Archive for the ‘(04) Pedagogy:’ Category

Capstone-Standard 04 Meta-Reflection: Pedagogy

Capstone-Standard 04 Meta-Reflection: Pedagogy

Engages students in learning experiences that are meaningful, stimulating, and empirically proven to promote intellectual growth.

Initial reflection during C & I Orientation:

The learning experiences I provide for my students should be interesting, inspiring, and research-based. Instruction to promote thinking skills should be delivered in the student’s least restrictive environment. Additionally, I must keep up-to-date and aware of methods and techniques to actively involve my students in the learning process.

Meta-Reflection following completion of EDU 6526 Survey of Instructional Strategies

Amazed by the Gifts of my Colleagues~

As I reflect on what I have learned in this course entitled Survey of Instructional Strategies, I have much to consider. Reflecting on this past week, filled with reading the papers written by my colleagues and the corresponding comments from our peers, I am filled with a sense of amazement. The quality of their work as graduate students, their professionalism as educators, and their integrity as individuals who desire to give of their best to others is overwhelming. I believe the richness of their gifts, the creativity evidenced in their endeavors, and their dedication as lifelong learners will continue to impact the future in positive ways. I feel privileged to have shared this quarter with these outstanding people of character. A few of the many highlights, according to the “research”, noted in Blackboard Discussions: Final Papers for Peer Review—Seattle Pacific University (2012) are as follows:

Positive Student Behavior—Cara Botz, Collaborative Learning in the Resource Room–Amy Guatelli, Cooperative Learning & Middle School–Connie Taylor, Cooperative Learning–Josh Auckland, Character Education–Keri McManus, The Use of Direct Instruction in Response to Intervention Models–Sara Mirabueno, Josh’s Final Paper–Joshua Hollingsworth, Cooperative Learning in the Classroom–Allison Shannon, GRR–Mackenzie Quartly, DI and Constructivism–Elle Sauro, Inductive and Inquiry Models and My Teaching–Chris Howell, Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Kindergarten–Amanda Burke, Nonlinguistic Representations–Melissa Klein, Constructivism and Concept Attainment–Philip Benson, Concept Maps for All–Laurie James, Nonlinguistic Representations for English Language Learners–Meagan Wilson, Vocabulary Instruction in the Elementary Grades–Kami Cottrell, Project Based Learning–Jessie Scanzon, Nonlinguistic Representations–Julie Schocken, Reciprocal Teaching–Taylor Hansen, In Defense of Direct Instruction–Aimee Chew, Cooperative Learning–Emily Whitten, The Power of Feedback–Alison Brynelson, Homework Purpose and Considerations–Jim Mendes (2012).

If time and energy permitted, I would create concept maps representing themes from each topic and show the interrelationships between key ideas, create connections between old and new learning, etc… and these would serve as a powerful review strategy for this course!

I would like to call particular attention to a comment from Keri McManus, who was my peer review partner for the final paper. Within her paper entitled, Character Education: An Effective Instructional Model to Promote Student Well Being, Cultural Competency, and Academic Achievement she states, “I integrate character education through teachable moments as they arise in my classroom…”(McManus, 2012). Indeed, a worthy goal I hope to strive for each day.

Our professor, Dr. Tracy Williams, set high academic standards for us to reach. She has successfully led us through times of “wind, rain, and snow (with or without power)”, and has maintained continuity for us—despite her own encounter with grief in the loss of a family member. I am grateful for her as a person and am thankful for her vital encouragement along the way.

On an even more personal level, I wonder: Has the greatest learning and revelation during this course come to me as a learner? as a teacher? or as a wife, mother, and grandmother striving to maintain a sense of balance in the midst of learning and teaching? Perhaps the revelations have come in waves—encompassing all three facets of my life. At times, the waves have threatened to overtake me, but as I’ve prayed (without ceasing), I’ve come to understand (and remember) that I can tread water and breathe at the same time. God’s power has provided the courage needed to persevere. He never changes, and will never fail to bless beyond measure. Laurie~

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown”.

The Bible, New Living Translation (©2007)


Artifacts for Standard 4

Paper: Concept Maps for All–retrieved and scanned Please note: The digital form of my original paper was lost, due to a computer virus, therefore, I scanned and attached my hard copy. In the process, the formatting became very distorted.

Module 1 Reflection:Cultural Competence–a work in progress~

Module 2 Reflection:Encouraging words…”Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition”~

Module 3 Reflection:Discovering “Induction/Inquiry” processes in our midst~

Module 4 Reflection:The “Big Idea” of Concept Attainment~

Module 5 Reflection:Announcing…Advance Organizers!

Module 6 Reflection:Excellence in Constructivism~

Module 7 Reflection:Encouragement with Respect~

Module 8 Reflection:Character Education: In the midst of this process called “life”~

Module 9 Reflection:Direct Instruction—With Flexibility~


ISTE NETS for Teachers – Standard 5: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership—Goalview IEP System–Training to Become a Trainer

EDTC 6433: ISTE Standard 5: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership—Goalview IEP System–Training to Become a Trainer

Goalview screenshot

Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.

  1. Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.
  2. Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others.
  3. Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning.
  4. Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching.

Within the first couple of weeks of this course, EDTC 6433, I noted that our district was in the midst of selecting software for creating and managing online IEPs . I also shared a screen shot of one of the options, Goalview. As of today, I am now in the midst of training to become a trainer for other teachers within our district on how to implement Goalview. Having served on the software adoption committee 15 years ago and teaching others to use the software from then to the present,  I am delighted to have once again been selected to represent the high school team of special education teachers. I am eager to move beyond the “test site” we experienced today. Due in part to what I have learned within this course, today I was able to ask insightful questions during the training, move ahead to see a sneak preview of the benefits of this program, and envision ways that I will provide support to my colleagues as we go “live” within the next month. I definitely see myself actively engaging in part b. of ISTE Standard 5.

In the article, Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology1, authors Collins &Halverson (2009), state:  “The revolution that is occurring in education will alter not just the lives of students, but the entire society”. I am continuing to realize that as a public school educator who has served for over three decades, the changes I have already witnessed may be just the beginning. Thankfully, I am not dismayed by this fact, but rather, encouraged.

Recently a colleague complimented me for being recognized and validated as evidenced by my district selecting me to be trained to become a trainer for the new IEP software being used nationwide. Today, during our second day of training, it was easy to see huge advantages to the new features we discussed. A couple of us laughed as we recalled the “IEP system” we used at the beginning of our teaching careers—5-part NCR forms which I later experimented with feeding into the “cutting edge at-the-time dot matrix printers”! Ironically, I need to remind myself to be patient as we make the transition to the new system and agree with my colleague,  David Spencer, that “It is amazing what we can do and learn from each other as educators when we are given/take the time to discuss topics”.

1  Excerpted from our book Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The

Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. New York: Teachers College Press, 2009.

EDCT 6433: Participation in an Online Educational Community –Blog

Participation in an Online Educational Community –Blog

During this EDTC 6433 Teaching with Technology course, taught by Professor David Wicks, the new experience of using Google+ as a regular means of participating in an online community of educators has opened my eyes to seeing new opportunities for personal and professional growth. As much as I hate to admit to this, I am a person who is rarely even on a social networking site such as Facebook (perhaps twice a year) the extent of my participation in an online educational community has been limited to interacting within the Blackboard setting for classes for my master’s in C&I program. Honestly, I rarely even text. Now, it is like I have been introduced to traveling on the “freeway” as opposed to taking the “beaten path of the backroads”. Although I  must say I have felt a significant degree of stress in the process of adjusting to the high speed and seemingly endless options of on-ramps and off-ramps, I have begun to feel more comfortable with navigating my way forward.

One of the greatest benefits of this online community interaction has been to engage in the weekly Google+ Hangouts” presented and/or facilitated by Professor Wicks. I fact, if I am not mistaken, I took part in each and every hangout. The two-way interaction with other classmates and our professor and the advantage of seeing the “live screen traversing” has been invaluable to me. I anticipate that in my final capstone class next quarter as I finish up my degree, I may use the connections established with others in this community as well as others such as Schoology (an online educational community joined recently along with a few other teachers in school) to assist me in the preparation of  my SPU C & I Portfolio, my current participation  in my school’s pilot group for the new teacher’s evaluation  process, and most of all–my teaching.

On a slightly different note, but related to engaging with educators around technology, I have recently been selected to become of trainer in my district on the new IEP software, Goalview. This is a web-based management tool to create IEP and track student progress and is currently in use nationwide. Our first “training of trainers” was today and I am enjoying the opportunity to be among the first to learn to use this new tool.

Here is a clip (below) noting one instance of my participation in Google+ Hangouts within EDTC 6433:

 Laurie James

Feb 21, 2013 (edited)  –


–  Limited (locked)

EDTC 6433 Week 8 Thursday Night Live Hangout

3 people hung out with you

Only you can see this post

Thanks +Laurie James for participating in today’s session. If you enjoy seeing technology teachers struggle with technology then you should watch today’s session. 🙂  Digital Storytelling Workshop Part 3 of 4.

Encouraging words…”Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition”~

As I reflect back on this week filled with pondering the assigned readings from the texts as well as the numerous discussion posts, I must say that first great “ah ha” came to me while reading the excellent description by the authors of Classroom Instruction That Works, regarding “effect sizes” in chapter one. I found the clear explanation to set a positive tone and allowed me to more readily embrace and understand the statistics presented, while reading each of the successive chapters. To be honest, this is more of a victory than you might imagine. (Although I am a teacher, I am also a student with a previous distaste for statistics).

Early in the week, before listening to this week’s screencast or even opening the Marzano, Pollack, and Pickering book, I must admit that I was a bit discouraged while reading the discussion question, “Give several examples of strategies used effectively in your classroom”. I am not certain whether this discouragement was due to the natural fatigue I experienced following my husband’s successful, but unexpected hospitalization and procedure to implant 3 stents in his heart last week—or the fact that I do not have my own classroom. Either way, I am happy to report that my attitude is better. Not only have I begun to b-r-e-a-t-h-e again—(with my husband back home and hearing positive doctor reports), but I have also reminded myself that rolling a cart from classroom to classroom as I “borrow” the rooms of other teachers—does not mean that I am any less of a “teacher”. As I work with students–whether during individual appointments in my office, or in a “borrowed” classroom, I employ several of the 9 strategies addressed in Classroom Instruction that Works. The strategy I use most consistently, however, is: Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition.

With regard to research on reinforcing effort, as cited within Marzano, “…one study (Van Overwalle & De Metsenaere, 1990) found that students who were taught about the relationship between effort and achievement increased their achievement more than students who were taught techniques for time management and comprehension of new material” (p. 51). As a special education teacher who has always stressed effective time management with my students, I am interested to also see that another aspect I’ve emphasized is so clearly backed by research. Most of my students have experienced a significant amount of discouragement in school and many, by the time they’ve reached high school, have come to feel quite powerless and at times–unable to compete. Therefore, I make it a practice to help students evaluate themselves on a weekly basis—focusing on incremental changes in their efforts, and corresponding outcomes, as we together look at the data which includes weekly grade printouts from all six of their classes. Marzano states, “A powerful way to help them make this connection is to ask students to periodically keep track of their effort and its relationship to achievement” (p. 52).

Even with students whom I only see weekly, I find that as we together observe and discuss the changes in their performance and grades, I find the truth in Marzano’s statement: “Reflecting on their experiences and then verbalizing what they learned can help students heighten their awareness of the power of effort” (p. 53). I am always encouraged when a student can non-defensively and honestly express to me how they doing, take responsibility for what has been accomplished—and to articulate steps for what needs to be done.

Fellow student, Chris Howell, shared from his experience working with students in an alternative school setting: “I have had students where the “light” has gone on for them. They have learned that with a little effort and trust in their abilities, they can be successful in areas that they never thought they could be. This goes along with a statement in the Marzano book. “An interesting set of studies has shown that simply demonstrating that added effort will pay off in terms of enhanced achievement actually increases student achievement.” (Marzano, p. 51)

I appreciate Marzano’s distinctions between praise, reward, and recognition and his statement that, “we believe that the best way to think of abstract contingency-based rewards is as ‘recognition’—recognition for specific accomplishments” and that “it is best to make this recognition as personal to the students as possible” (p. 58). I believe that the context of a one-on-one conversation with each student—counts as “personal”.

Though I indeed have many areas of instruction that I desire to improve as I work with my students, I am encouraged to see that one of strategies I use every day (whether in my own classroom or not) is so clearly backed by current research.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Reflection on Course of Study, C & I Standards

My goals for continuing my educational experience at Seattle Pacific University are educational, professional and personal in nature.

Educationally, as I progress through each course requirement for obtaining my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, I intend to gain new information and further develop my teaching skills and effectiveness with students.

As a professional educator who has been teaching for nearly thirty years, I anticipate gaining fresh insights as I weave together past experiences with new challenges–enabling me to positively impact my classroom, school, district, and community–one person at a time.

On a personal level, I hope to grow both now and in the future–as I continue in my role as a graduate student, a life-long learner, and a veteran teacher seeking to gain new perspectives, skills, and opportunities.

Curriculum and Instruction: Program Standards

Standard 01. Instructional Planning

Designs and monitors long and short-term plans for students’ academic success.

Reflection: In my role as a special education teacher, my primary obligation is to ensure that both long and short-term goals are clearly articulated within each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and addressed on a consistent basis. I must also ensure my high school students have a transition plan and course of study which addresses the student’s post-high school goals.

Standard 02. Learning Environment

Creates and maintains school-wide and classroom environments that are safe, stable, and empowering.

Reflection: In my role as the special education curriculum leader in an inclusion setting, I must ensure that a continuum of services is available for consideration by each student’s IEP Team. I must see to it that my students are provided services in the “least restrictive environment” and that they are given the opportunity to access free and appropriate public education.

Standard 03. Curriculum

Provides knowledge and skills that bring academic subjects to life and are aligned with state content standards.

Reflection: As a special education teacher, I must endeavor to provide instruction and skill development opportunities for students that will promote progress toward the reaching of the Washington State Standards. I must ensure that students have access to the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, I must facilitate the delivery of specially designed instruction as well as any necessary accommodations or modifications.

Standard 04. Pedagogy

Engages students in learning experiences that are meaningful, stimulating, and empirically proven to promote intellectual growth.

Reflection: The learning experiences I provide for my students should be interesting, inspiring, and research-based. Instruction to promote thinking skills should be delivered in the student’s least restrictive environment. Additionally, I must keep up-to-date and aware of methods and techniques to actively involve my students in the learning process.

Standard 05. Assessment

Assesses students’ mastery of curriculum and modifies instruction to maximize learning.

Reflection: With regard to assessment, I must ensure that I am monitoring progress toward each student’s IEP goals and make any necessary adjustments required to keep them moving toward the general education curriculum–while also addressing the unique needs presented by their disability. Not only does this include measuring progress in the classroom, but also ensuring access to and administration of any alternative assessments to state testing. Examples include: High School Proficiency Exam—Basic (meeting standard at Level 2 versus Level 3), Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (DAPE), Locally Determined Assessments (such as the Woodcock-Johnson III). Currently, I am not directly responsible for preparation for and administration of the WAAS-Portfolio administration or Collection of Evidence (COE); however, will be in the near future.

Standards 06. Communication

Communicates regularly and effectively with colleagues, parents, and students through a variety of mediums.

Reflection: In my role as a special education teacher “Communication” (with a capital C) is as necessary as breathing. In my nearly thirty years of teaching, I would have to say that communication continues to be the number one requirement for my job—and I always strive to keep it my priority. I find that most often, extra attention devoted to maintaining regular and effective communication with students, parents and colleagues—whether in person, by phone, via email, US mail, etc.—is well worth the time and energy.

Standard 07. Collaboration

Cooperates with other professionals to bridge gaps between schools and community and between departments/disciplines within schools.

Reflection: Every IEP meeting is an example of the collaborative process at work. This process in designed to bring together the perspectives of the student, family, special educator, general educator(s) and the district–as well as any necessary outside agencies. In addition to the required annual IEP and triennial evaluation, I must facilitate any coordination and collaboration between any and all of the above noted members of the IEP Team—as needed. Beyond the specific realm of the IEP process, I am required to be an active participant of my special education team, professional learning community, POD team, and leadership team.


Standard 08. Exceptionality


Addresses the unique learning and behavioral needs of all children, collaborating with other educators and professionals where necessary.

Reflection: The concept of addressing exceptionality is “where I live—day to day and moment by moment” as a special educator. Regardless of the unique needs presented by each of my students who qualify for special education services, I must ensure that they have access to the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible. In the process, I must serve as an advocate for each student and coordinate the delivery of services required for offering free and appropriate public education on their behalf.

Standard 09. Cultural Sensitivity

Establishes a culturally inclusive learning climate that facilitates academic engagement and success for all students.

Reflection: Regardless of the range of differences in race, class, gender, religion, ethnicity and exceptionality represented by the students within my care, I must model respect for diversity and promote a learning environment that is free from bias. Specifically within my school setting, I must be especially mindful and responsive to the unique interests of students who belong to one of the two Native American tribal communities represented within our school district.

Standard 10. Technology

Integrates current technology into instruction and professional communication/collaboration activities where appropriate.

Reflection: I am responsible for utilizing technological means to ensure that my students have access to materials and resources available to all general education students. Not only does this involve receiving presented information, but students must also be provided instruction and opportunity to use assistive technology to express and effectively convey thoughts and information to others. As a teacher, I must keep up with communication methods used to interact with my parents and colleagues. (Online IEP programs, Skyward Information system, email, etc.)

Standard 11. Inquiry/Research

Competently consumes and produces where necessary empirical data to guide educational practice.

Reflection: It is my responsibility to effectively use data at every level in my job including; selecting research-based curriculum, researching best practices for delivering services to address IEP goals, and collecting data on student performance. Equally important is to research district records and track information to ensure that classroom goals are based on current IEPS which are in turn based on current evaluations.


Standard 12. Professional citizenship

Willingly engages in dialogue that transcends the individual classroom, taking informed, coherent positions on important matters of educational policy and practice.

Reflection: I believe that on a continual basis I endeavor to develop my professional citizenship by serving as my school’s special education curriculum leader as well as a member of the building leadership team. Additionally, I am part of a professional learning community (PLC) group which meets weekly and I regularly participate in faculty and district meetings.