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Standard 1: Subject Matter Knowledge

An understanding and appreciation of general and liberal arts including English, literature, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural or physical sciences, and the arts, and the ability to:

c. Understand global and international perspectives of the disciplines.

Although grammar is very important to second language acquisition, grammar will be useless without the vocabulary to support it. During the unit on recycling presented to 5th graders, one of the lessons was Der Gruene Punkt, the German recycling program. As part of the lesson, students learned the important vocabulary words for sorting the trash in Germany. They learned the words for recycling, paper, plastic and several other recyclables. Students became familiar with the cultural differences between Germany and the United States when it comes to the environment. They learned the steps that Germans take to protect the environment including walking and taking public transportation. The students were then asked to compare and contrast the German and American systems of environmental protection, specifically in conjunction with recycling and sorting of the trash. The students are now equipped with the knowledge to read the signs and correctly recycle in Germany without the financial penalty that results for not recycling properly.

As a class, we created a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two different systems. The students drew from what they had learned during the lessons on Der Gruene Punkt and the lessons on our recycling system to create the diagram. The diagram was first created on the board and then I typed up the Venn diagram and distributed it to the students for them to keep as a reminder of how, with every culture, there are similarities and differences. This lesson was very important to the students in this class because they are not often exposed to other cultures, specifically those from another country. I was able to teach the students not only about recycling in Germany, but also to talk about and put to rest some of the stereotypes that the students had about Germans, such as that they are all Nazis.

i. Understand the constitutions and histories of the United States (U.S.) and Michigan;

As an elementary educator, it is important to be able to incorporate United States and Michigan history into the classroom. It is important for students to learn their rights and responsibilities as a citizen of the United States. I able to do this in a three lesson unit that I prepared for a 4th grade Social Studies class. The unit was prepared as part of the class, Teaching Reading in the Content Areas at the Elementary Level. This unit broke the United States government down to the state level. The students were able to connect closely to government procedure by writing a letter to their state senator. They also were able to connect to this by writing about a topic that was close to them, school. The students were also able to connect with the material they learned by creating their own government inside of the classroom. The students participated in an in class nomination and election process.

When working with my 1st graders, their background knowledge of government and history was much more limited. During my student teaching unit, I was able to take the time to explore the history and symbolism of each of the symbols of the United States. The students were also able to understand the components of an election. My students were challenged to support, with reasoning, why they chose the candidate they did. As a class, and later as a school, we had a mock election, allowing the students their own voice in government. We discussed voting as a patriotic act and part of being a good citizen. In both of these units, the students were able to take a look at history and how it affects us today. They were also able partake in a piece of history and a piece of government.

All Standanrd 1 sub-standards

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