Standard 8: Instructional Strategies

The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies
to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of the content
area and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in
meaningful ways.

During the winter of 2015, I completed my
student teaching placement in a kindergarten
classroom at Garfield Elementary School in
Livonia, Michigan. One of the many ongoing
tasks during my student teaching placement was
to provide reinforcement and center activities that
provided students with multiple perspectives of
various concepts and skills that were initially
taught through direct or active large group
instruction. Providing students with multiple
differing activities that reinforced the same
concept or skill was important for numerous
reasons. Students learn and are able to understand,
apply, and make connections between skills and
concepts much more effectively when they work
with the same concept or skill repeatedly.
As I planned center activities, I took into
consideration that no two students learn in the
same manner. The activity or lesson that may have
made sense for one student, may not have made
sense for another student. As an educator, it is
important to remember this, and to plan varying
opportunities for reinforcement and application a
skill or concept to ensure that all of my students
have an opportunity to make deep and meaningful
connections as they learn new skills and content.
As my student teaching placement progressed, I
grew in my ability to see that there was a need to
frequently change the role I played in the
education process. During my first few lessons, I
mainly utilized the process of direct instruction for
reinforcement and introduction of concepts and
processes. As time went on, I began to see the
need for my young students to be active
participants in the learning process. From about
the mid-point of my placement on, I worked to
provide my students with opportunities to remain
active by learning from one another as well as
through the process of trial and error. As I

provided these opportunities, I learned to play the
role of a guide, a facilitator, and provider in that I
supplied students with appropriate materials and
experiences so that they were able to construct
their own learning. Varying my role in the
instructional process allowed me to provide
additional assistance or varying levels of activities
for those students who are experiencing
difficulties or were flying through the
requirements of the lesson.
Reflection:
Creating center and lesson activities that were
varied and played numerous roles in the education
process required an extensive amount of creativity
and motivation as well as a solid understanding of
how young children learn. As a student teacher, it
was important for me to take the time to view the
activities and instructional methods I planned to
utilize from the students’ point of view. It is best
for young children to learn by doing through the
use of concrete examples, varying learning
methods, and activities. By implementing the
ideas and processes I mentioned above, I was able
to not only make the learning process more
inviting, but I was also able to increase the level
of student participation, understanding, and
application of the concepts and skills taught.

A few of the numerous math manipulatives I used
during my student teaching placement to provide
multiple learning opportunities for students.