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Samantha Branz

ED 318
Economics Unit Reflection

What did I learn about teaching literacy integrated within a content area?
Literacy is infused in every bit of our lives and it would be extremely difficult to teach
students without integrating literacy. My lessons focused more on vocabulary and
communicating effectively than writing composition. I feel that my assessments were low
stress and allowed the students to make mistakes and correct themselves if need be. In this
low anxiety environment, my students were able to work together and help each other while
knowing that their views were all valued. Students were encouraged to write in their learning
logs if it helped them remember well. They were also able to view pictures and videos
representing various vocabulary terms. Pictures were encouraged should they need them to
explain one of themselves more clearly, as well.
I chose two articles for my students to read in my second lesson that I knew might be
above their individual comprehension levels. The reason I did this was because we were
using them as a focal point to class discussion. The students were made aware that if they had
a question they were able to ask it. One article was accompanied by a video which helped
greatly with comprehension. Another big help was that one of my students (one of only two
there that day) desperately loved steak and we were focusing on beef and chicken sales that
day. The topic of beef prices was chosen with this students interest in mind.


What did I learn about designing and administering assessments?

I feel like my assessments were very student centered. In the first lesson, students were
asked to participate in an opportunity cost simulation and a bartering activity. I designed
these activities for oral and written assessment. Students were able to rate and give reasons
behind why they chose the items they liked the most and why they liked the others the least
as well as look through the other items before talking to one another. I was extremely pleased
with the discussion that followed and believe that the students caught on to opportunity cost
and bartering very quickly. At the end of the lesson I posed a learning log question in which
the students would recount an example of opportunity cost; each student answered with a
great example.
On the other hand, I also learned that an assessment needs to be properly scaffolded for
the students to understand it and do well. In my forth lesson I gave an assessment I learned
about in another class. The students were shown stations with pieces of paper with
vocabulary words on them. They were required in this assessment to move through the
stations and record a definition or an example for that word, but they needed to be different
from what was already recorded by other students. At first students understood because they
were the first students to record, but as the assessment progressed, the students understood
less and simply recorded the same things they saw on the papers.
My students saw the spelling and reading inventory assessments almost as a game. I
posed to them an assessment in which they were not being graded but would help me in my
class. They approached the spelling test thinking it was a breeze (until the middle and end)
but were not nervous; they simply asked to see the answers afterward so that they could see if
they were correct or not. Even after seeing wrong answers they only smiled and said they

would do better next time. I would love for this attitude to continue through to my future

What did I learn about myself as a teacher?

I was really aware of my ability to improvise and move content around as the lessons
progressed. In the first lesson, I was not prepared to introduce as much vocabulary as I did,
but the chance presented itself in the form of many students asking about more advanced
economics. These little teachable moments that I chose to capitalize on got my students to
wondering if I had not planned the lesson to end up that way and they refused to believe that
I had not somehow forced them to ask more meaningful questions.
At the beginning of the unit I introduced the store to my students as something that would
be an absolute in the lessons to come. In hindsight, I should have made it very clear from the
beginning that the store was a privilege and could be revoked if work was not completed or
behavior was not as it should be. I had not counted on a few of my students being so
distracted by the future prospect of the store that they disrupted the entire third lesson. I
finally revoked their privilege and made sure that the expectation was there in the next class
time that they were there first and foremost to learn and if they were productive and
respectful they would have the privilege of the store restored. My being unprepared for so
many disruptions did push back my third lesson a good ten minutes along with the extra
review (and in two of my students cases needing to completely teach) of supply and demand
from the week before which pushed the lesson back another 5 minutes.
Besides the aforementioned lesson, the students were engaged and participating in all
other lessons to my satisfaction. I feel like a lot of the smooth movement through these

lessons had to do with my preparing the students binders beforehand instead of needing to
pass out all of the materials. Students were always able to look back on what they learned in
their binders (or learning log) and were able to easily record on their word walls any words
they felt they should know. Something I should have kept myself were the wallets that I
made for each student. One student would constantly take out his wallet to count the money
inside, state the amount and then ask the others how much they had left. I feel the removal of
the wallets would have prevented this behavior. All in all, I enjoyed working with this group
of students and it has taught me what I should and should not do concerning distractions to
the students.