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Textbox 1.1.

1: Community, District, School Contextual Factors That Influence Instruction *Refer to artifact 1 a) While there are many community factors that could have an affect on student learning, socioeconomic status, in my opinion, would have the greatest impact. According to census data, around 21% of families in the city of Greenwood are below the poverty levels. Such a statistic shows that many students will be at a disadvantage before ever arriving at school. Many, but not all, poverty stricken homes often have students that lack food or sleep, and may also lead to students growing up without rules like they may see in the classroom. So, an instructional strategy that can be utilized to help these students would be one in which students are allowed to voice their opinion on what the rules of the classroom should be. In many cases, students who live in poverty do not get a say in what is expected of them, but are still expected to follow rules that they may have never had to follow. Overall, this strategy gives the classroom a set of rules, allows students to voice their opinions on said rules, and gives students the responsibility to follow the rules they have established and, if necessary, students can be quizzed on the rules. b) Looking at the district factors, there is a high probability of getting a student that requires an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and, therefore, will most likely have the greatest impact on student learning. Overall, in the district, there are 9031 students and 12.7% have an IEP. This means that around 1150 students have one. Such a large population of students cannot be ignored and will require various strategies to be used to help assist these students in the classroom. One strategy that can be used to help IEP students is one called Adjusted Speech. This strategy has the teacher change speech patterns to help students comprehend the content. The strategy includes having the teacher paraphrase, indicating the most important topics, and limiting the amount of off topic conversations. Using this strategy, students are only exposed to the content they need to know which will also help if students need to ask questions because there will be a finite amount of content they can ask about.

c) After reviewing the school factors, it seems apparent that the area that will have the greatest impact on student learning is that of the teacher to student ratio which is at 1:21. This means that for every 1 teacher in a classroom there will be, on average, 21 students in the classroom. Such a ratio almost ensures that one-on-one interactions between the students and teacher will be few. Then one must also consider that these averages do not tell the whole story. Some of these teachers will be involved solely with special needs students and may have significantly less than 21 students in their classroom. This means that, often times, there are classrooms in which the teacher is responsible for over 30 students. Regardless, for the teacher, this means an effective instructional strategy is necessary. One such strategy is that uses Cooperative Learning. This allows students to work together to complete a task. This would allow the teacher to present students the required information and attend to smaller groups of students instead of the entire class at one time. Textbox 1.1.2: Classroom Demographics and Knowledge of Students *Refer to artifact 1 a) The demographics of the classroom often play a great impact in the classroom. In this case, I believe that the various ethnicities will play such a role. Although there is only three, and two are much larger than the other, the students from each group will, most likely, share some of the same ideas, but also differ in regards to other areas. It is important for students to hear about the perspectives from others, especially their peers. One strategy that would allow students to hear these opinions would be by utilizing the think, pair, share method. This method allows students to get in pairs to discuss a question or topic and give one another an opinion on said topic. By using this strategy, students hear from others and the strategy can be altered to fit the needs of the classroom. An example of this would be to turn the pairs of students into larger groups, or by having the students change pairs after a certain amount of time. Overall, this strategy will allow the teacher to ask a greater

amount of opinionated questions and offers the students a chance to voice their opinions. b) Considering the knowledge of the students in my classroom, I feel that the variety of student learning styles will prove to have the greatest effect in the classroom. It is often hard to appease all students in a classroom in regards to anything, and that is especially true when it comes to how a student learns. In many situations, it is nearly impossible to cater to the learning styles of every student, but it possible to address many of these styles without taking away the overall method. By utilizing direct instruction throughout the day, it would be possible to cover multiple learning styles. This method calls for focusing on one type of style, such as those that learn visually, to help the students who learn in this manner. However, it can be altered from this state to include a variety of learning styles so that more styles can be covered in a shorter amount of time. One such example of this would be by utilizing a PowerPoint presentation that focuses on the important topics while also using pictures, videos, and printable prior to the lesson. Textbox 1.2.1: Available Resources to Enhance Student Learning a) There are many ways in which to support learning in the classroom. Two resources I would use to help this process would be the Greenwood Museum and by utilizing the ability to have a classroom set of textbooks. In Psychology, it is important to understand how people develop and studying history is a great way to get students to see how their own lives may have been affected by their personal history. Textbooks are also an important factor in regards to learning. By having a class set, students will not have to worry about forgetting their textbook, this allows them to focus on other things, such as making sure they bring their materials or studying. The use of the Greenwood Museum allows the students to have a brief glimpse into history and how history impacted our country and continues to do so. Using a reflection exercise, students would then attempt to piece together how their past has and continues to affect them. This exercise would put students into the shoes of a

psychologist, or someone who studies how someones surroundings can affect them over time. Having a set of classroom set of textbooks allows students to complete any in class assignment that may be given without them having the ability to say they do not have a textbook, but it also allows them to be worry free about one additional school item. Preventing added stress for students is important. At times, students needing to remember about something, like a textbook, can overwhelm them because of all the other things they must keep up with at any given time. These things may include other tests, quizzes, textbooks, assignments, or a wide litany of other things. b) All students have had prior learning experiences. Sometimes these experiences are negative or demoralizing. The school has a way to work with such students and their families. One way they do this is by having a Student Support Facilitator. This job entails having a student, and possibly the students family, work with the facilitator to attempt to help the student by addressing any issues that may have come about during the students school experience. These things may include unengaged students, students that have issues with authority, or a multitude of other issues that may have arisen. Textbox 1.2.2: Student Interest Inventory a) Based on information gathered from the students interest inventories, an instructional choice I would make would be to give my students confidence in regards to the work that they do and how they participate in class. Confidence is often a deciding factor when it comes to success and the same can be said of school related tasks. If a student has self confidence, then they are more likely to believe that they can accomplish what a teacher asks of them, especially if the teacher is willing to engage the students and allow them to be comfortable talking in a one-on-one situation, or in front of a class. Also, by having higher self-esteem, students may begin to feel the desire to do better in class and participate. By having myself congratulate students, boost their egos, and simply talk to them, it may push them to want success.

b) One item from the student interest inventory I would use to help students learn and promote their engagement would be to focus on the improving problem solving and critical thinking skills. Both allow students to come up with an idea on how they perceive various topics. One such way this can be used in a classroom would be by having an open discussion regarding an open ended question so that a variety of perspectives are given. Students may also gather into groups to do a similar type of exercise. This allows students to speak openly on topic and engage with myself or other students while also learning how to answer questions or about facts related to classroom material. Textbox 1.2.3: Communicating with Students and Families a) For my method of communication, I chose to use an introduction letter to the parents of my students. Using this letter, I let the parents know some information about myself, why I was in their childs class and how they could contact me if they had any questions. This method of communication addresses the demographic differences in the classroom by ensuring the students that, if needed, the letter could be provided to them in Spanish. By having the letter in Spanish letter, I reached out to the parents to let them know that I am capable of communication with them, about their child, and that I only want what is best for them. Also by doing so, the letter includes information that the parents may want to know about the new teacher in their childs life. If they do not have this information, they may not feel comfortable letting their child be around me. I did my best to dispel any uneasiness that may be felt by the parents in this situation. This was done by informing the parents that the students original teacher would still have an influence in the classroom should problems arise. b) As a way for parents to contact me about their students, I placed my email address at the end of the letter. This ensures that the parent is able to contact me about their student, if necessary. However, because the student will also have access to the email address, they will have the same opportunities so that they may ask about missing assignments, notes, quizzes, or tests. Due to emails being sent to my phone and can be

checked at any point during the day, this allows me to reply to parents or students almost instantaneously, ensuring that any questions, comments, or concerns can be addressed quickly and efficiently. Textbox 1.2.4: Rules and Procedures a) In the classroom, establishing rules is extremely important. Rules can set the tone for how the year will pan out. So, it is important to establish a set of rules that the students can agree with and understand. For this class, one rule is to be prepared to learn during class. This means that students should come to class with any note taking material that they feel is necessary, such as paper and a writing utensil. Students should also be prepared to ask questions or answer questions. This rule was established to help students learn by making them be responsible for parts of their own learning. Note taking is important and many students often, intentionally or unintentionally, lose or forget the items they need for notes. By not having these materials, students hinder themselves and, at times, other students because they have to ask a peer or teacher for a pencil. b) One rule that the school uses to lessen cell phone use by students in the classrooms is to allow them to use their cell phones at various times during the day, such as at lunch, instead of an outright ban. Since the implementation of this rule, students are not as likely to use their cell phones during class time which means that they are more likely to pay attention in class, take notes, do their work, etc. It makes the classroom environment that much easier to work in and, altogether, much better for the students. It has showed them that there is a time and place to use technology and the classroom is not one of those places. c) An important rule of the classroom that impacts the learning environment is that all students must raise their hand prior to asking a question, talking, or to use the bathroom. Having this rule in place allows the current speaker, whether it is another student or a teacher, to have control of the class. It is important that those in the class listen to the speaker because an important question may be asked or test related

content is discussed. Overall, it keeps the unnecessary sound in the classroom to a minimum so that all students may hear and learn the required content. A quiet environment is much more likely to allow learning, when lecturing or answering questions, than one that is full of noise.