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Sotelo 1 SECTION ONE: Lesson Foundations (1) The lesson that follows is designed to teach eleventh-grade students specific characteristics of colonial and Puritan literature, and then how to appropriately apply this understanding to analyze period-influences on the poetry of Anne Bradstreet. As members of the highest level of English offered for juniors, the students within this class are all high-achieving, accelerated students with average to above-average cognitive levels. In the scope of the entire year, this course is designed to develop students‟ ability to read, write, analyze, and synthesize ideas within the context of American literature. Course units are arranged chronologically, beginning with colonial literature and ending with postmodern writings. Accordingly, part of the eleventh grade curriculum, as outlined by Ohio‟s Academic Content Standards, requires students to analyze a piece of literature in relation to the influences of a particular literary period and author—a crucial skill when critically readings works from a historical/literary period dating back 350 years. According to the Ohio Academic Content Standards for English Language Arts, the specific Standards, Benchmarks, and Indicators for this lesson are as follows: Standard: Reading Applications: Literary Text Grades 11-12 Benchmark C: Recognize and analyze characteristics of subgenres and literary periods. o Grade 11 Indicator #7: Analyze the characteristics of various literary periods and subgenres and how the issues of the time influenced the writers of those periods and their works. For this particular lesson, students have prior knowledge in a few of the basic historical and literary characteristics of colonial America and Puritanism. In the weeks leading up to the lesson, students read Nathanial Hawthorne‟s The Scarlet Letter and Arthur Miller‟s The Crucible, both of which are laden with Puritan themes and ideas (e.g., predestination, the inevitability of sin, and promise for heavenly rewards for the elect). These period-influences were discussed through whole and small-group discussion, group presentations, and film analysis. In terms of literary analysis, students have learned basic techniques for making a claim and using textual evidence to synthesize an argument about a work during the ninth and tenth grades. In future lessons, students will be writing a more complex, processed expository piece exploring Anne Bradstreet‟s shifting view on her Puritan faith as expressed in the full scope of her poetry. Subsequently, students will incorporate their knowledge of Puritanism and colonialism as constructed and addressed within this lesson. (2) The class participating in this lesson is composed of high school juniors (twelve female, ten male) at the Accelerated level—the most challenging English class offered for this age group. As a result, these students rank at or above grade level in terms of class success and cognitive abilities associated with the English classroom. Even though there‟s no one with an IEP or 504 plan, the ability levels and learning needs vary greatly among all twenty-two students. The lesson that follows is appropriately differentiated and conducive to this wide array of learners. First, the opening chart-paper activity allows for students to write down their own ideas, thoughts, and questions in response to their specific understanding of last night‟s reading; every student will have their own individual reaction and comprehension of the different topics listed around the room. Using Howard Gardner‟s multiple intelligence categories, this particular activity is directed at students with bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, interpersonal, and spatial cognitive abilities: students are actively moving around the room, writing down their responses Sotelo 2 to concepts, interacting and discussing ideas with classmates, and are spatially arranging their ideas via semantic mapping. A majority of the lesson is comprised of discussion, both in whole group and small group settings. When discussing the chart-paper topics as a whole group, students‟ responses, ideas, and questions that were written down serve as a primary guide for discussion. As a result, the discussion is shaped by students‟ particular understandings of the previous night‟s reading. During this time, students are also able to bring up additional ideas, questions, and connections that align with their own individual learning needs (e.g. comprehension, clarification, etc). The small group setting allows for students to practice reading and discussing a poem with increased opportunities to ask questions and synthesize ideas. This portion of the lesson also allows for the instructor to check in on a more individual basis with students to monitor understanding and confusion (“What Puritan characteristics has your group identified?”) Even though all of the students in the class are at the accelerated level, a wide range of ability levels exist within the class demographic. Many of the students were enrolled in Honors English during tenth grade, while others moved up from the Academic level. As a result, students have respectively more or less practice than others with poetry analysis and incorporating background information. For the students with comparatively lower skills, I specifically monitored their comprehension during small group work and class discussion. Additionally, the course‟s online BlackBoard site provides a link to a web archive of Anne Bradstreet poetry. I encourage all students to use these poems to continue practicing identifying period characteristics and connecting them to specific lines from the text. While conducting this lesson, I directly recommended a student who was struggling with the exercises to this poetry archive. In order to challenge students who display above-average cognitive ability in relation to their classmates, I recommended (to the whole class) particular poems by Edward Taylor and other Puritan poets that are more difficult to analyze and identify Puritan/colonial influences. In addition, I tell students to challenge themselves by reading Jonathan Edward‟s sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, in their text books in order to practice analyzing period- influences in a prose piece. Overall, all students are constantly encouraged to ask questions and clarify ideas during the course of all activities; this provides students the chance to control their own individual understanding during and throughout the learning process. (3) In order to address the targeted benchmark and indicator, this particular lesson incorporates multiple instructional strategies that allow a diverse group of students to actively learn, observe, and practice specific skills. First, teacher-directed class discussion was used in discussing the material from their reading assignment. Even though the ideas and topics posed in the chart-paper activity were used as a general guide for discussion, I controlled the tempo and direction of student dialogue—as well as interjecting and emphasizing particularly important ideas and information (e.g. “Blake brings up an important point: Puritan writers tried to keep their writing simple and direct, just like the Bible.”). Second, small group discussion was used as students analyzed “Verses” for literary period influences. Third, “think aloud” modeling was used to demonstrate how to structure their responses to the poems by both identifying historical characteristics and then connecting their influences to specific lines from the text. Resources used during this lesson include tape, chart-paper, Elements of Literature textbook, and my cooperating teacher (as an additional person to circulate around the room during small group discussion). Sotelo 3 Sycamore High School Grade: 11 Subject: English Date: 10/3/07 The Poetry of Anne Bradstreet: Analyzing Influences of Colonialism and Puritanism Lesson Goal The goal of this lesson is for students to: Identify the particular characteristics of a literary period (colonialism) and subgenre (Puritan writing). Recognize the influences of this literary period and subgenre in the poetry of Puritan Anne Bradstreet. Specifically connect and synthesize period and genre characteristics with lines and ideas from Bradstreet‟s poetry through written response. Attention to Ohio Standards: Grade Level 11-12 Benchmarks, Grade 11 Indicators Reading Applications: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies Standard Benchmark B: Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and synthesizing). o Indicator #2: Answer literal, inferential, evaluative and synthesizing questions to demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate print texts and electronic and visual media. Reading Applications: Literary Text Standard Benchmark C: Recognize and analyze characteristics of subgenres and literary periods. o Indicator #7: Analyze the characteristics of various literary periods and subgenres and how the issues of the time influenced the writers of those periods and their works. Writing Applications Standard Benchmark B: Write responses to literature that provide an interpretation, recognize ambiguities, nuances, and complexities and that understand the author‟s use of stylistic devices and effects created. o Indicator #2a: Write responds to literature that advance a judgment that is interpretative, analytical, evaluative, or reflective. o Indicator #2b: Write responses to literature that support key ideas and viewpoints with accurate and detailed references to the text or to other works and authors. Writing Conventions Standard Benchmark A: Use correct spelling conventions. o Indicator # 1: Use correct spelling conventions. Benchmark B: Use correct punctuation and capitalization. o Indicator #2: Use correct punctuation and capitalization. Benchmark C: Demonstrate understanding of the grammatical conventions of the English language. o Indicator #3: Use correct grammar. Research Standard Sotelo 4 Benchmark B: Compile, organize and evaluate information, take notes and summarize findings. o Indicator # 4: Analyze the complexities and discrepancies in information and systematically organize relevant information to support central ideas, concepts and themes. The Lesson Materials Needed: Elements of Literature textbook (both student and teacher copies) Beers, K., Probst, R., Vacca, R., et al. (2000). Elements of literature: Fifth course. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. o Pages 2-18: “Beginnings” & 68-70: “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House” Chart paper (five pieces) Markers (20) Tape Prior Work: Prior to this lesson, students have been studying pieces of colonial literature, including Miller‟s The Crucible and Hawthorne‟s The Scarlet Letter. During the previous day, students took two pre-assessments that measured their understanding of the colonial literary period and a particular poem from this genre. The first, a multiple-choice quiz, assessed students‟ knowledge of colonial America, Puritanism, and characteristics of Puritan writing. The second preassessment was an in- class essay, for which students read Anne Bradstreet‟s “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House” and then analyzed how the literary period influenced Bradstreet and her poem. For homework the previous night, students read pages 2-18 in their Elements of Literature text about historical, philosophical, and literary movements taking place from precolonialism to 1800. Lead/Intro/Attention Getter: At the start of class, there are five pieces of large chart paper spaced along different portions of the wall, each of which have a different topic written on them from last night‟s reading: Deism, Rationalism, The Puritan Legacy (Who? Beliefs? Values?), Puritan writing, and Benjamin Franklin & the Self-Made Man. Using their textbooks as their resources, students are instructed to write a comment, fact, or idea on all five pieces of chart paper over the next 5-7 minutes. Each piece of chart paper has the topic in the middle of the page, and students are expected to use a semantic-mapping structure (with connecting lines and bubbles) to build on and react to what their classmates said. (5 minutes) Activities/Procedures: “Beginnings” Chapter Large-Group Discussion After students are seated from their initial semantic-mapping exercise, instruct students to get out their textbooks and turn to last night‟s reading. Instruct students to take notes throughout the class discussion. Explain to students that we‟ll be using the ideas and reactions to the chart-paper topics to guide our discussion on last night‟s reading. Before doing so, however, clarify for students the purpose for learning about characteristics of historical and literary periods. o Ask: “My question to all of you is this: what’s the point? Why on earth are we reading about these history-based ideas in a literature course?” Sotelo 5 Students‟ responses will spark a brief discussion exploring the value and purpose of using background information as a way to better understand literary periods. o Ask: How did our understanding of McCarthyism and the Red Scare aid our understanding of The Crucible? Conduct large-group discussion using the five chart-paper topics to guide the discussion of the historical, philosophical, and literary movements presented in the novel. o For each topic, make the chart-paper concept map visible to all students and read aloud the ideas and their related connections. After doing so, use these ideas as a guided outline for discussion. o In addition to students‟ ideas and connections as written on the chart paper, the instructor also clarifies and supplements the discussion topics as needed. o For each topic, ask students to ask questions and further discuss the chart-paper ideas. Students must point to textual support from the reading throughout this discussion. (20 minutes) “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House” Small Group Exploration Ask students to turn to Bradstreet‟s “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House” in their texts. Remind students of yesterday‟s essay prompt, which asked them to write about how influences of the literary period influenced Bradstreet and her writing of “Verses.” Model for students how to phrase a text-based, analytical statement. o “Think aloud” for the students with a specific line from Bradstreet‟s poem. Say: “„Raise up thy thoughts above the sky/That dunghill mists away may fly.‟ Hmm, raising thoughts above the sky must be referring to heaven, and maybe those „dunghill mists‟ are referring to the rubble from her burned-down house. Well, as a Puritan, Bradstreet was saying that the rewards she believes await for her in heaven make the material presence of her house unimportant.” o Remind students that their analysis should both identify characteristics from Puritanism/colonialism, and also connect these influences to specific lines and phrases from the poem. Instruct students to count of by eights in order to form groups of three. Each group must designate one member as the “recorder,” who will be taking notes on their group‟s ideas throughout the discussion. Ask students to discuss “Verses” within their group, looking specifically at how the literary time period influenced Bradstreet and her poem. o Groups‟ responses should focus on using specific lines and textual support to validate their connections. o Encourage each group to discuss influences and poetic elements that they didn’t discuss in their in-class essay from the previous day. (15 minutes) “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House” Large Group Discussion Coming back together as a whole group, ask one member from each small group to share their ideas about the period-influences on “Verses.” o Emphasize the elements of Puritan writing that are present within this piece, as well as structuring their responses in accordance to the think-aloud model above. (10 minutes) Extension: Students must look back over the previous night‟s reading and their notes on Bradstreet‟s “Verses” as preparation for an in-class assignment the following day. Sotelo 6 Connection to Future Learning: Today‟s lesson will be preparing students to analyze another Bradstreet poem, “Upon a Fit of Sickness,” in terms of its influences from the colonial period and Puritan subgenre. Additionally, students will be prepared from today‟s lesson to take a multiple choice quiz on important aspects about early American history, philosophy, and literature. In the scope of the larger unit, today‟s lesson serves as a model for how historical background should be used to understand all pieces of literature. In addition, the analysis of poetry via expository essays connects to following lessons on using the TPCASST procedure for poetry analysis, as well as writing a processed, drafted literary analysis on Puritan poetry. Differentiation: See Question #2 above in the Lesson Foundation section. Assessment Procedures Student learning is assessed through the students‟ presentation of concepts and ideas on the semantic maps, the topics and questions addressed by students during discussion, the notes taken by each group while analyzing “Verses,” and general participation and engagement with the information during small and whole class activities. SECTION TWO: Assessment Plan (1 & 2) In order to gauge and respond to student learning, I used two different types of assessments that corresponded with the goals and target indicators of this lesson. Assessment #1: The first type of assessment used was a thirteen-question multiple choice quiz. This quiz was used to assess students‟ abilities to “recognize the characteristics of subgenres and literary periods” (Ohio Department of Education, 2001). The literary period focused on for this lesson was colonial America, so the quiz was based off of the information in pages 2-18 of their Elements of Literature textbook; this reading addressed specific historical and literary characteristics of this era (e.g., Rationalism, Deism, Puritan beliefs and writing). The pre- assessment and post-assessment were comprised of the same thirteen questions, but with a differing order of questions and possible answers. The pre-assessment was given on Tuesday, October 2 at the beginning of class (see Appendix). When introducing the quiz to the students, I told them that I “want to know what you know” about Puritanism and colonial America. Even though a lot of them have picked up on scattered historical information from reading The Scarlet Letter, I told students that I was interested in gauging the depth of their knowledge on America‟s beginnings. This was graded the same night for specific item-analysis, but never handed back. The post-assessment was given the day after the lesson (and two days after the pre- assessment) on Thursday, October 4. As stated, the quiz used the same questions from their reading on colonial America and assessed student‟s ability to recognize characteristics of colonialism and Puritanism. This was graded and handed back on Monday, October 8. For both assessments, students had 15-20 minutes to complete the quiz; each question was worth one point, for a total of thirteen points. For the data tables to follow in Question #3, I graphed the percentage of individual and class improvement between pre- and post-assessment scores. Assessment #2: The second type of assessment was an in-class analytical essay about an Anne Bradstreet poem. This essay was used to assess students‟ ability to “analyze…how the issues of Sotelo 7 the time influenced the writers of those periods and their works” (Ohio Department of Education, 2001). In this case, the “issues of the time” refer to tenets of Puritan beliefs, values, and writing styles in colonial America. For this essay, students had to read a poem by Puritan writer Anne Bradstreet and analyze how the characteristics of the literary period influenced the work. Subsequently, this prompt asks students to both recognize characteristics of Puritanism in the poem and then analyze how these elements (such as theme, structure, diction) influenced specific lines and aspects of the poem. For both the pre- and post-assessments, the essay was worth 20 points—six points for recognizing literary period characteristics, two for writing mechanics, and twelve points for clearly connecting these characteristics‟ influences to specific textual examples (see Appendix B for rubric and pre-assessment). The pre-assessment was given the same day as the multiple-choice pre-assessment; students had about 30 minutes to complete their essays in response to Bradstreet‟s poem, “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House.” These essays were graded that evening, with special attention to the ability to both recognize and analyze the literary period‟s influences within the poem. The post-assessment was given the day after the lesson—the same day as the multiple choice post-assessment. Once again, students had 30 minutes to write, but this time on a thematically-similar poem by Anne Bradstreet, “Upon a Fit of Sickness.” These essays were graded and handed back the following Monday, accompanied by written and oral feedback of students‟ abilities to address both parts of the essay prompt (recognition of characteristics and analysis of influences). For the data tables to follow in Question #3, I graphed the percentage of improvement between Part I of the essay (recognizing period characteristics), Part II of the essay (analyzing influences on the poem), and the overall individual and whole-class scores. (3) Overall, it was clear that Literary Periods Quiz Results students‟ ability to recognize and analyze characteristics of 14 Score Obtained [Out of 13] Puritanism and colonialism 12 significantly increased via 10 lesson content and pre- and post-assessments. When 8 Pretest Score looking at students‟ scores on 6 Posttest Score the Literary Periods multiple- 4 choice quiz, the average pre- 2 test score was a 7.64 out of 13—compared with an 11.68 0 out of 13 on the post-test. 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 Overall, students‟ scores Individual Student Number increased by 62.47 percent. Literary Periods Quiz: Bell 7 Results Student Number Pretest Score Posttest Score Percent Increase (Pretest vs. Posttest) 1 7 12 71.4% 2 10 13 30.0% 3 6 12 100.0% 4 8 10 25.0% 5 8 11 37.5% 6 9 12 33.3% 7 6 13 116.7% 8 6 12 100.0% 9 8 12 50.0% 10 9 13 44.4% 11 10 13 30.0% Sotelo 8 12 10 11 10.0% 13 9 9 0.0% 14 8 13 62.5% 15 9 13 44.4% 16 3 10 233.3% 17 8 11 37.5% 18 7 12 71.4% 19 5 9 80.0% 20 6 10 66.7% 21 7 13 85.7% 22 9 13 44.4% Average Score 7.64 11.68 Average Percent 58.74% 89.86% 62.47% On the essay assessment, students‟ writing scores also Percentage Increase on Essay Portions showed obvious improvement between the 22.82% pre- and post-assessments. 25% 18.48% On Part I of the essay 17.32% % Increase for Part I requirements (recognizing 20% % Increase for Part II period characteristics), Total Percent Increase students showed an average 15% of 18.48% improvement. On Part II of the essay 10% requirements (analyzing 5% specific period influences in the poem), students showed 0% an average of 22.82% improvement. Overall, scores increased from an average of 16.09 out of 20 to 18.36 out of 20—a total increase of 17.32%. Pretest Score Posttest Score % % Total Student Increase Increase Part I: Part II: Total Part I: Part II: Total Percent Number for Part for Part Recognizes Connects Pretest Recognizes Connects Posttest Increase I II characteristics lines/ideas Score characteristics lines/ideas Score 1 6 8 16 6 10 18 0.00% 25.00% 12.50% 2 6 12 20 5 12 19 -16.67% 0.00% -5.00% 3 4 8 13 6 10 18 50.00% 25.00% 38.46% 4 6 10 18 6 11 19 0.00% 10.00% 5.56% 5 3 7 11 5 11 17 66.67% 57.14% 54.55% 6 5 8 15 5 12 19 0.00% 50.00% 26.67% 7 6 10 18 6 11 19 0.00% 10.00% 5.56% 8 4 10 16 6 12 20 50.00% 20.00% 25.00% 9 4 8 14 4 11 17 0.00% 37.50% 21.43% 10 5 8 15 6 12 20 20.00% 50.00% 33.33% 11 6 12 20 4 11 17 -33.33% -8.33% -15.00% 12 6 12 20 6 12 20 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 13 6 8 15 6 12 19 0.00% 50.00% 26.67% 14 4 8 14 6 10 17 50.00% 25.00% 21.43% Sotelo 9 15 6 12 19 6 10 18 0.00% -16.67% -5.26% 16 4 12 18 6 10 18 50.00% -16.67% 0.00% 17 5 12 19 6 11 19 20.00% -8.33% 0.00% 18 4 10 16 6 11 19 50.00% 10.00% 18.75% 19 6 8 15 6 9 16 0.00% 12.50% 6.67% 20 4 4 10 6 9 17 50.00% 125.00% 70.00% 21 4 8 14 6 10 18 50.00% 25.00% 28.57% 22 6 10 18 6 12 20 0.00% 20.00% 11.11% SECTION THREE: Research Knowledge Base (1) The instructional strategies utilized in this lesson are rooted in and supported by educational research for learning effectiveness. The first instructional strategy, teacher-directed class discussion, is upheld by the ideas discussed by Dr. Virginia O‟Keefe (1995) in Speaking to Think/ Thinking to Speak. According to O‟Keefe, “we need to talk to improve learning [because] working with knowledge demands more than recall of information; it requires building knowledge structures” (p.6); subsequently, whole-class discussion allows for students to grapple with ideas and construct knowledge with the presence of the teacher as mediator and resource. In this particular lesson, students‟ ideas from the chart-paper activity were used to guide discussion—a type of whole class discussion dubbed “the discovery mode” by O‟Keefe. Though teacher-directed, this type of student- organized discussion “places the teacher and the students in a cooperative position as they decide speech acts” (p.25). As a result, motivation and construction of meaning is differentiated through students‟ “hypothesis testing” (pg.25) of their ideas and concepts. Using small-group discussion is also supported by O‟Keefe in Speaking to Think/ Thinking to Speak. After deeming the abounding research on small group discussion as generally positive, O‟Keefe writes that “group work produces more actively engaged, task-oriented behavior” (90). Most importantly, O‟Keefe emphasizes the small group setting‟s ability to actually individualize the learning of each student: “the struggling student profits from an interactive situation where she or he receives feedback from peers. And, students at all achievement levels benefit from the opportunity to „rehearse‟ new concepts as they talk through problems” (p.91). Students help each other construct meaning and clarify important concepts. Think-aloud modeling is a strategy introduced by Jeffrey Wilhelm (2001) in Improving Comprehension with Think-Aloud Strategies. This particular instructional method demonstrates for students the thought process that should be used while reading different types of texts; in this case, a think-aloud was used to show students how I connected literary period characteristics with specific lines from the poem while reading. According to Wilhelm, using “think-alouds allow all students to hear how others sleuth out and make sense of all these text clues so they can recognize and adopt these strategies as their own” (p.19). Think-alouds give students a tool to adopt on an individual-basis to monitor personal comprehension during the reading process, and also how to phrase their responses to textual analysis. (2) Just as with the previously discussed instructional strategies, the assessments utilized in this lesson are rooted in and supported by educational research. Using multiple choice assessments is supported by a number of educational resources, including Patti Shank‟s (2002) article “Better Multiple Choice Tests.” According to Shank, multiple choice tests are effective because they can efficiently measure multi-leveled learning objectives, “from simple recall and comprehension to more complex levels, such as ability to analyze a situation, apply principles, Sotelo 10 discriminate, interpret, judge relevance, select best solutions, and so on” (p. 1). Multiple choice tests, therefore, allow for all students‟ knowledge of specific objective information, such as historical background, to be directly measured. Essay assessments are able to effectively measure higher cognitive domains of student learning by “determining how students can analyze, synthesize, evaluate, think logically, solve problems, and hypothesize” (Ornstein, 1992, p.175). Additionally, essay assessments are also an effective learning tool because they help students “cement knowledge already acquired [and] also enables students to synthesize new concepts as they use old information in new ways” (Benson, 1991, p.74). For juniors in high school, essay writing allows them to use personal understandings of poetry and colonialism and incorporate it with a new topic and set of ideas. SECTION FOUR: Student Learning Evidence (1) Overall, the pre-data, the lesson, and the post-data worked together to effectively contribute to student learning and extensive individual success. On the multiple-choice pre- assessment, I wanted students to be able to recognize characteristics of colonialism and Puritanism; I subsequently performed an item-analysis on each question to see students‟ overall strengths and weaknesses with the material. It was apparent that students had a good understanding of the basic tenets of Puritan beliefs, but didn‟t have a grasp on philosophical movements at the time or aspects of Puritan writing. During the lesson, I was careful to emphasize this information during whole-group discussion and the chart-paper topics. Additionally, the reading that students did the night before the lesson addressed the information in all thirteen questions, which gave further opportunity for learning the information and reflecting on their pre-test answers earlier in the day. While students averaged only 7.64 questions out of 13 correct on the pre-test, students scored an average of 11.68 out of 13 on the post-test—answering about four more questions correctly than before. For the essay assessment, I wanted my students to be able to analyze how characteristics of colonialism and Puritanism influenced specific aspects of Anne Bradstreet‟s poetry. On the pre-test, I evaluated student‟s performance by creating a rubric that scored students on (a) identifying period characteristics in the poem and (b) connecting them to specific lines and aspects of the poem. For both objectives, students scored respectively 18.48% and 22.82% better on the post-test than on the pre-test—going from an average of 16 out of 20 to 18.3 out of 20. While grading the pre-tests, it was apparent that almost all students were citing the same two literary period characteristics, with no mention of the tenets of Puritan writing. I addressed this knowledge gap by making “Puritan writing” a chart-paper topic and directly discussing it as a whole class. Students also struggled connecting their recognition of period influences to specific lines and aspects of the poem. In response, I used “think-aloud modeling” to demonstrate how to think about and phrase their oral/written responses in a way that clearly makes this connection. This occurred before students discussed “Verses” in small groups, which allowed them to then practice analyzing an Anne Bradstreet poem and use proper phrasing in groups and also on the next day‟s essay assessment. When looking at the data, there were a couple of students who scored the same or slightly worse on their post-assessments. For these students, or those that needed extended practice, I recommended an Anne Bradstreet poetry website that would allow students to work on their analysis skills the evening before the essay post-assessment. For those who scored highly on both pre-assessments, I attempted to spread these students out among small groups to aid their peers in the collaborative learning process. Sotelo 11 (2) Completing this project has provided me the tools I need to better control and respond to my students‟ learning needs. Even though I‟ve used forms of pre-assessments in the past, this lesson was the first in which I‟ve used two forms of pre- and post-tests. By using two, I was able to respond so much more thoroughly to the needs of my students. Even though it required making last-minute to my lesson plan, grading students‟ pre-assessments before the lesson allowed me to craft the day‟s activities directly around what students did and didn‟t know (e.g., chart paper topics, modeling responses, etc). Additionally, I learned that often times secondary learning needs arise during pre-testing, as when I realized how students were struggling with clearly communicating literary period influences by using specific textual support; I needed to provide them with this more basic writing skill before they could proceed to the higher cognitive domain of analysis and synthesis. Unquestionably, my lesson was significantly more effective by using a pre- and post-assessments than if I‟d assumed the extent of my students‟ knowledge. In the future, one of my goals will be to directly pre-assess what my students know in the context of a specific benchmark and indicator—whether it‟s through a quiz, a journal, class discussion, etc. Especially as a current student teacher and an emerging first-year teacher, I will have potentially limited or basic knowledge of what my students have accomplished or worked- on in previous years; to compound this uncertainty, every student and every class is highly unique and has subsequently differing learning needs. In short, never assume. Another educational mantra that was reemphasized to me during this process was from my cohort assessment class: test what you teach. My students‟ success during the lesson and on their post-assessments was directly related to how I (a) addressed their areas of cognitive and content-area weaknesses and (b) used consistent methods of assessment that aligned with the activities and skills used during the lesson. With this in mind, I resolve to always be consistent with what I teach and what I expect my students to learn and do. Perhaps most importantly, I‟ll take with me the idea that I‟m in control of my students‟ learning and development. I may not always be the one making specific curriculum choices, but I am the one who determines how my students learn and practice certain ideas and skills. Of course, there‟s a point where my earnest efforts halt and the student‟s motivation and self- efficacy take over—but I‟ll do everything in my power to take them at least that far.
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