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New Communty Members

May 24, 2011

Have you ever been the new student in school, i.e. the one whose family moved thereby requiring you to go to a different school during the school year? If so, what were some of your thoughts and feelings before, during and after the transition time to a new building and culture? If you have never experienced this, what do you imagine a new student might be experiencing during this time? In what ways can a teacher aid the transition to the new school? What have you done to help new students in your classes? (Adapted from Richard-Amato & Snow, 2005, p. 115)

When I was in fourth grade, I transitioned from private school, to our local elementary school.  This was a planned transition because the private school I attended focused on kindergarten through third grade.  My third grade teacher prepared me the best she was able to for life beyond our school walls.  However, no one can ever prepare you enough for a new, stressful experience, especially when you are a child.

I was fortunate to start with all of my new classmates on the first day of school.  However, the transition was uncomfortable because I became part of an environment where I knew only a few people.  I did not know the culture of my new school.  I didn’t even know the teacher until that morning when I walked through the door. 

In my internship classroom, a boy joined the classroom community shortly after the beginning of the school year.  The transition from his old school to his new school has been challenging for him as well as the students within the classroom.  This boy came from an environment where his teacher often solved all of his problems and did not challenge his thinking or behavior.  In the new environment, students are expected to solve their own problems (part of the “Big Three”).  Instruction within the multi-age classroom is often direct, in small groups.  The learning environment is much different from what he was previously used to and comfortable with.  With his behavior, because students are asked to first, solve their own problems before asking for help, his peers would remind him when his behavior was not appropriate for the classroom.  Over one weekend, his learning environment changed.

As a teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to help both current students and new student, when a new member joins the learning community.  For example, prior to the new students starting day, I will let the class know we are getting a new member and brainstorm ideas about how to make them feel welcome.  I can ask them to reflect about how it feels to be somewhere new and what made them feel more comfortable.  It is a stressful event, leaving one school and going to another, irregardless if you were prepared for it or not.  As a teacher, I can be compassionate and understanding towards our new community member.  I will model openness and acceptance as a reminder for other students within our community.  Changing schools is a stressful event.  It is usually associated with other stressful events within a family’s life.  New students need to feel welcome, accepted, and part of the larger community as soon as possible.  As a teacher, it is part of my job to make that transition more comfortable for the new student and their family.

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Teacher Expectations

May 23, 2011

Teacher expectations are inferences that teachers make about the future behavior or academic achievement of their students, based on what they know about these students now. Teacher expectation effects are effects on student outcomes that occur because of the actions that teachers take in response to their expectations (Good & Brophy, 2003). Research has demonstrated that teachers’ attitudes and expectations about different students can lead them to treat the students differently. Have you noticed ways in which teachers might inadvertently support the stereotyping of students by projecting classroom messages like ―Asian students always do well in math?‖ Carefully consider the various discussions you have had with your mentor. How might your mentor have communicated high or low performance expectations of your students? What are you doing to guard against accepting indiscriminately the expectations of other teachers? (Adapted from Good & Brophy, 2003, p. 96)

In my learning community, my mentor teacher has high expectations for all of her students.  Her expectations are based on their current academic level, their developmental age, and who they are as individuals.  My mentor teacher is an outstanding example of someone who guards herself against accepting indiscriminately the expectations of students past teachers.  She gets to know her students for who they are and what they are capable of, academically and socially.  She will listen to the feedback of others about her students, however, she rarely acts upon their information nor does it shape what her expectations are for that student.  My mentor teacher is extremely diplomatic when it comes to gathering information about her students and determining what she deems is valuable information and feedback that is not.

It is good to have high expectations of your students.  However, it is not okay to base those expectations on stereo-types about race, culture, or family life.  High expectations should be built around whom the student is, their academic level, and developmental age.

Modeling Curiosity and Interest In Learning

May 23, 2011

Describe how you have been modeling curiosity and interest in learning. (Adapted from Good & Brophy, 2003, p. 255)

As we look at our students to use curiosity to explore new concepts and possess an interest in learning, as teachers, we too must model curiosity and an interest in learning to our learning community.  As a student teacher, I am continuously learning about my students and the best way to reach them as an educator.  I am open with my students that I am learning new things on a daily basis and need their participation and feedback to help me along my learning process.  I am learning to be a teacher.  However, modeling curiosity and an interest in learning does not just have to be me showing them I too am a student.  I can also demonstrate these behaviors within our classroom curriculum.

During our daily lessons, students often make discoveries that take our lesson off the course that I documented within my lesson plan.  Sometimes, I cannot fully respond to their discoveries and need to research the particular question or compute a math problem to share with students my thinking process and solution.  There is no shame in not knowing the answer to a question a student has.  Usually, if time allows, together we will research the question and find an agreeable answer. 

It is also important to participate with students and model curiosity and an interest in learning.  For example, when teaching science, I share with students my curiosity about an exploration as well as my desire to know why and how our experiment is occurring.  Without curiosity and an interest in learning, learning cannot occur.  Therefore, as a teacher, it is necessary to model these behaviors on a daily basis, within and outside of the learning community.

Applying Social and Personal Strategies to Meet Student Needs

April 3, 2011

Attached is my artifact from EDU 6526 Survey of Instructional Strategies.  It represents Approval Standard T3: Knowledge of teaching (influenced by multiple teaching strategies).  This work attests to my proficiency in understanding the principle instructional strategy families and how these models foster student well-being and academic achievement. 

EDU_6526_Final_Paper

My Classroom Assessment Philosophy

April 3, 2011

In my learning community parents as well as colleagues use regular, agreed upon common assessment to promote teaching and learning.  There are numerous avenues for students to display their knowledge: presentations, drawings, graphic organizers, cooperative projects, and short and extended essays.  Classroom based assessment (CBA) takes place throughout the school day and school year, within all subject areas.  It originates from grade level and state achievement goals.  Assessment is sensitive to cultural, ethnic, and student exceptionalities.  “Assessments can transform instruction by providing timely information that captures students’ strengths, needs, and specific instructional history.” (Risko & Walker-Dalhouse, 2010)  It engages all learners in creativity, critical thinking and analysis, organization of understanding, and literacy.  Together, with all the major stakeholders participating, students, community members  and I will design, communicate, and interpret student achievement.   

Assessment is both of learning, after learning has occurred such as state assessments and standardized testing, and for learning.  It takes place throughout the learning process to inform students of their progress, adjust instruction, and provide feedback to students and parents.  (Stiggins, Arter, Chappuis, & Chappuis, 2006)  Learning can be demonstrated in multiple activities and in ways that are meaningful to the student, in and outside of the classroom. 

Formative assessment takes place throughout the learning process.   The outcome of formative assessment provides student and teacher information about the effectiveness of teaching and student understanding during instruction.  With formative assessment, learning is more meaningful for students.  Oakes and Lipton state, “The assessments can reinforce instruction that is increasingly rich, complex, and full of meaning and enhance lessons that offer authentic tasks with a variety of routes to success. ” (Oakes & Lipton, 2007)  Formative assessment promotes student success because it is meaningful and builds confidence, or at least familiarity.

Formative assessment  requires careful, thought-out, objective planning.  Assessments are tied to student learning goals and objectives.  It provides students with feedback to improve achievement, and follows a detailed rubric.  “Each assessment should link to instructional objectives.” (Risko & Walker-Dalhouse, 2010)  Although preparation for formative assessment may be perceived as labor intensive, the benefits for teacher and student outweighs the time and effort required to construct classroom based assessments.

Deciding what instructional information should be assessed, when it should be assessed, and what necessary modifications will be made to teaching to reach the objective of the assessment requires preparation.  It also requires an understanding of learning goals and objectives, and an awareness of students knowledge and understanding about a subject.  Assessment outcomes may illustrate differences in students’ understanding about the information being evaluated.  Therefore, instruction should be adjusted to meet the needs of students based on their formative assessment.  “Fundamental to all of these assessment practices is that teachers see all students as extraordinary capable learners.” (Oakes & Lipton, 2007)

Finally, assessment requires analysis of existing teaching practices and making instructional changes based on the outcome.  Classroom based assessments are ongoing processes that should be modified as instructional practices, curriculum, learning objectives, and most importantly, as students change.  Assessment is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  Again, with all stakeholders involved, I will design, communicate, analyze, and implement effective classroom based assessment.

References

Kaftan, J. M., Buck, G. A., & Haack, A. (2006). Using Formative Assessments to Individualize Instruction and Promote Learning. Middle School Journal , 44-49.

Oakes, J., & Lipton, M. (2007). Teaching to Change the World. New York: McGraw Hill.

Risko, V. J., & Walker-Dalhouse, D. (2010). Making the Most of Assessment to Inform Instruction. The Reading Teacher , 420-422.

Stiggins, R., Arter, J., Chappuis, J., & Chappuis, S. (2006). Classroom Assessment for Student Learning. Princeton: Educational Testing Service.

ADHD and Anxiety

April 3, 2011

This work attests to my proficiency in Approval Standard L1: Knowledge of Learners and Their Development in Social Contexts (learner centered).

The course work for EDSP 6644 – The Exceptional Child and Inclusion, examined needs of students with a wide variety of disabilities with a special emphasis on strategies for the inclusion of these students in the general education curriculum. 

My attached artifact focuses on children with ADHD and Anxiety.

ADHD and Anxiety

Classroom Based Assessment (CBA) for Second Grade – Map of Myself: Identity and Culture

April 3, 2011

This work attests to my proficiency in Approval Standard T1: Knowledge of Teaching (informed by standards-based assessment).

Attached is my artifact for EDU 6613 which includes: Classroom Based Assessment (CBA), supporting materials, rubric, and scoring guide.  The CBA is for a second grade learning community.

EDU 6613 CBA Classroom Based Assessment

EDU 6613 Support Materials

EDU 6613 Support Materials-Worksheet

EDU 6613 Scoring Rubric and Guide

EDU 6613 Rubric Scoring Sheet