DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Conceptualizing Essay


Social Studies is an important subject for students to learn. In his text, Parker stated, “the purpose of social studies education is to help students develop social understanding and civic efficacy” (2012, p.g, 3). Students should be able to develop their social understanding and civic efficacy because this will help them to familiarize themselves with the different surroundings they may come across. They will also learn how to become better citizens and know how to use the skills they will utilize throughout their learning of social studies. Students should be able to use critical thinking to demonstrate their level of comprehension.

As I collaborated with my cooperating teacher about my social studies lesson, I informed her that I want my lesson to be engaging and tie into the students’ prior knowledge. As my cooperating teacher and I collaborated she told me make a lesson on the different kinds of communities’ people live in. This lesson had me do some self-evaluation because I said to myself how I would like to learn about different communities if I never was exposed to a rural or suburban surrounding.  When I was told my topic; I thought to myself, that my lesson should be interesting and I should show my student’s visuals of the different kind of neighborhoods. After receiving this topic I was excited to teach my students about this topic.

Hence, social studies is not taught as heavily as it should, Ms. Bell (special education classroom teacher) and I collaborated on ensuring that my lesson has visuals for the students. She informed me that one of the students has cataracts in both of her eyes. As I continued to plan my lesson, I thought having a visual representation would be helpful. With the use of visual representation, my students will be able to retain more information this way. My students will be able to decode information spatially and will focus more on the meaning and pair similar ideas easily (Rosenberg, 2004). My students would be able to see different images to help them distinguish the different communities. Teaching my students this lesson provides them with the opportunities to be able to differentiate between the three different types of communities. Aligning with New York State Learning Standards for English Language Arts, this topic speaks directly to item: RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. This standard was chosen because my students will use their critical thinking skills to answer various questions to find out who live in different communities, what are the different events, people, tradition, etc. take place, where are the different communities located, why they live in certain communities, and how can they travel to various communities. I want this lesson to help my students to become a more successful learner. As a future change agent, one must educate their students to be able to make informed decisions as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society and interdependent world.

Nonetheless, all students, regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, learning disability, or family financial status, should be given equal and quality education so that they will have the necessary tools needed to make a lifetime of important decisions. No student is labeled due to their disability, all students are individual learners, as a teacher one should know the dynamics of his/her classroom to make sure everyone is receiving the same level of service. Currently in New York State, one of the mandates states that special need students should be taught in the Least Restrictive Settings as possible. In the long run, having less students in self-contained classes, making general educations mixed. Due to the mandate that was put into place, the students in my class have an array of disabilities ranging from other health impairments, to learning disabilities. Through the knowledge I have obtained from my two core education classes, Education 203 and 310 helped me to make the necessary accommodations/modifications needed for my lesson.

            My education courses gave me the content knowledge to be able to use instructional scaffolding to promote learning when concepts and skills are being first introduced to students. Bruner first introduced the theory of scaffolding during the 1950s; it allows the learner to figure out the task at hand on their own. This will provide my students who are diagnosed as special needs the assistance they may need and help them to become stronger learners on their own.

Due to some of students’ disabilities I will use more verbal responses instead of written. Some of the students find it hard to copy a lot notes one time; they are not able to chunk the words as they write. Instead they remember a few letters at a time which make their note-taking time longer. Engaging my students in more verbal responses will build upon their knowledge and how they process information and can relay the response with an educated response.

            My lesson plan suits the needs of my students because I will provide my students with the assistance of a para-professional (special education teacher) to help keep them on task. As to my students goals from their IEP’s many of them need to improve on their active listening skills and asking and answering questions. Their IEP’s goals are to encourage them to answer questions and to have class activities that will spark their interest. With the usage of the para my students will learn how to stay focused on one task. Some of the students will continue to develop their fine motor skills by holding the pencil with their pincher grip as they complete in class activities. Having teacher made activities will help as well. Based upon the observation notes made by the para-professional will assist me in how I will see who needs the material re-taught to them. One has to bear in mind the annual goals or short term objectives should be “reasonable for teacher and student to accomplish within one academic year” (Rosenberg, 2004, p.g 198). The goals I have put in place for my students are ones that will match their individual learning styles.

            One of my teaching reading courses, Education 312 made me aware that a mini lesson is beneficial for your lesson. In Growing Readers, Collins states a mini lesson is a strategy that can be used to get your student’s attention and get them on cue for the lesson. Opening your lesson with a question will help you as the teacher to see what your students may know and may not know. This can also alter your lesson and help you twist a few things so your lesson can flow. It is important for a teacher to give their students an idea on what the lesson will be on before he/she has actual begin the lesson. In my lesson, I will pose a question for my students to answer about their communities. I will allow two or three students to answer and based on the student responses I will know who may know about the different communities. I will ask my students to think about different kinds of communities they know about, including cities and small towns

I will clearly introduce my students to the three different types of communities.  This is also when I will introduce my students to the vocabulary words that are found throughout the chapter.

During this process I will continue to engage students in discussion as they are encouraged to explain how the demonstration or example is effective as a result of the method used. From the tools I have gained from my education class 312, explicit teacher modeling allows the teacher to think as he/she is modeling the lesson. So both the teacher and students are learning together. Once my students are exposed to what the lesson will be about. This will tap into their prior knowledge. I will be able to identify who knows anything about the topic and what do they know. In Beyond Traditional Phonics, Margaret Moustafa explained that students’ prior knowledge (schema) is all they know.  From learning from my previous student teaching site, I will use the Department of Education, Depth of Knowledge (DOK) to ask my students high order questions.

            During accountable talk will allow me to ask my students to describe what the buildings on their street are like. I can walk around to hear my students as they communicate effectively with their peers. I can conduct more tailored teacher support for students who did not understand the mini lesson. At this time revisiting the key elements of the lesson will take place as much as needed.  

                At the conclusion of my lesson, I will assess my students based upon the rubric I will create for my lesson. In my Education 340 class, I learned how a classroom assessment can help the teacher.  In the text, Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right-Using It Well, the Stiggins defined classroom assessment as“the planned collection of information about the outcomes of teaching on student learning. The assignment of grades serves to inform stakeholders about the educational progress of students and achievement of curricular goals within the context of student readiness characteristics.

I will use informal assessment to assess my students who have an IEP to determine if they understood the lesson that was presented to them. Also, this can help my students to better their expressive language skills. As a future change agent, one should know an assessment is an important role in the effectiveness of teaching. This is when the teacher can determine whether or not the student has mastered the lesson or should the content be taught again at some point in time.






Collins, Kathy. (2004). Growing readers. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers  

McDevitt, T. M., & Ormrod, J. E. (2010).Child development and education (4th ed.). Upper          Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill.

Moustafa, Margaret. (1997). Beyond traditional phonics. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Parker, W. (2012). Social studies in elementary education (14th ed.). Boston: Pearson.      


Rosenberg, M. S. (2004). Educating students with behavior disorders (3rd ed.). Boston:     Pearson/A and B.



DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.