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Dora Casimir

Praxis Archive Synthesis #1

Looking back through my archive, I can see that I have definitely experienced a lot of
learning and grown my understanding about literacy concepts significantly! I have much deeper
knowledge relating to student motivation and background knowledge and how they influence
literacy practices. In my first reading response, I identified my beliefs that a child's experiences,
culture, and beliefs will influence how they approach literacy concepts and that literacy is not
simply ability to read and write words on a page, but also the ability to navigate and make
meaning of the world around us. My thinking when I was first writing these was very much
geared toward my goals when planning and implementing lesson plans and classroom
experiences. However, especially after reading the Bean and Flint articles (among others), I have
come to see that keeping these in my mind and applying them during individual interactions is
just as important. I never realized that it may be difficult to recognize when a student is applying
their background knowledge to create meaning. We have to seize the opportunities that students
give us to create meaningful connections as they arise. These cant always be planned for!
Continuing along with my evolving beliefs, I also identified that I believed in providing
students with choices (i.e. books they want to read, methods of expression) as well as
experiencing literacy authentically in ways that they will experience it in the real world. The
Duke chapters involving project-based learning really gave me so many things to think about in
relation to this. I realized that there was something underlying these beliefs that really connected
them and was a big reason I held them in the first place. This was PURPOSE. I want my students
to be able to make choices and have authentic experiences because I want to allow students to
practice literacy in a way that is purposeful, and therefore meaningful, to them. What I really
took away from this book in this regard was that you might design a project with a purpose that
you think your students will totally find motivating and meaningful, but they could turn out to be
totally uninterested. As a result, you have to take into account your students feedback and
collaborate with your students as a team to find purpose for your projects and other classroom
Throughout the last few weeks, we have also discussed our first essential question which
involved a quote from Mihaly Babits, who said Reading is thinking and writing is speech. We
were asked about what this means in relation to literacy and how it is learned and practiced. My
very first initial thoughts were that this is true because as we read, we are constantly making
meaning, forming connections, and forming new ideas in relation to the text. Reading is deeply
intertwined in your thought process. Writing is speech because you are taking your internal
thoughts and ideas and giving them an external voice that can be shared if desired. As we have
explored this, I have come to see how connected these two processes are with each other. Yet, in
classrooms reading and writing are often experienced separately. In real life, writing is almost
always in response to something, from to replying to an email to writing a journal entry venting
about a difficult day. In any case, your writing is highly dependent on your thoughts formed as a
result of your background knowledge and what you read. Reading in this context may not
necessary even be reading text, but reading peoples emotions or reactions, a sequence of

events, or visual information. If I want to create authentic literacy experiences in my classroom, I

will have to consider how I can integrate reading and writing together.
On top of all of this, I was able to form a large repertoire of strategies I can use with my
students to support their comprehension, connections to background knowledge, vocabulary, and
ability to formulate questions. The Zwiers chapters have provided me with an amazing toolkit of
approaches I can use with my students that apply to many different kinds of learners. It will be
wonderful to have these in mind when I am looking to provide my students with choices. I was
totally unware of the huge variety of ways you could approach the traditional KWL chart. This
inspired me to do something a little different when I introduced my unit to my 4th grade students.
My activity didnt resemble a KWL at all, but it accomplished the same goal. I now know I have
so many directions I could go depending on what my objectives are at that time.
I also identified several personal learning goals to work on over the course of this
semester and beyond. I have made significant progress on some of these goals, while others I feel
as though Ive got a lot more work yet to go! My first goal was that I wanted to form a better
understanding of strategies I can use to assess students throughout a lesson. This is the goal I feel
I have made the most progress toward. This was covered and discussed extensively not only in
all of my classes. I was able to gain a lot more experience creating measurable objectives that
allow me to clearly determine whether a student has met my expectations or not. I have been
given many useful and quick strategies that can give me a sense on whether the class is gaining
the knowledge I had hoped, and what areas need more support. It is really useful to have
alternatives to all-class discussion in my repertoire, which very often does not give an accurate
picture of an entire classs understanding of a topic. I now want to move onto deepening my
understanding of summative assessments, which I feel is severely lacking. I want to know the
dos and donts of administering these assessments as well as the options I have available to me.
My second learning goal I identified is one I have been working toward for a long time.
This was that I want to work on improving my confidence in my speaking and communication
skills, especially in a classroom setting. I am not really happy with my progress in this goal. I
have good days and bad days it seems like. I have been coming to class with the mindset that I
will speak up when I have an idea that I feel is worth sharing. However, this doesnt always
happen. I realized I often hesitate, and because of that I lose the relevant moment to share it. I
think what I will have to do to help this is set aside the time to clearly write out significant ideas
I have formed as a result of our readings and other activities. I feel like this could help me have
more confidence that what I am saying comes out the way I was thinking, and I wont feel the
need to hesitate if Im not completely sure about a thought. Lately it seems like I have been
overthinking this and making it worse! Hopefully trying a new strategy will help give me a
needed push.
My final learning goal was to demonstrate my beliefs in my unit lessons and other class
assignments. I feel as though I have been making an active effort to do so over the last few
By allowing my students to create a business plan for a product of their choice, I
am giving them the opportunity to utilize their interests and background knowledge to apply
what they have learned in a creative way. I also ended up revising one of my lessons to include
multiple prompts when I realized that the one I had planned for may not have been appropriate
for one of my students. This also geared my lesson more towards my personal beliefs about
literacy. I would like to continue to keep this goal in mind as I move through the remainder of

my unit and into planning for Bothwell week. I would also like to focus on purpose, and how I
can make my lessons purposeful for my students.
All in all, I feel as though I have come a long way in deepening my understanding of
literacy and continuing to develop my beliefs about literacy. I now possess a much larger number
of tools to help support my students literacy needs, and know how and when they are best
utilized. Despite this, I know there is still so much more for me to learn. I feel we have just
barely scratched the surface! In the next half of our semester, I am excited to see where we go
next, how my learning continues to develop, and how I progress in my personal goals.

Grade Justification

Praxis Archive Rubric

ents &


Artifacts and entries are dated and clearly labeled.

Archive includes multiple (3+) entries each week.

Archive includes thoughtful responses/notes to class readings.

Archive includes numerous artifacts from course work (including
all course assignments) and/or field experiences as well as
reflections on or writings about the artifacts collected.




e of

Writings include observations, connections (between learning in

various courses, readings, classroom observations, personal
connections, etc.), interpretations, questions, and thoughts that
appear to be meaningful and relevant to the learner.



Synthesis of learning is 2-4 pages in length, focuses on

individuals learning, addresses the essential questions from
the course, and addresses progress toward personal learning
goals or the refining of those learning goals.



Archive includes a thoughtful self-assessment with clearly

stated criteria for assessment and sufficient examples to
support that assessment.



Archive generally demonstrates that the author is taking

ownership of her/his archive and learning process.


Overall quality of the archive reflects the thoughtful, engaged

work of a prospective teacher.


Archive is handed in on time.



Total (100 points)


Utilizing the rubric, I feel as though I very nearly met the goals for this assignment,
resulting in 99 out of 100 points. I took a point off for dating and labeling entries, because I have
some artifacts that were done in class that I forgot to put in my archive right away, and I didnt
write the date on them. As a result, for a couple of my artifacts, I am not totally sure of the exact
date they were completed. However, this was not a widespread problem. My archive includes
three or more entries per week, which include all of my submitted assignments, in-class
activities, responses to readings, blog posts I found, general thoughts and more. I made sure to
identify personal connections and why it was meaningful to me in either the artifact itself, or by
utilizing the comment function in the document. I also made sure to note any connections I made
between various artifacts. Over time, I was sure to check if new knowledge I had gained was
relevant to any of my previous artifacts. I utilized the comment function on a regular basis to do
I assigned 30 points to the synthesis because I felt it was very important to making
meaning of the archive. I gave myself full points because I believe I addressed all of the areas
that were identified. My paper is within the 2-4 page length requirement, in which I talked about
how my learning has developed, my interpretation of the first essential question, and how I have
progressed in my personal learning goals. I devoted a considerable amount of attention to each of
these aspects. As I wrote this paper and put together my archive, I feel as though I put a
significant effort into creating quality, thoughtful work that best represents my abilities and
therefore it shows that I have been an active participant in my learning. Finally, I am turning in
my synthesis paper on time! Personally, I was not able to identify areas where I missed any
required elements besides a bit of disorganization on my part.