ECE 430 FINAL project Teaching Portfolio

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Teaching Portfolio

Name

Institution

Course Instructor

Date

The e-Portfolio can be found here

Cover Letter

Dear Sir/Madam,

RE: ASSISTANT TEACHER (JOB ID 1656392)

I am writing in response to a job advertisement on www.indeed.com  on June 8 2015 for an assistant teacher. I am interested in the job because it will give me an opportunity to work with and for children. Frances Jacobsen Early Childhood center is also one of the top preschools located in the Temple Israel Area that takes early childhood education seriously using both innovative and progressive approaches.

I have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Ashford University plus some hands-on experience in a similar position that I would bring to your center. Besides I have a broad range of skills that would be beneficial for the development of children such as curriculum development skill that will help in creating content for children. I also have well developed social skills to help in connecting with both children and parents and finally good communication skills to help in instruction of children.

I would be a great pleasure to further discuss   my suitability for this position with you. I am available for an interview, clarification and other additional information you might need from me. You can always contact me by email I have proved above.

Yours Sincerely,

Vasilika Benjamin

Biography

My name is Vasilika Benjamin, and I am currently in college going for my bachelor’s degree at Ashford University.  My major is in the Early Childhood Education field. I am a very outgoing person who interacts well with kids and can tell their developmental needs just by a little interaction with them. Also, because I am driven by talents, I can constantly investigate the “how’s”, and “why’s” of a given situation regarding kids’, which would be very beneficial to not only myself, but other people and my will be students.
            To begin with, in 10 years from now I hope to use my talents by being an excellent teacher by helping to develop and inspire the children I will be teaching, and by creating interactions with other teachers and their parents as well for the whole being of the students. I know that because I am very futuristic and I am inspired by the future and what education, and the things that I’ve learned can be beneficial to me to help me get ahead than others.
            My love for kids as well as my goals and aspirations are what motivate me to keep moving forward, and to get my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or even my master’s. It’s so funny to me, because the tension that I feel when a deadline is fast approaching forces me to concentrate on the right activities, discard irrelevant information, and not waste time on intriguing distractions.
 Finally, I think that my good intellectual skills are keeping me ahead at Ashford University. The reason is because when it comes down to doing class assignments and projects, I am very adept to getting different assignments done and on time. I know that as a college student and because of my strength I am definitely aware of my limitations and deficiencies. The reason is because it motivates me to take advantage of self-improvement opportunities in the workplace, educational settings, and my environment.

Model of Teaching

The model of teaching that I would engage in my profession as a teacher would be the Reggio Emilia method. This is an approach that values the child and views them as strong, resilient and capable, with full of wonder and knowledge (Caldwel, 1997). I prefer this method because it gives the children the opportunity to bring with them deep , which ultimately drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it. As a Reggio educator, I will be able to see my students as kids that are full of potential, competent and capable of building their own theories, rather than empty vessels that require filling with facts.

The Rights of Children as written by Loris Malaguzzi best describes how children are viewed. I think this is the best because the child is always involved and they will always be participating in whatever we are doing in class. As proven from done before, when the child is involved, they tend to memorize more and even retain more information than they would otherwise. This is very important in sharpening the child for the future and preparing them for schooling and education at large. Also, it is a model that advocates for the involvement of children in making many decisions and choosing from many options. When playing, the children should be allowed to participate in any play activity they want. This will enable them discover what they are good at. Finally, getting to develop a child from what he already knows is very key in the child’s creativity. As a teacher, I would want to see my students being innovative and creative, and this model will offer the best opportunity for me!

Developmentally Appropriate Practices

Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is an approach to teaching that is based on the research on how young kids learn and develop, and on what is known about early education that is effective. This framework is designed in such a way as to promote the optimal development and learning of young children. It is important since it involves the application of the knowledge of child development in making the most appropriate decisions that are thoughtful about the early childhood programs (Gestwicki, 1999). Every day, Early Childhood tutors have to make decisions, with the goals and objectives of children development and learning, and put in place strategies that are intentionally meant to propel the children into achieving those outcomes. According to Gestwicki 1999, the fact that DAP is and should be intentional is what makes it stand out. The intentionality in DAP to make sure that children achieve their learning objectives, both achievable and challenging lies supreme in my position statement. All the dimensions included in the developmentally appropriate practices are purely child oriented, a factor that anchors my belief on how important these practices are. These practices seek to tighten relationships in classroom, and to create a community of learners. Also, it is important that curriculum is constructed in a proper way and appropriately, with special attention to both the strategies to be used and the content to be passed out. In DAP, teaching should be mainly to enhance the development and learning of students, with consideration to the roles and strategies applied by teachers in order to ensure steady development of children.

That said, I believe that the developmentally appropriate practices ought to be in accordance to the standards set with by the NAEYC, where the specific children’s needs should be the ultimate point of focus.

Approaches to Curriculum

Planning for a classroom curriculum is very important in Early Childhood Education. In order to achieve the most out of my students, I will be using the Themed approach of curriculum planning. In this approach, the learning experiences are connected to a single theme, which may or may not include integration of subjects (Krogh & Morehouse, 2008). This is because the method takes care of the multi dimensional intelligence which is shown by the students. This method gives me specific information about Language/literacy, in the case of children with language needs. Others might not have the ability to socialize with their peers, and they as well need to be worked on, and this can be known if they enjoy most of their time playing alone than with others. This method will also integrate children’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with their school work, because it focuses on children’s cognitive aspect. When it comes to the emotional ones, this method will also help strengthen the emotionally weak, as it tries to take advantage of the emotions for their developmental good. Being the youngest student in the class, Kayla’s crying habit does alienate her socially. Finally, being there has to be some undisciplined and defiant students, and the themed approach also takes care of their disciplinary needs.

Those are the general needs of most students, and the improvement of all of them in a child ends up with a culmination of a child who develops wholesomely. These are also some of the individual needs that will be taken care of, an indication that this approach takes care of students both as a class and at an individual level.

Revised Lesson Plan

Lesson Title: Row, Row, Row your boat (song)

Lesson Objectives (include any from your state plus your own):

Kids will learn how to listen and follow instructions, and work as a team.

Kids will sing in a systematic and repetitive manner, while some act out on the songs as a team.

Materials:

Paddle like sticks

Charts

Crayons and markers

Manila papers

Pre-Assessment: All the kids have been singing a lot in the earlier lessons. The song they are going to sing is quite common to them, because Jane was heard teaching the others. Upon inquiring, I learnt that she was taught at home by her nanny. Johnny however is not acquainted with the song, owing to the fact that he is a loner, and this should help him to get along with his mates.

Special needs: To help Johnny with the song, I will ask Maya to recite the words of the song, so as to sharpen her language, with my guidance. To assist Jane and Caleb with fine motor skills, they will be drawing water waves on the charts, to indicate a sea. Kalya and Jack’s social skills will be improved by singing together.

Management and Guidance: Using his sentences of varied length and the strong expressive and receptive vocabulary, I will ask Caleb to say the class rules before the class. This will address the disciplinary needs of the students, as well as their listening skills, just as a repetition since every child knows them. I will use visual cues and oral language to explain what we will be going to do. I want to improve the children’s listening skills; therefore every child is expected to be listening keenly. I will remind Jack that I am the only one who will be telling the kids what to do, and he should not tell anyone what to do. I will also remind Johnny that everyone is expected to work with one another in the group activity, when it comes to acting the song and singing as well

Instructional Sequence: the class will sing the song “row, row, row your boat” together with the charts on their sides, as though they were in a sea. On one side Johnny, due to his advanced gross motor skills, will hold one paddle-like stick, together with Maya so that she can develop hers. On the other side, Jane and Caleb will be holding the other stick, for the same reason. The rest (Kalya and Jack) will be singing together, so that they can enhance their social skills. This latter group will be taking turns to sing with the group holding the paddles, and after giving them instructions several times, they will be expected to do it alone. Jack will learn that he is not always the leader, Kalya will be integrated to her classmates and won’t be intimidated, Caleb and Johnny won’t avoid playing with their classmates like they often do, Maya will improve on her communication and Jane’s gross motor skills will be improved.

Post-Assessment:

I will ask the children to pick a partner and sing the song together. When the class is over, they will be expected to do the same exercise with their parents and siblings at home. The following day, the kids will give an account of how they did at home, and whether they liked it.

Differentiated Common Core or Early Learning Standards Lesson Plan

Just as everyone is unique and different in their own way from another person, they have different ways of doing things. Differentiated instruction is a teaching method that designs and delivers instructions so as to best reach each student. It’s about the teacher making a lesson take into consideration the abilities, interests, background, learning methods and other factors unique to each of the students. It is about making sure that the lesson planned puts into consideration the various weaknesses/strengths of the individual students. A competent teacher ought to take advantage of the strengths of the students to get them to understand the lesson, as she also strives to improve the students, when it comes to their weaknesses. My class will for example have drawing and shape copying sessions, which will be useful in reaching out to those kids with fine motor skills, while at the same time helping the struggling ones. The use of stories to pass particular messages or just for entertaining them is also a differentiation strategy, because of the students who love stories. It is a factor that contributes highly to the language development of the students, just by listening to the stories. In my 6th grade, our teacher back then would often group us according to some criteria and then give us group assignments. Other times, she would call me alone and coach me one on one to address a specific challenge. I later came to realize that it is about differentiation, and that she had all our learning needs at the center of all her decisions.

In my lesson plan, I put into consideration such issues as language abilities, emotional vulnerabilities, moral development, physical capabilities and the general social wellbeing. This is because these are the hallmarks of a wholesomely developed individual, and all these things should be kept into account.

A Revised Differentiated Lesson Plan

Lesson Title: Row, Row, Row your boat (song)

Lesson Objectives (include any from your state plus your own):

Kids will learn how to listen and follow instructions, and work as a team.

Kids will sing in a systematic and repetitive manner, while some act out on the songs as a team.

Materials:

Paddle like sticks

Charts

Crayons and markers

Manila papers

Pre-Assessment: All the kids have been singing a lot in the earlier lessons. The song is quite easy to sing, and common to many kids. It is quite common to them, because Jane was heard teaching the others. Upon inquiring, I learnt that she was taught at home by her nanny. Johnny however is not acquainted with the song, owing to the fact that he is a loner, and this should help him to get along with his mates.

Special needs: To help Johnny with the song, I will ask Maya to recite the words of the song, so as to sharpen her language, with my guidance. To assist Jane and Caleb with fine motor skills, they will be drawing water waves on the charts, to indicate a sea. Kalya and Jack’s social skills will be improved by singing together.

Management and Guidance: Using his sentences of varied length and the strong expressive and receptive vocabulary, I will ask Caleb to say the class rules before the class. This will address the disciplinary needs of the students, as well as their listening skills, just as a repetition since every child knows them. I will use visual cues and oral language to explain what we will be going to do. I want to improve the children’s listening skills; therefore every child is expected to be listening keenly. I will remind Jack that I am the only one who will be telling the kids what to do, and he should not tell anyone what to do. I will also remind Johnny that everyone is expected to work with one another in the group activity, when it comes to acting the song and singing as well

Instructional Sequence: the class will sing the song “row, row, row your boat” together with the charts on their sides, as though they were in a sea. On one side Johnny, due to his advanced gross motor skills, will hold one paddle-like stick, together with Maya so that she can develop hers. On the other side, Jane and Caleb will be holding the other stick, for the same reason. The rest (Kalya and Jack) will be singing together, so that they can enhance their social skills. This latter group will be taking turns to sing with the group holding the paddles, and after giving them instructions several times, they will be expected to do it alone. Jack will learn that he is not always the leader, Kalya will be integrated to her classmates and won’t be intimidated, Caleb and Johnny won’t avoid playing with their classmates like they often do, Maya will improve on her communication and Jane’s gross motor skills will be improved.

Post-Assessment: I will ask the children to pick a partner and sing the song together. When the class is over, they will be expected to do the same exercise with their parents and siblings at home. The following day, the kids will give an account of how they did at home, and whether they liked it.

Parent Communication

Creating a good relationship between the families and the teachers is very important for the child’s growth and development. This is because the teacher is in a position to know exactly what is going on at home and thus is in a position to advise accordingly. Research has indicated that parents prefer communication and involvement that is informal and frequent (Hornby, 2000).

Before school opens, I will be keen to initiate contact with the parents, by sending out postcards and notes welcoming their kids to school. That “It’s nice to meet you” note is usually important in creating a rapport with the parents, which will be handy when schools open. Once schools re-open, I will make efforts throughout the term to make sure that I stay in touch with the parents through regular phone calls. In the phone call conversations, I will describe the children’s behavior to their parents, my feeling about the children’s positive behavior and ask the parents to share the positive reviews from me with their children. As part of the communication and parent involvement, I would let them know that we are a team working together for the developmental good of their children. Also, giving them guidelines on how to take their children through their homework is important, since professionalism shared with the parents is very key in the development of every kid. When schools close parents involvement doesn’t end there, but continues, albeit in reduced degrees. The teacher should communicate hi/her feelings about the child’s general performance and development, and how to keep the child engaged throughout the holiday. Communication can be intimidating and difficult for teachers, especially if this is not something that has been done frequently in the past. It is therefore necessary that a rapport is first established, with the parents, for the well being of the kids.

Class Organization

Classroom organization should be in such a way as to encourage young children to develop their characteristics and good values at a very young age so that they may grow upholding them. The behavioral and emotional expectation must also be put into consideration, since children at this young age get emotional really quickly, and tend to display a lot of behaviors; therefore their behavioral needs need to be taken into account.

It is a common reaction that a child can show when not satisfied with anything. This can normally result from children being left by their parents or even being pissed by anything. The classroom should be arranged in such a manner that is familiar to the social needs of a child. The presence of toys will make the children forget about their parents while at school, since they provide a familiar environment to that which they left at home. It’s always good to organize your classroom with a theme, something that will develop and make the kids to be more organized, especially girls. A proper classroom for pre-schoolers would be one with many colors, as children that age very well understands things that attract their attention.

As earlier stated, children love creativity. I would be creative and set up an attendance tree for the class. One can make a large trunk of a tree, out of materials that can be found within, such as brown paper. An orange is then cut out the names of all the students would appear in one arrange. The tree will have hooks that are poking through from the back. Every child would then find their name and put them on the tree on a daily basis, so that those that are remaining would be of the absentees. This is just an example of how creative a teacher should be when it comes to class organization.

Assessment Plan

Assessment for Learning can be defined as the process of searching for evidence and interpreting it for use students and their teachers so as to give a clear indication on where the students are in their development and learning, and where they are supposed to be, as well as the best way to get there. According to Cowie & Moreland (2013), it entails classroom practices through which tutors, students and peers notice, recognize and respond to student learning and learning needs son as to improve their development. Basically, it is an evaluation of every aspect of a child’s development that is well structured. Two of the most common assessment plans, and my favorite include Anecdotal records and Rubrics.

Anecdotal Records

According to the American Association of School Administrators, Anecdotal records are written records of a student’s developmental progress, which is usually based on specific milestones that relate to a child’s wholesome development in terms of his/her emotional, cognitive, social, and even physical development, among others. The parent or teacher observes a child’s action and then records everything about his/her behavior down, throughout the day. The recording is supposed to be informal, and is based on a checklist or specific notes with some space for comments.

One advantage of using anecdotal records is that it is extremely easy to do. Anyone can do it with proper guidance, and it doesn’t need special skill to do it, since it is a matter of observing and noting down the observations. That does not necessarily mean that the observer’s interaction with the child will be interrupted, since it is acceptable to note the observation down later, but this calls for a good memory by the observer. Lastly, this method helps the teacher focus on specific areas of development, by the teacher giving tasks touching on the areas on focus and observe the student as he/she completes the task. However, since to some extent this method relies on the observer’s memory, some specific important details could be easily forgotten. Also, observing kids can easily manipulate them to into altering their, and will not be themselves, especially with the knowledge of them being watched.

Rubrics

A rubric is an assessment tool for scoring, used to assess students learning after a lesson. It uses a set of standards and criteria which are based on the learning objectives, where educators assess the performance of each student. Unlike anecdotal records that focuses on how a child does things to determine his performance, rubrics focuses on the result of a child’s finished work, to assess his/her performance.

Rubrics can be used for screening for special needs, when the several performances are chosen to determine the weak areas and the strengths of a child. Also, teachers can increase their direct instruction quality by providing focus and emphasis. This is one of the most important functions of rubrics, which gives it an edge over other assessment methods. Finally, the children can have in control their own individual learning process, because of rubrics. This is because they can choose to work harder to match the standards set, or otherwise, which will see them scoring less.

The use of Rubrics has been criticized a lot because of its restrictive nature. Rubrics can restrict and limit the students’ mind power in terms of them only working to meet the standards set. The students will feel like they are only required to complete the assignments within the standards set, and will not feel compelled to do more.

Disposition Statement

For one to be an excellent early childhood educator, one must possess some basic prerequisites qualities. These qualities I believe should be inherently found within individuals, and go beyond a degree in early childhood education.

One of the most important attributes is passion and enthusiasm for kids. This is an attribute that goes beyond merely enjoying time with children. It means the urge to make a difference and impact the lives of each child individually. All this should be done despite the obstacles that are unavoidable. The teacher should have the muscle to overcome any obstacle that might come their way, as presented to by the kids or otherwise. Because young kids will sometimes not exhibit self-control and have an attention span that is short, an early childhood educator needs a lot of patience. Kids will sometimes deliberately not follow instructions, and might have difficulties in learning new tasks easily. This therefore calls for the teacher to be patient and patiently repeat instructions and directions until they get it. Early childhood tutors should also be willing to take risks, and not be afraid to make mistakes. This should be exemplified by the willingness to sit parents down and talk to them about the performance and mannerisms of their children, for instance not being afraid to let parents know about the poor performance in class of their children in case of such a situation. Another characteristic that every tutor needs to have is creativity and flexibility. The planning of lessons and to engage young children in education sometimes takes creativity. Teachers should adapt their lessons to fit the individual learning styles of their students, a function that heavily relies on creativity of the teacher and his/her flexibility. The teacher needs to remain flexible and have in mind that he/she might have to alter the lesson plan, regardless of how well he/she had planned it, to suit particular students’ needs.

Professional Development

Continuing professional development is “the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill, and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout the practitioner’s work life” (Lorriman, 1997). It is basically a commitment by members of a particular profession to continually and regularly update their knowledge and skills, so as to remain competent professionally.

As a teacher, I will also commit myself to maintaining and even upgrading my knowledge of teaching through ways like Membership of professional bodies. Joining professional bodies such as National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will help me out with accountability, as well as having access to many materials that will be useful in my profession.

Another way that I will use to remain committed to the teaching profession is by writing. Writing will certainly help me keep tabs with the teaching profession as a whole. Writing ranges from doing short articles to books, but I would prefer sticking to articles. I will start off by Keeping a diary and reflecting on my teaching, and then follow plenty of models that are out there for carrying on with my professional development.

Lastly, I will make sure I attend workshops and other meetings for teachers. Often, teachers get more out of small and intimate workshops, where the opportunity to discuss and talk over ideas is presented. This is a time out where one gets to meet other people in the same profession, and exchange ideas on how they handle different cases, in their places of work.

Rationale

When children are playing, observing them can tell the teacher what a kid needs in terms of his/her education, and developmentally in general (Krough, 2013). This helps the teacher become more effective in his/her teaching.  The involvement of parents in the school affair of their children is increasingly becoming vital in the development of a child. This is because the parent will be told what to do at home, from a professional angle, and they will be able to give feedback to the teachers on how the kids behave at home.

            When it comes to classroom organization and approaches to curriculum, the teacher will be able to relate this with the developmental needs of the students, and will be a guide to making important decisions. These are the decisions that will be necessary in making the teacher more effective, because he/she has an opportunity to respond to the students’ individual needs. They are closely related to the models of teaching, as the latter is a response to the former.

            An assessment plan is what will help the teacher know where his/her students currently stand in terms of developmental needs. This might be communicated to the parents, as part of parent involvement or can be used in the development of a curriculum, since the teacher will be aware of the developmental needs of his/her students as a whole.

            The qualities that a teacher has are what will determine whether he/she will be effective in teaching or not. There are dispositions that an educator must have, in order to know the developmental needs of a student, and subsequently work on him/her.

References

American Association of School Administrators. (1992). The nongraded primary: Making

schools fit children. Arlington, VA: Author.

Cadwell, L. (1997). Bringing Reggio Emilia home: An innovative approach to early childhood

education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Cowie, B., & Moreland, J. (2013). Expanding notions of assessment for learning inside science

and technology primary classrooms. Rotterdam: Sense.

Gestwicki, C. (1999). Developmentally appropriate practice: Curriculum and development in

early education (2nd ed.). Albany, N.Y.: Delmar.

Hornby, G. (2000). Improving parental involvement. London: Cassell. Johnson, J. (2009,

February 13). Ways to continuing professional development. Retrieved June 27,2015, from https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/ways-continuing-professional-development

Lorriman, J. (1997). Continuing professional development: A practical approach : Managing

your CPD as a professional engineer. London, U.K.: Institution of Electrical Engineers.

 




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