During my teacher preparation program, I feel that I have experienced the most growth in my teaching skills. As I progressed through my practica and student teaching, I became a more confident and competent teacher. During my time in the classroom, I have only added to my toolbox of effective teaching strategies. I have become more adept at creating and implementing motivating and engaging plans that provide for student differences, use multiple teaching strategies, develop critical thinking skills, and incorporate assessment.

Fifth grade students use candy and problem solving to understand the connection between fractions and decimals.

• Careful planning is useless if these plans are not used. Not every lesson will go exactly as planned, but having a pre-planned structure makes me feel more comfortable when teaching. The following link is an observation completed by my University Supervisor, that shows my ability to teach based on lesson plans. US_observation.jpg
• Classrooms are quickly becoming more diverse. In light of laws such as IDEA, general education teachers must accommodate more exceptionalities than ever before, and this is a thought that I welcome. While teaching in my 3rd grade student teaching class, I developed and implemented a math lesson that included an intervention for off-task behavior, which one of my students displayed frequently. This intervention involved the use of dry erase boards by students to answer questions. Although I originally used this strategy during math, I found that it was also useful in Science, and I still use it today. It requires movement, which keeps students engaged. I have also found that it is a safe, low-stress way for every student to participate and share their thoughts in class. I find that this is especially helpful for students who are not confident, or are generally shy. The following links are a copy of the 3rd grade lesson plan, and my Cooperating Teacher’s evaluation of the lesson, respectively.
Intervention lesson (math).pdf Intervention_lesson_eval.jpg

One goal of effective teaching is to promote a lifelong love of learning. This can be done by presenting material in an interesting and motivating manner. Over time, I have become more skilled in this area, and have been able to find and create many engaging and meaningful activities and lesson plans to teach content. Below are sample lesson plans using motivating, effective teaching strategies, and promoting critical thinking skills.

Science - 8th grade:
In 8th grade, students are introduced to the Periodic Table. This can be a difficult concept for students to grasp because it is so abstract, and involves a lot of vocabulary and math. It is therefore necessary the students to have as much processing time as possible, while keeping lessons fun and interesting. To do this, I created a game called "Periodic Puzzler," which is similar to "Candyland." In this game, students play in groups of 2-4. Each group gets a deck of cards with questions that I created. Students ask each other these questions, and correct answers allow them to move further along the board. Because I used a game, students were motivated and excited to practice and improve their skills through these questions. Most questions were at the Applying and Analyzing levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.

Eighth grade students playing "Periodic Puzzler." © 2012, Krystal Rodney

Third Grade Science: Along with two student teachers, I taught a lesson on food chains in my 3rd grade student teaching class. The following artifact is a video clip, showing me helping students to use their knowledge of food chains to analyze a food web. Students were able to think about the difference between food chains and food webs, and how important one animal is to the survival of others.

Language Arts: While completing writing conferences with my class, I noticed that many of the students had repetitive sentences in their writing. I used this knowledge as an opportunity to do a fun lesson on removing repetitive sentences from writing. On “Backwards Day” at my school. I wrote a paragraph entitled “My Backwards Fish.” During the writing mini-lesson, I asked the students to help me revise and edit my paragraph to remove the repetitive sentences, and come up with different words to use. The paragraph is available below, and shows the revisions that we made as a class.

Students helped me to revise a paragraph about my fish

Social Studies: During the 2008 Presidential Election campaign, I developed and implemented a lesson plan on voting. This lesson was aligned with Virginia Standard of Learning 3.11, where students explain the importance of basic principles of our republican form of government. The students simulated a national presidential election in which the major issue between the political parties was picking the national candy. Students were able to actively engage in the voting process, and make and change their decisions about their chosen candidate based on information from the “nightly news.” During this lesson, students were able analyze and engage in the voting process through the process of modeling. The class was very excited about the opportunity. Please click on the following link to view this lesson plan. presidential election lesson plan.pdf