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Running head: ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE

Teaching Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Rome Teacher Work Sample Leilani Valdez University of Alaska Southeast


Twenty-five 6th grade students were given a pre-survey or a pre-assessment test in order to assess student knowledge about Ancient Rome. 6th graders at Hunsberger Elementary School were eager participants in this informational The information students were tested on covered the areas of history, geography, language, important people of Ancient Rome, and the contributions Ancient Rome has given to the world, both past and present. Based on their scores and knowledge about Ancient Rome, I created a unit to introduce students to the geography, history, culture and the impact of Ancient Rome today. The data from the pre-assessment helped when constructing the backwards design unit for a study of Ancient Rome.


Ted Hunsberger Elementary School is located in southwest Reno, Nevada. Situated two miles up a straight and narrow road, Hunsberger boasts views of Reno and very close to Mt. Rose, a premier ski resort in Lake Tahoe. Hunsberger Elementary School is considered a high academic performing school and recently achieved a 5 out of 5 star rating. Washoe County School District uses a tool to monitor the progress of schools. There are numerous measures of performance that is used to categorize all schools in the district on a five-star system, such as measuring proficiency in reading, math, and science; student growth; student and family engagement, and measuring the proficiency and growth of achievement gap groups. This system is used to hold schools accountable for their academic achievements and to allow data to be accessed by the community. 1 Hunsberger Elementary School is not very ethnically diverse. Table 1 profiles the racial and ethnic make-up of the school district as well as Hunsberger Elementary School for the 2011-2012 school year. Student teaching in the Washoe County School district has exposed me to a larger Hispanic population and has provided me great opportunity to interact with a different population of ethnically diverse students.

See attached performance summary of Ted Hunsberger Elementary School. Appendix 1

ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Table 1 Racial and Ethnic Report 2011-2012
l lm en t i es Am Ala . In sk dia n a Na / ti v e nd er


Mi no

En ro

Hi sp an ic

Isl a

Pa cif ic

hi t e

To t

Total District Husberger Gerow 6th Grade Class 62220 833 25

Total 32266 151 2

% 51.86% 18.13% 8%

Total 1095 8 0

% 1.76% 0.96% 0%





% 87% 0.12% 0%



Mu lti-



To t

B la




2947 4.47% 23327 37.49% 1608 2.58% 540 58 0 6.96% 0% 37 2 4.44% 0% 4 0 0.48% 0% 1 0

29954 48.14% 2749 4.42% 682 81.87% 43 5.16% 23 92% 0 0%

There are 25 students in Mrs. Gerows 6th grade classroom. The classroom population that I taught in as noted in Table 1 is not an ethnically diverse classroom. Within the classroom there are about equal number of male and female students. Table 2 below provides a gender breakdown across the district, within Hunsberger Elementary School, within the classroom. The data from Ted Hunsberger and the district was collected from the 2011-2012 school year (Washoe County School District, 2012). The data for 2012-2013 has not yet been release. Table 2 Gender Breakdowns Ted Hunsberger Elementary 2011-2012 Male Female Total SES According to the American Psychological Association (2009), low SES contributes to inequalities in academic achievement and resources for education. 426 407 833 Mrs. Gerows 2012-2013 12 13 25 Washoe County School District 2011-2012 32,243 29,997 62240


cia l

ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Though many of the schools in Washoe County are designated Title 1 schools,

Hunsberger is not a Title 1 designated school and relies heavily on resources outside of government and state funding to support the learning of the students within the school. The school has high parent involvement and the PTA often funds many of the resources needed for the school. Within the school community there are many fundraisers the parents, PTA, and students organize and participate in, in order to raise funds for curriculum materials, technology, art/school supplies, and funds to hire a part time P.E. teacher. Based upon personal observations, though the school is located in a highincome community, it does not always have the necessary resources to provide for the students. For example, the school lacks the financial resources to fund technological upgrades or support for staff in regards to technology. The teachers need to teach themselves, whereas many other schools in at Title 1 setting are provided more technological support and upgraded technology for students. Discussing this situation with several teachers and administration at Hunsberger, much of the communities in the city assume that because the parents of the students are earning higher incomes than the average, that the parents just buy everything for the school and the students needs. However, many of the parents do not necessarily contribute their personal money to help the school upgrade their technology, buy supplies, send students on field trips, or buy curriculum materials. This is why much of the schools resources come from fundraisers throughout the local community and applying for financial resources outside of the state and federal funding.

ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Academic Ability

The classroom is a 6th grade at Hunsberger Elementary. Mrs. Gerows 6th grade classroom students are high achieving who score above the average 6th grade student across the school district on the MAPS test and the CRT tests. There are seven students who are enrolled in the Gifted and Talented Program held at Hunsberger Elementary School. These students leave the classroom from 9:30 am until 12:00 pm on Fridays. One student is on a 504 education plan that allows him more time to complete his assignments, as well as a visual accommodation. One student was recently put on a 504 plan for medical reasons. This student is in the classroom about 1-2 times per week and has many absences, and is in the Gifted and Talented program. There are two students who need many reminders for turning in work and their grades reflect their organization abilities. The needs for all students are met through differentiated instruction. The host teacher is Project G.L.A.D (Guided Language Acquisition Design) certified and implements many of these learning strategies in the classroom. These strategies promote English language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills. (Project G.L.A.D., 2012) Though these students are all native English speakers, these activities provide unique and engaging learning experiences for all and allow them to grasp concepts in the classroom. After discussing with Mrs. Gerow about the academic abilities of the students, she stated that many of the students at Hunsberger are under a tremendous amount


of pressure to perform highly and to score well both peer pressure and parent pressure affect the academic atmosphere school wide and my host classroom. There is a lot of academic competiveness throughout the school and within the classroom I taught in. I found that this competitive atmosphere has yielded higher results in participation and engagement in the classroom. The school environment is very open and welcoming. The school recently went through a change of administration and from what I gathered; it was a very positive change. From the perspectives of the teachers, the atmosphere is more relaxed and more smiling faces can be seen. As a guest in the school, staff and students are very welcoming to new comers and provide a helpful environment. Backwards Design Unit The three 6th grade classrooms at Hunsberger Elementary School require as part of their curriculum a study about Ancient Civilizations. Before arriving, the students were learning about Ancient China, Ancient Egypt and Weather. The three 6th grade classrooms rotate to each classroom each week where they learn two different social studies units and a science unit. Therefore, each class rotates during this block of time to each of the different teachers. During my student teaching experience, I was in charge of teaching students about Ancient Rome. I was required to plan for about 4 lessons a week, teaching on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with lesson lengths of about 45-50 minutes per day. My host teacher discussed with me that I would be teaching about Ancient Rome and allowed me to be creative on how I was to relay the information to the


student, but I needed to incorporate the Common Core Standards for reading and writing into my unit. The Common Core Standards mission is to provided students, teachers and parents are clear expectations of what students need to learn in order to prepare students for the real world, work, and college experiences (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012). With this in mind, I developed a unit that incorporated Common Core Standards for reading and writing, as well as standards that met the State of Alaska Content Standards and to meet the Nevada Social Studies Standards in the areas of history and geography. I created a unit about Ancient Rome in order to provide students with the opportunity to understand just how important the Ancient Civilizations, and specifically how Ancient Rome provides the world with many influences, both historically and culturally. When discussing with students what they knew about Ancient Rome to get a feel for what background knowledge that already had (which was very little), I knew that it would be an exciting challenge to get students to realize the impact Ancient Rome has on society in the real world and in their everyday life experiences. Students were able to learn through teacher led discussions, through group research projects, through individual research, whole-class activities, group activities, and individual work. This provided students the opportunity for differentiated learning. Students gradually learned about the foundation of Ancient Rome in the world and throughout the teaching of the unit, they were able to see the impact and find examples of how Ancient Rome influences society in todays world.


It is important to me to differentiate instruction so that I meet the needs of all students. According to Tomlinson (2001), differentiated classrooms operate on the premise that learning experiences are most effective when they are engaging, relevant, and interesting. I tried to keep this in mind when designing my lessons, allowing students to be actively engaged in the learning process. Many of the activities require students of all abilities to work together to reach a common objective. I also used graphic organizers to go with many of my lessons in order to help students stay organized with their information. I used hands on activities that allowed students to get out of their seats and work with their hands. I also provided authentic learning opportunities that helped motivate students to keep learning. The great thing about creating this unit was that I was able to teach it 3 different times, starting with my own classroom and moving on to teaching the two other 6th grade classrooms about Ancient Rome. I was able to use the pre and post assessments to drive my instruction and create a more refined unit for the last rotation of students. Learning Goals for Ancient Rome Unit This unit was designed to introduce the culture of Ancient Rome to 6th grade students. Students will know the impact of the ancient civilizations, specifically Ancient Rome, on the world today. Students will use a map to understand the importance of the geographic location of Ancient Rome. Students will understand the influence of

ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Ancient Roman culture (art, language, daily life, engineering, architecture, innovations, and inventions) on the world today.


Daniels and Bizar (2005) state with integrative units teachers step out of single subject instruction and lead their students into inquiries as complex and multidisciplinary as real world issues faced by workers, parents and citizens. Each lesson was designed to help introduce and reinforce information about geography, history, culture, important people, contributions to science, inventions, and a wide variety of information relating to Ancient Rome and the impact of that civilization has on the world today. Teaching the Ancient Rome Unit I believe that content of any subject should be brought to students in unique and creative ways. I used PowerPoint presentations to relay information and to bring pictures into the classroom, students used iPads to discover about ancient Rome, watched documentaries, and recreated drawings of Gladiators. I read aloud information to students from their social studies book, students popcorn read during specific activities, and had many opportunities to read with a partner. Students were given opportunities to write to relay information, to think critically about what they learned and they were also able to write imaginatively with a lesson that had students write a journal entry as if they were a particular person from Ancient Rome. Not all students use the same methods to learn, students learn differently and it was important to use that knowledge and incorporate it into my unit. Based on the host teachers observations, the observations of the other 6th grade teachers input



about the students in each 6th grade classroom (as a whole class and as individuals), I was able to create a unit that allowed students to actively learn about Ancient Rome while also challenging the students. Students were challenged to go beyond their capabilities and to create a presentation, a paper, and create and artifact that demonstrated their knowledge of Ancient Rome throughout the teaching of this unit. Teaching this unit allowed me to look at my style of teaching and how I could address the needs of the standards and to address the needs and interests of the students. Using my pre-assessment data, I was able to refine my unit to fit the needs of the class. Though this classroom was not my own, it is important to design your instruction to be flexible and have the ability to meet the needs of a class as a whole and to meet the needs of individual students. Assessment plan In the first stages of this unit being taught, there were several assessment ideas in place to discover what students learned about Ancient Rome, these assessments came in the form of a research paper, a group projects and presentation, as well as creating an Ancient Roman artifact to put on display for the History Fair. As time went on, the assessments changed to fit the time restraints for the remaining class rotations being taught. I compiled 25 multiple choices questions for the pre-assessment 2. These questions covered the following topics: how Ancient Rome was founded and who founded it, famous people in Romes history, the geographical location of Ancient

See appendix 2 for sample questions



Rome and the advantages to its location, questions about the culture, important wars Rome participated in and the contributions Ancient Rome gave to society. Though I know multiple-choice questions are not always an accurate measure for what students know, it helped me focus down on what information I wanted them to know and what they actually knew about Ancient Rome. This allowed me to redesign my lesson plans to incorporate the questions on pre-assessment in my lesson plans and unit. When I gave the students this assessment, I took into consideration the anxiety students feel when taking a test. So in order to alleviate test anxiety, I called the assessment/test a survey. I discussed with them the importance of doing their best and that this was to see what they knew about Ancient Rome. I really wanted to stress that I need to know what they knew in order to make sure I could design the lessons so they could gain important information about Ancient Rome. I also discussed with them that what I was asking them, would be information that I would be covering throughout their time studying Ancient Rome. The pre-assessment and post-assessment were roughly the same questions. However, in the post-assessment was given as a final grade for the course and I added added true or false questions as well as discussion questions to understand how much information they grasped about Ancient Rome. There were 30 questions on the test. The last five questions of the exam were not included in the original preassessment data analysis and were not included the data analysis for this work sample.

ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Pre-assessment and Post-assessment Data


The pre-assessment data was collected from 25 students. The assessments were given to a different rotation than my host classroom. I chose to do this because I did not necessarily like the way my unit had turned out the first time and used this opportunity to assess a different classroom and their knowledge of Ancient Rome. What was helpful about giving this specific class the pre and post assessments, was that I was able to refine my unit and completely rearrange the presentation of my unit and included more opportunities for engagement. The following graphs, displays the results of the assessments based on the number of questions correct out of 25 total questions. Based off the data collected for the pre-assessment, I analyzed where the students seemed to be getting the most questions wrong. Most of the students had difficulties with geographic location of Ancient Rome, important people, and questions about culture. Over the course of the next 3 weeks, I reinforced the information presented to the students on the pre-assessment. I felt the questions on the assessment were information that was important for the students to know about Ancient Rome. Students learned the answers to these questions through the various activities presented. As seen in the graphs below, the students made significant improvements from the pre-assessment to the post-assessment. The students received the information on a daily basis. Information was reinforced and summarized during each lesson. Students were also able to see the information from the questions multiple times, which I believed helped in the improvement of their scores as well as what they learned and



remembered. I did notice that many students still had trouble with the important people of Ancient Rome. Ancient Rome Pre-Survey Results
25 20 Points Possible 15 10 5 0 18 13 15 15 18 15 15 14 14 21 18 13 13 15 16 13 9 11 13 10

14 14 11 11 8 Score out of 25




90% 80% 70% 60% Percent Correct 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% A B C D E

Ancient Rome Pre-Survey % Correct

Percent Correct


L M N O P Q R Students


ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Ancient Rome Post-Survey % Correct

100% 92% 84% 90% 80% Percent Possible 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R Students S T U V W X Y Percent Correct 96%96% 96% 96% 96% 92%92% 92% 92% 88% 88% 88% 88% 84% 84% 84% 80% 80% 80% 76%76% 68% 64%



23 21



24 21 21 22 21



23 20

23 20


24 22 22 20 21

20 17


19 16

Points Possible






Ancient Rome Post-Survey Results

Score out of 25

ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Student Learning


Student learning scores were examined based off their pre-assessment and post-assessment data, as well as through their research papers and group presentations. This test only gave glimpse into the amount of knowledge acquired. Student were able to show by answering a constructed response question on the postassessment what influence and impact Ancient Rome has on the world today. The following table shows the results for individual students and their learning gain scores.
Pre Assessment Score %Correct 0.72 0.52 0.60 0.60 0.72 0.60 0.60 0.56 0.84 0.56 0.72 0.52 0.52 0.60 0.64 0.52 0.36 0.44 0.40 0.52 0.56 0.56 0.44 0.44 0.32 0.56 Post Assessment Score % Correct 0.92 0.84 0.68 0.96 0.92 0.88 0.84 0.84 0.96 0.84 0.96 0.92 0.92 0.80 0.92 0.80 0.76 0.76 0.64 0.96 0.96 0.88 0.80 0.88 0.84 0.86 Potential Gain Score 0.28 0.48 0.40 0.40 0.28 0.40 0.40 0.44 0.16 0.44 0.28 0.48 0.48 0.40 0.36 0.48 0.64 0.56 0.60 0.48 0.44 0.44 0.56 0.56 0.68 0.44 Actual Gain Score 0.20 0.32 0.08 0.36 0.20 0.28 0.24 0.28 0.12 0.28 0.24 0.40 0.40 0.20 0.28 0.28 0.40 0.32 0.24 0.44 0.40 0.32 0.36 0.44 0.52 0.30 Individual Learning Gain Score 0.71 0.67 0.20 0.90 0.71 0.70 0.60 0.64 0.75 0.64 0.86 0.83 0.83 0.50 0.78 0.58 0.63 0.57 0.40 0.92 0.91 0.73 0.64 0.79 0.76 0.69

Student # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Class Average



Overall, there were positive improvements on the percentage of students who gained knowledge about Ancient Rome throughout the unit. The class average learning gain score was .69 or 69%. The overall scores on the post-assessment showed a growth in learning. All students increased their scores. During the course of this assessment three students. Student A is male and in the Gifted and Talented program at the school. Student K is female and student Q is female student in the classroom. Student A, is a student with a great sense of humor and is a constant participant in class discussions, though has a tendency to get off task when it is individual work time. I was happy to see that he increased his scores from the pre-assessment to the post-assessment. He stated that he enjoyed learning about Ancient Rome because he did not know much about it before and it was cool to learn about people who lived so many years ago. Student K, is a hard working student, she is seemed very shy at first and did not speak up a lot in class. During this unit of study, she not only increased her score on the assessments, but also made progress on becoming a more vocal participant in the classroom. She acquired far more than just knowledge about Ancient Rome, but became engaged and active with the other students in the classroom. Student Q is a female student made great gains in during her time within the classrooms. At the beginning, she tended to have issues with talking during instruction or getting distracted during the learning activities. She was quickly moved to an spot where she thought she would concentrate more and was able to get back on track and succeeded in improving her scores.



There were some students who did not make significant learning gains on the multiple choice part of the post assessment, but they were able to use the constructed response questions to demonstrate their knowledge and what they demonstrated was beyond what their test score showed. Which goes to show that multiple choice tests are not always accurate measure of student knowledge gained throughout a unit of study. Reflection As a person who enjoys history, it was extremely important for me to encourage students to dive into history headfirst and learn about a civilization that has so many roots in our lives and culture today. To see the reactions to students when you tell them we use Latin everyday, or we are using something that the Ancient Romans created, is a very rewarding experience. I was very fortunate to be able to refine this unit and teach it a total of three times before I was satisfied with the way it turned out. Being able to take something you created, such as this unit, and be proud of the amount students gained in content knowledge is why teachers do what they do. The most important as In the future, I would have liked to have a little more planning time. I was three weeks into student teaching before I started teaching this unit. This was a great learning experience to create a unit in such a short time and to make it authentic and engaging for students. Though I did not have a lot of time at first to create this unit, I was able to refine it over the course of my student teaching and taught a revised unit to each class after my own. During the subsequent class rotations, I eliminated the



group project, finding that the group project and a research paper was a lot to do in three short weeks. Upon having more time in the future, I would like to incorporate a research paper, a group presentation, an Ancient Roman artifact project, as well as taking a test like the post-assessment. Teaching this to three different class helped me to differentiate instruction and to be reinforce the idea that no two students and no two classrooms learn the same. Being flexible is so important. I do not believe that three weeks and 12 sessions is enough time to dig deep into learning about Ancient Rome. Which is why each rotation had the same general learning goals, but the lesson structure and order changed in order to meet the needs of all students. In the future, I would like to spread this unit out over a span of 5-6 weeks. Allowing for more in depth look at the contributions and the influences Ancient Rome has on the world. Being able to tweak the unit to fit the needs of each class was truly a valuable learning experience as a beginning teacher.



American Psychological Association, Task Force on Socioeconomic Status. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on Socioeconomic Status. Washington, DC: A m e ri c a n Psyc h o l ogi c a lA sso c i a ti o n. Common Core State Standards Initiative | Home. (n.d.). Common Core State Standards Initiative Home. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from http://www.corestandards.org/ Foresman, S. (2008). Scott Foresman Social Studies: The World (Teacher's ed.; Gold ed.). Glenview, IL: Project G.L.A.D. (n.d.). Project G.L.A.D. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from http://projectglad.com/ Social Studies Resources. (n.d.). Nevada Social Studies Standards. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from http://www.doe.nv.gov/NDE_Offices/APAC/Nevada_Academic_Standards/So cial_Studies_Resources/ WCSD Accountability Framework. (n.d.). Washoe County School District. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from http://www.washoecountyschools.org/community/annualreports-publications/racial-ethnic-report Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd edition). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.



Appendix 1: Ted Hunsberger Elementary School Performance Summary

ED 688 TEACHER WORK SAMPLE Appendix 2: Sample Test Questions