Edu 612 Reflections

Learning in the opening was a bit challenging for me at first, but I did enjoy the help from Emily and my peers. It was encouraging to have help during the process, and not just at the end of the planning. The hardest part is feeling like your information/ideas are not quite ready, but you have to let them go. It is nice to be entering them into a supportive community, and that helped me get through the process. Although I did not want to join more social media, I did enjoy Twitter, especially the live chat. I already was on facebook, and I do like the GSC page. I think Facebook is easier to use, and is more straightforward to find information on. I enjoyed reading others posts on Twitter and Facebook in relation to our class. I really do enjoy blogging. I think it is nice to have something to be able to look back on and note any changes and growth. It is a time where you take each week to reflect, or just discuss what is on your mind. I don’t think we take enough- or any- time to do that. I will continue to blog through my education at GSC and hopefully beyond. I didn’t always find myself having something amazing I wanted to say, but there was always something small that I thought of.

I believe that social media is a great tool, and we can always find help and resources on there. I do believe, however, my school and my teachers are another great tool. When I first think of PLN, I think of the people in my smaller bubble. I go to the teachers of my students, but I do need to remember that social media, the web, and books can be my guide as well. In that sense, I do need to continue to build on my own PLN.

This class brought a new wealth of knowledge into my teaching career. There are noticeable changes between unit 1 and unit 2. I believe I have grown as an educator in many ways. My students/ peers/ SP/ and this course have taught me so much, and I am thankful I moved to a new grade level to experience so much more.

Week 10

It had been a successful week as I dove into unit 2, and soon I will be wrapping it all up. I have received a ton of feedback and helpful tips. I think the biggest thing was changing the way I presented the information, and included elements that engaged my learners. It has been a huge learning curve,  but overall I feel successful through the changes I made. This round I made the content more fun for the students. I included movement, music, games, and felt as though overall the students enjoyed the variety and content.

My SP noted that it might be easier for the students to have lessons that were shorter 20-30 minutes, but because I didn’t have weeks to teach, and the schedule just didn’t allow for that now, that is something I would look to do in my own classroom. My students did really well paying attention and following through the hour we had.

After exploring digital leadership a bit more through my resource, I really found the value in it, and plan to use that resource with my students. I think all schools should implement it within the curriculum. When I asked my school about it, it is not something they are doing. I am going to share my resource with my SP, and maybe that will be something I can teach soon.



Digital Citizenship and Unit 2

As I explore the resources and outline for digital citizenship, there is a lot to include. I want to include enough information for students and for educators. I am going to base my resource on younger grades, K-2. I also found the laws for districts which were interesting to read about- because I had completely forgotten about them. This will be a good introduction for students and teachers when it is completed.

As I plan for unit 2, I am looking at my goals and trying to make sure I did my best to include different elements that I set a goal for. I am having trouble with scaffolding. The IRIS site has a module for scaffolding, so I am going to thoroughly look through that. Scaffolding is hard because you include it based on a specific content and for specific students. There isn’t one set way, which makes it difficult to try to include it correctly. I think I have a better idea overall of how to do so. This is going to be a reoccurring goal, and overtime I hope to get better at it. If anyone has any tips or examples, I would appreciate any help!

I really have enjoyed this course so far. Teaching social studies can be so much fun – it all depends on how and what you include. It  is great to be able to teach different subjects and experience many different teachers and information. I remember at the beginning of the SOE we were asked to start to integrate technology into our lesson plans. I didn’t fully understand what that meant until this course- so thank you Emily and peers. I learned about the SAMR model last course, but in this course it really stuck. It’s amazing how a different explanation and experience can model your ideas, until you finally reach that “ah ha” and understand just what you are supposed to. I now see how technology can advance students learning, and how it isn’t supposed to be just a filler. I was a little leary of the online learning experience, but I think my students will love it, and they are going to learn so much about culture and community. I wanted to include an online storybook, but I think that will be a goal for the future. I have a lot of goals for myself when I have my own classroom. I want the students to experience using an online classroom, and be able to comment on others work. I enjoyed Seesaw, and with more time, the students would be able continue to post and reflect.

My SP said one reason she enjoys having me in her class is because and I bring forward a lot of great information and ideas that she might not have thought about. ~ I keep her on her toes. It is a great feeling to be in a spot with educators who really want you to be there, and are flexible with you in their classroom.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


Unit 2

I am excited to be planning and finishing up unit 2. It has been a lot of work, and I was nervous at first to integrate an online learning experience, but it has turned out to be something I think the students will really enjoy. It may be a little challenging for some of them just because it is different, and they need to think about the information differently to be able to compare and contrast. Unit 2 includes activities I am also excited about. The students will be building their own community- town. I am excited to see the creativity that each incorporates into the project. I will include a grading rubric for this assignment. Even though I’d like this to follow more of the constructivist theory, I will be guiding them when needed and facilitating the class. I did include requirements for each student that will be included on the rubric.

When discussing digital citizenship, I like the idea of including it early and often. I think the issue will come into play with teachers who do not integrate technology as frequently as others, so some students may have gaps in their abilities and digital citizenship understanding. I believe that in my unit 1 it was definitely the first reflection (for most) that the students have done on their own work. I think many of them had difficulty just because it was something new that they hadn’t been asked to think about yet. I enjoyed using Seesaw and I would definitely use it again. It would be good for the school district to create guidelines for the teachers on technology and include a digital citizenship program so that all students go through it, and are using technology frequently. It is important because of the amount of technology we use in our lives today, and the fact that the technology will grow in the future, along with the students.

Though Flipgrid probably isn’t my favorite way to post and comment on a topic, it was nice to switch it up for a week and use something new. I liked how everyone shared different points on the topic of digital citizenship, and I thought a lot of them were very relevant and important. I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Themes of Social Studies

10 Themes of Social Studies

What I like about the 10 themes of social studies is that they all build off each other. The framework sets up the guidelines for the topics that the teachers should be teaching overtime, and the way the teachers create the lessons can be unique from class to class. Without these, there may be a much greater variety of what is chosen to be taught in each school and even each classroom.

Social Studies is so important for students to become knowledgeable citizens, but it is such a broad subject. The themes allow us, as educators and citizens, to pull apart the vital information, and see how and why we need to teach the material (as well as the students understanding why it is important). Without the themes, I probably would not know where to begin teaching my students. At that point, each school would create their own social studies program, but as a country, we need our students to be mostly learning the same topics.

The NCSS states their objective with the themes is to create, “Civic competence – the knowledge, intellectual processes, and democratic dispositions required of students to be active and engaged participants in public life” (NCSS, n.d). I believe that the themes capture this idea well.

Wants and Needs

When talking about wants and needs, it is and important introduction to more economic ideas like supply and demand. Young students should begin to understand how what you want is different than what you need. I briefly remember talking about this in grade school, and I think the teacher introduced it though Native American culture. We discussed what the needs of the Native Americans were for survival, and some of our needs and our wants. This could lead into ideas including the prices of items, budgeting money, supply and demand, the roles of producers and consumers, and the importance of consumer choice. This theme brings forward the introduction of what the economy is and does.


National Council for the Social Studies. (nd). National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: Introduction. Retrieved from

Unit 1

I finished teaching unit 1 this week. I feel very pleased with the outcome of the unit, and I am excited to start to implement the feedback and my goals into unit 2. I really enjoyed working in the first grade, and even though I asked my students to do a lot, they did really well. They were able to step up to the challenge, and I hope that they feel as accomplished as I do. In the future I will implement more scaffolding for my students that struggled, and I will make sure that I model thoroughly with plenty of examples. It is hard moving around between grade levels and students, because just when you’ve figured out their individual needs, and how much scaffolding they need, you’re on to another group. As nerve wracking as it can be, I do love being observed, because all the feedback is very helpful. I see myself growing and really starting to be on track with the lesson plans that I am creating. I feel closer to my goal, of being able to draw meaning, and a overall goal with purpose to my lesson plans. My students were able to create 2 maps with legends and symbols by the end of the unit, and understand now why being able to read a map is important. I will dig deeper into the importance of each lesson in unit 2, because I want my students to really take away from these lessons, and understand why we are learning the concepts.

A Little Message


I love exploring universal design and multiple means of representation. It has been neat to go over these strategies, and see how I am already incorporating them within my units, without having to remind myself of them. As we move into our second unit, I am feeling more confident. I am feeling like the projects included, and open ending critical thinking questions are going to help my students gain more value out of the lessons. I don’t want my students to simply recite facts, I want them to understand the what/ why and how. I felt like in the past there was too much of the beginning tiers of the Bloom’s Pyramid, and not enough using and understanding of the material. I am feeling more confident in my ability to create lessons that generate higher order and will be able to use the information and build on it. I’ve spent a lot of time planning my unit, and this week I am teaching, so I am sure I’ll be back with more to say.

A Little Message

“There’s no value in that.” – An assistant teacher and I were told that there wasn’t any value in the activity we had planned for a small group of students this week. She had the students stay back in the classroom, and not meet with us. With my time spent in special education working with an assistant teacher, along with my SP, I have noticed a couple things. Teachers treat assistants differently than certified teachers, and they don’t take your work as seriously, when the certified teacher is not going to be present during a lesson. This is not true for everyone, everywhere, but it is hard to see how people demean each other. School is supposed to be a positive community, and I will continue to make it one. Don’t be discouraged by others, because we all have. Keep trying, and value each other’s work.  Thank you to my peers and teachers for being such a positive community for me.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

I really enjoyed our week 4 post on moodle. I felt this article was thoroughly thought provoking, and it brought to mind ideas that I had been thinking about without even realizing it. I had never thought of using Bloom’s as either a ladder or a web, but I was using it as both as necessary. At times, I felt as though students would need to understand the vocabulary to move onto creating a project. But, in my previous Science course, I implemented a creation project pretty early on in my unit. What was so inspiring was how well some of the students did with this challenge. They were able to invent their own tool, without necessarily moving up every step of the Bloom’s pyramid.

Something to Think About 

What I found interesting in conversation today with one of the teachers I am working with – Mrs. C-  was the idea of students being in a higher or lower level. We were discussing the students in the class- reading and writing abilities. She gave me some helpful advice about the different students, but then I asked about their ability to think- and this relates to our conversation about Bloom’s. Mrs. C pulled completely different students out from the ones that could read and write on a higher level. Isn’t that something- I thought. As I plan my units, this now opens another door. The students who understand the material on a higher level may not be the ones who need the higher level thinking questions. And some of the lower level students can take that push from the top of the Bloom’s pyramid. This brings forth a whole new side to my planning moving into unit 2. I need to look that the students who can bring their out of the box ideas and help others who may be struggling. I encourage others in this course to ask the same types of questions, because you too may be surprised at the students abilities, and it is very hard to capture it all in your pre-assessment.





Social Studies Standards- Making it Fun

Taking away from the readings this week, I like the idea and value the importance of using images to help students understand text. I found that having the students use an image to interpret meaning or form their own understanding can be beneficial for helping them think differently. Like the article by Vitulli and Santolli (2013) states, there isn’t always a right or wrong answer. When we look at artwork, it becomes clear that there are many possibilities, and we don’t necessarily know what the artist was thinking, unless it was specifically stated. It’s important for students to create their own ideas, and not always search for what they think the right idea is.

Students may look at a picture within a social studies text and form their own ideas about what the people within the photo were thinking, or what may have been happening during that time period. I think it would be good to take away the captions, and have the student use their imaginations, and critical thinking skills.

The standards designed by the NCSS try to include what they think is important and the students should know to become well educated and informed citizens. I was nice to read that they consider the stories of all groups of people, and what they believe is important and their culture and should be taught. I like that the standards can be addressed in different ways and can be paired with other standards to be taught. Just like it was stated in the video this week- you don’t have to use your math block to just teach math. More standards from other groups can be included so that the lesson covers across the board. The 5 strands of social studies standards help educators identify what is important or required that the students learn in each grade level. I think that when explained, the 10 themes do make sense, but for me, they were more complicated to understand. It can be hard to figure out where your lesson falls directly into the themes, but with practice, it will get easier. I think that these are all important as a guideline for educators. What was really amazing was all the educators take the idea of one message within a book, and find multiple different standards to fit their lesson under. This proves that although there is a guideline, there is a lot of flexibility with the way you create your lessons. What’s even better- educators are going to take a bit of their own knowledge as citizens and fill in the pinholes between parts of a lesson. Their students will be learning the important pieces educators don’t want to leave out, or wished they had learned.

I found an article online that I wanted to share because it had great tips in it that we were already reading about in our class readings. -

Taking the standards and teaching them in various ways is going to make your lessons interesting. There are a variety of hands-on ways the students can learn about wars, the native Americans, the earth- we don’t need to read textbooks and take notes all week long. I had a terrible experience in 8th social studies class that I became a bit sour to it. Teaching has opened my eyes to all the ways material can be taught. The best part is, you don’t need to follow someone else’s plan. If you don’t like it, mix it up!

Using word walls or games to help students better understand vocabulary is so important. Students should have to struggle over words or stress to remember them. Teachers can help their students remember the important terms for the lessons.

Artwork becomes an open door for students to find meanings in paintings/ drawings ect, but even looking at people helps them to understand what the time period may have been like. What did they dress like? Do they look happy? Is their family with them? What are they doing? What do they have with them? There are so many questions students can ask themselves and imagine the answers to or infer about different questions. This leads to critical thinking…

I love the idea of re-enactment of major ideas being taught. We want our students to remember the importance of the content and take away from it. What better way is to do that then to have them re-enact the material in a way that they create.

I’ve found that the Common Core standards are slightly more rigid than the Social Studies standards and the Art standards, but it is nice to have a bit of freedom with what is taught and how it is taught.


Anneburg Foundation, (2017). Applying Themes and Disciplines. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Checkley, K. (2008). The Essentials of Social Studies, Grades K-8 : Effective Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.

Vitulli, P., & Pitts Santolli, S. (2013). Visual Arts and Social Studies: Powerful Partners in Promoting Critical Thinking Skills. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from

Watson, A. (2018, May 18). 15 ways to make elementary social studies lessons more exciting. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from

Lesson Planning

As I plan my lessons for this first unit, I am challenged with finding activities for younger students. Last quarter I taught in the 5th grade, and you do not have to think about if the students can read easily to follow instructions, or provide ample written responses. I haven’t yet taught younger than 4th grade, and I am coming across so many fun and different ways to implement the lesson plans. I am excited to try some of the ideas I am coming across, and find out how successful they are. I would love to find a way to include a growth mindset activity into my lesson plans for this course.

My SP stated that warm ups are, “Important because they prevent the regression of basic skills.” They can use used a time to practice skills that students a. need to work on, and b. need to review.

Last night at the student success meeting, we were briefly discussing scaffolding for vocabulary, and including a warm-up in the lesson plans. A “do now” is often something that I forget about including, so I wanted to research the importance of one, because I guess I never really understood why they matter.

I pulled out some key points- students can reflect on the previous day’s lesson, and can provide a review for their peers. Teachers can use this time for recall skills, or even a to assess the level of understanding with the class. It is important to be involved, so that the students aren’t wasting the time, and understand that it is an important part of class.

Feel free to comment with any activities you love to use with younger students, I am interested to hear.