Fundamentals of Teaching
Nili Pearlmutter Thursdays, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Thursday (8/27)

Focus: Standard 2: Builds a Learning Community Rooted in Jewish Experiences and Values
Question: What kind of Jewish learning community do I want to create in my own classroom and how can I build it?

I. Introduction
II. Paley discussion
III. Course information
IV. Mentor teacher interviews
V. Close/preview of next class

I. Introduction
  1. Classroom norms:
    • Being open to different opinions
    • Respect from peers and instructors
II. "You Can't Say You Can't Play " by Vivian Paley
  1. What are some of Paley's beliefs about teaching and learning? Children's learning is inhibited by rejection/exclusion. The earlier they are excluded, the worse off they are. Basically, all kids are scared, and this manifests as being sad or mean. Raymond: example of when a child feels more secure, he feels more open in class. (Domino effect). She spoke very openly in front of the children, trying to find explanations for unhappiness, but in a nonjudgemental way. Social and academic environments are related/intertwined. In Paley's classroom, the social curriculum is not hidden. (Example, "Is this embarrassing you?") Time-out chair: adds to everyone feeling unsafe.
  2. Bringing these issues out: Example: Lisa's explanation of not wanting to be around sad kids because it will making her feel sadder. Paley brought out these issues in a somewhat objective way. Taking something subjective into objective. She sometimes speaks to the children individually, but also speaks in front of everyone. The discussion is not private. She speaks in a nonjudgmental and objective tone, which makes the children reflect on their behavior rather than become defensive. Use of stories allows children to identify with characters in the story, and not become so heated and emotional.
    • page 13-14: example of her teaching moves that lead to an objective discussion of behavior: She says to the kids: I couldn't decide what to do about Clara's unhappiness...
  3. What questions does Paley's approach raise for you? How does she not get caught up in the classroom drama? How does she remain objective? How does this classroom facilitation lead to shaping children's behavior?

Class Notes 9/10

Lester/Short articles
First days
Preview of next week

  1. Norms for this class:
  • Discussion norms:
    • be open to different opinions
    • inquire
    • ask questions when you don't understand
    • peers and teachers hear and respect each other's ideas
    • eye contact
    • respond to ideas: support, challenge, question, make connections
    • make time for everyone to hear and have a voice
    • everyone should have opportunities to articulate and listen
    • be aware of your own air time (should you speak up, or should you hold back?)
    • free-flowing (like milk and honey) discussions (no need to raise hands)
  • Humor
  • Confidentiality
  • Timeliness
  • Communicate clear expectations

Short Article
  • Community through collaboration (create a classroom community through shared learning, where everyone has something to contribute) The slow learner is included better this way
  • Teachers facilitate sharing and responsibility in the classroom
  • About the process of creating a collaborative classroom, not merely the outcome
  • Children are active participants in creating the environment
  • Traditionally individual activities are made into communal activities, such as reading

Lester article
  • Process
    • taking it slowly
    • discover everything
  • safe environment
    • nonjudgmental
    • promote risk-taking
  • focus on the how and why of thinking
    • metacognitive process
    • discomfort and silence is OK
  • Math can involve many strategies
  • the ultimate goal is to enable the students to have fruitful math discussions without her guidance

DeLeT Standards and Elements

A good beginning day school teacher...
Standard 1: Knows children as learners
  • gets to know children as individuals and learners, with diverse intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs
  • refines knowledge of learning and child development through interactions with students
  • uses knowledge of children as learners in planning and teaching
  • maintains open communication and works with families and caregivers to support student learning
  • respects and learns about families' diverse religious practices, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, and family structures
Standard 2: Builds a classroom learning community rooted in Jewish experiences and values
  • infuses Jewish experiences and values into the learning environment
  • creates an emotionally safe culture of learning that promotes intellectual risk-taking
  • encourages democratic processes and habits
  • establishes and maintains clear expectations and consequences for individual and group behavior
  • develops procedures for the smooth operation of the classroom and the efficient use of time
  • arranges the physical environment to support student learning
Standard 7: Develop as a professional Jewish educator
  • exhibits professional judgment and behavior
  • collaborates with colleagues to support and improve student learning
  • demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning as a Jew
  • demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning as an educator

Preview: Child study
  • choose a child how is fairly typical of students that age
  • choose a child you might not think of right away

Class Notes 9/24

Connecting to Standards
Social Skills
Lesson Plan Format

First grade math lesson observation
Teacher: These are big numbers. Can somebody help me?
T: How did we figure out that 100-90=10
S-g: If we count 10 after 90 it'll be 100.
Teacher and students count from 90 to 100.
Student says she knows 10+6=16 because she counted it on her hand.
T: Can you show us?
S-g: 11, 12, 13...
Jason: I counted 2+2+2+2+2+2...
Teacher asks, "How many twos?"
Student: 8
The class counted in twos.
Another student counted the twos in even numbers: "2, 4, 6, 8, 12..."
Teacher: It's OK, you can try again.
Student: "2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12"
Asked the original 2+2 student to explain his thinking.
Teacher: What do you notice about these lines (one is all 2s, one is all 4s)
Another student started at 8 and counted up 8 and landed on 16.
Who has another challenging one for me with lots and lots of different numbers?
8+1+2+1+4. Another student calculates it, in his head and on his fingers, shows the class.
"Show us how you used your fingers for that."

Class Notes 10/8

Checking in with norms: What is the role of the facilitator, whether or not you are actually calling on people?
What does understanding look like?
  • making connections to other situations/scenarios based on ideas/materials
  • students help other students "let me help you"
  • written/visual explanations

Class Notes 10/15

Overarching understandings v. topical understandings
"Specific generalizations"

Anne's lesson plan: do the activities relate to the big idea?

Class Notes 10/22

Observation: a big idea about observation is the separation of description and inference
  • enduring understanding: close description provides the evidence needed for valid inferences and enables the questioning of assumptions
  • essential questions: what is the difference between description and inference? What is close description? Why should I bother separating description and inference

Big idea: A healthy life as a diabetic
Enduring understandings: A diabetic must take great care to balance insulin, carb intake, exercise and stress to maintain healthy blood glucose levels in order to lead a full and healthy life. Insulin production is a basic essential system without which causes many potential health complications.
Essential questions: When the body doesn't produce insulin, what must a person do in order to lead a full, healthy life? What must you know about and change in your lifestyle in order to live as a healthy diabetic? What might be some advantages of having diabetes?

Class Notes 11/5

Checking in: where is everyone at?

WHERETO: backward planning

W Where are we going? Why is it important?
H Hook and hold
E Equipping the students, giving them a chance to explore
R Rethinking, revising
E Evaluate, self-evaluate

T Tailoring (differentiation)
O Organized

Facets of Understanding

S Self-Knowledge
E Explanation
E Empathy
P Perspective
I Interpretation
A Application

Related to the Scientific Method/Sustainability
Explanation: students will be expected to explain the steps of the scientific method
Application: students will learn to use their knowledge to act out the steps of the scientific method through seeing the teacher model it, and working as a group to figure out the steps as related to a specific topic: biodegradable material, ground pollution or fuel efficiency
Perspective: students will be expected to use different perspectives to approach a problem.

Working with the field instructor:
Check in with:
  • Coherence
    • Ideas/understanding/question
    • assessment
    • learning goals
  • Lesson plans
    • facets of understanding
    • informal checks for understanding (p234)

Class Notes 11/12

Laliv's lesson: Learning about stories, story elements--main character, setting,

Class Notes 11/19

Lea's child study: drawing of the first Thanksgiving
  • One side says "Myth" and depicts people sitting at a table, and labels saying 48 Pilgrims adults, 14 Wampanoag children, 20 Pilgrim children, 9 Wampanoag women, 20 Wampanoag men
  • One side says "Historically Accurate" and depicts people sitting at one table, labeled 22 Pilgrim children, 32 Pilgrim adults; and another part of the drawing depicts a separate table with two men, labeled 91 Wampanoag men.

Class Notes 12/3

Choice words: ways to engage students and allow them to take risks and go further
  • Let's see if I've got this right...
  • What have you learned most recently as a reader?
  • What problems did you come across today (during this lesson)?
  • Why would an author do something like that?
  • You managed to figure that out with one another's help. How did you do that?
  • Any questions? Let's start with these.
  • Which part are you sure about? Which part are you not sure about?
  • What are you thinking? Stop and talk with your neighbor about that?
  • How are you planning to go about this?
  • How did you figure that out?
  • Would you agree with that?
  • Are there any other ways to think about that? Any other opinions?
  • Is that an observation or a conjecture?

Watching Jessica's video:
  • Excitement of her voice, movements
  • Using her voice to reign the students back in
  • difference in reinforcement: "That's such an important rule!" versus "Don't be silly" repeating the student's comment
  • again, shushing Hannah

Robyn's video
  • "Thank you for raising your hand"
  • "You're building on what Naomi said"
  • Shhh, lowering voice to reel the kids back in
  • acknowledging everyone's answers
  • "Thank you for changing your body, I want to hear from you know"
  • "I want to say something about that..." the students quieted down to listen
  • Hearing from someone who is sitting appropriately and waiting patiently
  • Student calls out... "I want to share mine!" and Robyn says "I don't want to hear it right now because we are going to read the story"

Adina's video
  • Switch from negative to positive: very difficult
  • How do you get the children off of hitting!

Greg's video
  • What do you notice about this data? (but doesn't give space for students to answer)

Class Notes 12/17

What questions/wonderings do I have about teaching?
Better groupings: There always seem to be issues with putting the students together in groups, how to arrange their seats
How to incorporate their larger family and social lives into differentiated teaching?

Teacher organization/student organization
Integration: How to integrate all the various parts of the curriculum?
How to use student interests in assessments? (Example: drawing, but not not at the expense of being able to demonstrate understandings)