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Joelle Wight

Week #10: March 23rd- March 27th, 2015

InTASC #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practices
Professional Learning and Ethical Practices:
I experienced the scariest course of my undergraduate career when I took Legal, Ethical,
and Pedagogical practices. In this course we learned of the myriad of ways in which a teacher
can be sued or held otherwise legally accountable. Obviously, some of them are so outlandish
and crazy that it is easy to shrug them off as impossibilities. Others, however, are situations of
being in the wrong place at the wrong time or making a mistake while having the best of
intentions. This course took a seemingly safe secure playground and turned it into a death trap of
injury opportunities. This course provided enough stories to make even the most dedicated
education student reconsider their occupational choices.
Reflecting on the content, now, however, is an entirely different experience. I am finding
that having this knowledge of the potential problems that may arise is actually quite
empowering. I am equipped with experiences that I did not have to suffer through myself and yet
can still benefit from the learning opportunities they produced. I dont just have to worry about
students safety when I think about professional learning and ethical practices though. As an
educator, especially in the school where I am placed, one has to be constantly conscious of their
actions both in and out of the school. Id like to think that it is an honor, not really a
disadvantage, to have parents watching so closely. I have the opportunity to provide these parents
with confidence about the education and care their child is receiving just through my actions and
so I take professionalism very seriously.
As far as attendance, punctuality, and appearance/hygiene, I am convinced that how I
perform in each of these areas will directly impact my students. Not only would my students
struggle if I did not do my best in each of these areas, they would also have a poor example of
how they themselves should behave in the classroom. I want to prepare my students for every
opportunity of success. This means that I have to lead them by example in topics that go far
beyond content and curriculum.
Another example that student teaching has taught me how to set is being a reflective
person. When a lesson goes poorly, my cooperating teacher encourages me to reflect on it with
the students. For example, after a bad math lesson, I begin the next days lesson by sharing my
reflections about what I could have done better the previous day. I want my students to feel safe
taking risks and making mistakes in their learning. I can model this behavior for them in my own
professional learning practices.
Teaching is more than presenting lesson plans. It becomes a new way of life. My
cooperating teacher has said on multiple occasions that teaching makes her a better person. I
have no doubt that this is true. When I actively reflect and work to be my best most professional
self for my students I know that I will be working to be a better individual.
My Week:
On Monday the students got new desks which was quiet the adventure. They continued
their opinion pieces and study of geometric figures. On Tuesday we had a weird schedule that
kind of gave us a glimpse of what the school day will look like after spring break with the
standardized testing schedule. It will present its challenges but we are still working to maximize
each moment of everyday. On Wednesday the students played their video game style test prep
game. It is awesome to see the kids so engaged in something that most students dread. It just

goes to show how much of an impact presentation can have. On Thursday my cooperating
teacher had professional development so I was in charge of the class for the whole day. We also
had an assembly. Friday was the last day before Spring Break and the kids were excited. We had
a compliment party in the morning and I had to leave early in the afternoon for Capstone so the
day flew by.
One student is pretending to be the student-student teacher. As flattering as it is Im not
sure if I should address the behavior or not. It really doesnt distract very much. The only real
issue is when we are taking bathroom breaks. Obviously, if on student is getting to stand and
look at the line, every other student is going to want to do the same. I want school to be fun and I
want the students to feel that we have a good relationship. I tend to feel that unless learning is
being disrupted or someones safety is at risk most behaviors are acceptable. He has done the
same thing in front of my cooperating teacher and sometimes she asks him to stop but other
times she lets it continue. I think I am just trying to find the balance between knowing which
behaviors will dissipate and which ones will manifest into real issues.

Ideas for the future...

-brad rotation insert for mini offices
-Shamrock shakes

Practicum Journal
Week One: January 5-9
Monday, January 5, 2015

Today was the first day back after winter break so things were a bit out of the ordinary in my
practicum placement. I work with a literacy coach who serves as both a consultant for
classroom teachers (K-6) and a pullout instructor for struggling readers (K-2). Because we are
beginning a new semester, today we didnt pull-out any students. Instead, we reviewed their
assessment data that was collected just before break. We first identified at risk students and then grouped
them according to their needs. As a Title I teacher, my cooperating teacher is allowed to service 30
students and pull-out three groups of 5 students for any one six-week period. I was very lucky to have the
opportunity to meet and observe the district wide literacy coach who came in to work with my
cooperating teaching on grouping students. The groups we created will be pulled out as many times a
week as possible for a double dose of the Pathways to Literacy curriculum the district uses. When we
werent working on collecting, analyzing, and sorting the data, we helped with other school
responsibilities. We had bus, lunch, and recess duty and listened to a student read his text. I especially
enjoyed observing my practicum teacher work with this student because I was able to see her implement
strategies and techniques I have learned about in class as well as witness new strategies. This is part of a
triage program the school is experimenting with. Each day, at risk students who need fluency support
travel to three different people throughout the day to read them a weekly assigned passage. While my
cooperating teacher is not assured of its success, she says she is willing to try any new techniques that
might help struggling readers. I also sat in on a meeting my cooperating teacher had with the principal
and assistant principal in which they discussed assessment results and a potential book box project my
cooperating teacher hopes to implement.

Overall, I think this day was very beneficial in helping me put the knowledge of have gained
from the classes required for my reading endorsement into context. I was able to see how
assessment scores are practically applied and the various factors taken into account when
working with struggling readers. I was able to see how my cooperating teacher and the district
literacy coach balanced various disabilities (dyslexia, ADHD), background difference (foster care,
poverty), and prior experiences (requalifying students) as they formed groups that would benefit each
individual (InTASC 2: Learner Differences). Both teachers outlined the areas of concern for each student
to insure that the content in each would be addressed in individual sessions. I look forward to seeing this
information utilized in context (InTASC 5: Application of Content). The duo also strategized what
techniques could be used to address the areas of concern. After groups were finalized, my teacher also
outlined goals for the 15 students who would be serviced but not pulled out. These students will have
extra support when my cooperating teacher visits their classrooms. I appreciated the care and attention I
saw given to each student as their cases were discussed in both meetings. I got the feeling that the
administration really knew their students individually. Both when my cooperating teacher was grouping
and working with the student who came to read to her, I saw how the curriculum was being utilized.
There were certain phrases ( i.e. when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking) and concepts
that the curriculum outlines that the students really respond two (InTASC 4: Content Knowledge).

As I reflect on this day, I realize I am more aware of the importance of assessment data when
it is used effectively. I am also more interested in the whole building collaboration I saw
evidenced. I think that instructional coaches are an excellent resource for practicing teachings
and when both work together the children really benefit. I was a little disillusioned by the
number of students who qualified for services but the attitude my teacher evidences helps put the work in
perspective. I look forward to seeing this hard work of grouping in action when we actually begin pulling

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Today we met with the teachers to discuss the groups we created. I also listed to the triage
student read his phrases again. This time, he did not have trouble with the words he stumbled
on yesterday but words that he read fluently previously caused him some difficulty. I had the
chance to observe my cooperating teacher administer a test to a new student. We again helped
with other building responsibilities. I find that I struggle enforcing some of the rules for two reasons. 1. A
lot of the kids have no idea who I am and I feel bad imposing authority on them when I have no relational
background with which to do so. 2. I dont know the reasoning behind all of the rules and I feel bad
asking a student who has finished their lunch to stop talking just because music is playing in the cafeteria
(a little difficult to understand without context, sorry). However, I recognize that the administration has
reasons for their rules and I will enforce them to the best of my ability.

I think it was very important to meet with the classroom teachers to hear their opinions and
make sure that our determinations aligned with the teachers observations. The information
that they provided us during these one on one meetings will also help when we are working on
small group lesson plans. We will be able to account for the diverse needs of the learners, of
which, the classroom teachers have first-hand knowledge (InTASC 2: Learner Differences and InTASC 7:
Planning for Instruction). Again, I have witnessed wonderful collaboration amongst all staff in the
building. After listening to the triage student read I asked my cooperating teacher how she accounted for
the discrepancies between the two days of reading. She noted that it was probably more of a focus or
fatigue issues as he seemed fidgety and distracted. The most interesting part of the day was when I had
the opportunity to observe my cooperating teacher assess where a new student was in her reading ability. I
really appreciated the chance to observe a professional administer the test so that I could see exactly how
it should be done. It was also very helpful to take the knowledge I have acquired in class and actively
apply it in the role of observer. For example, when the student self-corrected I was immediately aware
that she did so using meaning as opposed to structural or visual cues. There were two kindergarten
students who will not be pulled out from class but will still receive specialized attention. This was also
very informative. It is with the teachers of these two students that I was able to see my cooperating
teacher work as an instructional coach. She helped them develop instruction and strategies that might be
helpful for the struggling students. For example, she encouraged both teachers to explore the iPads and
look specifically for apps that will help with letter/sound matching (InTASC 8: Instructional Strategies).

When reflecting on the day, I would like to focus on two areas specifically. First, the triage
student and the words that he struggled with day two. I found the changes very interesting and
informative for my future practice. I would assume that students build day to day but it is
important to remember that external factors may cause their results to fluctuate. I also want to
focus on the assessment given to the new student. It was fascinating to observe her taking the test without
actually having to administer it. It was also fun to begin to group her based on the ability I witnessed her
showing. I was able to do this because of the extensive grouping work my cooperating teacher and I
worked on the previous day.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I began the day a little earlier than usual and attended a small team meeting to address
behavior issues at Daniel Young. The school currently uses a safe seat/ buddy seat system and
the administrators are talking with representatives from each grade team about how the
system can be improved. Again, this was an excellent show of the collaboration practiced by
the entire school. Two triage students read to us today. They read poems about snow. We also tested two
more students. The first was a kindergartener who is struggling with identifying letters and their sounds.

Even when presented with an alphabet chart she was unable to write which letters matched with the
sounds my cooperating teacher gave. The student was also only able to identify about half of her capital
letters and fewer lowercase. She exhibited poor phonemic awareness as she was unable to show how
many sounds she heard in the words she was told. The next student was a first grader who we were
retesting. The assessment had originally been administered in a whole class setting. This student struggles
with focus and was easily distracted even in the quite room we took him to. He was only able to complete
half the test before becoming too distracted. The portions he was able to complete showed improvement
which leads us to believe that he knows more than he exhibited. My cooperating teacher wants to meet
with him again to finish the test in hopes that his new scores will show that he doesnt need reading
intervention so that his behavior needs can be addressed in isolation. I spent part of the day searching the
school iPads for an app that we could use with the kindergarten student we assessed that would help her
become more capable with letter/sound identification. I also recommended the songs you played for us in
class, Jane, because the student seems to do better auditorily than visually. When I found suggestions, I
then sorted leveled books for the pullout students. My cooperating teacher plans to send each pullout
student back to class with a collection of books at their reading level. These will go into their book boxes
and the students will be required to read two before they can pick another text in their book box to read. I
also discussed the three lesson plans I will be administering. I will work with a group of second grade
students over the course of three days. They are working on reading in context so I will help them decode,
comprehend, and read fluently.

Again, I feel that it was very beneficial to watch the testing happen. I was able to better
observe and understand the students issues as they took the test because I was not distracted
by recording. I was distressed by the kindergarten students results. My cooperating teacher is
frustrated because she wants to pull her out but the program also insists that unless instruction
in the classroom is given with fidelity then the pullout will not be successful. She obviously needs one on
one attention individualized to her. Unfortunately, that seems to be difficult to get. The first grader
students results served as a wonderful reminder that we are assess students on what they know, not on
how well they are able to test in the standard conditions. I think the book idea is a wonderful one that has
real potential in the school and Im glad I get to be here as it is implemented. It just shows that some of
the most powerful ideas are grassroots, coming from the teachers in the building rather than nationally
produced programs. This will enable students to have choice while ensuring they are reading books at
their independent level. The system is also designed so that students are encouraged to discuss what they
are reading. I think this is SO important for encouraging comprehension and making reading meaningful
(InTASC 5: Application of Content). I will begin working more on my lesson plans after the next couple
of days, my cooperating teacher is going to pull students out so that I can observe her teach them a lesson
and have more knowledge with which to plan. I know for sure that I will be taking elements from the
Pathways to Reading curriculum and using those to help the students be successful (InTASC 7: Planning
for Instruction). I had the opportunity to talk with the district literacy coach and now better understand
why the district approves of this program. It really emphasizes phonemic awareness as an important step
in learning to read and write.

I am beginning to recognize the larger role a literacy coach can play in a school. They work
with the administration to provide programs and opportunities in the school, even if they arent
related to reading. They are an incredible resource of various supports. Even if I am not
immediately working as a literacy coach, and I dont think I really want to be, I am grateful for
the opportunity to see the various hats they wear. I will take this knowledge into my future practice and
work with the literacy coach at my school to provide the best education possible for my students. Todays
events, specifically, will serve as a reminder of the importance of the individual stories and backgrounds
of my students. I will strive to meet my students where they are and work to help them become their most
successful selves.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Today began with a meeting with the Principal and Assistant Principal. We discussed
planning for the school wide writing unit and the annual literacy night. It was really
interesting to see how involved the higher ups are in academics at the classroom level. I didnt
share any ideas but I enjoyed watching as the trio worked to create an effective family event.
They brainstormed ideas that combine learning with fun activities. They also talked about how to increase
attendance to the event by offering food and using superhero as a theme. The principal also gave me a
book to read about being a good teacher. After that we finished testing the first grade student who was too
distracted to finish assessment yesterday. He still qualifies for services but improved his score by 20
points. I then observed as my cooperating teacher planned and taught a mini lesson to a pullout group.
She began by asking students to be good readers and activate their schema by looking at the title and the
cover. The students then shared their predictions regarding the content of the book. Next she asked the
students to split up and find a spot in the room to read independently. We traveled around to listen to the
students read and did so until time was up. I will be working with this same group next week. I finished
the day looking through the schools resources and picking books that I might use when I teach my lessons
next week.

The lesson my cooperating teacher taught put my mind at ease a bit. I was really worried
about teaching a lesson that fit into the Pathways of Literacy curriculum but I dont think I
will have much trouble doing so. The group seems eager to learn and I really appreciate the
environment my cooperating teacher has created. The students were relaxed when they came
into her classroom and they read without fear because they didnt have to worry about being made fun of.
We only had time to listen to two of them read individually. The first student was very good at using
meaning to decode the words. He also was good at monitoring his own reading and knows that he needs
to read individual sections through twice. He uses the first time to decode words and the second to read
the passage fluently and comprehend its meaning. While this is obviously not how we hope he reads in
the future, for now, it shows that he monitors himself and knows how to be successful. The second
student struggled a bit more and my cooperating teacher says that he has difficulty comprehending when
reading and at other times too. Both students had difficulty decoding whole and group because these
words dont follow phonetic rules. The first student used context clues to determine what they were. It
was helpful as I began to plan my own lessons to have some background knowledge of this particular
group and their needs (InTASC 2: Learner Differences and InTASC 7: Planning for Instruction).

Watching my cooperating teacher plan literacy night with the administrators was exciting. As I
think about my future instruction, I will take this lesson with me. While teaching students
changes their lives, working with their parents can help create an even longer lasting change. A
little extra planning and effort can positively impact the lives of students. It can improve
families and the surrounding community. I was also thinking about the unique opportunity educators have
as I watched the DYE school staff help students reach their cars safely. Some of these kids may never
have that much time and attention given to them. Everyday teachers have the chance to make students
feel loved and valuable. I am excited to be part of the profession.
Friday, January 09, 2015

Today our first grade friend who tested with us remembered to put on his glasses first thing
this morning. That was a big deal for him and I was really excited. We began the morning by
meeting with the district writing coach. She and my cooperating teacher are providing PD for
the school in a couple of weeks and they were going over the presentation. I also had the
opportunity to listen in as the two discussed a first grade student who is struggling with writing. He
doesnt even draw pictures to represent his thoughts and he cannot explain what little inventive writing he

uses. His test scores were consistently 0, partly because he doesnt know and partly because he doesnt
want to share. The district writing coach plans to meet with us and his classroom teacher next week
sometime (InTASC 7: Planning for Instruction). We again pulled the small group of second grade
students working on reading in context. The began the session by practicing phonemic awareness skills by
manipulating sounds in words in a Pathways to Literacy activity called Old Word, New Word (InTASC
8: Instructional Strategies). My cooperating teacher was surprised by how much they struggled with this
activity. It asks them to isolate specific sounds and use phonics guides to change sounds and make new
words. We then started rereading the book we began yesterday. This time the students read out loud
because yesterday they had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the text. We discovered during
this lesson that one of the boys is about to get new pet turtles. When the session was over my cooperating
teacher and I began to search for books about turtles that we can use in small group time or send back to
class with this specific student.

I was truly excited by the small goal the first grader I mentioned above accomplished. Those
are the kinds of victories I look forward to celebrating. I am interested to see where the
conversation regarding the other first grade student will lead. From the sounds of things he
doesnt even want to tell stories, which is a new concept to me. All of the children I have met
want to share something. He writes when the teacher asks him to. One of the samples she shared with us
was a book with a few pictures. He wrote the sight words my eye and see and built a story around
what object in the collection of objects the reader was to find. His teacher says that he LOVES the I Spy
books. This is a wonderful example of how important it is to know your students interests. The ONLY
time he was willing to write and draw was when it related to something he enjoys. In small group time I
was interested in my cooperating teachers observation of one student. She asked him to summarize what
the story was about from the reading he had done yesterday. He would only give one word, non-descript
responses. He refused to elaborate when she asked him to do so. After the session she told me that her
extended observations lead her to believe that he has trouble with oral language. She thinks he needs
practice and opportunity to talk with adults more. This made me think of the research that indicates that
impoverished people have a smaller vocabulary than people who are better off economically (InTASC 2:
Learner Differences). It is so important for this child to increase his vocabulary so that he can participate
more readily.

I am beginning to feel more comfortable in the school and with the daily schedule. My
favorite parts of the day are when I get to observe my cooperating teacher participate in
conversations with the district coaches or when I get to watch her lead small group lessons. I
feel like a sponge absorbing all the information around me. I look forward to the opportunity
to practice what I am learning next week when I work with the small group of second grade readers.