Teacher Evaluations- M6U4A3

Teacher evaluations are important for numerous reasons including gauging teacher effectiveness. Teacher evaluations can look different across different states and districts. While the rubric and criteria administrators are looking for may vary what remains the same is that teachers should all aim to be as highly effective as possible everyday if they enjoy teacher, otherwise it could be time for a career change.

Through taking a deeper look into teacher evaluations I gained a further understanding of both the Danielson Groups Framework to teacher evaluations as well as Teacher Evaluation 2.0. While they do have some similarities they also have a few differences.

The Danielson Group details an in depth framework which lays out several domains and criteria in which a teacher should be evaluated on including areas like planning and preparation as well as instruction and professional responsibilities. The Danielson framework does not set a specific time frame for how often a teacher should be evaluated and in what fashion the evaluation should occur. The Framework also doesn’t list point values with each domain and subset. It appears that a Danielson representative comes out to train staff and administrator on how the process works. Within the domains and subsets the criteria the Danielson Framework lays out are broad but do encompass what an effective teacher would be.

On the other hand the one of the main features of Teacher Evaluation 2.0 is that it is an annual process. The frequency to some may be too much especially those that have been teaching for several years, however if an educator is always aspiring to grow and better themselves for their students, teachers should welcome the opportunity for feedback. Similar to the Danielson Group’s Framework Teacher Evaluation 2.0 consists of multiple measures to indicate teacher effectiveness. Teacher Evaluation 2.0 also believes that there should be regular feedback to better assist a teacher growth well as making the evaluations significant, the outcomes must matter. Overall Teacher Evaluation 2.0 seemed every clear and straightforward in terms of how the process is run, what is expected of teachers and how evaluations are conducted. Teacher Evaluation 2.0 even mentions pitfalls to avoid during the process as well.

As a teacher I feel I should be judged on several factors. An effective teacher should be judged on how well they know their students and how “with-it” they are. Teachers should also be judged on their classroom management/ students’ awareness and respect to classroom expectations and norms. Respect can be a two way street, when students feel respected they will respect their teacher and when a learning environment reflects this, more learning is able to be conducted. Teachers should most definitely be judged on how engaging their lessons and of course that the lessons relate back to the standards we are expected to teach. When lessons are engaging students not only learn the content, but they remember it long after the lesson has ended, making the experience even more meaningful. While an observation of a teacher actually teaching a lesson, in addition to data of teacher effectiveness through test scores, can give a glimpse into a teacher, there are a few other factors to consider as well. Communication within education can be huge. Teachers should also be judged on parent communication (if a teacher isn’t communicating effectively to a parent there may be educational opportunities that are missed) as well as with colleagues (if a teacher is difficult to work with others may not share as much with them ultimately effecting their students possibilities.)

While teacher evaluations sound rigorous it is because they should be in order to make sure that every student is getting an effective education from an effective educator.


Megan Thompson


M6U4A3 Teach Now Cohort 6

Pre-Assessment for Differentiation- Module 6 Unit 2 Activity 3

Pre-assessments can be helpful indicators to gauge students understanding of the topic prior to starting the lesson. Pre-assessments can also be helpful when grouping students for small group centers, targeting each smalls groups common need on all levels can help students learn at their pace.

Below is the link for my Kahoot pre-assessment. It consists of 5 questions that can be read to students. These questions are to gauge students understanding of subtraction numbers 0-10. The assessment could be given one on one.


Depending on the results of the pre-assessment an estimation of class break down may look like:

  • the 5 students who answered most, including the most difficult, of the pre-assessment questions correctly.
  • the 12 students who have some knowledge about the topic as shown in their score, but need to develop higher order thinking skills
  • the 5 students who appear to have limited knowledge about the topic.

The mind map below illustrates the kinds of differentiated instruction for the 3 groups.

Module 6 Unit 2 Activity 3- Mind Map-Megan Thompson


Thank you for reading this post,

Megan Thompson


A. (2016, April 10). 15 Fun and Free Ideas for Teaching Subtraction. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from http://kindergartenchaos.com/15-fun-free-ideas-teaching-subtraction/

A.(2017, March 03). Subtraction Lego Game. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://thekindergartenconnection.com/subtraction-lego-game/

S,(n.d.). Subtraction Facts Board Game. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Subtraction-Facts-Board-Game-1667198?gclid=Cj0KCQiAq6_UBRCEARIsAHyrgUz4Zr5la3XMYXrZ_JeJLAJQCc_d14S4OH4rYH0Q8W6BPWRhlOcjn0saApqqEALw_wcB

Differentiated Instruction-M5U1A3

In an ever-changing education landscape anticipating students needs seems like it is becoming more and more of a challenge for educators and students are coming to the classroom with more and vastly different needs than ever before. Differentiated instruction is a way of anticipating and preparing for a vastly different student needs. Almost any student could receive differentiated instruction depending on learning or physical disabilities, readiness level, and student preference when the option is available. Students with physical disabilities, for instance visually impaired, could be given a different option in terms of seating so that they could best see from wherever they were. Students who may be on a much lower readiness level for kindergarten may receive more work with pictures than words, this is also applicable for ELL students. Since kindergarten students are very active and move quite a bit for students that have a hard time sitting down and working for longer periods of time shorter segments of work can be given to allow for breaks in between.

If through formative assessments like white board writing practice, think pair share, teacher observation, etc. a student is recognized as possibly not grasping the material additional steps should be taken to ensure that the student has the adequate resources and time available to understand the material before assessment to ensure the educational gaps do not persist. If during observations of white board writing practice I notice a student is frequently getting the wrong answer during addition or subtraction I may come over and work with that student one on one. I may also pair that student up with a higher student that has a better grasp of the material for partner work. If more than one student is having difficulty grasping the material but it is less than several I would add the students to a small group that would meet with myself during centers in order allow additional time and resources to be spent mastering the material. Students might be given slightly different work or be given a choice in their work as long as it leads back to the material we are covering. No two children are exactly the same and according to McCarthy, “The teacher’s responsibility is connecting contentprocess, and product. Students respond to learning based on readinessinterests, and learning profile.” (2015)


Differentiated Flowchart

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Thank you for reading,

Megan Thompson


McCarthy, J. (2015, August 28). 3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do. Retrieved February 02, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/differentiated-instruction-ways-to-plan-john-mccarthy






























Unit Reflection-M5U1A3

Through this unit I have learned several valuable things about unpacking a standard and backwards mapping. This will help me going forward in my teaching career with preparing, planning, and mapping out units and lessons.  Through the course of our study it has become more evident why standards are so important. For any grade level standards are the framework in which we are expected to teach. Without standards a teacher in one kindergarten classroom maybe doing things completely different than another teacher. With the lack of uniformity students would be getting different educations from different individuals every year. With standards however teachers are expected to teach a certain curriculum within a certain timeframe in order to best prepare students for future grade levels. Taking it a step further and diving into a standard can be overwhelming or broad. Through this unit we learned to look for student proficiencies when trying to understand a standard. These proficiencies can help guide the thinking for what you would like your students to achieve through the unit.

Assessments can also be vitally important when unpacking a standard or backwards mapping. Knowing how you would like to assess students on the topic or unit (formative, summative, etc.) as well as when to assess and what the assessment is aiming to gauge are all fundamental questions during the process of unpacking a standard or backwards mapping. During the course of the unit many small lessons will be taught including hands on interactive games where students are engaged while practicing the material. Through teacher observations I will be able to identify when a student is having difficulty with the material. During small group times like tier 2 math I will pull the students back to work with him further on the material. Taking a look at the standard through a backwards design was helpful to understand where I would like my students to eventually end up. The backward design flaws as such step one identify the desired results, step to identify evidence of learning and step three designed the instructional plan. Interestingly in this method the lesson plan actually comes last giving the teacher/lesson plan creator the ability do you think about a plan all the way through before preparing it.Prior to this lesson since I became a kindergarten teacher I had planned and prepared a bit differently. Last year and for the first half of this year I would think about the topic that we were going to teach I would look for ideas online for how to teach it I would use those ideas in addition to my own experience and then I would write the plan. Now with a better understanding of what backwards mapping is and how to unpack a standard I feel like I could make more effective lesson plans that leave my students in a better direction.

An interesting insight into the common core philosophy I noticed amongst our readings was the following quote “the first question for curriculum writers is not: What will we teach and when should we teach it? Rather the initial question for curriculum development must be goal focused: Having learned key content, what will students be able to do with it?” (McTighe, 2012)

Thank you for reading,

Megan Thompson


McTighe, J. (2012, December 06). Common Core Big Idea 4: Map Backward From Intended Results. Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/common-core-map-backwards-jay-mctighe-grant-wiggins

Unpacking a Standard- M5U1A2

The standard I will be unpacking is the Arizona Kindergarten math standard for the area of Operations and Algebraic Thinking (OA) K.OA.A
Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from. The specific standard is K.0A.A.1 Represent addition and subtraction concretely. The source of the standard is ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS FOR STUDENTS (December, 2016)

I choose this standard for developing a unit as it is something students will need to know and use for the rest of their lives, whether its counting change at their first job or figuring out how much more money they need to buy something one day, addition and subtraction are fundamental skills that students will use. There is quite a lot of content that will go into this unit allowing it to span 4-5 weeks or longer with may lessons within the unit.

By the end of this unit students will be proficient in addition and subtraction in several different forms. Students will have a concrete understanding of the concepts of addition and subtraction with “result unknown” (Ex-“Two bunnies sat on the grass. Three more bunnies hopped there. How many bunnies are on the grass now? 2 +3 = ?”). Students will also have a concrete understanding of “change unknown” (Ex-“Five apples were on the table. I ate some apples. Then there were three apples. How many apples did I eat? 5 – ? =3”) as well as “start unknown” (Ex- “Some bunnies were sitting on the grass. Three more bunnies hopped there. Then there were five bunnies. How many bunnies were on the grass before? ? + 3 =5”)

Students will also be proficient in recognizing important mathematical symbols (+, -, =). These mathematical symbols will be important for students to be able to recognize and differentiate in future application.

In addition to being proficient at recognizing and differentiating mathematical symbols students will also be proficient with mathematical vocabulary like, subtract, add, take away, equation, fluency, subitize, plus, minus and equals.

The unit will have two summative assessments. One assessment will focus on addition skills. The assessment will contain several different forms of addition problems. The other summative assessment will focus on subtraction skills. The assessment will contain several different forms of subtraction problems. Using multiple strategies taught throughout the unit the expectation is that 81% or higher will show mastery.

A formative assessment that will be used during this unit will be teacher observations. So much of kindergarten assessing is done through observations. I will observe each of their progress when they are working with a peer, when we are practicing on white boards as well as playing small group games.

Both of the summative assessments would be given whole group with the teacher reading the directions to each problem aloud with the assessment showing on the over head projector. Students will have time to answer each question as the teacher walks around observing answers. Each assessment will also contain pictures to assist ELL students.

During small group math centers students will get an opportunity to do hands on math. One activity they will do during this unit in small groups to deepen their understanding of subtraction will be a game called “subtraction smash”. Students will each have a laminated 10 frame game board and a container of play doh. Students will pull different subtraction cards that tell them how many play doh balls to make and than how many to smash. At the bottom of the 10-frame board students will practice writing the equation and answering it.

Another activity during small group math centers would be to have students partner up and take turns playing teacher and student with addition and subtraction flashcards. It allows students both an opportunity to answer the question and also verify if the other person is correct. Students could use manipulative for this activity in the early stages.

Lastly students will practice addition using dice adding the numbers on two dice to find a total. Students will be able to have fun with this skill with worksheets called “Roll, Add and Color” where each number answer correlates with a color to complete a picture.

Thank you for reading,

Megan Thompson



  1. (2016, December). Arizona Mathematics Standards-Kindergarten. Retrieved January 20, 2018, from https://cms.azed.gov/home/GetDocumentFile?id=58546eb8aadebe13008c1a18

M6U1A3-High Stakes Testing

High stakes testing can be any form of assessment for the scores are used for decision-making processes. This can occur at any and all grade levels all the way through college entrance exams. These high stakes assessments exist for several reasons and there are just as many reasons why people would debate against high stakes testing. One of the “major rationale for high-stakes testing is that scores can be used to hold schools and teachers accountable for providing a high-quality education to all students, including student groups that may have historically underperformed academically or been underserved by schools.” (HIGH-STAKES TEST) On the other hand those who oppose high stakes testing claim it forces teachers to “teach to the test”. While these views are opinion based, from my own experience teaching, high stakes assessments can yield valuable data while on the other hand not giving a full picture of the students overall progress (especially in kindergarten as the DIBELS is the only high stakes assessment, which only covers ELA standards).

In Arizona for kindergarten teachers the only state required assessment is DIBELS, a high stakes assessment which measures student early reading proficiency skills, including capital and lowercase letter recognition, first sound fluency, and the ability to sound out nonsense words. Students are pulled out of the classroom for this assessment and have one minute to complete it each section. This is about as high stakes as it gets, when the timer goes off students must stop wherever they are at.

Kindergarten teachers in Arizona are measured on several things during evaluations including student academic progress data, which accounts for 44 points out of the total evaluation or 37% of the total. Teacher performance accounts for 66% or 55% of the total 10 points are given for surveys or 8% of the total accounting for 120 total points. Of the 44 points awarded for student academic progress 20 points relate directly back to the standardize assessment, DIBELS. Overall this means that while the scores can be very important there is much more involved in an evaluation beyond just test scores for it to impact a teacher’s position.

The other place I looked up to compare to Arizona was Tennessee, a place I would possibly want to live one day. One of the first things I looked for was information about teacher’s evaluations and the impact of high stakes standardized tests. I couldn’t find any information within the teacher evaluation to suggest that the 2 are interconnected. Tennessee does have state standardized test called the TCAP Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, however for kindergarten through 2nd grade “TCAP testing is not mandated” but can be elected based on the school.  It looks like in Tennessee schools high stakes test scores do not have an effect on teacher evaluations, although many other key characteristics are needed to teach within that state.

Overall between the two states kindergarten standards are fairly similar, however teacher evaluations and use of high stakes testing are a bit different between the two states. While Arizona uses high stakes testing results as part of the teacher evaluation Tennessee does not, instead emphasizing things like grouping students in evaluations with a “significantly above expectation” teacher recognizing and show things like “The instructional grouping arrangements (either whole-class, small groups, pairs, individual; heterogeneous or homogenous ability) consistently maximize student understanding and learning efficiency.”


Megan Thompson

A. (2016, April). Teacher/Principal Evaluation. Retrieved February 11, 2018, from http://www.azed.gov/hetl/teacherprincipal-evaluation/

E. (2014, August 8). HIGH-STAKES TEST. Retrieved February 11, 2018, from https://www.edglossary.org/high-stakes-testing/

Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model. (2017, December 19). Retrieved February 11, 2018, from http://team-tn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/TEAM-Teacher-Evaluator-Handbook-2017-18_Add-Gifted-Doc.pdf

M5U5A2-Multicultural Content and Multiple Perspectives

Teaching kindergarten in Arizona some of my lessons may look a little bit different than in other parts of the country or world. Some of the lessons that will do will showcase the diversity of our community. These lessons of course age-appropriate for five and six-year-olds. On the local scale we will cover such topics as the the original inhabitants of Arizona, Native Americans. On the national level we have an in depth unit about famous US leaders in diversity like Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks, as these are part of our standards. The last two years I taught this unit it was especially interesting how my students curiosity was peaked by this topic. This year in particular I was struck by a revelation one of my students had who has a different skin color than one of their parents. On a global scale we include a unit and famous explorers and their impact on discovering other cultures. In my current classroom their students have all different backgrounds just like my previous classroom and I’m sure my classrooms to come in the future. Students will be given opportunities to reflect on how their cultures as well as how others cultures are as important for us to appreciate as well as this is something they will encounter in their future years of education.

For some students this may be their first opportunity to be in a structured classroom setting interacting with peers of all different backgrounds while others may have been in preschool since they were young and been around many children that either look the same or possibly different than them. Through the unfiltered lens and the young perspective of kindergarten eyes it is interesting to understand their perspective on different cultures and races and backgrounds especially when new concepts spark their curiosity or intrigue them to asking more questions. It’s important to teach with a multicultural perspective since children are ever-changing and classrooms are becoming more diverse.
My hope for my students to develop cultural competence is more to be a kind individual who respects others. As my students are learning much different things we tend to keep things fairly simple. My other hope would be that my students become curious about these topics and want to learn more about other cultures as they are equally as important. Within Arizona kindergarten standards there are little to no specific information or ideas as how/ what to teach for students to be cultural competent. This leaves room for creativity, but also asks the question what is too much for their age and understand level.

Thank you for reading,

Megan Thompson