DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Conceptualizing Essay

            Science is an important subject for students to learn. Students are provided with vital skills and information for success in their life later on. Students who receive a proper science education are exposed to different qualities that will help them apply it in other fields. Also, science helps students to succeed in all areas of life. With the help of learning science this enables students to explore new concepts that will help everyone as a whole.

            As I collaborated with my cooperating teacher and the science teacher, we discussed the lesson should be engaging for all the students to be involved. For my science lesson, I collaborated more intensely with Ms. Saint Jean, the science teacher. She shared an idea with me pertaining to plants, however I did not grasped the content based learning behind it. As we were discussing more ideas, it hit me to have the students to make fossils of leaves. Ms. Saint Jean mentioned to me that it sounds like a good idea; the students will be fully engaged into that lesson. Thinking about my science lesson was not an easy task; I had so many different ideas throughout my head. After I finalized what I wanted to focus my lesson on I became more ecstatic to teach it to my students.

            Moreover, science is not taught as I thought it would be. They only have science twice a week, once with Ms. Saint Jean and once with my cooperating teacher, Ms. Bell. When it comes to science, as a youngster I enjoyed doing hands on science lesson. This truly drew me to inquiry more about science.  My initial reaction of teaching was not as bad as I thought it might be. Gay states, “You can’t teach what and who you don’t know” (2006, p.g, 1). I feel this is true, if you do not know how to teach a particular topic then you should not overstep what you know from what you do not know. You have to be knowledge in all areas in order to carefully teach a particular lesson. I feel in order to teach you should know the dynamics of your students to adequately be able to address any concerns or needs the students may pose about the lesson. As I observed the science teacher when she was teaching her lesson, she taps into her students’ prior knowledge and seek out information so they will have a better understanding of the lesson. For my lesson I want my students to learn how fossils are formed, how to create their own fossils, and see how fossil models may be alike or different. I want my students to become paleontologist and experience what it takes to be a person who studies fossils.

As 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 what fossils are. Aligning with New York State Learning Standards for English Language Arts, this topic speaks directly to item: RL.2.3 Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text and RL.2.7 Explain how specific images contribute to and clarify a text. This standard was chosen because my students will use their critical thinking skills to answer various questions about fossils, know that fossils can be made by plants or animals. They will also learn that fossils are the imprints that have been left behind by the plants and animals on stones or rocks. After my lesson, my students will be able to explain what a fossil can teach them. I want this lesson to help my students to become a more successful learner.

In Education 315, Dr. Saran taught us how to teach science as inquiry, with the how, why and what method, so our students can debrief from the lesson which they have been taught through involvement. While my students are motivated to use logical and critical thinking, I also want to model to my students the 5E Instructional Model.  The 5E model wants the students to be Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. I want my lesson to follow the 5E Instruction Modeling so they will have a clear understanding. Once I had my ideas for my lesson, I wanted to make sure that my lesson was engaging.

“Designing activities and projects that are well orchestrated and designed to assist students and comprehending and developing appreciation for the specific topics and general ideas included in the unit is critical” (Wolfinger & Stockard, 1997, p.g, 98).

Coming across made me realize if your lesson is not engaging, you will lose the students. 

When I observe Ms. Saint Jean teach her science lessons, she makes sure she has artifacts for the students. I asked her why, she said by doing so they will connect to the lesson more. Also for the teacher this concept can help you take anecdotal notes on which students are visual learners.

In Education 457, we read an excerpt from a novel, “Learning to Write/Writing to Learn,” chapter three. Mayer stated “The point is that students must be at the center of their own learning” (Mayher, Lester, & Pedi, 1983, p.g. 38). I want my students be active learners in their education. Teaching should be student-centered. Ms. Saint Jean teaches her science lessons by having it run in a student-centered focus. I wanted to make sure I am free from any biases I may have and respect each of my student opinions.

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 fossils. I will allow two or three students to answer and based on the student responses I will know who may know about fossils. I will inform my students that today we will be making our very own fossils with different leaves. At this time I will show my student various pictures of leaves fossils. 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 I will ask my students to turn to a partner and discuss with their partner how they will make their fossils and what can they use to make it. This will permit me to walk around and hear the different ideas my students have to say to their partners. 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.



















Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice (2nd ed.) New                                  York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Mayher, J. S., Lester, N. B., & Pradl, G. M. (1983). Learning to write/writing to learn. Upper        Montclair, N.J.: Boynton/Cook.

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

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

Stiggins, R. J., Arter, J. A., Chappuis, J., & Chappuis, S. (2007). Classroom assessment for           student learning: doing it right -- using it well (Special ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.:            Pearson Education, Inc..

Wolfinger, D.M. & James W. Stockard, Jr. (1997). Elementary Methods: An Integrated    Curriculum (NY: Longman).


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.