Putting theory into practice
I am often conflicted about the efficacy of my workshops and training sessions on equity. I wonder if and how all of the theory, talk, coaching, and modeling will translate into practice that actually eliminates race, class, disability and place of residence as predictors of student success. This section of my website is one way I am trying to directly address this concern. Here you will find many of the unit plans, many of the lesson plans, all of the family updates, and most of the citation information for the materials I used in the two years that I successfully closed the education gap in my 7th grade social studies classroom. As you will see, most of these documents have been put here, "as is." Like most teachers, some of my units were completely planned out in writing and some were still "in progress." If you are interested in reading the theory behind the documents contained on this page, check out the article Closing the Education Gap by Eliminating Zeros.

How does this help you?
Obviously, your subject area and expertise as an educator will lead you in your own instructional directions. The concrete examples of how I tried to implement inclusive and affirming educational theory into my practice are here for when you find yourself stuck, confused, overwhelmed, and wondering how to really practice what you believe in your heart to be the right ways to teach. Maybe my examples can help you get unstuck, or remind you of a strategy you used to use but have somehow forgotten about. These have not been edited to fix my mistakes, and there are probably many ways in which they could be improved. However, they are my portfolio of what actually worked for my last two years at Boynton, with that particular group of students and families, with Johnny Vann and Jason Trumble as my administrators.


Will You Share Your Work Here?
I would really like to be able to post YOUR WORK on these pages. Rather than just giving you my ideas, I would love to be able to collect your ideas and share them with others. Please send me your documents so that I can post them on this site. Examples of how you reach out to families, unit plans and lesson plans, and other materials you have created that support the effort to eliminate race, class, and disability as predictors of student success would be greatly appreciated. (Thanks to Kim Fontana for thinking of inviting input to make this page more inclusive.)

Family Updates/Unit Overviews (Click)

At the beginning or end of every unit, I sent home an update to every family. For students that lived in more than one family, I sent home an update to each of their families. These updates will show you how I managed to “uncover” (Tomlinson & McTigh, 2006) the complete 7th grade social studies curriculum in a manner that allowed all students to access the deep understandings and essential questions while simultaneously developing their skills and building their knowledge base. I always read these aloud to the class, so that the students were able to hear my plans and/or reflections, and so that they could ask for clarification or raise issues of concern. They will also show you how I tried to make my teaching accessible to students and families. They show how I informed students and families of what and how I intended to teach, as well as how I invited input from students and families in order to revise my plans to make them more inclusive and affirming.


**How To Prepare for a Unit Test
How to Prepare for a Regents Exam
Students may not be familiar with some basic strategies and practices that will help them prepare for a test in an effective and efficient manner. I used to teach this three-period Unit Test lesson before our 2nd major test, and I co-taught this Regents Exam lesson with a colleague at Newfield High School.




Bi-Weekly Reading and Essay Assignment.pdf

This ongoing assignment allowed me to provide individualized instruction to all of the students in my classes. In general, students would write their essays one week, and then it would take me the following week to write them each a three-paragraph response.


Specific Units(Click)

It is awkard, at best, to use another person's lesson plan. My intent is to provide you with some specific examples and models, so that you can use these to stimulate your own creative thinking and planning. Please contact me with questions, suggestions, and critical feedback.
I have used each of these lesson plans and units in teaching 7th grade Social Studies. When possible, I have indicated in purple specific places where I tried to intentionally incorporate differentiation and/or cultural affirmation into the unit or lesson. You will undoubtedly be able to identify many more ways in which to incorporate differentiation while maintaining the integrity of the deeper understandings and essential questions which ground the lesson or unit. Since technology, literacy, classroom climate, and equity are inextricably linked, I have tried to address all of these issues simultaneously in the development of these lessons and units. In addition, I have included multiple resources on this website to support further integration of these key components into the lessons and units.


As you will see, most of these documents have been put here, "as is." Like most teachers, some of my units were completely planned out in writing and some were still "in progress."

Classrooms that reduce disproportionality use traditional and 21st century literacies to create an environment in which all students and families see themselves in ways that affirm who they are as meaningful contributors to our world and history, and not as stereotypes or tokens. At the same time, such classrooms are responsive to the specific learning needs of each student. Creating multiple means of access to the learning, as well as providing multiple ways for students to show what they have learned, is essential to eliminating disproportionality in the classroom.


Marking Period Reflection.pdf


I kept all work that students completed throughout the year. Each student had a folder that I kept in my file-cabinets, and at the end of every unit they cleaned out their notebooks and folders and put their work into the folder in my files. At the end of each quarter, students would spend two periods looking through all of their work and reflecting on what they had learned, the skills they had developed, and their work habits. These reflections, along with the entire folder of work (put into large envelopes), were sent home for families to look through. I generally gave families a week to look at the material and then return it all, with their signature on the outside of the envelope.