Ashley Hall's Professional Education Portfolio

K-12 Certified Music Educator

Substandard D


An understanding and appreciation of general and liberal arts including English, literature, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural or physical sciences, and the arts, and the ability to:

d. Understand the tenets of a free, democratic, and pluralistic society;

This substandard addresses the teacher’s ability to demonstrate the tenets of a free, democratic, and pluralistic society in the decisions made during classroom instructional time. My Maymester placement (a pre-student teaching placement) in the Albion Public Schools gave me ample opportunity to operate a classroom on the basis of decision making. I was placed in a 1st through 5th grade special education classroom. While the classroom had procedures and rules in place to keep the students focused, the students ability to make their own decisions was often hampered by an inability to create or effect the structure of their lesson materials.

I spent a LOT of time preparing lessons for this group. I knew going into my pre-service teaching that these students did well with hands-on activities and call-and-response type lectures; I worked to implement these learning tools into every lesson. I also used a “foundational term” that would follow the students throughout a unit plan and that the students were responsible for verbally defining before the beginning of each lesson. The ultimate object from using the foundational term was that at the end of the unit, any student in the classroom could both define the term and support its definition with examples.

I let this class define what information they learn about the materials they had. In a unit about squirrels, I spent the first lesson just creating a list of facts we already knew about squirrels, then a list of things we’d like to learn about squirrels. What the students verbalized that they wanted to learn is what I formulated into the lesson plans I was about to teach them.

Below is an image of on the blackboard from the unit plan on squirrels. “Habitat” was the foundational term for this unit. Listed at the bottom of the board is a flow chart of the facts we already know about squirrels. Listed above the flow chart is the word “why” with an arrow pointing to facts we’d like to learn (“Why do squirrels climb trees? Why do squirrels have tails?” etc). This was one of my first lessons using a chalkboard so I am happy to report my blackboard writing skills have improved greatly since this!

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