Class 2: Three Keys to Student Engagement

Three keys to student engagement

Today’s class will focus on the subject of student engagement. We’ll use a presentation and a few activities to demonstrate how higher order thinking tasks, opportunities for student choice and fostering student reflection can both enhance student engagement and create deeper learning.  Three Keys handout 1.5MB pdf

We will also log into new WordPress accounts and give students the chance to introduce themselves in a visual essay in response to a poem.

Assignment 2

See completed student assignment 2 here

Here’s your chance to demonstrate the role of thinking task, choice and reflection. Read Where I’m From, below and create a blog post that uses words and images to describe “where you’re from.” Don’t feel you have to take the prompt literally – what other descriptors tell us about your roots?

Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded —
leaf-fall from the family tree.

Header image credit Adobe Spark

Class 4: Peer Review

First Women Jury ~ Los Angeles 1911
First Women Jury ~ Los Angeles 1911

Peer Review

Last week’s class introduced key elements of lesson design and assigned Lesson Study.  This week we are going to conduct two peer reviews of each lesson study, before it gets “turned in.” This models the student centered approach – with your peers sharing their higher-ordered review of your work – analyzing and evaluating it’s content. Following their feedback, you get to reflect on your work before turning it in.

We’ll manage the lesson study peer review  this way:

  1. You should bring in 3 copies of your 1st draft. (two to share and to one keep your notes on).
  2. You will be randomly put in the first peer review paring
  3. Meet and greet: exchange a quick 1 min intro to your lesson study – grade, subject, scope (one class lesson or a larger unit?)
  4. Exchange written drafts and study for 3 mins. Mark up your copy if you see typos or want to add suggestions. Develop 3 questions  you will ask for clarification.
  5. Student A questions B. Student B responds 3 mins
  6. Discussion / Brainstorming / B takes notes to captures modifications 3 mins
  7. Reverse roles with Student A’s work under review
  8. This should take us about 20 minutes to review each other’s work. You will then be assigned to another student to repeat the peer review process

After everyone has completed two reviews you will then have about 20-30 minutes to make revisions to your lesson study. (A good time to talk to the instructor as well).

When the peer review process is completed we will preview our next topic (and major component of the class) Historical Thinking.

Students will compare two source videos from this lesson “How to Read Documentary Films

Written Assignment for Class 5:  Submit lesson study as blog post

Students will turn in their revised Lesson Study assignment as a post on this blog by 10 PM Fri Sept 23rd. See finished student work here.

It should include:

  1. Your lesson study.
  2. A personal reflection on what they learned in developing their first lesson study and participating in the peer review process.
  3. Each post should also have a historic photograph (public domain with citation) that matches the theme or subject of their lesson study. You may want to view this video tutorial Using Advanced Google Search to find public domain content.
Reading / Designing assignment for Class 5 on historical thinking
  1. Watch this video: I’ve used the TEDEd flipped lesson feature to curate a existing YouTube and turn it into a lesson to support next week’s class on historical thinking: Who is the historian in your classroom? Another way to flip a class.
  2. Read short online article Thinking Like a Historian By Sam Wineburg

Image Credit: First woman jury,  Los Angeles  (November 1911)
The Library of Congress Call Number: LC-B2- 2354-15
Notes: Photo shows the first all-woman jury in California who acquitted the editor of the Watts News of printing indecent language, on Nov. 2, 1911.

Class 1: Teachers

Timken Roller Bearing Co., calendar, September 1950, teacher at desk


As an ice breaker, I’ll give students an activity to design a great history teacher-  a variation of “Tool 13: Brainstorm, Group, Label” from my Literacy Strategies Tool Kit (free PDF)

  • Ask them to brainstorm all the words or phrases they can associate with “a great history teacher.”
  • Give them Post-Its and asked them to write one associated word or phrase on each sheet.
  • Put them in groups and ask them to share their Post-its and thinking. Then design an illustration that captured their collective thinking. And be prepared to share that with the class.
  • Working in fours synthesize their individual brainstorming into a collective vision on large paper, then take turns sharing and responding to questions.

I’m giving my students a copy of my 1971 student teaching evaluation (2 page pdf) Quite a relic – Why did I save it?  We’ll examine it as an historic document with a critical eye for answering a number of questions: Who created it and why? Historic context? Point-of-view? What could we learn from it? What other sources might we need to collaborate?

We will explore what it tells us about NYS teacher preparation programs in 1971.



  1. Snapshot of a Modern Learner Mike Fisher in SmartBlog on Education
  2. The Reflective Student: A Taxonomy of Reflection (Part 2) Peter Pappas in Copy / Paste

Think about “Santos” from Snapshot of a Modern Learner

  • What do you know about him?
  • How does he best learn?
  • How should he be taught?

Reflect about yourself as a learner. Use the same 3 prompts we used with Santos. Create a brief “selfie” of yourself as a learner that you can share with a classmate in our next session.

  1. It does not need to use an edtech perspective (as Santos’s snapshot did), unless that’s how you learn.
  2. It’s not actually a selfie. But, like Santos – it’s a Snapshot of a Learner – You
  3. It can take any form you choose – written narrative, cartoon, diagram, Powerpoint, Webcam video, Pinterest. (it doesn’t have to be digital). Think about “Reflective reading” above. That’s why I’m letting you choose the product format.  
  4. It  should be something you can share with a classmate at our next class. Key point to consider – Will make sense to someone else without you having to explain it?

In class 2 you will share your “learner selfie” and we’ll take it from there.

Based on edTPA

HSS2: How does the candidate use knowledge of his/her students to target support for students to develop understandings of facts, concepts, and interpretations or analyses to build arguments about historical events, a topic/theme, or social studies phenomenon?

HSS3: How does the candidate use knowledge of his/her students to justify instructional plans?

Image credit: George Eastman House
Timken Roller Bearing Co., calendar, September 1950, teacher at desk
Accession Number: 1976:0240:0019
Maker: Victor Keppler (1904-1987)
Date: Dec-1948

Class 2: The Lesson

Three key elements of student engagement
This week we take our first look at instructional design. The class begins by addressing key elements of lesson design :

  1. Higher-order thinking
  2. Student choice and reflection
  3. Effective classroom strategies

This  portion of the class lesson includes three major elements:

  • Practical examples of Bloom’s taxonomy in the form of sample exercises and questions. They are used to anchor a conversation on Bloom in action.
  • How student choice can impact key lesson elements – content, process, product, evaluation.
  • Demonstrate a student-centered approach to a teacher presentation as a way to foster reflection (instead of listening to a straight lecture on the subject)

The lesson is driven by a Keynote presentation Week 2-15 Handout 2.5MB pdf.

We will use an audience response system to gather student input. The lesson includes multiple activities that illustrate the content. Student will be led through discussing their reactions to the activities to connect them to the content. This lesson will serve as a kick off to their first assignment to write and share a Lesson Study.

key lesson components


Later in the class we will share the learner selfie assigned in class 1.

Written assignment for Class 3:

Lesson Study I is due next week.

The goal of this assignment is two-fold. First, to offer supportive feedback on your lesson development through a peer review process. Second, to offer some “lenses to look through” that help you easily see the essentials of a lesson. This perspective should be useful when you later craft your edTPA commentary.

This is not some exercise for the benefit of your instructor. This should be a process that works for you. So feel free to modify to meet your particulars. Use a scale that works for you – focus on just a small segment of a larger unit, or look at the entire unit. Don’t like Bloom? Use another schema to discuss the kinds of thinking that your students will need to successfully complete the assignment

Lesson Study assignment  47kb pdf
Lesson Study Sample 51kb pdf