Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of an elementary school student.
LINK: Explorers in North America Home
LINK: About the Class
Watching the video
LINK: Connecting to Your Teaching
LINK: Standards
LINK: Resources

Watching the Video

Image of a notebook with the following text displayed: Reflect: As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them in a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • What challenges have you faced in teaching the sometimes controversial topic of early explorers in America? How have you addressed those challenges?
  • How are essential questions useful teaching tools?
  • What differences do you notice among your students' learning styles, and which strategies do you find most effective in addressing the different styles?
  • Describe a rubric you have designed to establish criteria prior to an assignment. Did you develop the rubric by yourself or with the help of your students? What are the advantages of each method?
  • What types of assessment tools do you use, and what is the purpose and the strengths of each?

Watch the Video
As you watch "Explorers in North America," take notes on Mr. Cuddi's instructional strategies, particularly the way he uses essential questions. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.


Reflecting on the Video
Review your notes, then respond to the following questions:

  • What struck you about the classroom climate, background, preparation, strategies, and materials used in this lesson?
  • How is this class different from yours? How would you introduce your students to the impact of European explorers on Native Americans?
  • How have state and national standards influenced Mr. Cuddi's lesson plans?
  • How does Mr. Cuddi engage and maintain students' interest throughout the lesson?
  • Describe the various parts of the lesson and how each part helped build students' interest.
  • What role do the essential questions play in developing a student's view of history?
  • How do Mr. Cuddi's instructional and assessment strategies accommodate different learning styles?

Looking Closer
Let's take a second look at Mr. Cuddi's class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Mr. Cuddi in front of his  class.
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Using Essential Questions to Support Learning: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your video screen. You'll find this segment approximately 2 minutes into the video. Watch for about 3 minutes.

Mr. Cuddi begins the lesson with an introduction to exploration, and moves into a discussion of essential questions that connect the different units in his social studies curriculum.

  • How does Mr. Cuddi use learning logs?
  • Why does Mr. Cuddi ask students to respond to the essential questions before the lesson begins?
  • How are the essential questions crafted for use in each lesson?
  • How does Mr. Cuddi expect students to be able to respond to essential questions as the year progresses?
  • What evidence do you see that using essential questions helps students link and understand broad concepts in social studies?
Mr. Cuddi in front of his class.
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Using a Rubric Before Students Work on an Assignment: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your video screen. You'll find this segment approximately 15 minutes into the video. Watch for about 9 minutes.

Before they begin their presentations, Mr. Cuddi refers to the rubric that the students helped develop.

  • Why does Mr. Cuddi take class time to review the rubric?
  • How is this rubric constructed? What parts of the rubric receive the most attention?
  • How might the rubric be useful in improving the quality of student work both now and on future projects and presentations?

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