Click to see Preservice Teachers during peer teaching

Peer Teaching Assignment 15% You will have the opportunity to teach a lesson to a small group of your peers. Choose an area you find interesting and/or valuable, within the "teaching for social justice" theme assigned to your group. You will have 20 minutes to teach about the subject you choose. Prepare a written plan that will help you teach your lesson within the time limits. Use the format in your reading packet or one you have selected from elsewhere. A substitute teacher should be able to teach from your plan. 

There are 15 points allocated for this assignment. The number of points you receive will be connected to your written plan and your evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan. So it's very important that you prepare a plan designed to develop a clear and focused "lesson." However, it is more important that you demonstrate what you have learned from the planning, teaching, peer critique, and your own reflections. Such demonstration will occur in your evaluation of how well your lesson worked in relationship to the plan you created. After teaching the lesson and receiving feedback from your peers you will write an evaluation that will critique your plan and lesson establishing what did or did not work, and why. What alternatives might you try next time you plan and teach this or other lessons? How did your plan help or hinder you in teaching your material?

Remember to:

1. Hand in a copy of the plan on the day you teach.

2. Have copies of the plan for each of your peers to look at during feedback (one for each member of your group).

3. Take notes during feedback.

4. Write the critique of your plan and lesson that reflects your self assessment based on peer feedback and your own observations and hand it in.

Group Investigation Project : Teaching for Social Justice--Overview 20%

Learning how to investigate questions central to teaching and learning is essential to becoming a reflective educator. This project is based on a constructivist view of teacher learning, and is designed to help you collaboratively (in a group) raise a question or set of questions about methods of teaching for social justice, plan a strategy to investigate these questions, and develop conclusions based on evidence from your research.

You will explore materials provided in class, on strategies for antibias teaching with respect to race, class, gender, ability and ethnicity. Your group will frame and define a question and focus for your investigation. You will conduct research in educational journals and via the internet, as well as in the school, to investigate your question. You will analyze what you are finding, formulate a series of conjectures about an answer to your questions, and support these with evidence you have been able to uncover. Often your questions will lead to further questions or refinements in your thinking, rather than definitive answers. You will turn in a group investigation proposal, a rough draft of your group investigation report, and a final report. You will also make an informal, poster presentation in class based on your investigation, using some presentation software (e.g. PowerPoint, Claris Slide show, Hyper studio, Imagination). Specifics about each of these follow.

An important aspect of the project is the collaborative nature of the research process, which allows an opportunity to explore your own and others' thinking about the topic, to negotiate meaning, and to share new understandings. As a teacher, you will need to develop your ability to work in a collaborative way with teachers, parents, administrators, community members, and most important, children. It is the responsibility of the group to ensure that all members participate. If problems arise, bring them forward openly to the group, and take the risk of trying to resolve these within the group. If problems arise that can not be handled by the group, I will meet with the group to help process the situation. If individual members need a sounding board to think through how to most appropriately present a concern to their group, I am available to think this through with you. I will strive to ensure that your learning in the group is a mutually empowering experience.

Group Investigation Project Proposal

Your group will develop one written proposal in which you:

1. Identify a question or set of interrelated questions about methods of teaching for social justice as a starting point of your investigation. Your questions may shift as you investigate. Explain why you are interested in pursuing this question, and how it relates to methods of teaching/learning.

2. Outline a collection of items or evidence that you will use as you pursue your investigation, drawing from videos, journals, web sites, human resources, and research articles. Research articles may be found from the lending library, and Penfield try conducting an ERIC search to find information on your topic. You can receive assistance by asking at the information desk. Develop a research strategy that determines the way in which you will use these artifacts to explore, probe, and collect evidence to address the question (s) and support or refute your original conjectures).

Proposal should:

be word processed,

include names of group members,

be copied for each group member as well as methods instructor, and

be the consensus of the team.

include specific research articles you will read, videos, websites, and journals you will analyze, as well as individuals you will interview or observe.

Group Investigation Written Report (First and Final drafts due)

After receiving feedback on your proposal, your group will conduct the investigation and share in written form as well as presenting to the methods section in a poster session supported by computer technology. Your questions, as they evolve, should drive the investigation. Your focus may shift as you proceed new meanings will be constructed based on your examination of the materials, connections you are making between what you see in practicum and what you are reading, conversations in the group, etc. Document and tell the story of these revisions in your thinking and focus. Be sure when you develop conjectures/conclusions you support these with evidence so others can understand your thinking process.

Write an analysis of what your group has learned in relation to the questions investigated. Represent your inquiry in the report to include what you did, what you found, an how you have interpreted the evidence collected. What new questions arise? Develop your own format for representing this journey. We are interested in your ability to connect your conjectures and impressions with specific evidence from your investigations, your ability to negotiate new meanings, and to reflect on the implications for your own teaching and professional learning. Include a bibliography of sources you used in your written report. You will turn in a draft early on, and will revise and extend based on feedback.

Poster Presentation to Methods Small Section

Your group will present your journey to the methods section using presentation software of your choice, during a poster session. This should not be lecture format be creative in sharing your insights visually, applying what you have learned about teaching methods. All members of the group should be involved in designing and explaining the presentation. We will display the presentations around the room in centers, and you will take turns rotating to each site to interact informally. You will each take a turn presenting during one rotation. One copy of each group's final report will be turned in.


Your group will be assessed based on the depth and thoughtfulness of the proposal, paper, and poster presentation. I will look at your ability to raise researchable questions, develop appropriate strategies for investigating these, depth in seeking a variety of evidence to inform the questions, ability to analyze and synthesize findings that do not go beyond the evidence, ability to suspend judgment and revise one's thinking, and willingness to collaboratively negotiate new meanings in the group. Feel free to raise questions, touch base in person (ask me to sit in on your group meeting), in office hours, or via email.

Questioning Observation 10%

PURPOSES: The intent of this assignment is for you to carefully observe life in the classroom, particularly interactions between teacher and students. You will record detailed field notes during a lesson, focusing on teacher questions and student responses (preferably one allocated to instruction).


1) Select a time block in which you can observe children engaged in learning activities by consulting with your cooperating teacher.

2) Sit where you can hear and see teacher and students, and can record notes.

3) Take a couple of minutes to record notes about the general context grade level, students, seating arrangement, lesson topic, etc.

4) Script, in as much detail, the events, language and behaviors which occur as you observe relating to teacher questions and student responses. Include actual quotes in quotation marks; you will also need to paraphrase. Record as many teacher questions and student responses as possible. Focus notes on your direct observations. Do not attempt to judge or make inferences. (Data does not need to be typed!)

5) After you leave practicum, write several paragraphs reflecting on your observations about teacher questions and student responses. Consider the following questions: What did you learn about teacher questioning? What types of questions were most frequent? How were teacher questions related to student responses? Who responded to questions most (least) frequently? Did the teacher direct different types of questions to different types of learners? What levels of Bloom's taxonomy were included in the questioning? Why do you think that they were included?

 6) Compare the questioning observed in this context with that observed in the videos of Ball and or Lampert. Compare the questioning you have observed with what you have read about questioning strategies. Include these comparisons, and conclusions drawn, in your written reflections.

NOTE: DO NOT use complete names of students or teachers in your field notes! Remember professionals guarantee confidentiality of research subjects.

Click to see sample questioning assignment

Integrated Unit & Learning Center Assignment 25% of Grade

 Instructional planning varies among teachers, but all will agree that they must do short range and long range planning. Long range planning includes what topics (themes) that one will teach within each discipline (see NY State Standards) and how long each will be taught. The innovative teacher will integrate more than one discipline within these thematic units of instruction which generally vary from one to four weeks. Within thematic units, teachers often set up centers for self directed learning. These learning centers provide opportunities for choice and independent and collaborative study to achieve specific related objectives.

 The objective of this assignment is to be able to develop an integrated unit incorporating a related learning center (agreed upon by your practicum partner and cooperating teacher). The learning center must be set up in the classroom to allow student participation in the activities during your practicum stay. You will also teach at least five lessons from your unit during your practicum experience. At least one of these lessons must infuse computer technology in instruction. Your unit must infuse inclusive, antibias teaching strategies throughout. Your unit and center will contain:

 A. Overview/Rationale (Correspondence to state and local standards)

B. Lesson Plans (include one computer technology infusion lesson)

C. Culminating Activity

D. Assessment (means of evaluating student learning)

E. Reflective Self Evaluation for Each Lesson and Overall Reflection on Unit

F. Learning Center Component

  1. Learning Center Guidelines
  2. Activities (including appropriate goals and objectives)
  3. Record Keeping System
  4. Reflective Self Evaluation of Center

 You and your partner will collaboratively develop the integrated unit and center. Additional information on each of these comments will be shared in class.

Reflective Group Discussion List on Readings and Practicum 20%

You will participate in an electronic discussion list, reflecting on the content of the course including a) readings, b) class experiences and c) practicum experiences. You will post your entries via email at least every other week. Feel free to also write me individually regarding questions and concerns (

Your entries should not merely summarize what you have read or experienced, rather you should reflect deeply about a topic, identify dilemmas or issues you are thinking about, conjectures and questions you are investigating, and decisions you are making as you become a teacher. You should seek to synthesize readings with class and practicum experiences-- comparing and contrasting information across contexts.

Your entries should provide evidence that you are reading, observing carefully in your practicum setting, and reflecting on these in a way that helps you construct your teaching practice.

Practicum assignments/ All are pass/fail graded

Organize all methods and practicum assignments in a portfolio (usually in a tabulated binder) reflecting your development as a teacher.

1. Child Study- in collaboration with your cooperating teacher, choose a child who could benefit from intensive 1-1 interaction, and study the child's learning through observation, analysis of student work, conversations with the child, and daily work with this child. Collaboratively formulate goals for this student, work to achieve these, and assess progress towards them. Document this process in a journal, including a 2-5 page reflection at the end of the semester.

2. Plan/Teach/Reflect on at least five lessons. Include your lesson plan, reflection, and peer feedback. Typically these are lessons from your unit, but can be any lessons you teach in practicum.

3. Other. Include other evidence in your portfolio supporting your growth as a teacher such as cooperating teacher feedback, photographs of students engaging in your unit and learning center, sample selections of students' work from your lessons and your analysis of it, a statement summarizing your development as a teacher this semester.

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