central focus: A description of the important understandings and core concepts that you want students to develop within the learning segment. The central focus should go beyond a list of facts and skills, align with content standards and learning objectives, and address the subject-specific components in the learning segment. The subject-specific components for elementary literacy include an essential literacy strategy and the associated requisite skills for comprehending or composing text.
For example, the central focus for a primary grade literacy learning segment might be summarizing narratives. The learning segment would focus on the essential literacy strategy (summarizing) and requisite skills (e.g., decoding, recalling, sequencing). The central focus for an upper elementary learning segment might be persuasive writing. The learning segment would focus on the essential literacy strategy (using evidence to support an argument) and requisite skills (e.g., writing paragraphs, using correct verb tense, or other conventions). See the Making Good Choices resource for suggestions on selecting your central focus.
For example, the subject-specific components for elementary mathematics are: conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and mathematical reasoning/problem-solving skills. A central focus for an intermediate grade mathematics learning segment might be equivalent fractions or equivalencies. The learning segment would focus on conceptual understanding and the associated computational/procedural understandings and reasoning/problem-solving skills.
Discourse includes the structures of written and oral language, as well as how members of the discipline talk, write, and participate in knowledge construction. Discipline-specific discourse has distinctive features or ways of structuring oral or written language (text structures) that provide useful ways for the content to be communicated.10 In the language arts and literacy, there are structures for composing, interpreting, and comprehending expository, narrative, poetic, journalistic, and graphic print materials as well as video and live presentations. If the language function is to interpret character development, then appropriate language forms could include written essays (with particular ways of citing textual evidence) or pattern sentences such as "The author used (action, dialogue, and/or description) to introduce (main character). One example of (action, dialogue, and/or description) was ____________, which suggested that the character was _______________." personal: Refers to specific background information that students bring to the learning environment. Students may bring interests, knowledge, everyday experiences, family backgrounds, and so on, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning.
cultural: Refers to the cultural backgrounds and practices that students bring to the learning environment, such as traditions, languages, worldviews, literature, art, and so on, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning.
community: Refers to common backgrounds and experiences that students bring from the community where they live, such as resources, local landmarks, community events and practices, and so on, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning.
"Students demonstrate conceptual understanding in mathematics . . . when they recognize, label, and generate examples of concepts; use and interrelate models, diagrams, manipulatives, and varied representations of concepts; identify and apply principles; know and apply facts and definitions; compare, contrast, and integrate related concepts and principles; recognize, interpret, and apply the signs, symbols, and terms used to represent concepts." In physical education, being safe goes beyond providing for students' physical safety. It also includes ensuring there is enough space available for activities, that students appropriately use equipment, that transitions are planned for and efficiently completed, and that active supervision occurs to ensure on-task behavior. Candidates must also ensure the psychological well-being of all students by eliminating any opportunities for bullying to occur, creating an environment that encourages safe risk taking, avoiding embarrassing and singling out students, and creating an environment where appropriate peer-to-peer interactions occur. At no time should stereotyping based on gender, race, culture, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation occur.