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Sara Zavadsky

ED 321 Culminating Reflection Lesson Plan DesignThis semester has given me the opportunity to really begin perfecting the art of lesson planning. In the past, I have only been asked to write two or three lesson plans, and I think that I had learned how to design a lesson plan and demonstrated that in my work, but it was not until this semester that I took that to the next level and challenged myself. This semester gave me the opportunity to really hone in on those skills and move from an understanding of creating a lesson plan to a level of proficiency in developing and creating lesson plans. We were asked to write a total of six lesson plans, and to apply all that knowledge and practice further, we designed a unit plan. I think that this semester really gave me a chance to refine my lesson plan creating abilities and skills and allowed me to feel more confident in creating the lesson plans. This semester I am most proud with the form of instruction that I engaged in with the students. It was very different for me to be in a sixth grade classroom and at the beginning I struggled with adjusting to the grade level. I feel that I have a better rapport with older students and more of a love for content matter that is involved in high school. When I first began teaching this semester, I was unsure and uncomfortable with my teaching and interactions with the students and the subject matter. I quickly realized that it did not matter if I liked what I was teaching, just that I make it fun and exciting for my students and make learning happen and develop my students into critical thinkers. I learned to teach in a very different way to a very special age group, and I think what I will take most from this experience is that the types and forms of instruction that I used in 6th grade can be used in high school. Why wouldnt it be ok to play an interactive game online to review material and get the students engaged, as long as it helped them to meet the objectives?

Sara Zavadsky

More doing and practice can never hurt. Just because it is high school does not mean that they have to stare at a powerpoint and take notes. Why cant they design their own experiments and learn through self-discovery or by working in groups and partners. Even reading a picture book or having them illustrate and narrate a book to describe the journey that food takes to describe the steps of digestion would be refreshing for students of any age. Next semester I would really like to focus on refining my ability to assess in a multitude of different ways that will be exciting and refreshing for students, while still challenging students to apply what they have learned and demonstrate that they have meet the learning objectives set out in front of them. I think that students, especially in high school, feel that they need to memorize and regurgitate the information back on a piece of paper to get an A and show that the know the material, and I feel that this is not effective in evaluating whether or not your students actually meet the learning objectives and understood and learned the material. Anyone can memorize something, and as an educator if I do not challenge my students and assess in a variety of ways that will allow students of different learning styles to benefit, than I feel that I have not done my job. I want my forms of assessments, whether it be to test prior knowledge, asses their understanding of a process(through a lab), demonstrate their understanding of the lesson that I just taught or have been teaching for a week or a month, to be fun, different, exciting, and challenging. It is hard to practice this when you are only with a class and your CT once a week for a couple of hours. Maybe I could be involved in creating a test or quiz or a major assignment like a project or paper. This would challenge me and would allow me to practice along side my CT and I think that I could really learn a lot. I feel like I have a lot of great ideas to assess student learning, but sometimes it is hard to translate that to paper, or know

Sara Zavadsky

if they will work or not. Practicing this next semester will bring me one step closer from being a teacher candidate to becoming a teacher.

Evaluating my teaching against the Wisconsin Teaching Standards and the Alverno Education Abilities

Where Have I Shown Growth in My Teaching:

Wisconsin Teaching Standards: 4. Teachers know how to teach. 5. The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies, including the use of technology, to encourage children's development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. 6. Teachers know how to manage a classroom. 7. The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

Sara Zavadsky

Alverno Education Abilities: Integrative Interaction: Effective teaching is student-oriented, drawing students experiences, ideas, and opinions into the classrooms. Through interaction, teachers recognize and respond to individual differences among students, and use personal resources, including time and abilities, to promote the growth of students. Diagnosis: The ability of diagnosis focuses on teaching in relationship to the needs of individual students and students as a group. The effective teacher relates observed behavior to relevant frameworks in order to determine and implement plans that will meet students needs and lead them to the next level of development.

This field gave me the great opportunity to challenge myself as an educator. I was placed in a 6th grade middle school science class and I think that I can credit this experience to allowing me to learn the most about myself and my teaching. I struggled a lot this semester in feeling challenged and comfortable in my field placement. The school was great, the students were great, and my CT was great, so I had to really search for what it was that was making me feel less than enthused and uninspired to be teaching in this classroom. I think I found my answer within the third or fourth visit, it was the content that these students were learning and that I was teaching or would be teaching. I was not being challenged enough to demonstrate my knowledge, skills, and abilities in science, and I was finding myself bored and uninterested in what they were learning. This got me thinking that if I was bored, the students were probably just as bored, so I promised myself that no matter what I was teaching I was going to find a passion for it and challenge my students with different activities and ignite their excitement in

Sara Zavadsky

the content and allow them to have fun while learning. I used any method of differential instruction that I knew I could, I planned: independent study, labs, group work, partner work, presentations, demonstrations, technology, and interactive learning. The students really loved and responded well to whatever I had to throw at them, and this is when I learned the most valuable thing. I might not always be teaching the things I love or the unit that I find most interesting, but I better make it my job to do everything I can to facilitate the learning of my students. This is where I grew the most in my ability to diagnose, engage in integrative interaction, and show that I know how to teach. No matter what the content is or the age group that I am teaching to, I better do my best to make sure that my students are in an environment where learning and curiosity is encouraged, where questions are asked, ideas and thoughts are shared, students are respected as individual learners, and where all of us together can learn and have fun! Students at this age group interact differently with one another and it was such a learning experience to see how children at this age behave and act. As a teacher I am going to have to learn and understand how each of my students learn. It was a different challenge teaching this age group and I was able to practice my discipline techniques. This field gave me an opportunity to practice techniques that we have been discussing in class, so now I feel more confident to implement them into any classroom.

Sara Zavadsky

What Would I like to Further Develop in My Teaching:

Wisconsin Teaching Standards: 8. Teachers know how to test for student progress. The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the pupil. 10. Teachers are connected with other teachers and the community. The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support pupil learning and well-being and acts with integrity, fairness and in an ethical manner

Alverno Education Abilities: Coordination: A similarly important component of effective teaching, coordination is the management of resources to support learning goals. Teachers develop the ability to structure environments for learning, make effective use of the institution and the community as a learning resource, and design appropriate learning experiences and assessment procedures. Communication: At the heart of effective teaching, communication is a central skill for the teacher. Clarity in presentations, feedback, direction of learning and goal setting, all contribute to the teachers ability to structure and reinforce learning. An effective teacher communicates enthusiasm to learners, both about the subject and the act of teaching/learning. As I struggled with adapting to my field I feel that I really missed out this semester in learning more than what I did learn and in making better connections with the teachers at Oak

Sara Zavadsky

Creek East Middle School, specifically my CT. This semester I was strapped for time and on the days that I was able to go to my field I could only stay for three hours. I feel that this really limited my ability to make connections with my CT and establish a better relationship. She was very supportive of me and very helpful, but it was tough sometimes because I felt that we had a relationship that was so work oriented, I would come in and teach and leave. It was a lot different from last semester where my CT asked me to come back to teach with her during my student teaching. Unfortunately those were the circumstances, but for next semester I would really like to develop the relationships with the teachers in the building that I am placed at, especially because connections will be so important as I begin to start my student teaching and teaching career. If I work on communication among other teachers and reach out to the administration and get connected with the school and the community I think that I could develop a strong bond and be better supported which will help prepare me for when I graduate and start looking for a job. Because I was not very connected with my CT and the classroom I did not have many opportunities to develop different ways of assessments to test for student progress and develop my ability to coordinate. If I was better connected to my CT and classroom I could have had a better working relationship with my CT and possibly have played a role in devising assessments or different ways to test student learning. I think that having the opportunity to work closely with my CT, or my next CT would give me such a learning experience and really help to better prepare me for becoming a teacher.