4.  EFFECTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
Management and monitoring of time, relationships, students, and classrooms to enhance learning, including the ability to:

a.    Engage students in meaningful learning experiences while maximizing the use of instructional time;

The time of day and type of student greatly affects the dynamic of the class.  I learned to respond to the dynamic of the class by quickly changing lesson plan activities from discussion to team work to writing depending on the behavior of the class. 

b.    Structure the classroom environment to promote positive peer interactions and positive self-esteem, to ensure that each student is a valued participant in an inclusive learning community;

Having positive and “risk-free” discussions was not very likely in my 6th block at the beginning of the semester.  Therefore, the students in 6th block were instructed to create rules for class discussions which they followed in order to make class discussions friendly, fun, and helpful.

c.    Construct a learning environment and grading process where both teacher and students have high expectations and mutually understand what is expected of each other to foster optimal achievement of all students;

Before turning in research papers, students peer-edited their papers using the same rubric I used when grading.  All strudents were not only given the expectations, but graded a paper based on those expectations.  I believe this strategy increased student understanding and motivation to edit their papers after the peer-edit. 

d.    Design and implement a classroom management plan that utilizes respectful disciplinary techniques to ensure a safe and orderly learning environment, (e.g., instructional procedures utilizing the concepts presented in the State Board of Education’s Positive Behavior Support Policy 2006), which is conducive to learning and takes into account diverse needs of individual students;

During my student teaching, I had a student who did not call me by my last name, but my first.  I had many conversations with the student but the disrespect did not stop.  Therefore, his parents were contacted because of this inability to follow directions. The same plan of talking to students and then parents if needed was followed consistantly in the classroom.

e.    Understand and uphold the legal and ethical responsibilities of teaching (e.g., federal and state laws and SBE policies pertaining to positive and effective learning environments, appropriate behavioral interventions, student retention, truancy, child abuse, safety, first aid, health, and communicable disease);

I attended a meeting with a member of Child Protective Services and was given information and forms about the laws regarding child abuse.  I also was responsible for keeping attendance data for a student considered truent.

f.    Use a variety of teaching methodologies and techniques (e.g., lectures, demonstrations, group discussions, cooperative learning, small-group activities, and technology-enhanced lessons), and objectively assess the effectiveness of various instructional approaches and teacher actions for impact on student learning;

The lesson plan I created and taught for peer-editing for the research paper used before, during, and after learning strategies using the technology of a power point assessing students’ memory of the lesson from the previous day.  Students played a review game, peer-edited, and edited their final draft.   

g.    Establish a learning environment which invites/welcomes collaborative teaching practices; and

The rubrics used to grade students’ research papers and other essays were developed in department meetings I attended and participated in.  The common assessments were a result of working with other teachers and the head of the English Department.

h.    Differentiate between assessment and evaluation procedures and use appropriately.

Many times students in my honors class were assigned reading homework and were given a reading check quiz the next day in class.  However, the reading was often times hard for students to fully understand.  Therefore, I often asked the studens some questions about how the reading went and what they got out of the reading.  From the student comments, I would then decided whether or not a review was necessary before taking a quiz. 

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