Course Work Selections

Selection #1 - 10 Day Lesson Plan

During my first semester of teaching I was overwhelmed.  I was dealing with lesson planning, grading, classroom management struggles, and, on top of that I had graduate classes.  The 10 day lesson plan, was one of the few assignments that didn't add to my stress level, and in fact, made me a better teacher for at least two weeks. 

I chose this assignment for several reasons.  First, it helped me discover how to plan a unit.  Before this assignment I was planning lessons on a day to day basis.  I still put thought into the plans, but I did not have an end point in mind when I planned my lessons.  After this assignment I began to plan with long term goals in mind.  I started to think more about where I wanted my students to end up and how to check that they were getting there. 

A second reason I chose this lesson is because using the STAI Indicators forced me to think about more than just planning a lesson, but making sure I was connecting the lessons, and they were applicable and accessable to all students.  Part of this was including remediation and enrichment (day 5 of unit), and including multiple representation of fractions.  The unit uses words to make fractions, pattern blocks to model fractions, as well as drawing rectangular fraction models. 

The third reason I chose this assignment is because it was one of few assignments that I actually put into practice.  The unit is about developing an understanding of fractions.  After developing the unit, I decided to try it in my classroom, I was teaching sixth grade at the time.  It was amazing how much easier it was to teach when I knew exactly what I wanted my students to know at the end of the unit.

You can view the entire unit by clicking on the link below.

File Size: 127 kb
File Type: pdf
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Selection #2 - Good to Great Response paper

Schools require leadership on many different levels; from the Superintendent, to the school principal, to teachers, and even student leaders.  How effective the leader is translates directly to how efficient a district, school, or classroom is. 

I have worked under poor leaders, and I have worked under good leaders.  The difference is astounding.  Good to Great clearly defines what makes a leader great, and based on my experiences, the definition is sound.  Reading about and understanding how leaders, and their attitude, impact those around them has helped me develop as a teacher, and leader in my classroom.

I took several key ideas from the book that have helped me become a better teacher, and classroom manager.  The first is to praise the people under you.  Students need positive reinforcement.  The second is giving credit to the students when things go well.  After all, it is the students who are passing tests, not the teacher.  And lastly, diligence.  Teaching is hard, exhausting work, and it never stops.  Fortunately, the reward, successful students, is well worth the effort.

You can view my entire response by clicking on the link below.

File Size: 37 kb
File Type: pdf
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Selection #3 - Educational Law Paper

I wrote my educational law paper on the free speech rights of teachers.  It is important, as teachers, to know what can and cannot be said in the classroom.  As teachers, it is our job to share knowledge with and educate students through pedagogy.  Therefore, understanding our free speech rights is critical to our success as teachers.

Currently, teachers have almost no free speech rights in the classroom.  Based on previous rulings regarding teachers and other public employees, speech while acting as an employee is not covered by the Constitution.  This creates a problem for teachers.  Everything that is said in the classroom is said as an employee and not protected speech.  Limitations on free speech in the classroom were present before the current ruling.  Reasonable limitations are necessary to prevent teachers from espousing their personal ideals to a 'captive' audience.  However, I believe the courts have gone too far in limiting free speech in the classroom.  It is by hearing dissenting and different opinions that students learn to think for themselves and make informed decisions.  In order to succeed as teachers we need to be allowed to discuss different opinions with our students without fear of reprisals.  Teachers should not advocate one belief over another, but should be allowed to present all beliefs to their students.

While researching this paper it became clear to me how much influence teachers have over their students.  Even if we are unaware of it, we help to mold the characters of our students and shape their futures.  There is no telling what may influence a student, it could be a class lecture, or an offhand remark you make in the hallway.  After writing this paper, I am more careful about my speech around my students.

You can view the entire paper by clicking on the link below.

File Size: 84 kb
File Type: pdf
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