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Grand Rounds #2

Classroom Attended: John Knights ESS course.


What strategies were used that you would like to incorporate into your instructional practice?
a. I viewed this course during an exam and formative-activity day, which was enlightening to say
the least. Viewing Johns test gave me several different ideas, the least of which is redundant
testing. Even though it should be obvious, it had never personally occurred to me the necessity
to test standards and concepts multiple times in different ways. His students in particular were
studying Seismology. While some questions were definition based, his later, analysis based
questions could not be solved without identical knowledge. In this fashion, he could test varying
levels of understanding the same concept.

2. How was instruction differentiated to meet the needs of the learner?

a. One topic John and I discussed in specific included the needs of his ELL student. Where most
students finished the exam in 50 minutes, this student required the entire 80 minute block.
Without asking, I would not have known this student was ELL, and John stressed that the extra
time required was an acceptable sacrifice for measuring student learning. Since literacy is not
the target of this test, it is inequitable to punish this new student whilst learning English.
Additionally, students on the exam were asked to express answers both written and graphically.
This gets at diverse-learner types, as mentioned in question 1, by addressing varying levels of
learning via different methods of communication. Graphs and drawings were incorporated
alongside written answers.
3. What does the teacher do to establish and maintain relationship with students?
a. John maintains an enviable level of consistency in his classroom. Be his voice volume, his
treatment of students, or other factors, John is easily recognized as a reliable individual. This
leads to a certain student cohesion, as no particular student can feel favored or neglected,
except by personal actions. John maintains a distance that I appreciate, as compared to Nathan
Savig and Justin Coehn, but that is a personal preference rather than a professional criticism
towards the latter.
4. How does this program fit into the overall educational experience at PHS?
a. ESS is required learning for all students at PHS. It is a sophomore level course. It is definitely
meant to bridge the gap between higher level science and lower level mathematics, preparing
students for Chemistry and Physics. Students have opportunities to perform labs, develop
projects, in addition to traditional lecture-based instruction.
5. How does this program benefit its students?
a. ESS is an important bridge between middle school and high school learning. Students are slowly
being transitioned from wholly-teacher-controlled environments to a classroom that embraces
and encourages the scientific method as a matter of learning. It addresses key points of

scientific literacy for functioning in society at large, while supporting co-curricular endeavors of
literacy and numeracy.
6. Any other notes/comments/or questions you have about this Grand Round?
a. Simply that it was a pleasure to watch even for an exam day, I took much out of it!