Nearly Done!

You are Nearly Done! This is the time to re-check the To Do list and make sure you are on target for getting your credential. I also suggest putting in requests for Letters of Reference/Recommendation from site Admin. and your Cooperating or Mentor teacher, if you have not done so already. You will email me your scanned Time Log when you complete your required days of placement. Remember to check your Taskstream account for the expiration date and keep it open until your Time Log is posted at the end of your placement.

*You may want to export your work and evals from Taskstream to save. Your evaluation comments and self-reflections are a good resource to build into your resume and employment portfolio; articulating your teaching skills and professional strengths.

**As long as you have the links to the Google folders I shared with you, you may still access them. You can also save the Google docs to your own folders.***You can join our San Diego Facebook group for continued ongoing education and teaching resources.

P.S. You may continue to receive Weekly Reflections&Resources from me for a few weeks as students are on different cohort schedules.

Week 7: Reflections & Resources

  1. *Reflection: How do I write measurable objectives in my lesson plans? It sounds technical, but it’s not as hard as you may think. When constructing lessons and activities, you identify your standards and start with the question: “What is the learning objective, or purpose/goal of this lesson? What should students know, and be able to do at the conclusion, and why?” Then, how will you know they have achieved the learning goal of the lesson, and can successfully apply the skills or knowledge? Your measurable objective is the way students will demonstrate they have met the learning goal. *Tip: Check Bloom’s! *Tip: Plan transformational lessons!

“Education is a constant reorganization, reconstruction, and transformation of experience.” ~ John Dewey

  1. *Reflection: About formative assessment, how to implement it, and what to do with it. Much is made of formative assessment, which is basically informal checks you do throughout teaching to see if students are grasping the learning concepts. These informal tools are essential to gauge if your students are understanding the material, and integral to your next steps in planning instruction. Two key elements in formative assessments are quality questions (HigherOrderThinking.) and allowing ample response time for students to think and respond (harder than you think!).
  1. *Reflection: What is a blended learning / reverse / flipped classroom? Buzz words are everywhere! Basically all of these refer to integration of technology with student driven, interactive learning, extending beyond the traditional classroom. Think: opposite of teacher directed, lecture-type learning. The instructional process is reversed to a degree: students prepare ahead of time by accessing instructional technology and media, then come to class where they put the new knowledge into practice through teacher facilitated application activities (i.e., pre-class delivery of facts followed by in-class application exercises). This results in student-centric learning that has better effects of understanding and long term retention. As with any type of instruction, intentional planning for learning objectives is key.

“The only thing better than education is more education.” ~ Agnes E. Benedict

Week 6: Reflections & Resources

  1. *Reflection: When you have one of those ‘really difficult’ kids. Into every teacher’s life, a challenging child will come. They just do not respond to your usual management strategies. Often, this child is ejected from the learning environment and isolated for ‘discipline’. Unfortunately, this does not usually result in positive changes, and they are missing out on learning! You will need to pull out all the creative stops for this child. Above all, do your best to connect and establish a relationship with them, help them know they are worthy of love and belonging. That is ground zero for this kid.

*Tip: Try the survey method to get to know your students better (Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, etc.). *Tip: Use a data spreadsheet to store, update, and easy-access this student info throughout the year. *Tip: Focus on the ‘why’.

“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~Anonymous

  1. *Reflection: Are you asking quality questions? Essential questions drive meaningful learning and real-life application goals. What are the essential questions of your lesson or learning activity? How do they promote reflection and critical thinking in students, and answer why they should care about the learning? And how do they inform your assessment of student understanding? *Points to Ponder: How can using QFT further extend meaningful learning and higher level inquiry?

“I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in teaching the facts. The facts may change, but that enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them the rest of their lives.”  ~Seymour Simon

  1. *Reflection: Scaffolding? Help! You will see and hear about scaffolding a lot. What exactly is it and what does it look like? Essentially, it is strategies to provide students enough supports and sub-skills or information to be able to move forward in comprehension and understanding through new concepts, problem solve challenges, and be able to complete the next stage of mastery on their own through self-discovery.

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”    ~Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada

Site Visit #2

In preparation for your upcoming site visit evaluation, please review criteria on the Site Visit #2 Evaluation. Please send me your 1) Self-Reflection and 2) Lesson Plans, 48 hours before the visit, and plan to have your class/students covered for 45 minutes following the observation so we can review together. I’ll review/collect your Clinical Practice Time log. Please note the Log Key when filling out. Return the Post-Observation Reflection to me by requested date.

Please alert your students of my visit so they are prepared for a classroom visitor.

A sample Lesson Plan template is attached, or you may use one of the samples listed in the Student Teaching Manual appendix, or whatever format your Cooperating teacher uses as long as the same essential information is identified.

Also, please communicate with your Cooperating/Mentor Teacher and make sure they have a copy of the appropriate site visit evaluation form. Find attachments here.

I’m looking forward to seeing you in action! Please find additional GCU COE forms located here and here. Review observation What to Expect and Tips.

**Remember to check your calendar and plan for full time take-over of full day/all periods/teaching blocks.

*Single Placements: 5 weeks of 100% planning and teaching (with Cooperating teacher’s guidance).

*Dual Placements: 3 weeks of 100% planning and teaching in each placement (with Cooperating teacher’s guidance).

Week 5: Reflections & Resources

  1. *Reflection: Are you teaching the whole child? Beyond academics, teachers have a responsibility to prepare students for becoming well-rounded, successful, contributing citizens of the future. To achieve this, it is vital to include Social-Emotional literacy in the classroom, consciously teaching children to develop empathy for others (essential for successful relationships). How can you build these skill sets into your classroom culture **Points to Ponder: A growing body of research links SEL to improved attitudes about school, pro-social behavior, and academic achievement, and reductions in aggression, mental health problems, and substance use.

“I am convinced that we must train not only the head, but the heart and hand as well.” ~ Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese reformer, educator, sociologist

  1. *Reflection: How are you utilizing the 3rd party? There are three parties in the classroom learning experience: the teacher, the student, and the environment. How is your environment supporting, or detracting from student learning? What can you change or modify to better use the space and tools you have available to create an optimal environment for learning, and minimize behavior issues?

Placement Dates & Online Classes

Some of you may have noticed that your physical start date at your placement school and your online class cohort dates are different. This is not cause for alarm. GCU attempts to match these dates as closely as possible, but due to varying school calendars they often do not align exactly.

Your required student teaching days begin the day you start at your placement school. If you are fortunate to begin during prep week at the start of the year, and working with your Cooperating teacher, this time counts. Your four (4) official evaluations will take place on a suggested schedule that work within the actual time frame you are student teaching. They will be uploaded and submitted within the time frame of your online class so the scores can be included in your online class grade.

Due to school schedules, it’s possible your student teaching days at your placement school may extend longer than your online class dates. This is alright. This should not delay completion of your online class, or your official graduation if you are graduating during the term. Your final Time Log will be submitted when you have completed your required days.

Factors that influence when you start at your school include the district’s or school site’s preference, your availability or your Cooperating or Mentor Teacher’s preference. As soon as you have contact information for your Cooperating or Mentor teacher, please touch base and discuss your start date with them. You can also contact GCU College of Education (COE) if you have any concerns.

Week 4: Reflections & Resources

  1. *Reflection: Management part 2. How’s your modeling? Modeling for protocols and procedures is a powerful teaching strategy. Effective teacher modeling can reduce negative behavior, reduce your amount of teacher talk, and increase effective teaching time (time not spent on procedures and behavior reminders!). Student drive the big picture, you drive the details of getting there. *Tip: Include a ‘Fun Factor’ element; and make it sticky*Tip: Best of.

 “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”  ~ William A. Ward

  1. *Reflection: Are you teaching to your students’ brains? Are you helping your students grow their curiosity?  How?? Advances in science and technology have expanded understanding in how our brains develop and learn. These understandings should inform teachers when designing lessons and constructing learning activities.

“Computers can do all the left hemisphere processing better and faster than the human brain. So what’s left for the human brain is global thinking, creative thinking, intuitive-problem solving, seeing the whole picture. All of that cannot be done by the computer. And yet the school system goes on, churning out reading, writing, and arithmetic, spelling, grammar.” ~ Betty Edwards