Classroom Teaching and Reflections

Rationale

As I state in my educational philosophy, two areas that influence my teaching objectives and self  reflection are (a)  how I measure my effectiveness and (b) contemplating what I teach and how I teach it.  The pedagogical tools that I use to address the latter two questions are  the Four Domains of Teaching and the Four Pillars of Instruction, namely curriculum, assessment, instruction, and management (1). I employ these tools  for lesson planning, preparation, and implementation.  This section contains evidence of my classroom implementation of these practices during my tenure as a student teacher of tenth grade introductory biology at Pennsbury High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Evaluator Classroom Observations and Feedback

During my student teaching, I was observed on four separate occassions by a Drexel University Supervisor who provided me with an abundance of valuable feedback, advice, and encouragement.  Please click  MBerger_Final_Evaluation which is the  university supervisor’s final evaluation which was submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  I was evaluated in the Four Domains of Teaching Responsibility in accordance with InTASC_Standards.  The evaluation discusses  how I progressed over the student teaching experience.

Evidence of Teaching

The Teaching Artifacts page includes links to  standards based lesson plans, instructional materials, student worksheets, assessments, and examples of student work.

To provide some context for the teaching artifacts, the following is a description of the biology course that I taught along with an overview of the Pennsbury School District’s educational mission and curriculum goals as well as a summary of the state academic standards in science upon which the example lessons are based:

Pennsbury High School Course:  BIOLOGY I [Grade 10]

Course Description from the Pennsbury High School Program of Studies:

The Parallel Biology program includes topics such as the diversity and chemistry of life, the molecules of cells, the functional cell, digestion, and inheritance.  Emphasis is placed on laboratory techniques and the use of the scientific methods of investigation.  In Honors Biology the topics include diversity of life, the chemical basis of organisms, energy relationships within a cell, cellular processes, and the principles of inheritance.  Conceptual understanding and application of concepts is achieved through laboratory investigations using the scientific method.

Overview of the Pennsbury School District’s Curriculum Standards

In the Pennsbury School District, in all academic areas, the bar is set high for students to integrate their studies, to be life-long learners in the 21st Century and to become:

  • Critical thinkers
  • Effective communicators
  • Efficient problem solvers
  • Reflective researchers
  • Proficient users of technology
  • Global citizens
  • Active participants
  • Cooperative team members

Science Curriculum:  Students develop will develop expertise through the following academic standards in science and technology:

  • Understand fundamental concepts and principles of Life, Physical, and Earth Sciences
  • Utilize the scientific method to investigate familiar and unfamiliar phenomena
  • Engage in hands-on, inquiry-based science exploration
  • Apply scientific principles to enhance the environment
  • Apply science and technology to personal life
  • Recognize career opportunities and requirements in science-related occupations

Pennsylvania Department of Education Biology Academic Standards:  “The Big Ideas”

  • Organisms share common characteristics of life.
  • New cells arise from the division of pre-existing cells.
  • Hereditary information in genes is inherited and expressed.
  • Evolution is the result of many random processes selecting for the survival and reproduction of a population.
  • Life emerges due to the chemical organization of matter into cells.
  • Cells have organized structures and systems necessary to support chemical reactions needed to maintain the living condition.
  • Structure is related to function at all biological levels of organization.
  • Through a variety of mechanisms organisms seek to maintain a biological balance between their internal and external environments.
  • Eukaryotic cells can differentiate and organize making it possible for multicellularity.
  • Organisms obtain and use energy to carry out their life processes.
  • Organisms on Earth interact and depend in a variety of ways on other living and nonliving things in their environments.
  • DNA segments contain information for the production of proteins necessary for growth and function of cells.

1. Grande, Peter.  (2010). The Four Pillars of Differentiated Instruction:  Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction, & Management.  Pennsylvania Staff Development Council (PSCD) News, 2 (1), 2.

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