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LSC596Scanlon_Portfolio: RIPTS 5


Standard 5.  Teachers create instructional opportunities to encourage all students’ development of critical thinking, problem solving, performance skills, and literacy across content areas. 

5.1  design lessons that extend beyond factual recall and challenge students to develop higher level cognitive skills 
5.2  pose questions that encourage students to view, analyze, and interpret ideas from multiple perspectives 
5.3  make instructional decisions about when to provide information, when to clarify, when to pose a question, and when to let a student struggle to try to solve a problem  
5.4  engage students in generating knowledge, testing hypotheses, and exploring methods of inquiry and standards of evidence 
5.5  use tasks that engage students in exploration, discovery, and hands-on activities 

Artifact #1: Coding

Artifact #1: elementary school lessons, website links


Coding lessons are taught in the library about once a month in all grades (K-5) using the curriculum provided by  The coding lessons are assigned per grade level with modules designed to be fun and engaging.  Courses progress over 15 lessons and include online, unplugged non-computer activities, and digital citizenship lessons.  Students learn computational thinking, problem solving, programming concepts and digital citizenship throughout each grade level course.


How artifact demonstrates meeting the standard:

This artifact demonstrates meeting standard 5 because all students are using critical thinking and problem-solving skills to complete each coding module lesson.  Students also learn perseverance through the coding lessons because locating a problem and solving it is part of the coding process, referred to as de-bugging.  Students are fully engaged during their coding lessons and often choose to continue coding after their lessons are complete.  The students also thoroughly enjoy the hands-on unplugged non-computer coding activities, such as cup stacking and airplane making algorithms. 


Why I chose this artifact:

I chose this artifact to demonstrate mastery of standard 5 because coding lessons are one of the best activities to showcase problem-solving skills.  Solving problems in the written/block code (de-bugging) is a large part of learning to program.  The problem-solving and critical thinking skills students learn during their coding lessons are extremely beneficial and will carry over to other areas in their education, such as in math and science.

I also love how the coding lessons offer many collaborative opportunities amongst students in each class, but also with older-younger peer relationships.  The kindergarten classes have coding buddies from 3rd-5th grade who offer support during their coding lessons.  The collaborative skills all students gain by working together through problem-solving coding activities is a wonderful experience for all.

Artifact #2: Wolf Lesson & CT Observation

Artifact #2: Wolf Lesson and CT observation comments


A multi-leveled wolf unit was taught to all grades K-5 over a period of a few weeks to take advantage of a wolf kit I borrowed from the International Wolf Center (IWC) in Minnesota.  Specifically for grades 3-5, I had students fill out a KWL chart to keep track of their learning progression through the unit study.  First, students shared facts they knew already about wolves and their wonders.  In grades K-2, we verbally went through what they already knew and their wonders about wolves to get us started.  Students then had the great opportunity to touch and compare the items in the IWC kit, including a wolf pelt, coyote skull, wolf skull, deer leg, deer antler, deer jaw, moose jaw, beaver skull, a wolf tracking collar, etc.  Each item allowed great questioning and wondering opportunities for all. 


The second week’s wolf unit continued with grades K-2 exploring more of the wolf kit items and reading a nonfiction book focusing more on the predator/prey and food web connection.  With grades 3-5, I gave students an inside look into my personal experience studying wolves in Yellowstone National Park with a Google slides presentation.  Students viewed pictures I took of a wolf den, the acclimation pens where they kept the reintroduced wolves, and viewed scientific data from the reintroduction process.  Through this lesson, students were able to add knowledge to their learned column in their KWL charts. 


In the final week, I read the book, The Wolves are Back by Jean Craighead George.  This read-aloud gave students the opportunity to ask great analytical questions and think about how taking a keystone species, like the wolf, out of a local ecosystem had a detrimental effect on all parts, from the grasses and birds to the moose and fox. 

My CT, Sharron Rothberg used this lesson as one of my classroom observations.  Her comments throughout the observation process give evidence of my ability to demonstrate meeting standard 5.


How artifact demonstrates meeting the standard:

This artifact demonstrates meeting standard 5 because students were challenged throughout the wolf lesson unit to ask and think through higher level questions and processes.  Students had the opportunity to view, analyze, and interpret such concepts as why wolves were hunted to extinction in the lower 48 states, why killing the wolves affected the rest of the ecosystem, why maintaining a healthy wolf population in Yellowstone National Park is not wanted by all people, and why it is important for scientists to study species relations for the health of the environment.


This lesson also engaged students in generating further knowledge about the importance of the wolf species in Yellowstone and allowed students to test hypotheses on how wolves effect other animal and plant species throughout the park’s ecosystem.


Lastly, through use of the wolf kit items, students had hands-on experience with the weight of a wolf tracking collar, the thickness of a wolf pelt, the comparison of carnivore teeth to herbivore teeth, and gathered further knowledge through many other sensory opportunities. 


Why I chose this artifact:

I chose this artifact to demonstrate mastery of standard 5 because this unit was one of my favorites to teach and was experienced by all of my students.  This lesson gave me the opportunity to incorporate a subject matter I am passionate about and allowed my students to experience how interesting, thought-provoking, and stimulating exploring a topic in the library can be.


In addition, because this lesson was observed by my CT, I was able to gather important feedback on what techniques in my questioning worked well and she helped me to fully understand the impact I had in engaging my students in higher level cognitive thinking.