Monday, November 26, 2012

Literacy in My Future Classroom

This semester, September 2012

I am surprised by the literacy levels of my students. They are able to read and identify vocabulary and phrases that are important only if given guidance. Most struggle with reading comprehension. Although almost all students can identify the words, many have a hard time comprehending the text as a whole and its significance to what we are learning in class. It seems that students can demonstrate and gain understanding once given time to discuss their ideas with peers.

September 2013

My literacy rich classroom will involve reading alternatives to the textbook that will be accessible to all reading levels of my students and include audio and video when possible to supplement reading. Students will have multiple ways of accessing text and content information, with reading guides to help teach students how to read science texts effectively.

Students will be engaged in minor critical thinking and investigative labs and activities where there is a lot of structure and directions to follow. Students need to learn to follow directions effectively in a lab and get used to lab practices before engaging in more critical thinking, investigative activities. What students do in class will be mastering a foundation of science skills in order to make the transition to more investigative, open ended thinking later in the semester.

Students are reading simple current event science articles from general public friendly sources such as National Geographic and Discover. They are also focusing on learning to read a science textbook and more scholarly science articles/journals. Students may also be given more accessible on line readings that can serve as an alternative to the textbook to better accommodate their reading level and interest.

December 2013

In December, my classroom will be used to routines and begin to expand use these routines to expand learning. More class and small group discussions, open ended activities and writing, more detailed lab reports, and more current event/real world science inquiry.

Students will be engaged in group work to work on problem solving and critical thinking activities, inquiry and open ended experiments, and collaborative writing assignments.

The reading for my class by December will begin to expand to meet student needs. Some students may get more challenging readings with guidance, while other may receive less guidance for the more simple readings. Students will be working towards reading a short novel that discusses scientific content in an accessible format that also inspires critical thinking and debate.

Students are writing full lab reports with little help from graphic organizers, but still have the ability to peer review and revise their work.

Students are able to hold a small group discussion on open ended topics and work together to solve problems and set up experiments.

May 2014

By May, my students will be very self sufficient in leading and participating in discussions. They will be able to effectively read science writing and be able to comprehend it and discuss in a small group or in class. Some students will still need guidance for reading, but their abilities will have improved significantly for science reading.

My students will be engaged in independent and group lab work that includes inquiry and working together to identify a problem, ask a question, determine how to test the question, and collect and analyze data. They will also be involved in class and small group discussions on topics they are learning.

By the end of the school year, my students will be able to conduct a lab on their own in a small group and independently write a lab report. Students will also be able to independently read a science current event article and analyze it to understand its scientific relevance and effectively share its contents with the class.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Speak Up! Project Tomorrow



"Leveraging Intelligent Adaptive Learning to Personalize Education" - http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/IntelligentAdaptiveLearning_2012.html

This article offered some interesting statistics focused on a personalized technology driven “Dream Box” education. This is a program designed for students to personalize their learning and give valuable detailed information to their teachers in order to guide their daily practice. As students are becoming more interested in personalized learning, so are school staff and parents. It doesn’t surprise me that it seems that the way to personalize education is through technology, and 67% of principals agree that technology increases student engagement, but I did find it surprising that only 10% of teachers surveyed use some form of digital games within instruction. In my own high school classroom, I try to use YouTube videos, animations, and games as much as possible to engage students; and it works! The students are far more engaged in the structure of the cell when they can manipulate a 3D model online, or play an adaptation simulation game online to track population changes. I will definitely be utilizing these skills more now that I am made aware of the statistics.  

 “Is Anyone Listening to Students?” Video - http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/IsAnyoneListeningVideo.html

This video shows students are the ones on a panel and are the “experts” of their own education. The students come from technology schools and are able to share the aspiration and benefits of having internet access available to each student in a classroom. I was impressed, but not surprised that students were willing to speak up and be the advocates for other students’ education because they had benefitted so much from their own experiences with technology in the classroom. I am actually surprised there are not more panels such as this one. As technology and education are growing, students are our best sources for how to get them to grow together in a positive and effective way. Students use technology for more uses than I could imagine. In my classroom, I have allowed those with phones who have internet access to utilize them as a source of research on certain topics in the classroom and the students treat the privilege as such. Although there will always be the student who abuses the privilege, many students stay on task even if an occasional text gets sent her or there. It would be an interesting experiment to allow students to use their phones during class discussions to help them look up answers instead of the normal response, “I don’t know”. Obviously some guidelines would have to be set, but it may be worth the try to get shy students to speak up.

 “YouthTEACH2Learn Resources” - http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/teach2learn.html
This article made me think about getting students involved a club geared towards career exploration. High School students are at the age when need to be considering their career paths. Many freshmen enter college dazed and without a set purpose, wasting time and money, getting discouraged, and dropping out. A career exploration program will allow students to understand what careers best suit their personality and the life styles they desire to have. Although the program described in the article is geared towards students considering a career in elementary education, it could easily be modified in order to fit all students’ desires for future careers. In order to set the program up at my current school site I would start communications with my onsite director, the principal, and the teacher in charge of the school’s daily televised announcements. This would help spread the word, assist with making community contacts, and gaining resources for such a program. Contacting parents would also be beneficial in making contact with many community members in different career paths that could come speak with the students. I think a career exploration club is an excellent idea and would love to see it in my school site.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Unit Plan on Biomes and Environmental Issues





UNIT TOPIC:  Ecology- Biomes and Environmental Impacts

1. UNIT CONTEXT       

Subject/Content Area - Biology

Course – Lab Biology 1

Grade Level – 9th and 10th grade

Length of Unit: 1 week; 3, 50 minute classes and 1, 2 hour class


2. FACTS ABOUT THE LEARNERS      

Whole Class Information

·         Number of students in class - 39
·         Demographic Information: Mostly Hispanic and Caucasian, 5 African American, and 1 Asian. 8 English Learners and 6 students with IEP’s.
·         Developmental Needs: Students are multi-modal learners that enjoy hands-on science labs and activities. They enjoy the social time with friends and being able to work with peers. Many students are involved in sports or band after school or have jobs. Students need the opportunity to be given choices about their learning and the proper guidance and scaffolding to get them there. Students are not proficient in inquiry based learning yet, but are persistent in asking questions. Overall, students are respectful of each other and the teacher, thus very little discipline is required. The classroom environment is based on respect for each other and learning.  

 

Individual Student Information and Differentiation Strategies

Jenny: Intermediate English Learner
-       Jenny is a 12th grade Hispanic student that speaks mostly English, but uses Spanish at home with her parents, whom speak little English and did not attend High School.
-       Jenny is working on her reading comprehension and writing essays about literature.
-       Jenny reads at a high elementary grade level and although she can write 5 paragraph essays, she struggles with grammatical forms. She is a multi-modal learner and enjoys science and animals but gets bad test anxiety.
-       Differentiate:
o    Content: Offer reading guides and a tutorial on how to read a textbook. Offer instructions verbally, visually, and by demonstrating (readiness and learning profile)
o    Process: Allow group work so that Jenny can receive peer feedback and support (readiness)
o    Product: Give students a study guide of what will be one the test using similar wording or a rubric with exactly what is being graded and allow Jenny more time to finish the test or project (readiness)
o    Affect: Group work will allow for immediate peer feedback. All assignments will be handed back in a timely manner so as to offer feedback from the teacher (readiness)
o    Learning Environment: Student is seated near other students who are not distracting, but motivated learners that can assist Jenny during class for clarification of instruction (readiness)
-       Progress Monitoring: Regular monitoring and asking questions during group activities and listening to her verbal responses will be the best way to assess her understanding of the content since writing conventions are difficult for her and she gets test anxiety.
-       Next Steps: Continue giving Jenny opportunities for peer feedback. Also, use more writing assignments that offer peer and self review and editing time before turning in the final product in order to give Jenny more practice with writing conventions. Continue to offer Jenny reading guides to assist her reading comprehension.



Xochilt: Early Advanced English learner
-       9th grade Hispanic migrant
-       Xochilt is working on her reading comprehension and writing skills.
-       Xochilt reads well below grade level and struggles with comprehension and writing conventions. She is a multi-modal learner but is an unmotivated learner.
-       Differentiate:
o    Content: Offer reading guides and a tutorial on how to read a textbook. Offer instructions verbally, visually, and by demonstrating (readiness and learning profile)
o    Process: Allow group work in an assigned group with students that will motivate Xochilt and be patient with her so that she can receive peer feedback and support (readiness). Provide a purpose for all assignments to help motivate her (interest)
o    Product: Give students a study guide of what will be one the test using similar wording or a rubric with exactly what is being graded and allow Xochilt more time to finish the test or project (readiness)
o    Affect: Group work will allow for immediate peer feedback. All assignments will be handed back in a timely manner so as to offer feedback from the teacher (readiness)
o    Learning Environment: Student is seated near other students who are not distracting, but motivated learners that can assist Xochilt during class for clarification of instruction (readiness)
-       Progress Monitoring: Regular monitoring and asking questions during group activities and listening to her verbal responses will be the best way to assess her understanding of the content since writing conventions are difficult for her.
-       Next Steps: Continue giving Xochilt opportunities for peer feedback and provide a purpose for every assignment. Also, use more writing assignments that offer peer and self review and editing time before turning in the final product in order to give students more practice with writing conventions. Continue to offer Xochilt reading guides to assist her reading comprehension.

Kaela:
-       11th grade Hispanic student with a hearing aid and minimal paralysis from cerebral palsy. She speaks mostly English and has been recently redesignated as fluent English proficient. 
-       Kaela is working on reading comprehension and writing conventions.
-       Kaela is a very motivated student who enjoys school and science. She needs directions clarified and frequent use of graphic organizers. She is a multi-modal learner and is shy but enjoys working in groups. She reads below grade level and has difficulty using grammatical forms.
-       Differentiate:
o    Content: Offer reading guides and a tutorial on how to read a textbook. Offer instructions verbally, visually, and by demonstrating (readiness and learning profile)
o    Process: Allow group work in an assigned group with students that are motivated and friendly so that she can receive peer feedback and support (readiness).
o    Product: Give students a study guide of what will be one the test using similar wording or a rubric with exactly what is being graded and allow Kaela a quiet place to take the test with few distractions (readiness and learning profile)
o    Affect: Group work will allow for immediate peer feedback and by choosing peers that are good students and friendly, will make Kaela feel comfortable working in a group. All assignments will be handed back in a timely manner so as to offer feedback from the teacher (readiness)
o    Learning Environment: Student is seated near other students who are not distracting, but motivated learners that can assist Kaela during class for clarification of instruction. Kaela will be seated away from distracting students and loud noises that may be distracting (readiness)
-       Progress Monitoring: Regular monitoring and asking questions during group activities and listening to her verbal responses will be the best way to assess her understanding of the content since writing conventions are difficult for her.
-       Next Steps: Continue giving Kaela opportunities for peer feedback and provide graphic organizers to assist assignments. Also, use more writing assignments that offer peer and self review and editing time before turning in the final product in order to give students more practice with writing conventions.

Chris:
-       Chris is a 9th grader who loves science and is a very motivated student. His family speaks only English and both parents are high school graduates. Chris also plays football for the freshman team.
-       Chris is an A student that is motivated to keep on top of school work and go to college to be a chemist.
-       Chris is highly motivated in class and likes answering question during discussion. I struggle with making sure the content is challenging to him and worth his time. He enjoys science, so he stays motivated and interested in the content but it would be easy for him to slack off if he is not challenged enough at school.
-       Differentiate:
o    Content: Add “Challenge” options in assignments so the Chris feels engaged and properly challenged in class. (readiness)
o    Process: During group work, put Chris into a group with someone who is struggling. Chris gets to further his understanding of the concepts by teaching them to the struggling student. (readiness and learning profile)
o    Product: Allow for more writing or short-answer essays on tests and projects so that Chris can elaborate on his knowledge of the subject and really show off his understanding. (readiness)
o    Affect: Chris needs to stay engaged and feel challenged, so having labs often and mini labs or ongoing experiments/observations will help keep Chris interested and involved in science. (Learning profile, interest)
o    Learning Environment: Chris needs to sit near students who may be struggling, but are not distracting. This allows Chris to maintain his focus while being able to help students in need. Chris should be grouped with at least one student that is really struggling so that he can deepen his understanding of the concepts by teaching his classmates. I would also like to add lots of interesting posters in the classroom for him to look at when he may be less engaged in class because he already understands the topic. This would give him something interesting in science to look at and another way to challenge and extend his learning. (readiness, learning profile)
-       Progress Monitoring: Chris does a great job showing what he knows in class. He answers, or volunteers to answer nearly every question. If he does not understand he comes in later and asks questions.
-        Next Step: My next step in keeping Chris challenged would be to start offering more “Challenge” options and ongoing classroom experiments/observations at the beginning of class. Also, more investigative assignments will let Chris use his critical thinking skills.

Jonathan
-       Jonathan is a CELDT level 4 English learner and also has an IEP. Jonathan has difficulty with verbal expression and conceptualization, reads at a 7th grade level, writing is at a high elementary/middle school level, and is well grounded in math, but struggles with it.
-       Jonathan is a 12th grader and a quiet, but motivated student. Both parents speak Spanish at home and so does Jonathan.
-       Jonathan is working on improving his reading comprehension and verbal expression.
-       Jonathan is quiet and not very involved in class. He also has a lot of missing homework assignments but has been working on turning them in late. He wrestles so attending afterschool tutoring is not possible. Jonathan speaks English well but has difficulty with grammatical forms and expressing his ideas.
-       Differentiate:
o    Content: Offer reading guides and a tutorial on how to read a textbook. Offer instructions verbally, visually, and by demonstrating (readiness and learning profile)
o    Process: Allow for group work with students that are motivated learners that will be able to help Jonathan with the concepts he does not understand and also encourage him to participate. (readiness, learning profile)
o    Product: Offer more presentations in class to give Jonathan practice with verbal expression. Presentations allow Jonathan to practice what he will say instead of being put on the spot in class. (readiness)
o    Affect: Group work will allow for immediate peer feedback and by choosing peers that are good students and friendly, will make Jonathan feel comfortable working in a group. All assignments will be handed back in a timely manner so as to offer feedback from the teacher (readiness)
o    Learning Environment: Student is seated near other students who are not distracting, but motivated learners that can assist Jonathan during class for clarification of instruction. (readiness)
-      Progress Monitoring: Ask Jonathan questions when working in groups so he is not intimidated by talking in front of the class. Also, the use of quick writes may be useful in finding out what he is learning because it is an informal writing activity he should be comfortable with.
-      Next Step: I would continue to monitor Jonathan’s work in groups and putting him with students that will help him and motivate him. Continue to offer small presentation opportunities so that Jonathan can practice his speaking skills.


2. Unit Rationale: Enduring Understandings & Essential Questions

 

Enduring Understandings (EU)

    

At the end of the unit, students will understand how different ecosystems and cultures are affected by environmental concerns/issues.

Essential Questions


1. How do different natural places on Earth differ in climate, geology, and biodiversity?
2. How are humans impacting biomes? Are all biomes affected the same?
3. How does the local culture and people affect the biome? Do they help it or hurt it? Why?
4. How is the local culture and people affected by the biome? How are they affected by the environmental issues impacting the biome?

Reasons for Instructional Strategies
           
            Students have a multi-modal way to learn about biomes and environmental issues. By working in groups, students collaborate on their writing and receive peer feedback and editing to improve their writing skills. Students also become experts on their biome and teach the class, thus further deepening their understanding. Presentations also offer practice with public speaking since it is difficult for many students. The use of a website fits their learning profiles since all the students enjoy working online. It is also a valuable skill to learn for the future. Finally, by creating a concept map with biomes and their environmental issues, students will make connections between biomes and see that similar environmental issues affect many biomes.







3. STANDARDS

Content Standards

Ecology: 6. Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.

b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.

       

ELD Standards

Writing Strategies and Applications: Cluster 7: Using the Writing Process
Intermediate: Use basic strategies of note taking, outlining, and the writing process to structure drafts of simple essays, with consistent use of grammatical forms.
Early Advanced: Use strategies of note taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure drafts of clear, coherent, and focused essays with consistent use of grammatical forms.
Advanced: Use strategies of note taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure drafts of clear, coherent, and focused essays using standard grammatical forms.

Listening and Speaking: Cluster 3: Speak to be Understood:
Early Advanced: Make oneself understood when speaking using consistent standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation, but may make random errors.
Advanced: Speak clearly and comprehensibly using standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation.

4. UNIT OBJECTIVES


After completing notes, and collaborating with peers to research biomes and human impacts on the environment, SWBAT design a webpage or wiki page describing a biome and its ecosystem and the human impacts to that biome using skills of note taking, outlining, and summarizing with standard grammatical forms. Standard: Ecology 6.a&b and ELD Writing Strategies and Application Cluster 7: Using the Writing Process (Cognitive, Affective, Language)

After creating a website or wiki on a biome and the environmental issues impacting it, SWBAT teach the class about their biome and its environmental issues using a clear voice, making eye contact, and appropriate tone and pace. Standard: ELD Listening and Speaking Cluster 3: Speak to be Understood (Cognitive, Language)

5. ASSESSMENT PLAN


“An Inconvenient Truth” Reflection Paper - Informal
Purpose: entry level
Implementation: one page written essay
Communication of Expectations: Verbal instructions and writing prompt
Evaluation Criteria: If students wrote to the prompt with evidence from the movie they will get the points
Feedback: Write comments on their papers about the content and use of grammatical forms
Objective: After viewing “An Inconvenient Truth”, SWBAT write one page about how the climate is changing, what is causing this change, what makes the change different from past trends, is global warming important to learn, and what they think should be done about global warming.
Standard: Ecology 6.b.

Participation in class Discussion – informal
Purpose: formative
Implementation: verbal
Communication of Expectations: Tell students their participation is part of their grade and have Co-Teacher model some student questions or comments
Evaluation Criteria: Keep track of who has answered and ensure everyone participates
Feedback: Offer positive comments to their questions and answers
Objective: After viewing “An Inconvenient Truth”, SWBAT participate in a class discussion about the effects of global warming on biomes as well as other environmental issues affecting the Earth.
Standard: Ecology 6.a&b

Monitor Student Work – informal
Purpose: formative
Implementation: verbal
Communication of Expectations: Students have an instruction sheet and rubric to work from
Evaluation Criteria: Check for understanding by asking questions about that they are doing
Feedback: Offer positive comments to their questions and answers
Objective: After discussing environmental issues and reviewing the homework on biomes, SWBAT work in a group to research information on a biome including climate, biodiversity, geology, environmental issues, and cultural perspective.
Standard: Ecology 6.a&b

Collect Notes – informal
Purpose: formative
Implementation: written – Graphic Organizer
Communication of Expectations: Graphic Organizer
Evaluation Criteria: Check for completion to ensure students are working in the right direction for the project
Feedback: Grade and return quickly
Objective: After researching a biome, SWBAT collaborate on a webpage or wiki site to organize and display research found on the biome with correct grammatical forms and using notes and summaries from the research.
Standard: ELD: Writing Strategies and Applications: Cluster 7: Using the Writing Process – Intermediate, Early Advanced, and Advanced

Biome Website/Wiki – formal
Purpose: summative
Implementation: written – website or wiki page and verbal presentation
Communication of Expectations: Show students a model website and instructions
Evaluation Criteria: Rubric
Feedback: Offer positive comments on a rubric
Student Self Assessment: Students asses themselves with the rubric as well as their group members’ participation
Objective: After researching a biome, SWBAT collaborate on a webpage or wiki site to organize and display research found on the biome with correct grammatical forms and using notes and summaries from the research.
After researching a biome and creating a website or wiki, SWBAT present their biome website to the class by speaking clearly and using standard grammatical forms, pitch, and tempo.
Standard: Ecology 6.a&b and ELD: Listening and Speaking: Cluster 3: Speak to be Understood-Early Advanced and Advanced

Biome Concept Map – formal
Purpose: summative
Implementation: written – concept map and short paragraph
Communication of Expectations: Model a concept map on projector
Evaluation Criteria: Students include all biomes and environmental factors and the paragraph compares the environmental issues of the different biomes
Feedback: Grade and return quickly
Objective: After taking notes on all the biomes and their environmental issues, SWBAT create a concept map of the biomes and their environmental issues to compare their effects on different biomes.
Standard: Ecology 6.a&b
6. STEPS OF INSTRUCTION

Into:    
   Objectives/Standards
Ecology:

6. b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.


After viewing “An Inconvenient Truth”, SWBAT write one page about how the climate is changing, what is causing this change, what makes the change different from past trends, is global warming important to learn, and what they think should be done about global warming.

   Student Activity
-Introduce the unit on biomes and environmental issues with “An Inconvenient Truth” because it is an informative and emotional documentary that will capture their attention and pique their interest in environmental issues
-Write one page on how the climate is changing, what is causing this change, what makes the change different from past trends, is global warming important to learn, and what they think should be done about global warming

   Assessment
“An Inconvenient Truth” Reflection Paper - Informal
Purpose: entry level
Implementation: one page written essay
Communication of Expectations: Verbal instructions and writing prompt
Evaluation Criteria: If students wrote to the prompt with evidence from the movie they will get the points
Feedback: Write comments on their papers about the content and use of grammatical forms

Through: See Unit Calendar

Closure/Beyond:
Objective and Standard
ELD: Listening and Speaking: Cluster 3: Speak to be Understood:
Early Advanced: Make oneself understood when speaking using consistent standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation, but may make random errors.
Advanced: Speak clearly and comprehensibly using standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation.
Ecology:
6. a. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.

6.b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.


After researching a biome and creating a website or wiki, SWBAT present their biome website to the class by speaking clearly and using standard grammatical forms, pitch, and tempo.

After taking notes on all the biomes and their environmental issues, SWBAT create a concept map of the biomes and their environmental issues to compare their effects on different biomes.


Student Activity
Closure:
-       Students will present their websites in class to teach the class about their biome and the environmental issues affecting it.
Beyond:
-       Students will take notes on each biome and use them to create a concept map of the biomes with the environmental issues affecting it and write a brief paragraph discussing how they compare.
-       Students will continue to talk about environmental issues throughout the year so having a foundation on environmental issues and biomes will assist them in understanding future topics.

Assessment
Biome Website/Wiki – formal
Purpose: summative
Implementation: written – website or wiki page and verbal presentation
Communication of Expectations: Show students a model website and instructions
Evaluation Criteria: Rubric
Feedback: Offer positive comments on a rubric
Student Self Assessment: Students asses themselves with the rubric as well as their group members’ participation


Biome Concept Map – formal
Purpose: summative
Implementation: written – concept map and short paragraph
Communication of Expectations: Model a concept map on projector
Evaluation Criteria: Students include all biomes and environmental factors and the paragraph compares the environmental issues of the different biomes
Feedback: Grade and return quickly


7. MATERIALS/RESOURCES

“An Inconvenient Truth” movie and writing prompt
Textbook Chapter on Biomes
Google Sites and Wiki pages
Biome Website Project Instructions
Research Guided Notes
Biome Rubric
Presentation Guided Notes
Concept Map Instructions
Lesson Plan for An Inconvenient Truth (Day 1 and part of Day 2)
Lesson Plan for Biome Website Project (Part of Day 2, 3, and 4)


8. REFLECTION           

·         In what ways have you differentiated instruction to meet the varying needs of your students including your high achievers?
o    This unit offers many opportunities for students to be engaged and get peer feedback. By working in groups that are a mixed ability group, students that are struggling receive help and editing of their writing. High achieving students are challenged by peer tutoring their group members and participating in a higher thinking activity. Guided notes are offered for all students to help guide their reading and organize their writing.
·         What strengths and possible limitations do you see in your plan?
o    Strength: Students have lots of opportunities to work with peers and gain feedback on their work. Students use verbal, visual, and kinesthetic skills in this unit.
o    Weakness: There is not a form of assessment that is simple to determine their achievement of the learning goals. I may add in a written multiple choice/short answer test to the end.
·         What forms of data/evidence might you collect from this unit to measure its effectiveness - gauged by actual student learning?
o    The websites are great evidence of student learning as well as the concept map. The concept map will show me which students took notes and how well they can make connections between biomes.
·         What have you learned about yourself, students, your unit plan topic, and/or planning in general as a result of designing this unit plan?
o    I have learned to really think about all my students learning needs as individuals and started to think of how I would help engage them and motivate their learning. I have also learned how much work really goes into the planning process!
·         What do you know now that you didn’t know at the start of this unit or program?
o    I have learned that there is a LOT more to teaching than knowing the content. There are so many other things I am teaching and have to plan for in the design of my lessons that I had not considered before.




Unit Calendar: Biomes and Environmental Issues

Day 1: Monday
Day 2: Tues/Wed
Day 3: Thursday
Day 4: Friday
Content Standards
Ecology:

6. b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.


Ecology:
6. a. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.

6.b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.



ELD: Writing Strategies and Applications: Cluster 7: Using the Writing Process
Intermediate: Use basic strategies of note taking, outlining, and the writing process to structure drafts of simple essays, with consistent use of grammatical forms.
Early Advanced: Use strategies of note taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure drafts of clear, coherent, and focused essays with consistent use of grammatical forms.
Advanced: Use strategies of note taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure drafts of clear, coherent, and focused essays using standard grammatical forms.
ELD: Listening and Speaking: Cluster 3: Speak to be Understood:
Early Advanced: Make oneself understood when speaking using consistent standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation, but may make random errors.
Advanced: Speak clearly and comprehensibly using standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation.

Learning Objectives
After viewing “An Inconvenient Truth”, SWBAT write one page about how the climate is changing, what is causing this change, what makes the change different from past trends, is global warming important to learn, and what they think should be done about global warming.



After viewing “An Inconvenient Truth”, SWBAT participate in a class discussion about the effects of global warming on biomes as well as other environmental issues affecting the Earth.

After discussing environmental issues and reviewing the homework on biomes, SWBAT work in a group to research information on a biome including climate, biodiversity, geology, environmental issues, and cultural perspective.

After researching a biome, SWBAT collaborate on a webpage or wiki site to organize and display research found on the biome with correct grammatical forms and using notes and summaries from the research.

After researching a biome and creating a website or wiki, SWBAT present their biome website to the class by speaking clearly and using standard grammatical forms, pitch, and tempo.

After taking notes on all the biomes and their environmental issues, SWBAT create a concept map of the biomes and their environmental issues to compare their effects on different biomes.

Student Activity
-Watch “An Inconvenient Truth”
-Write one page on how the climate is changing, what is causing this change, what makes the change different from past trends, is global warming important to learn, and what they think should be done about global warming

-textbook chapter homework on Biomes

-Discuss “An Inconvenient Truth” and other environmental issues affecting the Earth and homework from previous night

- Computer lab: Groups choose Biome and begin research for website or wiki
-Computer Lab: Groups continue to work on biome website or wiki

- If not finished, complete for homework
-Present biome website

-Take notes on other biomes

-Homework: make a concept map of the biomes and their environmental issues and write a paragraph describing any connections
Assessment
-one page paper

-student participation in discussion
-teacher observation during class and check notes taken
-teacher observation during class

-Biome Presentation
-Homework









































Day 1 – An Inconvenient truth lesson plan

Intro to Environmental Issues
Grades 9 & 10 – Ecology – Biomes and Environmental Issues

Standards
Ecology:
6. a. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.
6.b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of

objectives

After viewing “An Inconvenient Truth”, SWBAT write one page about how the climate is changing, what is causing this change, what makes the change different from past trends, is global warming important to learn, and what they think should be done about global warming.

Student Activities

-INTO: Introduce the unit on biomes and environmental issues with “An Inconvenient Truth” because it is an informative and emotional documentary that will capture their attention and pique their interest in environmental issues (Day 1 - 45 min)
-THROUGH: Write one page for homework on how the climate is changing, what is causing this change, what makes the change different from past trends, is global warming important to learn, and what they think should be done about global warming (Day 1 – 5 min)
-CLOSURE: Begin class on Day 2 with a discussion of “An Inconvenient Truth” and the writing prompt. Ask students, “What was shocking to hear from the movie?” “Is there anything in the movie you didn’t agree with?” “How has this movie changed your opinion on global warming?” (Day 2 – 15-20 min)

ASSESSMENT

“An Inconvenient Truth” Reflection Paper - Informal
Purpose: entry level
Implementation: one page written essay
Communication of Expectations: Verbal instructions and writing prompt
Evaluation Criteria: If students wrote to the prompt with evidence from the movie they will get the points
Feedback: Write comments on their papers about the content and use of grammatical forms


















1. TITLE OF THE LESSON
Biome Website Project
2. CURRICULUM AREA & GRADE LEVEL
Biology Grades 9 and 10 – Ecology – Biomes and Environmental Issues
3A. STUDENT INFORMATION: English Language Learners
1.) Readiness Level- Edgar, Early Intermediate, Jenny and John, Intermediate  Jennifer, Jonathan, Kevin, Xochilt, Early Advanced, and Michael Advanced English Learners
   
2.) Learning Profile – Multi-modal
   
3.) Interest – variety of interests – social time, music, art, sports

3B. STUDENT INFORMATION: Students w/ Special Needs
1.) Readiness Level – Jonathan-difficulty with verbal expression and conceptualization- reading at a 7th grade level, writing at a high elementary/middle school level, well grounded but struggles in math
Kaela-wears hearing aids due to cerebral palsy- reading at 6th grade level, writing and math skills in low to average range.
Jenny- Difficulty in auditory processing – reads at 5th grade level for fluency and comprehension, able to write multi paragraph essays but poor spelling and grammar, average math skills. Test anxiety
Nicole- 504-visual memory and attention/anxiety
Mallory- Phonological awareness deficit – middle school level reading, working on writing support for essays, average in math    
2.) Learning Profile – multi-modal       
3.) Interest – wide variety of interests – reading, social time, music, science/medicine
Whole Class Information
·         Number of students in class - 39
·         Demographic Information: Mostly Hispanic and Caucasian, 5 African American, and 1 Asian. 8 English Learners and 6 students with IEP’s.
·         Developmental Needs: Students are multi-modal learners that enjoy hands-on science labs and activities. They enjoy the social time with friends and being able to work with peers. Many students are involved in sports or band after school or have jobs. Students need the opportunity to be given choices about their learning and the proper guidance and scaffolding to get them there. Students are not proficient in inquiry based learning yet, but are persistent in asking questions. Overall, students are respectful of each other and the teacher, thus very little discipline is required. The classroom environment is based on respect for each other and learning. 
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
4. RATIONALE
     A. Enduring Understanding
At the end of the lesson, students will understand how different ecosystems and cultures are affected by environmental concerns/issues.
     B. Essential Questions
1. How do different natural places on Earth differ in climate, geology, and biodiversity?
2. How are humans impacting biomes? Are all biomes affected the same?
3. How does the local culture and people affect the biome? Do they help it or hurt it? Why?
4. How is the local culture and people affected by the biome? How are they affected by the environmental issues impacting the biome?
     C. Reason for Instructional Strategies and Student Activities
                   Students have a multi-modal way to learn about biomes and environmental issues. By working in groups, students collaborate on their writing and receive peer feedback and editing to improve their writing skills. Students also become experts on their biome and teach the class, thus further deepening their understanding. Presentations also offer practice with public speaking since it is difficult for many students. The use of a website fits their learning profiles since all the students enjoy working online. It is also a valuable skill to learn for the future. Finally, by creating a concept map with biomes and their environmental issues, students will make connections between biomes and see that similar environmental issues affect many biomes.
5. CONTENT STANDARD(S)
Ecology:
6. a. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.

6.b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.


Common Core: Reading Standards for Literacy in Science:
1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science
and technical texts, attending to the precise details of
explanations or descriptions.
6. ELD STANDARD(S)
Writing Strategies and Applications: Cluster 7: Using the Writing Process
Intermediate: Use basic strategies of note taking, outlining, and the writing process to structure drafts of simple essays, with consistent use of grammatical forms.
Early Advanced: Use strategies of note taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure drafts of clear, coherent, and focused essays with consistent use of grammatical forms.
Advanced: Use strategies of note taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure drafts of clear, coherent, and focused essays using standard grammatical forms.

Listening and Speaking: Cluster 3: Speak to be Understood:
Early Advanced: Make oneself understood when speaking using consistent standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation, but may make random errors.
Advanced: Speak clearly and comprehensibly using standard English grammatical forms, sounds, intonation, pitch, and modulation.
7. LEARNING GOAL(S) - OBJECTIVE(S)
After viewing “An Inconvenient Truth”, SWBAT participate in a class discussion about the effects of global warming on biomes as well as other environmental issues affecting the Earth using academic vocabulary and evidence from the movie. (Affective, Cognitive, Language)

After discussing environmental issues and reviewing the homework on biomes, SWBAT work in a group to research information on a biome including climate, biodiversity, geology, environmental issues, and cultural perspective. (Cognitive, Language)

After researching a biome, SWBAT collaborate on a webpage or wiki site to organize and display research found on the biome with correct grammatical forms and using notes and summaries from the research. (Language, Psychomotor)


After researching a biome and creating a website or wiki, SWBAT present their biome website to the class by speaking clearly and using standard grammatical forms, pitch, and tempo. (Language)
8. ASSESSMENT(S)
-Record student participation in discussion on “The Inconvenient Truth” and Environmental Issues (Formative, Informal)
-Teacher observation of group work and research during class in computer lab and check notes taken at the end of each day to estimate progress and how much time they may need to finish (Informal, Formative)
-Presentation of website or wiki to the class using rubric – ELD students are graded at an i+1 level for Speak to be Understood, except Edgar is graded at an i+2 level because of his previous performance on presentations. (Formal, Summative)
-Notes from the project are collected and graded for thoroughness and organization. ELD students are graded on an i+1 level for Using the Writing Process (Formal, Formative)
-Concept Map homework of the biomes and their environmental issues (Formal, Summative)
9A. EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENTIATION FOR
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

1.)  Content/Based on Readiness – Students are given a template for note taking to assist them with the writing process and guide their reading
2.)  Process/Based on Readiness- Students gain valuable academic and social speaking skills by working in a group to design  a website and collaborate their writing
3.)  Product/Based on Readiness- Group presentation is graded on a rubric and the oral presentation portion is graded based on i+1. Students also gain immediate peer feedback while practicing and planning the presentation.
9B. EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENTIATION FOR
STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

1.)    Content/Based on Readiness - Students are given a template for note taking to assist them with the writing process and guide their reading
2.)    Process/Based on Readiness- Students have the chance to work in a group to receive peer feedback and collaborate on ideas and writing
3.)    Product/Based on Readiness- The group presentation allows students to share responsibility and practice using academic vocabulary with peers, allowing for peer feedback.
10. INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
       A. Anticipatory Set/Into – Transition discussion of “An Inconvenient Truth” to biomes and other environmental issues: “How might Global Warming affect regions of the world differently?” With suggestions from the class and reference to the homework, discuss how different climates may be affected differently by global warming. Also get students to discuss other environmental issues such as coal mining, pollution, acid rain, nuclear power, etc. (Day 2 - 15 min)
       B. Instruction/Through – “We are going to do a project focusing on different biomes and the environmental issues that affect them”. Pass out the instructions for the biome website project and go over then instructions. Remind students to use reliable internet sources and to site their work. Pass out and explain note taking template.  (Day 2 – 10 min)
       C. Guided Practice/Through – Divide students into groups based on a mix of abilities and learning profiles. Give a brief tutorial on websites and wikis, asking students to share what they know about them and their experiences. (Day 2 - 10 min)
       D. Independent Practice/Through – Monitor student progress and answer questions as they work at the computers. Spot check note taking to ensure students are on the right track. (Day 2 – 1 hour, Day 3 – 50 min)
       E. Closure – Pass out and explain guided notes for presentations.  Grade student presentations of website/wiki using the rubric. Collect the notes taken from the group presenting to assess for their use of the writing process. (Day 4 – 45 min)
       F. Beyond – Pass out and discuss the concept map homework. Show an example of a concept map.
(Day 4 - 5 min)
11. STUDENT ACTIVITIES
       A. Anticipatory Set/Into – Discuss in class ideas about how global warming may affect different biomes in different ways as well as other environmental issues they may know about (Day 2 – 15 min)
       B. Instruction/Through – Listen to instructions and follow along on their paper. (Day 2 – 10 min)
       C. Guided Practice/Through – Follow along on the projector with the tutorial on websites and wikis. Share with the class what they know about designing a website or a wiki. (Day 2 - 10 min)
       D. Independent Practice/Through – Work in groups at the computer lab to decide who will research which parts and begin researching online using the guided notes. Once research is collected, students may begin adding it to their website or wiki. Once the website is done, students need to discuss in their groups how their presentation will be organized. (Day 2 – 1 hour, Day 3 – 50 min)
       E. Closure – Students will present their website or wiki to the class while the other students take notes on it. (Day 4 – 45 min)
       F. BeyondStudents will complete a concept map for homework of the different biomes and their environmental issues (Day 4 – 5 min)
12. RESOURCES
Guided Notes Template
Biome Website Instructions
Biome Rubric
Biomes Presentation Guided Notes
Concept Map Instructions                                                                                   










































Biome Website Project

As a group, you will design a website or a wiki page that tells all about the biome you chose. You will become the expert biologists of that biome and then teach the rest of the class about your biome. Your website needs to include these things:

A map of your biome – for example, if you Google “Desert Biome Map” you will get a lot of choices!

Abiotic Factors:

Climate: temperature, rainfall, humidity, seasons

Geological features: mountains, lakes, grasslands, flat, hills, sand dunes, etc. Give examples.

            Biotic Factors

Biodiversity: The kinds of plants and animals that are unique to your biome. What special adaptations those plants and animals need to survive there?

Environmental issues affecting the biome- what is it, how is it affecting the biome, what might have caused it, what is being done to fix it

Cultural perspective: how is the local culture affected by the biome? How does it hurt the biome? How is it affected by the environmental issue or how does it contribute to the environmental issues?

Be sure to choose websites that are reliable science sources. Wikipedia is not reliable! You also need to include a list of your resources on your webpage or wiki and be sure to site your sources within the text!


REMEMBER: This is a public webpage so make it look nice! Part of your grade is how well the website is organized, easy to navigate, and is visually appealing.



Tips for a Successful Presentation:
-          Make eye contact with the audience. Don’t read from the board. If you need notes make notecards!
-          Speak loudly so everyone can hear you
-          Watch how fast you are speaking! When we get nervous a lot of people tend to speed up. Keep a steady pace
-          PRACTICE what you are going to say beforehand


Biome Presentation Notes
Biome:

Climate:




Biodiversity:
        -Plants:



            -Animals:



            -Special Adaptations:


Geological Features:




Environmental Issues:









Cultural Impacts:









Research Notes

Topic:                                                   Title of webpage, author, and full web address
 


Key points                                                                                                        Notes








































Summary









Created with TaskStream

 

 

 

 

 

Levels/Criteria
Approaching
Average
Outstanding
Score/Level
Climate
Lists only some of the climate information without any details
Average temperature, average rainfall, seasonal changes, and humidity are listed with little to no detail
Average temperature, average rainfall, seasonal changes, and humidity are described in detail

Biodiversity
Very few plants and animals unique to the biome are listed. Few adaptations are listed with very little detail
The plants and animals unique to the biome are listed with little to no detail Special adaptations are described but do not explain why they are useful in survival
The plants and animals unique to the biome are described in detail Special adaptations to survive in the biome are described and explain why they are essential to survival

Geological Features
Geological features are only listed
The geological features are listed with little to no details and do not provide any examples
The geological features of the biome are listed and described; includes examples

Environmental Issues
Environmental issues are listed with limited information regarding what the issue is, how it is affecting the biome, what might be causing it, and what is being done to fix it
Only one environmental issue is described in detail what the issue is, how it is affecting the biome, what might be causing it, and what is being done to fix it
More than one environmental issues is described in detail what the issue is, how it is affecting the biome, what might be causing it, and what is being done to fix it

Cultural Perspective
A local cultural perspective from the biome is given but does not give any detail on the effect the environmental issue has on the local people, how the local people are affecting the biome, or how the local people rely on the biome.
A local cultural perspective from the biome is given, describing in little to no detail the effect the environmental issue has on the local people, how the local people are affecting the biome, or how the local people rely on the biome.
A local cultural perspective from the biome is given, describing in detail the effect the environmental issue has on the local people, how the local people are affecting the biome, or how the local people rely on the biome.

Grammar and Academic Vocabulary
Content has many grammatical errors and uses little to no academic vocabulary
Content shows grammatical errors and limited amount of academic vocabulary
Content shows little to no grammatical errors and uses academic vocabulary

Organization and Visual Appearance
The content of the website or wiki is unorganized and difficult to navigate The website or wiki is missing pictures, a map, and other visuals that would keep the attention of the viewer
The content on the website or wiki is organized in a way that somewhat makes sense and may be a little bit difficult to navigate The website or wiki does not include many pictures and does not keep the attention of the viewer
The content on the website or wiki is organized in a way that makes sense and is easy to navigate The website or wiki includes pictures, a map, a title, and keeps the attention of the viewer

Oral Presentation
Presenter is unprepared, reads from board thus creating little to no eye contact with the auduence, and speaks quietly at a speed that is too fast or too slow for the presentation
Presenter is somewhat clear, speaks loudly and clearly but lacks eye contact and appropriate speed with few grammatical errors
Presenter is organized and prepared, speaking loudly and clearly using eye contact, correct grammar, and appropriate speed.


































Both Prompts are posted on the Document Camera for the class to write down



An Inconvenient Truth Writing Prompt

Summarize the evidence you saw regarding how earth’s climate has changed over time and what caused these changes. What is different or unique about the climate change that is now happening? What do you think should be done about global warming? Why?







Concept Map Instructions

Create a concept map of the biomes with their different environmental issues then write a paragraph comparing how similar environmental issues affect different biomes.