Standard Reflection- P4

November 16, 2012

P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction.

Towards the beginning of my internship, my mentor teacher mentioned his challenges with organization. His desk is cluttered, at best, but it does little to negatively impact his teaching. However, there was one area that seemed in need of some better organization. His upper division class is regularly responsible for producing t-shirts and banners for schools and other groups. The way he had these tasks organized was to write each task in the constantly dwindling space on his whiteboard, already cluttered with numerous tasks that students were already responsible for. These tasks are assigned to particular students, must be completed within a certain time, and also have particular dimensions and numbers for production. This is extremely difficult to keep track of using only a whiteboard.

Moved to aid my mentor teacher, I suggested a website to organize the list. This was a task that I wasn’t immediately familiar with. Attempting a number of different methods, I eventually came up with a Google site, a free site building tool and hosting service, to make a list that could include the data on the board and more. My mentor was extremely enthusiastic about this tool and tried to integrate it into his class immediately.

Students and teachers still currently use this list, but are seeking to improve it by using even newer and better methods and technologies.

Standard P4 urges teachers to utilize appropriate technology to meet the needs of its class. By implementing this list, students are better able to understand the objectives of their assigned tasks, and it is easier for the teacher to keep track of progress and assignments. This works much better than my mentor teacher’s older method and he is already thinking of ways to improve upon this one.

I learned from using this tool that there are always better ways a teacher can implement technology within the classroom and to always be improving the systems we do have. By improving the way the database is handled, the list could be significantly improved for the teacher by providing more control and for the students by providing more content and information  As for what students took from this, I believe they have a better understanding of their responsibilities and will have to spend less time deciphering the previous system as the new system is much easier to use. It also includes more information for them and the teacher in an easier to manage function, so it makes both roles much more fluid and efficient. This also passes onto the students this idea of organization and accountability which prepares them better for life after school.

Standard Reflection- E2

November 16, 2012

E2 – Exemplify collaboration within the school.

Wenesday afternoon I went to a staff meeting with all the teachers. We discussed a few of the things average to most class meetings, but we also discussed something special. PBIS, or, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, is a schoolwide initiative that seeks to create a more effective learning environment by helping teachers and students respond to eachother with understanding and kindness. This movement was prompted by the administrations recent professional development that showed them strategies at other schools that help create a better school environment. They used a school in Walla Walla, WA that had implemented a similar change and had found that suspension rates, explusions, and written referrals had dropped considerably.

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Many of the teachers at the meeting had some feedback they wanted to give regarding this new policy. Through this, the administration lead the conversation into the sweeping reform that would have to take place throughout the school. The change would happen slowly, not only at the administrative level, but at the teaching level as well. By adopting these changes, the hope would be that the students and staff would benefit from a better and more effective learning environment.

Standard E2 relates to this as teacher candidates we seek to become more involved in school activites, and what better activity than an initiative to make the school a better place. Teachers take on the responsibility to engage their school community; the peers they work with and the students they teach. By communicating these changes to the teachers, the administration hopes to instigate community involvement to improve their school. Each teacher is responsible for adopting and integrating the new PBIS method, and I, too, will strive to implement this in my teaching. In the meeting, we talked about how we could implement this new PBIS method in personal examples, and I think that within our group we communicated some extremely effective examples of how and when to utilize the new PBIS method to create an effective learning environment.

Standard Reflection- P3

November 16, 2012

P3 – Practice standards-based assessment.

On Thursday, November 15th, I presented a lesson on 6 of the color relationships during our small unit on color theory. I lead students in a discussion about the 6 relationships; Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Split Complementary, Primary, and Secondary. By using a slide presentation that presented each of these relationships and also using student discussion and responses, I could formatively assess some of the group and how they understood the lesson. I attempted to include this more formative focused lesson in light of some suggestions I received from my coordinator on my previous lesson. When students were asked to identify the color relationships, I asked students to raise their hand if they could summarize to the class one of each of the color relationships. Most students were unsure and did not raise their hands, but could participate more effectively when one of their classmates explained it in terms they could understand. We also split into groups during this lesson to assess the color relations in 4 different magazine colors. Each group tried to determine what each color relationship was, and then we came back together to discuss what we had learned. During the discussion I talked to various groups to assess their understanding of the color relations so that I could better tailor the rest of the discussion toward addressing the issues they may be having understanding the color relationships.

Color Wheel Questions

After discussing these ideas together, the groups split apart into individuals and we started work on an assignment that they could each apply the color relationships to.

During the discussion, I had particular things I was looking for from the students. If they didn’t meet these objectives, I would help lead their questions to make their learning more effective. In this way, I had to use different strategies to help them understand the objectives and concepts that we were discussing.

A big part of the P3 standard is using standards based assessment to help teachers learn how they can implement better strategies to help their students learn more effectively. By using formative assessment, teachers can measure the progress of each student. If a student doesn’t learn effectively from a certain strategy, it helps that the teacher understands and adjusts the lesson to be better and more effective.

Standard Reflection- E1

November 14, 2012

E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice.

An important part of effective teaching is being able to reflect on one’s curriculum and how to make improvements to it. I attended a meeting in October with the other teachers at Lindbergh High School in Renton that sought to improve how teachers approach using feedback and assessment effectively in their classes. This meeting tied in with a meeting earlier in the year on checking for understanding, an important part of any teacher’s skill kit.  By checking student’s understanding of concepts, teachers can seek to improve how their students learn and what they’re taking away from lessons and assignments. While we were assembling to talk about effective methods, the teachers leading the meeting handed out a rubric that included examples and descriptions.

Those leading the meeting started by presenting a Powerpoint presentation that helped lead discussion. At certain points, we broke into small groups and discussed what methods we had applied in our classrooms, and what changes could be made to improve our checks for understanding. I found this extremely helpful as different perspectives can provide helpful insight that we as teachers can use to help our own practice. After discussing these methods, we referred to the handouts, one from the previous meeting and the one from this one, and how we could better integrate these methods into the classroom.

My mentor teacher admitted to having challenges with checks for understanding given his subject matter and how it is taught to the class, but was extremely enthusiastic about improving his assessment to better help his students. This was extremely motivating and inspirational as I also find some of the methods for assessment difficult to implement into the classroom. The rubric that was provided was extremely helpful in forming some idea of how to improve, particularly the chart that provides examples of unsatisfactory to distinguished assessment. As an art teacher, I think it is sometime difficult to check for understanding on a group level, but it is much easier individually. Applying these individual assessments or checks for understanding in an art class would be extremely beneficial in a myriad of ways.

Being able to examine and reflect on how to improve is an important skill for any teacher to have. By utilizing  researched tools, a teacher can seek to improve their practice to improve how their students learn and create effective learning environments.