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Teacher Leader Videos in ELA/Social Studies, Math and Science Instruction

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Classroom Videos from Professional Developers in the CUNY Adult Literacy/HSE Program

The following 10 classroom videos were filmed in a demonstration HSE equivalency classroom at the Murphy Institute in the Spring of 2015. The videos provide demonstrations of lessons from the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework.

Kate Brandt, Social Studies
Eric Appleton, Science
Mark Trushkowsky, Math

Video Production: Kieran O’Hare, Zachary Timm

We would like to thank our students in the Spring 2015 CUNY HSE Demonstration Class who inspired their teaching and writing: Sabrina Abreu, Adam Alicea, Janet Alicea, Netea Banks, Eileen Berrios, Asbury Brown, Tiffany Carrian, Fabio Castro, Iquis Dickerson, Sandra Eisenberg, Julien Fils, Renee Gulliver, Brad Lee, Ron Lee, Edith Leon, Lashana Linton, Angel Osorio, Roxanne Perez, Miyako Smith, and Natasha Williams.

Reading Historical Maps in the HSE Classroom (Social Studies)

In this lesson on reading maps from Social Studies – Unit 3 in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, Mark Trushkowsky leads students through a discussion aimed at helping them build background knowledge about U.S. westward expansion using a historical map. Students ask questions which are written on the board. An interactive discussion helps the class arrive at answers to their questions, and these are written underneath their respective questions. The class then works together to list strategies they can use to understand historical maps–using the title; paying attention to all written information on the map, especially dates; referring to the key; asking themselves questions.

Fresh Milk for Breakfast: The Law of Supply and Demand (Social Studies)

The law of supply and demand is a fundamental concept in economics, and understanding it is important for the HSE test. As participants in a market economy, students have an intrinsic understanding of this concept. In this lesson on supply and demand from Social Studies – Unit 3 in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, students are asked to draw upon that knowledge as they take on historical identities–an urban family in New York City in the early 1800s that cannot afford fresh milk, which is too expensive due to transport costs, a farm family that wishes to sell its milk, the family of a railroad agent that sees an opportunity to connect a supplier and consumer. The role play allows students to explore the workings of supply and demand interactively, in a historical context. This understanding can be applied to understanding markets in general.

Graphs Tell a Story: Using Data to Understand the Past (Social Studies)

In this lesson on U.S westward expansion and the railroad from Social Studies – Unit 3 in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, students look at maps showing a gradually expanding network of railroads in the U.S. in the 19th century, then use data from two graphs to consider the effects of the railroad on both Native Americans and the buffalo on which they depended for food. Students are guided to make observations and ask questions about what they see in the two graphs. A graph showing the buffalo population is examined and students are guided to notice features like the x and y axes and the different scales used to show the declining buffalo population. Information in the graph is translated into written form on the board, a strategy that students themselves can use when they encounter graphs in other contexts.

Strategies for Understanding Poetry (Social Studies)

Many adult students view poetry as confusing and hard to understand. In this lesson from Social Studies – Unit 1 in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, Kate Brandt leads students through a series of steps to help “unlock” a poet’s hidden meaning, first with a simple poem, Langston Hughes’ “Dreams,” and then with a more challenging one, “Since 1619” by Margaret Walker. Kate does a think-aloud to demonstrate strategies like using the title and information about the poet and the poet’s historical time period to predict meaning; noting the associations that come with certain words and images; rereading; and paraphrasing to penetrate the poet’s “message.” Students break into groups, with each group responsible for explaining one stanza of the poem to the class. The video ends with a group read-aloud of the poem.

Electrical Charge: Why Does Lightning Strike? (Science)

In this lesson on electrical charge from Science – Unit 5 in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, Eric Appleton leads a science class through an investigation of electrical charge, organized around the central question: Why does lightning strike during a storm?
In this lesson, students learn:
– Electrical charge is a property of matter
– Like charges repel, opposite charges attract
– Objects have a neutral charge overall when they have an equal number of positive and neutral charges
– Distance and the number of charges on a particle are important
– The strong force holds positive particles together
– How polarization happens with a balloon and a pane of glass, and storm clouds and objects on the ground

(Electrical Charge, part two and three)

Respecting Problem-Solving Strategies: The Handshake Problem (Math)

Demonstrating strategies from the Math section of the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, Mark Trushkowsky leads a math class through an exploration of the Handshake Problem. Students worked on the problem during the previous class, coming up with their own answers and methods for solving the problem. In this video, you will see Mark facilitate a discussion of problem-solving strategies, centered on the work of four selected students. This was the second math class of the semester with this group of students. The specific problem-solving goal for this lesson was to develop student appreciation for making problems more concrete through visual representations. The larger goal was to introduce students to their “problem-solving strategy toolkits”. This list of problem solving strategies grows with every problem students work on. We often talk about the list as “things you can do when you want to put your pencil down or have more confidence in your answer.”

Introducing Patterns (Math)

In this lesson on patterns from Math – Unit 8, Lesson 1 in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, Mark Trushkowsky introduces students to patterns, drawing out a shared definition we can make observations and collect data to identify patterns and that we can use those patterns to make predictions. This introduction will lead to students developing algebraic reasoning through visual patterns. In this video, students brainstorm two words, algebra (italics) and patterns (italics). From the discussion of patterns (italics), students come away with a definition and practice it using the number pattern 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4…

Developing Algebraic Reasoning Through Visual Patterns: A Scaffolded Approach (Math)

In this lesson on algebraic reasoning and visual patterns from Math – Unit 8, Lesson 1 in the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework, Mark Trushkowsky works with math students looking at their first visual pattern. The visual pattern explored in this video is the Upside Down T problem, which teachers can find in the sample progression of visual patterns in Unit 8. In terms of developing algebraic reasoning through visual patterns, this particular lesson is focused building an algebraic equation that describes the relationship between the figure number and the number of total squares in each figure. Using a scaffolded approach, Mark uses a series of questions that can be used for any visual pattern to move students from the concrete to abstract, recasting algebra as something connected to previous mathematics they have understood – in the words of Marilyn Burns, “algebra is the generalization of arithmetic.”

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