Sample EDUC 5153 Learning Plan
My learning activities are for kindergarten students, ages 5-7 years, with the learning target compose and decompose the number 5. This objective correlates with Oklahoma Academic Standard K.N.2.1: compose and decompose numbers up to 10 with objects and pictures. At the end of each activity, students should understand that there is more than one way to put together and take apart the number 5.
Learning Activity 1
The information processing family activity uses the concept attainment model. The following supplies will be needed: a projector and computer, a digital collection of data sets, a white board or paper, markers, and math manipulatives for the students. To begin, I will project an image of an exemplar for composing the number 5. The exemplars will be of items such as 2 black dogs and 3 brown dogs. Then, in a column beside the exemplar, I will project a non-exemplar such as 2 black dogs and 2 brown dogs. I will ask students what they notice so far and what they might think my idea is for the exemplars. I will record their answers. This will continue as I introduce data sets until we have 5 in each category. Next, I will re-read all the student hypotheses and ask the class if they still think these hypotheses work. I will record their thinking by marking off any ideas that have been proven false and writing any new thoughts. In the next phase, I will show images that have not been labeled and I will ask the class if it is an exemplar. We will use their hypotheses to determine placement and then refine their hypotheses as needed. In the last step, I will ask the students to use math manipulatives to create their own exemplar. If they have attained the concept, students should be able to use a manipulative to show me a way to make a group of 5.
Learning Activity 2
The social family activity uses the cooperative learning model. Students will work with a partner to play a game composing the number 5 with the goal of finding all possible ways to compose the number. The following supplies will be needed for each pair: 5 red and yellow two-sided math counters, a small cup, a red crayon, a yellow crayon, 1 recording page. Before students play the game, I will model the procedure. Once they are working independently, they will take turns putting the 2-colored counters into the cup, shaking it, and then dumping the counters out. The partners will discuss what they see: 2 yellow counters and 3 red, or 1 yellow and 4 red, and so on. The partner who dumped the counters will record their counters on the recording page by using the crayons to draw the counters. When the partners have found all the ways to compose 5, they will have completed the learning task.
Learning Activity 3
The third activity, direct instruction, comes from the behavioral systems family. Supplies needed for this activity are: projector and interactive whiteboard or dry erase board, manipulatives for the teacher and students, prepared problems to model solving as well as problems for structured, guided, and independent practice. To activate prior knowledge, we will play a counting game. Next I will describe the learning target for the lesson. I will begin the presentation by stating that all numbers can be broken into smaller groups called parts and put back together to make the whole. Using the projector and images of groups like 2 cats and 3 dogs, I will model saying, “5 pets is the whole number, the parts are 2 cats and 3 dogs.” I will model multiple times with images and also with students (5 students, 4 boys, 1 girl) or manipulatives (5 cubes, 1 red, 4 yellow). After modeling and checking for understanding, we move to structured practice and students will tell the parts and the whole. The examples for structured practice will be the same method as the presentation. For guided practice, students will be given a paper with images that are groups of 5 with clear parts, such as dogs and cats. They will identify the parts by writing the correct number for each group. While they are working, I will observe and provide assistance as needed. After guided practice, we will close the lesson by identifying parts that are in the number 5. Independent practice will occur during learning centers over the next few weeks, until students demonstrate mastery.
The concept attainment model was developed by Jerome Bruner and was first described in A Study of Thinking. Bruner’s research showed that humans naturally look for patterns and sort information into categories to gain understanding (Silver, Strong, & Perini, 2007). The concept attainment model uses this natural human instinct to inductively teach a concept.
This model requires extensive planning and preparation before the activity. The teacher must have a clear understanding of the concept and choose data sets that communicate the attributes. Once the lesson begins, the teacher takes the role of recorder for student thinking. Students analyze the exemplars and non-exemplars, looking for shared attributes and developing hypotheses about the concept linking the exemplars. As the teacher presents more data sets, students test their hypotheses, making changes as needed. Once students begin to show understanding through their thinking, the teacher invites them to classify unlabeled data and further refine their hypotheses. In the end, students create their own exemplars, showing they have attained the concept. It is critical that the teacher leads the students to examine their own thinking at the conclusion of the lesson. This is the step that leads students to metacognition.
Technology could be utilized in a variety of ways. Use of a projector and computer could allow for projecting of data sets, making it easier for all students to see. Digital data sets could also be easier to prepare. A tablet or computer could be used to record students’ hypotheses and thinking and then projected to allow everyone to see for discussion. Older students could use the tablets or computers to record their own thinking and perhaps even discuss the hypotheses through an app like Google Classroom. Technology would also allow teachers to share information on the lesson and concept being taught with parents via email or a communication app.
Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2015) mention several advantages to concept attainment. First, students are instructed on a specific concept and learn the attributes that apply to that concept. It also gives students experience with inductive reasoning. Concept attainment also provides teachers with insight into student thinking and understanding. The authors also state that this model nurtures a tolerance for ambiguity and awareness of other perspectives.
Joyce et al. state, “The concept attainment model may be used with children of all ages and grade levels” (p. 142). With adaptations, all students can benefit. ELL students may need vocabulary instruction when looking at the exemplars. Students with visual impairments may need to have a printed visual of the exemplars or sit closest to the display. Students with hearing impairments can benefit from use of a classroom microphone or amplification system. Students who are more advanced can begin to assist with the creation of data units.
Data retrieved from the concept attainment model will be qualitative. As the students discuss the attributes of the exemplars and share their thinking, the teacher will be able to gain insight into their understanding and possible misconceptions. The end of phase 2, when students create their own exemplars, serves as a formative assessment that informs the teacher which students need further guidance and practice with exemplars.
Cooperative learning is based on the theory of social interdependence. The theory was created in the early 1900’s but was expanded by Morton Deutsch in the 1940’s, and this expansion serves as the basis for cooperative learning (Johnson & Johnson, paragraph 7). Deutsch’s theory includes three types of interdependence; positive interdependence leads to positive interactions, negative interdependence leads to conflicting interactions, and no interdependence has no interactions. When this theory is applied to education, there are four types of cooperative learning: formal, informal, cooperative base groups, and cooperative schools (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2015).
The process for cooperative learning varies depending on the type being used. Since my learning activity utilizes formal, we will focus on that. Before the lesson or activity, the teacher will need to determine the instructional and social goals. These goals will determine the type of cooperative activity used. The teacher will need to prepare the learning space and learning supplies to be conducive to cooperative learning. Once the lesson begins, the teacher will need to clearly state the educational and social goals as well as the roles of the group members, ensuring they realize it is a cooperative activity and they will need to work together. While the groups are completing their tasks, the teacher will observe and assist with both educational or social issues that the groups may be experiencing. Students will all be actively involved in the tasks, each assuming responsibilities in meeting the learning goal.
Technology can easily be incorporated in cooperative learning, but the type of technology will vary with each learning activity. It could be as simple as students reflecting on their learning activity or completing a project on a computer to be shared with group members or teachers and parents. Apps like Seesaw or Google Classroom can be utilized to allow for easier sharing. Google Classroom can also be used to let students collaborate digitally, or for the teacher to create a digital assignment.
According to Johnson and Johnson (“What is Cooperative Learning?”), cooperative learning benefits students in a multitude of ways. Their literature review found that cooperation promotes greater effort to achieve when compared with competition or individual work. They also found cooperation promotes greater social support, which leads to students who are better able to interact with their peers. Cooperation also promotes higher level reasoning more than competition or individual work. Joyce et al. (2015) also note that research shows cooperative learning leads to greater mastery of material.
Cooperative learning is especially useful for students who may need modifications. Joyce et al. (2015) state “the shared responsibility and interaction…results in better self-images for students with histories of poor achievement” (p.234). ELL students and students with learning disabilities can benefit from a peer tutoring cooperative activity. Students who are in mixed ability cooperative groups will experience the success of the group as all members do their part to complete the tasks, leading to improved confidence, motivation, and self-esteem. Gifted students are challenged academically through cooperative projects, as cooperative does not mean less effort is required. The activity can also be adapted to meet the needs of gifted or advanced students. All students will benefit from the added focus on social skills.
Data collected from cooperative learning will be qualitative. As students are working, teachers are observing or assisting which allows them to note students’ understanding of the learning goals as well as the students’ ability to work with others. This can be used to remediate or extend both academic content and social skills as needed. If possible, teachers should pre-test the content and then post-test after the group work. This will allow teachers to collect quantitative data to measure growth.
According to Joyce et al. (2015), Direct instruction has a theoretical origin in the behavior family and is particularly related to behavioral psychologists. The application of behavioral psychology to education results in an emphasis on defining the learning goals and breaking down the learning tasks into smaller pieces to be mastered in sequence. The goals of direct instruction are increased learning time and increased independence when working on learning goals.
Direct instruction is a highly structured model. Prior to the lesson, the teacher must determine the skill to master and identify each step required for mastery. The teacher then creates a problem or scenario to model and explain each step. The teacher must also create guided practice problems for the students to practice each step and create a plan for continued practice. Once the lesson begins, the teacher activates prior knowledge, then the teacher models as well as orally explains the new information. It is vital that the teacher keep students engaged through effective questioning; this also gives the teacher formative assessment information on student understanding. After the presentation, the teacher guides the students through structured practice, providing feedback and making corrections as needed. Guided practice follows, where the students work more independently to put their new knowledge to use. Again the teacher must observe and provide feedback. Students will continue to practice the skills to mastery at a more independent level after the conclusion of the lesson.
Technology can be used to assist the teacher with the presentation and structured practice. A computer and projector would allow for all students to see the modeling clearly. An interactive whiteboard would also allow for students to easily participate during structured practice. Individual whiteboard or tablets with an app like Google Classroom or Seesaw would allow students to each practice the skill and share it with the teacher to immediate feedback during guided practice. Independent practice could also be done using Seesaw or Google Classroom so that the teacher can easily continue to monitor student success during practice.
According to Joyce et al. (2015) as well as Silver et al. (2007), research shows that teachers who spend more time demonstrating and explaining new material and new skills are more effective. Direct instruction creates the environment and lesson format that allows teachers to take that time. Silver et al. (2007) also state that direct instruction is ideal for introducing new skills or information. It also has a proven record of getting consistent results (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2015). Direct instruction leads to mastery of academic content and student motivation.
Research shows that direct instruction is effective for both ELL students and students with learning disabilities (Kinder, Kubina, & Marchand-Martella, 2005; Linan-Thompson, & Vaughn, n.d.). For gifted and talented students, teachers will need to provide practice that asks the students to extend their thinking to a deeper level or take the skill to the next level.
Data collected during direct instruction lessons and subsequent practice can be both qualitative and quantitative. During the structured practice, the teacher will be able to get qualitative data on the students’ thoughts and understanding of the skills. During guided practice the teacher will continue to note observational data as well as getting quantitative data on the success rates of the students. This data will guide the teacher in determining mastery before moving students to independent practice.
Each teaching model discussed has a solid research-based background to support their use in a classroom. However, the teacher must always evaluate the success of a lesson. Both during and after the lesson, the teacher should be noting student understanding while also being aware of which aspects of the lesson are not leading to student learning. Both of these evaluations will lead to modifications in future lessons.
When I taught the concept attainment activity with my students, I learned that my data sets led students toward hypotheses based on number of legs, or animals, or living and not living. It was very difficult to guide them towards noticing the number of items in each set. When I evaluated my teaching I noted that I need more practice teaching in this method to feel more comfortable. I taught cooperative learning in conjunction with direct instruction; I found that the two teaching models worked together naturally. I began with the direct instruction piece, which I am comfortable with since our math curriculum is written in a very similar format. I noted that my students were engaged and answered the questions I posed. Afterwards, I reflected that I should be more intentional with the types of questions I am using. The cooperative learning activity became a practice activity following the direct instruction. I observed the majority of my students were able to successfully work together toward the shared learning goal. I was able to see which students needed extra support with the math skills as well as the social skills. I determined some students needed to switch partners for future cooperative learning and I needed to coach a few students on how to work together appropriately. I will continue to use these models, making modifications based on my post-teaching evaluations.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (n.d.). What is cooperative learning? Retrieved November
15, 2018, from http://www.co-operation.org/what-is-cooperative-learning/
Joyce, B. R., Marsha, W., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of teaching (9th ed.). Boston, MA:
Kinder, D., Kubina, R., & Marchand-Martella, N. E. (2005). Special education and direct
instruction: An effective combination. Journal of Direct Instruction, 5(1), 1-36.
Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (2007). The strategic teacher selecting the right
research-based strategy for every lesson. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Linan-Thompson, S., & Vaughn, S. (n.d.). Chapter 1. Research-based practices for English
language learners. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from