POGIL Conference – Portland, OR – July 27-29

As part of a KSTF Professional Development Grant, I was able to attend the Northwest Regional Conference for POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning). In an effort to meet my obligations for the grant, I will post the implementation plan approved as part of the grant and then comment on the outcomes for those specific action items. In this commentary, I will provide the learning from the conference and links to tools learned along the way.

June – July

Read for about 2 hours different published POGIL activities from math or science disciplines to see their successes, challenges and recommendations for improving POGIL in the classroom. Additionally, I will collect and review my previously created POGIL-like activities to compare my lessons with those created using the POGIL process. Conduct an internet search of leading questions (or directives) that could be used in the classroom environment to extract deeper responses from students (such as “can you tell me more about that?”) and make a list. Throughout the implementation of this plan, I will refine this list as I find what is and isn’t appropriate to foster learning.


July KSTF Meeting

Talk with other KSTF fellows about their practice of group activities, particularly science teacher who have lab classes. Since POGIL activities are similar to the group work and inquiry of a science lab, experienced science teacher may have tools for asking questions of students that lead to critical thinking in the inquiry activity. I am looking for questioning strategies when other teachers are working with groups.


July 27-29 (POGIL Conference)

Attend POGIL Workshop: Portland, OR. – I will begin on the Introductory Track for the workshop since I have no formal experience with POGIL. During the workshop, I will learn about the process and structure of the POGIL activity, list student learning outcomes from a POGIL activity and create plans for implementation of POGIL in my classroom. POGIL implementation includes facilitation tools for teachers that include questioning and keeping students engaged. I will use this learning for facilitation questioning to refine my bank of questions. Additionally, I will attend workshops about the Activity Structure of a POGIL (creating a framework for learning) and Writing Learning Objectives for the activities.


August – December

Create a clear classroom procedure for students to teach them how to positively engage in group, inquiry learning. I will Implement this procedure for my Algebra and Geometry classes in the fall when using group work. Additionally, I will create a POGIL lesson for my classroom and I will share out with other staff members to increase success in their classroom. In creating these activities, I would like to work with an instructional coach (provided by the school district) or a colleague to ensure effectiveness. Finally, I will continue to incorporate open ended questions (probing and clarifying questions otherwise known as socratic questioning) during my regular teacher to help extract deeper, more thoughtful responses to my students.


Micro-Teaching Reflection

Micro-Teaching Lesson Plan

[1] O1 – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes. This program standard means that teachers will be thinking critically when writing lesson plans and will make sure that students are learning relevant material which meet state and national requirements. In teaching, curriculum should be easy to follow for maximum student understanding. [2] The attached document is lesson plan for my micro teaching lesson presented to the MTMS Cohort. The accompanying picture is a sample of student work from the micro teaching lesson. This lesson plan demonstrates my understanding of planning collaborative learning and inquiry based learning activities. Asking good questions and facilitating a collaborative learning environment increases student engagement and ultimately increases learning (Borich, 2014).Micro-Teaching Student Sample Work

[3] Within the lesson plan, I include questions which help students engage with the lesson and informally assess understanding. Students were also encouraged to work in groups where they could discuss their misunderstandings. The lesson clearly states the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and the lesson aligns the learning activity with the learning target which helps students learn math concepts prescribed by the standard. [6] After teaching the lesson, I reflected on improvements I could make to improve the lesson or better achieve the learning targets. I would scaffold the learning more, my understanding of vocabulary relating to sets and subsets is strong, yet often times students do not have such deep understanding. I worked to scaffold the lesson with some vocabulary, although, if I were to teach this same lesson again, I would use direct instruction to introduce vocabulary and concepts and then use the activity to help improve understanding by allowing structured freedom. I would conclude by providing more independent practice. [5] The result for the student is that when lessons are highly organized and scaffolded well, their learning improves. The student will retain more taught information if we guide them towards independent thinking. [4] In summary, by constructing this lesson, I learned about scaffolding well, using student inquiry when teaching a lesson and the possible challenges associated with gauging student learning. [Extra Learning] An additional learning point during creating the lesson is how easy it can become for teachers to use powerpoint slides to dominate classroom instruction and how dangerous it is to overload students with words on slides.

Reference List:

Borich, G. D. (2014). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ.: Pearson Education, Inc.

Bloggary #4: Lesson Plan with Emphasis on Literacy

Lesson Outline for General Education

Click here for PDF version of Geometry and Literacy Lesson Plan

Candidate: Riley Germanis Field Supervisor
Date: 7/25/2014 Grade: 10 Mentor Teacher


Lesson Part Activity description/Teacher does Students do
Title Geometry – Early Euclidean Constructions
Standard ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.



Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


Central Focus (CF) MATH.CONTENT.HSG.CO.D.12

Make formal geometric constructions with a variety of tools and methods (compass and straightedge, string, reflective devices, paper folding, dynamic geometric software, etc.).


Academic Language The verb “Cite” best describes the language function in the learning target. Cite is broken into the following explicit concepts:

  • Defines vocabulary words as relevant to Euclid’s definitions.
  • Understands when and how each definition can be used.
  • Applies the appropriate definition within the context of the provided proof


Learning Target(LT) Student critically reads Euclidean definitions related to an equilateral triangle. Students will use Euclid’s Elements Book 1, Postulate 1 to construct an equilateral triangle and can explain each step using the discussed definitions.
Instruction Preview/review Teacher uses Admit slips for students to have a partner discussion of the following terms: Equilateral Triangle, Line Segment, Circle, Equal Lines. Students can edit Admission Slips after discussion.Teacher engages students in a classroom discussion about their Admission Slip definitions. Clarifies definitions to align with the Euclidean definitions according to “Elements” Prior to lesson, students were asked define a set of words. Students discuss with partner.Students assist in creating consensus definitions.
Informal Assessment Teacher collects student Admission Slips to address previous knowledge of students. Anonymously reads some student definition of a circle, line segment and equal lines while helping students agree on a more formal definition. Students respond to slips in classroom discussion.
Practice Activity orSupport Teacher explains Double-Entry Journaling technique for this exercise.Teacher presents Euclid’s definitions, postulates common notions relevant to creating an equilateral triangle. (Definitions 1, 2, 15, 16, 20; Postulates 1, 2, 3; Common Notion 1)(See website: http://www.greenlion.com/Eu-I-1-7.pdf


Teacher transitions to direct instruction, uses presentation slides and examples to aid student understanding. Reminds students to interpret on their own.


Students actively listen and prepare their journal for activityStudents use Double-Entry Journaling to compare formal Euclidean definitions with their own ideas independently for 7 minutes.Students update their interpretations to align with class presentation
Informal Assessment Teacher reviews each term and asks for student volunteers to write their responses on a poster board (which looks like a Double Entry Journal).Provides brief feedback to students with incomplete ornon-rigorous interpretations. Students raise their hand to respond and write their interpretations on class model.
Practice Activity orSupport Teacher transitions into individual activity. Uses a handout of English Interpretation of Euclid’s Elements Book 1, Proposition 1Teacher briefly explains the nomenclature for naming line segments and circles.Teacher explains that drawing is essential to understanding the proof of the proposition, the drawing will be turned in and graded for effort to connect the construction to the Learning Target.


Teacher circulates and probes challenging questions about which elements of the construction follow the definitions, explain how

Students acquires appropriate material for constructions.Students ask questions as it related to the activity.Students use the Elements Book 1, Proposition 1 to draw an Equilateral Triangle.


Students use drawings and explanations to describe their learning.


Closure Assessment of Student Voice Teacher debriefs the activity with students and presents the correct answer to students.Teacher asks students to complete an exit slip. Requirements include the following elements:

  • What was learned about Euclid Definitions and Postulates?
  • How did the definitions connect to the proof drawing?
  • If you were to teach this, what changes would you make


Students observe correct solution asking questions.Students take 3 minutes to respond to these questions




edTPA Training Prompts (optional or used for coursework)

  1. Supporting Science Development through Language

a) Language function: What verb appears in your learning target that represents the language function?

The verb “Cite” best describes the language function in the learning target. Cite is broken into the following explicit concepts:

  • Defines vocabulary words as relevant to Euclid’s definitions.
  • Understands when and how each definition can be used.
  • Applies the appropriate definition within the context of the provided proof


b) Language demand: What learning activities or products will student write, speak, or do to represent the language demand and an opportunity to practice the language function?
Admit Slips: Students will use this tool to preview and bring prior knowledge into the lesson.Exit Slips: Students reflect on their new knowledge while providing feedback on their understanding and suggestions for future students to better learn information. 
c) Additional language demand: How will students practice content vocabulary words shown in the learning targets?
Double Entry Journal: Allows students the opportunity to see the formal definition of the word and then provide their own definition and interpretation. Students can also draw pictures to aid their understanding of vocabulary.Drawing to Understand: Students use drawing tools to display their understanding of the reading and application of the vocabulary words. Students who are unable to draw the proof using the Euclidean definitions do not understand the reading tool. 
d) What learning activities enable students to practice using symbols or abstract representations of information (syntax), if these are part of the lesson?
Students will read a passage from a Euclidean proof. Students will interpret the English translation of the step by step proof and will either draw each (step 1 through 5) or will cite the appropriate definition which applies to the step of the proof.
e) How is discussion (discourse) structured in activities?
Since Euclid’s writing is translated from Greek to English and were written in 300 BCE, a collective, agreed upon interpretation must be developed to create meaning to the language. Students will privately discuss their own ideas, share them with the class and contribute to the overall understanding. The teacher will guide the definitions to be precise and accurate.
f) What other writing or speaking activities enable students to practice vocabulary and the verb shown in the learning target?
Students will write an exit slip to revisit definitions and their application to their learning. This provides an area of informal assessment so the teacher can determine student understanding. Students will also engage in metacognitive writing as they reflect on what they learned and how they would prefer to learn this in the future, this provides teacher feedback on how to best present information in the future.