Thursday, July 26, 2012

Inspirational Movies

     I have read some of "The Everything New Teacher Book"  and it has provoked some interesting thoughts.  I have gathered that, in my future teaching career, I will find rewarding moments that will continue to motivate me throughout each year.   I would like to create a list of possible movies that show this these types of rewarding moments. I feel that these movies serve as a reminder of how influential a teacher can be.
Movie List:
                                                     To Sir, With Love  (One of my personal favorites.)
October Sky
Dead Poets Society
Music of the Heart
The Miracle Worker
Lean on Me 
Dangerous Minds
Freedom Writers
Mr.Holland's Opus
Renaissance Man

Monday, July 23, 2012

Open Eyes

     After reading "The First Days of School", I have gained a great deal of professional understandings that will help my future as a teacher.  It provided me with knowledge of positive expectations, classroom management procedures, and how to grow professionally.  I have taken wonderful notes that will guide my actions for the fall and my future actions as a professional.  I also intend to take the tips provided, about becoming a life-long learner, seriously.  I intend to research local conventions and seminars that will help broaden my knowledge about developing as an educator for the sake of my students.  Before I start my first day of Student Teaching, I will be watching and reading materials that were suggested within this book.  I will watch The Effective Teacher and I choose to CARE.  I will listen to How You Can Be a Successful Teacher.  I will read "The First Day of School" by Douglass Brooks, "What Helps Students Learn" by Margaret Wang, and "Milking the Grade" by Thomas Guskey.  (All suggested from page 302 in "The First Days of School.")  I hope that this wealth of information will be very useful for creating an awesome learning environment!  I look forward to learning about new things and hopefully finding other educators who would like to share their thoughts on these materials!
~This book was WONDERFUL!! If you have not read it, I seriously suggest you do in the near future!~

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Becoming an Effective Teacher

Today, I searched for advice about how to become an effective teacher and ran across an article that covered Harry K. Wong's The First Days of School.  I have heard about him before and I vaguely remember watching a lecture he gave covering this topic but I've forgot how important the information really was.  I was so intrigued by the main points covered in THIS article that I went to my University and checked out his book.  While I was there, I also checked out The Everything New Teacher Book.  I hope that by reading these I will find great tips for student teaching in the fall and be able to use them in my future teaching career.  I think these books will really help you out if you are planning to student teach in the near future as well!  Please find them and have a look at them! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tips from other teachers!

I have been looking at various blogs for posts about student teaching.  I have not found very many tips for student teachers but I have found a blog that gives tips for first year/new teachers.  The blog is called Sparkles, Smiles, and Student Teaching I reviewed all of the links and they are just Amazing!  Click on the links for the topics and explore all of the wonderful blog posts they are connected to!  You will find some great advice and information for student teaching in the fall.  Happy blog-hopping! 

Monday, July 16, 2012


I have not made any recent posts because I am currently working on gathering materials for my LiveBinder.  (See top bar for link.)  When it is finished, it will have lists of helpful websites that connect to the third, fourth, and fifth grade Georgia standards.  Have a look at the sites and resources on my LiveBinder if you are having trouble creating lesson plans or finding videos on a certain topic!  Hope it helps you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Effective Student Teachers

Effective student teachers should do the following:
  • Provide Positive Reinforcement
  • Provide Guidance
  • Build Trust
  • Be a Role Model
  • Listen Attentively
  • Constantly Observe
  • Record Observations
  • Build Up Student Strengths
  • Use Creativity
  • Be Understanding
  • Communicate Clearly
  • Be Open Minded
  • Provide Focus For Each Individual Student
  • Give Timely, Specific, and Encouraging Feedback 
  • Teach Students how to Stay Focused
  • Teach Students how to Adapt
  • Know how to Deal With Various Learning Styles
  • Know Various Learning Strategies
  • Treat All Students Equally (No Favoritism)
  • Have a Positive Attitude
  • Learn Flexibility
  • Learn Proper Ways to Give Advice, Criticism, or Solutions
  • Reflect on Present/Future Goals, Training, and Educational Goals
Effective student teachers will build a productive student teacher/CT relationship by doing the following:
  • Building Mutual Respect
  • Showing Reliable Behavior (have accountability)
  • Being Honest
  • Learning to Overcome Obstacles
  • Finding a Common Ground
  • Establishing Mutual Goals
  • Demonstrating Knowledge of how to Identify and Implement Different Learning Styles
  • Discussing Diversity Issues
  • Develop Varying Perspectives
  • Asking Questions Aimed at Personal Ability, Personal Development, Goals, and Changes.
~These statements were taken or modified/developed from paperwork given in a Coaching and Mentoring Presentation from Kennesaw State's LINK organization.~

Basic Guidance

Basic Guidance: tips from Audrey Flynn
1.   Get on child's eye level.
2.   Get eye contact.
3.   Position yourself close to the child.
4.   Position yourself to see the whole classroom.
5.   Use a voice appropriate to the situation.  (most often, a soft, quiet voice)
6.   Avoid the words "OK?" and "Hear?"
7.   Set reasonable rules/limits.
8.   Use non-verbal techniques.
9.   Involve the children in rule making.
10. Intervene when appropriate.
11. Use classroom arrangement for management.
12. Avoid arguments with children.
13. Friendly humor reduces anxiety and aggression.
14. Reinforce, reward appropriate behavior.
15. Be cautious with the words good and bad.
16. Only use "we" when appropriate behavior.
17. Have basic daily routines.
18. Separate school behavior from home/street behavior.
19. Use positive, rather than negative words.
20. Inform the children when the activity time is almost up or the activity has changed.
21. Use punitive management techniques to reprimand students.
22. Use the child's name often.

My Intentions

 This is a list of intentions I have created from researching the best tips for an effective student teaching experience.
~Know the school discipline policy and the school emergency policy.
~Learn student names as quickly as possible.  (Try to play name games.)
~Offer lesson suggestions to the Collaborating Teacher (CT).
~Offer to help decorate the room as often as possible.  (Use creative bulletin board ideas.)
~Value constructive criticism.
~Ask lots of questions. (My leaning will depend a lot on conversations and reflections with the CT.)
~Walk around the room during observations to work with students on assignments and class problems. (This will allow me to feel more comfortable when I begin to teach.)
~Arrive early, be professional, be prepared, be respectful, and be a leader.
~Attend every meeting.  (Required or not!  It will provide great experience.)
~Ask to volunteer for a school club/activity or after school program.
~Offer to grade papers and organize morning work.
~Ask to try and join in on any lessons before the real teaching experience begins.
~Ask students how they think lessons went.
~Set a weekly meeting with my CT to discuss questions/concerns and lessons.
~Incorporate as many learning centers and group activities as possible,
~Meet with CT a few weeks before field experience begins.
~Look at the school website and familiarize myself with who the principal is, the mission statement, and testing scores.
~Prepare a bio of myself to give to my CT on our first meeting. (Include my contact information, my supervisor's contact information,  my educational background, hobbies, what I expect out of this experience, and my personal philosophy of education.)
~Get a journal and leave it in the school lounge with a note asking other teachers to share their favorite teaching tips.
~Create a resource binder with tabs where I can begin organizing tips, websites, shared worksheets, and procedural information.
~Call assigned school in August and ask if I can visit the school before the first day. (Try to visit when the CT is there.)
~ Go through some instructional magazines: Classmate, Mailbox and Instructor.

If any of the readers have more tips for my student teaching experience please comment below! 

Personal Narrative: Educational Beliefs

~The following is a personal narrative to describe the important beliefs that I hold about education thus far in my career.~
       Throughout my field experiences and educational courses, I have developed several important beliefs about education.  In education I value; incorporating family and community involvement, continuous assessment, health promotion, a focus on multiple intelligences, collaboration with colleagues, and social justice in the classroom in order to foster personal achievement and growth within the student.  One important belief I hold is that cooperative learning is the best way for students to work together and maximize learning. Small group interactions will promote each other’s success and create positive relationships between all students.  I also believe in a humanistic approach because it instills self-motivation.  When a child is inwardly driven, they gain a sense of reward from their achievement, thus developing positive self-esteem.  Another important belief I hold is a constructivist approach to learning because it is very positive for a learning environment.  This approach inspires learners to build new ideas upon their existing knowledge, beliefs, and skills.  I intend to achieve this by using the five E’s approach: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.  Students should reflect on their past before engaging with a new activity.  Students should be able to explore with hands on activities and be provided an opportunity to explain their understandings.  Students should then be allowed to practice and improve their new skills.  Overall, my beliefs will create a fun, safe, student centered, flexible, open-minded enriching learning environment where every student is able to succeed.  I look forward to the opportunity I have been given to further develop my skills and beliefs with my Student Teaching experience.

Friday, July 6, 2012


This is a Glogster I created for my second grade class. (Spring Semester 2012)

Philosophy of Teaching

           Teachers are  respectful, hard working, and dedicated individuals who dedicate their lives to motivating a student to reach their full learning potential.  Teachers must be on time, prepared, open-minded, approachable, and personable.  They must have these skills in order to communicate with their students, parents of their students, and other colleagues.  These professionals should listen to suggestions from said individuals in order to create a classroom that is connected and involved with their surroundings.  Teaching means being able to embody these aspects and using them to create a positive learing environment.  Each teacher has their own philosophy of teaching that reminds them of what their goals are for teaching in the classroom.
            My philosophy of  teaching science to elementary students is centered around student inquiry.  I will teach science in a way that provokes students thought processes and encourages them to ask questions on their own.  This way, students will be learning about things they are interested in and will retain the information they encounter.  Learning can be defined as the act of exploring, gaining knowledge of, remembering, and understanding intellectual materials that have been introduced or found.  As a teacher, it is my responsibility to create an environment where children can develop learning without restrictions.  I will foster personal achievement, knowledge, understanding, and growth through encouragement and hands on engagements.
            It is also my responsibility to set a positive example for students to follow.  I will be a role model for my students and I know my actions/attitude will impact them.  I will be very cautious in the classroom because young minds are very impressionable.  This means, I will need to control my emotions and negative feelings in order to create an environment where my students will not be effected negatively as well.  I will keep a positive environment so students will also keep a positive attitude and outlook for school that day.  My actions will help me to be a better facilitator of learning for the students as well because my mind will be focused on the students and daily material being covered.
            In order to be an educated professional, I will need to attend various workshops and continuing education classes.  The material that is taught in schools changes every year and new ways to approach student learning are also developed.  To teach science in the classroom, I must attend workshops and seminars because science is an ever changing field.  It changes because of developmental breakthroughs  in research and technology. I grew up with the understanding that Pluto was a planet, but since the definition of planet has changed, so too has this information.  This example is just one of the many reasons why it is imperative to continuously educate yourself for the benefit of your students.  Another beneficial technique I will use is to  keep an on-going reflection of my teaching practices.  I will need to know what lessons or labs worked or didn’t work with my students so that I can change them and make them better the next time I teach a similar lesson.
            The awareness of my students culture will also play a part in what lessons may or may not work.  I will be working with a multicultural classroom and one of the greatest challenges will be to recognize appropriate instruction and discipline that are congruent with each child’s community norms.  I will also need to recognize the importance of student perception.  As of now, I use implied directives to address students but in the future I would like to use more explicit directives.  I will find a balance between the two styles; this way students will not see me as a weak teacher and will respect and follow the rules I  set in my classroom.  In comparision, I must also respect my student’s, their culture, and understand their cultural use of language.  Students should not be disciplined right away just because I may not agree with something they do.
I must learn to access the situation, see how it may or may not be culturally accepted by their community, and discipline accordingly.  I intend to be critically reflective and conscoius of my social interactions with students in order to create a socially just classroom environment. Principles and elements that align with my ideals can be found in the Model Standards for Beginning Teacher Licensing, Assessment, and Development: A Resource for State Dialogue.  This publication lists six social justice related principles that I whole-heartedly agree with:
1. Priniciple 1: Appreciates mulitple perspectives.
2. Principle 3: Appreciates and values diversity, shows respect.
3. Principle 4: Values the development of critical thinking.
4. Principle 5: Understands how participation supports commitment, committed to the expression and use of democratic values in the classroom.
5. Principle 6: Values the many ways in which people seek to communicate, recognizes the power of language, appreciates the cultural dimension of communication.
6. Principle 9: Values critical thinking, reflection, and professional practice, committed to reflection. 
These six principles are what I am going to base my personal, professional self upon and will serve as the core values for the way I teach in my classroom.
            As a science teacher, I intend to create as many hands on activities as possible.  I believe that science is a subject best learnt through self observation and exploration.  Every lesson should be inquiry based (trusts all students to learn and every student is involved) and child-centered.  This will allow for students to become scientifically literate and make sound societal decisions.  To me, science is the exploration of the universe in order to gain knowledge about life. I will take every opportunity of leaning to educate the students  about all aspects of life.  I may be able to provide them with the knowledge they seek but they will not truly understand their scientific questions until they explore for themselves.  They must be willing to make predictions, ask questions, and articulate their understandings. 
            The best way for students to achieve this is by promoting inquiry in the classroom through the use of the Five E model.  Students will begin by Engaging; having a classroom discussion or small fun activity to get them interested in the lesson.  Then, students will Explore with hands on lab activities and experiences.  Next, they will Explain the knowledge they gained from the lesson.  The teacher will Elaborate on the main topic once again by showing a video/PowerPoint or doing another small activity with the class.  Finally, the students will be Evaluated through various forms of assessment in order to see if they understand the knowledge they gained from the lesson.
For students to clearly understand material, they must be taught in a variety of ways.  
Many children are tactile learners and prefer to complete hands on activities for their lessons.  These students retain information better when they are able to explore the topic by touching and feeling it.  Students who learn in the manner will excel at lab activities and science projects.  Some students are visual learners who like to read, complete visual charts, or watch videos.  When students are able to see what they are learning, they are able to decipher the information and remember it in ways that is best for them.  Visual learners will excel at creating graphic organizers and models that depict scientific processes and cycles.
Other students are auditory learners and enjoy listening to lectures, videos, and tape recordings.  These students process information best when they can hear it, think about it, and process it all in their mind.  Auditory students will succeed when a presentation is being made or their book is being read aloud.  E-learning is also a way to not only intergrate technology but to accommodate different learning styles.  This style would incorporate technology such as email, websites, PowerPoint, blogs, microscopes, and videos.  Students may prefer to have activities that involve all of these ways of learning in order to understand the topics they are dealing with.  The best classroom learning environment will include activities that will accommodate every students learning style.
I will create a learning environment that focuses on each students individual needs.  I will need to be flexible and have an understanding of my students needs in order to construct activities they will be successful with.  This success should not be determined through a formal assessment, such as a test, because some students simply memorize and do not actually learn the material.  I believe in informal assessments, such as checklists or conversations with students to truly find out what the student has taken away from the lesson.  I will still follow the Georgia Performance Standards for Science and align my instructional plan with that, but they will serve merely as a guideline for assessing my student’s performance and determining all areas of needed improvement. This guideline will serve also as an assessment for myself to see if I was truly able to foster learning in the student or not.

What is schooling?

 As a future educator, I believe schooling can be defined as an environment where children develop knowledge, friendships, and a sense of self.  Schools should foster personal achievement and growth.  It is a place where professionals have chosen to dedicate their lives to teach students the educational necessities to succeed in life.  Schools are in place so there is an educational consistency for our society.  In the majority of society’s eyes, schools are meant to provide students with the basic understandings for science, math, social studies, language arts, art, music, and drama.  Yet, people do not realize, they also provide a flourishing environment where students learn how to appropriately interact with others, broaden their perspectives, and learn of the cultural norms of their society.


     Collaboration will allow for effective communication with colleagues, students, and parents.  The things I value in a professional colleague or critical friend are things that I expect from myself as well.  I feel that colleagues should be respectful, hard working, and dedicated. They should be on time, prepared, and come to class with the motivation to do whatever it takes to reach their full learning potential.  They must be flexible, open-minded, approachable, and personable. Professionals (my classmates) should listen to suggestions from parents, students, and colleagues in order be connected and involved with their surroundings.
          My colleagues must be willing to work together to create lessons and plans that will cater to all different types of students.  They must be willing to share/listen to ideas, research new ideas, and attend workshops in order to broaden their own understanding of teaching for the betterment of their future students and their own personal self.  If a colleague expects to better themselves, they must understand there is always room for improvement and information is constantly changing.  Modifying their personal self, ideas, knowledge, and understandings based upon information that has been newly discovered will have a big impact on the way they will either succeed or fail at working collaboratively.  These are the attributes I expect to see from my professional colleagues that will directly affect collaboration and student learning in a positive manner.

Dreams and Aspirations

When I first entered the teaching program, one of my dreams was to teach acceptance and tolerance to children.  I aspired to create an environment where students feel okay to be themselves and are free from judgement.  I also wanted to teach understanding and kindness to students.  I believed that every child needs to learn that everyone is different and gain an understanding of this.  I also aspired to teach students how to be respectful to one another by treating each other fairly. I aspired to make learning fun and to incorporate as many art and hands on activities as possible.  I dreamed of being one of those teachers that their students remember forever because of the positive impact that is made on them.

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