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Cassie Durkee

TPE Reflection Assignment

December 1, 2017
TPE Reflection Assignment

TPE 1: In what ways, through the classroom environment, student motivation and instruction,

can I engage and support all students in learning?

This is an area that I am particularly passionate about. When I was going through school,

I had many teachers that epitomized what to do or what not to do in order to motivate students to

learn. To begin with, I will have a system of incentives put into place that utilize homemade

currency called Durkee Dollars. For rewards for completing milestones or exceptionally good

behavior, I will give out some DD. With enough collected, they will be able to cash it in to earn

rewards such as eating lunch with me, having a stuffed animal at their desk, or receiving priority

selection of their class job for the week. I will also engage all students by using a variety of

technological and traditional techniques. Some examples are as follows. I will utilize Google

Docs in order to assign group projects for students. This will allow me to see who has

contributed so I can encourage the other students in the group to step up to the plate and be a

good team player. I will modify my lessons so that each lesson hits at least two different

intelligences. If I am able to engage them on many different levels, this will bring excitement to

the most amounts of students in my classroom. Incorporating a fun video into a lesson about

history will bring the subject to life, while adding in Theatre to ELA will ensure that the students

get exposure to the arts while still achieving all standards set out by the state of California.

TPE 2: How can I create and maintain an effective learning environment through my classroom

management, discipline, and leadership?

I have had the experience of being around children of all different ages for my entire life.

In everything, I have learned that the key is to be consistent. Since I dont want to have to
Cassie Durkee
TPE Reflection Assignment
December 1, 2017
consistently enforce a rule that I no longer think is beneficial, I need to be incredibly mindful

before school even begins about the rules and expectations that I want to perpetuate in my

classroom. I have written up a detailed and thorough Classroom Management Plan that I expect

to be adding to and removing from for the rest of my days as an elementary school educator. I

also do not believe in bluffing when it comes to punishments. If the students see that I dont

follow through on what I say that Ill do, their respect for me as a leader will typically decrease. I

will also be a major proponent on having explicit procedures for the students to follow. If I know

that there is some ambiguity as to what my expectations are, I would have a difficult time doling

out consequences that dont seem fun or positive. However, when I know that there is zero

ambiguity, I will have no qualms about following through with the expected consequences of

those actions.

TPE 3: In what ways can I take ownership of the subject matter content standards and make

them accessible and memorable for my students?

For me, owning the subject matter content standards means creating lessons that go

deeper than the face value of the curricula handed to me. While I love that pre-packaged

curriculum often has a very close alignment to state standards, I find that it often lacks cross-

curriculum connections. My goal with every lesson that I teach this upcoming semester is to

incorporate at least one other state standard from a different subject than the main one that I will

be teaching. In my experience, the simple fact that I am combining elements of two subjects

leads to a freshness and excitement level that is more difficult to achieve if each subject is taught

as an entirely individual concept. As an example, I recently taught a lesson in which I

incorporated art with History. I had students make collages representative of each distinct region

within California. Through this exercise, they were so much more engaged than I had seen them
Cassie Durkee
TPE Reflection Assignment
December 1, 2017
be during a History lesson. It has been several months since that lesson, but if I ask (which I do

occasionally) about the regions of California, they all excitedly rattle off the four types and

different distinct elements within each region. This is just one small example of how

incorporating subjects can cause students to engage, but I firmly believe that it is an important

way to encourage students to remember and become a participant in what they are being taught.

TPE 4: How can I direct and facilitate a variety of learning environments for all students?

I have had the privilege of student teaching in two classrooms at this point that have

implemented flexible seating. One classroom allowed freedom of choice of seating, as long as

the students demonstrated that they could handle sitting in that area. Another classroom had

more regimented seating assignments, which rotated every morning. While both teachers have

different styles of classroom management, both allowed their students to decide how they best

learned. Both classrooms had very tall tables or desks that the students could stand at while they

worked. These also had tall stools that the children could sit or lean on, and one classroom had a

couple half-balance balls for students to stand on. I saw such an improvement in the students

overall behavior and ownership of their actions. I watched as one student who used to get into

trouble quite frequently for talking to his friends decided to move seats so he could focus more

on the lesson. I strive to create that environment for my students one day soon by incorporating

flexible seating and personal responsibility into my classroom. I will include quiet areas for

students who get overstimulated or distracted easily, which has the potential to be beneficial for

students with varying mental and physical disabilities as well. Finally, I will ensure that my

classroom is a print-rich environment. I will have objects around the room labeled, depending on

the age group and literacy level of my students. For the younger ages, this will be beneficial for
Cassie Durkee
TPE Reflection Assignment
December 1, 2017
becoming comfortable reading words, and for the middle ages, it will help ELs become

comfortable with associating words written in English with objects around the room.

TPE 5: In what ways can I assess and enhance student learning through assorted assessment


In order to assess and enhance my students learning throughout the school year, I will

utilize multiple different means of assessment. I realize that not every student is able to take what

they know and put it down on paper to show their knowledge. I also know that some students

simply may not have the skill set to explain what they have learned i.e. if they are ELs or have a

physical or mental disability. In light of these facts, I will be implementing a number of different

assessment types in my classroom. I will use at least one formative assessment for each lesson.

One of the reasons that I feel like assessments are so valuable is that they give me feedback on

how my instruction is reaching the students. If I have taught a lesson and the students arent

grasping it, then I have no succeeded, and formative assessments help me to see that I need to

backtrack before we get too far into the subject matter. Of course, multiple choice or true/false

tests have their benefits and place in the classroom, but I want to try to mix up the types of

assessments that I give as much as possible. Producing a creative portfolio of their work at the

end of a long unit is a fun way for the students to show me that they have been participating and

engaging with the subject matter all along the way. I am also a huge fan of clearly designed

rubrics. This goes hand-in-hand with being consistent in my classroom policies. With a well

thought out rubric, the students will have no uncertainty as to what the expectations are in order

for them to be successful in their work. Finally, I want all my students to become practiced in

self-reflection. As they learn to honestly evaluate themselves, their effort, and their work, they

will begin to take much more responsibility for their own learning and their own success. I once
Cassie Durkee
TPE Reflection Assignment
December 1, 2017
heard a student say she gave me a C. Once the realization sinks in that the students each earn

the grades they are given, they take a big step towards owning their own achievements in

education and in life.

TPE 6: How am I growing in my spiritual and personal life so as to be able to fulfill my mission

as a teacher?

Since beginning the teaching credential program at Vanguard, I have experienced an

incredible amount of personal growth. At the beginning of the program, I didnt have the

confidence in my own capabilities and decisions to be comfortable with even the idea of running

my own classroom. I felt much more comfortable when working under more competent

people, which I knew was not an ideal personality type to be working with so many children

dependent on my own thoughts and opinions. In the past 9 months, however, I am so grateful and

blessed to see how completely that shifted. I now am able to make a decision and stand by it and

I have a confidence that I can only describe as being God-given. I have already had to stand up

for myself and my own decisions in multiple different scenarios, and it has been such a good

feeling to see how well it works to be kind as well as strong in every situation. I am so much

more focused on having a growth mindset now. Throughout my life, I was successful at almost

everything I put my hand to. When I would hit hard times in the credential program, it was very

disheartening and it became easy to question my aptitude for teaching as well as the call that I

know God has on my life in the field of Education. I can now say that my initial reaction to hard

times is to think through ways that I can be better, without going down the negative path of

feeling inadequate or not good enough. This will enable me to always and continually work to be

better in every situation as a teacher, leading to what I confidently pray will be a career full of