For the end of the semester, I created a video entitled the “Story of My Professional Learning” to document my growth over the past semester. I cannot post the video online; however, I wanted to post the script to my video to show my journey.
This semester I was placed in a co-teach kindergarten classroom with thirty six students. I was nervous at first because I had no experience in this type of setting but over time I became comfortable and took over many responsibilities in the classroom. Internship has been challenging at times but I would not trade this experience for anything.
Instructional Planning/Exceptional Students:
In the beginning of the year, I collected data about the learning styles of my students. I used this information with observations and anecdotal notes to inform my instructional planning. When I created lessons, I did my best to meet the needs of my students, which was a part of my FEAPS 2H goal: “Adapts the learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of students.” I designed a variety of differentiated lesson plans for mathematics, social studies, and literacy to meet the needs of the exceptional students in my classroom.
In my classroom, social studies is typically integrated into the curriculum through literacy. My students have learned a lot about other cultures through celebrations of Black History month and the Chinese New Year.
I created my own lesson plan in which students learned to use and create timelines. I taught a small group of advanced learners to manipulated timelines and then they created their own timeline of the events in a typical school day. The students used post-it notes to write down the events of the day, which allowed them to rearrange the events easily if necessary. Providing students with these supports allowed them to be successful in this lesson.
I incorporated technology like Prezi and Mimio into this lesson plan. I used Mimio for the first time this semester and I think it is a great tool for the students to use. My students enjoy using the Mimio so much that we created a play center for piece of technology so the students have constant access with this technology to build knowledge.
Before coming into the residency program, I had almost no experience with literacy education. In the previous semester I performed multiple read alouds and took on a literature circle. This semester I challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone and participate in more areas of literacy in the classroom: shared reading, guided reading, and writing lessons. I also made a goal for myself to perform more read alouds in the classroom. I still get nervous when I am in the front of the classroom, but I was able to overcome my nervous and focus on the lesson.
For my read aloud of Armadillo Rodeo, I created questions to ask before and after the read aloud that aligned with the standards, which helps me meet my FEAP 1A goal to “align instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level or rigor.”
This semester, I also pulled guided reading groups in my classroom. The groups are named based on the areas of need. My groups were “Letter Leopards” and “Sound Seals.” It was a bit difficult to keep the students on task, but I was able to help them understand the text through open ended questions.
I also took over writing in my classroom over the past few weeks. During writing instruction, the students write sentences and I walk around the room to provide support. During the first few lessons, I struggled to remember what my students had written since their words did not always match up with their thoughts. To fix this, I began taking notes so I could record the information and pass it along to my collaborating teacher so we could determine if the students were meeting their goals for writing.
In mathematics, I worked with many small groups of students to provide them with extra support. When I worked with the students, I included questions based on the Common Core Standards for Mathematical practice to help students think critically about the lessons.
For one lesson, my teacher did a read aloud of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons for subtraction. I worked with a small group of students at a slower pace to provide additional support. One of my English Language Learners excelled in this small group because he was able to verbally convey his knowledge because he struggled with writing his ideas down.
This semester, I used data-informed research, as part of my FEAP 5B goal, in order to perform inquiry in my classroom. My inquiry question is: “How do I accommodate for the visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning styles of my students in social studies, mathematics, and English to increase student engagement?” I chose this question because I want all of my students to have their needs met so they can learn in the best way possible.
For my inquiry, I surveyed the class to determine their learning styles and formed a group of six learners with visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning styles. I taught and helped with multiple lesson plans, some of which were differentiated and others that were not, and interviewed the students to determine which lesson engaged them the most. The three lessons were Word Wizard, a sight words lesson, Land and Water on the Globe, a lesson about discovering if there is more water or land on the earth, and Letter Sorting with Whiteboards, in which the students spell out words and determined if they began with a chosen letter.
I discovered that a visual, a kinesthetic, and an auditory learner all found that Word Wizard was the most engaging and interesting lesson. I believe this is because Word Wizard is one of the most differentiated and accommodated lessons plans in my classroom. It is also one of my favorite lessons to teach.
I took over Word Wizard in the beginning of the semester. For these lessons, the students say, spell, and use sight words in a sentence. The students stand up and perform Total Physical Response as they do fun movements while they spell out the words. I noticed that the verbal responses and movements accommodated auditory and kinesthetic learners but I wanted something for visual learners so I created posters for these students. The students really loved these posters and told me so on many occasions. I am very glad that the students enjoy this lesson and I will continue to evolve it and improve it to meet the needs of my class.
The residency program has provided me with amazing experiences inside and outside of the classroom that has helped me grow as a future educator. I am so thankful for this program and everything that I have learned so far.
I would like to thank my collaborating teachers, UTRPP professors, my students, my elementary school, and my peers for their continual support in making me a better educator.