Sunday, January 23, 2011


My Professional Journey

Mrs. Houk was my first grade teacher. I remember her warm embrace each morning, laughing while learning, and always feeling apart of the classroom. Every day was exciting, we read a lot of books, got our hands dirty in craft projects, and learned how to share. Mrs. Houk always made the effort to be on our level, both mentally and physically. I never forgot Mrs. Houk, as I have her to thank for everyday inspiring me to be a teacher. Here I am, 12 years later, making my dream come true. I am currently coming to the end of my third year teaching and can I just say wow, time flies.
I did my student teaching in the Milwaukee Public School systems, and I graduated with honors in December 2006 with a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Like the rest of my classmates, the day after graduation we rushed to get our applications in to sub where ever we could. From Mukwonago to Big Bend, to East Troy to Whitefish Bay I just knew I had to get my foot in the door. Whitefish Bay was the first school to call me for a subbing position and I spent the most of the spring subbing for their school district. I had several interviews with different school districts but was not hired due to “lack of experience”. I knew a teacher who taught at Poplar Creek Elementary and she passed my name along to the principal and the next day I had an interview! I was hired the next day and started teaching 2nd grade the fall of 2007. After my first year teaching, I moved up to 3rd grade and couldn’t be happier. I have a supportive team that guides me in the right direction and gives me ambition to do more.
I wanted to further my education, I wanted to be challenged and pushed professionally and personally and that is the idea of Graduate school came into the picture. I never anticipated that a master’s program would help me grow so much, professionally and personally. As I continue to do some needed deep self reflection, I have decided to leave my options open and look for other districts to become a part of.
As the school year ended, in my school district, I did not feel that I was being held accountable for anything. I felt that the only important factor was the numbers and how they looked on paper. For a while, before grad school, I was feeling unmotivated and questioning myself if this was the right career choice for me. I was losing the passion and love for what I was doing. As I continue to reflect on my working environment, I am not sure if my school fosters best practices, and I feel as if at times it lacks leadership. We keep getting books and articles on PLCs but unfortunately at this point we are very far from a true PLC. The negativity in the building from my co-workers and unfortunately it is beginning to consume me and interfere with my passion and reason for becoming a teacher! I love the kids, I love to see them learn, grow, interact, and be creative. I love scaffolding children and helping them become lifelong learners. So, in the last month of the school year I closed my doors to all that is negative and opened a positive environment for my students and me to learn from.
In doing this, I was really able to connect with my student’s one on one. I was not comparing myself or my students to others around me. I wanted to find and provide what each of my students needed to achieve at the highest level. I was reflecting personally and professionally on a daily basis. I was using my observations to improve my areas of weakness, identify my strengths, and target areas where I needed to continue to focus on. If I came to a point where I needed additional resources, advice, or some input I would seek it out from those who I looked up to and considered leaders and professionals. Some of these leaders were in my building, but most of them were part of my Learning Community. The wealth of knowledge and high level of professionalism that is evident in our Learning Community is overwhelming and I feel so fortunate to have a group of people at that high of a caliber surrounding me.
As I continue into my second year of grad school I feel a change in myself personally and professionally. I feel myself growing as an educator and wanting to expose myself to new literature and research based teaching strategies. As I continue to interact with other professionals, I find myself finding the creative inspiration and drive I have been looking for. I am connecting on the same level and beginning to collaborate new ideas to implement innovative teaching techniques in the classroom. The more I read professional texts and reflect with others in my profession, the more I find myself having “A-Ha” moments. My small successes now will be big accomplishments later when the school year starts.
As I continue to explore literature and experts in my area of focus for my action research, I am beginning to establish my concrete philosophy for teaching. My “question” has helped me to define my beliefs about teaching and help me reflect personally and professionally. As Debbie Miller said, “When teachers have a set of beliefs that guides our work, we know where we’re going”. I know where I am going next year, and it is such a great feeling. All the commotion seems to be calming down, as I continue to put each puzzle piece its place.
For example, I know what I want my classroom to look, feel, and sound like. My action research is focused on building a community. For the past 3 years, my classroom was always decorated perfectly for open house. Name tags on desks, reading posters up, and rules were written. By doing this, I sent a very strong message to the students that this is “MY” classroom, and I am in charge. I now know that I want my classroom to be our classroom. I want the children to “own” the classroom and be in charge of it just as much as I am. Therefore, the first week of school will be dedicated to all of the children building the classroom. They will decide where the reading section will be, they will vote on rules, and they will put things in their place because this is their learning environment. In addition to this, I also replaced all desks with tables. Children will not have assigned seating but choose what work space is best for them. I am aligning more and more of my teaching practices with the constructivist approach, and loving the new ideas and creative thinking that comes out of it!
In preparation for the 2010-2011 school year, I am also creating goals and targets that are based off of the state standards. I want the students to know what they will be learning and be able to know when they have mastered the material. I want them to be prepared for what’s up ahead, and be part of the process. I may have all of the teacher guides and tests, but I want my students to play an active role in their teaching and learning. This year the students will be actively involved in creating rubrics to grade and reflect on projects and papers. I also want the students to assess unit tests and have discussions on how we, or I, can improve the material to better fit their learning styles.
Grading, for me and my students, will also be very different in the years to come. As I mentioned before, I want my students to play an active role in their learning. I want them to be part of the academic process and go “behind the scenes” so they truly understand their achievements, areas of strengths, and their areas of weaknesses. After reading, How to Grade for Learning, I really started to reflect on the meaning of grades and asked myself the following questions; Do my students know what grades are? Do my students know what grades mean or represent? Do I know what the grades mean or represent? Do the parents know what the grades mean or represent? Should grades be a surprise at the end of each quarter? Why am I grading this? What am I grading? Should I be grading this? Am I communicating the grades to the parents so they understand? These are just a few of the questions, and I anticipate there will be a lot more as the year goes on. I hope that I can answer these questions, well some of them at least, so I can provide my students with the most meaningful feedback for their learning and know that what I am doing is having a direct affect on my student’s education. Over the past few years, I have honestly found myself putting grades on papers “just because”. Just because they had to have a grade, or just because the parents wanted a grade, or just because it was report card time and it had to have a grade on it. Well goodbye to those “just because” days! My goal is to use feedback as a form of formative feedback in hope that it will help my students enrich their learning and help them determine areas of strength or weaknesses. The grades will be given as a summative assessment, at the end of a unit, project, or final paper as way to record what they have learned over time.
At this very moment in my teaching career, going into my second year of grad school and third year of teaching, I am feeling refreshed, refueled, and prepared to take on the school year. The books I have read, the articles I have researched, and the relationships I have built with others in my professional community over that last year have given me the confidence and boost of energy I needed! At this point in my professional career, I feel like I am in the right place at the right time and I am excited for what the 2010-2011 school year brings. I feel much supported by those around me in my learning community and look forward to another year of challenges, successes, and lots of smiles 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Inspirational Videos

Dalton Sherman


Amy Mullins


Salman Khan


Adora Svitak


Sir Ken Robinson


Changing Education Paradigms


Friday, January 21, 2011

Proposition 5

Proposition 5: Teachers are Members of Learning Communities.

• NBCTs collaborate with others to improve student learning.
• They are leaders and actively know how to seek and build partnerships with community groups and businesses.
• They work with other professionals on instructional policy, curriculum development and staff development.
• They can evaluate school progress and the allocation of resources in order to meet state and local education objectives.
• They know how to work collaboratively with parents to engage them productively in the work of the school.

1. Parent Reflections

Description: To involve the community of parents in helping our students become lifelong readers

Process:Parents were given two different reflections (interview format) to provide feedback on their literacy history. The first reflection requested information about their child (hobbies or special interests) and some literacy background. The second reflection was more of a “reader’s interview” and asked questions that targeted themselves as readers. Information provided by parents was used to get a better understanding of the parents and students perception of reading. This researcher took responses directly from the reflections and implemented them in the mini lessons during Reader’s Workshop and used them as examples to learn from.

Artifact 1:Reading Inventory
Artifact 2:Parent Questionnaire

Reflection: I am excited to share that over the last 2 months we have recognized adults in our life and discussed their role as lifelong readers. From the interviews the parents completed the first week of school, I personally learned a lot about each of them as a reader. I have tried to make connections between parent and student, and use their strategies, discoveries, and words of wisdom to help guide the students in a positive direction.

2. Class Wiki

Description: Parents will be a part of reflecting on their children's reading journey.

Process:Parents will be active participants in reflecting on their child's progression as a reader throughout the year on a class Wiki

Reflection: I am happy to announce that the Wiki is up and running and is starting to serve as a communication tool for parents and children. Parents are posting observations they witness of their child progressing as a reader. The positive words of encouragement that parents are posting are bringing confidence to the students. I only hope that more parents utilize this Wiki Space and foresee the wonderful effects it could have on their child and their reading.

Artifact 1:Wiki Space

3. Children's Book #1

Description:Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life

Process: Scott Stoll and I teamed up and shared his story with Poplar Creek Elementary School. We then came up with the idea to create a children’s book. He had already written a children’s version of his original story and shared with me. We broke it down page by page and met with the school Art teacher. Over a month, Scott and the Art teacher presented the book to the class and they illustrated the pages. Over 500 pages were illustrated by the students and a little over 100 pages were chosen. The book was published in December 2010, and has been a great success.

Artifact 1:  Book Info
Artifact 2:  The Making of the Book "Falling Uphill"
Artifact 3:  Interview

4. Children's Book #2
Description: Ruby the Redworm's Dirty Job

Artifact 1 :Milwaukee Journal Article
Artifact 2 :Scott Stoll Visits Waukesha STEM Academy

Reflection : Scott really wanted to take a new direction for his second children’s book.  Although very proud of his first children’s book, he wanted to share different stories with schools.  Our school had been studying composting and worms for a few weeks, and coincidently Scott had a rough draft of a worm story. Ruby the Red Worm was proposed to the STEM Academy and the kids loved it! The process was very similar to the first book, and took about two months. Scott came to our school and worked with the students during their art classes. A journalist from the Milwaukee Journal covered the journey of the book and published a beautiful article. Overall, the experience was one of kind. The kids learned a lot about the book making process, had a firsthand opportunity to be an illustrators of a book, and were part of a unique and one of kind children’s book.

5. Attendance Meeting With School Social Workers

Description:This meeting was held to address the procedures and policies for excessive tardies and absences. The meeting involved the elementary social worker, Neal Peterson, and the middles school social worker, Kelly Ohme and myself. As a new school, polices such as attendance and tardies, had not yet been established. As a reoccurring topic and concern discussed by teachers, we took the initiative to put one in place.

Artifact 1:Meeting

As a team, we collaborated very well together. We all had different student perspectives and areas of expertise to bring to the table. I felt that we listened to each other, respected one another’s professionals input, and kept the topic as the forefront of our conversation. We examined other policies from the surrounding schools in our district, and implemented the unique needs of our students. After we drafted the policy, we communicated our ideas with our school Principal. With his support and approval we shared it with the staff and they seemed pleased. Videotaping this process, helped me to self –reflect on my speaking skills, body language, and my overall actions when speaking in group of professionals. This artifact is evidence of my ability to work proactively with my co-workers, and highlights the importance of professionals collaborating together to address an issue of concern.

Proposition 4

Proposition 4: Teachers Think Systematically about Their Practice and Learn from Experience.

• NBCTs model what it means to be an educated person – they read, they question, they create and they are willing to try new things.
• They are familiar with learning theories and instructional strategies and stay abreast of current issues in American education.
• They critically examine their practice on a regular basis to deepen knowledge, expand their repertoire of skills, and incorporate new findings into their practice

1. Professional Texts

Description :
This is list of my evolving professional library. These books have fallen into my hands as gifts, school wide reads, assigned by my facilitators in graduate school, undergraduate reads, literacy groups, and recommendations from friends and colleagues. Whether it is elementary, middle, high, undergraduate, or graduate school literacy plays a significant role in learning. These books will remain with me as I continue my professional journey and I hope to share them along the way.


Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher (3rd Edition)

Black Ants and Buddhists

Creating Equitable Classrooms Through Action Research

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

How to Grade for Learning, K-12

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day

How To Thrive As A Teacher Leader

Leading Change in Your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results

Teaching with Intention

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series)


Over the course of two years, I have read a wide variety of professional texts. From each book I took something and applied it to my professional and personal life. Whether it be a lesson to teach my students how to be proactive with social injustice, or how to have a crucial conversation with my co-workers, they all seemed to be applicable to my everyday life. Some of the books were written by the experts and well-known names like David Pink, Debbie Miller, and David Guesky. Other books were written by people who were living the everyday life and just wanted to share their story like Mary Cowhey and Patrick Lencioni. I have grown professionally from the literature I have read in that I now have a tool box of resources to make my teaching more effective. I have become more reflective in my practices and have confidence to go “out- side of the box” with my teaching. Some ideas and theories have opened my eyes to a whole new perspective of the classroom and the education system as a whole. I have happily passed these great titles along to colleagues, bosses, friends, and family as they seem appropriate and have seen a change in the way they think as well.
As a professional and as an educator, I feel that keeping up with the most current authors and experts in the field are critical. We need to know what is going on around us, and be opened minded to change. We can learn a lot from the books we read, and become better at what we love to do.

2. Greater Milwaukee Action Research Conference

       Description :

·         Educators interested in learning more about conducting action research in their classrooms
·         Current action researchers in the process of conducting action research
·         Educators completing action research—what’s next?
·         Sessions focused at various levels/stages of the research process


GMARC Information

The action research conference was an opportunity to connect with other graduates at the same level of the action research process as I was as well as display my poster and research project for prospective action researchers. I was expecting to meet a lot of students just beginning the program and have great, meaningful conversations about the possibilities the action research brings to the classroom and to the teacher. I shared expert authors, technology resources, and advice with the teachers who came to visit my poster along with answering a lot of questions about the process. I was able to make sense of some confusing components of the action research and confirm some details.
This conference also served as a networking opportunity for me. I was able to connect with other facilitators from current and previous Learning Communities and discuss the possibilities for what’s next. I met other teacher leaders who were looking for insight on charter schools and wanting to learn more about the STEM Academy.  I had the chance to converse with other professionals about how the overall action research has impacted both my personal and professional career.
Signing up for the conference, I expected all those things listed above to happen. What I didn’t expect to happen, impacting me the most. As I left the conference, I felt an overwhelming amount of excitement and success. To be able to stand up and converse with a crowd of professionals about my action research was just a proud, professional moment of mine. A lot of feelings were rushing through me. For example I was feeling support from the Learning Community members who also attended the conference, closure was setting in for the entire action research process was coming to an end, and fulfillment hit me as I was able to look back at the “masters” journey that I had just completed . Its’ a bittersweet experience, that has changed my life forever and this conference magnified the amazing effect it had on my personal and professional life.

Proposition 3

Proposition 3: Teachers are Responsible for Managing and Monitoring Student Learning.

• NBCTs deliver effective instruction. They move fluently through a range of instructional techniques, keeping students motivated, engaged and focused.
• They know how to engage students to ensure a disciplined learning environment, and how to organize instruction to meet instructional goals.
• NBCTs know how to assess the progress of individual students as well as the class as a whole.
• They use multiple methods for measuring student growth and understanding, and they can clearly explain student performance to parents.

1. Readers Workshop Model

Description:  Readers Workshop Model

Process:  It all starts on the first day of school when we learn the process of the Readers Workshop Model. We discuss the 4 parts, mini lesson, independent reading, conferring, and share time. The teacher models these steps over and over for the first two weeks until the students begin to independently follow the routine. During this initial 2 week period, the teacher also discusses and teaches the students about reading behaviors during the workshop time; what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like. They focus on building stamina, finding what type of books interest them, and how to browse the classroom library. Students and teachers will create posters of the skills and strategies they learn and post them all around the classroom as reminders. Students refer back to these posters daily and use them as tools to become stronger readers. The children become part of the daily lesson therefore becoming much more connected to it. After the first two weeks, students learn how to choose “just right books” for them. Their independence becomes more evident in that they move through the workshop with little guidance from the teacher.


Reflection:   The 2010-2011 school year, was the first year that I fully implemented the Readers Workshop model in my classroom. Over the summer, I organized a binder that included the mini lesson, teaching point, conference notes, small group notes, and reflections for the day. Going into the year I was much more confident because I was organized and ready to go. The first two weeks were a little crazy, but that is to be expected as it was the beginning of the school year. After mastering the routines and procedures, the class began to look, sound, and feel like a community of readers. Mini-lessons were running smoothly, the students reading stamina were getting stronger and longer, and I found myself letting go and letting them be more independent. As the days and week went on, the students were having literacy conversations, they were giving classmates recommendations for books, and their reflections were becoming more and more in-depth. It’s almost as if they were maturing as students but also as readers. Their responses and connections were above and beyond the my initial expectations.
When reflecting on previous years, it is hard to recall these “mature” book conversations going on naturally with my students. I felt as if I had to hold their hands through lessons, and give more answers to them. That motivation to be an independent lifelong reader was absent, which I can now say was a huge road block for the students learning and my connecting with them. The Readers Workshop model allows all students to learn and practice the behaviors of a life-long reader, and helps them gain that liberation in reading.

2. Fountas and Pinnell

Description:Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment

Process:I conducted the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment at the beginning of the year based off of the individual students Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment at the end of their second grade school year. Approximately two months into the school year, I then conducted another Fountas and Pinnell reading benchmark assessment to document the progress. The students read a non-fiction story, and I would carry out a running record that measured the following skills- accuracy: the percentage of words the child reads out loud, comprehension: the process of construction meaning while reading the text, self-correction: errors the reader corrects herself/himself, fluency, the way oral reading sounds, including phrasing, intonation, pausing, stress, rate: the words per minute the child could read. I kept track of each student’s progress on an Assessment form and used it as I updated each assessment to document progression. Each assessment took approximately 15 minutes.


1. Assessment Summary Form

2. Fountas and Pinnell Comparison Chart

Reflection:  When I carried out the Fountas and Pinnell assessment at the beginning year, I found that the students matched the reading level they were at from the previous year or had advanced. Having a reading level from the previous teacher saves a lot of time with the process in that you have an idea of where to start off the students. This also allows students to continue to read books at a level they are familiar with and have some sort of direction. I feel that the overall, the Fountas and Pinnell assessment is accurate in that when the students get their book level after the assessment they can read and comprehend the material.
The entire program is very user friendly and easy to carry out. The books do a great It is time consuming, but time well invested for sure! The material is also easy to communicate and share with other teachers and families. I use the material at conferences to explain to the parents where their child is at for reading, how well they are progressing, and to set a reading goal. The assessment is explicit enough so I can pinpoint specific areas the student needs to improve on and or is a strong area for them.

Proposition 2

Proposition 2: Teachers Know the Subjects They Teach and How to Teach Those Subjects to Students.
• NBCTs have mastery over the subject(s) they teach. They have a deep understanding of the history, structure and real-world applications of the subject.
• They have skill and experience in teaching it, and they are very familiar with the skills gaps and preconceptions students may bring to the subject.
• They are able to use diverse instructional strategies to teach for understanding.

1. Classroom Setup

Description:Classroom setup

Process:I started my action research at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. I wanted to create an environment that reflected the Reader’s Workshop philosophy and supported the students in becoming lifelong readers. I researched and read the following books written by the experts in this field.

Around the Reading Workshop in 180 Days: A Month-by-Month Guide to Effective Instruction By: Frank Serafini

The Reading Workshop: Creating Space for Readers By: Frank Serafini

Teaching with Intention By: Debbie Miller

After reading these professional texts, I started to reorganize and arrange my room over the summer. I created a project on titled Da Vinci’s tables that advocated students to use tables versus desks. My project was fully funded during the summer and I received enough money to replace all the desks in my classroom with tables.In addition to this, I leveled all of my books in the classroom along a gradient from Level A (easiest) to Level Z (hardest) directly reflecting the Fountas and Pinnell reading program. I also organized the books so the children could find what they were looking for quicker.


Comfortable spots to read

Areas of interest

Area for magazines

Labeled bins of books

Books organized by topic

Reflection:The setup of my classroom has really allowed me, as the teacher, to carryout focused and engaged mini lessons, read alouds, and literacy discussions. The meeting area was well respected by the students and was used to gather up and reflectively discuss our daily lessons. I utilized the entire classroom and provided a variety of reading areas for the students. I some areas had pillows, comfy chairs, and there were areas with rugs for the students to gather and read. I blocked off certain areas for students who enjoyed reading alone, an area where students who were in book club could carry out conversations, and areas where I could meet with small groups. The classroom setup was flexible and always changing to meet the needs of all the students.
The classroom library was a main focal point for me as I wanted to provide an engaging environment that was accessible and that had a wide variety of levels of literacy. The books were leveled following the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment program. The letters were on the cover of the books so the student could easily identify if the book they had was at their appropriate reading level. Students had their book slot to keep at least 2 books in , and also had the opportunity to check a classroom book out and take him home.
The walls were covered in teacher/student created posters that would highlight and reinforce the reading skills we they working on. On a daily basis students would refer back to these posters during Reader’s Workshop time and the I could also use it as a tool to remind the children of the strategies.

2. Tool Box

Description:Well developed tool box of behavior strategies.

Process:When a child has teacher observes behavior concern or is repeating a pattern of inappropriate behavior I first do a couple of check ins and maybe some observations. This gives me an opportunity to build a surface relationship with the student and get a “fly on the wall” perspective of what is going on. I then connect with the teacher, and discuss my observations and try to collect any additional information ( behavior history, at home concerns, and in class concerns) that may help with the intervention . Following this conversation, I will then call for meeting with the teacher, administration, aides, and parents to discuss the child and the concerns. As a group we then collaborate ideas and strategies that we could put in place for the student.


I offer strategies and techniques from the following workshops:

1.Steps to Respect: Presented by, Phyllis Lardinois and Kelly Ohm

2.Nonviolent Crisis Intervention : Presented by Eva Shaw and Karen Peterson

3.Love and Logic: Presented by David Funk

Reading the following professional text:

1.Love & Logic Solutions for Kids with Special Needs by David Funk

2.Teaching with Love & Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom by David Funk

3.Pyramid Response to Intervention: RTI, Professional Learning Communities, and How to

4.Respond When Kids Don't Learn by Austin Buffum, Mike Mattos, and Chris Weber

5.The Educator’s Guide to Preventing and Solving Discipline Problems by Mark Baynton & Christine Boynton

Reflection:Every child is different and has a wide range of needs. Rather it be an academic need or behavior, I keep reminding myself of this as I create an intervention or behavior plan for a student. Not every behavior chart or strategy works for all children. The ability to differentiate is key and identifying the specific behaviors each child has. These books and presentations have offered so many different options and formats to meet the diverse needs of these students. Some students need visual reminders, so chart that they and or a teacher has to check off each day works well. Some students need external motivation so a point and reward system would be assigned, where as other students thrive on internal rewards so praise Some students don’t know how to act appropriate in situations ad need some guidance/ modeling in small social groups. Providing students with these tools help them to reflect on their behavior and learn how to be part of a safe learning environment.

3. Class Wiki
Description:Have all students use technology to reflect on their journey to becoming a community of readers.

Artifacts:Class Wiki Space

Reflection:During reader’s workshop, we spent a couple of weeks on discussing the importance of reflecting while reading. The students started reflecting in their reading journals first, and I provided them with a more formatted worksheet that they would fill out daily. During the middle of the process, I introduced to them the Wiki Space page for our class. We discussed the rules, procedures, and process of how to utilize a Wiki for academic purposes. I would safely say that at least 40% of my class was familiar with this program, so it helped speed the process along! After we spent about 3 or 4 hours in the lab over the time span of about 2 weeks, we started to take our reader’s workshop reflections to the lab. The students recorded the reflections they have worked on during reader’s workshop. Now, the students know the routine of recording written reflections Monday – Thursday during the school week, and are prepared by Friday to log onto their Wiki Space page and document their reflections electronically. It is quite exciting!!

Proposition 1

Proposition 1: Teachers are Committed to Students and Their Learning
• NBCTs are dedicated to making knowledge accessible to all students. They believe all students can learn.
• They treat students equitably. They recognize the individual differences that distinguish their students from one another and they take account for these differences in their practice.
• NBCTs understand how students develop and learn.
• They respect the cultural and family differences students bring to their classroom.
• They are concerned with their students’ self-concept, their motivation and the effects of learning on peer relationships.
• NBCTs are also concerned with the development of character and civic responsibility.

1. Individual Behavior Charts

Individual behavior charts for students based off their needs.

Process:When putting a behavior intervention in place, we like to use a chart or some form of documentation to record the students’ progression or regression. The chart will have specific behavior goals the child is trying to meet. Depending on the intervention some plans have a point system that allows the student to earn a reward that is engaging to them. When there is a student concern regarding their behavior in class, teachers will contact me for support and resources. Rather if it is in the moment when a child is acting out, or over a course of time where they have repeated behavior observations, we meet and collaborate together to come up with an effective plan. This meeting will involve teachers, specialist, parents, and administration. As a group we review the documentation, identify patterns, and discuss possible strategies to use with the student. We then plan a follow up meeting four to six weeks out to reconvene and discuss the status and effectiveness of the plan.

Artifact: Example of Behavior Plans

Reflection:Behavior charts allow the teacher, parent, and administration to document the child’s growth over time. It’s a visual check in for myself, to see what is working and what is not for the student. I feel that the chart is also a visual reminder to the student what he/she needs to be working on. With the chart the students have something tangible to be proud of if they succeed, and or feedback on what they need to work on if they did not meet their goals. These charts also serve as a communication piece for teachers and parents along with helping the team be on the same page.
I also feel it is very effective when a child is part the making of the behavior chart or plan. Their voice and perspective on the behavior can help the teacher use kid friendly language and target what they see they need to work on. The student may feel more connected to the plan and feel that sense of ownership.

2. Solar System Projects

Description:Third grade Solar System Projects

Process:The first Science unit third grade covers is the Solar System. It happens to be one of the most engaging units for the students and they are excited throughout the entire unit. This project happens towards the end of the unit to wrap up what they had learned over the two month period. Over the course of the two months, students will learn about the planets, the solar system and where the planets are with in it, the phases of the moon, stars, and the constellations.The teachers introduce the project to the entire third grade. They go over procedures, expectations, due dates, and answer any questions. An informational packet it set home with a letter for the parents and student to go over together. The student must choose a planet, moon, or star to do a report on, and then create and present a project. The students have approximately three weeks to work on this project at home, with few hours to do research at school. Each class utilized their library time to check books out that are specifically related to their project, and spend their computer lab time doing extensive research. They have a guideline and recommendations for project ideas (poem, song, shadow box, mobile, etc). At the end of the unit, the entire third grade class presents their projects to the school. Each grade level scheduled a time to come and visit the projects and walk through like a museum.After the entire school views the projects, I allow our class to spend an afternoon looking at their classmate’s project and provide feedback. Each project is graded individually using a rubric by the teacher. I then set up conference sessions with each student to go over their entire project and their grade. I give them feedback specifically on their project and leave time so they can reflect on their grade and ask questions.


Reflection:I absolutely love this project and enjoy the student’s creativity with their final product. Even though each child is graded with the same rubric and needs to provide the same information, they can still create something utilizing their strongest skill set or multiple intelligence. For example, the students who have a strong linguistic intelligence ("word smart") provided a lot of facts and a lengthy in depth report on their planet, moon, or star. Some students who were strong in the logical-mathematical area ("number/reasoning smart") enjoyed creating a mobile that was perfectly balanced for their presentation. The students who excelled in their spatial intelligence ("picture smart") presented a very creative artistic presentation, like shadow box and or collage of some sort. Songs and poems were created for those who strived with the musical intelligence ("music smart"). This projected indirectly helps me to learn about each child and learning style at the beginning of the year as it is our first “big” project. I try to support all ideas and projects and provide them with as many resources as possible. IN my daily teaching, I try to foster best practices. Best practices, including, recognizing the difference that distinguish one student to another and be an advocate for all learning styles. I embrace my student’s differences, and celebrate final projects that magnify their strengths.

3. Implementation of  Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

1. PBIS is a research-based, school-wide systems approach to improve school climate and create safer and more effective schools.
2.  PBIS IS a process. PBIS IS NOT a program or a curriculum. The process focuses on improving a  school’s ability to teach expectations and support positive behavior for all students. 
3. PBIS provides systems for schools to design, implement, and evaluate effective school wide, classroom, non-classroom, and student-specific discipline plans.
4. PBIS is a team-based process for data review, data-based problem solving and intervention, ongoing planning, and monitoring of interventions.
5. PBIS implementation includes school-wide procedures and processes intended for: ALL students, ALL staff and in ALL settings. This includes individual classrooms and teachers AND non-classroom settings and related staff.

Process: Steps involved in setting up school-wide PBIS after initial training

1. Identify school team to guide and direct the process. This team should be made up of an administrator, grade level representatives, student services staff, non-classroom staff and parents.
2. Establish 3-5 positively stated school-wide behavioral expectations.
3. Establish a way to collect office referral and other data on a regular basis to evaluate the effectiveness of school-wide PBIS efforts