Elizabeth Kloskin's Teaching Portfolio 2012 <ul><li>“ Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.” - Henry Ford </li></ul>
<ul><li>Active, Successful Student Participation in the Learning Process </li></ul>
Early 21 st Century Biographies <ul><li>Fourth grade students had the chance to research people important to Texas and the country from the early 21 st century. Students had a choice from the various people named in the social studies textbook, of which we either had or were studying. We read a short summary of each person and the student had to choose their person by the next day. </li></ul><ul><li>Each student was given a large index card to record their research. They used the textbook and internet websites I gave them for their biographies. After research was complete, they brainstormed and organized their information by filling out a “Facebook” page for their person. The page included such things as activities, interests, marriage, birth date, friends list, and had to draw conclusions based upon their research, the persons favorite music or what their favorite television show would be if they were alive today. </li></ul><ul><li>After brainstorming was complete, students got a rubric, which showed the requirements and organization for the biography. They began their rough drafts. Then, they peer edited the drafts and sent them to me for a final edit. When editing was complete, they wrote their final draft and turned in their complete work. </li></ul><ul><li>Students remained interested because they got to choose the person they were studying. Also, critical thinking was involved by having to sort through their research and interpret what made that person important in history and how life would have changed if that person was not alive. Objectives were aligned with the TEKS (state curriculum) for social studies and writing. This was many of the students first experiences with this type of research that helped with reading comprehension and computer technology. </li></ul>Student sample work on next slide
Learning Centers <ul><li>In order to reinforce and review lessons previously taught, learning centers in my classroom were helpful in the beginning and end of the year. They are interactive and a fun, which engages them and teaches social skills. I used word walls, the white board, a creative independent assignment, all while I had a small group to teach a mini-lesson. I have also done this with math. Using manipulatives like geoboards, tessellations, dice, and card games, have kept students enthusiastic. Throughout the year, I was able to have better access to the schools computers. During this time, students used Odyssey, Learning Coach, or Fast Math to reinforce their skills and quickly assess trouble areas. </li></ul>
Thinking Partners <ul><li>Sometimes behavior can be a problem for learning centers. Some students may not want to stay on task. In effect, I used a thinking partner for each person. Partners are chosen according to level of overall skill. A 'high' student is put with a 'medium high', a 'low' is put with a 'medium low.' It also turns out, that many times, where one student excels in a certain subject, the other is weak and vice versa. This gives the student a chance to be an “expert” in at least one subject. Thus, instead of doing centers, I have done buddy work, which became more efficient for this particular class. Students stayed on task, engaged, and learned social skills needed to get along with their partner. </li></ul>Students finding Figurative Language from various poetry books
Classroom Library <ul><li>I also have a great classroom library, separated into genres and labeled. Diversity is an important factor in my classroom library. Books of all genres and cultures are included. Also, I have a set of books that are labeled for their guided reading level that goes from 3 rd grade, until 6 th grade. Each one of those books have a sticker on it that represents a level. Students can look at the key to see what level the book is. Occasionally, I will add or rotate new books, to keep interest. In addition, the section of the library has been made inviting, including a lamp and rug. When students finish their work early, they may choose a book and read quietly, making sure to mark their reading log. </li></ul>
Guided Reading <ul><li>Throughout the school year, I use guided reading to touch on specific skills with students. After a mini-lesson is taught, students work independently, as I work with a group and practice the new skill or reinforce previously taught skills. Every grading period, I take a running record of each student, to find their level and adjust groups accordingly. Guided reading is excellent for differentiation. If my level P student has difficulty sounding out 'igh' words, we can make it a point to find 'igh' words as we read. Where as a level T may need help with vocabulary, rather than phonics. For my most advanced group, they may be able to handle literature circles, meeting at least once a week and they have daily tasks while reading. I lead a discussion of the story, vocabulary, and other skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Books are chosen based on students interests. At the beginning of the year, I ask them to write down three things they would really like to read about. Based off of the data, I choose books from the guided reading library at the school. Students are more likely to be engaged and remember a story, if it is something that interests them. I ask them occasionally what they are interested in now, because tastes change. I also pay attention to the types of books they check out at the library, because I have borrowed books from other libraries, in order to accommodate my class. </li></ul><ul><li>Last, guided reading has helped me assess my teaching, so that I could find a better way to teach a skill the next time. It also helps me understand how my students think, so that I may be more clear when explaining something to them. Working in a small and intimate group lets me know my students tastes, strengths, weaknesses, and work ethic. Most importantly, it is accommodating to their learning and needs. </li></ul>
The Everglades Project <ul><li>After they were finished with daily work and for homework, students got busy on their choices. I had many books checked out from the library for them to use as resources if they did not have computer access at home. I allowed the students to be creative with the way they wanted to present their project. Some did their work on construction paper, some wrote papers on lined notebook paper, and a few did more elaborate work on poster board. At the end of the week, they presented their projects to the class. Students were allowed to ask each other questions and give positive critiques on what they liked about each others projects. Overall, students took ownership of their work and were proud to present them for the class. </li></ul>During our reading this year, we read a Time article called, 'Saving the Everglades.' Students were concerned about the animals and wanted to know more about their environment. As an enrichment project, I gave students a choice to research the wetlands, the Everglades, or create a mural of The Everglades' animals.
<ul><li>Evaluation and Feedback on Student Progress </li></ul>
Red Folder I always had informal conferences with my students, but I also sent home a red folder, and for particular students had detailed updates as to their progress. Not all students' had the same contents, but it did need to be signed and returned weekly. Some students had a detailed form, like the example, and some students had simply memos or post its. These folders allowed parents to keep track of what was going on in class, such as redone assignments, or good grades. If a student needed to work on something Particular. Also, there was clear communication between the student and the parent, as to what needed to be worked on.
<ul><li>Management of Student Discipline, Instructional Strategies, Time, and Materials </li></ul>
Rules and Routines Pg. 1 <ul><li>Daily feedback is necessary for students to maintain focus on their behaviors. Each have daily folders, with a conduct sheet that is signed daily by a parent. I mark their conduct at the end of the day, and write whatever notes about grades or behavior that are necessary. Many times, I would ask the student, “Why did you get an S today?” They tell me why they moved their clips and I write it down specifically on the sheet. </li></ul><ul><li>I use clips for students conduct, which is posted towards the rear of the room, by my desk. I give each student a warning before telling them to move their clip. It is important for the students to physically move their clip and see the visual of their name by their mark, so that they could take ownership of their behavior. Students with consistent E's would get rewards like going to visit a teacher, computer time, or lunch with a friend. Also, on days when everybody made an E, I add marbles to our recess jar. The recess jar was for overall classroom behavior, like being quiet in line, improving on a test, having a clean room by the end of the day, or hard work. When the recess jar is full, the class goes to recess for 15 minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Of course, stickers and small rewards are also given for positive behavior. But I found that writing students notes of encouragement is the best form of positive reinforcement. They love getting the 'specialized' notes from me about their behavior or grades. </li></ul>
Rules and Routines Cont... <ul><li>Also, our rules are posted at the head of the classroom. Three short and sweet rules: mutual respect, attentive listening, and no put-downs. At the beginning of the year, we discuss what the rules meant and how many other rules can apply to them. In addition, I have a finger chart on the board, for when a student has a question. One finger held up, means restroom. Two fingers: pencil sharpening. Three fingers: trash. Four fingers: tissue. Five fingers: question. This keeps the room quiet and uninterrupted for when I am teaching a whole group lesson, a small group, or testing. </li></ul><ul><li>The arrangement of the room changes a few times at the beginning of the year. Experimenting with arrangments for what works best for the class is important. I can immediately notice an off task behavior, even while working with small groups or walking around the room. I also use a timer for certain assignments. For those students who need to be paced, I often times 'count down' between tasks (for example: getting out the math journal) to make sure time was being used effectively. </li></ul>
Communication <ul><li>To communicate with my colleagues, I use email, which is quick for responses. Often times, we are so busy throughout the day, I may not be able to find who I need, so email is great to share ideas and make clear communication. To communicate with parents, I prefer phone, but many parents preferred email. Thus, I use email. Also, I set up a classroom website at: http://www.classconnection.org/kloskin0910 This is a simple website that allows me to post notes, assignments, pictures, links, etc. about the class or school. Because I did not know about the host, I did not start the website until close to December, but next year, it would be great to start at the beginning, so that parents would be sure to use it. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to communicate with students, I do different things, depending on the student. One method I use for a few students who I often had to remind them to sit up, or focus, or whatever the situation, is a note card. I taped a note card to their desk with two goals for them to achieve while working. If they need to be reminded, I could walk up to their desk and point to the goal, without embarrassing them. For some students, I rarely had to remind them of their goals because they were already on their desks for them to read. </li></ul>