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ALL Speaker Reflections

Jodi Newton 8/25/15


Mrs. Newton had some very interesting points when it came to
what makes an effective teacher and what great teachers do
differently. She did say some pretty shocking things, especially about
planning. She explained that great teachers are planning constantly
and tweaking frequently. I had a small misconception that the lesson
plan you create for the year is pretty much what you stick to
throughout the year. Yes, I knew we would have to do some tweaking
based on weather days or if the children really arent mastering the
material. However, Mrs. Newton said that these teachers were
tweaking almost every day and planning different things just for the
next day. I have witnessed this idea firsthand as I taught canoeing at
camp this summer. Each day I would have to figure out what that
group of children needed work on for the next day and what activities I
would do with them. I guess I just didnt realize that I would be doing it
that often as a teacher. I am ready for the challenge though because it
is all about if the children are learning the material. No one ever said
teaching was easy.
Another point that stuck out to me was that a great teacher finds
the balance in things. I want to be a balanced teacher. If you focus too
much on tradition, then children get bored. If you focus too much
innovation, then they can become confused. Finding a balance will take

time, but it will be the most affective in the classroom. The other things
to balance that Mrs. Newton talked about were balancing student
interests with their needs. This will be hard because some things that
they learn wont be very interesting, but it will be exciting to find how
to incorporate the two together. Another balance is structured skill
building and self-discovery. I love the idea of having a balance in the
classroom!
Classroom Management Video
There were a lot of interesting points and take aways from the
videos that we watched. Even though it was outdated, I still learned a
lot. There were a few things I wasnt sure if I agreed with, but I guess
thats what makes my classroom my own. I love when they talked
about how routines are good. The children should learn transition
routines at the beginning of the year. When they have a routine of
transition time then they arent sitting at their desk not knowing what
to do and wasting time. I noticed this in clinicals last semester in my
third grade class at Brookeville. The children automatically knew that
when they finished a worksheet or whatever task the teacher gave
them then they could sit quietly at their desk and read their free read
book. There wasnt loud talking or disruptive behavior, but rather the
children did exactly as the routine was implemented at the beginning
of the year. I loved that! Another point I really liked was how much it
talked about engaging the children within the learning. A child doesnt

learn by just being spoken at. They need to do it, hear it, see it, and all
sorts of different ways to engage them. I think I could use a little bit of
humor while teaching as well to help engage them in what I am saying.
Also, another thing I took away was getting to know the children
individually. Their home life, what they like to do, etc is very important
because when they feel valued, they will learn better. One thing in the
video I disagreed with a little was the children making the rules of the
classroom. I dont think thats a good way to establish authority within
the classroom. I think maybe creating our own goals or standards we
want to keep in the classroom is a good idea. However in terms of the
rules such as no talking while Im talking, etc should be implemented
by the teacher. Overall, the tidbits that this video gave me were very
helpful. I wrote down a lot of things I will use in the future!
Dr. Rogers
When Dr. Rogers asked us to write down characteristics of our
favorite teachers it truly made me sit back and think about how I
noticed so many details when I was a student. There are things that
my teacher probably didnt even know I noticed about her. This makes
me realize how important my disposition is within my teaching career. I
have to truly have good character at the root of who I am, and I cannot
fake it. I thought the three essential ingredients for being an effective
teacher was very interesting because they are going to take practice
except for dispositions. Significant knowledge base is something I am

going to have to continue to read and learn and build my knowledge


base. The teaching skills will have to have a lot of observation and
practice. In terms of dispositions, this is something I can start right
away without any practice. I thought this was very interesting. It will
help to observe other teachers though that do it very well. They could
be a good model. Another point Dr. Rogers kept mentioning was about
believing that every child can learn. If I were to give up on a student
because I think they are a lost cause then I would not be a very good
teacher. Every child can learn, and my attitude is so much connected
with my disposition. Attitude could be the difference in a child learning
how to read, do math, or any subject matter out there. The one with a
great attitude is the one that will make a difference. She talked about
relationships and what to do when a child tells you something about
their home life or poverty and it upsets you. We have to keep our
empathy in check. If it is serious enough to call DHR then absolutely,
but if it is something just sad we have to be nurturing but not let it
affect our job. Relationships are so important to teaching children. A
self-assessment is very important to for looking into my character and
who I know myself to be. Sometimes people can put on a show and it
isnt truly who we are. A self-assessment challenges us to be honest
with ourselves about our disposition. Overall, I learned that dispositions
are way more important than I originally thought.
Julie Hannah- Assessment Matters

Mrs. Hannah challenged us to think about taking our driving test.


It wasnt our first time driving. If we were graded on when we were
learning then we wouldnt have passed of course. The same goes for
assessing children and putting a grade in the grade book. I love this! I
think this is such an accurate representation of what school should be.
It should be about learning and not about grades. In the long run its
not about getting an A on my test, its about if I learned the concepts
that were on the test. Mrs. Hannah talked about activities and lessons.
It should start with the standard and how to assess then the activity
should support whatever you just taught. I like this because it puts
together fun and learning. Thats also how I think school should be.
One line she said really stuck with me. She said helping kids have the
opportunity to help themselves. There are so many children out there
that cannot pay for the ACT or get themselves to the ACT. This past
year Alabama paid for every junior to take the ACT. This is an
opportunity given to children that wouldnt necessarily have that
opportunity if it werent for people fighting to make a difference. This
really affected me. I never think about stuff like that because I was
raised in a home where that was readily given to me to go to the ACT.
Hearing what Mrs. Hannah said really challenges me to think about
where I want to teach. There are children in need out there, and I might
be a light that changes their life. The reason I started down the path of
education is to make a difference. The story of Luke that she told gave

me chills. We have to get to know our children and figure out why they
are struggling and learn about their situations. Luke could have gone to
special education when he didnt need it. He just needed to learn more
words, and he would soar. A teacher makes such a difference in lives. I
want to be the type of teacher to encourage creativity instead of
making assessment my focus. Mrs. Hannah talked about how
important this is for new teachers to remember when they pressure of
assessment comes. Assessment is very critical, but we shouldnt
practice just for the assessment. It should be seeing if they have
mastered the concepts or not. Our attitude of teaching has gotten
skewed. We need to be teaching understanding and not just
memorizing.

Dr. Bluiett
At first Dr. Bluiett asked us to write down what we already know
about assessment, and it really challenged me to dig into what I have
already learned so far in terms of assessment. I now know since just
this year that assessment can be used for learning or for a grade.
There are two different types, and that is very important. Assessing for
learning is for the teacher to figure out the best way to further teach
the students so that they understand the concepts. Assessing for a
grade is a final assessment after small learning assessments have
happened.

I loved the first principle that Dr. Bluiett discussed because it


really put into perspective what the process of approaching
assessment should be. It was very interesting to me that her chart
ended at teaching and kid watching. This means that everything else
comes before that which means pre-testing and figuring out where
your child is at based on the grade they were in last year. The
assessment is supposed to guide your instruction. She said something
very important in Principle two, which was that assessment isnt just
about what children cannot do. Assessment has so much to do with
what children CAN do. This is so important because repeating yourself
will not further the learning of your students. If they already know
something, then we need to move on.
Dr. Bluiett brought up about using the four purposes of reading
assessment within our morning intervention at our clinicals. I loved
this! It makes so much sense. We will start with outcome assessment
by figuring out where all of our kids are at on the reading scale. Next
we will screen assess with gathering information about the individual
students. Next is diagnostic where we will have information on certain
strengths and weaknesses. This will all feed into progress-monitoring
assessments for feedback on the students response to how I provide
instruction to them. I am constantly reevaluating where my students
are at by making adjustments as needed. Dr. Bluiett made sure this
idea of making changes as you go is very important.

Dr. Patti Woods Reflection


Dr. Patti Woods had a lot of interesting things to say about gifted
and talented learners including myths, realities, what makes a gifted
learner, how to challenge them, and what not to do for gifted learners.
She mentioned attitude instilled at the beginning of the year is very
important because the children wont be comparing what they are
working on with each other. We need to tell our children that everyone
learns differently, and we all wont be working on the same things at
the same time. When we have a good attitude as a class then children
can learn in the way that best fits their needs without having friction
from the rest of the class. I thought this was something thats very
important for me to not just teach in the middle. I can teach each
individual child depending on if they are gifted or not. I thought what
she said about pre-testing was very good advice! I have never thought
about how important it is to pre-test children before I teach a lesson. I
need to know which children already know what I am about to teach. If
they know then I dont need to teach them again. They will absolutely
be bored. Dr. Woods gave an example for when she was in elementary
school. She said that she would get a spelling test on Monday of every
week without studying or knowing the words. If she got a 100 on
Monday then she didnt have to work on the words during the week or
take the new test on Friday. If you missed even just one letter you had

to work on the spelling stuff all week and then take the test on Friday.
This was a version of pre-testing to figure out what children are past
the knowledge of that group of spelling words or not. I love this! I will
definitely be doing more pre-testing than I thought I would be doing in
my classroom. She also talked a lot about giving choices within the
classroom. This is great advice because it caters to the different ways
children learn. Also, you are the authority of the classroom. This means
if a gifted student tries to go for the easier choice, then you have the
authority to ask them to try the harder route. I love the idea of the
children choosing what they like the most.
ELL Training
Last year I wrote a research paper on children learning English as
a second language within the classroom setting. A lot of what Lawrie
Valencia talked about lined up with my research, and I loved learning
even more on the topic. She talked about the stages of Second
Language Acquisition, which is a process that every child goes through
at a different rate. I didnt include these stages in my research, so it
was interesting to learn about them. The stages are the silent stage,
early production stage, speech emergence stage, intermediate fluency
stage, and advanced fluency stage. We dove into these stages and
came up with all different examples. Something I learned that Mrs.
Valencia mentioned was that ELL, EL, and ESL all mean the same thing.
The terms can be used interchangeably. I learned also that teachers

shouldnt focus as much on the conversational language of EL


students. This type of conversation is called BICS and can be learned
by time with peers. What teachers need to focus on is CALP, which is
the academic language piece of children learning English as a second
language. Working with these children is a responsibility that should be
taken very seriously. Just because a child doesnt have English as his
first language doesnt mean he cant keep up with the rest of the class
or even go above and beyond within his classroom. It is up to the
teacher to figure out how to work with him and push him to the next
level within WIDA. WIDA is what every teacher has to follow when they
have an ELL student in their classroom. There are levels under WIDA
that line up with the Language Acquisition levels. Teaching every
student in the same way is taking the easy way out. Every child is
different and learns differently, and this includes ELL students. It is up
to us as a teacher to figure out how to challenge and help our ELL
students to learn.
Dr. Cheshire
Dr. Cheshire talked about assessments and in particular three
particular assessments, which include assessment for learning, as
learning, and of learning. I had never heard of these three branches
within assessment, but I really liked the way it is organized. It is a mix
of formative and summative which is a good balance for the classroom.
Assessment and Evaluation is not the same thing. We had talked about

this in class, and I loved that Dr. Cheshire brought it up as well. Its so
important not to just focus on the evaluation part. We did an activity
where we split up to decide why, how, what, and when we assess. This
was interesting because it really got my brain working about
assessment. We assess because it shows where our class is at, to see
what the teacher can improve on, and to show parents and other
people proof of scores. We are assessing all the time all throughout the
day in class. There are so many ways to assess children from
standardized tests to diagrams or graphic organizers. She talked about
homework, and if we should give a grade on homework. She doesnt
believe we should give a grade on homework because a lot of times we
are grading the parents work. I think this is a good point because
bringing something home is always up to the parents if they are going
to help the child or not. Sometimes the child doesnt ask for help and
the parents helps anyways because they want them to make a good
grade. Going over the homework and working through it would be
more beneficial than giving a grade, I think. She said as a teacher it is
not her job to give a grade, but it is her job to help them learn. This is a
great thing to keep in mind while I teach. I dont want to get so caught
up in grades that I am forgetting the base of what teaching is. It is
about learning and not number grades. I think this is good to add to my
philosophy!
Dr. Underbakke

Something that really stuck with me that Dr. Underbakke said


was, It is easier to understand difficult text when it is read out loud. It
makes so much sense and the first thing I thought of was in high
school when we read Shakespeare. When I read it alone, I could not
understand it. When my English teacher read it out loud to the class,
he read it with enthusiasm and different voices. I could understand the
difficult text better. I need to remember this when I have a class and
am reading them books. He also talked about when we are reading
books aloud they should be books that they wouldnt normally come
across. They need to be harder books or books that they wouldnt
necessarily be exposed to. He was saying how reading a chapter book
to kids over a period of time is so important in development. We
shouldnt get so caught up in getting the standards done that we
forget about these things like reading to them. I think this is so
important. We should not focus so much on getting things done. We
should remember to instill things in their daily routine that really
expose them to things that the curriculum might not. Dr. Underbakke
said that nothing brings a better community then a shared text. I love
this! He is so right. This goes on up into adulthood, and I have
experienced firsthand. When there is a shared text, I could talk about it
with someone for hours. As a child it is the same idea, and this is so
important. Even if you disagree about an opinion on a book, that still
builds community and development. Learning how to disagree with

someone respectfully and in a friendly way is part of community


anyways. He said whatever book we read aloud to children, we need to
know it very well and stay ahead. We need to be aware of
inappropriate and different language. This is a good point. We have to
be careful about that. This is really the only negative thing he said
about reading aloud to our class. I say its definitely a necessary thing
to do for development, community, and just for fun!
PEI Speaker Day Reflection
I learned a lot about the behind the scenes of different roles
within the school system. We heard from the bookkeeper, specials
teachers, ELL teacher, the lunchroom manager, the principal, Title I
teachers, and the special education teacher. With Debby Dre the
bookkeeper what really stuck with me was not being able to accept gift
cards or money past $25. Dr. Hoagland told me to think about the root
of why that is. If a teacher is grading and the parent was given a $200
gift card for Christmas, then the teacher is more likely to grade easier.
This is so interesting to me because I had no idea that this was a rule.
This effects student achievement because without someone keeping
things organized dealing with the money and teachers, then the school
would fall apart. The students wouldnt have an organized school to
come learn in. Another speaker that talked to us was Ida Collins.
Something she talked about that stuck with me is that a parent cannot
bring bought food like McDonalds into the lunchroom. My parents did

that all the time! Its so good that things are changing into a healthier
path. With the obesity rate so high these days its good that things are
changing. Mrs. Ida has a very important job of feeding children.
Feeding children impacts student achievement because when a child
isnt hungry they can focus on learning. The Art and Music teachers
also talked to us, and they were talking about how some teachers think
that art and music arent all that important. Mrs. Robuck was saying
how this isnt true at all and that they have standards, too. Art and
Music was such an important part of my elementary school experience,
and I cant imagine this being taken out of schools. The art teacher told
us about Deep Space Sparkle, and I looked it up. It was so neat! It has
all of these resources for art lessons and art videos and neat stuff. This
would be a good source to use even if Im not an art teacher. I can still
use it in the classroom! The ELL teacher talked about his job and how
much he loves it. I didnt realize how much he worked with the parents
of the ELL students. I did a research paper on ELL students last
semester, and one of the tips for classroom teachers of ELL students
was to get the parents involved on the game plan of learning. David
Pitts reinforced this idea, but I didnt realize how much an ELL teacher
deals with parents. The Title I teachers talked about what goes on with
their jobs, and I didnt even know there was a job that existed like the
ones they have. They are the ones working with children that are
below grade level. It is sort of what we are doing with early morning

intervention. We are working with children who arent quite up to


standards for their grade level. Mrs. Paige talked to us about being the
special education teacher. She collaborates with teachers and works
with children with IEP goals. She has a very strict schedule because
she cant pull children out at certain times. It seems like such a Catch
22 because when you pull them out then they are missing out on
something, but then they actually do need that extra help. I didnt
realize how much scheduling went into working with special needs
children. Student achievement for these children is very dependent on
Mrs. Paige because without her they might not have as much one on
one time for learning. Principal Barber talked a lot about what she
looks for in an interview. I learned a lot that it isnt just about grades,
but it has a lot to do about attitude and a well-rounded person when
she thinks about hiring someone. Principal Barber also talked about
how no ones job within a school is more important than the other. Its
all a circle, and the children are in the middle. It was such a good
message that really made me think about how my job is just part of
influencing a child, and there is so much more to it. Overall, these
speakers that spoke today have a lot of jobs that they do that are
thankless. Its easy to think that teaching is all about the classroom
teacher, but this is not true at all. There are so many other people
within a school that are pouring into the children, and this is something

I really need to keep in mind when I am appreciating other faculty


within my school.
Mrs. Joyner
Mrs. Joyner first talked to us about different tools that we could
use when writing our math lesson plans. She seemed to really like
technology for math, which I dont know if I agree with her all the way. I
agree with some of her points about technology. Children can definitely
learn with it, but I dont think it should be implemented in the
classroom as much as it is. This is just an opinion, and as I go on I
might change it. I think doing math problems on the Ipad and
screenshotting them like she says is not effective at all. That is
backtracking and just putting technology where it is not necessary.
Math problems need to be done with pencil and paper where the
student can think and scribble and spread out. I can understand what
she said about using minecraft because it uses critical thinking, and
the kids are proud of what they accomplished. I think thats a great
idea! I think using technology in moderation is what we need to be
focusing on. Our world is already so focused on technology, and I dont
necessarily think this is a good thing. I think its healthy for children to
be without it or used in moderation. Anyways, she talked to us about
cool apps and websites like Aplus click, K-5 Math teaching resources,
Youcubed, and interactive whiteboard. I liked learning about these
things! For the second half of our time with Mrs. Joyner we did a STEAM

activity. We were in charge of connecting our chair to another chair


using only zip ties and skewers. The task wasnt hard, but I could see
how it could make children think. I liked doing it! We talked about
different ways it could be used as a math lesson, and it made me think
about other hands on things I could use with math. I dont want math
to be boring for the kids, but rather something that gets their brains
working. I liked the skewer activity because it made us think!