My Name Project



Intro: 9th Grade High School World Social Studies. 2 weeks.

Content: This lesson will focus on:

  • Understanding primary by interviewing a parent or guardian on their origin of their name.
  • Direct engagement of the past which leads deeper context exploration, active analysis, and thoughtful response.
  • Building community in the classroom and demonstrating a student centered approach.

Process: The lesson will consist of using WordPress, Haiku Deck, and Microsoft Word. Students will be researching the meaning and origin of their name by using a handout that I will provide. They will research and interview their parent or guardian as individuals. After presenting I Am Poem or Haiku Deck student must upload product on WordPress. Once upload is completed students will respond to two other classmates’ post. This will be a in class and homework assignment. Students will have chrome books available to them through Open School.

Product: Students worksheet, Haiku or I Am poem, presentation, and responses.

Evaluation: Students will be evaluated by participation and proficiency grading rubric. Goal of the activity to be a first win for students.

What kinds of thinking will students need to do to participate in the lesson? Students will be using higher order thinking in this lesson. I want students to connect their name with history to make this assignment meaningful.

To what extent do students have options or choices regarding these lesson components? Students will get to choose from two project that they will present I class. Students will have the chance to choose who they want to respond to.

Response: I haven’t gotten the chance to write a lesson plan before because of the program (OMAT) that I am. So this was a great exercise for me to experience. I enjoyed the challenge and reading my peers lesson study. I was inspired by Mrs. G, OPEN East social studies teacher, who created this lesson. Her intention in all her of the assignments and lessons are student centered and community centered. She did this project in hoped to inspire students finding pride in their name, and a way to get to know each other through poetry. Instead of writing it on a piece of paper and turning it in, I added either the option of the Haiku Deck or posted a written version online. Understanding the origin and history of our names is a great gateway to making history more relatable to students, because then they feel that their name holds value and it’s a piece of history.

Geography: The Five Themes and Key Terms

British Library digitised image from page 6 of "A new geographical, historical, and commercial grammar; and present state of the several kingdoms of the world ... The astronomical part by James Ferguson, F.R.S, to which have been added the late discoverie


This lesson is for my ninth grade Modern World History classes. One of the sections is sheltered, which means that they are all ELD learners. The lesson is meant to wrap up geography unit, and will take about three 50-minute classes. They have studied the five themes of geography (location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, and region) and key geographic terms such as isthmus, mountain range, delta, etc.


They have studied the five themes of geography (location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, and region) and key geographic terms such as isthmus, mountain range, delta, etc. This lesson will allow them to engage these concepts in a collaborative setting.


The lesson is driven by the knowledge students have gained through the geography unit and will be introduced by a teacher-created example. Students will be put in groups of four and five. They will be given a map of the world and asked to create a “road trip.” This road trip process will be broken down into guided steps in order to accommodate my IEP and ELD learners who work well when large tasks are broken into smaller ones. The first task will be for each group to pick a starting point and a destination. They will be asked to find the absolute location of both of these points. Once this is finished, the next step will ask students to find a path between these locations that includes three more stops, goes through five of the terms from a teacher-created word bank, and goes through two regions (formal, functional, or vernacular). Once the road trip has been finalized to include the required components students will break from their groups, each taking one one of the stops from their group’s road trip and be asked to apply the five themes to this in the form of a “postcard” that includes these descriptions.


Map with stated road trip, postcard describing the five themes of the chosen location, comprehension of the way that the five themes and key terms impact the world, and collaborative work skills.


The assignments will be formally assessed based upon the presence of the required elements. Students will also be informally assessed on their disposition during collaborative work time.

What kinds of thinking will students need to do to participate in the lesson?

Students will be able to use both low order and higher order thinking in this lesson. This allows for all students to be able to enter the activity and gives them a base to begin to think more critically. In terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy, students will use remembering and applying to find their destinations, path, and applying the five themes. They will need to synthesize and analyze when putting these concepts together in their projects.

To what extent do the students have options or choices regarding these lesson components?

The students have choice in that they get to pick the areas that they are working with in the world. This allows for students to choose to use their prior academic or cultural knowledge of an area or to explore something completely new. They also get to choose with terms they are working with, again allowing students to choose something new or something familiar.


I really appreciated this lesson study in terms of how it got me to think about exactly what types of thinking my students will be doing in their lesson and what types of thinking I want my students to be engaging in generally. I am really interested in getting students to think critically and able to do higher order tasks as I believe that is one of the most important skills students today need. It was also really helpful to get input from my fellow students teachers on the lesson for parts I was unsure of or wanted to work better.

Photo Credit

Image Credit: The British Library

“[A new geographical, historical, and commercial grammar; and present state of the several kingdoms of the world … The astronomical part by James Ferguson, F.R.S., to which have been added the late discoveries of Dr. Herschel … Illustrated with a correct set of maps, engraved from the most recent observations and draughts of geographical travellers. The twentieth edition, corrected and considerably enlarged.]”

Date: 1819


AVID Lesson Study

Many juniors in high school are already dreaming of their future colleges – maybe even this one!

Image Credit: Carlton College Aerial,

For this lesson study assignment I chose to bring in a lesson I would be teaching in the classroom soon. This lesson was designed for an 11th grade AVID class. The AVID Program develops and distributes standards-driven curriculum to AVID instructors; within the constraints of this curriculum, I tried to build in opportunities for student choice and personalization of the content during the 90-minute block period.

The lesson included three segments:

  1. An Icebreaker – chance for students to team build, problem solve, and have fun together.
  2. Introduction of the College Binders – Students learn how keeping an organized binder can help them throughout their college research and application process.
  3. Binder Building – Students have time to build and organize their college binders.

At the end of the lesson, students will have created a college research binder that will grow with them throughout their junior and senior years. Students will make choices of what to include in their binders based on their interests and what elements of the college search process will be most important to them. This part of the activity is asking students to anticipate and order their needs throughout the search process, higher-level thinking!

At the end of the class, students will write a reflection on the day’s essential question: What is the importance of keeping an organized college research binder?

Reflection: It was helpful to get the input of my fellow student teachers! One classmate suggested to start the content portion of the lesson with a quick-write, asking the students what excites them about going to college, and what parts of the college search process are causing them stress. I would ask students to share these with a peer, and then ask a few students to share out with the whole class. I thought this was a great idea because I remember how stressful and daunting the college research process can be. I hope to help relieve some of that anxiety by focusing on what excites students about going to college, and that they are already taking steps towards their goal.

Mystery Maps

jDem846 Example: Winkel Tripel Projection (Winkel III)

Picture: Winkel Tripel Projection (Winkel III), Kevin Gill

Lesson Study I

  1. Intro–  9th grade World History course, 1 class
  2. Content – Students will be able to identify various map projections (Mercator, equal-area, equidistant, and Gnomic) and explain when and why each are used.  Beaverton SD target: I can demonstrate the ability to use geographic tools
  3. Process – Map Projections Lesson

*Previous lesson- discussed the definition of geography and the 5 themes of geography

  • Quick Write: How does geography shape the way you see the world? (10 minutes total)
    • Students will answer question in their notebooks
    • Share their ideas with a partner
    • Share ideas with the class
  • The teacher will give each table group of 4 various map projections (Mercator, equal-area, equidistant, and Gnomic) (15 minutes)
  • Students will complete a chart describing what they notice about each projection and questions they have (notice/wonder chart)
    • Why would each be used? When would it be beneficial to display the map in that way?
    • Can they identify the name of the projection?
    • Each group will share their findings with the class (10-15 minutes)
  • Lecture on map projections. Provide note taking sheet for students to organize the information– Kahoots quizzes throughout to check students understanding of the material covered in the lecture (20 minutes)
  • In same groups, discuss when and why each projection would be used (5 minutes)
    • Share out (10 minutes)

4. Product – They will complete a notice/wonder chart when looking at various map projections at the beginning of class. This will provide a scaffolding mechanism for them to make meaning of the mystery projections they receive. The students will also complete a note taking sheet while listening to the lecture.

5. Evaluation – They will be informally assessed on their answers on the Kahoots quiz. It will not count for points, but it is a good indication to the teacher what students are retaining. The goal is also to help keep students engaged and eager to pay attention. Students will also be informally assessed by their group work regarding the map projections. The teacher will evaluate how well students understand the material when they share their findings with the class.

6. What kinds of thinking will students need to do to participate in the lesson?  Higher Order Thinking- the mystery map projection activity allows students to discover the nuances of the map projections for themselves. They are analyzing and evaluating the projections and piecing together what they know and don’t know, in order to discover why each projection is used.

Lower Order Thinking- Students will recall information that they know about map projections already in order to explain when each projection would be used. They need to know what a map projection is and how it relates to geography.

  1. To what extent do students have options or choices regarding these lesson components? Students have the opportunity to choose which projections they would like to discuss and examine with their group. Each group will look at all of them, but students have the option to select which one they want to look at first.


Collaboration is essential in the world of education. I thoroughly enjoy bouncing ideas off of fellow educators, students, and colleagues, especially in the beginning of my career. One of the most daunting aspects of student teaching to me is lesson creation. I want my students to be engaged and want to come to class. This requires very careful planning. I sometimes feel lost trying to figure out where to start. Therefore, I really appreciated having the opportunity to have my peers review my lesson and provide feedback.

At my placement, most of the units are designed collaboratively. Teachers are assigned to Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) based on the courses they are teaching. As a team, they create units, learning targets and goals. Each teacher has the ability to change the lessons to fit their style, but they all use the same materials. I found this incredibly comforting. Everyone works together and shares ideas about how to best serve the students.