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Language Arts:

As a young child, I absolutely loved reading and writing in elementary school. I was constantly getting books from the public library, drawing picture books, and eventually writing small stories. My love for literature has continued and I consider leisure reading to be one of my hobbies. As an undergraduate student at Longwood University I took numerous English courses including Honor’s Children’s Literature and World Literature. Children’s Literature exposed me to an array of texts for children in the K-5 elementary school environment. In particular, I enjoyed Where The Wild Things Are, a childhood favorite, and Coraline, a book that was completely unfamiliar to me prior to Children’s Literature. As a result of taking this course I developed a new appreciation for children’s books. In addition, I learned about several innovative ways to incorporate children’s books into all aspects of the elementary school classroom. World Literature showed me the necessity and benefits of using books that represent a variety of different cultures, countries, and values. I want my future students to have the opportunity to read texts that will excite them while also teaching them about previously unknown cultures and regions of our world.
Regarding my experience in teaching language arts, during my student teaching experience I taught a language arts lesson.doc to third grade students. Using the picture book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsberg each student was encouraged to write their own story using details and descriptive language. The students were each given their own black and white picture from the text that only includes a title and brief caption. As a result of the lack of detailed information and intriguing picture, the students were excited about writing a story. These third grade students were so eager to write stories and absolutely loved the fact that everyone would have their own unique story.
external image 512TA4RFCML._SL500_AA240_.jpgMathematics:
In 2004, I graduated from Northampton High School where I took several mathematics courses during my four year period at this institution. The following classes have provided me with a solid mathematics foundation: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Statistics. In addition, at Longwood University I took Functions and Graphs, a mathematics course. I believe that my background in mathematics is very well rounded and will enable me to effectively teach K-5 mathematics in the elementary school classroom. During my student teaching at D.J. Montague Elementary School I taught several mathematics lessons to my kindergarten students using a variety of different manipulatives. To teach children how to sort and graph different colored items I came up with a mathematics lesson.doc lesson that incorporated gummy bears. My kindergarteners were so excited to work with gummy bears that they forgot they were even completing an assignment. These students were so engaged in the lesson that they quickly understood the concept of sorting, making a graphing, and reading a graph. As an extra treat, the students were each given a few gummy bears after they successfully completed their sorting chart and graph! Another effective money mathematics lesson.doc that I taught in kindergarten involved the use of real coins and fake food. Due to the fact that this lesson was the student’s first exposure to money I wanted to create a lesson to teach just the fundamentals. The objective of the lesson was for students to understand the value of each coin. In a small group setting, the children were each given a coin purse with one quarter, one dime, one nickel, and one penny and encouraged to buy fake food with their money. I find that teaching mathematics in a small group atmosphere is very effective, especially for students who need additional support in this subject area.
In fall 2008, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 12th Annual Tidewater Team Math Day at the College of William and Mary. This was a great experience because I was able to learn about several different hands-on approaches to teaching fractions, percents, and decimals. I also enjoyed listening to veteran teachers discuss ways that they incorporate literature and manipulatives into mathematics.

Social Studies:
As a young student, social studies was always one of my favorite subjects and an area where I excelled academically. As a Political Science major at Longwood University I took numerous courses related to Social Studies. United States History, Economics, Geography, Government, Modern Western Civilizations, and International Relations are just a handful of the classes that I took during my undergraduate experience at Longwood University. I feel extremely confident in my ability to successfully pass on my passion and knowledge about history to my future students. The courses that I took as an undergraduate student cover a wide variety of social studies topics; therefore, I will be very well prepared to teacher this subject in the elementary school classroom.
During my student teaching experience at D.J. Montague Elementary School I had the opportunity to create several social studies lesson plans and then implement them in my kindergarten classroom. Prior to the 2008 presidential election I taught a three day social studies lesson.doc that covered the following topics: the duties of the President of the United States, the meaning and purpose of voting, and the two candidates that were running for office. I introduced the lesson by reading two different books, The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. The students were then able to vote for the character, either the pig or the wolf, that they believed was telling the truth. I believe that this was a great way to begin discussing the topic of voting and the office of the president. In addition, the students were so eager to place their ballot in the voting box and receive their “I Voted!” sticker. The students also were able to take a virtual field trip to visit eight rooms in the White House. Incorporating technology into this social studies lesson helped to increase student engagement and informed the kindergartners about the president’s home, The White House. I feel that this interdisciplinary lesson was informative, engaging, and memorable for the kindergarten students.

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Science:
As a student at Northampton High School I took several science courses, such as Marine Biology, Earth Science, and Chemistry. In addition, while at Longwood University I took a Biology course which included a laboratory experience. These courses helped me to develop an appreciation about the wonders of the world around us. The courses I took covered a wide variety of topics and subjects. I believe the knowledge I gained as a student in these courses will certainly help me to be an effective science teacher.
I consider science to be one of the most exciting subjects in the elementary school curriculum. Science teaches children to think critically, collect data, and make observations. Science is a wonderful subject that seems to naturally lend itself to hands-on learning where the student is able to discover knowledge for themselves. I have observed a wonderful science lesson in a first grade classroom where a local farmer brought in different vegetables with the leaves and roots still attached for the students to see, touch, and taste. This class was learning about different parts of the plant and as a result of this discussion with the farmer, the students were so excited about plants! I have also developed and implemented several lessons for my kindergarten students. Last year I created a hands-on science lesson.doc about magnets for the children in kindergarten. I took the role as facilitator and gave the students to opportunity to construct their own understanding about magnets. I started the lesson with the engaging activity of moving Total cereal using a magnet. The students were so impressed! I then provided each student with a magnet and a variety of different objects. I wanted the students to understand that magnets are attracted to some objects but are not attracted to all objects. After this exploratory part of the lesson the students participated in a discussion about what they observed while working with their magnets. Almost all of the students grasped the objective of the lesson, however, clarification was provided to reassure the students and to help the more struggling students who did not understand. These kindergartners were even talking about the magnet lesson for several days after it was over!
Art:
Incorporating the subject of art into the elementary school classroom provides many benefits to the students. For some students art may be the only area where a child excels or feels confident. As a result of taking a Visual Arts course at Longwood University, I feel prepared to create lessons that allow the students to be creative and express themselves in the form of art. I learned about so many different periods of art history, viewed thousands of works of art, and developed an appreciation about the beauty of this subject. I believe that social studies is a subject that naturally makes art incorporation relevant and interesting.
During my student teaching experience, three of my peers and I created a culture kit.pdf that included several lesson plans and artifacts that contained both art and social studies elements. In an extensive unit designed to teach students about the culture, landmarks, and history of India we incorporated art into several lesson plans. For example, one lesson plan that I created taught the students about the love for elephants in Indian culture and the famous god, Ganesha. After viewing an authentic fabric painting of Ganesha, the children were given the opportunity to create their own Ganesha portraits. This lesson makes history and art come alive!
Health:
As an undergraduate student at Longwood University I took a Health and Fitness course that included a physical education competent as well as a health education component. I learned the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle by getting regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and understanding about a variety of different diseases. I feel prepared to educate my future students about the benefits of living a healthy life. In addition, the daily choices that I make in my life will hopefully be evident to my students. Being a positive, healthy role model for my students will help them understand the need to eat nutritious food and exercise regularly. Also, during my course work at The College of William and Mary I had the privilege to attend a lecture hosted by a local physical education teacher. She demonstrated ways to embed physical activities into classroom lessons and ways to reach students who are kinesthetic learners. This lecture really showed me how physical activity can add to the engagement of a lesson!
During my student teaching experience at D.J. Montague Elementary School I was in an atmosphere where healthy living and eating was encouraged and modeled for the students. For example, our lunch items include fruits and/or vegetables and low-fat milk every single day. Students also participate in a weekly gym class where they received plenty of exercise. In addition, on a daily basis the kindergarten students in my student teaching classroom enjoyed recess and running in the gym briefly before lunch time. Also, before students play at recess they are expected to run or walk a lap. My student teaching experience showed me how health education can be incorporated into each student’s daily schedule.



Relevant Test Scores:
Praxis I-- (Reading 185, Writing 181, Mathematics 184)
Virginia Reading Assessment for Elementary-- Passed with a score of 277
Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment--Passed with a score of 561
Praxis II (Elementary Education-Content Knowledge)--Passed with a score of 177