An Introduction to TPA

An Introduction to TPA
UW Madison School of Education
Major TPA Tasks
1. Planning, Instruction and
2. Instructing and Engaging
Students in Learning
3. Assessing Student Learning
4. Analyzing Teaching
Analysis of
- Environment
TPAC Task 1: Planning Instruction
and Assessment
Describe your instructional context.
Select a learning segment of 3–5 sequential lessons
related to the comprehension and/or composing of
Consider your students’ strengths and needs
Create lesson plans and an assessment plan for the
learning segment
Explain what you know about your students and the
rationale for the plans.
Make daily notes about the effectiveness of your plan
– You will plan a series of 3-5
Context for Learning
Although considered a “regular education” science class,
Fundamental of Biology is a class designed for students that
may have difficulty in passing the Biology class. Although
the students are able to self-select into the class, the
placements are largely based upon teacher recommendations.
Because the class is considered “regular education,” we are
expected to maintain consistency with the content of regular
biology classes, specifically to remain consistent with
Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Science. However,
this is expected to be the last year that this class will be taught;
my cooperating teacher teaches all three sections, and I have
not experienced any top-down constraints regarding
expectations for this learning segment.
Sample Lesson Plan (Science)
Essential Questions:
What is cancer?
What causes cancer?
Big Ideas:
Students will be recording five big ideas during the course of the learning segment.
These will serve as reference points for students to make connections and ensure
accountability for one’s own learning of the content.
1. A cell’s DNA regulates its growth and reproduction.
2. Cancer cells grow and reproduce in an uncontrolled way.
3. A cell becomes cancerous when several of the genes which control growth and
reproduction become mutated.
4. 10% of the genetic mutations which lead to cancers are inherited
5. Exposure to carcinogens will increase the likelihood of developing cancer.
Instructional Procedure
Day 1: DNA is a regulator of cellular growth and reproduction
Part 1: Regulation of Cellular Growth
The class will be presented with the following idea:
Every person in this class and every human in the world started as just
one single cell. How did that one cell “know” to grow and divide in ways
that over time would lead to a baby capable of surviving outside of the
To reinforce the idea behind this question I will show Video 1
(see the Resources section) depicting the process of an unfertilized human
egg becoming fertilized and developing during the first eight weeks of
pregnancy. The video will be muted so that students can interpret the images
I will then follow up with another related question:
Additionally, after birth, how do the cells of a baby’s body “know” to grow and
divide in ways that will allow that baby to grow into an infant, a small child, a
teenager, and eventually a full-grown human adult?
TPAC Task 2: Instructing and
Engaging Students in Learning
Collect permission forms from
Video record segments of your lesson series
Submit one or two clips from one lesson (no
more than 15 minutes in total).
Analyze your teaching and your students‟
learning in the video clip(s).
– Videotape and analyze
your teaching
Instruction Commentary
In the second lesson, “Prove It: The Crafting of a Thesis
Statement, I tried very hard to engage my students in the
writing process. I explained to them that the thesis
statement as the topic of the persuasive essay, needs to be
concise and needs to be clear to the reader. After explaining
the thesis statement, I began to demonstrate some possible
topics that the students could write about.
 I have found from previous lessons that most of my students
enjoy brainstorming as an entire class. Thus, in order to
engage most of my students, I decided to lead the
brainstorming and get them started about the topics for
their essay. I have found that after a student gives an idea or
suggestion, other students come up with ideas at an
accelerated rate. If you watch my video closely, you will see
many students excited about sharing and wanting their ideas
to be heard.
Instruction Commentary
One of the ways that I accommodated for
individual students is by allowing them to
work individually or in small groups to
write their thesis statements and
evidence on note cards. In my video, you
will see myself and other teachers walking
around and assisting students
TPAC Task 3: Assessing Student
Analyze whole class performance from one
assessment task
Identify three student work samples to illustrate
trends in student understanding.
Select and analyze the learning of two focus students
in depth, and document your feedback to them.
Reflect on your assessment process.
Identify next instructional steps based on your
– Assess students and
analyze their learning
TPAC Task 4: Analyzing Teaching
Using notes you have recorded
throughout the learning segment, respond
to commentary prompts to explain what
you have learned about your teaching.
 Identify two or three things you would do
– Reflect on the Lesson
Final Commentary
I feel that the lesson may have gone at too quick
of a pace considering the nature of the learning
objectives that I outlined. Specifically, I feel that
ILO 6 was a massive undertaking and for which
students were not adequately prepared. If I could
implement this same learning segment again
among the same students, I would chose to
expand the length of the learning segment across
8-10 days of teaching rather than four. I feel that
with that additional class time, I could utilize
more strategies in allowing students to more
effectively meet the segment’s six learning
Final Commentary
In retrospect, I should have taken more time to focus on the
skills involved in ILO 6. I feel that I should have started at a
more basic level in allowing students to build skills regarding
the identification and interpretation of evidence. Part of the
building process could have involved developing a language
around which to communicate to each other about concepts
relevant to developing those skills. This building process
could have started with single paragraphs in which students
could try to identify pieces of evidence, perhaps looking at
whether or not cigarette smoke is carcinogenic. Students
could compare what evidence one another came up with and
we could use such discussions to develop a class-wide
definition of evidence as well as a list of criteria for what
types of information could serve as evidence.
TPAC Academic Language in
Select one key language demand related to the
literacy central focus.
 Explain how you will support students with
varied language needs.
 Cite evidence of opportunities for students to
understand and use the targeted academic
 Analyze the effectiveness of your language
– Reflect on your use of
language to support student

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