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Michelle Connell

3/20/17

Teacher Interview

- How do you write a typical lesson plan?
- “The 3rd grade as a whole used departmentalized planning. They
use a website called www.planbook.com, which gives all of the 3rd grade
teachers access to the lesson plans for the week. The teachers are also able to
comment on the website, to record what worked well and what would be changed
within the lesson.”

- What types of materials do you need available when you plan lessons?
- “As a 3rd grade team, we use the county website with the pacing
guide, the grade standards and the unpacking doc to plan our lessons. We also
use past experiences to help us think about what activities work and do not
work.”

- In what ways do you plan to accommodate individual differences in the
classroom?
- “I try to incorporate hands on, visual, oral and written activities for
my class. For my struggling learners, I meet with them individually and in smaller
groups. My class is very strong in auditory lessons and weaker in tactile lessons.”

- What are some of your instructional challenges as a teacher?
- “Time. Fitting all of the material and standards in before the end of
the year and making sure none of the students slip through is very challenging.”

- What have been some of your instructional successes as a teacher?
- “One of my instructional successes has been being able to work
with a group of kids in a small group.”

- What do you consider essential characteristics for successful teaching?
- “ One essential characteristic for successful teaching is teaching
to the child and being able to change. It is very important to be able to change to
the class’ needs. Self reflection of lessons and of the school day are also
important for teachers so we are able to come in the next day with a new
perspective of the day.”

- How often do your students receive social studies/science instruction?
- “The students receive social studies or science instruction each
day from 2:10-2:50. Although only for 40 minutes, students are still able to get a
small activity and lesson done. We do 6 weeks of science and then switch to 6
weeks of social studies throughout the entire year.”
- Are you satisfied with the amount of time that you currently allot for social
studies/science instruction? Explain.
- “No, I wish that the amount of time for social studies and science
would be about 15 minutes longer than it already is. I am very happy that we are
able to teach both science and social studies, being that a lot of schools around
us do not.”

- What social studies and science topics/units will be studied during the second
week of my clinical experience? What are possible goals/objectives I could address for
my lessons? Do you have any instructional resources that would support these
goals/objectives?
- “During the second week of your clinical experience, we will be
working in science with the muscular system as well as looking at owl pellets and
skeletal systems of animals. Within the lesson you are teaching on the skeletal
system, I would ask the students first about what they know about bones and the
skeletal system. A lot of them will already know some information on this topic.
Also know that these lessons are important and may take more than a day to
perform, so if necessary you can use another day and we can push everything
back.”

- What does reading instruction look like in your classroom? What reading topics
will be studied during the 2nd week of my clinical experience? What are possible
goals/objectives I could address for my reading lesson? Do you have any instructional
resources that would support these goals/objectives?
- “During reading instruction, I like to work in rotations. I usually
start with a mini lesson that the students can apply to their own reading. We are
currently reading the novel Bunnicula and examine characteristics of the main
characters and plot. The students then move into independent reading or doing
work with iReady, work in small groups on assignments and reading and
complete word work activities. The students work on reading instruction from
9:10-10:30 and then again after specials before lunch. During the 2nd week of
my clinical experience, the class will also be looking at passages dealing with
fables, folktales, and myths.”

- What motivation tactics do you use to ensure a desire to learn?
- “When teaching my lessons, I try to connect as much of the
information being taught to personal real life ideas. Being able to relate topics
personally to the students help for the students to retain the information and think
about how it connects to their own life. Also, I try to show the students that I am
excited about what I am teaching/what they are learning, even if we have been
working on the topic for a few weeks. The last few weeks we have been working
with equivalent fractions. A lot of the students are struggling to understand the
topic and even though I am ready to move on and I know they are also, I cannot
show them that I am frustrated with the topic. If I do, this will make the students
also become frustrated and not want to try their best. I also try to use a variety of
different teaching methods since each student learns differently. I do this by
working individually with student and then in a full group and small groups, by
showing visuals and orally giving information and especially giving hands on
materials for the students to work with.”

- Tell me about the classroom community. What are the class rules? How is
student behavior monitored? In what ways is positive behavior reinforced? In what ways
are negative behaviors prevented? Tell me about the consequences for negative
behavior.
- “Within the class, I have tried to incorporate whole brain teaching.
This helps to give the students a more positive look at the assignments they are
completing throughout the day and helps to reward positive behavior. If a student
is not listening, they are given a white slip, which means that they have done
something wrong and need to walk one lap per white slip they receive at recess. I
have recently started to keep tally of when the whole class does something well
or follows directions correctly. If this happens, I will give the class a tally under
the smiley face column on the front board. If the students are able to get 5 tallies
in one day, they are able to have one extra minute of talking time at the end of
the day. The class then can also decide if they want to save all of the minutes up
for Friday to have a longer period of talking time at the end of the week. I have
tried to incorporate the turn and teach method with my class and was able to do it
very well with them before winter break. After coming back, we fell of track with
keeping this up, but I am trying to restart it again.”

- Tell me about the pacing of lessons and interaction in the classroom-use of time-
and other aspects of time… wait time, and time using teacher talk and student talk. What
works well with your students?
- “With the pacing of my lessons, I try to break activities up into 10-
15 minute activities. If I have an activity go on for longer than this, I begin to
loose the students and end up having to repeat what needs to be done multiple
times. I like to have the students get up and walk around so they are not always
sitting, so I try to do a lot of small group hands on activities that allow their bodies
to still be moving. It is important to not waste a minute in the classroom because
there is so much information that needs to be taught and there really is not that
much time in a school day to get it completed.