This page has examples of my educational research, grant writing , and related foundation work I have undertaken in academic institutions with my company J. Scott Research LLC.

culture diversity strategies.pdf

Curriculum Rigor is used to develop lessons where students are motivated to work toward their highest potential. Given rigor’s inherent variability, a student-centered approach is ideal, and one where multi-dimensional learning through authentic application is encouraged with an emphasis on creativity and innovation (Hunter-Doniger, T. 2018). This type of application in the arts may be to use lesson concepts in real-world projects within the community. For example, in lieu of making a kinetic sculpture, a more rigorous approach may be a team of students would work together to install their sculptures at a local gallery, create the marketing pieces to promote the exhibit, act as docents for opening night, and interact with the public to examine and explain their process.

Ongoing assessment is included to structure and tier instruction across the varying degrees of rigor needed for student engagement. Incorporating and supporting productive struggle time is important to help develop opportunities for rigor through student-centered exploration by providing opportunities to encounter wrong answers on the path to uncovering why the right answer makes sense. Using cooperative learning groups with mixed ability levels within a productive struggle model can help support group think to produce robust rigor, given a classroom environment of trust and positive views on risk-taking have been developed first. Continuing informal assessment is integral in the lesson structure to determine the extent new concepts are understood by the student and to what depth of knowledge they maintain in applying those concepts across disciplines.

Pacing guides are suggested timelines to help create foundational skillsets that build systematically upon one another. Depending on how the grade-level team operates, these guides can be a driving force given school-wide views on pacing. However, with that aside, a teacher should look at the pacing as a suggestion and build organically upon authentic and ongoing assessment data to make pacing decisions. Understanding cognitive readiness and specific student needs will also help determine and manage pacing (Carpenter & Gandara 2018). For example, it would be ineffective to continue with a pacing guide asking students to move forward with vowel pairs, if the majority have not mastered short vowels. If there is a small percentage of students that have not mastered short vowels, the suggested pace of moving to vowel pairs may continue, with small group instruction given as needed. Again, ongoing assessment will determine how lesson planning evolves as it relates to pacing.

Effective teachers use many resources to reach their student’s ever-changing social, emotional, and academic needs by adjusting instructional delivery to increase student achievement. Assessing before and throughout lessons allow teachers to find gaps or areas of need of their students. Using student interest inventories (Lashley & Halverson, 2021, p. 3) can help teachers understand where student motivation stems from, and then use those interests to advance learning for individual students. Aside from academics, teachers must balance the social and emotional needs of their students to form authentic connections, understand cultural backgrounds, linguistic stages, possible trauma, and socio-economic influences which can inhibit learning even in the most robust, differentiated instructional environment. With that said, multi-sensory and kinaesthetic modes of instruction, offering multiple attempts to attain mastery learning, creating cooperative learning structures with varied abilities, and sustaining learning with instructional flexibility is preferred for diverse populations.

Making time to write by blocking out consistent time daily in multiple ways throughout varying subjects is preferred and can be as personal responses, self-questioning, hypothesizing, and expressing feelings and emotions as a way to include students who may have adverse feelings towards writing. Students need time to write, just as adults who write set aside committed time to practice every day. The daily ELA writing block has thirty minutes built in specifically for writing, but as educators we infuse writing across the curriculum because it is a more organic and natural way to teach practice the art of writing. Giving space, time, and student-centered themes while supporting with positive instructional delivery will help students overcome fears of failure and promote engagement.

When teaching writing, students need to physically see edits and teachers must create a system of editing where students understand it is not failure, but a continuing process of learning to write for comprehension. Using colored highlighters for specific editing cues can help provide differentiated visual applications as well as checklists, partner editing, and one on one conferencing with instructors. Proof-reading and editing for content and syntax is a learned habit and must be integrated into daily writing scenarios. Providing feedback often to students will promote an increase in their self-efficacy and allow them to see the results of their hard work overtime. (S. deFur & M. Runnells 2014 p.262)

The UDL system was created to reach the diverse needs of all students and meet them where they are at any given time through a series of tailored academic strategies. Like the video illustrated, you wouldn’t want to shop in a store that had all the same size clothing- to which nothing fit you physically or met your design needs. The same is true in teaching and learning, as educators we use UDL to find ways to connect the curriculum to students in a student-centered way. Some multimodal strategies could be using visual aids, manipulatives, games, videos, real-world problem solving in a project-based learning environment, charting, visual records for goal setting and incentive based rewards such as extrinsic motivation, highlighting important information, heterogenous grouping, and cooperative learning groups (Algozzine, Campbell, & Wang 2009, pg. 127). 

These examples allow for differentiated instruction by using various hands-on, interactive, manipulatives and peer support while exploring the curriculum. I personally use visual aids and videos with step by step slowed down instructions with a lot of repetition as well as cooperative learning to help support student’s divers needs and allow them to be comfortable and have multiple attempts at attaining mastery. I’ve found hands on exploratory learning has proven to be successful, fun, and engaging when linked to real world problem solving or games.

I currently teach a specials class to K-3 students at my school called Integrated Arts, it has an open concept and I have a lot of artistic liberty to create a standards-based, multi-curricular program. I have about 500 students with varying diverse needs, cultural backgrounds, language proficiencies, and varying exceptionalities. I incorporate singing, movement, visual art, and literacy to express feelings, create team building mindsets, support our school wide PBIS program, teach cooperative interdependence, and conflict resolution. Usually, I create lessons that build upon a theme, for example cooperation. I then integrate song lyrics about cooperation and the repeated readings (singing while reading printed lyrics), helps build inflection, tone, and prosody practice to increase reading fluency. Adding to that, I then read a book about cooperation to integrate literacy comprehension and use the illustrations as part of the storytelling (artistic) process.

We then create visual art to extend the theme from the reading. During a brain break, we may do a cooperative learning activity like a stand-up hand up pair up about the book and move around while practicing social skills of shaking hands, listening with intent, and taking turns using the team building activity. All these aspects of the art integration help the diverse student feel relaxed, have fun, build confidence, use non-verbal communication skills, and build self-efficacy (Steele 2019 pg. 17). Integrated lessons are engaging for students and rely on multi-sensory aspects of learning to help students retain the skills or lesson content. Students worked together in the integrated art lessons, seemed happy or joyful, had fun, and could articulate or express their learning of the content through non-verbal means.

I use cooperative learning structures to divide up materials management and create interdependence. It’s also used to create learning groups where skills are divided up and tasks are collaboratively worked on, giving each person a specific role with accountability. I would evaluate this method as positive and effective as it takes the tasks and spreads out the workload while offering student-centered support with a hands-on approach. Cooperative learning has been shown to increase achievement across grade levels and subjects in diverse learners (Awada & Faour 2018, pg. 94). I  also use visual cues and prompts to support the cooperative learning groups, tasks, and instructions. I try to place at each table a student who is bilingual and can help explain instructions or assist in translations. I use one on one support by visiting each group and supporting the students, clarifying instructions, or assisting to help the individual student or give feedback and support to the groups as they continue working towards a more collaborative level.

I know if an activity fulfills the criteria for authentic or student-centered instruction because students will be able to articulate or communicate non-linguistically what they are learning to anyone who asks. Students will have less disruptive tendencies, take risks, and create connection with collaborating peers (Johnson et. al 2017). There will be components of peer engagement and support with different routes to exploring outcomes while answering questions or problem solving creatively in more than one way. Indicators that reveal if an activity creates a more engaging learning environment among diverse students is that students will be alert and tracking with their eyes, posture may also indicate heightened interest. Nodding, non-linguistic communications, smiling, laughing, and other common representations of enjoying and participating in an engaging activity. The Marzano strategy I use most for increasing rigor is cooperative learning becasue it helps spread out the tasks and incorporate multiple perspectives. This type of mental and social flexibility involves a heightened degree for rigor to unfold as consensus and varying perspectives are merged.

Awada, G. M., & Faour, K. H. (2018). Effect of Glogster and Cooperative Learning Differentiated Instruction on Teachers’ Perceptions. Teaching English with Technology, 18(2), 93–114.

Beauregard, C., Tremblay, J., Pomerleau, J., Simard, M., Bourgeois, G. E., Lyke, C., & Rousseau, C. (2020). Building Communities in Tense Times: Fostering Connectedness Between Cultures and Generations through Community Arts. American Journal of Community Psychology, 65(3/4), 437–454.

Bob Algozzine, Pam Campbell, & Adam Wang. (2009). 63 Tactics for Teaching Diverse Learners, Grades 6-12. Corwin.

Carpenter, T., & Gandara, J. (2018). Making Connections: Collaborative Arts Integration Planning for Powerful Lessons. Art Education, 71(4), 8-13.

deFur, S. H., & Runnells, M. M. (2014). Validation of the Adolescent Literacy and Academic Behavior Self-Efficacy Survey. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 40(3), 255–266.

Hunter-Doniger, T. (2018). Art Infusion: Ideal Conditions for STEAM. Art Education, 71(2), 22–27.

Johnson, W. L., Johnson, A. M., & Johnson, J. W. (2017). Maximizing Student Achievement: Using Student-Centered Learning. Online Submission.

Lashley, Y., & Halverson, E. R. (2021). Towards a collaborative approach to measuring Social-Emotional Learning in the arts. Arts Education Policy Review, 122(3), 182–192.

Martin, M., Fergus, E., & Noguera, P. (2010). Responding to the Needs of the Whole Child: A Case Study of a High-Performing Elementary School for Immigrant Children. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 26(3), 195–222.

Steele, J. S. (2019). Where Are They Now? Graduates of an Arts Integration Elementary School Reflect on Art, School, Self and Others. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 20(11).

Smilan, C. (2017). Visual immersion for cultural understanding and multimodal literacy. Arts Education Policy Review, 118(4), 220–227.

cis 6103 infographic engage all learners scott dunda (2).pdf