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Integrated Reflection After Phase One Walking into my first ever student teaching placement was terrifying.

We had learned what were we suppose to say and wear on our first day of teaching, but beyond that my classes had just begun to scrape the surface of what it meant to be a “teacher”. My classroom was a fourth grade classroom which used a scripted curriculum, called the Wilson Reading Program and focused the first half of it’s day solely on literacy. It couldn’t be that hard, right? My cooperating teaching I was working with started off immediately by being an amazing role model and mentor to me. She showed me the ropes and modeled exactly how she had perfected dealing with behavior as well as making sure each student was learning to the best of their abilities. I realized then the importance of collaboration and how it was necessary to make positive and lasting relationships with the people who mattered most in an educator’s life, their colleagues, parents and most importantly, the students. My cooperating teacher was diligent about helping me to structure projects and assessment for my students. She, along with my SPED 440 class, helped me to understand the importance of assessment in education. Before I began, I use to think that assessment was simply a test, something that was given to at the end of a unit to show comprehension and synthesis of the material. But, being in that classroom for 118 hours, really showed me the importance of assessment and how assessment could tell you different things in each stage of learning. The first type of assessment I encounter was an “informal assessment”. I did two informal assessments, one focusing on reading fluency, and one focusing on decoding. These short informal assessments showed where the student was performing presently, and also could be used to begin formatting a plan for where the student could go in the future. Out of this informal assessment came an “Instructional program”, which was a clear and detailed plan that outlined how a student was going to be instructed in a specific skilled and progress monitored. When the student was progressed monitored, by collecting data on their progress, assessment took on a whole new meaning. It was then used to monitor how the student was doing, but also as a sign for how the teacher (and myself) was doing. The assessment told us if the intervention was working or not, and based off of that, we could edit and restructure instruction accordingly. The last kind of assessment I saw in this placement was a structured, commercialized form of fluency progress monitoring used in many school districts around the country called the DIBELS. The DIBELS required students to do a timed read of a passage at their instructional level and then give a timed summary of what they read as well. I think it was important to include this in the curriculum as well because it had a structured, routine way in which it was given. It was an assessment that could be used to see a student progress, and since it was widely popular, other teachers and administrators could more easily get a sense of where that student was functioning at for that specific skill. The DIBELS was also a good assessment to use because it was commercially created and had a universal way in which it was given. If followed correctly, this assessment was a good staple to include in an IEP to show progress made over time. Overall, this experience taught me a lot about my future as a professional educator. I learned the importance of collaboration with colleagues, and the importance of using assessments in different stages of teaching and learning. I know the future will show me

even more instances of both of these things, and I cannot wait to expand my horizons on a professional and academic level.