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PSMT #4
May 25th, 2009 by Nicole Battista

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;

My activities in class accomplished many separate goals at once. For example, in cultural activities I also incorporate oral speaking skills. In a group project, writing dialogues uses writing skills as well as teamwork skills.

Artifact #12 is an example of student work. It is a written dialogue in which students were not only applying vocabulary on food and restaurants, but they were also incorporating new grammatical structures.

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;

In my Professional Teaching Development course in Spain, I did a research essay in Spanish on error-correction in second language acquisition. This research prompted me to continue to look into factors that affect self-esteem in my classroom. As a result, I chose my Action Research topic to be on Self-Confidence and Foreign Language Acquisition

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;

My assignments are clearly explained and my rubrics are detailed. I am a predictable teacher and students know what I expect of them on their work and behavior. I hold myself to high expectations, and I expect them to do the same. The idea of high expectations is an integral of my Teaching Philosophy.

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;

My classroom rules are posted clearly in the classroom. They include: respect yourself and others, come prepared (good attitude, homework, materials), and try your best. I am consistent the treatment of students. Students are aware of repercussions for not following the rules.

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);

When I realized that one of my students was missing class more often than not, I knew that I needed to contact home. I called her mother out of concern and to make sure she was aware. It turns out, the mother had no idea the student was skipping school that often. We resolved the conflict by having a conference (the three of us). The mother handled the situation from there on out and the student no longer missed class. I believe it is my duty to keep parents informed.

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;

Through conferencing with my mentor teacher and field placement supervisor, I have been able to evaluate how effectively I have implemented different methodologies. I put a big emphasis on utilizing a variety of classroom activities. Throughout class time in all blocks, I use at least 3 different types of work environments. These include: individual, partner, small group, large group, and as a class.

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

I attended the Michigan Association of Teacher Educators Conference in order to get more ideas and materials from other teachers and administrators. I implemented these ideas, particularly ones that had to do with transitional activities. I also observed the French, Spanish, and Government teachers in my building during student teaching in order to collaborate and get new ideas on teaching practices.

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

Assessment is used to measure student learning. Evaluation is used to measure the effectiveness of instruction. Assessment may include things like journal entries and mini-quizzes/tests. My evaluation comes from the teacher evaluations I have my students complete regularly.

Artifact #13 is an example of a mini-quiz (aka pruebita) I gave to students the day following our first lesson on telling time. It allowed me to assess what they remembered and see areas of weakness.


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