Week 12 – Lesson Plan

How will I demonstrate impact on student learning as a result of my differentiated lesson?

The ability to reach all my students and to have my students asking to do the assignment again or during their free choice is indication that my differentiated lesson had an impact on student learning. It took some thought, reflection, and planning. But in the end, I was inspired to do more than one lesson plan. I was inspired to make a little unit. My unit spanned five days. For this post I selected the lesson plan that was the primary focus for their project. However, the pre/post assessment was conducted on the first day of the unit. I have included it in this post, but feel it now necessary to explain why it is there in case it does not make sense. As for the student work, I have included their finished work and have included one that needs work, one that is proficient, and one that is above expectations.

Day 3: Kindergarten Architects

Time Needed: 60 Minutes

Instructional Method

Whole group

Small Group



For students who have language difficulties I will alter the language in the lesson to ensure they understand what they are being asked to do


Students with an IEP will have necessary accommodations to ensure they can participate and successfully complete lesson


All students with vision/hearing impairments will sit near the front of the class so they can see/hear the lesson


Students with behavioral concerns or issues will be seated near the front of the class during instruction and with the teacher if needed for seatwork

Standards Addressed

K.G.1. Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes and describe their relative positions

K.G.2. Name shapes regardless of their orientation or overall size.

K.G.5. Build shapes (e.g., using sticks and clay) and draw shapes.

K.G.6. Put together two-dimensional shapes to form larger shapes (e.g., join two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle)


Students will be able to:

Design buildings using shapes

Label their designs

Build their design using construction paper

Teacher Materials

White board


Construction paper



Student Materials



Various colors of construction paper


Glue sticks

Instructional Sequence

Pre/Post Test (This was done on the first day of unit and last to gauge their understanding)

Oral Test

What is a shape?

–        List out responses

What are shapes we see every day?

–        List out shapes given

Have compare sets of shapes to determine shapes vs. non-shapes

–        Yay or Nay responses with a show of hands

Give students attribute blocks and have students make a building and explain their building

–        Take note of whether their buildings built are feasible

The results of a few of the questions could not be represented very well in a graph. However, the growth was great in the responses given. Students demonstrated a greater grasp on what a shape is and its many purposes. The question on shapes we see every day doubled by the end of this unit. The comparison of shapes vs. non-shapes was also dramatically different, as there was more unanimity in their responses on shapes deemed “non-shape” vs. shape. And finally, their use of the attribute blocks was more well-thought out by the end of the unit and their buildings were more structurally feasible.

Anticipatory Set

As students enter group meeting have pictures of various buildings from around our town – school, church, state building, and university building

Ask students to describe the shapes seen in each picture

Have students turn and talk with peers about these shapes

Ask students “How did these shapes become a part of these buildings? Were they already like that?”

Have students discuss these questions

Activate Prior Knowledge

Remind students of some of the shapes seen around our neighboring areas from yesterday’s walking field trip

Give specific examples of such shapes that they drew in their recording sheets

Teacher Modeling

Introduce the concept of how the shapes we see around us became part of our environment – they had to be built!

Ask students who built such buildings we have grown accustomed to seeing

Introduce the term “architect”

Ask students if they know what an architect is? Then ask what an architect does

Tell students that architects design buildings so that others can build them

Show students what is meant by design

Draw a house on the white board using shapes and tell students you just designed a house

Ask students what shapes are included in your design

Draw these shapes below design

Guided Practice

Students are now to get practice designing their own building

They are to use pencil and paper to design a building of their own using shapes

Give ideas – it can be their house, an apartment building, a school, a church, or a post office building to name a few

Circulate through the room to make sure students have an understanding of their task


Bring students back to the group meeting area

Discuss and show student work

Point out the shapes that have been used in their designs


Introduce Problem

Architects have to design buildings much like the ones they have. Their designs are not colored in, but rather labeled. They label their designs with the colors they will use!

Students are now to label the shapes on their designs with the color they plan to use to make these shapes

Once they finish labeling their design it has to be approved before they can begin to build!

Once their design has been approved they may get the appropriate construction paper colors to begin constructing their designs

Independent Practice

Release students one by one to their tables to begin designing their buildings


Once every student has finished designing, labeling, and constructing their building have students meet you in group meeting

Discuss how today’s assignment went for them and how it might have been made better

Lesson Assessment

Observation of student work

Student designs

Construction paper buildings

Student Work

Below are three examples of student work.Students were expected to have at least three shapes and three colors to go with those three shapes.

The first is the one I felt could use some work. It was labeled but not so clearly and I felt this student could have used more color for the shapes selected and made the construction match the design a little better. The second is one that meets expectations. The design matches what was built, meets expectations for amount of shapes and colors used, and is labeled neatly.

The third, though not labeled as nicely as the second, has gone above and beyond with the inclusion of more shapes, colors, and is still labeled so anyone could read the design plan.

IMG_4601 IMG_4595 IMG_4591

Week 11 – Technology I Will Use

What technology will I use to allow students to demonstrate they have met the standards targeted by my rubric? What are the classroom management considerations that I must address?

As a means of differentiation I plan on having more than one technology available for students. We have been learning a bit more about Voicethread in the classroom as a means of teaching others. If they select Voicethread it will be just that, a tool to teach others about their project. They will be able to show their pictures they have taken with the camera. The camera is intended be used with Voicethread. If they choose to use the document camera it will merely consist of putting their work under the camera to discuss with their peers how they completed their projects. And finally, if they choose to use the ShowMe app on the ipad they will be able to talk as they draw a replica of their projects to explain their process.

The above-mentioned tools will allow for students to demonstrate that they have met the criteria mentioned in my rubric, but there is always the question of how to address classroom management when technology is implemented into the classroom. The first piece to classroom management with these technology tools is to teach them how to correctly use them. Without the proper use of tools it quickly turns to chaos. Teaching students to use Voicethread might be tricky, but I plan to do as such during developmental centers during the end of the day. They are able to work independently while I pull aside two students to instruct them in Voicethread to do the necessary recording for their work. The voice level chart I have helps assist with the noise level during this time, as well as the choices available to them at tables. The document camera is rather simple to manage with the class as it could be done while everyone is in the group meeting area. For those choosing to use the ipad and the ShowMe app I would use the five ipads during our math block in the morning. It would be used at a separate table than our work tables so it wouldn’t disrupt the work of others.

As far as talking with my PLN, I feel it was minimal this week. The contact I did have was during my other class. We discussed projects, how we were feeling, areas of confusion, and the like. It was only once over the past few weeks, so though it was very helpful and felt like a breath of fresh air, I could have used more.

Week 10 – How can I differentiate through student product in my classroom

How can I differentiate through student product in my classroom?

For this week’s question above it made me ponder how I would differentiate to not only meet the needs of each student, but to give some choice in the product. In any classroom one enters there will be extremes in the range of abilities. There will be those that are performing off the charts, students far below, and those in the middle grounds. As one might imagine, it was a difficult task to come up with a project that allowed for differentiation through the product. With a bit of thought and a brilliant idea from my wife, who had a father for an architect, I finally came up with a project that could integrate technology and what we were focusing on at that time in point.

My group and I had previously chosen to make geometry our focus for our second assignment. With my part of the assignment I chose to do shapes. I felt it appropriate to continue to use shapes in this last assignment, only this time I decided they could and would be able to handle more. It was time for them to use their knowledge of shapes to combine to make larger shapes, one of the standards for kindergarten. But it was more than just throwing together two shapes to make a larger one. They would be architects! Wait, architects? In kindergarten? They would first learn what an architect is and does. From here they would then design a building on a blank piece of paper by drawing a building using various shapes. For example, they could design a school building, with a rectangle for the main building, squares for the windows, and so forth. But this design would have to be carried out! From this design we would discuss how architects label their “designs.” Their next job would include labeling each shape with a color they would use. They would use construction paper for each shape. Sounds simple right? I thought so too! And then I remembered, architects don’t build their own designs! And so back we went to designing buildings with shapes we had learned about throughout the year. After completing their designs they would be partnered up, where they would instruct their partner on how to build their designs, right down to the color and shape labeled in their design. Finally, after having their designs built for them by a peer, they would repeat the partner work with blocks to see how different the two models are.

The final step as listed in the rubric below would be to select a technology tool to present their projects. We have been learning how to correctly use a camera throughout the year and have done a bit of work with Voicethread to learn about various subjects. The document camera is something I have used, but have not allowed for much student use. As for the Show Me app on the ipad, though we have not used it, I have it on my ipad and have found it rather simple to use. If they so choose, they could very well use more than one technology tool to present their work.

I suppose that the question could have very well been answered simply with student choice. But in order for anyone to understand I felt that I had to explain my project just a tad. With that said it can be seen that there could be differentiation in the product through the use of various shapes, colors, designs, building creations, their directions given, and finally, the technology tool used in the end to present project.

Below are the standards to be addressed as well as the rubric to be used.


Alaska State Standards:

K.G.1 Describe objects in the environment using names of the shapes and describe their relative positions

K.G.2 Name shapes regardless of their orientation or overall size

K.G. 5 Build shapes and draw shapes

K.G. 6 Put together two-dimensional shapes to form larger shapes

Technology Standards:

A2: use technological tools for learning, communications, and productivity

E2: discriminate between responsible and irresponsible uses of technology





Use of Multiple Shapes and Colors Use multiple colors to represent the multiple shapes for the building Used at least three different colors for the minimum three different shapes Used one or two shapes and colors to make the building Used one shape and/or color to make the building
Design, Labeling, and Creation Designed building, labeled appropriately with colors shapes would be, and created building as shown in design Designed a building, added a few labels, and created building Designed a building but did not label anything or make it to create building Did not design, label, or create a building
Work with peer – built partner’s work (architect and a builder) Worked with peer, followed their directions, built their design as asked, and discussed how it was going to be built before hand Worked with partner and built partner’s work mostly the way it was designed Worked with peer, but did not build their partner’s design as asked Did not work with a peer to design and create a building with shapes
Technology Integration  Voicethread, camera, document reader, or Show Me App Chose more than one technology tool to present work Chose one technology tool to present work Did not use any form of technology to present work

Pearltree in the Classroom

How can I use Pearltrees to differentiate content in the classroom?

               The topic for this blog was about how to differentiate content in the classroom using Pearltrees. At first my initial thought was “It’s too much for my students!” But then, I actually doodled on Pearltree to feel confident enough to actually come up with ways to use it with five/six year olds. In order to use this app I would first have to set up Pearltree on the two computers in my room. This was step one. As I would soon find out, there were numerous steps to using Pearltree with kindergarten students.

Step two: research apps and games to use as pearls to create pearltrees. This step was to be done before I actually installed the Pearltree icon onto the computer for my students. It was a bit lengthier than I had anticipated. Research is a time-consuming process where I was required to sift through the good and the bad. Once I found the apps and games I wanted to use I had to list out the purposes for each and when they might be used. I had to thus decide if I wanted to create two different pearltrees, one for math and one for literacy. In the end, yes was the decision.

Step three: creating pearltrees. The next step involved actually creating the pearltrees on the two computers in my room. This part was time consuming as well. I had to find the apps, create pearls, and finally put the pearltrees together. Once on the computers however they were ready for use.

Step four: teaching students how to use the pearltrees. It was simple I thought. They would sit down, click on the icon of their choosing on the pearltree. The difficult part to it all I thought would be the learning of each pearl on the pearltree. Learning the apps and games that I had installed was quite challenging, as I had to be teach the games and apps to the students for the first week of use. But with the ease of clicking on the icons, students quickly caught on to how to use the pearltrees. The difficulty we had wasn’t use of the computers, apps, games, or the like, it was the lack of time and having only two computers in the classroom to use! With only two computers it limits time spent on the computer for each student, thereby creating a dilemma of computer time on any day of the week.

Though the apps and games are engaging to students because they are just that, another challenge to using the Pearltree was finding appropriate games and apps that varied in difficulty as well as the skills they were targeting. Some games and apps targeted skills that would have been excellent for students at the higher end of the spectrum in my classroom, but would have been frustrating for others. After the first week of teaching students how to use the pearltrees I thus created three different pearltrees for the varying levels of ability: lower, middle, high. It was time-consuming but worthwhile in the end. Students worked more at their ability levels due to this. It required me to be there to click on their pearltrees, but it wasn’t something I minded.

Using pearltrees demonstrated that kindergarten students are capable of using computer applications. It took guidance, reassurance at times, scheduling, and time, but we were able to do it. I would be curious how other teachers, especially at the kindergarten level, use Pearltrees to differentiate in the classroom.

Week 8 – Video Games

How might video games enhance my students’ learning?

Video games have been a topic that has brought heated debate amongst colleagues both young and old. They bid the question of whether they belong in the educational setting or not. Many believe they are the reason for the decline in student proficiency. Yet, there are others who believe that there are many educational uses for video games in the classroom. Video games as I see them can be a medium, if used correctly, could enhance student learning and understanding.

Since bringing in a gaming platform and allowing kindergarten students to play during the school day might be frowned upon by parents and colleagues, I felt it more appropriate to rely on the computer for the task of testing the educational uses for video gaming. The three games I found for my students to test were found on the same site: www.knowledgeadventure.com. This great site allows teachers to select the grade level, subject, or age. The games found and tried with my class were math line, the new one, and math man.

The first game mentioned above, math line, is an addition game where students try to destroy balls by making combinations of numbers that add up to ten. I was nervous at first to try the game with my students since not all of my students have a firm grasp on adding objects up to ten. As a matter of fact, I was worried it would become a game where they shot the balls without having any understanding of why they “disappeared” when they would hit a certain ball. But to my surprise and delight, the game seemed to strengthen their addition skills rather than weaken them.

The second game tried was called the New One. In this game students have to differentiate between which shape was not in the previous shown screen. As they continue to select the shape that was different from the previous screen they level up and it becomes increasingly difficult. Once again, there were doubts about the level of ability to play this game of memory with my students. And once again, they did great!

The last game I tried was geared for my higher level thinkers in math. This game was called Math Man and is essentially Pac Man with a twist. The Pac Man – like figure has to eat a question ball and then answer it by eating the ghost that correctly answers the question. The questions are both addition as well as subtraction questions and is for higher level thinking in these areas. This game was tried with a few higher leveled thinkers in my classroom who seemed to be moving at a faster pace with addition than their peers. The hardest part to the game was how fast paced it was and the use of the direction arrows to move the Pac Man – like figure to and fro. It was a very challenging game for these students that frustrated them from time to time, but it was what they needed and though they were frustrated they rose to the challenge and wanted to play more after they had finished.

Now, playing the games above and having a blast with them solely for that purpose would have made the games great already as they were. But as I stated before, there needed to be a purpose to the games played. I needed them to be used to enhance student learning and understanding. As we tried them out I had to be sure if they were to be used to meet educational needs that they be tied to our state standards. The following standards were addressed by the games:

Alaska Content Standards


A)     A student should be able to operate technology-based tools.

–        A student who meets the content standard should:

  • Use technological tools for learning, communications, and productivity


C)     A student should be able to use technology to explore ideas, solve problems, and derive meaning.

–        A student who meets the content standard should:

  • Solve problems both individually and with others
  • Create new knowledge by evaluating, combining, or extending information using multiple technologies


Alaska Mathematic Standards K-2

Operations and Algebraic Thinking K.O.A

–        Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.


K.OA.1. Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps) acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.


K.OA.2. Add or subtract whole numbers to 10 (e.g., by using objects or drawings to solve word problems).



Student Engagement

The next part of the gaming experiment that was of particular importance to keep note of was student engagement. Overall I would say that there was high student engagement in the games that were played. If interest was lost during the process of the games played it was due to confusion over how to play the game. This told me that the games selected were at a level that was above that of the student trying to play. With a limited time block during the day for my students to play these math games (only played during developmental centers at the end of the day), there wasn’t too much fuss about the games themselves. The fuss was more over the time allowed to play the games and turn taking, as I am sure many of you may be familiar with if you’ve ever had any experiences with students in the primary grades and younger.

As far as mastery of the skills went with the games, not all students demonstrated it by the end of the week. But my worries weren’t huge since we have only begun working on addition of objects to ten. It is something that we will continue throughout the following weeks and perhaps month, as necessary. The great thing about the games that were selected is that they can be used to enhance the addition that we are working on to build upon student skills.

Finally, I lacked in the area of reaching out to my PLN. I have felt as if I’ve lacked in this area for the past few weeks with spring break coming and going. I found myself in a daze still when it was over and am currently recovering and planning to reach out more in the following weeks. There is work to be done, discussions to be had, ideas to be shared, and feedback to be given. I look forward to the learning that will take place in the following weeks as we explore more great ideas for the classroom.

Week 7 Post – New Tool Learned

What tool did you learn this week to assist you in differentiating the learning process for students?

This week we had the task of learning about a tool that could assist in differentiating the learning process for students. My first initial thought was to learn more about the document camera as a tool to differentiate. I thought “Why not? I have it readily available in my classroom for use already!” But then I thought to myself “Challenge yourself, think outside of what is available, and dive into something new.” And so, I did.

The tool I decided to learn this week was Voicethread. Throughout this course I have heard of the wonders of Voicethread and of its various uses. It could even be used at the kindergarten level! Therefore I figured why not delve into it more to see in which ways I could use it for my kinder students. To begin this learning process I first had to learn what Voicethread was.  It all began with a Google search, which then led me directly to the Voicethread site. According to the site, Voicethread is a cloud application in which users can create media, comment on it in a variety of formats, and share with whomever they please. Sounded simple enough, or so I thought. There was and is much more to it than merely creating a file, uploading it, commenting on it, and sharing it.

Integrating a tool such as Voicethread into a classroom, let alone a kindergarten classroom, is a process.  In order for students to understand what is being asked things have to be introduced step by step with repeated instructions along the way. Though I have not introduced Voicethread into my classroom just yet, I have begun the process. The process begins by first introducing students to how to properly use a computer. Many of my students do not have computers at home and thus have limited, if any access to them. During the past few weeks I have slowly begun to integrate more computer use into choice time to teach my students how to properly use the two computers we currently have in our classroom. They needed to be shown how to handle the mouse as well as navigate with it, the keyboard if and when they were to use it, how to open and close a program, and how to be good sports about sharing the use of the computer. Fussing about computer time was one of the biggest problem areas in the first week of introduction to the computers.

The next step that I am currently in the process of introducing is the internet. Many have had experiences with it but do not know much more about it than it is where they get to play games. So far the discussion has revolved around a definition of what the internet is. From here I plan to introduce the various uses for the internet. Though they may be a bit young to understand every piece of this it is more about exposure than a thorough understanding.

Finally, I will begin the Voicethread introduction. I plan on doing so by creating a few presentations using Voicethread and demonstrating its uses through these demonstrations. One such demonstration will include directions for an art activity we will be doing next week and another will be a picture collage that reflects upon our learning from past weeks. I will discuss with them how I created a file, loaded it onto the internet into the Voicethread application, and created the slideshow presentation for them. This demonstration will be revisited after spring break as I demonstrate for them a project I plan to do alongside them as they create a Voicethread to share with their peers that focuses on our fairy tale theme.  The plan is to have them create a fairy tale of their own with a beginning, middle and end that they can produce on paper, upload to Voicethread when finished, narrate their story, and present to the class. It will be a timely project that will be done in small groups during our choice time. If all goes as planned I hope to upload some of the videos to share with others. I am both excited and nervous about how it will all go. Only time will tell.

So, as the famous saying goes, stay tuned for the hardships, joys, and celebrations of integration of Voicthread into my kindergarten classroom. There is much to be learned, much to be excited about, and much to be hopeful for! Hopefully by the end I am still standing and have hair left on my head!

Week 6 Reflection

What does it mean to differentiate the process (content, strategies for instruction) in the classroom?

Differentiating the process as I see it is to vary the content being presented, the teaching style, method, or manner in which the content is presented. It seems with each passing year the need to differentiate increases. Students today are entering our schools with greater needs, abilities, experiences, backgrounds, knowledge, and cultures than ever before. One way of doing things is no longer good enough. Neither is it appropriate. In order to meet the needs of all educators now have to have a plethora of tools in their “tool bag.”

The research I did this week on the topic above yielded many results on how to “best” differentiate in the classroom environment to provide increased student achievement.  There were many sites and articles that promised they had the best means of differentiation to provide students with multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas. Of the sites and articles I sifted through this week I walked at least one suggestion and technology that can better the way I differentiate in my own classroom. I’ll begin with the suggestions.

The one suggestion I walked away with after hours of research was one that we do not heed often enough. The suggestion is simple: play to the student’s strengths. We often adhere to the weaknesses of our students and differentiate according to these weaknesses. However, we tend to overlook the fact that our students, though diverse in their abilities, come in with an array of strengths. The strengths of our students may not be academic and for me, this is something I tend to overlook at times. We often have students who are amazing artists for example. If we have them work simply within our means, say writing a piece for us, it may not be within their comfort level or their strength. If we are to use their strength as an artist though and use software such as Comic Life it could very well be the medium needed to give meaning to the work being completed. What I am proposing here is a restructuring of the frame of mind to teach the same concepts.

The technology tool that I thought might be beneficial to my classroom for differentiation was a document camera. I have one in my classroom but haven’t used it as extensively as I could be. It could be used to present material, introduce topics, or for students to do presentations of their own. There are a lot more options for the use of a document camera for differentiation that I haven’t tapped into yet that I would like to. It could also be used for small group work, modeling, and sharing of work. I am yet to use the document camera for more than modeling and introducing new ideas and topics. With the ideas presented in the research I plan to increase my use of the document camera for more than my own presentation of content and materials.

This week’s question and research got me to thinking about the available technologies either in my building already or in my classroom. Technologies as simple as projectors could be utilized to differentiate instruction. What it all boils down to I realized this week is how the technologies are utilized. It isn’t a simple cut and dry process to differentiate. It takes creativity, deep thought, data collection, and careful, purposeful planning.

Resources Used

Differentiated Instruction

Reflection on Document Camera