Principle P

P – Practice effective teaching: inquiry, planning, instruction & assessment.

To demonstrate a positive impact on student learning, teacher-candidates…

P1 – Practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction.  Teacher-candidates plan and/or adapt standards-based curricula that are personalized to
the diverse needs of each student.

P2 – Practice differentiated instruction.  Teacher-candidates apply principles of differentiated instruction, including theories of language acquisition, stages of language, and academic language  development, in the integration of subject matter across the content areas of reading, mathematical, scientific, and aesthetic reasoning.

P3 – Practice standards-based assessment.  Teacher-candidates use standards-based assessment that is systematically analyzed using multiple formative, summative, and self-assessment strategies to monitor and improve instruction.

P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction.  Teacher-candidates use technology that is effectively integrated to create
technologically proficient learners.

My Understanding of Principle P

Principle P is the craft and creative toil that is teaching.  It is the continual asking:  “how can I make x more clear to student y"?”  It is the rehearsing of a day lesson in the car on the way to work.  It is the triaging at the end of the day what went well, and what didn’t go so well, and brainstorming ways to make the next day better.

Principle P is how that inert content of Principle O is brought to life, so that it can inspire young minds.  It is about assessing, constantly, continuously, consistently, courteously and courageously how a student is doing, are they “getting it” and if not, what can be done.

Principle P is about using the best tools of our society to elucidate what a topic means, or how today’s lesson is applied in the real world.  It is about motivating inquiry, and pointing where a chain of reasoning or intellectual pursuit may lead.

Principle P is about the horizon, where we are headed in a class, in a unit, in a lesson, but not missing that there are concrete steps we take today to get there.  Those steps are Principle O, the basics, the minimal path, but Principle P is about looking up know and then, taking stock, correcting our heading and then setting out again for temporarily distant points of comprehension and mastery.

Meta-Reflection on Principle P

Providing STEM support in my school has been a challenge.  My assignment this past year, during my internship, has been to facilitate and arrange encounters of students with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  My hypothesis for the year has been to engage students on those topics in the context of their learning plans, and I have been minimally successful.

Although my time in a traditional classroom has been limited, I believe I have grown in Principle P both through my few traditional classrooms and through my other contexts of interaction with students.  Examples of these other contexts of interaction were:

  • individual consultation with students on their learning plans
  • video/filming sessions with students on topics of interest
  • e-mail, text or chat-based consultations
  • webex.com virtual meetings
  • coaching students on Khan Academy topics they should try
  • working with multiple students two days a week as a mentor
  • etc. etc.

In one sense Big Picture High School runs on differentiated instruction (P2), in that it caters to the learner, caters to interests, and keeps track of accommodations that can be made, to name a few.  Inherent to that differentiated instruction has been my approach has been to use technology extensively (P4) to keep track of students or to help inform their learning plans.

Finally in the world of the traditional model, I submit work I completed for my classroom experience for evidence of planning and inquiry (P1) and assessment (P3).

Seeing where those crossover between those techniques between the traditional and non-traditional models has been a very stimulating part of this internship and thus my growth this year as a teacher.

Artifacts of Student Impact

By using an EOC (End-Of-Course) Exam as a model I was able to correlate to topics in Khan Academy that students could use on their own to prepare for these tests that are required for graduation in the State of Washington.

At right is a document I did analyzing the questions, and then some e-mail between me and a student where I advise him on topics he should check out on Khan Academy. (P1)

Math EOC Correlation to Khan Academy


One student took on a project of helping re-design a class web-site for her professor at Highline Community College.  I am submitting this as student evidence of differentiated instruction (P2).  When the student was having difficulty with the web-development tools, and with concepts of web-page design and web-page publishing.  I created a virtual meeting using webex.com and was able to help her past some initial hurdles.  In a second virtual meeting she was able to demonstrate increased proficiency with the tools, thanks to my “instruction” and some help from other experts at HCC.  Evidence at right is a picture of the new page as well as a page that wasn’t updated, but which shows the style similar to that of the old page.  New Web Page

Old-Style Web Page

As evidence of standards-based assessment (P3), I have a clip at the right of me going over the results of a short quiz with 7th graders in the lesson segment I taught on fractions, percents and decimals.

The students performed pretty well on the quiz, but I learned that too long a gap (in days) between the lesson and the quiz does not help results.

For details on a similar quiz that was administered see the PDF Portfolio below.

[NOTE: video is marked private if you need/want access please ask!]
Example of student activity around differentiation (P2).  In this case a student’s activity on Khan Academy for input back into his learning plan.  From what a student has studied, and where they have struggled we get a good determination of what that student should spend more time on and what else they should be covering.

This is also application of technology since the ability to view a student’s activity and then analyze it is enabled by technology (P4), by a student using a tool such as Khan Academy and by a teacher being able to support the student as a “Coach” using that feature on Khan Academy.

I have been working with one student V.C. to help him clarify his interests in the area of ecofriendly businesses.  He wants to do something in that area for his Senior Thesis Project (STP), and he is currently a Junior.

At the right are some comments I have put into his Google Document.  My promptings at left to define his terms or research his hunches I categorize as differentiated instruction (P2).  The challenge is getting this student to interact with this information without scaffolding from me.


Another student I have been mentoring has also been in my digital gaming elective, and is a video game enthusiast.  As part of the digital gaming elective, I asked students to create a video gaming journal and asked them to try games they might not initially like, but which are popular.  I then asked them to rate the games after playing them and then report out to us.

This student’s journal was based on a similar one that I had started and done to try and be a model of inquiry-based learning.  I would classify this exercise as planning for inquiry and instruction (P1).

In the CSI Elective, I used a plugin for Microsoft PowerPoint called Mouse Mischief.  This plugin allows multiple mice to be attached to the computer, which allows students to give feedback to a question that is projected in a slide in PowerPoint.  Is submit this video clip as evidence of using technology effectively in instruction (P4).

I used this PowerPoint presentation to do a formative assessment across the class on the types of fingerprints that we had covered in class.  At the right is a screenshot of a slide from the PowerPoint with two mouse pointers, and a fingerprint.  The students would compete by clicking on the answer (the big green number).

I found these sessions very rewarding and effective for gauging who had gained competency on the objectives for that day, i.e. naming a fingerprint.  In the future, I think this method has a lot of promise for large or small group work, and especially for formative assessments.  The one drawback of this method is students that need more think time find it hard to resist clicking another answer just to follow the crowd.  The crowd, however, is not always right, or even close.  This technology has its limitations, but it does have its advantages too.

[NOTE: video is marked private if you need/want access please ask!]



Artifacts of Teacher Behavior

As evidence of inquiry and planning for instruction, I refer to lesson plans already linked under Principle O  
The rest of my work for the TPA (planning was in Principle O) involves teaching, inquiry, assessment and reflection.  Here are the links to my TPA documents which illustrate P1, P2, P3.

Overall I think the TPA process was very valuable in providing insight into my teaching practice.  The work was exhausting, but worth the reflection.  I think I could improve my assessment and academic language efforts considerably, which is one thing I take from the TPA exercise.

TPA Video Playlist




In EDU6172 at SPU, we were asked to do a “dry-run” of TPA Task 3.  As evidence of teacher behaviors around standards-based assessment (P3), I submit the following PDF Portfolio.  The Portfolio includes 3 work samples from students, teacher feedback on those samples, and assessment commentary documents from the 7th Grade Math classes that I taught on graphs and slope of lines.

What I learned from this exercise was the disconnect that had developed for many students between the POGIL-based group work and the quizzes.  The material had either not made an impact, or there was too much time between the teaching and the assessing.

Some evidence of teacher behavior around differentiating instruction (P2) might also be consider the recommending of courses to students which they may be interested in attending over the summer.  Here’s the flyer I sent to some students about summer school classes.

Many schools that work with high-risk students have found that extending the school day and extending the school year are essential for improving student performance.

One student that I have been mentoring has actually registered for one of these courses.

I set up the SAT Prep Course to have an account on Classpager.com.  That allowed me or any other teacher doing a part of the course to send text messages to students or to conduct polls.  Here’s a sample of some broadcast messages that I sent to the students as well as a poll questions with some students responding, and those responses in a pie chart.

I learned this year that alternative communication channels will be much more effective with this generation of students.  Email is no longer king to them, even though it still reigns supreme in the business world.  I was torn at times between wanting to bring them up-to-date on their email skills or using SMS/Text messaging to build a bridge to them.  I think this was effective for some things and not for others.

During the SAT Prep Course I also had opportunity to try out PollEverywhere.com.  Using this tool I was able to create a “Poll” that would collect answers to all the questions from a sample SAT test that I was going to be used in class that day.

This technology came in handy during the class and also was good at producing student engagement.  As evidence of that I performed an action research project for another graduate class on this SAT Prep Course.  My question was if an ARS (audience response system) had any impact on the student’s perceived math self-efficacy.  My preliminary results from this research project is that the ARS sessions of the SAT Prep Course had on average a higher or at least an increase in self-efficacy.  For more details see my paper (currently in progress, should be final on 6/6/2012).

I should note that it took some interesting preparation to get this all to work, I learned for instance how to do timings on slides in PowerPoint to precisely control what the students were seeing at any given time (and so I could close the Poll at the right time) and I also learned how to create a larger scale poll in PollEverywhere.

At the right is one sample page from the SAT handout (Copyright College Board, The Official Study Guide to the SAT, 1st Edition).  Note the numbers I had to type next to the multiple choices, and the phone number at the bottom which enables the students to participate via their cell phones.

What a student would see coming to the poll via web page

What the teacher sees, after answers are submitted.


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