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Running Head: Assignment 1B 1

Assignment 1B


James Lacayo

TED 633: Content Area Instructional Assessment

Robert Pacilio

National University

September 4, 2016
Assignment 1B 2

One of the best ways to not only understand different teaching strategies but also be able

to see how those strategies are used in a lesson is by reading a lesson or unit plan. This gives

someone the chance to see how these teaching strategies can be used with content. I will go over

three strategies that I felt stuck out the most in a unit breakdown. These strategies include

journals, discussions, and reading. Let's first begin with journals.

Strategy 1: Journals

One of the first strategies that I noticed that was used in the unit breakdown was the use

of the journal. There are a few different times that a journal is mentioned throughout the

breakdown and it is also used for different purposes, for example pre-assessment and also for

normal class note taking. In the unit breakdown a journal exercise was used to introduce

concepts and ideas from the lesson to the class. This is great because it gives student's brain a

chance to warm up and also get them to think in line with the lesson.

The use of journals is nothing new to the classroom however the way in which journals

are used can be seen as being a little different. An interactive journal is an example of just this

idea. Rutherford notes, "the uses of the interactive notebook extend to all areas of study and to

all ages because the structure and potential contents capture the essence of the active

participation, multiple intelligences and the variables of the brain-compatible classroom" (2012,

p. 43). Interactive journals are not simply students taking notes or writing. These kinds of

journals get students thinking about the content, asking themselves questions while they write,

and writing in creative ways. As can be seen from the quote these kinds of journals can be great

for students across the intelligence spectrum and also, although not mentioned, for English

language learners. English language learners using journals have a chance to not only write in

English but also think and speak, because many journal exercises are accompanied by
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discussions. This leads into the next strategy that I took note of being used and that is the use of


Strategy 2: Discussions

The next strategy that I found that was used throughout the unit breakdown was the use

of discussions. In social science/history the use of discussions is an essential element. It gives

teachers the chance to interact with students and students to interact with each other. There are

many different learning needs that this strategy addresses. For example it is a great tool for

teachers to assess content knowledge whether that is pre-assessment or the ongoing formative

assessment. Another example it gives students the chance to illustrate their knowledge of

content material and also a chance to clarify any questions or uncertainties that they may have. It

also gives students a chance to hear what their classmates have to say on a given topic which can

help them understand content in a way that a teacher might not be able to. There are many

different forms a class discussion can take. Examples can include class, group (large or small),

and etc. "What we call classroom discussions," Rutherford states, "are often not discussions at

all. They are really recitations during which teachers do most of the talking calling on or giving

permission to talk to certain students asking low level questions and tending to limit length of

answers so that more students can participate" (2012, p. 29). These kinds of old school

discussions limit the students in their participation and don't give them the opportunity to engage

in the content material. Discussions that incorporate students such as debates allow students to

take control and really have a chance to be active in their learning. One of the most important

aspects of a class discussion is that, "most of the talking is done by students rather than by the

teacher" (Rutherford 2012, p. 29). This is, although not mentioned in the unit breakdown, an
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excellent tool for English language learners because it gives them a chance to hear opinions and

answers from classmates as well as the opportunity to practice language.

Strategy 3: Reading

The last strategy that I want to note, that was used in the lesson breakdown, is the use of

reading. In social science/history reading is one of if not the most important tool a teacher and

student can use. Reading gives students the opportunity to go in depth with content material that

the teacher does not have time to or simply can't provide. But the idea of reading has changed.

It is no longer a feasible strategy to place a book in front of a student and say read these chapters

and answer these questions. There are many different reading strategies that can be utilized so

that reading can not only be academically rewarding but also fun for the students. One of those

strategies is called Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR). CSR is the idea that students read in

groups, members of these groups have a specific job to do while reading and in the end all of the

members bring their knowledge to the collective group (Rutherford 2012, p. 17). This kind of

reading strategy makes students interact with reading in a way that a student would not if reading

was a solo activity. The unit breakdown does not mention the idea of CSR however it does link

reading to group discussion activities which might be a way to connect reading to group activity

and a way for students to interact with the reading. The main idea is that students are continually

active with the content material and allows the optimal chance for learning to occur. This kind

of reading strategy is also perfect for ELL students because it gives them a chance to read

content material and interact with fellow students.


Teaching strategies such as the use of journals, discussions, and reading are great for any

subject and especially for social science/history. If these strategies are used in the optimal way
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students will not only be actively engaged with content material, which will provide the best

chance for them to learn the material, but it will also make the class more enjoyable. These are

only a few examples but they are ones that I know that I will use in my future class.
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Rutherford, Paula. (2012). Active Learning and Engagement Strategies Alexandria, VA.: Just
Ask Publications and Professional Development.

Vehawn, James. Assignment 2A and 2B. Found: