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I. Introduction:

Name:  Laurie E. Maldague

 

Grade Level:  9-12th grade 


Content Taught:   English, ESL, English Language Development (ELD), Basic Skills

Why I Teach:
 

I teach because I enjoy the job.  It allows me to do the things I love to do:  to interact with people, to be creative, and to engage with the English language.  Teaching also makes me happy.  There is no greater feeling than the satisfaction one gets when the students are lively, engaged, and communicating dynamic ideas.  After a great teaching day, after the last student has left the room, I have the sensation that something magical has just happened, as if a Disney fairy came flying into my room and sprinkled fairy dust with her magic wand, accompanied by the sound of pretty chimes as it wafts down through the air.  This is a sensation that can't be bought by any billionaire! 

 

Teaching allows me to use my intellectual and artistic ability the way almost no other profession would allow me to do.  This is why I teach.

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Context: 

I teach multi-level classes at Johanna Boss and N.A. Chaderjian High Schools at the Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, CA.  Many students exhibit the need for more vocabulary, reading, and writing practice.  The purpose of this curriculum is to provide practice in preparation for the students to take the GED exam and obtain credits to graduate from high school.  They will study and practice vocabulary in context and critical thinking skills in their reading and writing assignments.  The courses will culminate in the students doing various projects and writing essays with in-text citations and a Works Cited pages.  They will also complete Units 6 and 8 from their Holt/McDougal Interactive Reader (10).
 

The formative assessments will be ongoing checks involving questions by the teacher about subject matter during the class. The summative assessment will be the submission of projects, summaries, and final multi-paragraph essays.
 

CDCR Johanna Boss HS
Originally submitted:  16 October 2021

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Introduction

II.  CSTP Growth and Development:

Overarching Long-term Goals:

10/28/ 2021: (Pre-program Goals)

1. Long-Term Growth

 My overarching long term professional growth goal involves continuing to practice my strongest skills while bolstering those skills that could be stronger. Specifically, after considering my Individual Development Plan and my initial CSTP Self-Assessment results, I anticipate continuing and concentrating on the elements of CTSP 3, Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning. I also plan to continue making additions and modifications to, say, my Course Map as I see which lessons are most successful with the students. For example, as part of our unit on Odysseus, I asked students to create colorful graphic organizers and eye- catching posters (Inquiry #2). This was not part of the original assignment, but as a response to administration’s request for more Project Based Learning activities. 
 

I also plan to incorporate CTSP 1, Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning. I can learn more about my students before they enter the class, such as who has ADHD, for example.

2. Teacher Performance Assessment:

I plan to use the TPA’s as a feedback mechanism to see where I am strongest or weakest. I recently received (see attached) an evaluation from my Principal. I will keep his comments in mind in terms of continuing to structure my lessons and using a positive tone when I teach future classes.

3. Initial CSTP Self-Assessment:

I am using the initial CTSP Self-Assessment results to pinpoint the areas that I need to think about, such as CTSP 4, Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students. My goal is to gather more ideas about scaffolding and differentiating for my students that have learning issues.

4. Strengths and Opportunities for Growth:

I will use, as indicated in the paragraphs above, the initial CTSP to focus on the areas that I can improve, such as CTSP 5, Assessing Students for Learning. I would like to learn more about online quizzes, for example, and even more about online games, such as Kahoot and Quizlet.

Compared and contrasted pre- and post CSTP Self-Assessments:

Pre (October 2021) 
 

CSTP 3: Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning 
 

CSTP 6: Developing as a Professional Educator 
 

CSTP 2: Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning 

CSTP 5: Assessing Students for Learning 
 

CSTP 1: Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning 
 

CSTP 4: Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students 

Post (May 2022) 

CSTP 3: Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning 

CSTP 2: Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning 

CSTP 1: Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning 

CSTP 6: Developing as a Professional Educator 

CSTP 5: Assessing Students for Learning 

 

CSTP 4: Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students

Analysis: 

CSTP #3 and CSTP #4: 
 

  On paper, I didn't change that much--the first and last CSTPs were exactly the same (CSTP 3- Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning and CSTP 4-Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students, respectively), only the middle CSTPs switched positions somewhat. Empirically, I feel that CSTP 3 and CSTP 4 are my greatest strengths even though CSTP 4 was "last on the list." I feel that these two CSTPs are closely related, and I feel that CSTPs 3 and 4 are where I spent most of my thought and activity. Specifically, I felt that my greatest learning was in course planning and choice of material. The curriculum at DJJ is quite different in structure from that in "regular" public California high schools. This is because at DJJ, students can be released at any time during the semester, they can be put on behavior modification programs, and they can be put on quarantine. All these factors could cause a student to be absent for weeks at a time. Therefore, I didn't have the luxury of time to set up a lesson that every class could finish at about the same time. 

Specifically, concerning CSTPs #3 and #4, I particularly wanted to pick subjects that would resonate with the students, so I picked several adventure, "true grit" type stories with dramatic conflict, whether they be ancient Greek legends or contemporary inner-city accounts. This is why, for a first assignment, I had students read a prose version of The Odyssey. We also used this as a basis for our Project-Based Learning (PBL) assignment, where students drew posters depicting Odysseus' trials before he arrived home at Ithaca (see posters below). After this project, instead of more "traditional" bildungsroman works, such as The Catcher in the Rye or the dystopian Lord of the Flies, I picked a contemporary work by Luis Rodriguez, Always Running. This novel/autobiography is about Rodriguez growing up in East Los Angeles and joining a gang. This work was quite successful with the students, and it was great to show them that "even a guy like us" could earn a great living as a talented and respected writer despite a difficult upbringing (see essay below). 

Later, in the spring semester, we read more "true grit" stories, such as Jack London's "To Build a Fire" and H. H. Saki's "The Interlopers." These were followed by Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," a story dealing with betrayal and revenge, issues that are present in many of my students' lives as gang members or ex-gang members.

Other CSTPs: 
 

CSTP #6: Developing as a Professional Educator: (#2-pre; #4-post): I attended the various Professional Development meetings that were held at the school. We discussed important topics, such as having negative expectations of students and de-escalating confrontational events. We also discussed how to motivate the unmotivated, which is an issue in all classrooms everywhere. Some ideas that came out of these seminars were quite useful, such as starting out with compliments for any small bit of positive work or behavior and changing the format of presentations every 20 minutes or so. Effective scaffolding for Language Development students, such as breaking down stories into chunks no longer than 5 sentences or re-writing main ideas, was also discussed. I felt this added to my "toolkit" of effective practices with certain students.

 

CSTP #2: Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning: (#3-pre; #2- post): Concerning this domain I had to make sure that the room was attractive, clean, and free from contaminants and/or objects that could be used as weapons. I also had to make sure that the desks were free from graffiti so as not to provoke gang rivalries. I always try to do these things no matter where I teach, but I had to be particularly vigilant at OH and Chad (the high schools on campus) because the smallest threat could provoke a fight, which could have serious outcomes. 

 

CSTP #5: Assessing Students for Learning: (#4-pre; #5-post): As stated above, we were not encouraged to give formal quizzes or tests because the students had weekly and monthly TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) tests and GED tests during the middle and at the end of the semester. We were encouraged to create packets, which I did, for month-long reading and writing activities that could be done on a flexible schedule. 1 credit or 1 1/2 credits could be given if the entire packet was finished in a timely manner. Of course, I actually "taught" the packet so that students would have a chance to ask questions or to request clarification of terms, etc. 

 

CSTP #1: Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning: (#5-pre; #3-post): Since many of my students (maybe 1/3 of them ) have ADD or ADHD or some level of focusing problems, my lessons had to be short and focused and of very high interest. This I tried to do with my selection of texts to read and follow-up activities for those texts. One follow-up activity was the poster assignment, another was an essay, another was a "finish the story" essay, another was a poem and poetry slams, and the last will be a process essay whereby students will create their own financial plan. By varying the activities, I can tap into the various learning styles exhibited by my students (i.e., visual, aural, kinesthetic, etc.) and engage all students as much as possible. 

Areas of strength & opportunities for continuous improvement:

This year was a great year for learning about what "works" with a special group of students: incarcerated youth. I refined my knowledge of selection of texts as well as creating "chunks" of lessons so that students would not get overwhelmed or bored. I tried to divide each teaching hour into 3 parts: current events, main text/activity, and vocabulary practice. This kept the momentum up in the class, which proved to be a good idea. I had good attendance, which is also a sign of one's teaching strengths. 
 

However, I feel that I could continuously improve my knowledge of my students' obstacles to learning, such as those enumerated in their IEPs or those exhibited in their behavior. I will be more diligent about consulting their IEPs in the future.

How I have changed and what I am most proud of:

As stated above, I have changed in that I improved my knowledge about the kinds of texts and activities that this particular group of students--incarcerated youths and young adults--respond to positively. I have learned that many of them are very bright and talented, but are missing the social and academic skills that they need to be successful in the outside world. With that in mind, I am very proud of the work my students produced, some of which is depicted below.

CSTP
Student Impact

III.  Impact on Student Success:

Specific Examples of Student Achievement: See Below

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Statements from site administrators:

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IV.  Addendum: Quick Summary of 4 inquiries:

Inquiry #1: Effective Lesson Design

19 September 2021

A.  Explore and Extend:

Overarching Long-term Goals:

I chose “Effective Lesson Design” because it made rational sense to create an Inquiry concerning the Course Map that I created for the whole fall semester.  I teach at Johanna Boss High School in Stockton, CA, where most of my students are reading and writing at less than 10th grade level.  However, the majority of my students are enrolled in 11th grade English, A or B.  Consequently, I must accelerate their learning to bring them up to 11th grade standards and, simultaneously, introduce the kinds of texts that are accessible to my students at their current level.  In this Course Map, I utilize Backwards Planning because I wanted to be able to slowly increase the level and complexity of texts so students would be prepared to tackle a Shakespeare play at the beginning of spring semester 2022. With this in mind, I started this fall with a modified version of Odysseus, a text at a 6-7th grade level, followed Always Running, a contemporary text at a 9th-10th-grade level, followed originally by works by Steinbeck, Twain, Poe, Miller, etc. at a 10th-11th grade level.  I changed the text from Week 11 on, and used Luis Rodriguez' Always Running and George Clason's The Richest Man in Babylon for their final essay assignment for fall semester, 2021.

Inquiry #2: Engaging All Students

29 September 2021

A.  Explore and Extend:

I chose “Engaging All Students” for my second inquiry because it perfectly fits the philosophy behind the design of our first unit on the classic hero, Odysseus.  That philosophy involves picking works that have educational value as well as relevance to students’ lives In order to engage as many students as possible, I designed the unit to be comprised of several parts:  reading background information, reading specific chapters with accompanying questions, and creating a graphic display and an actual full-length poster depicting Odysseus’ travels.  I will show below how each part of the Unit was integral to engaging students to enjoy the subject matter and build upon class discussions with regard to their own lives.

B.  Plan and Apply:

1.     Designing Project-Based Learning:  The design of daily lessons in “The Hero” unit involved utilizing discrete skills on the part of students.  The first skill was word recognition and reading fluency.  Students simply read about the 3 general stages of “the hero’s journey,” according to classical analysis:  the Call to Adventure, the Road of Trials, and the Return.  Then students read about the “stock” characters of a typical “hero” tale, such as the antagonist, the trickster, the temptress, the sage, and other supporting characters.  They also read about traditional plot designs, such as exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  This was all in anticipation of reading the actual stories in prose form of Odysseus’ travels after his triumph in the Trojan War.  I chose a 7th-grade reading level for the text and DOK levels 1-2, sometimes 3, for the reading questions in this first assignment.  I wanted all students to feel comfortable with the text and be excited about the content instead of stumbling over sophisticated words and possibly lose interest in the stories.

 

2.     The second skill involved involved creating a graphic organizer of the actual events in the stories.  This included the 3 aspects of the “hero’s tale” mentioned previously plus elements specific to the Odyssey, such as supernatural aide, threshold guardians, temptations, and challenges.  This involved the skills of classifying information and making value judgments about the effectiveness of Odysseus’ choices, such as those with the Lotus Eaters and Calypso. 

 

3.      The third and final skill involved using their artistic ability to create 3X5’ fold-out posters of Odysseus’ journey, with drawings and cut-outs attractively placed on the board for future exhibition.  This involved organizing information in an artistic way so as to emphasize the events that were most important in the stories.  The students were also asked to display certain “truths” that Odysseus learned from his encounters, such as those from Teiresius in the Underworld (“The Gods will not do for man what he must do for himself”;  “the journey is the important part, not the final success,” etc.).  This part of the unit was a nice addition for our class since we have been asked to create more “Project-Based Learning” activities by our administration.

Inquiry #3: Positive Learning Environment

27 October 2021

A.  Explore and Extend:

Originally, I had planned in my Course Map to teach a more standard 9th, 10th, and 11th grade curriculum, with great works by American and British authors after an initial unit on Odysseus.  However, I decided to concentrate on a more contemporary work, Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez.  Mr. Rodriguez is a Los Angeles-based Chicano writer author who writes about growing up in East L.A. during the 60's and 70's amidst all the social and political turmoil of the time.  The book is a memoir, a bildungsroman about how Luis, as a teenager, gets involved with gangbanging, robbery, violence, drugs, and women.  I chose this text because many of my students have lived similar lives to that of Luis even though the book reflects events of 40 years ago, such as the Vietnam War.  Luis, though, is luckier that his "homies" because he establishes a close relationship with Chente, a man about 10 years older than Luis, who guides him when he sees that Luis is engaging in self-destructive behavior.  Chente establishes "meaningful connections" with Luis, and he becomes more socially and politically aware of the issues that impact their minority community.  Since the events in the story are similar to events in my students' lives, they are more likely to relate to the main character as he evolves from a reactive, angry teenager to a more self-reflective adult.

Inquiry #4: Effective Lesson Design

18 November 2021

A.  Explore and Extend:

Again I chose CSTP #4, Effective Lesson Design, for my 4th Inquiry because I wanted to create a lesson with a product that my students could take out to the "real world" once they are released from custody.  Designing this lesson carefully was crucial to helping my students plan for their financial future.  Indeed, it is often because of financial pressures that my students became involved in criminal behavior in the first place.


I designed this unit in a very traditional way because I felt that this approach would aid comprehension.  I first had the students read the chosen text, The Richest Man in Babylon, and answer text comprehension questions at DOK levels 1-3.  Then students were to write a multi-paragraph essay explaining how they would use at least three principles as described in the book to create their own wealth plan.  Students will have to think of ways they can earn money legally and achieve their financial goals.

Addedum

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