Science Leadership Academy [staging] Learn · Create · Lead

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Peter Ricker Capstone


For my capstone, I helped teach a middle school class at my old school, Greene Street Friends School. I worked alongside my partner, Kennedy Coverdale, and the math teacher. I taught math concepts to the seventh grade class that were deemed challenging and new material that some of them haven't learned yet. The main challenge with this was the way the class was set up. Every student follows along the lesson plan laid out by the teacher and uses the textbook and online resources to teach themselves, so every student was on their own level. Some already knew the material and others didn't. Collaborating with my mentor, my partner and I created a lesson plan with concepts that were challenging for everyone and researched the material and how to keep students engaged in class. After teaching, I realized that being a teacher is a career I want to pursue in life and I am interested in studying education in college.


Helping a student work through the challenge warm up problem.


I had the students create their own problems similar to mine and then work them out as a class.


Milkova, Stiliana. "Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning." Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning.

Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.


This source covers the questions that I am asking myself such as, “what are effective ways to get to know my students and create a positive learning environment?”. They provide sources to help answer these questions. The source I clicked on explains ways to make the best out of the first days and how to learn students’ names. This source also has sources on how to formulate lesson plans which is one of my questions and goals for this project. I believe this source is very trustworthy since it comes from a university and therefore, the source should be legit.

Canon, Chris. "Engaging Students | How to Keep Students Engaged!"YouTube. YouTube, 8 May 2013.

Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <>

This video helps teachers with ways on how to keep students engaged in class. It gives activities that help students focus and information on these activities and how they should be set up to benefit the students to the fullest. This sources provides engaging activities instead of boring activities, such as a worksheet. It is very limited in terms of strategies for just an hour of class. These activities are useful for a full year rather than a single day. I will use these ideas and formulate my own off of them in order to have an activity after a single hour of teaching, rather than a week.

ESL5204. "The Toughest Class You Will Ever Teach: 9 Tips for Engaging Middle School Students."

BusyTeacher. BusyTeacher, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.


Since I will be teaching a middle school class, this source is good for giving tips to help me. It gives me an idea on how to create a lesson plan and more activities to help keep kids engaged. These tips are also very useful for creating my own activity, instead of borrowing one already made. It also mentions how discussions can be useful as an activity. It doesn’t mention specific ideas of activities to do, but instead ways to make activities engaging. I will use this to create my own activity or to include these tips into a borrowed idea.

Strauss, Valerie. "Five Key Strategies to Get/keep Kids Engaged at School." Washington Post. The

Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2015. <>

This source has more strategies about working with kids and how to keep them engaged in class. Even though it covers a whole year, rather than just an hour long period, I can still use it to formulate activities to keep students awake and paying attention. Since I will be teaching a math class, this is very helpful. Using this source, I can create a unique lesson plan that will keep students focused and excited to learn.

Wolpert-Gawron, Heather. "Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement. "Edutopia. George Lucas Educational

Foundation, 26 Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.


This source talks more about keeping kids focused in school. This source comes from the opinions of eighth graders and how they like to be engaged in class. This is a good source for me to use because it gives me ideas used by students that are approved and therefore, can create a lesson plan that will benefit both myself and the class. These opinions also gives activity ideas that I can use to create my own that will be useful to keep students engaged. Since this is one of my goals, this source is very useful.

Johnson, Ben. "The Art of Managing Middle School Students." Edutopia. George Lucas Educational

Foundation, 4 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.


This source explains the behavior of middle school students and how to deal with them. It also gives ideas on how to keep kids engaged and focused on the lesson, therefore helping create a lesson plan. Since these kids will want to be treated equally, I think this will be a problem for myself and this source doesn’t explain how to deal with situations like that.

Laidlaw, Scott. Imagine Education. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <>.

Since I am teaching a middle school math class, this source and its tips are very helpful. It explains that rewards are not a good way and to work with the way students are feeling about the lesson. Without this, your teaching may be ineffective and a waste of time. You also need to develop a lesson plan on a topic that is interesting and engaging, therefore activities are helpful. You can’t trick kids into learning topics that they aren’t interested in and it is your responsibility to engage them.

"Tips for Teaching on the First Day of Class." The Teaching Center. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <>.

This is a good source for me since I will be teaching for the first time and for a single day. It gives a lot of tips and tricks such as giving a brief lecture right away and diving straight into the lesson. It also says that small group discussions are very effective for students’ learning. This gives me an idea to create small group activities rather than an all class activity since kids will be more focused in smaller groups.