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Diana Miculescu

EDCI 7660

19 October 2018

Instructional Practice Video Reflection

This lesson consists of an introductory activity in which students are involved in the

scientific practices of developing models for each phase of mitosis. Students have previously

learned mitosis in middle school but have not received formal instruction in their current course.

This activity allows students to hypothesize graphical representations of mitosis before they see a

real representation. Through developing models, students become more scientifically proficient,

and students who are “more scientifically proficient will have greater control over the choices

they make about their lives” (Settlage et al., 2018, p. 11). The creation of student models allows

students to compare their model interpretation what occurs in each phase allowing for revision of

their models, so they may “gain more ownership of the ideas” depicted in the models (Schwarz,

Passmore & Reiser, 2016, p. 118). After the modeling activity of the lesson, students are

instructed formally on the process of mitosis including real representations, vocabulary, and why

mitosis takes place. This order is especially effective in facilitating student learning since

students can add to the discussion and answer questions during formal instruction because they

will be exposed to the content during the modeling activity. Usually, during formal note-taking,

students are not as mentally engaged as they would be in an activity that requires the creation of

a product (Ormrod, 2016). So, the chronology of this lesson’s activities is extremely important in

creating a learning environment that increases student engagement during formal note-taking.

Students response to this type of modeling activity was positive since they understood instruction

for the modeling activity clearly. Student understanding of instruction or goal of the task directly
influences student achievement of the task. Student perception of their abilities, known as self-

efficacy, is high among gifted and talented students, influencing their behavior in carrying out

the modeling task (Ormrod, 2016). Students also perceived this modeling activity as a low-risk

activity, meaning students are aware that they would not be penalized for the accuracy of their

models since it was an introductory lesson. The aspects of the modeling activity in conjunction

with the students’ perceptions of their abilities to complete the task supported their achievement

in developing a model for the process of mitosis.

Students were encouraged to communicate and collaborate with other students in their

table groups during the modeling activity, allowing students to explore, explain, and discuss to

construct meaning of the content (Ormrod, 2016). This provided students with opportunities to

engage with others in empathetic, respectful, and understanding ways. It is interesting to note

that while students were verbally exchanging ideas, understanding of content, and physically

showing their models to peers, each student had different representations in their product,

demonstrating that students were not just copying models from their peers, but they were

actually trying to make sense of their personal understanding in their own model. This is an

aspect of gifted and talented students as they are independent in their work and study and have

highly idiosyncratic interpretations of events (Colarusso & O’Rourke, 2017). This group of

students does not have a difficulty of working in groups or with others, but when it comes to

producing a product, these students are extremely prideful in their individual work.

I diagnostically assessed my students before instruction to inform me of the students’

prior knowledge about the process of mitosis and well as the role of mitosis in cellular growth

and division. Their communication during class discussion of their previous knowledge informed

me that the students knew that more cells must be produced to replace the damaged or old cells.
This assessment also informed me that my students recalled another process, meiosis, but could

not recall the difference between the meiosis and mitosis. Since this is an introductory lesson, I

was not expecting students to have a lot of prior knowledge, but their discussion demonstrated

that they had an idea about the process of mitosis. During this discussion, the students who

responded aloud were respectful in their communication to me and their classmates, evidence of

empathetic, respectful, understanding, and connection between diverse students (Southern

Poverty Law Center, 2018).

The video begins during the modeling activity and runs through the beginning part of the

PowerPoint presentation. I am instructing an individual student the background of the frame, but

usually if one student calls me over, the other students present in the group are usually listening

to my instruction as well. As I am instructing the student in the back, I refer to specific parts of

the student’s model as “this” to avoid using vocabulary that has not been formally taught to the

classroom. I point to what the student has drawn in multiple phases to describe that certain

structures used have turned into a different state, as indicated by the graphical depictions for each

vocabulary used in the phase descriptions. During this time, students at the forefront of the frame

can be seen engaged in the modeling activity. At 0:10, one student points to a peer’s model to

which the student responds in changing her model. After she has completed the model for that

phase, she moves on to the next phase and asks a question, “What is a centromere?” After the

students at her table are unable to answer her question, she turns around to the students behind

her. You can hear the student stating, “I remember it looking like this,” demonstrating that she is

pulling prior information to makes sense of this new activity. These interactions are evidence of

student collaboration during the modeling activity, which supports their learning and

achievement in learning objectives. During this peer interaction, the students were respectful to
one another in their communication with their table groups, evidence of empathetic, respectful,

understanding, and connection between diverse students (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2018).

During the modeling activity, I used formative assessment to inform me about multiple

aspects of the activity and content. My verbal and written instruction for the modeling activity

was clear, giving the students adequate information needed to successfully complete the

assignment. Whenever the students had a question regarding the modeling activity, it was

because the written phase explanation was too descriptive which caused confusion regarding

what is happening during each phase. With this feedback from my students, the descriptions of

each phase could be simplified in the future. The number of questions from my students

regarding this aspect of the activity was manageable in a class of thirty-five students, and teacher

to student discussion was productive and beneficial for student learning. For a class of gifted and

talented students, the level of difficulty of descriptions was beneficial and challenged the

students to make sense of each phase and vocabulary word, but for a class of lower reading

levels, the descriptions of each phase could be simplified to support student success.

As I try to close the modeling activity to continue to the PowerPoint, I hear the student

responding that three minutes would not be enough time for her to complete the activity, so I

offered my help. Quickly assessing the students’ work, I noticed each student to have drawn

certain structures in different locations, so to assist each student individually, I explained where

the middle plate would be located relative to the centrioles. I noticed certain students desired a

deeper understanding during activities, so by providing deeper explanations to them, as seen in

my small group instruction from 1:43 to 4:13, I challenged my students to demonstrate learning

beyond their current performance level. To assess if students are not only completing the

modeling activity but making specific connections between structures and movement of
structures, I challenged my students by asking if they know where the spindle fibers are

originating from at 4:36. Students responded with several different organelles they have

previously learned in another unit, but with my guidance that the organelle is something included

in the drawings, the students were able to accurately answer that the spindle fibers were

originating from the centrioles.

In previous lessons, the students have created models after they have learned content, so I

wanted to learn if students enjoyed the chronology of instructional strategies in this lesson. At

8.32, I asked the students if they liked the modeling activity because this was the first lesson of

the semester in which students were creating an introductory model. One student responded that

she liked the activity displaying her appreciation for the type of activity, while other students, not

heard in the recording, were more indifferent about the type of activity. Gifted and talented

students are usually task-oriented and generally motivated to complete all types of assignments,

regardless of their format (Colarusso & O’Rourke, 2017). I also believe some students were

indifferent about the type of activity because some students in this class would rather be given

the content directly, say in the form of notes, and later make sense of the content on their own,

which accommodate their need for independence of work and study. However, the learning

standards regarding this content require students to develop and use models to explain the role of

cellular reproduction in maintaining genetic continuity (Georgia Standards of Excellence, 2016).

With the parameters set by the standards, characteristics of gifted and talented students were

reinforced during this modeling activity because it supported their need for freedom in the

creation of their model and communication with their peers, as well as direct content instruction

in the form of an interactive PowerPoint presentation. Additional hands-on activities regarding

modeling mitosis were used in the days after this lesson, supplying students with more
opportunities to develop models. Other modeling activities included developing separate models

of mitosis using paper clips, pipe cleaners, and induvial whiteboards.

After I provided my students with extra time to complete their models, I instruct the

students to transition to the next part of the lesson, guided-note taking during a student-

interactive PowerPoint presentation. The transition occurred smoothly, as the following activity

was on the back of the modeling activity worksheet. This planning decreased the amount of time

spent handing out another worksheet, as well as maintained the classroom environment by

decreasing opportunities which students could cause disruptions. Before the modeling activity, I

diagnostically assessed students about how injuries to an organisms’ cells are healed, replaced,

or replenished. When transitioning to the notes, this phenomenon was reestablished to assess

student learning from the modeling activity and to connect the phenomenon to the notes to

follow, providing the students with a reason for learning the content, as the learning standard

states that students can explain the role of mitosis in cellular growth and repair (Georgia

Standards of Excellence, 2016).

Throughout the PowerPoint presentation, references to the content presented were always

connected to the model creation activity. This promoted student content understanding by asking

students what they remember from the modeling activity. This is also a form of assessment that

informs me of the effectiveness of my teaching and instructional strategies during the modeling

activity. Student response at 9:30, 9:41 (not heard clearly in the video, but I restate a student

respond for the whole class to hear), and 9:52 shows students demonstrating their learning and

effectiveness of the modeling activity as their responses to my discussion questions are accurate.

I had planned to have student match “real” models to each phase after the PowerPoint

presentation, but my formative assessment during the modeling activity led me to change my
lesson plan. Instead, as we reached each phase in the PowerPoint presentation, I drew the “real”

model along with my students, giving a verbal explanation of each structure represented as I

drew them in the model. This better encouraged student use of vocabulary words such as

chromosome, centromere, spindle fibers, and centrioles.

In closing the lesson, I showed the students a video of real kidney cells dividing to further

enrich student learning by providing them with a real-world model of the process of mitosis. The

viewing of the video provided the students with an opportunity to construct knowledge and make

meaningful learning experiences through technology. (International Society for Technology in

Education, 2018). The student response from this video was positive, informing me to make use

of more real-world videos regarding content before, during, and after instruction. This video also

acted as an assessment after learning has taken place, as I would pause the video to ask students

which phase they believe the cell is undergoing. From their accurate responses, I was able to

assess that students achieved learning objective that students will identify the phases of mitosis

to explain how mitosis produces two identical daughter cells (Georgia Standards of Excellence,


Throughout this lesson, I promoted a positive learning environment and engaged student

in learning through the activities I chose to satisfy learning objectives. I supported student

learning in my communication with them and behavior towards them, as well as by allowing

students to communicate with other students about their models. I used student behavior and

communication to assess their understanding of the content, as well as the effectiveness of the

chosen instructional strategies. Using my assessments and my flexibility, I made changes to the

lesson plan to support students both struggling with the content or requiring deeper

understanding. I used evidence of the assessments to guide my lesson plans for the next few
days, incorporating more hands-on modeling activities for my students. Overall, this lesson was

successful in supporting student learning and positive communication with their peers. Most

students ultimately achieved learning objectives, technology standards, and Anti-bias Framework

standards set out in the lesson plan.


Colarusso, R. P., & O’Rourke, C. M. (Eds.). (2017). Special education for all teachers (7th ed.).

Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Gwinnett County Public Schools. (2018). Academic Knowledge and Skills. Suwanee, GA.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2018). ISTE Standards for Students.

Retrieved from

Ormrod, J. E. (2016). Human Learning (7th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson-Merrill Prentice Hall.

Schwarz, C., Passmore, C., & Reiser, B. J. (2016). Helping students make sense of the world

using next generation science and engineering practices. Arlington, VA: National Science

Teachers Association.

Settlage, J., Southerland, S. A., Smetan, L., & Lottero-Perdue, P. (2018). Teaching science to

every child: Using culture as a starting point. 3rd Ed. New York, Routledge.

Southern Poverty Law Center. (2018). Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework. Retrieved