Standard 5.C

December 3rd, 2008

“Develop positive relationships with other teachers, parents/guardians, students, administrators, counselors, and other personnel to benefit students and to influence one’s own professional growth.”

 

I believe that positive relationships are the foundation to successful teaching. During my student teaching, I was able to develop relationships with a handful of teachers, with several students, and with the high school counselors. Also, I had some interaction with parents at parent/teacher conferences and during phone calls home, both of which laid a foundation for future interaction and collaboration. Each of these interactions helped me in some way to be better able to understand my students, as well as to seek extra support in helping individual students (whether through parental support at home, support from other teachers, or support from students’ respective school counselors).

 

One teacher in particular, another English 10 teacher, worked closely with me and my mentor teacher to share lesson plan ideas and to develop common assessments. This teacher taught English 9 the previous year, and was able to give me insight on some of the students that I had in my classes. It was helpful to be able to have extra input on how to accommodate certain students’ needs. In watching this teacher interact with my mentor teacher, it was also so encouraging to see two teachers putting their heads together to come up with even more creative lesson plans.

 

Through one-on-one tutoring during 3rd hour lab class, lunchtime, and after school, I was able to develop some meaningful relationships with students. I was able to help students with their English, as well as work from other classes (including Spanish, Biology, and Algebra), and also had some deep conversations about things that these students were encountering outside of school. In knowing some of the struggles that students were encountering, I felt as though I was better equipped to teach them. Also, these students trusted me, and were more responsive to my teaching than earlier in the semester, before I got to know them. At the end of my time with these students, I wanted them to know that I appreciated our one-on-one time together. I wrote them a letter, encouraging them to push forward through the tough stuff they may be encountering. At the end of my student teaching, my mentor teacher had the students write me ‘goodbye’ poems. From many of these poems, I could tell that these students had appreciated our one-on-one time, as well.

 

School communities should be considered communities first. Every member in the community has a different role, and developing relationships with different members of the community helps to keep the whole school running well. I have learned that relationships with various members within the school community are vital to successful learning.

 

Artifacts:

          Letter to students

          Student poems:

Standard 5

December 3rd, 2008

Responsibilities and Relationships to the School, Classroom, and Student

“Systematic reflection to organize and improve teaching and develop effective relationships.”

 

a. Uphold the State of Michigan Professional Code of Ethics and engage in meaningful self-evaluation

 

Leadership Ethics helped me to start addressing ethical issues regarding positions of power/leadership (i.e., teacher/student relationships).

 

My action research project during student teaching worked towards helping students have more open minds toward diversity.

 

During my student teaching, I worked with students one-on-one to make sure that they were keeping up with their classes.

 

 

b. Identify and use current research to reflect on and improve one’s own practice related to content, technology, pedagogy, and other factors that impact student achievement

 

The action research project that I worked on during my student teaching used current research about social learning about racism/prejudice to drive action research project centered on how to combat racist attitudes in the classroom.

 

 

c. Develop positive relationships with other teachers, parents/guardians, students, administrators, counselors, and other personnel to benefit students and to influence one’s own professional growth*

 

During my student teaching, I developed relationships with other English teachers, made phone calls home to parents of students (both for feedback and praise), and worked with counselors and administrators in IEPs.

 

 

d. 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*

 

During my student teaching, I learned that some students would get in trouble at home if grades weren’t plugged into the gradebook immediately—after realizing this, I tried to get grades in as soon as I could so that their current grades would be as up-to-date as possible.

 

In my three weeks of working with students during Maymester, one main piece of feedback I got continuously from the students was that they appreciated that I didn’t yell at them, and that it made them want to work harder in class. Many of these students have had discipline problems, but I learned through this experience that even students who need stronger discipline and structure appreciate it when they are respected and treated nicely. I think it is so important for teachers to develop relationships with their students so that they always feel safe in the classroom setting.

 

 

e. Embrace and model teaching as a lifelong learning process and continue efforts to develop professionally

 

For each unit during my student teaching, I would do my own background research on the literature that we were doing and provide supplementary materials if necessary, or even draw on my own research in order to explain things in class.

 

All of my coursework has helped me to have a liberal arts understanding of learning, and has helped me so much already to be able to explain things to students, because I can conceptualize topics on many levels (i.e., climate change or obesity).

 

 

f. Involve and work effectively with parents/guardians and implement school-wide parent involvement plans to maximize opportunities for student achievement and success

 

During student teaching, I made phone calls home to parents of students who deserved praise or who may need extra help succeeding in class, and discussed student progress at parent/teacher conferences.

 

 

g. Interact with parents/guardians using best practices for personal and technology-based communication, to maximize student learning at school, home, and in the local community

 

During my student teaching, the Power School program allowed parents/students to see current grades as soon as they are saved in the gradebook.

 

During student teaching, we had e-mail contact with parents.

 

 

h. Participate in the development of individualized plans for students with disabilities (IEP)

 

During student teaching, I went to a couple of IEPs for students and tutored one student as an accommodation decided upon in her IEP.

Standard 4.F

December 2nd, 2008

“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.”

 

As a learner, I learn best when I am engaged in interactive and diverse lessons. For instance, I know from my own experience that I tend to lose attention when a teacher lectures for an extended period of time. Because of the way I learn, I try to make a point of teaching interactive lessons. Over the past several years, I have been able to develop my personal philosophy of teaching. Included in this philosophy is the belief that young people should be given the opportunity and encouragement to drive their own learning. I believe that people learn more, and become excited about learning more, when they feel as though they have ownership over their learning process and products.

 

While planning lessons, I try to appeal to the different styles of learning, so that all learners can come away from the lesson with something to help them remember the information that we covered. For my visual learners, I usually try to have some sort of projection on the screen, or a diagram or guided notes to fill out. For my audio learners, I try to guide discussion in a way that will make sense sequentially when they review class discussion later on. For my social learners, I try to do small group activities at least once or twice a week. For my hands-on learners, we have our yoga stretches at the beginning of the class, plus I try to get students moving around the room for certain activities. I have found that all students learn best when instructional methods are varied. I have also found that sometimes certain hours prefer certain methods, and that sometimes lesson plans may need to be altered slightly depending on the class hour.

 

During my student teaching, I tried to vary my instructional methods as often as possible in order to keep student attention and to appeal to all types of learners. I found that projecting supplemental materials on the front board was really helpful, and that most 10th graders appreciate structured, task-oriented activities, such as filling out a worksheet or diagram. Whenever we discussed key information, I made sure to convey these ideas in many ways (through speaking, writing on the board, discussion, or illustration). One specific example of this would be the diagram packets that I had students fill out as we read through Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. There is a lot of information to remember from this novel, and I knew that not all of my students would remember this information just from talking about it in class. The diagrams in this packet helped students to organize themes from Ender’s Game in sections, so that it was manageable and easy to remember. When students wrote their persuasive essays (their main assessment for the unit) later on, these diagrams were helpful reference tools.

 

In the future, I hope to continue to develop interactive lesson plans that appeal to all types of learners. Professional development, collaboration with other teachers, and independent research will also be helpful tools to help me stay up-to-date with new teaching methods to incorporate into my lessons.

 

Artifact:

          Ender’s Game diagram packet:

Diagram Packet Cover Page

Character Diagram

Internal and External Conflict Diagram

Nature vs. Nurture Tchart

Timeline

Chapter Top 5 List

Standard 4.E

December 2nd, 2008

“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 believe that teachers should be positive models to their students in all aspects of their lives. This includes upholding the law and maintaining ethical relationships with their students. One specific legal and ethical responsibility I have explored throughout my coursework has been the issues related to educators’ legal requirement to report child abuse.

 

For my senior honors thesis, I conducted interdepartmental research into educators’ roles in child abuse intervention. During this research, I first studied the actual policies in place regarding reporting requirements, as well as how reports are sorted and investigated once they are sent to Child Protective Services. After familiarizing myself with the actual policies, I sought to find how much our current educators knew about these policies and issues related to child abuse. I found that many educators had little to no formal training on issues related to child abuse and child abuse reporting, and that many educators often refrain from reporting suspicions of abuse due to disenchantment with the CPS system.

 

One of my interviewees, a clinical therapist at a prison, told me directly that we could clear the prisons if we could find a way to eliminate child abuse. The psychological effects of child abuse are devastating and hard to overcome. Prevention and awareness are good primary steps to take toward eliminating child abuse, but more needs to be done on an intervention level. Child Protective Services is not able to follow through on many reports because of a lack of resources (which is often the source of disenchantment that causes educators to not want to report abuse), but state funding to CPS agencies is in direct correlation to the number of reports each year. In order for CPS to be able to better investigate cases of child abuse, all suspicions should be reported so that CPS’ funding can reflect the real need for intervention.

 

Outside of the family, educators are the adults that spend the most time with young people. We are role models to students who may not have other positive role models in their lives, and we have the legal and ethical responsibility to make sure that students are taken care of. Students cannot function in school if their basic physiological and psychological needs are not first being met. In the future, I will continue to fight hard to bring further awareness to this issue, and will continue to encourage schools to provide formal training on issues related to child abuse.

 

Artifacts:

          Educators’ Roles in Child Abuse Intervention research abstract

Standard 4

December 2nd, 2008

Effective Learning Environments

“Management and monitoring of time, relationships, students, and classrooms to enhance learning.”

 

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

 

During my student teaching, I tried to time out instruction so that we would either be reading or discussing bell-to-bell—if we had extra time, I would expand discussion or have students write journal entries.

 

 

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

 

During my student teaching, we did several group activities and had class-wide discussion during which students were encouraged to share their opinions about certain topics. Also, our instructional arrangement in the classroom was usually 5 hexagonal tables, which promoted positive peer interaction.

 

 

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

 

During my student teaching, students received “Welcome to English 10” packets on the first day of school, which outlined the general highlights of the course, as well as classroom expectations.

 

During my student teaching, instead of “punishing” students who had not completed their work by giving them a 0, I would require students to finish their work, and come in during lunch time or after school to finish up their uncompleted classwork.

 

 

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

 

As a whole, classroom management during student teaching came primarily through one-on-one relationships with students. Students who were behaving inappropriately were first conferenced with, and then parents were called. Discipline was approached as a collaborative effort between teacher and student.

 

 

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)*

 

During my student teaching, I attended IEPs and helped to develop and implement individual accommodations for students with special needs, all of which were properly documented.

 

My senior honors thesis (“Educators’ Roles in Child Abuse Intervention”) explored the context of teachers’ legal responsibility as mandatory reporters of child abuse, as well as case-by-case relational issues relating to child abuse.

 

 

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*

 

Throughout my Education coursework, I have been able to gradually develop my personal philosophy of teaching, which includes the belief that learning should be interactive and all types of learning styles should be stimulated during lessons.

 

The lessons that I taught during student teaching integrated individual, small-group, and class-wide activities; also, I began to understand that different hours of the same prep may require different activities in order to learn the best (i.e., some hours may need more individual work, others may need more discussion-based activities).

 

 

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

 

During my student teaching, I worked with PLC (Professional Learning Community), which encourages the collaboration of teachers within a discipline.

 

During my student teaching, class discussions about varying social issues allowed students to share their individual viewpoints on certain topics.

 

 

h. Differentiates between assessment and evaluation procedures and use appropriately

 

The book Educative Assessment, used in a couple of our Education courses, helped me to further understand the differences between assessment and evaluation.

 

Throughout my Education coursework and student teaching, I have had assessments built into every lesson, as well as evaluations throughout teaching in order to guide curriculum.

Standard 3.G

December 2nd, 2008

“Embrace teaching through appropriate and creative activities utilizing instructional techniques that are

supported by current research.”

 

Reading utilizes both sides of the brain, because in the action of spanning a page, the brain is forced to use both sides to see all of the words. Stretches and physical activities that force both sides to function at the same time (crossing the midline of the body) help readers to better understand the text that they are reading, and boost reading comprehension. During my student teaching, my mentor teacher encouraged me to continue with yoga stretches that she had done with her classes. At the beginning of each of our class periods, we would start with some basic stretching that got students moving and helped the two sides of their brains to interact.

 

When reading journals, quizzes, and other assessments, I noticed that many students remembered very minute details of certain class discussions. Points that I had made even as side-points were often brought up again during assessments. While I do not have a control group with which to compare these results, I was very satisfied with the amount of information that students retained throughout our units.

 

In the future, I would definitely continue with physical activities and stretches at the beginning of my class hours. This is a gentle way for teachers to gain student attentiveness at the beginning of class (through students following the teacher, who is leading the stretches), gives students somewhat of a physical break from sitting all day, and prepares students to be able to remember the readings and discussion.

 

Artifact:

Observation form that praises yoga stretches

Standard 3.B

December 2nd, 2008

“Create learning environments that promote critical and higher order thinking skills, foster the acquisition of deep knowledge, and provide connections beyond the classrooms to promote substantive conversation and clear structured writing among teachers and learners regarding subject matter acquisition.”

 

As a college student transitioning from student to teacher, I found it difficult at the beginning of my teaching to think in the “high school” mindset. In brainstorming discussion questions, I immediately found myself trying to dig deep into literary analysis, like we had in my collegiate literature courses. I had to remind myself that most of my students were not cognitively prepared to immediately jump into deep discussion. However, instead of refraining these questions altogether, I realized that I would have to work with students in order to get them to the point of being able to analyze literature.

 

During our short story mini-unit, toward the beginning of the marking period, I created 3-level reading guides for students to fill out after reading each short story. These guides started with literal questions: answers to which can directly be found in the literature. From there, the worksheets asked interpretive questions (asking students to make their own inferences about certain aspects of the piece) and applied questions (asking students to apply themes from the piece to their lives). After reading these worksheets, I saw that many students were able to make some deep connections to the literature. Had I asked interpretive and applied questions right off the bat, I do not think that students would have been able to make as deep of connections.

 

For our assessment for the Inherit the Wind unit, I asked students to do a take-home quiz, for which they needed to answer three of four questions. These questions were thematic in nature, and helped to tie together some of the discussions we had had in class over the unit. By this point in the semester, students had participated in numerous analytical discussions, as well as written persuasive papers, and so I felt as though they were ready to dive into their own literary analysis. The quizzes turned out really well, and I discovered that many students were able to come up with analyses that I had not thought of yet! I would definitely do such an assignment in the future, although I would realize in assigning it that 10th graders would need several days of out-of-class time to complete the assignment.

 

As a whole, I think that it is vital that teachers ask deep, meaningful questions of their students, and that expectations for comprehensive learning should be set high. However, we as teachers need to provide students with the tools and positive feedback to be able to meet these expectations.

 

Artifacts:

          3-level reading guides:

Hair” worksheet

“It Can’t Be Helped” worksheet

“Through the Tunnel” worksheet

“Typhoid Fever” worksheet

 

          Inherit the Wind take-home quiz

Standard 3

December 2nd, 2008

Curricular and Pedagogical Content Knowledge Aligned with State Resources

“Knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy with reference to the MCF and other state sponsored resources, for consistent and equitable learning in Michigan schools.”

 

a. Design and implement instruction aligned with the MCF, Universal Education Vision and Principles, and the Michigan Educational Technology Standards

 

Throughout my time with the Education department, I have planned and taught lessons framed around Curriculum Standards.

 

I have used technology as a supplement to many of my lessons during student teaching.

 

 

b. Create learning environments that promote critical and higher order thinking skills, foster the acquisition of deep knowledge, and provide connections beyond the classrooms to promote substantive conversation and clear structured writing among teachers and learners regarding subject matter acquisition*

 

During my student teaching, I challenged students to critically think about literature and social topics, through journal-writing, discussion, and peer-to-peer interaction. I tried to provide “real-life” connections to in-class topics in order for students to connect themes to their own lives and current society.

 

 

c. Help each student to learn how to safely and responsibly access and use resources to become a discerning independent learner and problem solver (e.g., print materials, information technology, assistive technology)

 

During our research project for Maymester, I provided students with outlined information to find on their specific athlete and athlete’s country, and provided several “starting points” in order to access reliable, safe information on the Internet; also, I provided supplemental print materials to help students find the information they needed.

 

 

d. Design instruction so that students are engaged in actively integrating and transferring knowledge across the curriculum

 

The curriculum that I taught during student teaching is framed by driving questions that mesh together for overall cohesiveness and clarity—progression of curriculum throughout semester helps students to draw their perspective first from themselves, then further outward.

 

The unit plan that I designed and taught for Maymester (Boundary Crossing) social studies, science, and current issues.

 

 

e. Engage students in activities that demonstrate the purpose and function of subject matter to make connections to the world beyond the classroom and enhance the relationship and relevance to a global society

 

The unit that I designed and taught during Maymester helped each student to connect to a specific individual in another country, as well as to make an overall connection to the global issues relating to the environment.

 

The action research that I worked on during my student teaching (“Combating racist attitudes in the classroom”)—focused on social learning and encouraging students to expand their viewpoints beyond what only they have experienced.

 

 

f. Evaluate, adapt, and modify instructional strategies, technologies, and other educational resources to enhance the learning of each student

 

During my student teaching, I provided supplemental materials for students to help them organize information and projected certain supplemental material on the board.

 

 

g. Embrace teaching through appropriate and creative activities utilizing instructional techniques that are supported by current research*

 

At the beginning of each hour while I was student teaching, we started with yoga/stretching, which stimulates the crossing of the midline in the brain and helps students with reading comprehension and memory.

Standard 2.J

December 2nd, 2008

“Design, adopt, implement, and advocate for accommodations including assistive communicative devices, assistive technologies, and multiple strategies to enhance learning opportunities according to each student’s needs.”

 

My coursework for the Education department has included lessons, assignments, and field placements that have given me a glimpse into different forms of special needs within the classroom. Through this coursework, I have learned how to pick up on specific learning disabilities or emotional impairments, as well as pedagogical techniques to consider when accommodating for such special needs.

 

During my student teaching, I was able to tutor several students during lunchtime and after school. During one IEP for a student in our team-taught English 10 class, we (the student, the student’s parent, the student’s other teachers, the student’s counselor, and I) agreed upon one-on-one tutoring time as an accommodation to help her get caught up in her classes. This student and I met a few times a week and worked on her homework after school. I also worked with students one-on-one during lunchtime in order to help them get caught up in their English class work. I also had one student during my student teaching that had a physical disability, and was in a wheelchair for an extended period of time during the semester. The student and I worked together to come up with accommodations in regards to her placement within the classroom, so that she felt like a part of the learning community.

 

Through these one-on-one experiences with my students, I have learned that lesson planning must include careful thought of what each individual student may need in order to attain the learning goals for the day. I also learned that certain hours may require different teaching methods than others in order to stay focused and maximize their learning. For instance, my 2nd hour required more extensive instruction and as much one-on-one explanation as possible, while my 6th hour needed a set list of tasks for the hour and self-directed work time to accomplish such tasks. In the future, I think that it would be a good idea to start off the school year with a questionnaire for individual students to fill out about how they learn best and their own perceptions of what kind of help they need from their teachers. I did a similar “get-to-know-you” questionnaire with my students during Maymester. I think that it would be a good idea to take this questionnaire a step further and not only focus on who the students are, but also how they learn and what special learning needs they may have. I think that this would help a teacher to have a basic idea right off the bat what kind of instruction and accommodation is needed in order to cater to students’ learning needs.

 

Artifacts:

– Evaluation forms that cite one-on-one time with students:

Evaluation form 1

Evaluation form 2

Evaluation form 3

Evaluation form 4

 

 

          Maymester student interest survey

Standard 2.A

December 2nd, 2008

“Apply knowledge of human growth, development, and learning theory to design and implement instruction for the continuing development of students’ cognitive, affective, physical, emotional, and social capacities.”

 

As part of my coursework for the Education department, I have taken Intro to Psychology and Developmental Psychology at Albion College. Through these courses, I have learned about the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development of people throughout the different stages of life. Because of these classes, I realize that my students are still in their last stages of development, and so their capacity to focus on people and issues outside of themselves is sometimes limited. As a teacher, I realize that it is my duty to help my students through this last stage of brain development, to help them to be high-functioning members of society.

 

After working with 12-15 year-old campers for three summers, I have learned that this age group is strongly in need of guidance and support, as well as the room to grow on their own. They are just starting to see themselves as budding adults, and want to explore their independence, but also need peer acceptance as well as compassionate guidance from adults.

 

Throughout my student teaching, I developed many meaningful one-on-one relationships with students. During this time, some students shared their current struggles (in and outside of school) with me. I offered a listening ear for these students, as well as advice when they asked for it. I so valued this time with individuals, as well as the knowledge that I was able to help encourage them during a time with many growing pains. I think that these one-on-one relationships are a meaningful foundation for classroom management, especially with 10th graders. Students who know that they can trust their teacher are much more likely to respect their teacher, as well as to work hard in that respective class. It was important for me to show these students that I truly wanted to support them. One way that I showed this support was in my final letter to the students, given to them on our last day together.

 

At this stage of students’ cognitive and social development, I know that one of my roles as a teacher is to help challenge them to “think outside of the box.” During my lessons, I tried to come up with discussion and written-response questions that pushed students to critically think about the material we had covered. I also implemented some social learning mini-lessons about prejudice, after observing that many of my students were overtly racist. In the future, I would like to address different aspects of social learning in all of my lessons, in an attempt to connect literature to students’ lives and to help them have greater awareness about their role as a member of society.

 

Artifacts:

– Evaluation forms citing one-on-one time with students:         

 Evaluation form 1

Evaluation form 2

Evaluation form 3

Evaluation form 4

          Letter to students

          A Class Divided lesson plan