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Standard 3: Curricular Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy with reference to the MCF and other state sponsored resources, for consistent and equitable learning in Michigan schools, including the ability to:

c. Help each student to learn how to safely and responsibly access and use resources to become a discerning independent learner and problem solver (e.g., print materials, information technology, assistive technology).

In this new age of technology, it is important for every student to know not only how to use technology in general, but also how to use technology for educational purposes. When researching, many students elect to use the internet. The internet, however, is very dangerous, because anyone can post to the internet. It then becomes the responsibility of the teacher to teach these students how to decipher between academic cites and cites posted by the general public.

As part of the Maymester Unit, I asked the students to discuss what the students think, wonder and know about recycling. This chart came from the book Strategies That Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis.  The students were the given the individual assignment to create a list of things that they wonder, what they think the answer may be and then create a plan for where they are going to find these answers. This began the students’ thinking about sources before they began their projects. The students also practiced writing what they learned and formulating more questions to gain a more in depth knowledge.

During my unit on recycling, I had the students research the types of pollution of their choosing. Before I let them research on their own, however, we spent many days evaluating sources. We looked at print, internet sources, and media sources. The students practiced, in groups, sorting sources into groups of credible and not credible sources. Each group was given four articles including one opinion article and one factual article from a newspaper. The groups were told to look for clues such as statistics, but also to note who created those statistics. Once the students seemed confident in knowing how to determine the credibility of sources, they were able to work on their own.

As part of my student teaching, I was part of a team that created an online curriculum source for families. On this website, we not only uploaded the curriculum for parents to see, but we also included hyperlinks for each unit to videos or websites that would be helpful to further student understanding. The online curriculum was introduced to the parents at parent-teacher conferences as well as the school’s open house.

d. Design instruction so that students are engaged in actively integrating and transferring knowledge across the curriculum.

In each unit that I design, I try to incorporate multiple content areas. In the unit that I wrote about recycling, I was able to incorporate science, math, English language arts and social studies. Although the students were learning about recycling, they learned essential skills for research. As part of the unit, the students analyzed their classroom trash habits. They then graphed these trash habits over a two week span. While looking at their own trash disposal habits, the students took a trip to the landfill. After the trip to the landfill, the students engaged in a writing activity explaining what they had observed. Although this unit did not explicitly instruct in all of the content areas, it did incorporate all subject areas in the classroom.

Another unit that I created was designed for a 1st grade class to explore patriotism. This unit took place both during guided reading and social studies. The students learned a variety of symbols of the United States as well as poetic devices. This unit was designed specifically to cover two target areas that worked hand in hand to maximize the students’ exposure to patriotic symbols. The use of guided reading allowed the students to really interact with, touch, and experience some of the most beloved symbols of the United States, our Pledge of Allegiance and patriotic songs.

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