Author Archives: blemusblog

Final Reflection on iNACOL Standards

The following is a list of the iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching and how well do I feel I have attained knowledge of those standards. This is the scale I will be using: Mastery of each individual iNACOL Standard:

0 = Not at All

1 = A Little

2 = An Average Amount

3 = More than Average

4 = Masterful


The 11 iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching:

Standard A: The online teacher knows the primary concepts and structures of effective online instruction and is able to create learning experiences to enable student success.

Score 3

Standard B: The online teacher understands and is able to use a range of technologies, both existing and emerging, that effectively support student learning and engagement in the online environment.

Score 4

Standard C: The online teacher plans, designs, and incorporates strategies to encourage active learning, application, interaction, participation, and collaboration in the online environment.

Score 3

Standard D: The online teacher promotes student success through clear expectations, prompt responses, and regular feedback.

Score 4

Standard E: The online teacher models, guides, and encourages legal, ethical, and safe behavior related to technology use.

Score 3

Standard F: The online teacher is cognizant of the diversity of student academic needs and incorporates accommodations into the online environment.

Score 2

Standard G: The online teacher demonstrates competencies in creating and implementing assessments in online learning environments in ways that ensure validity and reliability of the instruments and procedures.

Score 3

Standard H: The online teacher develops and delivers assessments, projects, and assignments that meet standards-based learning goals and assesses learning progress by measuring student achievement of the learning goals.

Score 4

Standard I: The online teacher demonstrates competency in using data from assessments and other data sources to modify content and to guide student learning.

Score 3

Standard J: The online teacher interacts in a professional, effective manner with colleagues, parents, and other members of the community to support students’ success.

Score 4

Standard K: The online teacher arranges media and content to help students and teachers transfer knowledge most effectively in the online environment.

Score 4


As it turns out one of my highest scores is Standard K which says that the online teacher can arrange media and content to help students and teachers transfer knowledge most effectively. I feel that this is one of my most strong points because even since before starting the Masters Program at Brandman University, I have looked for ways to engage my students more than just notes and textbook. I have toyed with digital tools before many of my colleagues and have always found online assignments, activities, and lessons to be more fun and I always think, “Would I enjoy this lesson if I was sitting in their spot?” as a basis to develop online assignments.

One of the standards where I feel I need more practice with is Standard F: The online teacher is cognizant of the diversity of student academic needs and incorporates accommodations into the online environment. I feel like I need more help with differentiating instruction in a way that meets that needs of ALL my students. Not just the average or the ones who usually succeed on their own. I need to go further to meet the needs of my ELD students, I need to of further into how I can meet the needs of students with an IEP. I need to meet the needs of students who are too shy or introvert to ask for help and this is something that even with technology I still don’t feel very confident in. As a way to improve on this particular standard, I will be practicing differentiating using online tools more. I will put into practice some of the skills learned in these courses such as UbD lesson planning and being aware of the ADA standards.


Backwards Design Model



My experience with Backwards Design during this time working on my demo science unit was interesting. It was definitely beneficial and pushed me to see lesson planning with a whole new eye. It, however, is not the way I normally lesson plan so it was a bit frustrating as I struggled to keep an even triangulation between the final assessment,  scope and sequence of my lessons and the learning objective. The task itself was frustrating, as I felt I got more distracted and added more than I originally wanted to, but seeing the end product was really satisfying. It feels like more work but it is work done right, and it empowered me as a teacher, it allowed me to keep a better check on my timelines and end the end to get rid of lessons that were not meeting expectations in terms of time or how they fit with the learning objective. I think as a teacher it is important to keep in mind that our job is to do the best job possible when delivering lessons, when teaching concepts in general. I do believe that it is of value and will probably use it again in the future. It will require more discipline of me and it will require time.

In terms of constructivist engagement, I do believe that the activities in the demo meet the criteria of engagement with the content, with peers, and with the environment. Because this is a blended environment, all three aspects of engagement are important in order to have a well balanced program. Students interact with the content through the activities and resources provided. The range of activities provide support to ALL learning populations and academic abilities. Students interact with each other through the several group lessons within the unit as well as the Key Summative Assessment in which they all work together all week, pulling from their knowledge of cells they acquired the weeks prior. Lastly, they interact with the environment through the program, through the positive learning environment I foster and the discussion boards and feedback which will be specific and always with the students’ best interest in mind.

My Working Websites

The following are links of two websites I am currently using in my classroom. The first one is our official classroom website, which has taken hours and hours of uploading and designing. Students have used this website at the beginning of the year to get to know the content they were going to learn throughout the year and also to see themselves in the several picture galleries uploaded there. Also included in the site are links to various log in pages we use in class as well as app recommendations for home use. The website is also a great place for expected materials and the syllabus to be uploaded. Both parents and students can access these at any time. Lastly, parents can contact me directly from the page.

The second website is one I created to facilitate learning in the last part of our science curriculum. Resources here have been uploaded using my Google drive account. I certainly hope the links have been made available to outside internet viewers as the sharing settings of some of these do not allow for outside of our network sharing. The idea behind this page is primarily to create a resource bank of visuals such as videos and other reading resources for students to look at as we go through the last unit of science in class. It is meant to be a companion to our Google Classroom and Schoology assignments.


Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 2.22.04 PMOur Class Website (click on the image to access the website)

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 2.22.50 PMOur Science Website (Click on the image to access the website)

National Center for Accessible Media


From the National Center for Accessible Media’s website, probably the most interesting website I found was the PBS Learning Media website. This is a great website of vast interesting facts, videos, interactives that could be applied to both math and science in 6th grade. Not only that but the media links contain standards addressed and support materials that are so very helpful for teachers and makes using this resource a breeze. Many of the videos I noticed, were closed captioned which is also a plus.

Reflection on Teaching a Live Online Lesson

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 11.20.05 PM

How did it feel to deliver and record a lesson online for the first time? It felt a bit weird, not only because of the recording-anxiety I was feeling throughout the time, and trying to be mindful of the time, but also because as a class, we have been talking about this unit for some time and have dissected it so much and reflected on it so much, actually using part of it into a presentation was a bit nerve wrecking. Overall though, and now that it is over, I am excited that I got to try it. I think it would be a great tool to have once my students are able to take their chromebooks home and I can have a “Study session” or “Tutoring Session” live online. I should mention that our district is planning on implementing what they call the 24/7 Program in which students are given chromebooks to take home and use for the whole year. I am very excited at the prospect of being able to use these with my students, and the lesson I recorded was a very good way to get it started.

My lesson was a bit of a lecture and not so much as a discussion or lesson. It was meant to be a study session for an upcoming assignments that students were supposed to have a hard time with. My partner did a great job pretending to be a student and asking questions, thus making it easier to imagine this was a real study session with students.

From this experience I was able to imagine how it would go in a real setting. For the future I think I will make sure to keep in mind the time, sessions should be more question-answer based. I will also try not to go on and on and on without asking questions. Even if it was a mock lesson, I could have turned it into a question-based lecture. Lastly, I would include my student(s) more as it really was a one-way conversation for the greater part of the video.

Meaningful Feedback for Learners

Giving feedback, especially in an online setting is perhaps one of the most important parts of being a teacher. In the classroom, a teacher can easily give verbal feedback and words of encouragement or advice, on paper, as in homework assignments or tests, a teacher also normally uses feedback as a way to help students do better next time, or in the case of some classrooms, re-submit an assignment. But what happens when a teacher has graded bad paper and bad paper? Should the feedback given reflect an increasingly antagonistic teacher? It is very important that a teacher always views a paper, a homework assignment, any piece that should receive feedback, as a single instance, not an increasing number of poor quality artifacts that increases bad temperament. It is not a student’s fault being at the bottom of the pile.

Therefore, feedback must be given with the most care and always with the mindset of helping the students. Whether we think or see if students use our feedback in a meaningful way, our feedback always speaks of what we think of the student, at least that is what the student will see. Therefore it is important to always realize, it is not about the teacher, it is about the student. My current state of mind has nothing to do with the students’ performance and I should always keep in mind that the student WILL read it and whether he/she gives it a second’s thought or will think about it the whole day, it should be a way to help them not reprimand them. Ilan Mochary does a great job quoting Carnegie in his article titled Abraham Lincoln’s Brilliant Method of Handling Setbacks, when he describes the three takeaways of being a more patient feedback giver, particularly takeaway number one’ “When delivering feedback, think about how it will affect both the recipient and your overall goal.” It requires constant reflection and it is something that teachers always must keep in mind.

In the online setting, the same could be said about student-teacher relationship. It is even more important to keep in mind that the person, whether we believe tried their best or merely gave it some effort, our feedback must always represent what we want from them, to go beyond, to try their best, to reach the goal of the standard.

To any future teacher teaching my demo unit, I would recommend the following guidelines:

  • Always remember the reason behind feedback: to help students
  • Feedback should go beyond “Good Job” or “Excellent” it should contain a specific item that a student did well on or an item the student may improve upon
  • Be clear and concise when delivering feedback. Feedback beyond 2 sentences should be instead an email to the student

With these in mind, I think any future teacher teaching my demo unit or any online or blended class for that matter, should be successful and giving meaningful feedback to students in order to help them succeed academically.

The Nature of Our Learners

The following is a link of a classmate’s Prezi presentation on “The Nature of Our Learners” From the beginning, the presentation emphasizes student-centered classrooms where students are given the opportunity to succeed using their creative and unique skills not merely their ability of rote memorization. The resource videos provided are a great example of what the presenter is talking about, especially the first one which is an example of a student-centered school. 

The presenter ends his presentation with a core belief of building relationships with students in the online environment as a way to make learning more meaningful for students and enhance the rate of success students encounter while on this online unit.

At the core, the presenter and myself have similar beliefs about student learning and how to properly engage this generation with more meaningful opportunities to get in touch with their own learning. Not only to increase accountability but also to give them lasting opportunities to internalize information. As far as presentation beliefs, this presenter touched on different beliefs that those of my own presentation. All encompass in the end what we want for our students, a more unified 21st century set of learning opportunities for our students.