I have found in my student teaching that one of the keys of being a good teacher is the ability to channel many different teaching skills to engage all students. In my program, I have learned how to teach using lesson plans as a guide. First, I start with the type of lesson I aim to teach (for the four types we focused on in class, see here). Then, I will reflect on the intellectual work I want my students to accomplish using my "learning activity types" as a guideline to help ensure I am implementing a variety of instructional strategies and adhering to the principles of "universal design for learning".

With critical thinking in social studies being of the utmost importance, I will focus my students on evaluating the data they receive (or uncover) with care. Next, I will plan for the different learners I have in my individual classroom as each student presents a unique teaching opportunity. If I am constructing the lesson with a specific class in mind, I will add the adaptations necessary for students with IEPs and 504s. Finally, to ensure that all students stay on task, I have learned to incorporate different motivational techniques in my classroom. This includes selectively collecting classwork, reminding students of their good work, keeping students on task by circulating the room, giving students positive incentives when learning some of the more onerous material, and keeping a strong line of communication open between myself and my students.


  • In this video (I apologize for the poor audio quality), I am guiding students as they explore a website on Ibn Battuta. Their assignment was to follow Battuta on his journeys through the known world and answer questions as they approached each country. Battuta is a central figure in world history and is instructive for the reinforcement of more closely aligned SOL concepts.
  • Once they were finished traveling with Battuta, their assignment was to create an online poster detailing on of the locations to which Battuta traveled; based on individual differences in the class, students picked a wide variety of destinations. An example of such student work can be found here. The assessment was designed to give students a creative space in which to express themselves, thereby motivating them.
  • The lesson plan that I followed closely gave me guidance when students finished their projects at different rates. This lesson is a good showcase of my teaching skill because it presented complex transitions and wholly new content in a unique format for students. Directions needed to be clear, management had to be precise and responsive, and the subject matter had to be challenging but not frustrating.