Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Close Reading Updated Procedure for Including Cognates


Updated Procedure for Including Cognates in Close Reading

Courtesy of Stoneybrook University

Introduce title and author (if available) of passage. Discuss what you know about the topic, including identifying it as narration, description, argument, poetry, play, subject area and so on. Relate topic to prior reading and set purpose for reading new selection. For free reading selection sources see Close Reading Lesson Plan Template.
1. Teacher reads selection aloud while students follow along (engagement). A list of websites with reading selections is included at the end of this lesson plan.
2. Teacher elicits from students what they think is the first characteristic (length, difficulty, tone, genre, purpose) they note about the passage. Write the words on the white board or note pad under document camera. (I do; we do; you do method)
3. Have students indicate the words they aren't familiar with (circle, highlight, etc...) Look up word in online or table dictionary and discuss with students, associating it with a concept of the unknown word. (I do; we do; you do method)
If selection is from textbook, go over visuals, headings subheadings, words in bold print/italics and so on). Let students know that this is called the selective attention learning strategy
For ELLs, type names of each word into Google Images, showing students the best representation of the word. 
Additionally, have ELs read through the selection to find Spanish/English cognates in order for them to become aware of the similarities of their own language and English and to recognize that word meanings are similar in English to those in their own language (Spanish).
4. Share out (Think/pair share) vocabulary words/explain in own words. Discuss punctuation/capitalization in passage. (I do; we do; you do method)For more prereading activities see http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/reading_lit.html
5.Students read selection again silently.

6. Ask critical thinking questions from Bloom's taxonomy at http://www.meade.k12.sd.us/PASS/Pass%20Adobe%20Files/March%202007/BloomsTaxonomyQuestionStems.pdf  Refer back to text when appropriate.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

What can you do with a masters in education?

As a masters in education (creative arts education) at SFSU (San Francisco State University),  I've been able to create this online education blog for graduate students majoring in a wide variety of online education disciplines from multicultural education to English Language Learning. 

Please feel free to add your ideas to assist online education students. Links are especially needed for resources in critical thinking and English language learners. 

With my masters in education, I've been able to be a professor at UAGC, National University and the University of Phoenix, as well as having 12 how-to photography books published including the book, "Digital Art Photography for Dummies."

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Critical Thinking and Social Justice Issues--Please Respond

Educators and trainers can follow steps to deepen critical thinking throughout lessons using Bloom's Taxonomy. Critical thinking and social justice go hand-in-hand in education. Here's a simple way to create a social justice critical thinking lesson based upon an event in history and relating it to a topic today. 

Critical Thinking Steps based upon Bloom's Taxonomy:

  • Remember
  • Interpret and Summarize
  • Analysis
  • Apply Knowledge
  • Evaluation
Consider a topic to which you can apply the above deepening critical thinking process. 

For example:

  1. Remember: Recall everything you know about social justice and women's rights.
  2. Read/Summarize: Read and summarize an article/book about social justice in order to define one appropriate issue connected to a history curriculum and to students' prior knowledge, For example: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote.
  3. Apply Knowledge: Students will select an issue about social justice/women's rights
  4. Analysis: Arrange students in groups to analyze how Staton helped to solve the women's rights voting issue from the book above.
  5. Application: In the groups, apply similar methods to solve current issue by creating a list.
  6. Evaluation: Collect lists and redistribute to each group (each group get's their peer groups' list) to evaluate problem solving methods. Each group adds ideas to list. 
  7. Repeat process by passing group list to a new group for them to add to the idea list.
Create Master List of all issues to class to discuss vote on the best ideas for each issue. Graph data.
Before doing this week's assignment, think about changing the reading in the example above to another social justice issue connected to history and change website for information about related issues today for students selection in order to create ideas for solving the challenge. 


  1. Remember: Recall everything you know about social justice and women's rights.
  2. Read/Summarize: Read and summarize an article/book about social justice in order to define one appropriate issue connected to a history curriculum and to students' prior knowledge, For example: ___________________ (title related to a social justice issue of the past).
  3. Apply Knowledge: Students will select an article/teacher-made document   list about the specific social justice issue described in the reading above that is current today. For example, ______________________________.
  4. Analysis: Arrange students in groups to analyze how issue can be solved. 
  5. Application: In the groups, apply similar methods to solve current issue by creating a list.
  6. Evaluation: Collect lists and redistribute to each group (each group get's their peer groups' list) to evaluate problem solving methods. Each group adds ideas to list. 
  7. Repeat process by passing group list to a new group for them to add to the idea list.
  8. Create Master List of all issues to class to discuss vote on the best ideas for each issue. Graph data.
    Please Add Ideas in Comments: What specific justice issue in history would you select articles for the above lesson template? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Climate Change Neglect in Education

Much of the curriculum in schools is silent on climate change, as the New York Times reports. The article about addressing the issue in education, especially middle school,  states that there are more articles online that misinform about the topic than cover it accurately. 

Teaching students to search for reliable information on the topic should look for search terms in Google that will lead them to accurate scientific information. While the article states the importance of teaching this topic to the next generation, it sidesteps how teachers can find accurate information about climate change.

Students, parents and teachers can investigate the reputable information about the topic with one simple set of search parameters on Google. The keywords are as follows:

NOAA climate change site:.gov

It's a travesty that The Times' goals don't include informing people about NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration in its article about climate change. The article mentions the dire need for middle schoolers' education include more curriculum on climate change and that the NGSS, which is true, as the parties interested in this topic will find few resources connecting climate change to the NGSS standards. The climate change units that educators can find is useful, but doesn't cover the issue in depth.

It's true that the science standards do not cover the topic directly and The Times is not the first publication to note that. The facts about the lack of sources for climate change are described in detail in the Brock Education Journal article titled The Implementation of NGSS standards and the Tumultuous Fight to Implement Climate Change Awareness in Science Curricula. Even this academic article does not address how students and teachers fan find reputable sources on climate change.

I plea with the mainstream media that if they are going to write about the issue of education and climate change that they include how to access reputable resources where educators and students can find accurate information. 


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Critical Thinking Lesson Plan and Assessment Links for a Variety of Subjects and Grade Levels

What could be better for educators and homeschooling parents than a prefessional paper that lists links that you can find reputable links for lesson plans and other resources for critical thinking and critical thinking assessment without pop-up ads. In the paper, the descriptions and links are detailed in a variety of subject areas (Bowers, n.d.). 

For example in the Edsitement website there are thorough lesson plans, teacher's guides and media with a wide assortment of topics from history and language arts to music.

Many other non-profit and governmental agencies provide free available resources such as the aforementioned one, each offering information and links about critical thinking and assessment for grades K-12. 


Bowers, N. (n.d.). Instructional support for the teaching of critical thinking: Looking beyond the red brick walls. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Assisting immigrant Students to Overcome Isolation


Recently immigrated students can feel isolated, so that teachers can implement using cooperative groups combined with social emotional learning in the classroom. Before initiating any group work, teachers are encouraged to teach the guidelines for group work

 Keeping students working with the same group of people for a period of time will help them to overcome isolation. Also, teachers should provide a lot of structure and establish daily routines, so that students know what is expected of them. 

Resources for Recently Immigrated Students

There is immigration curriculum at https://cla.umn.edu/ihrc/research/immigrant-stories/toolkits  

Book and Teaching Unit for Spanish Speaking Immigrants in Elementary School

Book: Muñoz Ryan, P. (2000). Esperanza Rising. New York: Scholastic.

Unit: Unit for Esperanza Rising.  

Sunday, July 17, 2022

University Courses Associated with Critical Race Theory


Many politicians are not educators. If they were they would be aware of conscientization: The action or process of making others aware of political and social conditions, especially as a precursor to challenging inequalities of treatment or opportunity; the fact of being aware of these conditions.

University courses that teach about conscientization are directly related to the idea of critical race theory and are vital for new teachers to understand at-risk students, students from lower socioeconomic classes of all races and English Language Learners. These students are often the focus of teacher-training university courses. 


Many courses that include conscientization and critical race theory reasoning are threatened to be canceled, along with any associated books that mention justice for all. In some states politicians promote fear that they will offend many parents because they present injustices throughout history toward oppressed and disadvantaged groups in society.


  • Diversity and Change
  • Methodology Cross-cultural Instruction
  • Cognition, Language and Culture
  • Language Development in Elementary Classroom
  • Language Development in Secondary Classroom
  • Meaningful Learning with Technology
  • Multimedia and Interactive Technology
  • Transformative Education Practices
  • Comparative Education Systems
  • Multidimensional Education
  • Becoming a Teacher
  • Identity, Inclusion and Equity
  • Linguistics Academic Language
  • Teaching Online
  • Design and Process of Teaching
  • Applied Critical Thinking
  • Self as a Critical Thinker

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Parents and teachers can read books to elementary and middle schoolers

 Parents and teachers can read books about math to elementary and middle schoolers.

 Here are two great lists of math-related stories that parents and teachers can read with students.

There's a an elementary grade literature book list for STEM subjects at https://everydaymath.uchicago.edu/teachers/5th-grade/literature-list/

Middle school math fiction books  are at  https://www.tarleton.edu/team/documents/Middle_School_Mathematics_Books.pdf


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Critical Thinking and the Creation of New Ideas

Critical thinking is a vital part of the education process. Engaging students in the development of critical thinking skills can lead to analysis and synthesis, leading to the creation of new ideas for goods and services that ultimately will benefit the citizens of all countries.

Consider that critical thinking occurs when students' affective filters (anxiety levels) are low. They will be lower when they are talking with one another than talking in front of the class, responding to teacher questioning. 

Another point is to have students use critical thinking when researching by using higher thinking skills of analysis and synthesis, such as investigating a topic from multiple perspectives by using a variety of sources. When I wrote nonfiction books about photography, I would do just that. Here's how: When I read through an article, I would write questions I'd have about material in the article that weren't answered in it.  Then I'd research an additional article looking for the answer that I had questions about from the first article. This works out well. It would be a good idea for to model this for students before you do a research project.

Consider metacognition, which is thinking about your own thinking. Teachers can do this by modeling think-alouds. Think-alouds provide readers time to pause while reading, so that they can clarify their thoughts about the content of a reading selection.

When a teacher models engagement in this process, he/she will do it aloud to model verbalization of thoughts. They can begin by saying, "When I begin to read fiction, I read the first few paragraphs to figure out what the setting and plot are, along with what the characters are like (character traits) (Block & Israel, 2004). 

Block, & Israel, S. E. (2004). The ABCs of Performing Highly Effective Think-Alouds. The Reading Teacher58(2), 154–167. https://doi.org/10.1598/RT.58.2.4 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Critical Race Theory Information-- Paulo Freire and Power in Relationships

Paulo Freire coined the term banking information in order to express a lesson being taught by the teacher with students being passive recipients of knowledge. He advocated for collaborative learning, so that students interact with each other and the teacher.

If you research the differences between teaching by banking information where the teacher has most of the power and teaching using collaborative learning by student interaction, you'll discover that the latter is more democratic, which is the value Freire emphasized in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed ("Paulo Freire," n.d.).

Freire used concepts such as vertical teaching and horizontal teaching to define the relationships between two types of instruction, and he equates each to the power the relationship has.

Vertical Teaching



Horizontal Teaching

teacher ↔ student

Power in relationships is an important concept in education. Critical Race Theory is concerned with people who are oppressed because they have less power in society than those who are not. 

Paulo Freire. (n,.d.). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://iep.utm.edu/freire/#SH5a 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Culturally Responsive Teaching Study is Awarded Nearly $400,000

 There are organizations interested in supporting research by and for practitioners on processes, projects, initiatives or aspects of practice that they are involved in. 

One good one is The Institute of Educational Sciences offers grants for educators to initiate educational programs and studies such as producing curriculum for teacher professional development programs. 

There is an interesting amount of money to develop a professional development program focusing on culturally responsive teaching (CRT). See https://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=3254

The Institute of Educational Sciences offers grants for educators to initiate educational programs and studies such as producing curriculum for teacher professional development programs. 

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has established 14 programs of research (topics) under its Education Research Grants Program.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Assessment and Rubrics

Utah Education Network

Instructionally sound assessment requires more than implementing meaningful tasks and standards. Teachers must develop the capacity to analyze student work, as well as the leadership ability to train students to do this analysis. The Rubistar website with you where you can create your own rubrics.

An assessment is an appraisal of the learner developed by the teacher observing a student and his or her work. An effective lesson plan should contain several opportunities for assessment throughout the plan. It can consist of pretests for determining what students already know, questioning intermittently throughout a lesson and quizzes. An evaluation is static and represented by a grade, a rank, or a score, that a student earns. Assessment is more dynamic, with reflective observation, whereas evaluation is static.  

Formative assessments that monitor progress are given more frequently than summative assessments (or evaluation), which usually occur at the end of a "learning cycle" to measure. Finally, learning outcomes affect your assessment and vice versa.