Archive for December, 2008

WELCOME! :)

Friday, December 5th, 2008

AMY EVERHART

Welcome to my Digital Professional Portfolio!

Over the past 3 years, I have grown so much as a learner and as a teacher. The 7 Professional Standards for Michigan Teachers outline some of these areas of growth.

At Albion College, I studied Secondary Education with an English major and Political Science minor. I also was a member of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service, which is a supplemental concentration in Public Policy and Service. As a member of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Institute, I successfully completed 4 Honors seminars and wrote a senior honors thesis on educators’ roles in child abuse intervention. I graduated from Albion College in December 2008 magna cum laude.

Epilogue

Friday, December 5th, 2008

EPILOGUE

 

 

Overall, teachers should prepare their students to be well-rounded, contributing members to society. Within safe and engaging classroom settings, students should learn how to be critical thinkers, compassionate contributors to their communities, and technologically-adept, worldly citizens. As a teacher, it is my job to advocate for students, to help them to learn the skills that they will need to be successful later in life. It is important to me to be involved in the community in which I teach—both within the school community and within the overall living community. Teachers are public figures that should model citizenship to their students. Through interactive learning, social learning, one-on-one relationships, and active participation in the communities in which I have taught, I feel as though I have demonstrated proficiency in the Professional Standards for Michigan Teachers.

Philosophy of Teaching

Friday, December 5th, 2008

PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

Amy Everhart

 

I believe that all students have the ability and right to learn; that all students deserve to be pushed to their highest level of learning. Each student is an individual, and deserves to be treated as so. As a teacher, it is important to me to get to know my students on a one-on-one basis, to develop relationships so that I know my students, their strengths, and their needs. Curriculum and lesson plans should be designed around methods that best help students to learn.

 

Students should be pushed to learn how to be well-rounded, functioning members of society. Within a safe, stimulating and interactive classroom environment, they should be able to develop their own views on the world through critical thinking, perspective-taking, and social learning. Students should be able to learn how to be positive adult figures through watching their teachers. Thus, teachers should live their lives with integrity, modeling to their students how to be open-minded intellectuals that consider and challenge new and different ideas. Teachers should be approachable and warm, so that students feel safe within the classroom walls, and so that classroom discussion can go beyond surface-level. Upon leaving my classroom, I hope that students feel challenged and inspired.

Standard 7.E

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

“Implement curriculum plans that include effective technology-enhanced methods and strategies to maximize student learning.”

 

Technology is a great resource to teachers who need additional ways to convey meaning. For most of today’s students, who have had technology available to them most of their lives and who play video games and watch TV as a main source of entertainment, technology is a communication method that they understand and appreciate.

 

During my student teaching, I used our projector quite often to display supplemental materials on the front board. For our Inherit the Wind unit, I used the projector and a Word document to display the role assignments for each scene, so that students could jump right in when it was their turn to read. Also, during the Inherit the Wind unit, I implemented some social learning about issues relating to discrimination and acceptance of others. After the 2008 Presidential election, I showed students a CNN.com video clip of Senator John McCain’s concession speech, in order to encourage students to respond gracefully to the election outcome. (Many of my students were raised in families that believed in white supremacy, and so when Barack Obama was elected, there were, unfortunately, several racist remarks made at school the following day.) In an intensive social learning lesson, I used the projector to show students a clip from PBS Frontline’s special on A Class Divided, an experiment in discrimination done in the 1970s by Jane Elliott, a 3rd grade teacher in Iowa.

 

Without technology, it would be difficult to convey certain information to today’s generation of students. In the future, I would love to learn more about emerging technologies and ways to incorporate them into lessons and units.

 

Artifacts:

          CNN.com video clip of Sen. John McCain’s concession speech

          PBS Frontline link to A Class Divided

Standard 7.D

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

“Plan, design, and evaluate effective technology-enhanced learning environments and experiences aligned with Michigan’s Content Standards and GLCE and Michigan Educational Technology Standards for each student.”

 

During my teaching, I have observed that there is a wide range of technology expertise among students. As a teacher in today’s society, it is important to me to provide all of my students with the tools they will need to succeed after high school. This includes the ability to function in a highly technology-reliant society.

 

When I taught 7th graders during my Maymester experience, we did online research to find information on 2008 Olympic athletes and their countries. Before starting the research, I provided students a research guide with spaces to fill in the answers as they found them, along with several web sites to use as starting points in their research. This gave students who had limited experience with the Internet a platform from which to start their project.

 

During our persuasive paper unit while I was student teaching, I projected examples and “how-to” tips on the front board as students were working on typing their papers. This was a quick reference for students who needed help navigating the program that we were using. Because of the set-up of these classes, I was also able to help students one-on-one.

 

Artifacts:

          Maymester research packet

Standard 7

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Technology Operations and Concepts

“Use of technological tools, operations, and concepts to enhance learning, personal/professional productivity, and communication.”

 

a. Understand the equity, ethical, legal, social, physical, and psychological issues surrounding the use of technology in K-12 schools and apply those principles in practice

 

During the research project that we worked on during Maymester, I provided several starting points online to look for information, so that students had help in finding reliable, safe sites for their research.

 

When students during Maymester and student teaching had homework that required home access to a computer or the Internet, I accommodated for students who did not have access to a computer/Internet at home.

 

 

b. Successfully complete and reflect upon collaborative online learning experiences

 

During my Student Teaching Seminar, I posted materials for the Inherit the Wind unit on a Moodle courseweb.

 

 

c. Demonstrate an understanding of and the ability to create an online learning experience, and demonstrate continued growth in knowledge of technology operations, resource evaluation for quality, objectivity, and reliability and concepts including strategies for teaching and learning in an online environment

 

During my Student Teaching Seminar, I used a Moodle courseweb and created digital portfolios.

 

During most of my Albion courses, I used Moodle coursewebs as a student.

 

When I student taught, we used Criterion, an online service through ETS that helps students to revise papers.

 

During student teaching, we used Power School, which allows parents and students to see current grades as soon as they are updated on the gradebook.

 

 

d. Plan, design, and evaluate effective technology-enhanced learning environments and experiences aligned with Michigan’s Content Standards and GLCE and Michigan Educational Technology Standards for each student*

 

For Maymester, I developed and implemented a unit plan that utilized online research.

 

During student teaching, we used word processing tools and Criterion in the development process for persuasive papers.

 

While I was student teaching, I used projections from the computer to enhance lessons, provide visuals for students, and watch videos related to current events.

 

 

e. Implement curriculum plans that include effective technology-enhanced methods and strategies to maximize student learning*

 

During student teaching, I projected supplemental materials on the board.

 

During student teaching and Maymester, we used Word, Criterion, and online research for lessons.

 

 

f. Apply technology to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and evaluation strategies

 

Our archetype quiz during the Ender’s Game unit when I was student teaching was graded via Scantron.

 

During student teaching, we used word processing and Criterion during the persuasive paper unit (final assessment for The Giver and Ender’s Game).

 

 

g. Use technology to engage in ongoing professional development, practice, productivity, communication, and life-long learning

 

As a learner, I use CNN.com as a source for current events.

 

During my student teaching, my mentor teacher and I used e-mail to share independent research, supplemental materials, and discuss possible modifications to lesson plans.

 

After graduation, I plan to take a web design class.

Standard 6.D

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

“Use community and home resources to enhance

school programs and instruction.”

 

Students learn best if they are able to make connections between the material they are learning and their own lives. For many lessons and units, utilizing community resources in order to enhance instruction is one way to actively engage students with the material and with their communities.

 

During my Social Studies Pedagogy class, I designed a “Policy Issues” unit plan that utilizes local resources in the Albion area. This unit plan could be extremely effective, because it helps students to make close connections to many policy issues that may otherwise seem distant from their own lives. Helping students to see local connections would perhaps increase efficacy and passion about certain policy issues, perhaps even spurring local action. I found my research for this unit plan to be so fun, and I learned a lot about the Albion area during the process. I think it is important to teach students about their surrounding community—it instills a sense of pride and identity, as well as a coherent connection to the history of an area.

 

In the future, I hope to be able to conduct similar background research on the area in which I am living, and to incorporate local history and resources into lessons and units.

 

Artifact:

          Policy Issues unit plan

 

Standard 6.A

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

“Understand the structure, function, purpose, and value of education and schools in a free, democratic,

and pluralistic society.”

 

As both a member of the Education department and the Ford Institute, my coursework has shown me both sides of the democratic importance of education and schools. During Education 202, we learned about the historical progression of public schools in America. I think that this historical background is important to understand while considering the current state of education in America. Through the Ford Institute, I have been able to analyze policy issues related to education, including state-wide policies such as Proposal A, national policies such as No Child Left Behind, and international competition for better-performing schools (as with the surge in math and science education in America after Sputnik). Education forms the future leaders of our country, and so it is important that our young people are prepared to become well-rounded, critically-thinking, and socially adept adults.

 

During my Education 202 class, I wrote a paper entitled “Education as Personal and Public Empowerment.” In this essay, I looked at some of the historical contexts of American public education, and analyzed the importance of education in empowering individuals, as well as in empowering groups of people who may have been oppressed. In this essay, I come to the conclusion that progression of education will have a direct correlation with the success of individuals and our nation as a whole.

 

During a research project that I did for one of my Ford Institute courses, I studied comparative educational policies and the impact that competitiveness among countries has on national educational policy. During my research, I came across a powerpoint that was used to try to convince Americans that we need to strengthen our educational programs in order to remain the main superpower in the world. This shows that educational success is not only important on a local, state, or national level, it is also important to the overall future of our country’s international status. In educating future leaders of America, we prepare our country for future policy decisions.

 

I feel as though I am studying American education at a strange point in educational history. For the first time, we now have a national system for tracking school progress. Unfortunately, this program as a whole has not been found to be completely successful. With the inauguration of the new president in January of 2009, it will be interesting to see how educational policy changes within the next couple of years.

 

Artifacts:

         Education as Empowerment Essay

       Shift Happens ppt

 

Standard 6

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Responsibilities and Relationships to the Greater Community

“Participation in professional, local, state, national, and global learning communities.”

 

 

a. Understand the structure, function, purpose, and value of education and schools in a free, democratic, and pluralistic society*

 

In Education 202, I learned about the history of American education.

 

During my coursework for Ford Institute, I analyzed policy issues related to education (nationally and internationally).

 

 

b. Synthesize a teacher’s role in a changing society with the evolution of educational foundations and policy perspectives

 

My action research project during student teaching looked at ways teachers can help students to be open-minded about issues related to prejudice and discrimination, as well as teacher’s role in social learning.

 

During my coursework for the Ford Institute, I analyzed policy issues related to education, including No Child Left Behind.

 

 

c. Demonstrate an understanding of and participate in related organizations and activities in the communities in which the teacher works

 

During Maymester and student teaching, I went to a couple of student sporting events to show my support.

 

Throughout my time at Albion, I volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a mentor for local young girl.

 

 

d. Use community and home resources to enhance school programs and instruction*

 

In my Social Studies Pedagogy, I created a “Policy Issues” unit plan that utilized local history, locations, and resources.

 

 

e. Design learning activities for students that involve volunteer groups, civic and social organizations, and relevant public service agencies

 

The “Policy Issues” unit plan that I designed in my Social Studies Pedagogy class included guest speakers—local business owner and member of Albion Economic Development Corporation.

 

 

f. Participate with professional educators, school personnel, and other stakeholders in collaborative and cooperative planning, decision-making, and implementation, to improve educational systems at all levels

 

During my student teaching, I participated in in-service days and Professional Learning Community meetings.

 

Throughout my Education coursework, I went to some local school board meetings.

Standard 5.D

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

“Analyze the effects of teacher dispositions, decisions, and actions upon others (e.g., families, other personnel, and all students, including those with disabilities)

and adjust interactions accordingly.”

 

When I think back to the teachers I had throughout school, usually my initial memory is of my person-to-person interactions with them, and then what I learned from them. I have found that how a teacher interacts with students, parents, and other school faculty members greatly influences others’ perceptions of that teacher. Positive relationships are crucial to successful learning communities. This starts with the teacher’s overall disposition about teaching and radiates to the decisions that s/he makes throughout a school year.

 

In my opinion, positive behavior and attitude should be a starting point for all good teachers. If students see that their teacher respects them and is excited to help them learn, those students will be more apt to be excited to learn. When I taught during Maymester, several of my students told me that they appreciated my teaching style because I did not yell at them. They told me that this made them want to behave for me, since I respected them and found respectful ways to ask them to focus. Also, during my student teaching, on my last day with the students, several of them expressed their gratitude for my patience with them when they were rowdy or inattentive. Adolescents may not show their appreciation right away, but they really do appreciate being able to enter a safe learning environment.

 

During my student teaching, I had my first experience with the Power School program. This program immediately posts student grades online for parents and students to see, as soon as the teacher’s gradebook is updated. I learned quickly that certain students’ parents punished their kids if they saw that they were missing any work. Because of this, I tried to enter grades as quickly as I could so that grades were always as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

 

Regardless of how strict a teacher is, I think that all teachers should set a foundational positive environment within their classroom. Students should always feel safe within their learning environments. In addition, it is important to be observant and responsive to the ways in which actions affect students and their families. I have found that students are usually very honest and constructive when asked for feedback about a specific unit or overall teaching methods. Throughout my teaching experiences, I have sought student feedback to know how to better my teaching practices.

 

Artifacts:

          Maymester exit survey

          Student poems: