Educ 350: Teaching and Learning

Spring 2023 Syllabus

Our course meets in-person, wearing face masks in compliance with the campus Covid policy, on Fridays 1:30–4:10pm, McCook 313, Trinity College, Hartford CT.


Professor Jack Dougherty, Trinity College, Hartford CT. Email me a quick question or schedule a Zoom appointment on my calendar. Portions of this syllabus were originally created with former co-instructor Kyle Evans, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics.

Course Description: This seminar will explore theoretical, policy, and practical issues of teaching and learning. Who should teach in public schools, and what kind of preparation is necessary? What type of curriculum should be taught, and how do different interest groups shape that decision? How should we assess the quality of student learning? Finally, how do debates on all of these questions influence the nature of teachers’ work and classroom life?

  • For the community learning component, Trinity students will design, teach, and assess hands-on inquiry-based science or math workshops for grade 3-8 students in cooperation with nearby Hartford public schools.
  • Prerequisite: C- or better in Educational Studies 200 or permission of instructor.
  • Enrollment limited to 19 students.

Course Materials

This book will be purchased for you by the instructor’s course funds:

Peter Liljedahl, Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics, Grades K-12: 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning (Corwin Press, 2020).

Learning Goals and Assessments

  1. Students will gain contextual understanding of K-12 teaching by comparing different pedagogical approaches, national standards, modes of assessment, and strategies to promote equity.

  2. Students will design, teach, and assess inquiry-based math and/or science lessons in Grade 3-8 classrooms, and evaluate their own teaching as well as work by peers.

  3. Students will create online portfolios and presentations of their teaching that illustrate growth in their curricular decision-making and classroom experiences, for evaluation by a panel of educators.

Your progress toward achieving these goals will be assessed in these ways:

A. Lesson Plans and Portfolios

Students will prepare three inquiry-based math or science lesson plans, on topics requested by Hartford teachers, designed for about forty minutes of classroom time. Each lesson plan will feature appropriate learning objectives, engaging hands-on activities, meaningful assessment, and strategies to promote equity. (3 lesson plans x 10 points = 30 points)

After teaching each workshop, students will create a public web portfolio with narrative, video, and images of their lesson plan, reflections on their teaching experience, and ways to improve for next time. Students have the right to remove their web content after the course, or keep it online to share as part of their resume for future employment or graduate school. (3 portfolios x 10 points = 30 points)

B. Guest Educator Panel Evaluation

Students will deliver a 5-minute presentation of selected highlights from their public web portfolio, to be evaluated by a panel of experienced guest educators. This event will be scheduled during our final exam time slot on Tuesday May 9th from 3-6pm. (20 points)

C. Class Exercises and Participation

To encourage active learning and accountability, each student begins the course with 20 participation points. During class, you may be randomly called on to discuss a concept in our reading, share your responses to a pre-assigned exercise, or peer-review writing by another student. If you are not present or not able to participate when called upon, 2 points will be deducted from your participation score. Exceptions are granted only for documented health or family emergencies, or scheduling conflicts where you have notified me well in advance. (20 points)

If you are quarantined or isolated due to Covid, or if you have concerns about your health, email me in advance to request permission to participate remotely via Zoom during a specific class session. Last-minute requests may not be granted.


60 points for lesson plans and portfolios + 20 points for guest educator panel evaluation + 20 points for class exercises and participation = 100 total points. In this course, unsatisfactory work (below 70%) falls in the D or F range, adequate work (70-79%) in the C range, good work (80-89%) in the B range, and outstanding work (90 to 100%) in the A range. Each range is divided into equal thirds for minus (-), regular, and plus (+) letter grades. For example, 80 to 83.33% = B-, 83.34 to 86.67 = B, and 86.68 to 89.99 = B+. Access your individual assessments on the password-protected Moodle site for this course at

Late penalty: A 20 percent late penalty will be deducted for every 12-hour period that has passed since the assignment deadline. Exceptions are granted only for documented health or family emergencies.

Academic accommodations: please notify me before our third class session, and schedule an appointment on my calendar to discuss how we will implement your approved plan. For those students with accommodations approved after the start of the semester, a minimum of 10 days’ notice is required. Learn more at the Student Accessibility Resource Center.

Religious observances or other advance scheduling conflicts: please request accommodations well ahead of time, ideally by our third class session. Last-minute requests may not be granted.

How to Succeed in this Course

  • Bookmark this online syllabus and check it for important updates, which will appear in bold.
  • Keep a calendar (paper or digital) to manage your time and meet deadlines.
  • Bring a laptop (with a fully-charged battery) to every class, and turn off distractions to help you (and others) focus on learning. Set notifications on digital devices to “Do Not Disturb.”
  • Take initiative and ask questions: during or after class, via email, or by appointment on my calendar. If you don’t understand something, other students probably are puzzled, too. Go ahead and ask.
  • Meet up with other students outside of class. Create a small study group to review the course material and work together. The secret to success in college is teaching yourselves how to learn new material.
  • If anything is interfering with your learning, email or talk with your instructors about it. We care about how you’re doing in life, not just in our classroom.


  • Important updates from the instructor will be marked in bold.

Fri Jan 27

Fri Feb 3

Math Resources

Science Resources

Fri Feb 10

Fri Feb 17

  • Class meets 1:30-4:10pm
  • In class:
  • Revisions of Lesson Plan 1 due by Tues Feb 28th 4pm on GDoc Organizer for evaluation by instructor.
  • Need materials for your lesson? Email me specifics (including rationale, quantity, costs, and links) as soon as possible, and I will assist when feasible.

Fri Feb 24

  • No class: Trinity Days
  • Reminder: HPS Schools closed for break, Mon-Fri Feb 20-24

Fri March 3

  • Class meets 1:30-4:10pm
  • Need materials for your lesson? Email me specifics (including rationale, quantity, costs, and links, to any store) as soon as possible, and I will assist when feasible.
  • Video prep: Test recording video using either your laptop (set up on a table in the back of the room) or your smartphone (with tripod and mount provided by instructor). In your classroom, ask teacher if any students’ families have opted-out of the HPS media consent form, since they should not appear in your video on public web.
    • How to record video on Mac: QuickTime app > File > New Video Recording, start and stop, then Save
    • Create a duplicate backup before editing
    • Simple way to edit short video clips on Mac with Quicktime: drag slider then Edit > Split Clip, save new clip, then Edit > Trim clip.
    • Upload selected short clips to a video streaming service, such as YouTube or Vimeo. An “unlisted” setting will make your video public, but not findable unless users have the link.
  • Deliver 2-minute launch of Lesson 1, which should include, at minimum:
    • your name for classroom students
    • opening visuals or sample materials
    • guiding question to encourage deeper thinking
    • visual and/or verbal guides for students’ next steps
    • record on video using either laptop or smartphone
  • Feedback on lesson launches from peers and instructor: what worked and what to improve?
  • WordPress Workshop to start your site with at least three web pages:
  • During class: Small-group 10-minute feedback sessions on Lesson 1 plans with instructor, while others work on websites and practice video clips
  • One more time! Deliver improved 2-minute launch of Lesson 1. Also, beware of distractions…

Fri March 10

  • Teach Lesson 1 in Hartford school placement anytime before 3pm
  • Class meets 3:10-4:10pm to debrief and share reflections
  • Recommended: If you need guidance with sample web pages or preparing for the next lesson, see me in our classroom anytime 2:10-3:10pm today
  • Start writing Portfolio 1, due on Google Organizer by Fri March 17th 4pm. See Evaluation Criteria
  • Work as a group to sign up for 2-3 consecutive appointments on my calendar to discuss your Lesson 2 submissions with peer(s) and instructor
  • Start preparing Lesson 2, due on Google Organizer 24 hours before meeting with peer(s) and instructor
  • A personal note about learning from our mistakes
  • Advice on editing video and reducing size before uploading to streaming service

Fri March 17

  • Instead of our regular class time this week, schedule two consecutive 20-minute appointments in duos/trios on my online calendar for anytime prior to Fri March 17th at 4pm.
  • Lesson Plan 2 due 24 hours before scheduled meeting time for peer-review by duo/trio.

Fri March 24

No class: Trinity Spring Break

Fri March 31

  • Teach Lesson 2 in Hartford school placement anytime before 3pm
  • Class meets 3:10-4:10pm to share reflections about today’s workshops
  • Communicate with your classroom teachers about topics for Workshop 3, since HPS schools will be closed from Fri April 7th - Fri April 14th. Lesson Plan 3 will be due for in-class peer review on Fri April 14th, and you teach it on Fri April 28th.
  • Start writing Portfolio 2, and place link in our Google Doc Organizer due by Thursday April 6th 9pm for peer review to be assigned during class on Fri April 7
  • Web portfolio feedback and WordPress advice
    • Normal emails from Installatron whenever your WP site is updated
    • WP > Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > search for Disable Comments plugin, then Activate, and Settings > Everywhere
    • WP > Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > search for Simple Page Ordering plugin, then Activate, which allows you to reorder Pages with drag-and-drop
    • Share advice with classmates

Fri April 7

  • Class meets 1:30-4:10pm. Reminder: HPS schools closed today for Good Friday
  • Reminder: Place link to your draft Portfolio 2 on our Google Doc Organizer by Thursday April 6th 9pm
  • In-class peer review of Portfolio 2 in designated trios, using Evaluation Criteria
  • Portfolio 2 revisions due on Organizer by Sun April 9th 9pm for evaluation by instructor.
  • Start preparing Lesson 3, due on Organizer by Fri April 14th 12 noon
    • Discuss Ways to Launch Lessons with Guiding Questions
    • Show Us the Learning! Creative Ways to Collect Assessments
    • Brainstorm about Strategies for Classroom Management
  • Questions before pre-registration for Fall 2023?

Fri April 14

  • Class meets 1:30-4:10pm
  • Effective today, face masks are optional in class
  • Reminder: HPS schools closed for spring break, Mon-Fri April 10-14
  • Lesson 3
    • Draft due on Organizer by Fri 12 noon
    • In-class peer-review of Lesson Plan 3
    • Revisions due by Tues April 18th 4pm for instructor evaluation.
  • About Pathways to Teaching
  • About Ed Studies Alumni Video Interviews
    • Write a 200-word reflection that compares and contrasts experiences of any two Alumni Video Interviews, due on our Organizer by Sun April 16th 9pm, for class participation credit. You are welcome to watch and discuss videos with a classmate. Choose any two, and insert their names and your link

Fri April 21

  • Class meets 1:30-4:10pm
  • Follow-up on your reflections in Organizer about Ed Studies Alumni Video Interviews
    • Are recorded video interviews with alumni useful? Or do you strongly prefer real-time (but virtual) interaction? Or opportunities to visit their schools?
    • If recorded videos have some value, how do you recommend that Ed Studies faculty use them with current students?
  • In-class practice teaching: 2-minute “launch” of Lesson 3 for peer and instructor feedback
    • Insert any visuals in our Organizer
    • Pitch your 2-minute launch to us as if we were your students
    • Emphasize your higher-level “guiding question” and hands-on inquiry
  • Reminder: in web portfolios, remove or blur names of individual elementary students

Fri April 28

  • Teach Lesson 3 in Hartford school placement anytime before 3pm
  • Class meets 3-4pm to share reflections
  • Write thank-you email to your teacher (with cc: to me), including 1-2 paragraphs of reflections and link to your portfolio, no later than May 4th for participation grade
  • Start writing Portfolio 3, link due on Organizer by Thursday May 4 by 10am for peer-review, with revisions due by Sun May 7th 9pm for instructor evaluation.
  • Brainstorm and start writing your Teaching reflections (details below)
  • Decisions to make about your Web Portfolio:
    • Insert your full name (recommended), or you have the right to use only your first name or initials, or delete after May 9th. See what other students did in my “Public Writing and Student Privacy” chapter of Web Writing book (2015).
    • Recommended: In your resume, create entry for “math/sci workshop instructor” with link to your portfolio, to demonstrate skills to prospective employers and graduate schools.
    • Recommended: Continue to expand your portfolio by adding other work and skills, such as summaries and links to research projects, etc.
  • Keep in touch: See my Advising page on “How to request a reference or recommendation letter”
  • Any questions about course and advisor changes for 2023-24?

Thu May 4

  • Class meets 1:30-4:10pm. Since the College decided that our last “Friday” class meets on Thur May 4, make sure that you do not have any schedule conflicts.
  • Return all tripods
  • WordPress skills with Jack Sample demo site
    • Remember to add new items to appear in your menu
    • How to change a URL web address after publishing a page
    • Create an anchor links to jump to a specific section of a page
    • Reminder: remove or blur full names of K-12 students, but first initials are fine
  • In-class peer-review of Portfolio 3. Revisions due by Sun May 7th 9pm for instructor evaluation.
  • Writing our Teaching Reflections: Show Us Your Learning about Building Thinking Classrooms. See details below. Due Monday May 8 by 12 noon at the links below, in order to share with guest evaluators one day before our event.

Tues May 9