Standard 4

Plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, and curriculum goals.

Artifacts: 

Understanding by design template for American Government

Presentation of different branches of government

Parts of Speech Quiz

Rationale: 

Good teachers plan well.  Good planning, based upon “knowledge of subject matter, students, and curriculum goals”, requires hours of work outside of the classroom, but helps students succeed daily and over the course of a unit. However, although planning units ahead is key, teachers must remain flexible and willing to integrate their formative assessments of their students’ abilities or knowledge-base into new, unforeseen teaching. To demonstrate my understanding and application of Standard Four, I provide my Understanding by Design unit plan for my student teaching, a lesson plan on the three branches of government matching with an established goal of UbD unit plan, and a quiz on the English language’s parts of speech that I integrated into my unit to help my students with their writing skills.

My strong knowledge base of how our Founding Fathers established our nation and our government’s formation granted me the ability to plan a unit with both depth and range. During my pre-practicum training, I created a four week unit plan that examined how compromise amongst our Founding Fathers shaped the Constitution. I designed my unit plan to provide students with the knowledge and habits essential to be good American citizens. The unit plan established clear learning goals for my students to reach, while incorporating evaluative criteria to determine my students’ mastery of these objectives. I determined that the attainment of the following goals was achievable for my students based on the length of the unit, while also essential for them to become good citizens: 1) students understand the different roles and responsibilities possessed by the 3 different branches of the U.S. government,  2) students will recognize how the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the ideas that led to their implementation, impact their daily lives, 3) students understand what the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are. Moreover, since my unit plan required my students to examine the text of the Constitution, analyze text describing the process of how the Founding Fathers ratified the Constitution, and integrate visual representations of the Constitutional Convention with written interpretations, it fulfilled Standard 6-8.1, Standard 6-8.3, and Standard 6-8.7 of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies.

One of my major goals of my unit on American Government was for students to understand the different roles and responsibilities of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government; I expected them to understand that the U.S. government is based off of a checks and balances system that limits each component’s power. My lesson plan on the three branches of the United States government reflects my ability to plan individuals lessons based on my knowledge of established curriculum goals. During this lecture-based class, I explained how the three branches of government work and support each other, while my students fill in a review sheet of my lesson. By furthering my students’ understanding of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches, this lesson also contributed to their understanding of the Constitution, another established goal of of my unit plan.

I demonstrated my ability to plan learning experiences based on my students’ abilities through a quiz I gave my students on the different parts of speech. Since the majority of my assignments involve reading and writing, I spent the first couple weeks of my student-teaching evaluating my students’ writing abilities. For my students to effectively reflect their understanding of their learning in my class, I realized that they would have to improve their grammar and understanding of the English language. My student’s quiz on the different parts of speech shows my ability to plan instruction based off my knowledge of my students’ abilities; I had not originally planned to include this lesson and quiz, but I realized quickly that my students struggled to understand the function of words in sentences and needed a review, so I integrated this new lesson into the curriculum. One of my unit plan’s evaluate criteria was an essay comparing and contrasting the different branches of government, so this lesson fit well into my overall unit.

I plan instruction based upon my knowledge of the subject matter, my students’ abilities, and previously established curriculum goals. My unit plan on the United States Government demonstrated my ability to plan learning experiences that utilized my deep understanding of our nation’s early history, how the United States Government operates, and the rights and responsibilities that the United States Constitution grants its citizens. This unit plan also set forth clear curriculum goals for my students to achieve. My lesson plan on the three branches of government also displayed my in-depth knowledge of United States Government, since I provided my students a thorough and personal overview of the different parts of the United States Federal Government. This lesson plan also demonstrated by ability to plan instruction based off of the unit plan’s established goal of helping my students to understand the different roles and responsibilities of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government. My decision to incorporate my quiz on the different parts of the English language into my planning arose from my pre-teaching observation that my students struggled to fully understand how to construct quality sentences. Without adjusting my planning to based off of my students’ abilities and prior learning experiences, I would have failed to address a significant obstruction to their learning.

Comments