Teacher candidates are taught to effectively implement inquiry-based learning, differentiated instructional practices, instructional scaffolding, and apply effective interpersonal skills. As my disciplinary knowledge reflects areas associated with my chosen field, my artifacts selected under professional knowledge represent my skills specifically gained from my education courses.
Inquiry Based Learning
I have chosen my Learning Styles Inventory as an artifact for Inquiry-Based Learning because it demonstrates my ability in selecting and researching a source which will enable me to gauge the learning styles of my students and teach in ways which appeal to their various styles, such as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. By administering this inventory, the students respond to the questions that best represent their individual preferences, and I, as a teacher, can acknowledge which styles are dominant or the least common, and develop my lessons and activities to meet the needs and learning styles of each student in my classroom.
The second artifact I have chosen that reflects my use of inquiry-based learning to help improve learning for my students is my senior methods teacher research project on fiction versus nonfiction usage in English Language Arts classrooms. In this project, I surveyed current ELA teachers on their uses and preferences between fiction and nonfiction. In addition to this, I also surveyed students in grades 7, 9, and 11 to learn their reading preferences in order to choose future reading selections that appealed to students. Following my surveys, I discovered that teachers' material choices do not correlate with students' interests, which could cause students to dislike reading or disengage in the ELA classroom. By administering a survey and inquiring about students' reading preferences, I am able to build instruction around material that they are interested in rather than only selecting works that I prefer to teach.
The first artifact that I have chosen that demonstrates my ability to select appropriate differentiated instructional practices is my assistive technology case study presentation. In this assignment, I was able to comprehend the special needs of an individual student and select a range of high and low tech assistive technologies that would meet the learner's needs within both the general education and special education environments. By differentiating instruction, teachers are not only able to meet the needs of all learners but also foster learning in the classroom.
Another artifact that represents my ability to differentiate instructional practices based on the needs of the students is my connecting planned supports assignment. In this assignment, I researched a variety of supports that I could implement during classroom activities that could be beneficial to students with and without specific learning needs. In understanding the supportive options that are available to address different learning needs, I am striving to create an environment and activities that foster the needs of every student that is placed under my guidance and supervision as they learn.
The first artifact I have chosen that represents my ability to effectively use instructional scaffolding in the classroom is my lesson plan that I not only drafted, but also successfully taught during my practicum field work during the fall 2017 semester. In this lesson, I taught poetry annotation and comparison/contrast skills by asking students to connect ideas from The Giver by Lois Lowry to "Revolution" by The Beatles. In this activity, I separated the annotations and discussion using the "I do, We do, You do" strategy to gradually foster their skills and independent thinking. For other information regarding this assignment, please see the annotation slideshow on my blog.
The second artifact that represents my ability to use instructional scaffolding methods is my critical research essay on pairing classic works with young adult novels. In this assignment for my young adult literature course, I researched and discussed ways educators can use YA works to bridge students' understanding to the classics that are often required reading selections. In using pairing as an instructional scaffolding strategy, educators can encourage students to read works that were intended for their age group as well as expose them to universal themes that are found in both classic and contemporary works of literature.
Unsurprisingly, the first artifact that represents my effective interpersonal skills is my teacher website that is geared towards students, parents, and fellow educators. In this activity, I have compiled various resources, information, links, and other artifacts that will help connect parents and guardians to their students' learning as well as help me incorporate and foster digital learning within the classroom. In establishing a constant connection and relationship between various members of the school and community, several individuals can influence the learning of our students inside and outside of the classroom.
The second artifact I have chosen that represents my effective interpersonal skills is my Costume Design Presentation from Drama Production, in which I worked with two other classmates to research and present information to the rest of the class on a famous Broadway costume designer, Ann Hould-Ward, who was also kind enough to answer my questions via email prior to our presentation date. I worked with my group members to select various productions, costumes, and design challenges to teach our fellow classmates what elements and obstacles must be accounted for to successfully develop costumes which represent a show's themes. The other educational purpose of this presentation was also to show how costume design is relevant to everyone, despite major or individual interests.