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Teaching Portfolio of Kelli Caras

Section I: Portfolio Organization and Introduction

Kelli Caras 4309 Golden Eagle Point Portsmouth, VA 23703 (757) 619-8279

Introductory Statement My experience at Regent University has been highly educational. The many courses and experiences I have encountered have given me new knowledge, not only from my professors but also my peers. The variety of courses has proved invaluable to become a highly competent teacher. I feel completely prepared for my own classroom after taking the courses at Regent. “Child and Adolescent Growth and Development” course gave me knowledge on how to best serve students by giving them instruction at the appropriate developmental. “Foundations in Education” gave me a greater understanding of my teaching beliefs and how they will reflect upon my ability to educate, and encourage students. “Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies” built upon the information learned in “foundations in Education” and “Child and Adolescent Growth and Development” giving me a better picture of how to best teach different types of learners. Other courses such as “Characteristics of Students with Disabilities” helped me become more aware of the many challenges that we will face in the classroom with the changing face of children today. One of my favorite courses, “Curriculum Design and Assessment Techniques” taught me how to create and organize curriculum so that students can apply new knowledge to their everyday life to become life-long learners. The integrated science, math, and language arts curriculum courses have taught me how to create lessons that will engage my students for complete learning. Growth I have been very fortunate gain experience in the sixth and third grade classrooms during my student teaching. Most of my competencies reflect the time spent in the sixth grade classroom; however I have growth in ability during both experiences.

I now fully understand the importance pre-assessments and proper preparation are to teaching. Reflective planning is a vital part of my lesson plan procedures. Through carefully detailed planning, I have been able to create lessons that are comprehensive of the standards and enjoyable for the students. During my placement in sixth grade the students learned about convection, conduction, and radiation with hands on labs. This very interactive lab reinforced the abstract ideas being taught. I enjoy the challenge of making creative lessons that engage the students in active learning. Integrating technology in the classroom has been an exciting experience for me. I have had the opportunity to use different technology resources in the classroom such as computers, Elmo, Smart board, and Promethean. These technologies make learning much more engaging for the students, leading to better attention spans and deeper understanding. I had the opportunity to learn how to use the Promethean board and create interactive flipcharts which the students greatly enjoyed. These activities gave them a chance to participate in guided practice while having fun with technology. The area in which I have learned the most is classroom management. I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement. While interventions sometimes are needed, my students respond best to positive reinforcement. I have learned that by forming relationships with my students it is easier to gain and give respect. This respect leads to a calm classroom environment. I have learned firsthand the importance to keeping continuous communication between the teacher and parents. This allows for team work that will help the student reach full potential. Through my internship, I have had many opportunities to collaborate with and learn from other teachers. This has been a wonderful learning experience. I treasure the time I received sharing ideas with other educators. Through student teaching I have gained the wisdom and experience to become a highly effective educator.

Table of Contents Section I: Portfolio Organization and Introduction A. Title Page B. Introductory Statement C. Table of Contents Section II: Professional Preparation A. Personal Teaching Philosophy B. Resume C. Observation Reports D. Letters of Recommendation E. Licensure Assessment Scores F. Transcripts Section III: Program Competencies Competency A- Student-centered and/or Differentiated Instruction Competency B- Planning, Preparation, Instruction, and Assessment Competency C- Developmentally Appropriate Instruction Competency D- Communication/Collaboration with students, parents, community

Competency E- Content Knowledge Competency F- Reflective Planning and Instruction Competency G- Interdisciplinary Curriculum Competency H- Integration of Technology Competency I- Classroom and Behavior Management Strategies

Section II: Professional Preparation

Personal Philosophy

During my studies at Regent University I have developed my teaching philosophy that addresses my beliefs on the purpose of education, as well as democracy and education. I came to develop my own thoughts on classroom management and organization. I also developed my philosophy on learners, teachers and learning strategies. Together these beliefs give me the firm foundation to my teaching and were put into practice during my student teaching. My time student teaching allowed me to apply each of my philosophies to real life classroom situations. My thoughts on classrooms and democracy were put to the test in the third grade. They were, however, reinforced while teaching sixth grade. I may change my philosophy eventually if I do find myself in the younger grades. This time of application helped to cement my overall philosophy on teaching. Philosophy on the Purpose of Education Schools, in my opinion, are used to teach students not only the facts about our world but also to teach them how to think and analyze the world around them. The school’s role in children’s lives will help them to be better functioning adults, perhaps even ones who will form their own educated opinions and not simply follow the crowd of the moment. They can also serve as a place for students to learn truths about the outside world. Schools can supply students with the education they need to see the world around them and accurately assess and respond to it.

Philosophy on Democracy and Education Democracy plays an important role in our educational system that needs to be demonstrated to our students. I hope to turn our classroom into its own community so the students can practice being adults in a democratic world. They will have input on rules and assignments just as adults do in the lawmaking. Students will learn responsibility for their actions better when they create the rules and punishments. As the teacher, I would have overall say in the class so it will not be a true democracy but it will provide students with that learning opportunity. Along with allowing the students to experience democracy, I will work to stay on top of the law changes that affect our schools, as well as our community. By being in touch with the current laws, I can ensure my class is a safe and fair place. These law changes will also be taught to the students so they can see how the world around them changes and what impact that will have on them. Philosophy on Learners

I believe that all students can learn. We as educators must find the key to create this learning. We must also understand that not all students will excel in every subject. Nor will every student learn the same way. Educators must adjust expectations for each student so the goal is reachable while not being too easy. I would like to pass on to my students that everyone has a gift in some way; it is just a matter of finding it. It is not only my job to educate the students but to help them discover their true talents.

Philosophy on Instructional Strategies I am a strong supporter of the pragmatic theory and will be applying it in my classroom. This theory believes that true learning comes from experiences, not lectures. Pragmatism is, simply put, the organization of experiences into concrete knowledge. My favorite teaching system that goes hand in hand with this is the Montessori system. The Montessori system greatly inspires me and I plan to take elements from their design to make my classroom an enjoyable and functional one. I feel that manipulatives are essential for student learning. Manipulatives help students to better understand and express an understanding of the lessons. Students can use manipulatives to build three dimensional shapes, allowing them to gain real life knowledge about the items. Manipulatives can also be used for sorting and pattern building. (Rosen & Hoffman, 2009) Manipulatives give children a chance to have a more hands on learning approach. I also hope to have a variety of grading opportunities for my students. There are many ways for students to show their understanding of a concept. I am planning to offer my students a list of assignment categories from which they can choose from. All the categories must be completed, but they can be applied to any lesson they would like. An example would be after learning about The Constitution, the students can take a written test, write a paper, or film a play about what they learned. Assessments have become something students fear. That fear can lead to lower scores and anxiety (Stiggins, 2005). I would rather let my students have options instead of fears over tests.

Philosophy about Classroom Arrangement I would like to have circular tables in my class. Ideally two big tables, one that can be for social studies groups and one for science groups, would be in my room. Novelli’s (1997) paper talks about how circular tables can help students in the beginning of the year to overcome shyness. In the corner of the room I would like to have an area that can be used for reading. It will have a plush carpet and pillows to make sure they are comfortable while learning. There will also be several book shelves flanking the area with a wide variety of books to be read. I plan to rotate some of the books out and relate them to the major course subjects we are covering that week or month. This can also be where we doing reading groups. I also would like to have an author’s chair for students to use when they choose to write papers to present as their assessment. Philosophy on Classroom Management I am very impressed with the Love and Logic method. I am planning on using it in my classroom. I love the rules that they have for the classrooms. They are broad enough to cover nearly all incidents that can occur. I believe in setting the enforceable limits. Students need to know what limits there are in order to function well in the classroom. I agree with how Jim Fay pushes for allowing choices for the students. We always hope they make the right decision, but if they don’t we have to allow them to suffer the consequences. When students do need to be corrected, I will do so gently and in private so that they are not humiliated in front of their classmates, which could damage our relationship.

Philosophy on Teachers I believe that we should develop relationships with each student. By gaining our students’ trust and respect, they will be more apt to display appropriate behaviors while with us. Patience with students will go a long way. I will work hard to understand that some students will take longer grasp some lessons. They will also have different attention spans. By practicing self control, patience and kindness in our classrooms, we will serve as role models for our students, some of which may become teachers themselves one day. Conclusion I hope to be able to recognize and use every teachable moment in my classroom. I want my students to leave my class not only with the basic knowledge outlined by the SOL’s, but with a respect for each other. I believe that if I can help better the life of just one student; to create in them a love for learning, themselves and others, then I have been a successful teacher.

References Novelli, Joan. (1997, September). Seating solutions. Instructor, 107(2), pp. 78-79. Rosen, D., & Hoffman, J. (2009). Integrating concrete and virtual manipulatives in early childhood mathematics. YC Young Children, 64(3), pp. 26-29,31-33. Stiggins, R. (2005). From formative assessment to assessment for learning: a path to success in standards-based schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(4), pp. 324. Wiseman, D. L.; Knight, S. L., & Cooner, D. D. (2005). Becoming a teacher in a field-based setting: An introduction to education and classrooms (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Kelli Caras 4309 Golden Eagle Point Portsmouth, VA 23703 757-619-8279 Education 2010- 2011 Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA th Masters in Education PreK-6 (to be completed May 2011) GPA 3.58 2001-2003 Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA BA in Sociology, Concentration in Criminology, Minor in Psychology GPA 2.51 1999-2000, 2009-2010 Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth, VA Early Childhood Education Certificate GPA 3.13 1999 Churchland High School, Portsmouth, VA Advanced Studies Diploma, Governor’s Seal of Excellence GPA 3.8

Test Scores VRA-2010 Reading Assessment for Elementary and Special Education 250 VCLA-2010 Reading subtest 274, writing subtest 268, total 542 Praxis II-2010Virginia Elementary Education Content Knowledge 173 Praxis II- Earth and Space Sciences (TBD), Middle School Science (TBD) ACT- 1999 Composite score 25, English 26, Math 23, Reading 29, Science Reasoning 23 SAT II- 1998 Writing 530, Literature 560, American History 470

Employment History Education October 2010-Present Norfolk Collegiate, Norfolk, VA Substitute Teacher rd March 2011-May 2011 Norfolk Collegiate, Norfolk, VA Student Teacher- 3 grade th January 2011-March 2011 Syms Middle School, Hampton, VA Student Teacher-6 grade Science October 2010-December 2010 Western Branch Intermediate School, Chesapeake, VA Tier I and II Teaching Practicum January 2010-June 2010 Parkview Elementary School, Portsmouth, VA Tier I and II Teaching Practicum Sep 2001- June 2004 Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, VA Substitute Teacher March 2004-November 2004 Busch Entertainment Corp, Williamsburg, VA Training Manager June 1999-January 2001 La Petite Academy, Chesapeake, VA Preschool and After School/Summer Program Teacher Marketing May 2001-Present Self Employed Field Marketing Manager July 2007-May 2009 SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin, VA Director of Business Development Dec 2004-March 2007 Tidewater Mortgage Services Inc, Virginia Beach, VA Senior Mortgage Banker

Other Experience 2011 College of Graduate Studies, School of Education Senator 2007-2009 Make a Wish Foundation Semi Annual Ghent Bar Tour Registration Committee 2007 Mrs. Hampton Roads USA 2003 Intern with Probation and Parole in Newport News 2001 Volunteer with Victim/ Witness Program in Newport News 1999 Portsmouth's Jr. Miss 1998-1999 H.E.R. Shelter Volunteer

References Dr. Arroyo Dean of School of Education, Regent University 1000 Regent University Drive, Suite 207 Virginia Beach, VA 23464 (757) 352-4260 Maggie Charlton Professor, Regent University 709 Rutherford Drive Chesapeake, VA 23322 (757) 567-6926 Dr. Flannagan Professor and Department Chair, Regent University 1000 Regent University Drive, Suite 255 Virginia Beach, VA 23464 (757) 352-4123 Amy Guirlinger Teacher, Douglas Park Elementary 509 Burleigh Avenue Norfolk, VA 23505 607-368-9746 Cora Owens Teacher, Benjamin Syms Middle School 170 Fox Hill Road Hampton, VA 23669 757-749-1023 Marianne Rudis Supervising Teacher, Western Branch Intermediate School 1212 Frosty Road Chesapeake, VA 23325 (757) 424-9674 Rosy Ruiz Professor and Student Teacher Supervisor, Regent University 2330 Croix Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (757) 270-6566 Dr. George Selig Professor and Distinguished Chair of Educational Leadership, Regent University 1000 Regent University Drive, Suite 207 Virginia Beach, VA 23464 (757) 352-4318

30 March 2011 To Whom It May Concern:

Mrs. Kelli Caras was a Practicum student in my fifth grade classroom at Western Branch Intermediate School in Chesapeake, Virginia during the Fall of 2010. It was quickly evident that Kelli’s studies at Regent University had given her a solid foundation in the field of education. Mrs. Caras is an enthusiastic and positive individual with many strengths that directly impact her instructional effectiveness. She displays an extensive knowledge of subject matter and projects confidence within the classroom. In addition, Mrs. Caras demonstrates a true desire to continue to learn from the classroom setting itself, often asking questions and soliciting input from the faculty and staff at our school. Kelli Caras displays true professionalism in her appearance and demeanor. While in my classroom, she quickly developed a positive rapport with the students, always interacting with them in a calm, confident, and consistent manner. As she circulated around the room, she was often observed motivating the students to draw upon and integrate their prior knowledge when processing new information. During a lesson on Author’s Purpose, Mrs. Caras motivated the students with creative, high-interest materials that enhanced the learning of visual, auditory, and tactile learners alike. Her lesson was wellplanned and detailed, addressing the state Standards of Learning with a direct, sequential flow of teaching strategies that lead to student mastery of the desired objective. She also understood the need to differentiate instruction for students who were working at different levels. As you can see, Mrs. Kelli Caras has proven herself to be an excellent example of professionalism. I truly believe that she will be a great asset to the field of education and I highly recommend her for employment without reservation.


Marianne C. Rudis Grade 5 Teacher Chesapeake Public Schools

To whom it may concern; Kelli has asked that I write a letter of recommendations for her as she applies for teaching positions. I had Kelli as a student in my class on Handicapped children. She is an excellent student she is bright insightful and creative. She is definitely a person with excellent leadership skills judging by the way she provided leadership in her groups as they worked on projects. She has a personality that is engaging and pleasant. I noticed that students often turned to her for directions and she responded in a kind and helpful manner. I believe she is a person of character and one who has standards but at the same time has the amount of grace necessary to create a nice balance between the two. I found her to be a most delightful and intelligent individual who I think will be an excellent teacher. I recommend her most highly.


George Selig Professor of Ed. Leadership Regent University

To Whom it may concern,

It pleases me greatly to write a letter in support of Kelli Caras’ application to teach for your school system. I met Kelli as co-volunteers for a charity event. As marketing coordinator for the event, Kelli was amazingly active in her pursuit of sponsors for the event. Not only was she reliably present at all of the planning meetings, she volunteered on the day of the event to see things through to fruition. Although she was only able to serve as coordinator for one additional event, Kelli donated her leadership and creativity to many charitable events and organizations in the years since. While we were volunteering, Kelli shared with me that her lifelong desire was to be a teacher. She often spoke of the challenges of her curriculum at Christopher Newport and her enjoyment of her student teaching experiences. When she was presented with the opportunity to continue her pursuit of a career in teaching, Kelli earnestly and diligently completed her pre-requisite courses, applied to and was accepted to Regent University’s program. In the last 18 months I have known her to work with great determination to complete the requirements of her program and will receive her Master’s Degree in May 2011. In my years as the Program Director, I have reviewed the qualifications for hundreds of applicants. It is only once in a great while that a truly outstanding candidate comes along. Kelli is truly one of those. She is a giving woman in both her personal and professional life. She is a woman with great passion and a personal commitment to be the best at any task set before her. It is therefore without reservation that I recommend Kelli to the position you have available.

Most Respectfully,

John T Martin DDS Director of Dental Education Hampton VA Medical Center

Transcript Data STUDENT INFORMATION Curriculum Information Current Program Master of Education Program: Campus: Major and Department: Major Concentration:

Master of Educ main campus Virginia Beach Campus Elementary Education, Education PreK-6th Grade Focus

***This is NOT an Official Transcript*** DEGREES AWARDED Sought Master of Degree Date: : Education Curriculum Information Primary Degree Campus: Major: Major Concentration:


Virginia Beach Campus Elementary Education PreK-6th Grade Focus Attemp Passed Earne GPA Qualit GPA t Hours Hours d Hours y Hours Points 31.000 31.000 31.000 31.000 110.98




Subject Cours Leve Title e l






500 505







Term Totals


Intro to Technology Education GR Online OrientationMasters GR Orientation/Prof Concerns GR Tchng Rdng&Lang Arts Acr Curri GR Classroom Mgmt&Inst Strategies GR Child & Adolescent Growth/Dev GR Lib Info Research & Resources (Graduate)

Grade Credit Qualit Start R Hours y and Points End Date s A 1.000 4.00 P



P B+

0.000 3.000

0.00 9.99










Attemp Passe Earne GPA Qualit GPA t Hours d d Hours y Hours Hours Points 10.000 10.000 10.000 10.000 34.99 3.49 10.000 10.000 10.000 10.000 34.99 3.49

Current Term: Cumulative: Unofficial Transcript Term : Summer 2010

Subject Cours Leve Title e l



EFND 501 EFND 504 ETSL 540 Term Totals


Curr Dsgn&Asmnt Techniques GR Teaching Math & Science GR Character Education GR Multicultural Education (Graduate)

Grade Credit Qualit Start R Hours y and Points End Date s A 3.000 12.00 AA B

3.000 3.000 3.000

11.01 12.00 9.00

Attemp Passe Earne GPA Qualit GPA t Hours d d Hours y Hours Hours Points

Current Term: Cumulative:

12.000 12.000 12.000 12.000 22.000 22.000 22.000 22.000

44.01 79.00

3.66 3.59

Unofficial Transcript Term : Fall 2010

Subject Cours Leve Title e l



Grade Credit Qualit Start R Hours y and Points End Date s B+ 3.000 9.99


Teaching Reading in ElemGrades ETLC 542 GR Foundations of Education B+ ETSP 551 GR Characteristics of Stud A w/Dis Term Totals (Graduate)

Current Term: Cumulative:

3.000 3.000

9.99 12.00

Attemp Passed Earne GPA Qualit GPA t Hours Hours d Hours y Hours Points 9.000 9.000 9.000 9.000 31.98 31.000 31.000 31.000 31.000 110.98

3.55 3.58

Unofficial Transcript


Total Institution: Total Transfer: Overall:


Attemp Passed Earne GPA Qualit GPA t Hours Hours d Hours y Hours Points 31.000 31.000 31.000 31.000 110.98 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.00 31.000 31.000 31.000 31.000 110.98

3.58 0.00 3.58

Unofficial Transcript



Spring 2011

Subject Cours Leve Title e l EDIP 502 GR Applications of Technology for Teaching and Learning

Credit Hours 2.000

Start and End Dates




Field Experience/Student Teaching


Section III: Program Competencies

Competency A: Student-centered and/or differentiated instruction providing for special needs students and individual learner needs Rationale 1 The classes I have currently contain many students with ADD or ADHD. There are also two not yet diagnosed but suspected emotional disorders. After observing for several days I noticed the high amount of fidgeting among the rest of the students. After scanning the internet for ideas on how to control all the activity I came across the idea of stress balls. Since they can become pricey and most likely would be destroyed I opted to make my own. Reflection 1 I introduced the stress balls to each class outlining the rules that went with the ability to use them. They are not to be thrown or kicked and if they pop them they have to replace them. Several more defiant students did pop them and had to stay after school to make new ones. A few popped after a week from the high usage. This gave me the idea to double balloon them. So far those few double ballooned have held up wonderfully. The students seem to make less noise drumming and kicking when they have the stress balloons. The emotional outbursts when frustrated have reduced in number as well. The students really enjoy having them and always remind me to hand them out. It also gives me the chance to greet each student individually when they come to check out the balloons. Rationale 2 Each student learns differently. Some are better learners with hands on applications. For particularly difficult material, it is important to cover as many learning types as possible to ensure that all students understand the material.

Reflection 2 The students in my class vary greatly in ability. There are also high levels of special needs students that have been identified as well as several suspected ones. The material in the past few weeks has been very difficult to grasp for a large group of them. I came up with a hands on activity the students can do daily. Each day at the end of class, the students who have been on task most often have a stick with their name on it placed in a bag. I then draw a stick. That student’s job is to come in before the morning bell to look up the weather map for the day online. Then, when their class comes in, they go to the weather map and place the symbols in the correct locations. They also give the day’s forecast. The students then have to explain why the weather will be that way that day. This hands on activity helps them to memorize the symbols, and the daily real life application helps them better grasp the concepts of fronts and weather. This five minute opening activity is done while I check homework so it does not cut into instructional time but gives reinforcement. I particularly like the activity as it gives verbal instruction, visual instruction, and hands on instruction as well as relevant application. It has been a great reward motivator as well.

Artifact A-1

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Competency B: Planning, Preparation, Instruction, and Assessment of Learners Rationale 1 After looking ahead at the future lesson plans, I thought it may be best to gauge the level of understanding the students already had on clouds. I know this is difficult material so this allowed me to focus more on trouble areas and touch on those areas that are already understood. I created a simple list of the basic concepts they would be tested on and had the students simply circle agree or disagree with each statement. Reflection 1 This was a great way to help guide me in planning the lessons for the clouds unit. I should however, plan to assess the students a few days in advance to allow more time for me to make changes to the lesson plans. I plan to use this on a weekly basis in order to guide me in planning for the next week. This will be optimal for my students as they will have more time for harder material and less time being reinstructed on material they already know. This will also help keep the students engaged in learning.

Artifact B-1

Number Correct 20 15 10 5 0

Before Lesson

Competency C: Developmentally appropriate instruction Rationale 1 Each state outlines what material should be taught within each grade level. These mandates help guide teachers in lessons that match the student’s development. However, as teachers, it is our job to give the lessons life and present them to the class in a manner that allows for true comprehension over memorization. Reflection 1 My science class has been studying SOL 6.3, which is about the three types of heat transfer: convection, conduction, and radiation. Each day they did an activity to give a more hands on application to the theories. Here the students dropped colored ice into warm water and watched what happened. The students took notes and drew pictures in their interactive notebooks. Then, as I came around, they explained what was happening and which type of heat transfer it went to. They were very intrigued by how the colors stayed separated for so long. This experiment is great because it is virtually free and highly visual. It is also easy to set up, do, and clean up. I found this to be a great application for the class. They also watched a video of another experiment that was similar that also fell under convection. In retrospect, that video may have had more impact if I had the materials and done it in class in comparison to just seeing it on the screen.

Rationale 2 The activity my classes completed for learning the planets as outlined in the science SOL 6.8 was one that was hands on to include the students in their learning as well as classroom decoration. The students worked in teams to create the solar system by coloring the planets and writing the vital information on the planets. They then attached them to the bulletin board so that each day we could take a few minutes to review the facts that would be on the benchmark test coming up. This activity was appropriate for their development level as it was creative, fun, and educational. The students worked at their own levels as the groups were diverse in ability. Those who were not as knowledgeable in the planets worked more on coloring the planets while those more versed in the planets found trivia facts. The average students recorded the statistics, such as size and distance from the sun. Reflection 2 This activity was a great way to close the lessons on planets. The first day they learned the inner planets and worked on inner planets for the board. The second day was their outer planet lesson with the same planets designed to complete the board. I had each class complete certain planets so that everyone could participate. Having the students hang the bulletin board also helped give them a sense of classroom pride as they created the dĂŠcor. I would definitely repeat this activity, fitting different lessons over the year.

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Competency D: Effective communication and collaboration with students, parents, and community members to support student learning Rationale 1 In 2002, a study was published by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory entitled A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. This study discussed the importance of parents being involved in the schools and their child’s learning. They found that students with involved parents are more likely to attend school, get better grades, have a positive attitude, graduate and attend college. It also showed that parents were more likely to be involved if they knew they needed to be involved, if teachers gave them tools to use at home, and they are treated with respect. In order to gain this advantage in my class, I wrote the attached parent letter. In it, I introduced myself so they felt comfortable speaking with me. I also asked them for their help in making sure their child had their supplies each day. It closed with information for the parents on where they can find additional help for their child online, as well as my phone number to contact me with any questions. Reflection 1 I wrote multiple drafts of this letter over several days until I addressed each goal I had set forth. I think this letter is a great artifact for showing the open communication between the parents and myself. The links to the class website, where they can access more websites relevant to the current topics, also help link them to the community as Jefferson Labs is a local company that has excellent science resources. The thing I learned most from this experience was patience and time developing the full letter. I had to slow down and add to the letter and remove pieces over several days in order to have it be short and address all the main points. It has also really worked well in involving the

parents. Since the letter went home, I have met two parents face to face, spoken with three parents, and had text messages from two others. I think they are really getting more involved at home as well. Students are coming in with class supplies more frequently since I asked the parents for their help in this part.

References Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. (2002) A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: Author. Rationale 2 Science fairs have been a long standing tradition in schools. They help students to connect science with real life interests. They also develop better understandings of the scientific method. In order to complete a project, collaboration between the parents and teachers is essential. We must work as a team to guide the student through the process. The community is also an important part. They serve as not only an audience but volunteer as judges and prize donators. Reflection 2 Our science fair is mandatory for all students. This does make for a bit more of a challenge as we must help over 100 students come up with projects on their level that meet their interest. They are not allowed to work in teams which can limit what they can achieve. In the future, I think that teams should be allowed for such a complex project. We also sent home letters two months in advance so that there was time for students to plan and complete a project. Follow up was done at 2 weeks out. This proved to be a vital

mistake, as some parents never got the letter and many students had put off doing any work. There was a rush to complete projects, which led to mistakes and sloppiness on some boards. Also last minute submissions made for a chaotic week of revisions. Next time, following up at one month out will prevent such matters. Overall I am very pleased with my students. Out of the 13 awards they took home 6. They worked diligently to have creative, unique and fun experiments. Their interviews with the judges, one of which was a NASA scientist, were great. They used the vocabulary learned from the year and maintained eye contact.

Artifact D-1 Dear Parent/ Guardian, I am so pleased to be working with your child until March. I have taken this opportunity to let you know a little about myself and to invite you to contact me if I may be of any assistance to you with regard to your child. Please feel free to contact me by phone or email. I will return your call and mail at the earliest possible time. I am currently in the last semester at Regent University in the Masters of Education program. This has brought me to our child’s class to student teach until March. While this is the first time I am in your child’s class rest assured I have an extensive background in private education. I obtained my BA in 2003 from Christopher Newport University and have since built a family and returned to school to complete my education plan. I teach from the prospective that all of us are intelligent beings, though not necessarily in the same way. I have high expectations for each student but I recognize that all of us learn, and express ideas in a different ways.

I do not anticipate problems which cannot be worked out in a spirit of cooperation. I have been careful to explain my expectations to the whole class. I will be contacting each parent over the next few weeks. Please do not assume anything negative if you receive a note or call from me. I simply want to reach out to each parent to discuss the progress of each student. I have included a copy of the 3rd quarter 6th grade science syllabus on the website as well as in the students interactive notebooks. The team website will soon have some very helpful science websites that will help the students to excel in the material recently covered and the material for this 9 weeks. I also would like your help in reminding the students that they need to bring their supplies to class every day. The supplies needed daily are: textbook, interactive notebook, workbook, agenda, non- mechanical pencil, and any homework. Please return the bottom portion of this letter completed so I can verify you received it. Thank you, Kelli Caras (757) 619-8279 cell Student Name___________________________ Parent Signature___________________________ Best method of contact_________________________

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Competency E: Content Knowledge (standards based instruction) Rationale 1 After a lecture and 5 minute check, I realized the students were having trouble with the properties of water. I then searched online for a more hands on approach where they can observe the properties and hopefully understand them more. I found a lab that met those needs laid out in Virginia SOL 6.5. Reflection 1 Labs are an important part of the science curriculum. I had originally planned one a week using whatever the state guide had laid out. I found that that is not always best for learning. I am now working to create or find labs for the harder concepts of each unit. Sometimes that means several small labs a week, while other times only one big lab is needed.

Rationale 2 In order to effectively teach all the material outlined by the state for each grade, we must take the time to identify what is important to know and what our students already know. By doing this we can save time that would be spent teaching material that is already known, allowing more time to cover the unknown material. By identifying what is important to know, we can also identify what the students want to learn and meet those curiosities, fostering a love for learning.

Reflection 2 To introduce the students to the settlement of the United States, we first covered what they already know. Once each person listed something they already knew about the early settlers, we moved on to what they want to learn. I helped guide them in the beginning by asking a question from the SOL essential knowledge. Once they had an idea of information they could learn, it was easy for them to come up with ones on their own. This really helped to guide me in editing down the material that needed to be taught, saving valuable time that we can use for more difficult material later on.

Artifact E-1

Artifact E-2

Competency F: Reflective Planning and Instruction Rationale 1 Before teaching the lesson on clouds, I gave the students (19) a list of questions to assess their current understanding of the topic. This allowed me to adjust the lesson plans to a brief review of topics already understood and a more thorough examination of those not fully grasped. I gave the same assessment at the end of the clouds unit the day before the test. This allowed me to see the growth or recession of knowledge. The chart was a quick way to see what areas needed to be reviewed again before giving out the test the following day. Reflection 1

The chart is a great and fast way to see just how much the students learned from the lessons and activities. I also put this chart up on the screen for them to see as a morale booster before the test. It really gave them confidence before taking the test. Many remarked about how much smarter they are now. The level of anxiety also seemed to diminish. Next time I may do this a bit more before the test so if there are more problem areas I have longer to address them with further instruction.

Artifact F-1

20 15 10 5

Before Lesson


After Lesson

Competency G: Interdisciplinary Curriculum Rationale 1 Social Studies is an ideal subject area to use interdisciplinary curriculum. In my third grade class we are learning about the early colonists. For their spelling words, we integrated key words for the social studies unit that week. We also are reading a book about the colonists in language arts. By taking time to plan ahead, we can give students a more comprehensive learning experience. Reflection 1 It was very easy to create an interdisciplinary unit from the social studies content on colonists. With more preplanning, I could have also incorporated science and math. We could

also have tried to coordinate with art and music to tie in as well, but that may have been more difficult as they follow their own scheduling across the grades. The material also seems to stick better when learned across the subjects. Rationale 2 In teaching a science only class, it is difficult to integrate other subject areas. This class turns in a great deal of work with spelling errors. They also have testing difficulties. With these things in mind, I created a new type of activity that would allow them to integrate other subject areas, mainly language arts and computer technology, with the science material. It also allowed them to be creative in their own way, but show knowledge at the same time.

Reflection 2 This assignment was a lot of fun for the students. I reserved the computer lab for a day to ensure that students without a computer at home would have access to one if they chose a computer project. We also made a trip to the library. In reflecting on the experience, I should have given a bit more detail to the assignments. I had left the details out to allow for creativity, but the students felt lost without step by step directions. In this school environment, more detail would have benefited the students more.

Artifact G-1

Artifact G-2 NAME__________________ Number the boxes you plan to complete. Due dates for each box are below. You may pick any 3 boxes as long as they form a straight line across, or down. Free spaces require teacher approval-plan ahead. Box one and two are each count as quiz grades. The test counts as a test grade. Box 1 due Friday Feb 11, 2011 Box 2 due Thursday Feb 17, 2011 Box 3 due Friday Feb 18, 2011 This is your Test.

Weather Instruments


Weather Phenomena Make a power point presentation for each weather phenomena. Include photos and explanations for each.

Your school has found $5,000 to purchase weather instruments to help predict weather phenomena. Prepare a brochure for the instruments you think the school should purchase. Weather Phenomena

Free Space

Visit the library and review books on the different weather phenomena. Write a paragraph about the information in the books and a paragraph on why you thought this book was the best for each phenomena.

Present your written project idea for approval.


Must be about one of these items: Air quality Weather maps Clouds


Weather Phenomena


Design a public service announcement to educate the public on the weather phenomena. Include what each is, what causes them, the possible dangers and how to prepare for them.

Take pictures or find pictures of each cloud type. Label each type and identify what weather they are an indicator of.

Competency H: Integration of technology and media resources for instruction, classroom organization, and student learning. Rationale 1 Students live in a world full of technology. It has traditionally been used to entertain, but it can be a powerful tool when used for instruction. By combining technology and fun with the lesson, students are more engaged and eager to participate. Students that are more engaged learn the material better than simple memorization, which may be only temporary. Reflection 1 I really enjoyed the lessons in which the students are excited. When they want to take part, teaching is natural and fun. The learning still takes place, but is more complete. In the future, I will try to use sites that have the Promethean flipcharts and activities already designed. It takes a long time to create the highly interactive flipcharts, but this may be faster with more experience. I also am looking forward to taking a class on the use of the Promethean, which will also help. This particular activity had images of heat transfer modes that the students had to drag to the column in which they think they belong. Once they let the picture go, the answer pops up, allowing for self correction and explanation. It is important that the students explain why they pick the category for both correct and incorrect answers. This confirms knowledge and allows me to understand where the mistake lies. It’s also important to have enough activities so that each student gets a chance to participate.

Rationale 2 While introducing technology to students is done at a younger age in the current times, we must also teach them how to determine if the information found online is credible or not. At the sixth grade level, most students already are computer savvy. This activity is designed to intergrate the technology into the lessons. It reinforces the material learned over the past week, as well as helps to introduce research skills. Reflection 2 The activity was difficult for the first class. Some of the computers would not load the site as listed and we had to go back and use the base web address. I made notes on the board so that the second class would go more smoothly. Second and third core did well. Core four is a very large class, so in order to accommodate the situation of too few computers, the students worked on teams. I also had each class compete to see who finished first with everything correct. The winners each got five points extra credit towards their upcoming test. The students enjoyed the break from traditional review and lectures. They were a bit noisy at first but did settle down and focus quickly. Some did try to take shortcuts by typing the questions into Google. I made sure to roam the room and redirect those using sites other than the ones listed as options.

Artifact H-1

Artifact H-2

Competency I: Classroom and behavior management strategies that support a positive learning environment Rationale 1 Positive reinforcement in the classroom is a great way to recognize those students who are on task and inspire others to model the same behavior. Rewards do not have to be something substantial each time. I often use just verbal recognition. In order to keep positive behavior a constant, the students do need something to work towards. Reflection 1 I created a ticket lottery system for the students to help with positive reinforcement. They have two opportunities each day to earn tickets just by coming in and putting their things away within the time limit. They also earn the tickets during class randomly. When a majority seems off track, I will acknowledge the few on task verbally and with tickets. They also get them when answering random questions from the day’s lesson correctly. The students place the tickets in their class bag, and on Friday I draw six tickets from each class. Those students get a prize at the end of the day. The students have responded well to the ticket system so far. They all seem to get back on task as soon as they notice the tickets coming out during class. However, not all students are interested. Those students either pass on tickets or hand them to friends. The only thing that does seem to bother them is when someone’s name is drawn more than once on Friday. It is hard for them to understand that that person simply had more tickets because they were on task more often.

Rational 2 Positive recognition in the class is established by setting boundaries. By giving each student a set of poker chips they knew the boundaries and had concrete material in front of them reminding them of the boundaries set forth and their own progress in meeting them. Each Monday, students received a total of four poker chips. The two white ones were for questions not related to the class or for repeated instructions due to inattentiveness. The blue chip served as a “Get out of Jail� chip. Students could use this to get out of silent lunch, or get an extension on work that was not completed in time. Most often this was homework. The red chip was a restroom trip. As long as the student had a chip, they could go to the restroom. Students were also allowed to barter amongst themselves with chips. On Friday if the student still had all their chips, they cashed them in for a Starburst. All chips were then collected and redistributed again on Monday for a new week of usage. Students had an envelope glued to the inside cover of their science notebooks to keep chips in to avoid loss as well. Reflection 2 This method of setting limits and monitoring works well for older students. They get a chance to take responsibility for their own actions. They can self monitor behavior as well simply by seeing if they have the chip or not. The students liked how they were in control of whether or not they could leave class to go to the bathroom. This independence also teaches them how to make responsible decisions. One key part, depending on the age of students, is making sure the females can still go to the restroom during their menstruation times. I simply held the girls back after class long enough

to tell them they could still go without a chip for that, but I would mark it on my calendar so they could not use the excuse all the time.

Artifact I- 1

Artifact I- 2

Teaching Portfolio  

This portfolio documents my teaching experience.

Teaching Portfolio  

This portfolio documents my teaching experience.