Dommerich Elementary SchoolMrs. Virginia Joseph, 1st Grade Teacher Introduction to the Teaching Profession Educational Portfolio Elizabeth Stephens
Dommerich ElementaryPicture #1—This mural was created by Dommerichstudents in 2004. Quick Facts • Dommerich is a neighborhood, suburban school, with approximately 647 students and 40 teachers. • The Dommerich school building is relatively new, having just been built in 2008. The former building was built in 1964, and demolished in 2008, when the new building was complete. The former building was a traditional brick structure. This new one is large, open and airy. • • With the new school building came new technology. Each classroom is equipped with Promethean smart boards, phones, projectors and document cameras. • The population of Dommerich is: • 75% white, 18% African American, and 7% Hispanic/Other. • Dommerich’s School Motto: • “I believe I can learn, I can learn, I will learn.”
Many years ago, Dommerich created a “Dommerich Standard”. This standard is whatthe staff and students strive for daily. This standard is posted in strategic areas around the school. Every week, one standard is picked and the staff and students all work on that standard for the week. Artifact #1 The Dommerich Standard1. Do the right thing, even if no one is looking.2. Follow and respect the rules wherever you are.3. Learn as much as you can every day.4. Use your time wisely.5. Be kind in your words and in your actions.6. Take care of possessions.
Communication at DommerichPicture #2--The Dommerich Marquee is a formof communication for the community. Forms of Communication • Dommerich communicates about the curriculum, assessment, and activities. There is a newsletter which goes out to families, called “Smoke Signals”. The school also uses a website, email blasts, and phone calls to communicate. Most classroom teachers send home newsletters, and there is a newsletter provided to all teachers and staff members weekly, called “The Dommerich Tom Tom”.
Dommerich Community Challenges• Dommerich may seem like the perfect • Thankfully, Dommerich has a very strong PTA neighborhood school, but it does face , and they have stepped up to help out. The challenges. Since the downturn of the economy PTA has been able to give each teacher a check in 2007, they have had their share of changes. to use for classroom materials. The PTA also Before 2007, the Dommerich community was coordinates volunteers to help in the classrooms full of professional families where the majority and other school areas, and to go on field trips. of the mothers were able to stay home and raise One of the strongest incentives that the their children. Since 2007, many mothers have Dommerich PTA has started is their “Community returned to work, and other families have had Support Team”. This team was founded to help to move from the area due to the poor real those in any kind of need, including financial. In estate market. In turn, the teachers have December 2011, the team was able to collect noticed slight changes in the amount of time funds to help 31 families, which included and and money families are able to contribute. impacted 70 children (12% of the school population). The team raised $5000, and they were able to furnish these families with gifts and food for the holiday season.
PIE (Partners in Education) at Dommerich • Picture #3—A “Partner in Education” member delivers plants for Dommerich’s community garden.
Healthy Living at Dommerich• Picture #4—The PTA and School work to promote Healthy Living. In this picture, the principal, participates with students in the “Running Club”.
The Arts at Dommerich • Picture #5—This Mosaic was created by Dommerich students, teachers, and parent volunteers to beautify the new school.
Dommerich’s Academic Challenges• Academically, Dommerich has had some challenges • In the past few years, there has also been an with writing instruction. On the day that I increase of students needing reading intervention. observed, Ginger was on her way to an afternoon The grade levels met and discussed ways to help. meeting to discuss these challenges, and potential Each grade level has taken on a skill, appropriate to ways to improve the instruction. their age of students, and they have implemented intervention methods. For example, in 1st grade, the teachers work on reading ability; and in 2nd grade, the teachers are working on reading fluency. The entire school has designated 30 minutes a day, from 9:00am to 9:30am, as Reading Intervention time. Each teacher has loosely grouped their students by reading ability. At 9am, there is a big change, while children needing help or enrichment are sent to other teachers on their grade level. At the time I was there, 3 children left Mrs. Joseph’s classroom, and 5 more came in. Ginger spent the time on a fast paced reading instruction time with a small group of students. The other students worked with parent helpers, read independently, read with a peer, or worked on the computers. It was an individualized instruction time.
Curriculum and Assessment• I am also a substitute at Dommerich so I have • Academic performance is assessed in a variety been able to observe the curriculum at the of ways. There are paper and pencil different grade levels. In every classroom, I tests, observation checklists, and other testing noticed that the students were learning with a procedures used. These include: variety of materials and in a variety of ways. In FCAT, FAIR, Benchmark, and more. one 4th grade classroom, students broke up into groups to research and create a timeline of • Dommerich communicates about the Florida history. In a 2nd grade classroom, the curriculum, assessment, and activities. There is students’ assignment was to look at a picture a newsletter which goes out to families, called and write a story about what they thought was “Smoke Signals”. The school also uses a going on. We brainstormed ideas, and then website, email blasts, and phone calls to they went on to write some amazing stories! communicate. Most classroom teachers send home newsletters, and there is a newsletter• I was also able to talk with the group of provided to all teachers and staff members teachers about their lesson plans. For the most weekly, called “The Dommerich Tom Tom”. part, each teacher creates their lesson plans on a computer. They must include what standards are being met with each objective and activity.
Artifact #2 Classroom Rules “Our Class Promise”Mrs. Joseph sets high expectations forher 1st graders. Students are expected tobehave, in order to reach their highestlevel of learning.The school motto and school standardsare often referred to throughout the day.Incentives vary from intrinsic, such as justa good feeling from following the rules,motto, and standards; to extrinsic, suchas an announcement to celebrate anaccomplishment of a student or class.On the first day of school, the studentsestablished the “rules” with Mrs. Joseph.As a class, they decided to make the rulesinto a Class Promise. As this artifactshows, instead of creating a black andwhite printed poster of the rules, Mrs.Joseph wrote the Class Promise in abright color. To show ownership of theClass Promise, the students each drew apicture of themselves, which were thenplaced around the Class Promise.
Teacher Interview Mrs. Virginia Joseph, 1st Grade1. Do you think that the school culture is different at the 3. What forms of communication do you use with your elementary level versus the middle or high school parents? level? If so, how? I send a class newsletter every other week. I also callYes, the culture is different at elementary, middle and parents on the phone. I do email individual parents high school levels. At Dommerich, there are just a sometimes, but I find the phone calls to be much few neighborhoods and surrounding areas from more personable. which the students come. When they get to Maitland Middle School, there are many other 4. What effective teaching strategies are used at the elementary schools feeding into the one middle elementary level? school. The culture changes due to this. In my 17 years of teaching, I continue to go back to using strategies that are age appropriate. I also have to2. What challenges do you face as an elementary school make sure the strategies fit my style, and my teacher? students’ style. I love to meet my students at theMy biggest challenge is lack of time. With new beginning of the school year and to figure out what standards, I have to continue to plan, and set up is going to work best for them. learning goals. The intended outcome is for each 5. What forms of incentives do you utilize with your teacher to post learning goals for each lesson students in the classroom to enhance extrinsic taught every day. This is difficult when you have a motivation? class full of students working at varying levels. The I am not a big believer of many rewards. I like to let the school has also started some special intervention students know, daily, what is expected of them. I strategies, which I know are very good, but those use a lot of positive reinforcement. I work hard on take more time too. In addition, there are teacher transition times, always thinking of what will be the observations, conferences, and meetings. best for the children. I include a lot of movement throughout the day. I also redirect inappropriate behavior.
Sample Lesson Plan from Mrs. Joseph’s Class•Florida Department of EducationSunshine State Standards Addressed inthe Language Arts Section, to showstandards for accommodations as thechildren worked in small groups.•LA 184.108.40.206 This benchmark belongsto: Phonics an Word Analysis.The student will identify the sounds ofvowels and consonant digraphs inprinted words.•LA.220.127.116.11 This benchmark belongsto: Vocabulary DevelopmentThe student will listen to, read anddiscuss both familiar and conceptuallychallenging text.•LA.18.104.22.168 This benchmark belongsto: Vocabulary DevelopmentThe student will identify and sortcommon words into conceptualcategories.
Verification Form7 hours on 1/26, 6 hours on 2/8, 2 hours on 1/13 15 hours total