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Teacher Work Sample

Katelyn Cool
Spring 2016

Colorado State University

EDUC 350:
Individualized Instruction & Management

Webber Middle School

Katelyn Cool 2


The School Community:
Webber Middle Schools mission is to support and challenge all students to learn and
grow to their highest potential and they accomplish that by having high expectations in
academics and behaviors ( The
school is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, was opened in 1990, and offers standard based
curriculum for grades six, seven, and eight. They offer Pre-Advanced Placement courses in
English/language arts, math, science, and social studies for seventh and eighth graders, while
sixth graders have the opportunity to explore and discover what subjects they enjoy and excel
in. Other activities that Webber offers to enrich student learning include: drama, theater,
outdoor living, Science Olympiads, the WAVE (Webber Aeronautics Ventures in Education)
program, leadership programs, an award winning music program, and many amazing athletic
programs that have won over fifty district championships since the school opened. They also
just recently became a 1:1 school providing a laptop for every sixth and seventh grade
student and they support annual fieldtrips to foreign countries. They have a total of 795
students and 40.7 full-time teachers, resulting in a 20:1 student to teacher ratio. The school is
predominantly white, but 12% of students are Hispanic, 4% are Asian, and 2% are black;
14% of students are eligible for free lunch, and 5% are eligible for reduced lunch
Parents can get involved by volunteering through their book talk program, tutoring students,
helping in the library, and/or by sponsoring other various events.

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Students and Classroom:

The first thing you notice when you walk into Mr. Poduskas classroom is the
organization he has bookshelves along the majority of the walls and books are numbered
and in numerical order, the desks are positioned in pairs of two and form three perfect rows,
and all of his papers/materials are organized in designated drawers/cubbies. Im not really a
big fan of the rows, but it really seems to work for his class because he usually lets them

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work in pairs sometimes their neighbor, sometimes they can pick.

The class I am teaching in is a sixth-grade geography class, and it is a mix of advanced,

proficient, and less than proficient students. Mr. Poduska loves this aspect of his classroom,

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and believes it is actually an advantage and also relates back to the way his classroom and
seating chart is set up. For the most part he tries to put a less proficient student next to a more
proficient/advanced student so that they can collaborate and receive help from their peers
rather than having all of the advanced kids excelling together and the less proficient kids
struggling together. He also sees it as an advantage because in Geography, they learn a lot of
different languages/third-world countries and maybe some of the lower-level kids might
know more about that and can bring their own experiences into the classroom.
I think lot of the kids in this class are really interested in sports because all of the
times Ive been there, a lot of them are wearing stuff representing their favorite teams, and
Mr. Poduska shames everyone who has anything that has to do with the Patriots (which
seems to be an ongoing joke in the room). As far as demographics go, this class is mostly
white, but there is one Hispanic ELL learner who periodically has another teacher with him
to help him read/translate, and there is one African-American girl. He also has two life-skills
kids with paraprofessionals, and they just kind of come and go and do their own thing, but
both really seem to love coming to this class.

Topic and Rationale:

In his Geography class, Mr. Poduska used a lot of different types of assessments. The
first one I saw was a map quiz, where every country on a map of the Caribbean was
numbered and students would come up and draw a card with four numbers and then name the
corresponding countries on the map- going off of standards based grading, if they got all of
them right they got a four, if they got three they got a three, and so on. The second was also a
map quiz, but it was online and they had 30 minutes to take it as many times as they wanted
and Mr. Poduska would take their highest score. The third assessment students are working

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on right on now is a group presentation on a given country- each student is responsible for x
amount of slides in their group, and they are graded individually based on their quantity and
quality of information and on their presenting skills. These are all mostly summative
assessments, used at the end of a major unit to test how much they learned about different
regions, but Mr. Poduska also gives them smaller, weekly assignments to check for
understanding as they continue on throughout each unit.
In regards to instructional strategies, Mr. Poduska rarely lectures and mostly just
gives all of his students individual work, or group work. He lectures at the beginning of each
new unit, and then he just gives them various practice assignments to prepare them for



The two students I chose to interview interested me because I tried to hit both ends of
the personality spectrum. The first student I chose seemed really shy, quiet, but really bright
and the other was of the opposite gender, a different race, and seemed more outgoing.
The first student, is a white, male, sixth grader. When asked about what he thinks of
school, he responded that its much harder than elementary school, but he likes getting to
change classes and he likes having a locker. However, his overall opinion of school depends
on whos class hes in and the mood of that teacher. He also mentioned this in his opinion of
what makes a good teacher: someone whos usually happy or in a good mood, and someone
whos fair. He is a competitive gymnast, wants to start playing on the Golf team at Webber
this spring, and he plays the saxophone. In three years, he sees himself in high school (not
sure which one) competing in the optional level of gymnastics. When I asked him what

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career areas interest him, he responded that he hopes to be an Olympic gymnast someday.
The most important thing in his life is his family, and if he could change anything in the
world he would make every person healthy and come up with a cure for cancer.
The second student, is a female, Asian and African-American, sixth grader. She
enjoys the freedoms and better lunches that middle school has to offer, but she also thinks
certain classes can be long, boring, or difficult. In her opinion, a good teacher is kind, shows
their students that they care, helps those who dont understand, are stern but not mean, and
are never dull or boring. She is also a competitive gymnast and is involved in the choir. In
three years, she sees herself as an elite gymnast, attending Rocky Mountain High School
while looking into college at the University of Utah, Georgia State, or UCLA, and she one
day hopes to become a lawyer. The most important things in her life are her family, her sport,
God, and her friends. If she could change anything in the world, she would feed the hungry.
Both of these students taught me that even though theres many perks to being in
middle school as opposed to elementary, its still a difficult, confusing time for most people,
and that its important to find things you enjoy or things you care about to help you through
In terms of being a teacher, both of these interviews showed me that students really
do pick up on everything the teacher does. They really pushed that idea of emotional
consistency, and helped me realize that my mood might not only effect their perception of my
class but their perception of school altogether. They also taught me to always be fair, and
make connections with my future students but never play favorites (especially with grades).
They both also gave me the advice to be laid-back, but not too laid-back and strict, but not
too strict expanding on the Warm-Strict technique in Teach Like A Champion.

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This experience helped me realize that interviews are really powerful. You may think
you know a lot about someone, but once you can actually talk with him or her on a one on
one basis you can learn that there is so much more to that student than you ever would have
thought. I think this is beneficial when it comes to grades. For example, maybe one student
fails every test or assignment and you think their just incapable or dont have the knowledge,
but then if you sit down and talk to them maybe you would learn that they just need different
accommodations like extra reading/writing time. Or maybe you have that one kid who is
always goofing off or acting out and you think theyre just an annoying person, but if you can
sit down and interview them, youll find out that they have no real parents/guardians at
home and their only time to have fun and be a kid is at school. This idea also goes back to
parent-teacher conferences; while a lot of parents might not show up, you can learn a lot
about your students from those whose parents do come.



Teacher: Katelyn Cool
Date: April 28, 2016
School: Webber Middle School
Grade Level: 6
Content Area: Geography
Title: Physical and Cultural Geography of Argentina
Lesson #: 1 of 1
Content Standard(s) addressed by this lesson:
directly from the standard)

(Write Content Standards

Sixth Grade Geography Standard 2:

Prepared GraduatesExamine places and regions and the connections among them

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Concepts and Skills Students MasterHuman and physical systems vary and interact

Understandings: (Big Ideas)

1. Places and regions must interact in order to connect
2. Human and Physical systems shape places and regions
1. Regions in Argentina vary based on physical systems
2. Places in Argentina interact through human connections
3. Argentina has changed over time

Inquiry Questions: (Essential questions relating knowledge at end of the unit of instruction,
select applicable questions from standard)
Who decides what a region is?

What interactions occur between humans and the physical environment?

How do regions vary?

Evidence Outcomes: (Learning Targets) AND (Success Criteria)

1. I can...
analyze a map of various physical features
This means

2. I can.
This means

I can explain the physical geography of Argentina

interpret Argentines cultural products and norms

I can explain the cultural geography of Argentina

List of Assessments: (Write the number of the learning target associated with each assessment)
Learning Target #1.

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Learning Target #2.
To encompass both learning targets, students will be completing a worksheet to show that
are obtaining the right information, and then to prove they can synthesize that
information they will be completing either a poster or brochure describing Argentina
through words or pictures, and they will also complete L section of their KWLs,
showing what they have learned for their ticket out the door
Planned Lesson Activities

Name and Purpose of Lesson

Physical and Cultural Geography of Argentina

Should be a creative title for you and the students

to associate with the activity. Think of the purpose
as the mini-rationale for what you are trying to
accomplish through this lesson.

The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about

another country in their South/Central America Unit. I
am covering Argentina, to help students discover
different regions of Argentina like The Pampas, the
Andes Mountains, and Patagonia. They will also be
learning about Argentines cultural practices like
agricultural goods they produce/eat, the languages they
speak, their religion, and economics.

Approx. Time and Materials

Materials: pencil, piece of paper for do now, worksheets (I

distribute), blue People, Places, and Change textbook

How long do you expect the activity to last

and what materials will you need?

Time: Period 2/3 9:18-10:37 (79 minutes)

Approx. time
9:18 Class Begins
Do Now5 minutes
(KWL- Argentina)
Go over do now3 minutes
Explain Reading activity
3 minutes
Have students repeat instructions
1 minute
Have students get textbooks & return to seats 2 minutes
Popcorn reading4-5 minutes
@ 9:37
Reading comprehension worksheet20ish minutes
@ 9:55ish
Explain brochure activity3 minutes
@ 10:00
Work on brochures30 minutes
Closure/explain ticket out the door
1 minute
Clean up and do ticket out the door
remainder of
10:37 Class Ends

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Anticipatory Set
The hook to grab students attention. These are
actions and statements by the teacher to relate the
experiences of the students to the objectives of the
lesson, To put students into a receptive frame of

To focus student attention on the lesson.

To create an organizing framework for the
ideas, principles, or information that is to
follow (advanced organizers)

The KWL do now will get them starting to think

vaguely about Argentina, the purpose of this is to get
them excited and have them actually think about what
learning they would like to accomplish before we do
the reading/comprehension piece.
When introducing the second assignment, I will go
over the instructions in great detail and provide them
with a rubric so they will now how to organize their
ideas, and I hope to spark their interests by giving them
the opportunity to either draw or write.

An anticipatory set is used any time a different

activity or new concept is to be introduced.
1. When students walk in, the Do Now Activity will
be displayed on the board, instructing them to fill
out a KWL chart on Argentina. While they are
(Include a play-by-play account of what students
doing this, I will be walking around checking in
and teacher will do from the minute they arrive to
with students and making sure everyone is on
the minute they leave your classroom. Indicate the
task (Unguided).
length of each segment of the lesson. List actual
2. Once the bell officially rings, I will praise those
who have already started on the do now, and
Indicate whether each is:
remind those who have not to get started
Teacher input
(Guided, Teacher Input). 9:18-9:23


Questioning strategies
o Whole-class practice
o Group practice
o Individual practice
Check for understanding

3. Go over do now answers and have a mini

discussion. The purpose of this is to provide a
brief introduction to Argentina, without me
having to lecture through slides of information
(Guided). 9:23-9:26
4. Explain the reading aloud/worksheet activity
(Teacher Input). 9:26-9:29
5. Ask various students to repeat directions
(Someone tell me what step one is, step two,
step three, etc.). The purpose of this is to make
sure that they truly understand what we are
going to be doing, to help avoid confusion later,
and to prevent having to stop in the middle of the

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activity to communicate the next step (Modeling,
Check for Understanding). 9:29-9:30
6. Have students get up and grab their blue
textbooks sit back down quickly and quietly.
7. Popcorn read chapter 11, section 3 - pages 245248 (Guided, Whole-Class Practice). 9:31-9:37
8. Pass out worksheets.
9. Have students work on worksheet, with those
around them or individually (Guided,
Individual/Group Practice) until 9:55ish.
10. Provide instructions and go through rubric for
brochure/poster activity (Teacher Input,
11. Work time for the rest of class alone, but can
visit with those around them whatever they
dont finish is homework (Guided, Individual
Practice). 10:00-10:30
12. Closure- have them clean up, put books away,
straighten desks, complete ticket out the door
and turn in before leaving (Guided, Individual
Practice, Check for Understanding). 10:3010:37

Those actions or statements by a teacher that are
designed to bring a lesson presentation to an
appropriate conclusion. Used to help students
bring things together in their own minds, to make
sense out of what has just been taught. Any
Questions? No. OK, lets move on is not closure.

To close, I will have the students do a ticket out the

door and I will have them complete the do now
and fill in last column of the KWL, which is what
they have learned about Argentina. The purpose of
this is to bring the lesson full circle, so that they can
see where they started and where they ended up, and
so I can assess whether they obtained the new
knowledge I wanted them to.

Closure is used:
To cue students to the fact that they have arrived

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Katelyn Cool 13
at an important point in the lesson or the end of a
To help organize student learning
To help form a coherent picture and to
How do you intend to engage your students in
thinking during CLOSURE?

The strategy I intend to use is ticket out the door

Why are you using it at this point in your lesson?

I am using this strategy here because it will bring the

whole lesson full circle, causing them to
synthesize/simplify everything they learned into a
couple of sentences or bullet points, and it will allow
to me to gauge who got the information and who
didnt before they leave, which would help me know
whether or not to move on the next time they are in
my classroom.


To Modify: I will pre-determine students groups, so

that maybe less-advanced students will be with more
advanced students that can help them with the
reading portion, or I will provide these students with
the same amount of questions on their worksheet, but
make them easier (like maybe they only have to give
short answers rather than full, complete sentences, or
maybe they have multiple choice instead).

Differentiation should be embedded

throughout your whole lesson!!
This is to make sure you have met the needs of
your students on IEPS or 504
To modify: If the activity is too advanced for a
child, how will you modify it so that they can be
To extend: If the activity is too easy for a child,
how will you extend it to develop their emerging

How will you know if students met the learning

To Extend: If the more advanced students are

finishing before everyone else, I can provide them
with additional, more in depth readings about
Argentina, or have them work with more difficult,
ambiguous worksheet questions, and having them
help those in their group who are struggling.
In order to Assess my students, they will have to
complete an assignment to show that they know
factual information about the Pampas, Andes, and
Patagonia and understand different elements of

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Katelyn Cool 14
Write a description of what you were looking for
in each assessment.

Argentinas culture. In order to do so, they will be

completing an Argentina poster using drawings to
represent at least one thing from each category we
read about (history, people/culture, Argentina today,
Geography), or a brochure if they prefer to write out
the information.
In the reading comprehension worksheet, I am mostly
looking for completion, and that they have the correct
information written down- It doesnt matter if they
choose to write complete sentences, or bullet points.
In the second assignment, there are two options.
If they choose to do a poster, I am looking for at least
one drawing to represent the history, one drawing to
represent the culture, one drawing to represent the
geography/landforms, and one drawing to represent
what things are currently like in Argentina.
If they choose to do a brochure, I am looking for
something that looks, clean/neat, with the correct
information describing Argentinas history,
people/culture, Geography, and what life is like in
Argentina today. Must have complete sentences/short



What Went Well and What Didnt:
Leading up to my lesson, I wasnt too nervous to teach because Mr.
Poduska had already let me get in front of the class a lot during the
semester. The only thing I was nervous about was the fact that I was

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teaching on a black day, which meant I had the class with a lot more
behavioral issues. It went a lot better than I was expecting- everything
went smoothly, I was able to accomplish pretty much everything in my
plans, and it seemed like the students really enjoyed the activities I
provided. The only downfall was the three troublemakers; they kind of
slowed us down, and made me less confident, and distracted some of the
other students as well.

What I Would do Differently:

If I were to teach this lesson again, one thing I would change would
be to not be afraid to go outside of the box. I just had them sitting at their
desks, popcorn reading before we did the activities I planned for them,
but I think it would be cool to maybe get them up and moving and maybe
incorporate like a gallery walk layout like Stephanie did, or maybe doing
something fun/engaging with the smart board. The only reason I didnt do
this from the get-go is because I doubted my classroom management, but
after seeing how well this lesson went, I would be confident about doing
something like that if I could redo it.

Strengths and Weaknesses I Learned About Myself as an Educator:

The main thing I learned about myself is that my biggest weakness
as an educator is that self-doubt and/or a lack of confidence in my ability I
was discussing before. Those students in that classroom knew me as one

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of their teachers, and there were expectations in place for them to respect
me. Still, I was worried that they would walk all over me, and it was for no
reason because they treated me just as they would Mr. Poduska or any of
their other teachers. I think this is common in most student teachers and I
think it will definitely fade with more time and practice, so this is a big
element I will work on to improve my next field experience next semester.
Another thing I learned about myself is that its really hard for me to force
things that arent real. I had a bunch of strategies/phrases from Teach Like
a Champion I was going to do/say, but in the actual classroom I couldnt
because they seemed really scripted and they just werent me, but Im
proud that I was able to recognize that and put my own twist on things
and stay true to myself. So with that I would say my biggest strength as
an educator is the fact that I try to stay genuine and let my personality
shine through.

Classroom Management:
In terms of classroom management, I think I did okay. Towards the
beginning of my formal lesson, I did a good job of calling off-task kids out
and getting them back on track and keeping a close eye on them, but
towards the end, those same kids were really messing around and
distracting other students, but I didnt really want to step in because I was
kind of intimidated and I kind of just gave up- which I realize is really bad,
so that would definitely be one thing I will work to improve for my
experience in 450; I need to set my expectations from the get-go like I
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did, but I also need to follow through with them and hold my ground no
matter how hard students try to test the limits.



Chapter 2: Acting on the Data and the Culture of Error
Plan for Error
Culture of error

Excavate Error

Own and Track

Mr. Poduska plans for error by anticipating incorrect answers his

students might get, and then brainstorms ways to guide them towards
the right answer
I see this a lot in Mr. Poduskas class because whenever he is
introducing a new lesson/unit/project, he can almost always tell us
when/why certain errors will occur- in his classroom error is expected
and its okay
Mr. Poduska doesnt really do this. He handles errors well and is good
at getting students back on the right track, but he could improve by
digging deeper and really examining the rots of errors
Mr. Poduska does this a lot by letting students grade each others
quizzes, revise each others papers, or critique each others

I think Plan for Error/Culture of Error together really help set high expectations because Mr. Poduska is always
prepared on how to help students when they come across errors- which helps students realize that errors are normal,
that theyre expected, and that theyre an important/valuable piece un the learning process when they overcome them

Chapter 3: Setting and Maintaining High Expectations

No Opt Out
Right is Right

Ive seen this in action when one student, no matter what, was like I
dont know/I cant find the answer so finally Mr. Poduska asked the
whole class if they could tell him where to find the answer
Mr. Poduska does this when someone answers correctly- he always
begs the question and asks for further examination

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Stretch It

Format Matters
Without Apology


Mr. Poduska does this with certain students and plays the devils
advocate like how do you know? or why did you do it this way and
not that way?
Mr. Poduska Doesnt Really do this, but he always goes over answers
with his students out loud, so he could definitely implement this to set
high expectations for answering questions out loud
Whenever his students complain about an assignment, Mr. Poduska
never apologizes and rather lets them know why its
important/valuable for them and how it will help them in the future

I think the Right is Right technique maintains high expectations in Mr. Poduskas class because it lets students know
that he expects so much more than just surface level answers and he wants to know the how/why. Without Apology
also helps maintain high expectations because it shows the students that every assignment he gives has a reason
behind it, and that cant cop-out just because something is difficult/boring/etc.

Chapter 4: Planning for Success

Begin with the End
4 Ms

Post It

Double Plan

I havent seen this technique like actively in action, but Mr. Poduska
always gives Stephanie and I advice on how he does this and why its
a good skill and why its beneficial.
Mr. Poduskas objectives are pretty good, be really only embody 2 of
the 4 Ms. He could work on the measurable factor by
implementing a routine of doing exit tickets, and he could work on the
made first aspect by introducing objectives first before activities.
Mr. Poduska does post his lesson objectives, but he could work on
doing more consistently by making sure its the right one that
corresponds to the current lesson/unit
Mr. Poduska is really good at doing this- He always knows whose
supposed to be doing what all the time, and he always has a back-up

I think Begin with the End definitely helps Mr. Poduskas teaching because he always knows why
hes doing what hes doing and can tell you exactly how each lesson/activity helps his students

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reach the end goal. Double Plan also helps because he always knows what each student should be
doing and always has a back-up plan if students get done early, or if the lesson just fails altogether.

Chapter 10: Systems and Routines

Strong Start

Engineering Efficiency
Strategic Investment

Do It Again

Mr. Poduska does this every once in a while by occasionally checking

in with his students, but he could improve by doing it more
Mr. Poduska doesnt really use do nows, but based on whatever
their class is working on, they always come in and know what to do
and what materials to grab to start class
Again, Mr. Poduska doesnt have specific behaviors/expectations but
his students naturally have one based on the class culture and Mr.
Poduskas high expectations for respect
This technique is definitely present, every procedure (whether its
getting textbooks or turning something in) goes smoothly, and its
always the same- taking less time for instruction/explanation
This one kind of goes back to engineering efficiency because Mr.
Poduska took the time for strategic investment to create that efficiency
For do it again, Ive seen Mr. Poduska do this with the online
geography quizzes students take- they start at a given level, and then
they can move up levels whenever they succeed

One thing I like about STAR/SLANT is that it provides clear instructions/expectations on how you want your
students to behave at all times, but I also dislike it because it can seem really robotic and maybe remedial to some
students who already know how they should act. Something I like about Engineering Efficiency is the fact that it
helps the class move smoothly/quickly because students know exactly what to do/how to do it. The only downfall I
can think of is that no matter what, there will always be a few stragglers.

Chapter 12: Building Character and Trust

Positive Framing

Mr. Poduska does this by motivating his students and by presenting

everything positively and he always gives them constructive criticism

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Precise Praise

Emotional Constancy

Joy Factor


Mr. Poduska does this by always praising students for exceeding
expectations, and not just for simply meeting them. But hes also
really good at making this different for each student- one might get
praise for doing exceptional work, while one might receive praise for
coming to class with appropriate materials
Mr. Poduska always models this technique by being positive,
enthusiastic, and caring, but hes also very clear, consistent, and firm
in his rules/expectations
Ive seen Mr. Poduska remain emotionally constant when dealing with
disrespectful students who insult or undermine him
Mr. Poduska could incorporate this a little more by including more
fun/games and/or suspense and surprise, but he definitely includes
humor and the us vs. them aspect.

In regards to Emotional Constancy, one student was just making a lot of rude remarks to Mr. Poduska throughout the
whole class, just trying to get a reaction out of him, but after Mr. Poduska remained emotionally constant for a
while, the student just eventually gave up and got back to work.

Colorado State University College of Health and Human Sciences