Wednesday, September 19, 2018



As a teacher, I have a method that guides me when preparing classes. This method helps me to include in the lessons everything that I believe is necessary for the students to achieve a deep understanding of the subject.

Here are some of the lessons I have worked on.

1. Democracy, Rights, and Identity - Decision Making - Different Perspectives


Presentation on the lesson plan

2. History and its Cultural Legacies: Italian City-States During the Renaissance

Format - GANAG

3.History and its Cultural Legacies: Production Systems of the Inca Civilization

Format - GANAG

4. History and its Cultural Legacies: Democracy for the Greeks

Format - GANAG

5. History and its Cultural Legacies

Format - UbD + GANAG + Rubric

Best Regards


Philosophy of Education - Lessons


Lessons are a guide for students to develop the following as they learn the knowledge and skills related to curricular content:
  • Metacognition through reflection
  • Self knowledge that leads to the creation of beliefs that will help students in their decision making process
  • Self awareness that leads to understanding and control of students' emotions and feelings, and this in turn will lead to empathy
  • Metamemroy that leads to understanding, control and recalling of their memories by students and leads to introspection
  •  World knowledge that will help them in their critical thinking and higher-order skills
  • Experiences management that will help students create an identity and find the meaning of what they are learning
  •  Goal creation abilities that will lead to goals and tasks in which students will learn to measure their progress and manage their effort
  • Strategies creation abilities that will help students with problem solving and which they will be able, with practice, to transfer to other contexts.  
All of the above will help students take control of their own educational process, which reinforces the teacher's role as a guide.

Below is a mindmap of what I include in every lesson.

Best Regards

Philosophy of Education


As a teacher I have a philosophy of education. This philosophy includes beliefs about various aspects of education, such as assessment, class management, curriculum and instruction, among others.

Below, part of my philosophy of education.

Philosophy of Assessment

Motivation - Why do I go to school?

Best Regards

Application of Methods, Techniques, Strategies, and Approaches in Education


Everything I believe and what I have learned that will help students in their educational process is included in my lessons through methods, techniques, strategies and approaches. This in order to provide students with the necessary tools for their learning.

Below are some ideas on methods, techniques, strategies and approaches that can help students in their educational process.

Smarter Assessment - Application

 Assessment  Strategies - Formative, Summative, and Metacognitive

How does education feel, sound and look like?

Portfolio - Classroom Management

Part 1 -

Part 2 -

Values and Principles Class: Reinforcing Good Behavior

Strategy for Classroom Management: Precept of the Month

The art of Language use: The High Responsibility role play

How to Promote a Growth Mindset in your Students: A Practical Approach

Differentiated Instruction and its Application in the Classroom

Best Regards

Reflections on Education


Reflection is a great tool in education, not only for students but also for teachers.

Below are some of my reflections that I have made on different education issues.

Guiding our Students so they can Guide Others

Getting to Know your Students by Helping them Discover who they Really are

The why and the how of a Lesson: Building Bridges

Language Objectives in Order to Achieve Understanding: Key Concepts

How to Change L2 bad Practices in your Students: Irregular Verbs

Inclusion Through Differentiation: Sequential Learners, Global Learners, and Exploratory Learners

Deduction plus Discovery, a Formula that can Lead to Metacognition

The importance of Teacher Consciousness in the Learning Process of the Students


Best Regards

Education Topics Summaries


There are many ways I can help my students take control of their education process. Metacognition is one of these ways . It will help students to know themselves and to use this knowledge in their educational process.

With respect to other education issues, a smarter assessment will help teachers address the goals of education and guide students, for example, by allowing them to measure their progress.

Below are some of the summaries I have made on education topics.

Metacognition Reading Notes
Smarter Assessment

Best Regards

Presentations in Education


I have learned from what others have researched and personalized that knowledge to create more meaningful lessons for students.

Here are some of the presentations I've made on education topics.

Conscious Discipline

SIOP Model - Practice/Application

Decision Making and the Brain

7 Keys to Effective Feedback (in pairs)

Emotional Disturbances (group work)

Best Regards

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Smarter Assessment - Application

As you can see in my philosophy of assessment (part 1 of the portfolio), I agree with the goals of assessment stated in the videos, which means I will use different strategies to achieve these goals. The videos show an own assessment philosophy they call smarter assessment, and they show different strategies and ways to pass from the concepts to real life application.
For the goal of students’ understanding of the content I like to use several strategies in which I as teacher know they understood, this based on the six facets of understanding: explanation, interpretation, application, perspective, empathy, and self-knowledge. For this, I will use the Understanding by Design (UbD) format to plan the lessons, find the goals based on the curriculum and what I want my students to understand, plan also what I want them to transfer to the real world and how, and also include the skills that will be practiced, essential questions to guide them, and the activities they will perform, which include the different types of assessment.  
In the second goal, knowing where the students are regarding the learning goals I like to use the different types of assessment: formative, authentic, metacognitive, and summative; in order to give them information and let them own their learning. For this I will use the SIOP+GANAG format, where I will plan lessons based on the types of assessment, there will be learning and language goals for each lesson, vocabulary used and how they will learn it, activities to achieve the goals, and ways to reflect on them. The use of UbD and SIOP+GANAG will assure that the goals are met, and when they live each lesson, where I will show them the goals and essential questions at the beginning of the class, there will be clear expectations of what should students expect of the class and what is expected of them; also the assessment will be more meaningful for students and will be more effective, as is the idea of smarter assessment.
I also thought about going beyond what they were talking in the videos, and beginning to think on what smarter assessment means. In the videos they gave us a lot of clues, the teacher and assessment in the class must be consistent and constant. The foregoing means that we as teachers should be consistent in what we do, do it for the real and right reasons; if we define assessment as we did it above, we have to be truthful and assess what we are saying we are assessing. This is why we should assess the learning goals, not other things like behavior. Behavior will be addressed through other strategies, like self-discovery in the learning process, through for example self-reflection and other metacognitive strategies (see part 3 of the portfolio). Being constant means we don’t change over time our rules, why we do what we do; this means we as teachers show clear expectations for students that don’t change over time, or due to mood changes or particular feelings toward students (e.g. not liking a student), in other words “clear rules”. This will create relationships between students and teachers that will be very important in the guiding role of the teacher.
To achieve the above we have one very useful strategy they talk about in the videos, grading in the six point scale and by categories. I think I can apply it in the scale we use at school; however, I would use four categories, given the nature of the scale: Novice – 0 to 3.99, students that need a lot of guidance from the teacher and peers as to how they learn; Apprentice – 4.0 to 5.99, students that need to be guided to get to the next step; Practitioner – 6.0 to 7.99, students that get the idea but need a little more to be consistent; and Expert – 8.0 to 10.0, students that are consistently getting it and need support on how to maintain this performance (every student needs guidance, even an Expert student). The grades will also be represented by images which will help students see where they are, this poster will be posted in the classroom to remind them of the importance of progress. Another important thing I want to apply is not to think in terms of percentages, but in what the mistakes and/or successes are telling me about their understanding, what does it say regarding the goal assessed. All of this means that grades will be reliable, precise, and meaningful.
As I said above for me metacognition and self-discovery are paramount in the education process, which means I like a lot what the videos showed on teachers guiding the students so they can become owners of their learning process. This can be achieved with the self-reporting, where students take responsibility of their learning process, it is a process based on the why and the how; for example with what they say about late assignments, and therefore using the late assignment form (see summary above). For the late assignment form, we should take into account time and what it represents, if students don’t turn in assignments they will get behind regarding other students, because new topics and new assignments will appear, which is a life teaching for them; this can be supported by the teacher-student conversations. However, as is shown in the video, we should talk to our Administrator in order to see what freedom we have to do this. All of this will help students see education as a process, where they will be able to track their own progress. In this part there are other important strategies and concepts, for example the idea we have about homework.
We should change what we think about homework, which should be a practice time, a way in which students do what is necessary so that they can make the most of the class time; for example I liked the videos used by the teacher so that students get an idea of the topic outside of class, and then use the time of class for activities that will lead to understanding in different ways. The above taking into account the importance of repetition so that the brain makes connections and what is learned passes to the long-term memory. All of this will help the student understand their work habits and what they need from the teacher, and from the resources they have at hand, for example at school, at home, etc. Another good support that will give tools to students is the unit plans.
Unit plans are very good supports that I will use in my classes, they are compatible and complementary with reference to the tools I talked about before (UbD, SIOP+GANAG). The four questions (see the summary above) addressed in unit plans are a roadmap not only for students, but also for teachers in their planning. Another important part of unit plans is to separate the objectives in assessment and in testing, so students can understand what they are being assessed on, I will apply this in my class. Also the checklist is a great way to help them reflect on their learning, where they will learn about their study habits and what they need in their learning. Students will also reflect on what type of learners are they; which is an understanding of another of the important parts of smarter assessment, the acknowledgement of diversity and how to embrace it in the class (see the portfolio part 2).
Recognizing the diversity of students and giving them different opportunities to prove their understanding is worked through a very important tool we have as human beings, creativity. Creativity begins with the teacher, we as teachers have to find ways to give them different types of opportunities and let them learn in different ways, teaching for creativity and what it involves (see summary above) is one of my priorities. In planning the activities teachers will be able to give creativity the importance it has and with different group strategies students will also learn the importance of group work. I am committed to plan in such a way where creativity has a place and I will also use hands-on activities (see portfolio part 3) so that students can make abstract concepts concrete. Creativity and commitment by the teacher also leads to motivation, which is very important in education. Another important part of this is the major project planning sheet, which can be customized by the teacher; the important thing is that students connect what they are doing with the goals, something that is included in the SIOP+GANAG format.
Another important part of smarter assessment is retesting, something that is directly linked to my philosophy of assessment (see portfolio part 1). I think that life gives us a lot of opportunities and we have to pass this knowledge of life to education. We have, as teachers, to show students the opportunities and how to seize them. For this there are important points to make: opportunities are won, here behavior is important in winning the opportunity to retest; opportunities should go hand in hand with progress, which means that the self-evaluation is very important because it helps them understand how can they use what they know about themselves in order to seize the opportunity; and finally opportunities should rely in choices for the students, they have to learn to make decisions and the consequences of them, this can be done by leaving in the report card the retest grade if they choose, and are chosen by the teacher, to take the retest (they should decide also which goals they will retest). Retesting can take different forms, for example if students have the first opportunity as a presentation with activity (see portfolio part 3) students can be able to retest, so the latter turns into a formative assessment, in a different way planned by the teacher, who will take into account what students wrote in their tracking sheet, and what they learned about themselves. The retest will become the summative assessment and will be, for example, in the form of a standardized test that will help them practice how to face this kind of tests.
Finally, all of this I talk about in the application part of the videos will help different types of students, and one of those differences in students is between the struggling learners and the academic ones. They will all have the chance to learn, there are ways for example in which advanced learners won’t get bored in the classroom, which take into account for example creativity and extra work in class.  Communication will be a key in my classes, with students but also with the Administrator, so that change won’t be a traumatic experience, instead it will be a great one. I will show students I am also learning, which will make me become the lead learner, this will be in the form of giving them voice with reference to the class, helping them support the class with their ideas through reflections, and applying that knowledge in the class. Feedback and the types of feedback, for example ongoing feedback, will be addressed in my lessons, and will come from the teacher and from peers (see portfolio parts 2 and 3). Also parents involvement in the education process of students is very important, and will be achieved through communication with parents through different means, and their involvement in students projects, for example through open day where parents carry out activities with their kids.

Smarter assessment is a great philosophy that have common ground with my assessment philosophy (see portfolio part 1), this is why it is easy to think on ways to apply it in my classes, something I will work on due to its importance, for me as teacher as for the students.

Smarter Assessment - Summary of the topic

What are the goals of smarter assessment? The goals are: knowing if the student understands the content, and knowing where the student is regarding the learning goals. The smarter assessment videos show different strategies that will help teachers achieve the goals of assessment. These practices will lead to a more meaningful and effective assessment that focuses on motivation and achievement and help teachers to be more consistent and clear. This will help students achieve control of their own learning process, with the guidance of the teacher.
How does grading look like on smarter assessment? One big part of assessment is grading, which involves knowing to what extent students meet the learning outcomes. In the video is clearly stated that assessment should be focused just on its goals, not other things; for example, it shouldn’t focus on behavior. One way for students to be successful is if they own their learning, which implies taking responsibility (students) of their learning: arriving on time, doing the homework assigned, and others, this is referred as “work ethics”. To be able to follow these assessment objectives they suggest a change in the way we grade; teacher should make grades reliable, precise, and meaningful. To achieve this they say we should grade by categories in a scale of 1 to 6, the following are the categories: 1-2 Novice, students need guidance to get to the next step; 3-4 Apprentice, students are getting the concepts but they are missing other things; and 5-6 Expert, the students are consistently getting it. Another part of this is that students are not graded in terms of percentages, with these questions: How many answers they had right? How many mistakes? Instead, they should be graded by the type of mistakes, with reference to what they show about the students’ understanding. Also the use of images to represent each category will help students with their involvement in the grading process.
What is the involvement of students in smarter assessment? A very important part of smarter assessment is students involvement in their own process, this can be achieved through self-reflection. For example self-reports are one of the strategies used, they can see their progress, they will also find their strengths and things they need to improve on, and they can assess their own effort. In self-reports behaviors are very important, and we should take into account the guidance of the teacher is necessary; for example this can be achieved through forms, where teachers will have their own assessment that compares to the one made by the student. This strategy can also lead to a positive relation between student and teacher that in turn means an open line of communication among them. It also helps the teacher think about the why regarding students performance; for example when they hand-in late the assignments or don’t hand them in at all, a late assignment form strategy can help students see their own progress. We have to also take into account that the above works if teachers are available to help students when they need it and worry about their success; if students and teachers fulfill their responsibilities, success is assured.
What is the purpose of homework, and how to achieve it? With reference to homework, in the videos they raise several problems of standard homework, among them that completion doesn’t mean understanding and doesn’t mean they did it, and that it leads to grade inflation or deflation; also that students end up thinking everything should be graded as incentive. The new way to see homework could be as extra practice, or positive home practice, which isn’t graded and if they don’t do it will lead to a learning conversation. There are other strategies that show students that grades are a guide, not the final goal; for example in class, quizzes for them to check their own work, application questions, and the strategy flip your classroom, where the time in class is for activities, and instead of lectures students will see outside of class a video with the information they need for the class.
What are unit plans and how to use them? Unit plans are clear roadmaps that help students know what to expect from the class and teacher and what is expected of them, this means a “no surprises” policy. It helps the teacher know we are all in the same page, and it has a list of objectives for the unit, which are clear and in student-friendly language. The objectives are separated by their nature and divided between the following sections: 1. Knowledge – What do I need to know? For example terms and learning outcomes, to be defined and explained. 2. Reasoning – What can I do with what I know? This means information processing. 3. Skills – What can I demonstrate? The latter in terms of learning targets, by demonstrating or showing. 4. Product – What can I make to show my learning? This refers to the project. In all this process self-reflection is very important, for example through checklists, where they show their plan of study and if they need teacher support or not.
What is retesting, and what part does it takes in smarter assessment? Traditional tests have the problem of being a “snapshot in time”, which means they depend on the time and space and are affected by variables; to achieve better the goals of testing we should, according to the videos, stretch out tests over time. Another problem of traditional tests is that they are one-dimensional, which means they don’t offer multiple ways for students to demonstrate their learning and they don’t take into account multiple skills. Also they negatively impact the student-teacher relationship. For all of these reasons they suggest a strategy that involves testing for each learning outcome and allowing students to retest on those outcomes so they can improve if they choose to; also if they win the chance to retest. With this strategy it will be easier for teachers to be themselves through testing and it will allow the students to see the first test as a formative assessment and the second as summative; also it will help students to reflect on how to face the second test based on the first result. A similar strategy is the practice test, which is in the conditions of a normal test, e.g. in silence, and is marked in the 1 to 6 scale. Teacher is available for students during the tests.
What information is needed in a tracking sheet? A tracking sheet will help students set goals and prepare for the retest; students will choose which objectives they will retest. This form will give teachers and students information on the test preparation and goal setting. It is also a graphic representation of their strengths and weaknesses, for example with the “I did” and “I did not” statements. They also show information on the student-teacher conversations regarding study habits, and show areas where students need to focus on. The tracking sheet will help teachers decide if students can take a retest, taking into account if students got in time to class, did homework, paid attention, among others. If students can retest and choose to do it, the grade of the goal is replaced by the new one, the one of the retest.
What is the role of differentiation in smarter assessment? It’s important that students are able to prove their understanding in different ways, for example open the possibility for oral tests. Also to give choices to students, let them have more voice in assessment and in their education process.
Does creativity has a place in smarter assessment? Creativity is very important because it is required to solve current problems, but also to solve those problems yet unseen. Teaching for creativity involves: original thinking, problem solving, innovation, and inquiry based learning. Creativity and engagement are very important for good performance. It seems creativity leads to chaos, but a controlled chaos is where the most learning goes on according to the videos. Creativity involves also movement and exploration, and is part of the project based learning, all of this necessary to force students to take risks.
Creativity should be assessed or graded? No. Creativity helps students to practice, learn, collaborate, communicate, analyze, and work together with other students to achieve learning goals. All of this helps in the understanding of the unit and the engagement in the topics. However, it shouldn’t be graded because it depends many times in the available resources students have, for example music or art classes. Also, assessment should be done in a controlled setting, examples of this are: quizzes, personal reflection paragraphs, drawings, diagrams, interviews, or unit tests, among others.
What is the major project planning sheet? Is a way for students to be focused in the learning targets while they are working on creative projects. It is a form that helps them show how or where in the project are addressed the learning outcomes; students have to write details showing the connection of the project with the goal. These projects and the sheet help recognizing diversity in the classroom, students’ different abilities, strengths, and needs; they also help in the motivation of students. For academic students creativity helps them go beyond where they might be limited by particular options; while for struggling learners it gives them opportunities to engage with the material more deeply. All students perform better due to this in standardized tests. Also it helps the teacher reach the students that need more support, and it gives a lot of opportunities of connection between teacher and students.
What is the Administrator’s take on all this? First in the videos they talk about the importance of staying relevant in education, which means change; how I as teacher can be more effective, it also gives the teacher the role of lead learner. To all this, the Administrator talks about the importance of relationships, which are the foundation of leadership. This work in building relationships should involve the development of a team in the school, with support meetings, conversation, and others. To achieve all this the Administrator should support teachers, because parents and students aren’t expecting those changes we mention before. Communication is also very important, where the Administrator should be aware of those changes made by teachers, and they, as a team, can find the evidence to support those changes before parents, students, and others. Also communicatio where Administrators give the teachers clues on situations where they need to be more flexible with some particular students. Other comments of the videos on this point are on the importance of breaking down instruction according to learning targets and separating grades and behavior.
What are some final comments of some experienced teachers? A mission of a teacher should be to help students become life-long learners, so they are able to transfer what they learn to the real world. A comment done is that it is a challenge to get at risk learners to be willing to resubmit work, but it all has to do with opportunities in class. Also it has to do with students reporting on their behavior, which can help engaging parents in the education process. In turn, this could lead to parents, teachers, and students focusing more on working habits and the process, not in grades; working habits are the ones that measure success more accurately.
Another teacher refers to the importance of hands-on learning, and of asking for the opinion of students; it helps them in the process of valuing their own opinions, and is a contribution to the class. Finally, that it is important for students to not just find the right answer, but to go deeper into the question; also that is important to have the courage to try new things, and learn from what doesn’t work.