With each group of students that walks into your classroom, a plethora of diverse and unique perspectives comes with them.  This also means that they bring an infinite amount of opportunities for learning.  Each student has their own set of beliefs, knowledge, learning styles and ways of thinking about the world.  As a teacher, I believe being able to realize and utilize this diversity is essential to helping my students learn as much as possible. A teacher is most effective when they teach for their students and not at them.  A teacher who honors and understands her students to the best of her ability is a true educator.

The process of understanding requires a teacher to be open; open to her students, open to her classroom’s rhythm and open to learning in ways she hadn’t anticipated.  A true teacher is one who is open at all times and comprehends how this is imperative to her and her students’ learning.

This is how I wish my teaching to be.  In the words of Emily Lloyd, “I want to teach to make everyone feel that they are important; important as a student but more importantly as a person.”

Artifacts:

Action Research

For the Action Research Project, I first identified a problem that was happening amongst my second graders: Their behavior was only appropriate under the conscious supervision of a teacher or other authority figure.  It was always worse in settings other than our classroom.  I wanted to understand the reasons for why they acted the way they did.  I discovered that my students were unclear of what the expectations for their behavior was outside of our classroom.  Therefore, addressing appropriate behavior in all settings was the first step of action I took for my Action Research Project.

Writing Conferences

These writing conferences really allowed me to gain a deep understanding of my students.  It had a double value of understanding as well because I not only learned about them as writers, but I also learned about the students themselves.  I learned about their interests, motivations, household lives and personalities.  I really gained a profound knowledge of my students thanks to the writing conferences.

Pre-Assessment for Unit Plan/Lesson Plan

This pre-assessment truly helped me in so many ways.  First of all, I gained an understanding of where my students were about this topic right from the get go.  Secondly, I used this understanding to alter my lessons in the unit to fit the strengths and next steps of my students.

Sticky notes from Read Aloud

The sticky notes really help me to comprehend what my students are thinking when I read a book.  I never realized how many comments and thoughts I missed until I performed this read aloud exercise.  I also like the sticky notes because it gives every kind of student, especially the shy and hesitant ones, a chance to share their ideas.

Science Lesson: Water in Pebbles and Sand

I loved this lesson because it made me have a solid understanding of how groundwater flows at different speeds through different mediums.  I really had to make sure that my understanding was that solid before I taught the lesson because I knew the students were going to ask me questions about.  My class must be full of future scientists because they just love asking the “What if” questions.  I absolutely love that too!  I just want to make sure that I’m as prepared as I can be.

Writing Lesson: Small Moment Endings

This writing lesson was one where I really wanted to check for students’ understanding. I had been noticing that the students seemed to comprehend the objective when we were all together as a group but were not applying it into their independent writing.  I really checked for their understanding using embedded assessment and stressed the importance of using the objective in their own writing.

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