Elementary Education professionaL Technology Innovator
4th Grade Year 1 - At A Glance
4th Grade ELA Only Departmentalized Teacher East Ward Elementary Downingtown Area School District
Reflective Goals for Year 2 Planning & Prep: Over the summer, I plan to take time to utilize the F&P Continuum of Literacy Learning to develop a Guided Reading Action Plan. This plan will help me to create a Google Form for guided reading time based on the Reading Assessment Checklist for behaviors to notice, teach and support.
Classroom Environment: As a first year teacher, I have changed, adapted, and eliminated things to adjust to new knowledge and the classroom environment. In my second year, I would like to start the year with a more definitive plan to establish respect, culture of learning, and procedures.
Instructional Delivery: One major goal I have for this area is geared toward Using Assessment to Guide Instruction. It being my 1st year, I do not believe that I properly completed my SLO and Action Plan to the best of my ability. I had a lack of understanding of the process and how it should come together. Next year, I will focus on these through my induction process and gear them toward goals that I am invested in working toward.
Professionalism & Building Community: In the coming years I hope to develop a more comprehensive system to maintain accurate records. This year, I changed my system more than once due to adaptation and learning. I also look forward to obtaining new Wonders technology including the Wonders Dashboard, where I can collect information and data about student assessments more easily.
Planning & Preparation
Content & Pedagogy: The content for fourth grade is vast and integrated in the Wonders curriculum. Unlike lower grades, fourth grade content takes a big step up to higher level thinking asking students to look at real life experiences, historical content, science within reading, and more. With my past experience teaching in multiple grade levels, I was able to grasp the content and transfer it to students using pedagogical techniques I learned in the field as well as in my undergrad experiences. Whenever possible students participated in cooperative learning, inquiry based learning and reflective thinking. Working in small groups or pairs was extremely important to our instruction and my goal for students to build character education within their ELA curriculum. Knowledge of Students: As a first year teacher, this is an area I have found personal growth in through the year. At the beginning of the year, you begin with a completely blank slate as a first year teacher. There is no bias as to what other teachers have said, or ideas about their scores in years before. You are all new together. Instructional Outcomes: The majority of instructional outcomes for the year have been based upon the Wonders Objectives for the week. Each week, I post the objectives (as seen below) and refer to them throughout our lessons. Students learn to utilize these as a resource and call upon the objectives when they are unsure about what to do or how to answer a question. Our objectives wall helps to guide explicit instruction of instructional outcomes. Knowledge of Resources: As a first year teacher, my knowledge of resources in the curriculum has grown through the year. I have utilized many different resources in the Wonders program including, online assessments, interactive smartboard activities, and presentations. As far as resources outside of the curriculum, I have found many resources in a variety of places that have added to the instruction and curriculum presented: Schoology, Pinterest, SuperTeacherWorksheets, colleague conversation, Twitter and more. Design Coherent Instruction: Throughout the year, I have gained a more comprehensive understanding of our Wonders Reading Curriculum. Through this, have been able to better plan instruction with Scope in mind. Our Year End Unit includes many extensions to the curriculum that tie in the standards and broaden the understanding of students. With the last four weeks of school, we will cover major genres, writing with reading, deeper thinking skills such as theme and summarizing, as well as integrate STEM via design thinking and robotics. Design Student Assessment: I have designed student assessments this year to formatively assess as well as minor summatively assess students' progress. I have worked in conjunction to create small quizzes and assessments with my fellow fourth grade teacher in preparation for the PSSAs. I have also used many Tech options such as padlet, google docs, google forms, plickrs and more. The large majority of these tech-infused assessments were formative.
Communicating with Students: Along with our general classroom discussion about communications, our classroom piloted Schoology in the Elementary setting this year. This allowed for student/teacher communication in an entirely new way. Students had access to information, homework, classroom updates, and more through this means of communication. Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques: Throughout the year, we have tried cooperative learning strategies such as pens in the middle, jigsaw & numbered heads together. A common discussion technique used in our classroom is Popsicle sticks. Earlier in the year, we had the problem of students not participating. Using Popsicle sticks to include all students in the learning has eleviated this problem. Engaging Students in Learning: Using Assessment in Instruction: Our fourth grade has used summative assessment such as F&P leveled testing, PSSA projections, and CDT data to help guide instruction throughout the year. More frequently, I use formative assessment techniques such as thumbs up or down, exit tickets, or white boards to gain an understanding of the students during instruction. One favorite of the year is Padlet. I will have students respond to reading, answer comprehension questions or showcase reading strategies through Padlet. Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness: Throughout instructional delivery changes are made to meet the needs of the students at that time. Often times this is the result of formative assessment techniques like those listed above.
Create Environment of Respect & Rapport: Our classroom has established set rules from the beginning of the year, but we also utilize the school wide rules: Be Respectful, Responsible, Safe & Kind. Throughout the year we have taken opportunities to showcase some of these rules and other character building concepts. Typically I utilize our Day F, Class Meeting Time, to explicitly teach character education. Establishing a Culture for Learning: The biggest factor in establishing a culture for learning is setting a consistent structure and schedule. Our grade is departmentalized, so our students have a great deal of movement in their day. Transition times are particularly difficult for students in elementary school, so setting expectations for those times and providing activities to do immediately have helped this transition. Each time students transition from one topic/activity/class to another, I put up a "Mission" on the board. The mission tells students exactly what they need to do the second they walk in the door or get our of their seat. Managing Classroom Procedures: All tasks students are given are stated explicitly, and the large majority of or tasks are written on our smartboard as "missions". For example, students will have a Morning Mission or ELA Mission where they are to complete tasks such as: write down homework, fill in a worksheet, and/or read. Managing Student Behavior: Our whole fourth grade uses a shared Class Dojo. This allows us to maintain a collective classroom management style and system as we swap classes. Along with this, I have added a bonus to help students maintain attention and focus for specific tasks. I call this "Double Agent Dojo". One student is picked at random using an app. No student knows who the double agent is. If they are to complete the task successfully, the double agent wins a prize and earned the entire class a dojo point. If they were not successful, the students never know who the agent was. This requires them to think back and reflect on their own performance and behavior. Organizing Physical Space: As a first year teacher, I have made a big project of reorganizing and arranging the room. When I came into the room there was a great deal of furniture that created hidden spaces. I eliminated these spaces and have added elements that allows students to feel at home and collaborate. We have also fundraiser to add balance cushions to every seat in our room.
Professionalism & Building Community
Reflecting on Teaching: Throughout the induction process, we have participated in online discussion boards designed to help us reflect upon our experience and teaching. Along with this, I have written a reflection every few weeks to collect thoughts on my experience. At the conclusion of each Unit in the Wonders curriculum, I wrote myself a sheet with ideas of things to keep or change the following year. Maintaining Accurate Records: Most of our records of grades are kept through eschool. This has provided a great platform to track grades and student progress. Along with this, I created a google excell sheet to help myself and students keep track of classroom assignments. Communicating with Families: I send a weekly email with updates about tests, school functions, and collection of classroom materials. Along with this, I communicate with parents through our classroom webpage and schoology: www.msreichertsclass.weebly.com Participating in the Professional Community: Along with being part of my school community of teachers, I pursue a Professional Learning Network (PLN) on twitter. I have also cultivated a community of teachers of Birdbrain Robotics through schoology. Growing and Developing Professionally: Our district offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities that I have been fortunate to be involved in including: ASSET STEM training, ONHands TDA training, PSSA training, Birdbrain Technologies training, and District Book Study of "The Gift of Failure". I have also pursued professional development outside of the district including small conferences and edcamps.
Supervision Goal & Action Plan Writing - Focus on Focus
Instructional Goal: Students will be able to analyze writing through the questioning and format of a Text Dependent Analysis. Common Core Standard Alignment: CC.1.4.4.S Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade-level reading standards for literature and informational texts. E04.E.1.1.1/E04.E.1.1.2/E04.E.1.1.3/E04.E.1.1.4/E04.E.1.1.5 Assessing Student Learning: Students will be assessed using the district Common Major Writing Assessment for the month of November. Upon grading this Assessment the data shows the following class averages. AM Class Average: 63% 12/19 students receiving an 85% or above *does not include learning support students PM Class Average: 40% 10/25 students receiving an 85% or above Engaging Students in Learning: The Text Dependent Analysis is an ongoing writing project in fourth grade where students learn the process of analysis and how to articulate their thinking. We start off the year with a hands on "Trash Bag" TDA activity that allows students to begin making connnections between objects and analyze how they are related. This is an engaging introductory activity. After working with the Trash Bag TDA, the first TDA essay assessed is an opportunity to see what type instruction students need.
Instructional Goal: Students will be able to analyze writing through the questioning and format of a Text Dependent Analysis. Common Core Standard Alignment: CC.1.4.4.S Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade-level reading standards for literature and informational texts. E04.E.1.1.1/E04.E.1.1.2/E04.E.1.1.3/E04.E.1.1.4/E04.E.1.1.5 Assessing Student Learning: Students will be assessed using the district Common Major Writing Assessment for the month of February. Upon grading this Assessment the data shows the following class averages. AM Class Average: 88% 18/19 students receiving an 85% or above *does not include learning support students PM Class Average: 84% 21/26 students receiving an 85% or above Engaging Students in Learning: Rethinking the TDA! I had the privilege to have extra professional development with OnHands and our ELA curriculum leader Deb Kearney. Through this process, our team of teachers at EW came up with a new plan for teaching TDAs. The process involved a series of new steps to engage students in the thinking and learning process. See examples and information below.
Instructional Goal: Students will be able to analyze writing through the questioning and format of a Text Dependent Analysis. Common Core Standard Alignment: CC.1.4.4.S Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade-level reading standards for literature and informational texts. E04.E.1.1.1/E04.E.1.1.2/E04.E.1.1.3/E04.E.1.1.4/E04.E.1.1.5 Assessing Student Learning: Students will be assessed using the district Common Major Writing Assessment for the month of February. Upon grading this Assessment the data shows the following class averages. AM Class Average: 84% 16/19 students receiving an 85% or above *does not include learning support students PM Class Average: 65% 17/26 students receiving an 85% or above Engaging Students in Learning: Our instruction for this semester focused on two goals: 1. Connecting the dots of inference to analyze 2. Completion of a complete TDA going through the TDA Process Students were engaged in different genres of high interest reading that allowed students to engage in the text on a deeper level. The focus was to get the students thinking about their inferences as if the author was speaking to them to tell them the meaning. Once they had made deep inferences, they needed to find the common element to answer the prompt and thus making an inferences. The key to engagement in this process was choosing high interest texts. After students had begun thinking about their thinking, we focused on the process and building endurance to prepare for PSSAs.