EDPT 201, 311, & 320

Christine Sherretz, Ed.D.

EDTP 311: Introduction to Language Arts

Writing Resiliency Project

During the fall of 2012, Dr. Christine Sherretz infused critical thinking into her Writing Resiliency Project in her Introduction to Reading/Language Arts (EDTP 311) course.

Feeling that many times young teachers enter the workplace with faulty assumptions about working with students in high poverty environments, Sherretz says, "One objective of this project was to challenge these assumptions through a writing project that would allow my students to have conversations, and to share stories with their students that might dispel some of these assumptions."

The assignment pairs Sherretz's students with elementary-aged children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and then challenges them to work through the writing process with the kids during the semester. Ultimately, teacher candidates empower the young minds to develop a personal, expressive piece in a digital format.

The ability to challenge one's own biases and assumptions is critical in academia and life. When we challenge our own assumptions, we open ourselves up to ideas that may never have been considered previously, adding power to our ability to problem-solve.

With the addition of critical thinking concepts, Sherretz says the students' written reflections on the assignment at the conclusion of the semester were much more in-depth. "They didn't just summarize the experience, but used rich descriptions and examples to explain what they learned from the project," says Sherretz.

The intent to challenge preconceptions about children from impoverished areas is echoed by her students. "I had the preconception that students who struggled with reading were those who made bad choices," says one of Sherretz's students. "However, I have learned, in general, that this is not the case. Many of those who struggle want to learn to read more than you would ever know."

More about the Writing Resiliency Project Assignment [PDF].

View a completed video: Writing Resiliency Project.

Critical thinking was purposefully infused into this project because I want my students to move beyond just summarizing their work.

—Christine Sherretz

EDTP 320: Methods for Teaching Reading. Language Arts P-5

Case Study

During the field placement portion of EDTP 320, Dr. Christine Sherretz aims to help her students become "effective kid watchers". Sherretz's case study assignment requires each student to work closely with one child to determine their perspective and knowledge of reading and writing. The student then creates a plan of instruction based on the individual's needs in order to ensure their success as a reader and writer.

"(I want them to be) able to make sense of information from observations, interviews and student and parent perspectives and use it to make informed, instructional decisions," says Sherretz. "The addition of critical thinking components requires the students to make inferences from the information they observe, and then examine their assumptions… The ability to make inferences requires students to use the information not explicitly stated in the text."

View Dr. Christine Sherretz's Case Study Assignment [PDF].

EDTP 201: The Teaching Profession

Essential Question Project

"What does it take to be an effective teacher in the 21st century?" Sherretz asked students to answer this question in the form of a digital project. Students were given access to the Digital Media Suite and chose among 3 options of final presentation format: fictional storytelling narrative, non-fiction storytelling documentary, or public service announcement.

Students' projects were assessed with this rubric which emphasizes the importance of utilizing critical thinking skills and the Paul Elder framework.

View Essential Question Project [PDF].

View Essential Question Project Rubric [PDF].

This project was initially adapted as part of Lights, Camera, Ideas to Action, and may not currently be in use but is available as a resource.

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