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Language Arts: I taught a very engaging read-write-think aloud lesson.doc with third grade students at D.J. Montague Elementary School in Williamsburg, Virginia. Using the text, The Mystery of Harris Burdick, I encouraged students to create their own mysterious and intriguing story. Each student was given their own picture with only a caption and title. Essentially, the students become the author because there is no explanation to go along with any of the pictures. Using a different picture than the rest of the students were given, I modeled brainstorming and writing a story. I constantly asked students in the class for input and suggestions. I believe that modeling the creative writing process provided a great example to the class of what was expected of them. This lesson provided an opportunity for students to critically think about a picture and truly become the author (Competency 14). The students absolutely loved this lesson and were so excited to write their own story. Most of them created either funny or creepy stories based off of their pictures, title, and caption. One of my favorite aspects of this lesson is that individual student differences are easily and readily met. Some students needed more guided and support during their independent writing time while others wrote several pages with little support. Also, the students write creative stories using strategies that they know. The story the students create is completely up to them and reflects their ability as writers (Competency 10).

Mathematics: I believe that every child has a preferred method and style of learning. For me, I learn best with hands-on mathematics lessons using manipulatives so I can visualize the problem. However, some students learn by listening to instructions while others learn by using manipulatives to solve the problem by doing it. When planning for mathematics lessons.doc I always try to incorporate numerous strategies into each lesson so I can reach each learner in my classroom. I wrote a mathematics lesson during my student teaching experience to teach the concept of sorting, graphing, and more, fewer, equal using jelly beans. 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 (Competency 12). To accommodate students who need to use manipulatives, the students returned to their desks to sort and graph their own jelly beans. This lesson shows my ability to plan and implement a variety of instructional strategies appropriate for the content area. Kindergarteners are motivated to work with the jelly beans because they are familiar with these manipulatives and cannot wait to go home and eat their special math treat! Critical thinking skills are addressed as students find there are not any black or white jelly beans in their bags, however, they sorting and graphing sheets have spots for these colors. Students must think critically in order to decide what to do with their graph when they do not have any black or white objects (Competency 14). Pictured below is an example of a mathematics lesson that incorporates manipulatives and hands-on activities. Students were instructed on which number to pull down from their number row and then they were able to make partners (ex. 2 and 3) for each number. These lessons provide an engaging experience for the students.
Social Studies: During my practicum experience I had the opportunity to co-create a culture kit on the country of India. Personally, I created a art history lesson plan.doc to encourage students to think critically about the relationship between art, history, and culture. This lesson taught students relevant background information about three pieces of Indian artwork. These pieces were on display for the children to analyze, evaluate, and discuss. Then, we discussed how history and culture influence artistic expression. To bring the lesson to a close, the students had the privilege to create their own watercolor paintings incorporating their own cultural influences. This lesson is very engaging because the students would get to create their own painting after learning about art and history (Competencies 11 & 13). In addition, this lesson begins with an anticipatory set to engage the students in the lesson. I would further motivate the students by showing them my own personal watercolor painting. This lesson meets the needs of students with individual differences in the classroom. Students create their own watercolor paintings, form their own opinions regarding the artwork, and answer the critical thinking questions in their own words.001.JPG Pictured to the left is the ganesha fabric painting that would be used during this art history lesson that promotes critical thinking skills for elementary school students.

Science: During my practicum experience I co-planned and co-taught a science simple machines discovery circus.doc to third grade students. We created teacher and students cards to help guide the lesson for both parties involved (Competency 9). The teacher cards were explicit instructions regarding materials needed, strategies used, and questions for discussion. On the other hand, the student cards provided step-by-step instructions for the students as they moved between the four stations we set up for them. The first station was set up for students to explore simple machines commonly found around the house using a game on the internet. The second station was interdisciplinary in nature and combined science and social studies. At this station, the students compared roman architecture with modern architecture. The students had to critically think about how individuals from the past and present created those building using different simple machines. The third station provided students with the opportunity to build replicas of roman temples using blocks and simple machines. Critical thinking was a must in order for students to achieve this goal! Finally, our fourth station allowed students to use simple machines to complete simple tasks such as cutting bread or raising a flagpole. This was an extremely engaging lesson! We motivated the third grade students by presenting them with the problem of getting a friend into the house that is in a wheelchair. Immediately, the students wanted to help us solve our problem! We told them after they visited each station they would probably have a solution to our problem. This lesson provides for individual differences because the students work at their own pace with the guidance of the two teachers. In addition, the stations provide for students with a range of preferred learning styles. Some stations were visual while others were tactile in nature. I believe this discovery circus was an appropriate instructional strategy to use for science because it was hands-on and exploratory based learning (Competency 12).