essays that I have attached are similar to the average

of all students’ work. I did have a select few high-achieving students in my classes, but the

majority of the students seem to be average. In terms of written homework and discussion, I did

not see a drastic difference between the learning levels of students in any of these sections.

While grading these papers, I chose to make several comments. I commented on

grammar and usage errors, as well as content, style, and analysis. I think it is important to

18

comment on the papers so that students understand exactly why they received their specific

grade. At the end of every paper, I made suggestions for improvement, as well as positive

comments about their writing. These comments are most effective when they are both helpful

and positive because the students respond to them better. I think that my comments are very

detailed and explain exactly why each student received their grade. During the third day, I asked

students if my comments were helpful and many agreed that they were, which made the entire

time I spent grading worthwhile.

Overall, I feel like this writing assignment and lesson went over well. The students

seemed to gain a strong understanding of the time constraints that they will be experiencing on

the AP exam, as well as the different types of prompts that are possible. I can tell that students

learned a great deal through this lesson and are more prepared for the AP exam now that they

have experienced it. First of all they put tremendous effort put into the essay, in addition to the

fact that many have since told me that they are now more comfortable with the writing section of

the exam. I am happy that this lesson went over so well because it helped the students in their

curriculum and standardized testing, as well as proved my teaching ability.

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Section IV

Although I spent the majority of my time in the classroom teaching American literature to

juniors, the literature writing assignment that I enjoyed most was the project that I completed

with my AP seniors. Mr. Lentz had selected a novel, Life of Pi, before I arrived at Fatima and

chose to teach it in an interesting way. Every week students would be assigned a section of the

book to have read by Thursday’s class and we would sit in a circle and discuss this section. This

discussion was focused around prompts that were given at the beginning of class. Students who

were able to support their thoughts using contextual evidence during these discussions were the

ones who I knew really grasped the concept and events of the book. Students were advised to

take notes during these discussions for their upcoming paper. Mr. Lentz and I discussed the

different types of papers to have the students complete and I presented the idea of a style analysis

paper. I thought this would be a good way to tie in some of the ideas on the AP exam since some

of the prompts included style analysis of a short article and multiple choice questions about

literary devices. Upon this discussion, Mr. Lentz agreed and said that I could introduce the paper

topic to the students and would be in charge of grading all of the papers. The trust and authority

that Mr. Lentz gave me with this project gave me confidence in my abilities as a teacher.

I presented the paper idea to the students and discussed my expectations. They had to

choose a specific theme that Martel focused on throughout the book and create a thesis

surrounding this theme. Then they had to choose three literary techniques and then support each

technique using a specific quote from the novel. The paper had to be written in a five-paragraph

essay format with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each body paragraph

would include at least one quote supporting a literary technique. All of these guidelines were

given to students prior to the start of their paper and I was very specific when I introduced the

20

assignment. I also made myself quite available to the students during and outside of class time to

help them with their papers. Instead of giving students guidelines and then having them work on

it outside of class, I had students turn in specific parts of the paper throughout the following

weeks. This allowed me to watch their progress and make sure that they were on the right track

so that they would receive a grade equal to the amount of work that they put into their paper. I

was impressed by the number of students that came to me outside of class asking for help with

their paper.

Again, because this is such a high level class, there were not many problems with

students who did not understand the material or expectations of the paper. The only problem that

I struggled with was procrastination. Although parts of the paper were due throughout the

assigned weeks, many students put this off and then waited until the last minute to turn in their

final draft. In terms of diverse learners, I incorporated a visual list of paper expectations, in-class

discussions of topics, and class time for students to discuss and peer-edit their own papers.

These various ways of learning helped meet the needs of the different types of learners.

I think this assignment met the needs of the curriculum because it tied literature and

writing together into one assignment. This assignment met the needs of many state identified

Grade Level Expectations for seniors, as well as the requirements for the AP guidelines. It fit

perfectly into the course schedule as we were focusing on the multiple choice section of the AP

exam and there are multiple questions about what types of literary techniques are found in

specific passages. After discussing these techniques in class, I wanted students to show their

understanding through writing and analyzing larger works of literature. I could tell that there

was a lack in depth of analysis in some of the papers, but the majority of the students’ writing

seemed average. It was evident which students were higher-level thinkers because their depth of

21

analysis and elevated diction was much better than some of the lower achieving students. I was

surprised by some of the students because either their writing had greatly improved from the last

paper or they put more effort into this assignment.

The assessment for this paper was very formal. The final paper was worth one hundred

points and each section that they turned in throughout the process was worth ten, making this

entire project worth one hundred forty points. The smaller sections that were turned in during

the process were graded based upon completion; however, the final paper was graded intensely

on depth of analysis, content, structure, grammar, mechanics, MLA format, etc. Although I did

not provide a specific scoring guide, I think the assessment was still effective because it showed

the process of writing a paper and the importance of proofreading.

While grading these essays, I continually commented. These comments were short and

focused on grammar and usage errors, as well as content, style, and depth of analysis. At the end

of each paper I wrote even more personal comments. I think these comments at the end of the

paper are the most helpful for students because it shows them how much time and effort that I

put into grading their paper. It also gives them an idea of what they need to focus on improving

for their next paper. I try to make my comments equally complimentary and constructive and am

very detailed when I write them by providing feedback on ways to improve. I want students to

use these comments to their advantage during the writing process for future papers.

I think that students learned about themselves as writers through this paper. Not only

were they able to analyze a work of literature, but they were also able to express their thoughts

and support them with contextual evidence. It also challenged their prior knowledge of literary

techniques and how to pick out specific examples in a text. I know that students learned these

things through the discussion after their papers were returned. Like all big writing assignments, I

22

think it is important to return students’ papers to discuss the comments and show examples of

peers’ papers so that students understand ways in which to improve when they write their next

paper. Through this discussion in class, I noticed that students recognized things that they need

to change to improve their next paper. Again, I did not have them turn in any specific writing

assignment describing what they learned, but instead gave them the option to come to me and

discuss their papers even further. I could tell that students learned from this paper because their

writing style improved from their previous paper.

Overall, I think that this assignment was very effective and successful in my classroom.

If I could change anything before I teach it again, I would be more specific about details of what

to include in the paper. I would also give students more time to peer-edit their work because I

think that time in the classroom really helped them. I would also create a specific rubric for

grading the paper because I feel they are more consistent with the requirements of the paper. I

did not provide one for this paper because Mr. Lentz chose not to use a formal assessment;

however, I feel that they are important since they are so specific. Rubrics help students

determine what to include in the papers. It also allows me to show students specifically why

they received the grade they did. Although this initial presentation lacked these few things, I still

think the assignment was successful and met the requirements of the curriculum and grade level

expectations.

23

Section V

My experience as an undergraduate student at Missouri State University was one of the

most important times of my life. Not only did I have the opportunity to attend an educationally

focused college, but I also had the chance to meet many people that would affect my learning

style. It also taught me ways to meet the diverse needs of my students’ learning styles. Of the

115 credit hours that I completed at MSU, some classes were very helpful for my future and

student teaching experiences, while others were not. I can say that I gained helpful information

from every class that I attended.

Some of the classes that were not as helpful as I would have liked them to be include

Society and Education (EDC 350) and Educational Psychology (PSY 360). After taking my

Society and Education class, I really did not gain any information that expressed the role that

education plays in society and vice versa. Instead, I thought that the class focused too much on

elementary education and ways to deal with parents. While this information is important, there

was nothing specific that I learned in this class that helped me throughout student teaching

because experience is the only way to learn these things. Another class that I wish I would have

gained more information from was my Educational Psychology class. This class discussed most

of the same information that I learned in my introductory psychology class, even though it was

supposed to be focused on education. Not to mention the fact that every educational philosopher

that was mentioned was also discussed more in-depth during upper-level education classes.

Luckily, I did have the opportunity to meet some really great teachers that were always

willing to help me, both during and after classes. The upper level courses in the English

Department, such as Methods (ENG 405) and Rhetoric and Writing (ENG 520), were incredibly

helpful and greatly shaped my education. The combination of the classes, information, and

24

instructors really made these classes worthwhile for me. My Methods class was taught by Dr.

Keri Franklin and I feel that she taught the class very well. She presented us with great

information and gave the opportunity to teach a lesson to and be evaluated by our peers. These

evaluations and in-class lessons gave us the opportunity to respond to our teaching and become

reflective practitioners. We also learned how to write and connect measurable objectives to meet

Grade Level Expectations. Some of the best information that I learned throughout my

experience in this class was how to create good test and quiz questions, which really assisted me

during my point of view/perspective unit. Unfortunately, I still struggle with the creation of

good test questions, but am happy that this class at least introduced me to the different levels of

test questions.

As I mentioned, my Rhetoric and Writing class was also helpful throughout my college

career. Dr. Margaret Weaver was an excellent instructor for this class and was willing to help

me during and outside of class time. This class’s focus was on writing in the classroom and

presented me with various ways to grade and assesses papers and essays. Throughout the lessons

we discussed peer editing, the writing process, and rhetorical strategies that I implemented in my

classes at Fatima. In fact, I did a two-day lesson with my seniors where they had to peer edit and

holistically score essays based on the AP rubric. I also had a group of eighth graders peer edit

their papers. Although it was more difficult for the eighth graders to be successful during this

edit, they seemed to enjoy the interaction with their classmates immensely. One other thing that

I learned in this class that truly helped me during my student teaching experience was the

introduction to class openers. Until this class, I never realized how important it was to have an

anticipatory set. I learned many ways to gain the attention of students at the beginning of class,

25

as well as fun activities that I could incorporate into my curriculum. I thought these short

activities were great ideas and were helpful for teachers that are beginning their careers.

Although I often had problems connecting the information from my education classes to

my actual classroom, there were several classes that helped me during student teaching. My

Reading course (RDG 474) was one that was really beneficial. I used the textbook from this

class at least once a week when I needed strategies to help students retain information from a

literary work or vocabulary lesson. My students really enjoyed these activities because they

were fun and informative. Also, my Educational Technology course (IMT 365) was helpful

because it taught me various ways that technology could be used in my classroom that I had

never previously considered. For example, I never knew what a WebQuest was before this class

and I learned ways to incorporate scavenger hunts, clickers, Movie Maker, and other software

into my everyday lessons. This variety of technology really keeps the students interested in the

material and helps them retain the information better. If it were possible, I would like to take this

class again or attend workshops as technology advances so that I can remain up-to-date with the

information.

The best experience that I gained throughout college was through my multiple practicum

experiences. I completed three separate practicums while I was in school and they were

especially beneficial. My final practicum was obviously the most useful because it actually

allowed me to prepare my own lesson plans, activities, and assignments for a high school

classroom. It also prepared me for disruptive issues and classroom management because I was

actually participating in the classroom environment. I believe that teachers are born, not taught,

and they will learn best through experience. It was the experience of being the classroom that

helped me most in every aspect of teaching. It is important for future students to spend the time

26

in their practicums seriously because it is these experiences that will help them most when

student teaching.

As I mentioned, the classes that were required to take to graduate were both

accommodating and unsupportive to my needs. I can say that I learned from these classes, but

sometimes experience was the only way my teaching abilities were improved. I feel that it

would be great for the university to incorporate a class based on time and classroom management

because those are the two things that I seemed to struggle with the most throughout my student

teaching. Although I am improving as my time in the classroom continues, it is these two things

that were never really discussed in any of the English or education classes that I took while at the

University and I think they would truly benefit future pre-service teachers.

I am honored to graduate from such a distinguished university this December and that I

was able to partake in such a wonderful student teaching experience at Fatima High School. I

feel that I have learned so much through my classes and experiences at Missouri State University

and know that I am well-prepared to begin my career as a teacher. I am confident that when my

future employers see that I graduated from such an esteemed university, they will be more

willing to hire me for an open position at the school.

27

Appendix A: Unit Plan

Theme (Organizing Principle):

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Essential Questions

•How do people take life for granted?
•How is life affected by age?
•How does companionship affect one’s life?

Objectives/Goals

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:
•correct grammatical and usage errors in multiple sentences using the appropriate
proofreading marks.
•make a direct connection between a work of literature and their lifestyle.
•summarize a literary work’s plot.
•summarize and answer questions based on their comprehension of a literary work.
•analyze characters, setting, literary techniques, and themes in a literary work.
•create multiple works of writing that reflect their understanding of the events, literary
techniques, characters, etc. in a literary work
•support their opinions and comprehension using contextual evidence.
•define a list of vocabulary words.

Rationale:

The work of drama that I chose to focus my unit on was Our Town by Thornton Wilder
because it is a very well-written play that should be taught at the junior level. I chose to teach
this play to my students because I feel that they can really relate to the information in the play.
First, because I am teaching in a small, rural school district, the small town feeling present
throughout the play is something that these students can understand. I think that the events in the
play are things that they have experienced and will relate to them better. Another reason I chose
this play is because it is short. The length of the play is much shorter than most works of drama
taught at this level, but I feel that I could use this to my advantage. I could focus more on the
small details of the scenes and have students understand them at a higher level because of its
shortened length.

This play is simple to follow and therefore, has not been challenged for its use in the
classroom. The events in the content are realistic for a small town setting. I don’t really plan on
incorporating any other small texts into this unit because I feel that the focus should be on the
events of the play. As I mentioned, I want my students to grasp the concept of the small town
setting and relate it to their lives. I do plan to incorporate vocabulary and small grammar lessons
into my unit so that students don’t get bored just reading the same story everyday.
By the end of this unit, I hope to achieve multiple things. I want my students to have a
firmer grasp on the genre of drama. I also want my students to expand their vocabulary and
grammar skills. But, most importantly, I want my students to gain an understanding that they
can relate literature to their own lives. If they do this, than they will get more out the story and
will, most likely, enjoy it more. This unit will teach my students multiple things and I hope they
really gain knowledge from it.

28

Culminating Activities:

Quizzes and Final Unit Exam : students will be asked to complete quizzes at the end of
each act (three total) and one final exam at the end of the entire unit. These quizzes will
cover both the content of the play and literary techniques used in the play. There will
also be a vocabulary quiz given to students toward the end of the unit.
Bell Ringer Activities : students will be asked to complete these activities at the
beginning of each class. Each of these will take about five minutes every day. They will
include correcting sentences using accurate proofreading marks or answering questions in
short paragraphs.
Biopoem : students will be asked to complete, with a partner, a poem with a specific
form. They will then choose a character from the play and complete the poem in its
correct form. They will be given class time to complete it. If time is available after they
are complete, they will be asked to read it aloud so other students can guess who they
wrote about. This can also be used as a character review for the students.
•“My Town” Final Project: students will be asked to complete a project, with a partner,
in which they must research the history of their hometown. They will put all of this
information neatly on a poster board and then present it to the rest of the class. They will
be given a set of guidelines to follow that lists exactly what needs to be present on the
poster.

Theme Essay: students will be asked to write a short 3-5 paragraph essay about the
themed of the play. After we, as a class, have discussed the major themes present
throughout this play, they will choose one and write about it. They will need to include
specific quotes/examples from the play, as well as direct experiences with their lives.
They will be given time in class to complete this activity.

Scoring Guides:

Activity

Points PossibleScoring Guide

Due Date

Bell Ringer Activities

30

Completion

Days 5, 10, 15, & 20

Act I Quiz

15

Quiz

Day 5

Act II Quiz

15

Quiz

Day 8

Biopoem

10

Completion

Day 9

Act III Quiz

15

Quiz

Day 11

Vocabulary Quiz

50

Quiz

Day 13

Theme Essay

25

Rubric

Day 14

“My Town” Final Exam

100

Test

Day 16

Final Project

100 (80/20)

Rubric

Days 19 & 20

Total Points:360 Points

GLE’s

Activity

GLE Met

Vocabulary Pre-Test and Test

R1C & R1E

Act I, II, & III Review Questions

R1H, R1G, R2C, & W3B

Theme Essay

W2B, W2C, W2D, W2E, & W3C

“My Town” Final Project

W3D, LS1B, IL1B, & IL1D

Biopoem

R2A

Bell Ringer Activities

R1H, W2B, W2C, W2E, & W2D

29

Use of Technology

As with the majority of my lessons, I plan to incorporate technology as much as possible.
The bell ringer prompts will be located on the projector, as well as the sentences that students
will have to correct for grammatical errors. Students will also be able to work with the Interwrite
tablet to correct these sentences. I also plan to give students time in the computer lab to
complete research for their final projects. I am also using a PowerPoint presentation to introduce
the vocabulary words. If students choose to type their Theme Essays, they will also be using
technology.

Learning Styles

This unit plan incorporates multiple teaching strategies that meet the needs of diverse
learners. The use of visual and auditory elements will be effective in student learning. Also, the
incorporation of class discussion and partner work will allows students to work with others to
understand the information and activities better. Students must also complete various activities
independently and will be assessed in various ways. Students’ work will be graded based off of
a rubric, completion, and formal assessment throughout the unit so that there are various ways to
test knowledge. I feel that using all of these specific adaptations will meet the needs of diverse
and independent learners.

Daily Calendar

Day 1:

•Bell Ringer : The work that we will soon be reading belongs to the genre of drama.
Please, in your own words, explain exactly what the genre of drama includes.
•Define and explain the genre of drama
•Introduce book and author
•Work on the vocabulary pre-test. If not finished by the end of class, complete it as
homework.

Day 2:

•Bell Ringer : We are going to begin reading Our Town today, there are several important
themes present in this play that you can relate to your life. What do you hope to gain
through reading this play?
•Go over the correct definitions for vocabulary using the PowerPoint presentation.
•Assign parts to the members of the class.
•Distribute Act I questions
•Begin reading Act I

Day 3:

•Bell Ringer : After beginning to read the first act of Our Town, briefly describe your
initial feelings about this play? Do you like it? Dislike it? Why?
•Continue reading Act I
•Work on Act I questions, either by themselves or with partners

30

Day 4:

•Bell Ringer : Who is your favorite character in the play so far? Why?
•Finish reading Act I
•Work on Act I questions, either by themselves or with partners
•Review for Act I quiz
•If time, review characters

Day 5:

•Bell Ringer : No bell work today. Allow students time to study for their quiz.
•Quiz over Act I
•Distribute Act II questions
•Begin reading Act II

Day 6:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Continue to read Act II
•Work on Act II questions, either by themselves or with partners

Day 7:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Finish reading Act II
•Review for Act II quiz
•Work on Act II questions, either by themselves or with partners
•If time, continue to review characters

Day 8:

•Bell Ringer : No bell work today. Allow students time to study for their quiz.
•Quiz over Act II
•Pair students up with a partner and have them work on a Biopoem for a character of their
choosing. Each student will turn in a Biopoem.
•If time, have students read their poems aloud, while other students try to guess who the
character is.
•If they do not complete their Biopoem in class with their partner, they must complete it
for homework.

Day 9:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Biopoem is due at the beginning of class if they haven’t already turned it in
•Distribute Act III questions
•Begin reading Act III
•Work on Act III questions, either by themselves or with partners

31

Day 10:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Finish reading Act III
•Work on Act III questions, either by themselves or with partners
•Review for Act III quiz
•Discuss the differences between this play and other plays. Explain what Wilder does that
is different than the traditional theatrical conventions.

Day 11:

•Bell Ringer : No bell work today. Allow students time to study for their quiz.
•Quiz over Act III
•Discuss the titles of the Acts
•Discuss the main themes, in partners and then as a class, of the play
•Introduce the essay assignment and allow time for students to work on it.

Day 12:

•Bell Ringer : How did you feel about the ending of the play? Did you like it? Why or why

not?
•Review for vocabulary quiz
•Allow students time to work with on their essay assignment

Day 13:

•Bell Ringer : No bell work today. Allow students time to study for their quiz.
•Vocabulary quiz
•Allow students to finish their theme essays with the remaining class time

Day 14:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Theme essays are due at the beginning of class
•Partner students and assign the final “My Town” project
•Have students sign up for their presentation date
•Allow them time to discuss their plans for the project with their partner

Day 15:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Review for the final exam
•If time is available, allow students to work with their partners on their final project

32

Day 16:

•Bell Ringer : No bell work today. Allow students time to study for their quiz.
•Final exam over the entire play
•When complete with the exam, work silently on your project until everyone is finished
with the exam

Day 17:

•Bell Ringer : What character from this play did you relate most to? Why?
•Allow students time in the computer lab to work on the research for their final project
•Remind students to bring supplies to work on their posters in class

Day 18:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Allow students time in class to work with their partner on the final project

Day 19:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Have students present their final project to the class

Day 20:

•Bell Ringer : Correct sentence on the board/projector. Using the Interwrite tablet, correct
it aloud as a class.
•Have students present their final project to the class

33

Appendix B: Writing Assignment Guidelines and Lessons

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