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Continuing Teaching License (CTL) Digital Portfolio

I. Pre-Assessment and Analysis
II. Planning and Design
III. Classroom Climate
IV. Implementing Instruction
V. Collaboration
VI. Evaluation
VII. Documentation
VIII. Research
IX. Teacher Participation
X. Professional Responsibilities
XII. Reflection

. Pre-Assessment and Analysis 

Candidate assesses the knowledge and skills of students in relation to long-term content goals and district standards and determines the knowledge and skills each student needs to meet the goals and standards. 

In establishing a viable, focused, learning envrionment it is important for both the instructor, and the student, to know "from where they are coming" to "where they are going," and once "they get there" know how "they arrived" and how "they did"!  When looking at pre-assessment and analysis it is important for the teacher to pre-assess, plan instruction, focus on the needs of the student, provide opportunity for practice, and then assess.

In planning a lesson it is crucial that the instructor gain baseline data on each student.  Pre-assessment is an important piece of teaching and instruction, and it can take many different forms.  Whether it be by pre-testing, individual journaling, a KWL (Know, Want to Know, and What Learned) activity, or just questions and answers, it is essential that in any learning environment the teacher knows from where each student will begin his/her learning.  Once a pre-assessment has been completed the instructor can then create specific lessons that challenge each student; and at the same time, a true learning environment is established.

Analysis of knowledge gained, like pre-assessment, is an important piece of education.  As each lesson progresses, each unit completed, or year is advancing, each teacher must accurately assess and analyze the growth of each student.  Whether it be in a differentiated classroom or a traditional setting, analysis and feedback from the teacher allows the student (and the teacher) to know what they need to do to succeed and reach the established benchmarks. Frequent analysis by the teacher forces the instructor to know where each student is as the year progresses.

It is very important that pre-assessment and analysis of knowledge and skills are in line with long-term content goals and state benchmarks.  As instruction and assessment are planned and implemented, it is the educator's duty and responsibility to make sure that the student is learning what is important so he/she can understand the material and reach the established benchmarks.  By using benchmarks as a aguideline, one can easily assess the progress of the student.

In every unit I teach I can easily pull examples of how I assess the knowledge and skills of each of my students.  Included is a unit plan on the Civil Rights Movement of the United States that includes unit goals, benchmarks that will be met, a pre-assessment with scoring guide, and four sample lessons from a civil rights unit in my 10th grade US history class. Embedded throughout the unit plan are examples of how I assess the knowledge and skills of my students and what each student must do to meet the goals and standards set by the school, district, and the State of Oregon. 

REFLECTION:  I find that in teaching, it is imperative that I always take the time to understand the curriculum, while at the same time I must know what the individual needs of my students are.  It is important that in the classroom the needs of the students are being met.  This process of teaching content, and knowing each of the students, takes both time and thoughtful consideration.  The benchmarks, as established by the Oregon Department of Education, allow me to focus my curriculum.  Beyond that, it is my responsibility to get to know my students and what they need.  The process of pre-assessment is one that I hardly ever did when I began teaching.  I took it for granted that every student had to begin where I began instruction.  I rarely took into consideration the multiple different starting points of each individual.  As I have used pre-assessment more and more, I am able to gear my teaching to the needs of my class.  Each class is different, and each student is different.  As I improve on my teaching, I will further be able to improve my ability to assess the knowledge and needs of my students.

II. Planning and Design

Candidate designs instructional plans that incorporate knowledge of students’ developmental levels, interests, abilities, and learning accomplishments consistent with content goals and district standards. 

One of my favorite parts of education is lesson design and implementation.  As a team member within my department I work with my peers to create units that meet both content goals and state benchmarks.  After I have estabished the road map of what needs to be accomplished, I enjoy creating lessons that will challenge all my student's developmental needs, interests and abilities.

A sample of my proficiency in planning and design, is a unit I created for my sophomore US history class on post World War II American economic and social history.  I tied the whole lesson together around the idea of the "American Dream".  The idea of this unit, and specific lessons, was for the students to be divided into groups based on both ability and interest. In addition, the Civil Rights Movement unit also is an excellent example of my ability to teach to students' developmental levels, interests and abilitities.  Within this unit there is one lesson plan that I have built specifically around Howard Gardners' multiple Intelligences. This unit is annually one of the students' favorites, and is designed to focus on developmental level, interest and ability.  Just by looking at the scoring rubric for the Civil Rights Individual Project once can see the variance of options in the final project.  Many students choose their strength, and I recieve many art projects for this authentic assessment opportunity.

In lesson planning and design I build each unit around the M.U.S.I.C. model developed by educational researchers Silver and Strong.  I always include within each unit activities that focus on mastery, understanding, synthesis, involvement, and creativity.  More specifically, within each daily lesson I attempt to divide the instructional period into smaller "chunks" to vary the instruction.  In addition, brain based research shows that this is the best approach in teaching material.

REFLECTION:  In reflecting specifically on the American Dream project, I purposely placed the "advanced TAG (Talented and Gifted) students" in their own group and then divided the remaining students by interest.  Each group was given a topic to research, create a presentation and visual for their selected topic, and then present an oral presentation on thier issue.  I purposely gave the TAG students the most difficult topic; one that could easily be completed, but one that needed a lot more work compared to the other topics.  All groups of students readily jumped at the challenge.  The TAG students were excited to work together and the remaining students were willing to work together on topics they were interested in.  This unit was a wonderful sharing of ideas and content at the same time.  All students were able to participate at their own ability level. Differentiation is an important component in establishing a viable learning environment.  On the otherhand the lessons within the Civil Rights project are all differentiated.  A differentiated classroom allows for instruction to take place that will meet the needs of each student.  Differentiation can focus on readiness, ability or interest.

Lesson planning and design is a key piece in creating an effective learning environment.  I constantly find myself reworking, rethinking, or adding ideas into my units.  I have found, in my eleven years of teaching, that if I can differentiate lessons within a unit and provide opportunities for mastery, understanding, synthesis, involvement and creativity than my learning environment is one that is dynamic and engaging.  I always have to look at my goals, unit objectives, lesson structure, and individual student needs.  If I do so, critically and reflectively, than I have succeeded in creating an environment that is academically sound.

III. Classroom Climate

Candidate establishes a classroom climate conducive to learning, e.g. positive classroom management, a safe and developmentally appropriate environment, efficient organization of time and materials, and effective transitions. 

When a student enters a classroom the climate that is established by the teacher is critical.  Students want to learn, they want to be engaged, and they want a safe place where they can express their ideas and opinions.  I firmly believe that the environment I create in my classrrom allows each student, and myself, a chance to learn, grow, and challenge themselves.  

My classroom is not built on a set of rules, rather its foundation is built on expectations.  In my classroom I expect every member of the community to:  be responsible, be respectful, participate, be ethusiastic, and to be successful. Each student, no matter what their level of involvment or academic achievement, is expected to work within these expectations.  This approach allows me to extablish a sense of community within the classroom.

In my classroom the climate that I establish is one of professionalism, but at the same time we have a lot of fun!  The activities within each lesson may vary, but the daily structure always remains the same.  I begin with a journal entry to either review previous information, check for understanding, or to introduce new materials or ideas.  I then move into the daily lesson.  I always close each period by pulling the lesson together, and leaving a couple minutes for last minute thoughts and questions, and by transitioning into the next lesson.

I have included two samples that exemplify my competency of classroom climate.  The first is a 2 minute sample video of me teaching the major components of a typical lesson, and the second is an observation report from my university advisor.  

REFLECTION:  I firmly believe that the environment that I establish allows all students the opportunity to succeed.  I must meet each student at the place where he or she is.  I can pull them into the learning environment, but I must create an climate where they feel they can learn, succeed, and be challenged.  I constantly am aware of the climate.  I work very hard at making the classroom a place where students want to be.  The environment I establish in my classroom allows the opportunity for each student to succeed. I create a myriad of different activities that allow the students to claim the classroom as their own, and to reinforce the classroom as an environment that is more than a place to sit for 90 minutes.  In additon, I also invite students into my classroom before and after school to help them understand or expand their knowledge.  If I extend learning outside the boundaries of the class I feel like I am modeling a belief that I hold dear, the concept that learning is a life long process.

In eleven years of teaching I have found that students readily conform to my expectations.  I feel like I treat them as individuals, and at the same time I expect them to act as individuals within a community.  A true sense of community exists in my classroom.  This is because I expect a community of ideas, responsiblity, respect, and participation to exist. If the community breaks down then we as class must stop and solve the issues-- this process empowers everyone.  

As seen in the observation report and the video clip I allow for students to express their viewpoints in a positive, constructive climate.  I make sure that students have an "out" if they don't feel prepared to answer questions or give a view point.  I encourage a response of "I don't know" if it is healthy.  It is easy to figure out if the student is dodging a question or if they don't want to give feedback.  Positive discussion and responses from me and a communal sense of sharing are critical in a classroom.

I also feel the physical set up of a classroom is critical.  I place the seats in two semi-circles. (If I had the physical space I would have a complete circle.)  This is so I can easily see and reach each student, and they each other.  As I teach history, I encourage student interaction.  The semi-circle environment tends to work for me.  The seating arrangement also lends itself to a feeling of community.  

Observation feedback:  I really enjoy having peers, administrators, advisors and parents visit my classroom.  I value the interaction and the feedback that I receive.  I constantly invite people into my classroom.  In order to complete my continuing teaching licensure I invited my university advisor into the classroom. Once again this was a positive experience for me.  The feedback, though positive, allowed me to critically look at my classroom climate.  I periodically invite parents to sit in on lessons.  It is always healthy to ask for feedback.  I only wish that I am able to interact more with my peers.  

Video reflection:   Making the video of my teaching was an interesting experience.  I videotaped myself in my first year of teaching, and had not done so since then.  After eleven years of teaching I saw a lot of change and growth in my delivery of content, ease in the classroom, and interaction with each student.  I could visibly see that I was more relaxed as the lesson progressed.  As I circulate around the room I am comfortable with the organization and how I present the lesson.  I am at ease as I ask or answer questions from students, and how I interact with them.  I do not think that they feel any uneasiness in raising a question or concern with me.  My responses to them are never degrading, demeaning, or offensive.  If I do not know the answer the their comment or question I tell them so.  I openly, and frequently, ask for feedback on classroom climate.  I then implement what we feel needs to improve.  I have several student evaluations that I do periodically through the year, and at the end of the year. (1) and (2).  The feedback is shared with the class and I act on their suggestions.  The largest growth area that I have seen is in my delivery of the content.   I have improved my understanding of teaching a lesson.  I am comfortable creating, and then presenting the material.  This really helps with classroom climate.  Students feel more at ease when the teacher is at ease.

IV. Implementing Instruction

Candidate implements instructional plans that employ knowledge of subject matter, use research-based educational practices that reflect how students learn, and are sensitive to individual differences.

In implementing instruction it is important that I understand my subject matter and that I use research-based instructional practices to deliver the material.  By using sound research-based educational strategies I can insure that my students have a greater chance of retaining the information.  At the same time it is important that I am sensitive to the individual learner when I deliver instruction.  

As already described in Competencies I and II, I focus on the learner when I plan and implement curriculum.  By using benchmarks, content goals and outcomes, differentiation, brain-based research, multiple teaching strategies, and the M.U.S.I.C. model I readily incorporate sound teaching strategies into my classroom.  In addition to the Civil Rights Movement and the American Dream units, I also can demonstrate my ability to implement instruction by using reseach-based practices.  By looking at my thematic unit on the economic eras of the early 20th century in the United States. By allowing for a mix of activities, learning models, in class and out of class assignments, opportunities for extra learning, and different forms of assessment, I feel I provide an environment that allows me to successfully implement the curriculum.  A great example of a mix of teaching strategies can be seen by looking at my organizer for 1968, or a visual created by a differentiated group on the concept of "Separate, but Equal".

REFLECTION:  The Progressive Era Unit is a thematic, interdisciplinary unit focusing on the years between 1900 and 1920.  Within the unit the student watches a video, participates in a role-play, completes a Venn diagram, improves his/her research skills, works on making and interpreting graphs, and the reads The Jungle (or pieces of The Jungle if their reading ability does not allow them to read the entire book).  This unit, along with the other two units already presented in this collection of evidence, is based around the theory of thematic instruction.  I firmly believe that thematic instruction allows the student to make many connections across the social science subjects, and at the same time allows for the student to explore history in depth.  I feel that my teaching has drastically improved since I began to teach thematically.  I also have seen that the students seem to understand and enjoy the material better.  The implementation of the curriculum is what the student sees, feels and experiences.  I must always be aware of the lesson planning, activities and assessment.  When each student leaves my classroom I want them to remember the information, if I can effectively deliver the material than I am on my way of succeeding as an educator.

V. Collaboration

Candidate collaborates with parents, collegues, and members of the community to provide internal and external assistance to students and to their families, if needed, to promote student learning when necessary.

As a teacher I am able to collaborate with other educators in either creating lessons, in working with peers on a student intervention, when communicating with parents, or collaborating as a team on a planning committee.

Collaboration is an important part of teaching.  One piece of collaboration is between teachers in different disciplines.  For example, Spanish, math, and social studies can be integrated together into an interdisciplinary unit.  One of the joys of teaching is being able to plan curriculum.  When this is done collaborately it is not only a benefit for the student, who can make connections, but also for teachers as they work to make instructional connections across the curriculum. The true essence of education is demonstrated when students make connections across the disciplines.  In my current position I work on a team, As a team we plan instruction, share ideas, and evaluate lessons and handouts. This team concept has only made me a better teacher.  My involvement with teaming and collaboration is exemplified by a letter written by my Department Chair.  I also regularily communicate with our special education department on how our shared students are performing.  By talking to other staff members and students alike we can only improve the educational opportunities available to students.  I also spend time collaborating with at school sponsored activities like Back to School Night or Forecasting Night.  In addition to these activities, I also attempt, on a regular basis, to collaborate with parents of students.  This includes parents of students who are both succeeding and failing. By maintaining open lines of communication all partie are aware of what is happening in my educational environment.  Two (1) and (2) examples of communication to parents include letters written to me from parents about what my learning environment gave to their children.  I recently was acknowledged for my collaboration, involvement and teamwork by receiving a wonderful gift from a local family.

In education it is important to be able to work as a team.  If a student needs an intervention, and teachers work together for the benefit of the student, the student will win in the end.  Our goal is to collaborate as an educational community and assist each student.  Sometimes it is necessary to have an academic intervention, or at other times it is necessary to assist the students socially or psychologically.  At any point the need to collaborate and communicate is essential.  I readily attend interventions and meeting focused on improving the needs of one student.  I firmly believe that when multiple heads get together there is bound to be a plan of action that is discussed and implemented that can only help the student.  

Another area in which I have collaborated with peers, parents, and students (as seen in a letter from my building principal)  is by sitting on numerous planning committees.  In my twelve years of teaching I have sat on committees looking at implementing teacher advisory programs, improving at-risk education, planning commencement activities, formulating ideas on how to create smaller learning environments within a large suburban high school, and adopting instructional schedules.  During the 2000-01 school year I was asked by my building principle to facilitate our instructional schedule committee.  I worked with a team of 15 parents, students, and teachers over a one school year period in looking at multiple instructional schedules.  Through my facilitation, and the hard work of the committee, the staff made some difficult decisions and adopted an instructional schedule that allows the students more choices, and hopefully improve the educational quality of the school.  The school is currently in the second year of using this instructional model.

REFLECTION:  In reflecting upon the competency of collaboration, it is important for me to remember that collaboration is one of the key components of education. As a professional, I must be able to work with students, parents, peers, and the administration.  If it be sitting on a planning committee; creating curriculum; or assisting an individual student; open communication, time, and a sharing of ideas is crucial.  As a high school teacher it is easy to only focus on what happens within my "four walls", but for a high school student he or she travels between multiple classrooms and is faced with additional pressures from peers, family, and society.  If I am truly concerned about the student in my classroom than I must willingly collaborate.  In 1992, as a new teacher in the field, the focus of my collaboration was on my own survival, but as I have matured as a teacher I am more readily able to collaborate with my peers on a multitude of issues.  I have learned that if collaboration does occur than in the end all my students, and myself, will benefit.  I thrive in an atmosphere of teamwork and collaboration.  

VI. Evaluation

Candidate evaluates student progress in learning, refines plans for instruction, and establishes alternative goals or environments for learning when necessary.

In any educational environment it is important that the instructor can evaluate student learning as the year progresses.  If need be, it may be necessary to provide alternative goals or environments for learning to take place.  For me, evaluation of a student's learning progress happens on a daily, weekly, and unit by unit basis.  Assessment can occur in multiple forms including unit tests, check up quizes, oral exchanges, or even visually.  For a unit on the progressive era I allow students to demonstrate the understanding visually. Evaluation and assessment of student progress can be demonstrated on a paper and pencil test or it can also be exemplified by creating an authentic assesment, such as a powerpoint presentation. I regularly take the time to monitor how a student is progressing in my class.  If I see trends in learning, I make arrangements to modify my instruction, or I problem solve to help address the issue.  It is nice to be able to work with a team of people to help modify instruction if necessary.  I feel comfortable in asking our Special Education staff or English Language Learners' staff members for assistance if need be.  Before I ask others for assistance I follow a simple process of evaluation in my class.  I sit down and write about the issue.  If need be, it helps to write a student analysis comparison, this comparison forces me to think through what I am doing, and how two different students are functioning in the classroom.   I then usually brainstorm some ideas of how I can better meet the needs of the student, at some point in this process I visit with the student to have his/her input.  This is always in the first part of the evaluation process because often it is a simple plan that will remedy the problem.  If a contract needs to be made, one will implemented.  In the past, I have changed activities or assessments for some students based on their learning style, and I have even worked with other team members to provide a different teacher to provide assistance.  The key is to always keep the lines of communication open between staff members, family, and most importantly--the student.

REFLECTION:  In sitting down to write an analysis of different learners in a classroom it really helped me to define what learning styles that student was strong or weak in, and also what I could do to help the student.  By closely analyzing a student I am able to help that student with their learning, and I am able to focus my teaching in assisting them.  I also think that the process of keeping everyone in the loop of communication is important in evaluating the progress of student learning and the implementation of curriculum.  I have found in my eleven years of teaching that if the student knows what is happening in the classroom; why the information is important; is knowledgable of his/her academic progress; and feels comfortable in asking questions, than the evaluation process is fluid and dynamic.  This fluid evaluation process allows me to be a better teacher and at the same time allows the student to focus on his/her own learning.

VII. Documentation

Candidate documents and reports the progress of students in achieving content goals and district standards.

In establishing a viable, learning environment the instructor must be able to document and report the progress of all students.  The documentation process is a varied one.  In my classroom I use several different ways of documenting the progress of each student.  

1.  Weekly Grade Updates:  Every Friday I update grades and post them on Monday morning.  By updating and posting grades weekly, the students are able to see how they are performing.  If a student was absent or missed an assignment they can see the effects of the missed work on their grade.  They can then rectify the grade by completing the work.  A student in my class has no excuse for not knowing where he stands in the class.  I update grades with what I have graded; therefore, the grades are fluid and always in flux.  I also encourage students to ask questions about their grades so they are constantly aware of their grade.  By posting grades a student can also see where they need extra assistance.  Once I identify patterns in the grades I, and the student, then can begin to focus our efforts on correcting the problem or enhancing the learning opportunities.

2.  Progress Reports:  Every four weeks I print off progress reports for each student.  This is a more detailed account of where they are in terms of grades, work submitted, and in what areas of the class (homework, tests/quizzes, participation, and classwork) they are excelling or deficient in.  I also follow school policy of submitting "D" and "F" progress reports to parents and counselors once every quarter.

3.  Weekly Progress Reports:  If a student's IEP (Individual Education Plan)states that I need to complete a Weekly Progress Report, or if he/she has been performing poorly in my classes and he/she carries around a Weekly Progress Report, I complete the report so other teachers, the student's parents, and the student can see how he/she is performing in the class.  I also can document work submitted and homework assignments on the Weekly Progress Report.  

REFLECTION:  The documentation of student progress is a crucial piece in providing a wholistic learning environment for the student.  It is important that grades and progress is shared frequently and openly between the teacher and the student, parent, counseling team, or other teachers.  If the student is aware and involved in the documentation process then the student can own his/her grade.  I firmly believe that if the learning process is not an open process, than the grade will become only a grade, and not a piece of the the learning porcess. I find it disheartening when a student tells me that they do no know their grade in some classes. I feel as if they are not connected to the material.  Learning is not the outcome--learning is the process.  Documenting the process along the way is just as important as reporting the grade at the conclusion of the learning cycle.  If there is open dialogue between the student and the teacher then the documentation process is dynamic and part of the learning cycle.

VIII. Research

Candidate uses emerging research on teaching, learning and school improvement to enhance practices.

The use of strong, useful and proven teaching strategies in a classroom enables the educator to provide an excellent learning environment for the student.  These strategies and currents in education often come from research.  Educational research, if used effectively, can drive positive school change.  For example, solid research on brain based learning practices has revolutionized how instruction is delivered and practiced in the classroom.  Another example is research that has been done in the last decade.  This research shows that school who create small learning communities within large high schools benefit all students.  With this trend quickly sweeping across the nation I spent one year looking at a small piece of the small learning communities idea--the advisory program.  I completed an action research project on the new advisory program at Beaverton High School.  I constructed a statement of the problem, purpose of study and a grand tour question looking at the possiblity of an advisory program succeeding in a high school setting.  I spent several months completing a literature review and then established my methodology.  Since the advisory program was being implemented, I chose a qualitative research approach and then collected the data.  The completed action research project showed that it is very difficult to introduce a new idea into an established educational setting, but at the same time the process of researching the advisory program was beneficial in our school's evaluation of the program and in implementing changes for the following year.

REFLECTION:  Completing the action research project was one of the most rewarding, and at the same time, frustrating educational endeavors I have ever completed.  As I look back over the whole process I enjoyed the research part of the assignment the best.  I wanted our advisory program to be built on solid research and sound ideals.  I found the collection of data to be much more difficult than I thought.  My personal bias was always interferring with the process of collecting data.  What I learned most about the whole process is that research does help create a better educational environment.  If teaching, learning, and school improvement are all focused on what is proven to work, and is successful, then a more viable, lasting, educational environment will be established.

IX. Teacher Participation

Candidate participates in designing, evaluating and improving opportunities for teaching and learning in an educational institution.

I am very lucky to work in an environment that values teamwork, lesson design and group evaluation.  I have taught in four different educational environments, and have taught every grade level from 6th through 12th (excluding ninth grade). These different environments have afforded me multiple opportunities to design, evaluate and improve teaching and learning.  Four examples of my participation within the educational institution include:  team teaching within a 10th grade US history social studies team, sitting on a district wide social studies assessment team, facilitating a Critical Friends Group and chairing an action team which implemented a change of instructional schedules in the building.

1.  10th Grade Team:  At Beaverton High School, all high school teachers sit on either a ninth or tenth grade department team.  As a member of the tenth grade team, I interact with other members of my department on a daily basis.  Together we design, implement, evaluate and improve our tenth grade US history course.  I am constantly working on designing new lessons, evaluating previous activites, or improving prior practices.  The favorite part of my job is lesson design.  I love creating new lessons or improving lessons that I have previously taught.  Over the last couple years we have been working on improving the differentiation of our units.  This has been a long and difficult process, but slowly we are creating units of instruction that are truly differentiated, focused, and provide opportunities for all students to learn, be assessed, and that are challenging.  An example of this is the "Responses to Separate but Equal" activity for our Civil Rights Unit.  This is a new format we have used this year. The idea came from a desire we had of improving our note taking and reading strategies after a recent staff development day.  This new and improved organizer really helped our students focus on the material as they were completing the reading assignment.

2.  District Social Studies Assessment Team:  Over the last several years the Beaverton School District (BSD) has been working with the social studies departments a the fiv comprehensive high schools.  The original goal of the team was to align our curriculum so that a student at one high school would have the same sequence of courses at another.  This outcome failed and has been transformed into another goal.  We are currently looking at defining expectations and outcomes.  It is very exciting to interact with other high school teachers in defining outcomes.  In social studies it is difficult to narrow our field because it is so broad and varied, but within the social studies we do have some commonalities.  In looking at assessment the team is focusing on looking at the process of defining the outcomes and then looking at aligning the different assessment tools so that we can say as a district that these are the five, six, or seven core outcomes that every student will leave a BSD high school knowing.  I have come to learn that all high schools have their own unique climate.  In interacting with teachers from all the schools I have learned that we all are passionate about what we teach and we can learn from each other if the opportunity is there.

3.  Critical Friends Group Facilitator:  The most rewading "new" activity that I have participated in over the last several years is a Critical Friends Group (CFG). A CFG is a group that meets periodically, under a set system of protocals, and shares information that focuses on improving schools, learning, and the eduction profession.  I was trained as a CFG facilitator and over the 2003-04 school year I have co-facilitated a group with another teacher.  I readily look forward to our CFG meetings and can say that this is one of the highlights of my current teaching year.  

4.  Instructional Schedule:  Please see Competency V.  Within Competency V I discussed my collaboration efforts as chair of the instructional change committee.

REFLECTION:  One of my peers several years ago said that it is important that we "leave our four walls" once in a while, and interact more as a staff.  I whole heartedly agree with this statement.  It is important as a teacher to participate in the process of education.  In order for a school community to function the many pieces must function together.  There are many pieces that exist outside the classroom.  This is not to downplay the importance of learning in the classroom, but I say this to reinforce the fact that a school is a whole composed of many integrated parts.  I want to participate in my community, I want to make my learning community a rich, full environment, and I want to be able to interact with my peers to make sure that we create and provide a sound learning community. I cherish my teaching moments.  I love being in the classroom with the students, but at the same time, I also love interacting and participating in the school as a whole.  By participating in the learning environment I have become a better teacher.  I learn from my peers, I bounce ideas off my peers, and together we make the school a much better school.

X. Professional Responsibilities

Candidate works to enhance job performance and advance teaching as a profession.

I have chosen a career that I love.  I truly enjoy walking into my classroom and working with the many young adults that cross the threshold of room 243 at Beaverton High School.  As a professional, I take the time to plan lessons, enhance my own knowledge of the curriculum, and assist each and every student to the best of my ability. An exhibit of these  professional resonsibilities is explified in a letter from my building  principal.

My direct responsibility is the delivery of information.  I am employed to teach. In order for me to successfully do my job I need to effectively plan lessons.  I take time to plan lessons that differentiate the material, challenge the learner, and fit the climate of the classroom.  I have never been the teacher that is able to pull out the same exact lesson year after year with no modification. It is true that the content rarely changes, but in the end it is my job to teach the content so it is understood.  The students that come into my classroom are individuals.  I can teach the same content, but mode of delivery may differ from year to year.  When I sit down to plan lessons I always make modifications--to fit the needs of the students I am teaching at that point in time.  It is my professional responsibility to deliver the content so each student has an equal opportunity to meet the benchmarks; and more importantly--learn the information.

As a professional, I must be a master of my trade.  As an educator this means learning and then applying multiple teaching strategies in the classroom.  As my career evolves I am always learning new ideas; I am always taking the time to learn a new strategy that I think will enhance my learning environment.  I find this to be vital.  It keeps me focused, dynamic, and at the same time a student. I am a life-long learner.  I believe that a true educator is one that is involved with education.  I find it not only important to continue my growth as an educator, but at the same, it is important to be well-read in the subject I instruct.  I find myself rummaging around in the social science sections of any bookstore in any city.  I love reading about new informtion, or topics I don't know much about.  If I am not excited about the subject I teach than how can I expect the student to be excited? It is my professional responsibility to know my trade and to explain the content of the curriculum to the student in a way he or she can understand and apply the information.

I spend countless hours in review sessions after and before school.  As a teacher who teaches AP/IB classes I need to make myself available to the students.  One of the most rewarding parts of teaching is working with students in a small group setting and watching them understand the material.  It is my responsibility to provide each student with the opportunity to learn the material.  In advanced classes time is always hard to come by, there never is enough time.  By providing opportunities for students outside the classroom I am allowing the individual student to have time to understand the material, but more importantly I am doing so at a pace that is helpful to the student.  To me a professional teacher is one who opens the classroom door and allows students to enter and ask questions in a safe, open environment at any point in the day.

REFLECTION:  I have always taken my career seriosly.  This does not mean that I do not have any fun, because my job is fun!  As I sit and reflect on the years gone by and look at my professional responsiblities, I see growth.  I see myself first and foremost as a teacher.  It is my job to instruct.  It is my job to plan effective lessons.  It is my job to grow as a person and as a teacher.  But more importantly, it is my responsibility day in and day out to be in the classroom.  My career carries a heavy responsibility.  I am able to say that I have the best career in the world because I hold it with utmost regard.  On average I teach 170 students a year.  2002-03 was my tenth anniversary as a teacher.  This means that I have directly worked with roughly 1800 students.  I as a teacher do more than teach curriculum.  I teach responsibility; I teach citizenship; I teach communication skills; I teach friendship; and I teach community.  When all of these job descriptions are placed together it is then my task to execute my responsibilities professionally.

XI. Technology

Candidate demonstrates the appropriate and thoughtful use of technology.

Effective teaching in the Twenty First Century requires the incorporation of technology into the classroom.  The contemporary classroom is one that is dynamic, involved and focused on what is relevent to the child and his/her future. Technology is a great tool that can be used to assist in record keeping, organization, instruction, evaluation, and research.  In using technology in the classroom one must always be aware of the fact that "a computer" is not the pancea of education.  Just by utilizing the computer lab or having the student "surf the web" one is not really incorporating technology into the classroom.  To focus this competency I will subpoint my explanation of how I reach this competency.

1.  RECORD KEEPING:  Computer programs enable me to be more efficient in my daily structure.  I am able to keep records that are up to the minute and accurate.  If it be attendance or daily grades technology allows myself, and my students, to access pertinent information quicker.

2.  ORGANIZATION:  Working in a paperless eductional environment is near to impossible, but to keep lessons, plans, and handouts on a shared access network allows me to work in an environment that is dynamic and fluid.  This means that I keep all my curriculum in a shared access environment that I can access at any point.  By using folder systems within the unit plans I can subdivide my classes, units, plans, lessons, handouts, and additional teaching resources.  Technology allows me the freedom to do this.

3. INSTRUCTION:  Technology is a wonderful tool in the classroom.  By incorporating well thought out, well constructed technological based activities in the learning environment I am able to expose students to useful information. Students are able to access this information and then use it to expand their knowledge of whatever subject we are teaching.  I am always aware of the fact that I must plan my use of technology in the classroom.  With this in mind I have utilized four different mediums in technology into my practice.

    --Inspiration:  Inspiration is an outstanding web design program.  I have all classes use the program to create webs to either review, synthesize, or present information.  My Advanced Placement European history students use Inspiration to present complex information learned in class.  They create layered concept maps modeled after one I created on the Renaissance.  I find it an excellent tool to use in the classroom.

     --Webquest:  I have found that when I allow students to use the internet to complete open ended we searches they have a difficult time weeding through all the sites and information available.  To assist, and focus, student research on the internet I would like to incorporate the use of a webquest.  A webquest is a tool that allows the student to research prechosen sites, complete a well-constructed lesson, and then synthesize the information into the learning cycle.  A webquest can be based around multiple sites or just one.  I am interested in learning more about this model.  I have included a webquest in progress to demonstrate what I am working on.  Webquests are valuable tools that both the students and I benefit from.

     --Web Page:  I am in the process of creating a webpage for my classes at Beaverton High School.  My goal is to have one central location where I can post syllabi, handouts and have links to both primary and secondary sources.  I have found that the main problem is time.  I just need more time to update and keep the webpage current and topical.  My web page will hopefully become an integral part of my teaching.  In addition to my own web page, I have also facilitated students who have created and maintained a history web page for Beaverton High School.  I hope to improve upon this site and continue to maintain a history connection for BHS that is dynamic and digital.

    --Power Point:  I use power point in instruction, but more importantly I encourage students to incorporate the use of power point into their presentations or assessment.  When I allow students to choose their assessment model I always include a technology option.  In the past year I have received between 10-15 power point presentations.  I have included two different examples for demonstration here, one by Adam White and the other by David Jacobson.

REFLECTION:  As I become more competent with using technology in the classroom it is revolutionizing my teaching.  There is no way that the learning environment will ever function without a human presence, but the opportunities with technology are boundless. At the same time, it is imperative that the students that I teach today are taught how to effectively use technology.  It is my job to do that.  By modeling effective use of technology, and by effectively using technology in the classroom I am providing a fuller, richer, learning environment. Eleven years ago when I began teaching, computers were the "fad" in education, and now twelve years later my educational world is centered around technology. It is a great teaching tool, and at the same time it is another avenue that my students can use to become better citizens of the world.

XII. Reflection 

Candidate demonstrates the ability to use reflection as a tool to improve his or her professional skills.

Reflection is one of the most under used pieces of the educational process. When I began teaching over ten years ago, my reflection of my work was limited to what I need to accomplish for the next day.  I rarely sat down and thought about the profession of teaching, the process of learning, and the successes and failures of a lesson.  But, as the the first year evolved into the second year, and the second into the third I was able to sit down and think about my practices.  I learned very quickly that if I took notes as I progressed from day to day that I was able to evaluate and reflect on the lesson or unit at a much deeper level.  I trained myself in those first several years to take a few moments at the end of each unit and reflect on the success and failures.  This practice has really improved my practice.  I have continued to reflect on my successes and failures as a teacher.  I truly enjoy feedback and I like when others reflect on my work.  I have found that my soul is filled, and I am at peace when I can fully reflect on my work in the classroom.  My goal is to begin a teaching journal, I want to create one place where I can jot down all my ideas and reflect upon my practice and my profession.  The way I have it now is that I have random notebooks and folders containing thoughts, scribbles, ideas, and reflections.  I can honestly say that I frequently reflect on my practice, but it is not organized.  I am at my best when I can implement my ideas quickly.  I have also found that as I plan the same units from year to year I always use my notes and reflections from previous years to improve my units of instruction.   Reflection is an invaluable piece of my practice. I have grown as a teacher and improved my practice by using reflection.  

Last Updated -6/10/2004
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