Archive forApril, 2017

Teaching Techniques and Methods

Part 1: Reflecting on our Module

There are so many different teaching methods out there to maximize learning for different subject areas, classroom styles, and learner types. In my future teaching career, I hope to incorporate both teacher-centered and learner-centered methods into my classroom. In my subject area of math I think this design would work best because some things in math just need to be flat out shown and explained which is easiest using teacher-centered, but the practice and rehearsal of techniques could easily be incorporated into student-centered to help break up the lessons.

“It’s easier to scan a bubble test, or run it through a script like Flubaroo. But these assessments do not tell us nearly as much about critical thinking—or students’ progress toward the Common Core State Standards. Creating and completing meaningful assessments is hard (but worthwhile) work for both teacher and students.” (Powell) So although giving tests in a math class seems like the easiest and most sensible way to grade students, another idea for a more student-centered approach could be assigning groups of students different parts of a unit and having them prepare a lesson to teach to the class. Not only does it allow for student participation and group work, but it also helps them to really learn the material well enough to be able to reteach it to the class. In my opinion, there are no “right” or “wrong” teaching methods, and in my own experience as a student I find that using a combination of them actually helps me to stay focused and engaged. We explored some of these different methods in our Module 5, more specifically, one called Backward Design.


Backward Design I believe is a very effective teaching method. It just seems logical to start with the goal or what you want the lesson to accomplish and then working backward from there, to ensure everything you need to teach gets included. One way to use backward design in a class is to first figure out what standards need to be met for that specific grade level and curriculum and then figure out your desired results. Come up with goals, understandings, and essential questions. Next step includes: creating performance tasks and key criteria. Lastly, create a summary of the learning activities you wish to carry out. Another important element is to “consider possible misunderstandings” (Wiggins) in order to address them before students get confused and ask questions about them. I intend to use this technique in my teaching career both for the whole unit levels and the day-to-day lesson plans. I think it is a good way to organize every aspect of the unit and ensure every goal is being met. I think its especially important in helping to look at the unit as a whole and what kind of assignments are being used and whether or not there is some diversity to them.


Part 2: Sharing Your Lesson


Unit Title: High School AlgebraEstablished Goals:·      

  • Students will be able to comprehend an expression, along with the use of parenthesis and order of operations.
  • They will be also be able to solve equations and systems of equations.

  • Students will understand how equations and equalities work and how to properly manipulate each side to solve it.
Essential Questions:

  • How do expressions and equations differ?
  • What are the order of operations?
  • What defines an integer, whole number, rational, and irrational number?


Students will know:

  • Students will know how to use operations to solve for variables in one equation and in a system.
Students will be able to:

  •  Students will be able to comprehend an equation’s meaning, visualize/sketch it’s graph, and solve it.




Performance Tasks:

  •  Students will turn in assigned homework problems and complete quizzes for formative grades.
Other Evidence:

  • Students will complete tests for every unit and a final cumulative test for summative grades.
  • Test corrections must be turned in to receive partial credit back.
Key Criteria:

  • Students will be able to show their skills through formative and summative assessments.
  • Possible formative project could include groups of students teaching mini lessons to the class to further their understanding of the content.
  • Creating and playing math games as a class could be another formative project idea.



Summary of Learning Activities:W= Give an overview of unit/goals before beginning, get student feedback and what they already know and what holes they need help filling in along the way.H= Give real life examples and show the importance of mathematics.

E= Give instruction and then assign a problem and let them think about it and attempt it before giving the answer. 

R= Allow test corrections for every homework assignment/test/quiz and give partial credit back. This not only allows for improving grades, but also improving skills and learning from past mistakes.

 E= Update grades consistently so students know where they are at.

 T= Split class into groups by ability, the advanced groups can move on and the struggling groups can move slower and get extra help.

 O= Create some “fun” activities such as games and group projects.

Shown above is my lesson plan designed through the Backward Design Framework. First thing I did was decide on which grade level and topic I wanted to use. I decided on high school Algebra, because I feel like it is a pretty basic unit and would be a good choice to use for writing my very first lesson plan. Starting with Stage 1 (and referring to the core standards) I established two main goals for the unit itself, so what I would want my students to have accomplished by the end of the unit. I also wrote a statement of what I want my students to understand, what I want my students to know, what I want my students to be able to do, and also some essential questions I want them to be able to answer. Referring to Bloom’s Taxonomy, the skills I want my students to learn come mostly from “Remember (Recognizing and Recalling), Understand (Interpreting, Exemplifying, Classifying, Summarizing, Inferring, Comparing, and Explaining) and Apply (Executing and Implementing)” (McDaniel), because they need to remember the rules such as order of operations or what you can and can’t do to manipulate and equation, understand how expressions, equations, and variables work, and apply these skills to new problems and situations


Moving onto Stage 2, I created performance tasks, other evidence, and key criteria. I incorporated varying assignments by having assessments as the summative grades, but also having quizzes, group projects, and test corrections for formative grades. Lastly in Stage 3, I created a summary of learning activities. I took into consideration different learning styles and needs by creating a diverse range of assignments, instead of just all tests. A few ideas I had were: designing a group project where students get to teach a lesson, creating games or having the kids create games to help learn math concepts, and also something I found really helpful in high school, test corrections, where students who may struggle with test-taking can do test corrections on their own time to receive partial credit back, this also helps them to learn from their mistakes and reflect on the test. I think the Backward Design Framework helped me in designing my lesson mostly because I have never created my own lesson plan before and had no idea where to start. All the elements of the framework helped me to consider all areas of a unit and go more in depth on what I would need to think about and cover in class. There are so many other lesson design plans out there, one I found is called UDL (universal design for learning) and it specializes in lesson planning for a diverse classroom of learning types including special needs.

Sources Cited:

BrookesPublishing. (2016, February 11). Use UDL in your lesson planning to enhance your teaching. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from

McDaniel, R. (1970, June 10). Bloom’s taxonomy. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from

Powell, M. (2016, April 29). 5 ways to make your classroom student-centered. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from

Wiggins, G. (2005, September 3). Overview of UBD and the design template. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from

Comments (1)

Differences and Diversity in The Classroom

When anticipating what my future teaching career will be like, I can expect that I will be encountering a lot of diversity and differences among not only my students, but also their parents and my colleagues. Whether it be race or socioeconomic status, every family has their differences which can have a huge impact on the children’s academic careers. In class we talked a lot about “life opportunities” and whether all children have equal ones. We came to the conclusion that this is not the case, there are many factors that can either increase or decrease a child’s likelihood of succeeding.



In Lareau’s interview she talked about how in her studies she found that parents of middle class families tend to be more involved in their children’s’ school. They volunteer for events, enroll them in extracurricular activities, help them with their homework, and overall have an active role in their academics. While parents of low income families tend to be disconnected from their children’s school. They leave the responsibility up to the teachers to ensure their children are passing, they don’t help with homework, and their kids usually just hang out around the house and neighborhood in their free time.


These differences don’t mean that the middle class parents love their children more than the low income parents, it’s just all about the time, energy, ability, and opportunities they can afford to give their children. What this means in terms of the classroom is that, not all of our students are going to come in at an equal standing. For example, some children will have better vocabulary and spelling than others based on how educated their parents are and what they are used to hearing around the house. Overall, life is unfair and children who have high potential may not get the opportunities they deserve solely because of family income. It’s our job to try to level the playing field for all of our students and to do our best to bring up the students to the level of the rest, while still allowing those who are ahead to advance on. Most of all, it’s important for us to understand the differences in our students and not just assume that the child is not as smart as the rest.


An article that I found from the American Psychological Association, talks about how there is such a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and academic achievement, and the reasons why poverty, poor health, negative home environment and so much more, can significantly set back a student from their middle-class peers. Not only is social class a difference to be aware of in the class room, but also race. Race can play a huge role in how well a student does in school. Unfortunately, stereotypes exist, and they can mess with the still-developing minds of adolescents and cause them to believe they must be a certain way and do not have a choice in the matter. It’s our job as educators to ensure that all of our students are living up to their full potential, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or any other difference they may have.

Sources Cited:

American Psychological Association (n.d.). Education and socioeconomic status. Retrieved April 05, 2017, from

Elliot, J. (2013, June 22). Jane Elliott Brown Eyes vs Blue Eyes 1. Retrieved April 05, 2017, from

Gachuzo, M. Racism destroyed in one minute‼️. (2016, July 18). Retrieved April 05, 2017, from

Norton Sociology. (2013, March 26). Do parenting strategies affect the long term outcomes for children? An interview with Annette Lareau. Retrieved April 05, 2017, from

Comments (1)