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Language Arts: During my practicum and student teaching experiences, I have had the opportunity to teach numerous language arts lessons. Most of these lessons have occurred in kindergarten classrooms where many students are just beginning to manipulate language, learn what “good” readers do, understand that words are made of letters that are made of sounds. It is such a privilege to work with these young students as they begin their journey as readers and writers. Currently, in my student teaching placement I plan lessons each week for four different groups of readers. I strongly believe in the strategy of flexible ability grouping to teach reading to students (Competencies 7 & 8). In my kindergarten placement we have students who do not know the letters in their name and students who read on 2nd and 3rd grade reading levels. We must flexibly group these students in order to provide them with the chance to grow and make progress. Many of the reading strategies taught are similar in each group; however, the texts used are quite different. I have included as an artifact a sample lesson plan.doc that I used one week to guide one of my reading lessons. This lesson plan covers numerous Virginia Standards of Learning such as K.1 The student will recognize rhyming words and K.5 The student will understand how print is organized and read. These are just two of the many Standards of Learning objectives covered in this week long guided reading lesson plan (Competency 6). I am constantly adapting these guided reading lessons as the students have difficulty with words or phrases. I use the teachable moments that seem to always arise to give my students the opportunity to grow as readers. However, I do believe it is important to start each guided reading lesson off with a plan, a purpose, and an appropriate text.

Mathematics: During my student teaching experience, I wrote and taught a mathematics lesson plan.doc using jelly beans with my kindergarten students. The lesson was designed to teach the concept of sorting, graphing, and more, fewer, equal. This one lesson plan covered three Virginia Standards of Learning and also provided the students with an engaging and hands-on lesson. I modeled this lesson for the students using a document camera. Although I actually sorted the jelly beans and completed the graph the students were giving me input and directions the entire time I was working with the document camera. They could see the worksheet and were eager to provide help when I asked for assistance. I believe this is an appropriate strategy to use with kindergarten students and especially with any students who are visual learners. Instead of just explaining the lesson, I actually went through the steps with my students. This allowed greater success for the struggling kindergarteners. The students thoroughly enjoyed this lesson and understood these concepts better as a result of this jelly bean lesson. }}

Social Studies: In November 2008, I had the opportunity to teach an election lesson.doc to the kindergarten students in my practicum classroom. I developed a lesson plan that taught the students about voting, the job of the president of the United States, and The White House. I aligned this lesson with the Virginia Standards of Learning and also incorporated technology into this lesson plan (Competencies 7 & 8). Virginia Standard of Learning K.9 The student will recognize the American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and that the President is the leader of the United States was covered in this lesson. I incorporated the use of a virtual tour using a classroom computer and internet. The assessment for this lesson was a checklist that allowed me to document which students understood the concept of voting and the job of the president of the United States. I believe that students learn best through authentic routes such as hands-on learning and life experiences. Therefore, an important aspect of this social studies lesson was to have the students participate in a mock election where they voted in a booth and received stickers after casting their ballot. This lesson was a huge success in my kindergarten practicum classroom!

Science: In Fall 2008, I co-planned a long range science unit.doc for kindergarten students on the five senses and their corresponding organs. Our unit included eight days of lessons including summative and formative assessments for each activity. All of our lessons were hands-on and inquiry based which provided the students with the opportunity to explore their five senses. This science module gave me the opportunity to plan a long range unit that aligns with the Virginia Standards of Learning. In this science unit, Virginia Standard of Learning K.2 would be taught in the classroom. K.2 allows students to investigate and understand that humans have senses that allow one to seek, find, take in, and react and respond to information in order to learn about one’s surroundings. Key concepts include: a) five senses and corresponding sensing organs (taste-tongue, touch-skin, smell-nose, hearing-ears, and sight-eyes); and b) sensory descriptors (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, rough/smooth, hard/soft, cold, warm, hot, loud/soft, high/low, bright/dull). Our module includes four detailed lesson plans covering the topics of taste, smell, hearing, and sight.