Family Communication

Standard 7.1 reads: Communicating with Families

Teacher communicates with families about students’ progress on a regular basis, respecting cultural norms, and is available as needed to respond to family concerns. For me this standard means that the classroom teacher parents in the loop on all classroom activities, learning, as well as personal behaviors within the classroom in a timely and respectful manner. One way that I think my mentor teacher and I have kept in great communication is through our weekly homework logs as well as through our monthly newsletter. Every week we send out a homework log which lets families know what homework is coming home what night, what lessons are being taught that day, and any other special announcements that may be different from the regular weekly norms. Students take home the homework log on Mondays and return it to class on Fridays with a parent signature. This lets me know that they are receiving it and are aware what their child is learning. My mentor and I also send out a monthly newsletter. This newsletter essentially does the same thing as our homework log but on a larger scale. We explain the specific math topic that we will be focusing on that month, the different reading skills and strategies that will be covered, and what is going on in our writing and science units! We also post any school wide activities or specific class celebrations earned or field trips for the month. Lastly we also include any other special announcements that we seem to be important for our students and families.

November2015_2-4 copy

I think that these two pieces of information are justification of competence with communicating with families because parents are always being notified of what their children are doing at school! I think that It is very important for a child’s education to be supported by their parents, and for parents to support they need to know what is going on! These handouts provide parents knowledge, volunteer opportunities, and many talking points dealing with what they are learning about in school.

From this experience I have learned how eager parents are to learn about what their students are learning. To create a relationship with a student I think that it is important to create a cohesive relationship with their parents as well. I have also learned that if parents are in constant communication there is a rarity in miscommunication between teacher and parent. It also seems like when parents know what is going on they are far more willing to volunteer in the classroom, which helps the teacher as well as excited the students. As far as student implications go, it is evident how important this kind of communication is for them because my students are only six and sometimes they can’t keep everything in track. By having their parents be so well connected with what they are doing at school students receive support at home as well as at school. A modification I would make in the future would be to the homework log. I would make a space for a weekly behavior reports. This way parents could be up to date on academics as well as a personal behavior check up.

Professional Community

Standard 8.1 states: Participating in a Professional Community

Relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation. To me this standard means not only being kind and respectful to your colleagues but also putting in the effort to contribute to your staff and school. This means not only through a teachers work in the classroom, but their work within a building in general. This year I was provided with the opportunity to work with Meridian Park’s PBIS team. This experience not only immersed me within the staff very quickly, but also put me in a team setting where I could make meaning collegially relationships. During one of the meetings this year I was assigned to head the compliment card project. This was a way for teachers to give students and other teacher’s special recognition of something that they appreciated from that person. I was able to collaborate with our family advocate to determine what our purpose for these cards would be as well as implementation.

cheetah Compliments

I believe that this is evidence of emerging competence in this area because I was able to participate in a small professional team, create a material to help create a positive work atmosphere, as well as share it out to the greater staff. I believe that from my work in PBIS this year I have learned how important these break off groups are for a school community and how beneficial it is to actually participate in them. I have been able to make relationships with staff from different grade bands as well as collaborate with many paras and the special education staff. In terms of my own students learning I believe that because I was a part of PBIS team I was always able to implement our schools management techniques and be on of the first to try or implement new and exciting ideas. This helped my students continue to grow within the classroom as they followed school wide expectations and behavior policies.

My next steps to continue to better myself within this standard would be to make sure that I am on a PBIS, BLT, or other kind of school wide committee where staff comes together to collaborate and try to better their community and their student’s experiences.

 

Instructional Research

Program Standard #2 on instruction states: The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students. To me this standard simply states that teachers need to continue learning to allow for their students to learn alongside them. This is saying that the most effective teachers use, borrow, and steal from the greatest educators who have shared their resources help other teachers meet the instructional needs of their students.

This quarter in Content Methods we had the opportunity to read Teach like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that put students on the path to College. This was a resource that gives countless teaching strategies that have proven to be effective in the classroom. As a class we read through the book, from there it was up to us how we would like to use our information. Personally I saw that I was able to reflect on the strategies I already use, try new strategies acquired, and ask questions about what would work or why something may cause issues in a class.

Annotated Notes Chapter 2 and 3annotated Notes chapter 4Annotated notes chapter 8annotated notes chapter 12Annotated Notes- Chapter 6 & 7chapter 10 and 11

I think this opportunity had a huge impact on my growth in standard 2 because of all of the information I have gained, and because of the reflection that I have acquired through process. As you can see that as a class we have dove into this book. I have put in the time and effort to identify why the practices I have used have been effective and why I would like to try some of the other techniques used.

By doing this research and using the annotated note taking strategy, I do not only have written reflections of my own techniques that I have used, but I have an on going to do list of strategies that I need to try to implement. Above all else I have vastly expanded my instructional toolkit. This evidence of growth is now ongoing, as I have been checking off what works for my students and what has proven to be ineffective. I also have learned that some classes respond differently to different strategies and many classes will not be the same. This taught me that I might need to file these away and reach out for more resources to continue to grow my own education as a teacher.

Over the course of this process of research, I have learned that I still have so much to learn, not only from books but from peers as well. During our book clubs and lectures I have found such importance in the I can learn from the people around me. This is not demeaning what I have learned from a text, but having others to discuss and decipher strategies learned that come from a text has proven to be very important. I also would like to continue to do research in this manner of recording, trying what I’ve learned in the classroom, and then further reflection because it pushes me to continue to take risks as a teacher by trying new things.

 

Lemov, D. (2015). Teach Like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College. an Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Content Knowledge

Elementary Math Methods: Course Reflection

4.0 Content Knowledge – The teacher uses content area knowledge, learning standards, appropriate pedagogy and resources to design and deliver curricula and instruction to impact student learning. To me standard 4.0 means that teachers use their given curriculum plus enrich with supplemental findings, to create engaging and effective instruction for their students.

Over the course of my internship and the course of this class I have learned about the importance of teaching to an objective and assessing that students are learning the skills and strategies. My classmates and I had the opportunity to create and assessment to help us decipher if we have been using our curriculum effectively. In my classroom we are using the envision math curriculum. In addition to direct insttuction we also enrich with different math stations everyday. I created this assessment to test if students had mastered the concept of place values.

When I created the assessment I looked back to the lesson objectives for the place value lessons. I was consistent in my wording repeating the language that we had learned in the lessons, and also gave opportunity for evidence of in depth learning by having students answer through picture, numberic, and written expalantions. The results would ultimately show the impact that the curricula and my teaching had on my students learning.

After I made my assessment I gave it to twenty-five of my first graders. Twelve got one hundred precent, nine missed one, three missed two, and one student missed four. This showed me that most of my students had mastered the content. As those who weren’t quite there yet, I was able to pull a small group and do a reteaching of the conent. This gave gave all students the resources they needed to succeed. I learned that when creating an assessment you have to look at the curriculum and the resources that students have been given and the assessment will help determine if they are indeed effective. In terms of student learning, it was easy for me to tell that all my students left the topic with understanding and a sense of success. Whether students acheived mastery before, during, or even after the assessment in reteaching, all of my students showed that they effectivly learned.

Next time around, I would like to also give a student voice section at the end of the test, or even at the end of each lesson. This would give me more evidence of how students were feeling as they were learning the material, not just number evidence. I think that this added student voice would allow for larger growth in my practice from a pedagogical perspective and would also help my students grow as learners through reflection.

Professional Growth

Standard 8.2 states, “Growing and Developing Professionally- Teacher welcomes feedback from colleagues when made by supervisors or when opportunities arise through professional collaboration.” To me this standard says that a teacher is never done growing within their profession, and should welcome all opportunities for feedback. For a teacher to flourish it is crucial that they continue to reflect on their own teaching and find what does and doesn’t make them an effective teacher. To me reflection based on collaborative feedback is in the job description.

I had the opportunity to take EDU 6134 this fall and was able to learn what collaborative feedback looks like in the world of teaching. During the class we had multiple opportunities do find different organizations that could help us grow as teachers. After research we responded as to what organizations we thought would help us grow the most as teachers. This is a table that shows my thoughts on what I thought would help me to continue to grow professionally and what kind of groups I would like to collaborate with.

Professional Organizations Webquest

This research document shows that I have been introduced to some of the ways that I could grow professionally. It also shows what kind of development that interesting in pursuing. I have so much room  to grow within this standard, but I feel as though this class has given me a solid introduction to the standard. I have learned that professional growth doesn’t have to just occur within the school that you are working with. Previously I thought that the only collaborative work that a teacher could participate in was between their principal and fellow teachers at their school. Now, I don’t want to diminish the importance of that whatsovever, but rather highlight that I now know there are also many different opportunities to reach for outside of your home school

In the future I would love to actually join one of these organizations and go to some of the workshops so I can continue to build my teaching toolkit. These opportunities will not only help me as a teacher but will also help my students because I will be able to gain  the knowledge on how to differentiate and meet each students unique needs.I am a firm believer in the saying two heads are better than one, and it is such a blessing that I am entering a profession that thinks the same way.

 

 

Effective Transitions

The program standard 5.2 falls under the category of learning environment . The standard states, “managing classroom procedures through transitions occur smoothly, with little loss of instructional time.” To me this standard means that expected routines and behaviors have been put into place that facilitate smooth calm transitions that do not distract from students success.

During my internship thus far I have witnessed some of the smoothest transitions that I have seen within the educational realm. My mentor teacher has found a way in which her and I can both facilitate transitions without skipping a beat. The key to these morning and afternoon transitions revolve around predictability and consistency. Every morning and afternoon our students enter and depart with a song. In our classroom during the morning and afternoon transitions we play a strategically picked song that guides students to calmly and quietly make their transition. The song is positive and upbeat, doesn’t have many words so students don’t get distracted singing, and is just long enough for them to get their jobs done. When the song is over the students know that they should be seated and working,

The song title is Send me on my way and is posted below.

https://youtu.be/RuV2agQPgps

This is a great strategy to utilize during transitions because it builds another element of stability and doesn’t add anymore time. This strategy has shown me one way to cut out chatter and reemphasize to students what is expected during transition time. This is just one tool that I have learned and can put into my classroom management tool kit. Not only am I learning from this strategy, but the students are profiting as well. They are learning about routines and expected behavior during transitions, which is a skill that will stick with them for the rest of their schooling. Unfortunately this tool is one that can only be used in certain transition times because if we played a song during every transition we would have no time to teach; but under these lengthy transitions it works perfectly. It would be cool to implement some kind of beat or sound transition that could be implemented in quick transitions. This would provide the same idea of consistency and predictability but in a shorter time span.

EDU 6150 Course Reflection

During my time in General Inquiry, Teaching, and Assessment Methods, also known as EDU 6150, I have found great importance in the teaching skill of differentiation. This class focused on how to structure lessons as well as how to account for the unexpected when teaching a lesson. The standard that I think applies the best to what I have learned in this lesson is the differentiation program standard of 3.1.

3.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Students: Teacher recognizes the value of understanding students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency and displays this knowledge for groups of – students.

To me this standard doesn’t just say that teachers should be aware where their students are in their individual educational journey, but to also provide different opportunities for students within the same lesson to support those differences. In John Medina’s book Brain Rules (2007) he talks about how different each child is in their development and backs up the obvious need for differentiation in the classroom with his findings. In our class we had the opportunity to put this new knowledge to practice, and were able to build lesson plans and alter them over the course.

 Lesson Design Rough Draft

Final Lesson Plan with highlights

The first lesson shows my initial thoughts on how I would teach the lesson. The second is lesson shows all of the alterations and the highlights a couple of examples. I learned that I have to keep in mind all the needs of exceptional learners providing challenges, steps backwards, and possible opportunities to receive a little extra help. This class gave me the opportunity to alter my original lesson plan, to not only help me create a better lesson, but also allowed me to see my mistakes in my original lesson. I have found that when creating lessons it is so helpful to take a step back and keep in mind who the lesson is actually for. Thinking of individuals prepares a teacher to be ready to be flexible, rather than clumping the class’s abilities into one. In the future I am definitely going to have to keep in mind that my lessons are for individuals to learn, not just a whole class. To achieve this I think that I will always try to provide as much differentiation as possible, as well as doing a self-reflection after a lesson. This will always provide me an opportunity to comment on unexpected outcomes that need to be accounted for next time.

Medina, Brian. (2007). Brain Rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press