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Speaker Reflections

ARA Conference
Statement: I, Annie Walker, attended the ARA Conference on Thursday
November 12th 2015 and Friday November 13th 2015 until lunch.
The ARA Conference was truly one of the best experiences I have
had this semester. I learned so much from this conference, and I had a
blast at the same time! It was such a neat experience, and I am very
grateful that we got to be a part of it. I was glad that we got to help
them stuff and distribute bags the first morning. I was also very excited
about getting the bag, and the different readers theaters and other
fun goodies. One of my favorite speakers from the whole conference
was Mr. Jeff Anderson. He was absolutely hilarious, yet everything he
said was so impactful and interesting. I have not spent much time
thinking about writing, but now I do! The different exercises that we did
with the writing tips he was telling us about were so cool! I love when
speakers involve the audience, and he did this with the activities and
his humor. The writing tips I learned from this session were also
extremely valuable. I loved how he did not put parameters on the
childrens writing, but let them express themselves and say what they
wanted to say. Writing is important because it opens the pathway to
reading. Therefore, students should be writing every day. However, we
do not want to put a bad taste in their mouth about writing, so we
need to make it fun and expressive. Next, I heard the author of
Woodlawn speak, and he is incredible! He spoke about love, and how
when it stems from the Lord, then we change lives. He used this to
encourage us as teachers. He talked about how God takes the ordinary
and can turn it into the extraordinary. We might see ourselves as
ordinary teachers, but God can use us for the extraordinary if we let
Him. We have such a platform to love the students, and we never know
how this love will affect them. I bought his book, and have already
started to read it. I was a little star struck! Then, the next day, I met
Ms. Anne Marie Corgill, and she is a hoot! She was so nice to all of us,
but she also said some really neat things about education and, of
course, certifications. After speaking to her, we listened to Dr. Bice, and
I think he is the perfect man for his job. He has innovative and creative
ideas, and it is clear that his first priority is the students and seeing
them succeed. He had some radical ideas that I loved, like not
confining school to the morning hours, and having little breaks
throughout the year, instead of summer. He does his job so well, and
the statistics prove this. Finally, the last two sessions I went to were
both about childrens books, and I have some great suggestions for my
future library. Dr. Underbaake gave us some great suggestions about
childrens books, like The Day the Crayons Came Home and The OK

book. The next speaker also talked about different books, and I have a
long list of books to buy now. I loved this conference so much, and I
want to go back again sometime!

ELL Reflection
The ELL workshop was extremely interesting. After hearing Mr.
Pitts and then Mrs. Valtierra speak, I have been thinking more and
more about working with ELL students. I really enjoyed everything that
Mrs. Valtierra did, and I loved how it was interactive yet extremely
informative. I learned so much more because she involved us and
made it interesting, which is also a good model for how we as teachers
should run our classroom.
One of the biggest points that Ms. Valtierra stressed with us is
the way that language is acquired. There are four ways: listening,
speaking, reading, and writing. I had heard of these ways before, but I
learned that speaking and writing are ways that you produce language,
and that is harder for ELL students to do, so that comes later in the
process of learning. On the other hand, reading and listening are ways
that you receive language, so the ELL students start with these steps.
It is very important to understand this, along with the different stages
they progress through, so that you can most effectively teach your
students. The stages were also very interesting to me. I had never
heard of these stages before, but they are so very important for the
success of your students. I think the most important one to understand
and to know is the first stage, silent period. In this stage, the students
are taking it all in. They are receiving the language, but they are not
reproducing it. They listen and they imitate the other students, but
they cannot follow directions or write anything. This is key to
understand for teachers because they cannot get discouraged when
their students do not talk or participate. They are learning, just in their
own way. It is important not to discourage them or criticize them, and
that goes for every stage, as well. It is also important to remember that
students cannot skip stages. They must go through every single stage.
The activity that Mrs. Valtierra did with us to show us how much
English each stage processes was great! It really helped me to
understand, and to see it from the students perspective. I felt really
bad for the poor students who do not understand even half of what the
teachers said. It helped me to understand how to better teach the
students. This is why it is very important to model and demonstrate
your instructions for your students, because they do not understand
your words. It would also be a good idea to have a peer partner, so
that the ELL student can easily imitate and model what the class is

doing. What we learned in this section was extremely useful for future
classrooms, whether we are teaching ELL students or regular students!
There were several key points that Mrs. Valtierra made that made
a big impact on me, and will affect the way I teach in the future. First,
the way that she taught us was a wonderful model of how to run a
classroom. She assigned roles, which minimized the time it took to do
things. She modeled her activities and made them interactive, which is
exactly how I wanted to run my classroom. She gave rewards for right
answers, but did not criticize for wrong answers. She made the
learning environment a safe environment, and I felt like I could ask
questions and not be made fun of or criticized. This was very valuable
for the learning experience. She also gave us valuable advice, useful
resources, and helpful tips for ELL students. The piece of advice that I
found most powerful was that as a teacher, our job is to push the
students to the next level. As long as the students show progress, we
have done our job. The amount of time it takes a student is irrelevant,
as long as they show progress. This goes for all students, not just ELL
ones. It also important to remember that teaching the ELL students is a
process, not an event. Next, the resources she gave us were
invaluable. The HELP! Booklet with all the rubrics, the can-do lists, and
the expectation list are such a good resource for us for the future. The
WIDA website is also an excellent resource to know about and to use,
because it has all the standards on it. Finally, the different games and
activities that Mrs. Valtierra showed us were good ideas, and I will
implement them in my classroom. I loved the Hot Onion game. That is
a great way to close a lesson, and it is active and allows different
students to participate. I wish we would play those games in our
classrooms! The gallery walk was also a great idea, but I wish we had
more time to talk about it. I would let the different groups present
them to the class, and then put them in the gallery so that students
could walk through and solidify their knowledge. Overall, this was such
a useful seminar and I am very glad that Mrs. Valtierra came and spoke
to us.

Dr. Newton
Dr. Newtons presentation today was inspiring, and it made me
excited for the future. I have a passion and a desire to be the best
teacher I can be and to impact so many students lives through my
teaching. Therefore, I found it very interesting to hear Dr. Newtons
findings on what makes great teachers so great. I found the five points
extremely helpful, especially for first year teachers, because we now
have five guidelines to help us achieve the greatness we are aspiring

for. While I believe that all five of the points were important, there were
two that clearly stood out to me. First, I believe that a culture of
redemption is extremely beneficial and necessary in a classroom. My
favorite teacher use to tell our class all the time that it is not about the
grade we make, but about what we learned in the process. The focus in
a classroom should never be on whether students are achieving
perfection, but instead that they are learning the material, no matter
how long that takes. I liked when Dr. Newton mentioned the loose,
tight principle, and that teachers should be loose on students learning
on the teachers time frame, but tight on the fact that the learning
does occur. I also believe that there should always be a chance for
fixing mistakes and re-doing failures. No one is perfect, and we are all
going to fail. Therefore, we all deserve second chances and the
opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Often times, the greatest
moments of learning come from making mistakes. The second most
powerful point to me was about teaching being a journey that the
students and teacher are on together. That point is moving because I
think that so many teachers see their job as simply pounding
knowledge into the minds of younger generations and hoping they
learn something. It is so much more than that. It is a journey, and
teachers serve as a guide for the students, to help them and
encourage them. The teachers and students should work as a team to
accomplish their learning goals. The environment of a classroom
should be open and friendly, where the students feel like the teacher is
a part of the team, willing and ready to help them work towards their
goal, at anytime. This being said, I also had a certain personality in
mind for this great teacher label. However, I learned today that great
teachers come in all shapes and sizes. They have different techniques
and different teaching styles. They run the classroom differently, and
they have unique approaches when it comes to relationships with the
students. However, they all have one thing in common: their focus is
centered on the students in the classroom, who they care about and
want to see succeed. That is what makes the difference between a
mediocre teacher and a great one. With all these points in mind, I feel
excited to begin my journey as a teacher, but also very anxious
because I have such a strong desire to be this great teacher but I know
it will take time and experience.

Arts and Technology Video

As a pre-service teacher, one of the things I am most nervous
about is classroom management. I want to run my classroom in the
best way possible but I do not feel prepared at this moment to do that.
I also know that classroom management gets easier over time, and is

often times established through trial and error. However, after

watching this video, I feel much better about managing a classroom. I
found each of the five sections to be applicable and extremely useful
for my future classroom.
In the first segment, student engagement, there were three
points that stood out strongly to me. First, I love the idea of playing
games, moving around, and being hands-on in the classroom. Playing
games keeps activities fun and slightly competitive. One of my goals is
for students to love learning, so if they are having fun while they are
learning, they are more likely to enjoy it. Movement and hands-on
activities also keep students actively involved. In one of the classrooms
I observed in last semester, the teacher had a quote on her wall that
said Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and
I learn. I love this quote, and I think that it is so very true. When
students are involved, they are paying attention and learning, and they
might even be having fun in the process. The second point that I found
useful was to establish a clear routine, with smooth transitions. It is
proven that when students know what to expect, they are more
motivated and perform better. That being said, a routine is key for a
successful classroom. I think an established routine is something that
is easy to overlook, yet easy to implement. The third and final point
highlighted two strategies to keep students alert and engaged. First,
they said to let the students talk about themselves. I had never
thought about that before, but it makes sense. When you are
discussing your life, and relating topics to your life, it is easier to learn.
People are also more willing to listen and comply when the topic is
about them. The second strategy was to use unusual information, like
trivia or fun facts, on the students when they seem to be losing
interest. This was another strategy that I had never thought of, but
that I will definitely use in my classroom. My only question after this
segment was how do you always keep the whole class engaged? I think
that the biggest challenge would be to constantly have the whole class
involved and engaged no matter what you are doing.
In the second section, maintaining classroom rules and
procedures, there were also three main points that I found intriguing.
First, they mentioned in the video how rules and procedures must be
established from the very beginning. This is key for managing a
classroom. If students are not familiar with the rules and procedures
from the very first day, they will always be unclear and it will be harder
for them to learn the rules gradually overtime. I also think it is very
important to set a precedent from the beginning that rules are there
for a purpose, and it is expected of the students to follow them, or to
deal with the consequences. The second nugget of wisdom that I found
was when they were talking about classroom organization, and how a
teacher should never be more than 4 steps away from a student. That
is a new concept to me, but I will certainly take that into consideration

when setting up my classroom. Finally, I found it powerful when they

said that rules are not static. Depending on the class and the situation,
rules can and should change. They should never be set in stone, and it
is not bad to change them.
The third segment, dealing with following and not following
the rules, is the segment I need the most work on. I struggle with
disciplining students, so this section was very helpful and I feel like I
learned a lot from it. First, I learned that you should acknowledge good
behavior as well as bad behavior. This is an art that gets overlooked
way too often in a classroom. Teachers are eager to reprimand the
students who are not following the rules, but we should be just as
eager to commend the ones who are. When we offer those praises, it
creates a warm environment and a desire in students to win this praise
and affection. I also learned that consequences, both good and bad,
should be consistent and subjective. There should be no room for
questions in either of these two areas. Last, I found it interesting when
the narrator said that teachers must be aware of everything in a
classroom, and perhaps that is why they come home so tired everyday.
This is so true. Teachers have to be aware of at least 18 students at
one time, all the while focusing on teaching and making sure the
students learn the content. It can be an exhausting job, but wonderful
all the same. The only thing I did not agree with in this segment was
the mention of holding the whole class accountable for the actions of
one student. I believe that could cause tension among students and
that one students bad choices are not the fault of the whole class. A
group of people should never be punished for something that one
person did. Punishment should be individual and should never involve
a whole group of people.
Segment four, about establishing relationships with
students, is the most important one to me. I love to get to know people
and to show people that I care. My spiritual gifts are words of
affirmation and quality time, so getting to know students personally
and to understand them is what I am most looking forward to in the
classroom. I believe that it is important to make the students feel
special and valued. In Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, feelings of
acceptance and safety are necessary to have before higher learning
can occur. It is the same way in the classroom. Before students can
truly learn and succeed, they have to feel like you care about them and
are there to help them.
The last segment was about communicating high expectations
for all students. I had a problem with this section because I do not like
the mindset that any student should be called low-expectation. I
believe that all students enter the classroom with the same potential.
True, some might be more difficult to reach than others and some
might take longer to get to this potential, but I truly believe that each
student in the classroom has the same potential. That being said, they

should all be treated in the same manner, and held to the same
standard. This would be the biggest challenge in a classroom, but it
could also be the biggest blessing when the child finally breaks through
that barrier. However, when you feel like a child is struggling, do not
just let them slide by. Keep pursuing them, keep asking them
questions, and keep working with them. Do not ever give up on a
student, and always see the best in all of your students.
Dr. Rogers
We can teach you to teach, but we cannot change your
dispositions to teach. I thought that was a very powerful way for Dr.
Rogers to open her presentation today. This is a very true statement.
Teachers should have a certain quality and attitude about them that
others do not have, and that no one can teach you, because they have
a very special job. This being said, not everyone can, or should, be a
teacher. Unfortunately, in todays society, I think just about anyone is
allowed to teach, whether they have that certain disposition or not.
This issue is part of the problem with our school systems.
It takes a very special person to be a teacher, a person with a
heart and a passion for it. Otherwise, there is just a person standing at
the front of the classroom hoping that the students learn something,
but not really caring about the student. However, an effective teacher
teaches knowledge and skills, as well as cares for the students. I found
Dr. Rogers list of essential ingredients for being an effective teacher
very interesting. The most important one to me, although all three are
essential, was disposition. As evidenced by the activity we did in class,
the attitude and actions of a teacher make the difference between a
good teacher and an impactful teacher. Anyone can master a skill and
anyone can obtain knowledge on a certain subject matter. But not
everyone has the gift, attitude, and aptitude to teach. Therefore, your
behavior is an integral part of the teaching experience. I also believe
that some of these dispositions are innate. The desire to nurture and
care for young children, to build relationships with them out of love and
selflessness, is a gift from God that not everyone has. This gift is so
unique, and we should not take it for granted. I thought it was helpful
to know that we will learn these various dispositions from watching
other teachers, from our Samford classes and teachers, and also from
each other. From these different categories, we will learn both what to
do and what not to do. I hope to be an example of what to do, but I
also know that these girls around me will serve as excellent examples
and role models for the next coming years.
While reading the criteria of the dispositions data sheet that Dr.
Rogers distributed, one stood out to me: the teacher demonstrates
both high expectations of students and the belief that all students can
learn at their potential I believe that all students have the potential

to succeed, but the teacher must put in the effort, as in the case of
Marva Collins, who truly cared about a group of students that everyone
else overlooked. The students from a rough part of Chicago had been
told their whole lives that they were not good enough and that they
could not succeed. However, Marva spoke to them so positively, that
they began to believe in themselves, and they began to excel in the
classroom. Each day, she lifted them up with her words, but she also
had high expectations for them. The students went on to obtain a
higher education, and they all had successful careers. She made such
an impact on those students, simply through her positive teaching
influence. That is my goal in teaching, to take a group of students that
no one believes in and tell them that they are worth it and that I
believe in them. I want to pour time, energy, and love into students
who have never experienced the feeling of love or success before. I
truly believe that then they will succeed in whatever they do. Just as
Marva Collins dispositions were key in motivating the students and
allowing them to believe in themselves when no one else did, so are
our dispositions important while we are teaching.
Dr. Rogers ended with this powerful quote from Oswald
Chambers: Character in a saint means the disposition of Jesus Christ
persistently manifested. Ultimately, our dispositions should be Christlike and reflect the love of Jesus Christ. We should strive to emulate the
fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, every day of our lives. If we
do this, we can only imagine the impact we will have on the lives of the
students that we are influencing day after day.
Dr. Hannah
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything
that can be counted counts. This quote by Albert Einstein summarizes
my feelings from Dr. Hannahs talk today. Not everything that counts
can be measured on paper. In fact, often times the most impactful and
meaningful moments cannot be found on paper. Stemming from this
idea, Dr. Hannah said today that the best form of assessment is truly
and deeply knowing your students, and I adore that idea. While
educational assessments are necessary, knowing your student is the
best assessment.
I did find her points on educational assessment extremely useful
and helpful. I loved the idea that assessment should be about what
teachers intend for the students to learn. They should measure how
well the student has mastered a certain topic, and not just test random
topics. I can relate to this idea, because I have had plentiful experience
with tests that just test random knowledge and teachers who simply
enjoy giving a test. This does not help the student learn, and it also

does not show the student that you truly care about them and how
they are doing intellectually. I also think it is very important to fully
prepare your students for tests. This means having both knowledge
and skills. If you have knowledge, that is just the first part. The second
part of fully understanding a topic is applying that knowledge to a
certain skill set. In order for students to be successful, teachers must
teach knowledge and skills. This also plays into teaching students
critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. One thing that Dr.
Hannah mentioned was the idea of productive struggle. That is a
hard concept for me, because I love to help people and my natural
instinct is to jump in and give them the answer. However, I need to
learn that often times the struggle of finding an answer teaches a child
to learn the concept. As a teacher, I can give them guidance but I
should not rescue them. I also find the difference between formative
and summative assessment intriguing and I love talking about it. I had
never heard of the two different types before, but now I thoroughly
enjoy learning about both. I like how formative assessments are only
meant for learning, and they aid both the teacher and the students.
Assessment for learning is a gift we give our students. It is a mirror to
show them how far they have come... I thought that was a powerful
quote that Dr. Hannah used, and that it was very true about formative
assessment. I want to remember all the different techniques for
formative assessment, because I just find it so intriguing. However, I
should not forget the importance of summative assessment, either.
These kinds of assessments are helpful and necessary, but the key is
knowing your students.
One thing that will never change in assessment is that the best kind
is honestly getting to know your students. Children and students tell us
everything. In order to fully understand our students and where they
are coming from, we must first develop a relationship with them. It is
proven that once a relationship has been formed, learning takes place
so much more easily. Imagine the difference a teacher who cares about
the student and who cares about their grades can make. I would love
to teach in an underprivileged area, where I could provide this
relationship to students who have never had it before. Then, I could
provide them opportunities that they cannot make for themselves.
Being a teacher who cares keeps the students in school and keeps
them motivated. It places a desire in the students to want to learn for
the rest of their lives, which is my goal in education. I want students to
love learning, and to look forward to that. The first step towards my
gaol is the best form of assessment: getting to know each individual

Dr. Wood

Before todays seminar, I had always considered myself gifted.

I took a test before entering high school that placed me in the gifted
program, so I thought I was gifted. However, after hearing Dr. Wood
speak today, I realized that I fall under the category of high achiever
and not gifted. A high achiever is someone who is bright and ready
to learn. They know the answers, have good ideas, and they complete
assignments. The key to being a high achiever, though, is motivation.
On the other hand, a gifted learner often times acts out in class
because they are bored. They ask deep, meaningful questions and
make complex connections. Often times, they are extremely
unmotivated and slightly critical, and that is the key factor in
distinguishing between the two learners. There is a big difference
between the two, and I found that to be extremely interesting and
something that I had never heard before. I also originally believed that
all students are gifted. However, Dr. Wood made the excellent point
that all students are gifts, and each of them are unique and special,
but not all students are gifted. This being said, there is a certain
criteria that gifted students must meet. One of my favorite parts of
todays seminar was the simulated gifted testing. I loved trying to
make pictures out of the nine circles, even though I was not very good
at it. It was also very interesting to see what everyone else drew. This
accentuated two points in my mind. First, everyone thinks differently,
and as a teacher you must accommodate all of those different learning
and thinking styles. You must get to know a student in order to
understand how they think and work. Second, everyone is creative and
imaginative, but in order to be qualified as gifted, you must go above
and beyond the normal range of creativity. These different ideas about
gifted students were very intriguing to me and I loved hearing what Dr.
Wood had to say.
At the beginning of the seminar, when Dr. Wood had us write
down one concern we had about teaching gifted students, I wrote down
that I was concerned about not being able to engage and include the
gifted students in my classroom. However, I now feel totally prepared
to do that. The strategies that Dr. Wood gave us to use in our
classrooms were phenomenal. I loved the Thinking Triangle, because I
had never seen that before. I also got very excited about the Tic-TacToe board, and not only want to implement that in my classroom, but I
want the chance to complete one. Those kinds of projects are so fun to
me. I think it is important that teachers find inventive ways to engage
students besides a worksheet or extra problems, for many reasons.
First, giving them a worksheet does not encourage learning. It is simply
a tool to keep students busy, and in my opinion, a lazy act by the
teacher. Second, I think that these problems instill thoughts in the
students that the teacher does not truly care about them, or their
learning. They think that they finished early, and the teacher sees

them as a burden, so they get extra work. They get punished for
finishing early and being bright, which brings us to the third point.
Students who receive extra problems or an additional worksheet are
more likely to become less motivated because they make the
connection that finishing early means more work. They realize that if
they work slowly, or get more problems wrong then they will not have
to complete the additional work. This does not encourage good habits
or the desired work ethic in students. However, the strategies that Dr.
Wood presented are exciting, engaging ways for students to receive
the enrichment and special attention that they need.
I loved this seminar today. It was extremely informative, but also
interesting and fun. It is so important for teachers to know how to
handle all the students in the class, and to be prepared for those
situations that will arise. I slowly am starting to feel more and more
prepared for my future classroom.
Dr. Bluiett
I think that people view assessment as a negative aspect of
teaching. Every time the word test is mentioned, it always
accompanied by a groan or by a sympathetic comment. However, tests
and assessments are not negative things. They are powerful tools that
both the students and teachers need in order to have a successful
classroom. Assessments can be administered in many different ways
and using many different styles. The styles we talked about today in
class pertained mainly to reading, and I found them very interesting.
However, I felt a little overwhelmed at the end of class, as well as
being a little confused about assessment.
First, I thought it was interesting what Dr. Bluiett had to say
about assessment preceding instruction. That thought confused me. I
had always thought that instruction was to be given first, and then you
test or assess your students to discover how effective the instruction
was. However, today Dr. Bluiett said that assessment always comes
before instruction. I do not understand that. I understand how pre-tests
are given sometimes, but I do not think that assessment should ever
precede instruction. Maybe I misunderstood her point, but I disagree
with that point.
I did however love her points about the different types of tests. I
think that the most important types of tests are the ones that go in
depth and the ones you administer day-to-day. The in-depth tests are
important because they tell you why the student is struggling with that
certain topic. This is important to know in order to better help the
student conquer the reading issue. The second type of test, the day-today progress assessment, is the most essential test though. This test is
used throughout the year to measure the students progress and how

much they have learned. These are the most important assessments
because they are given on a daily or weekly basis, so they are
consistent. They also determine the students progress, so you can
track how the student is doing, as well determine if the instruction is
working or not. If these assessments are not working, then the teacher
can re-evaluate the situation and invent new techniques to help the
students. Re-evaluation is key for every teacher and every assessment.
Assessments are not only for the students, therefore the teachers need
to carefully consider the data each assessment tells them, and proceed
from there. Maybe that is what Dr. Blueitt was saying when she said
that instruction follows assessment.
Lastly, my favorite part of the seminar was discussing the
different reading assessments that can be used. The most interesting
subject to me was learning how to teach children about book
orientation. The phonemic awareness and fluency tests will also be
very useful for my future classroom. I am excited to put these tests to
use, and see them in action. I think that will help me to understand the
whole concept better. Dr. Bluiett gave us some very good reading
techniques and I appreciate those techniques, even though I was
slightly overwhelmed at the end of the day.
Underbakke Reflection
Mr. Underbakke was an excellent speaker, and his presentation has
been my favorite so far. He is engaging and funny, but what he had to
say was helpful as well. Even from his first word of advice (panic is
never good) that had nothing to do with what he was actually talking
about, I learned something. However, I gleaned valuable information
from his discussion on books to read in the classroom.
First, I did not know that people understand more difficult text
when it is read aloud to them. This is why reading aloud to students is
so important, as is choosing the book you read to them. Reading a
chapter book out loud to children introduces them to a text that they
would not be able to comprehend on their own at that time. Mr.
Underbakke gave two very important guidelines for choosing these
books, one of which I had never thought of before. First, he said to
always make sure you read the book all the way through before you
read it to your students. This is very important, because you would not
want to read something inappropriate to your students, or something
that could potentially scar or scare them. Second, he said to choose
read aloud books that students would never choose to read on their
own or would never find to read on their own. I had never thought of
that, but I see why that would be important and useful. It exposes
children to literature that they would not usually read, but it also does
not eliminate any books that they might want to read independently.

He also advised us to make time in our day everyday to read a chapter

book to our students. This is such a minute detail of the day, but one of
the most important, because nothing builds community faster than a
shared text. It makes connections between people, and between
people and world. Even though I found Dr. Underbakkes advice about
reading to be helpful and engaging, I did not agree with his
suggestions. I had never read Wonder, and by the way he described it,
I probably will not read it. I had never even heard of it until he
mentioned it. Then, he mentioned The Giver. I read it this summer, and
I did not like it at all. The concept was bizarre to me, and despite the
deep meaning and the way it made me think, it had some very
disturbing parts in it. I also cannot stand when a book does not have a
clear, precise ending. It drove me crazy that you did not know if the
boy died or made it to the city, and that it was up for interpretation.
Then, he talked about The Hatchet. I started this book this summer,
but never finished it. I wonder if it would be age appropriate for some
students, though. Then, he mentioned The Bridge to Terebithia and
Tuck Everlasting, neither of which I enjoyed either. The Bridge to
Terebithia is a tragic and depressing story. The friendship between
Leslie and Jess is poetic and the book won an award, but I do not think
it is a quality book. I also do not think students will enjoy it. Tuck
Everlasting was a good book, but it bothered me that at the end, it did
not explain why Winnie did not choose to live forever. Like I mentioned
earlier, I do not like books that do not wrap up cleanly and leave you
without questions. The only book that seemed good to me was The
Invention of Hugo Cabret, but I would have to read it first. I love to
read, so I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Underbakkes presentation today.
Despite his book suggestions, I enjoyed him and his advice was helpful.
Dr. Chesire
Assessment is key for every classroom. Today Dr. Cheshire
reiterated that point for us, as well as adding some new information to
our prior knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed her presentation today, and I
gleaned some interesting facts from it.
First, I loved the three different ways that assessment affects
learning: assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and
assessment of learning. Assessment for learning is formative, and it
informs both the teacher and the student about what they should work
on. Assessment as learning is also formative, and it helps students to
reflect on what they have learned and monitor their progress. Finally,
assessment of learning is summative, and it is used to determine
whether the students have truly learned the topic or not. These three
ways of looking at assessment were new to me, and I really liked them.
I can see myself using all three in my classroom. I also really loved her

analogy of the plant for formative and summative assessments.

Formative is the food and water that helps the students grow, while
summative is simply a measurement to compare and analyze. That
was brilliant. Formative is key for growth, and while summative cannot
help growth, it is necessary for analytical purposes, which are also
extremely important because they help teachers make valuable
connections. I also found Dr. Cheshires statement that assessment is
the process and not the end to be very impactful. I had always
considered assessment to be the end, or the goal of the lesson.
However, that is actually evaluation. Assessment is the different tools
you use to help the students learn, and evaluation is what you use to
judge whether they have learned everything. Assessment is an
ongoing process and should never end. I liked the idea of assessment
being a process, where you plan, implement, assess, and then report.
Then, you start over again. These were brand new thoughts to me, but
I really liked the ideas a lot. Another idea that I found intriguing was
when we were talking about learning versus grades. I have always
thought that learning is more important than grades. My favorite
teacher used to tell us all the time that it was not about the grade but
about what you learned in the process. I still have this philosophy.
Grades should not be an overall determining factor. The letter that Dr.
Cheshire handed out to us about the progress report was my favorite
part of the whole lesson because it is so true. Grades are just a
snapshot of how a child did, and they should never be used to judge a
child completely. What the students are learning will all work together
to form a beautiful portrait at some point, but the students should not
be pinpointed from the very beginning by grades. I also really liked
how Dr. Cheshire never looked at her students test scores before the
year because she wanted them to come in with a clean slate and she
wanted to form her own opinions. I will use this strategy because I
believe that every child deserves an equal opportunity to start over
and have new expectations, without being weighed down by mistakes
of the past. Finally, we talked about error analysis. Unfortunately, these
two parts get overlooked frequently, when often times they are the
most important. The activity we did was a strong example of why error
analysis is important. From examining the tests in depth, we found
many different problems that could have affected the students and we
also learned how to help students work through these problems.
Understanding why a student got something wrong is the most
important thing to do with assessments because that gives you so
much other information. I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Cheshires lecture
today, and I learned many wonderful strategies from it.

School Faculty Reflections

Mrs. Drake is the bookkeeper for Trace Crossings. Without her
role, the students would not receive the necessary resources they need
for success, or the funds they require for fun activities. Her role as a
bookkeeper helps to keep both the teachers accountable, as well as to
ensure that a students classroom and learning environment is well
equipped for gaining new knowledge and having success. I also feel
like Mrs. Drakes job is more there to keep the teachers honest and to
make sure that they are doing their best for the students. Mrs. Drake
mentioned the Alabama Code of Conduct, and she reviewed some of
those points with us. Mainly, as a teacher, you must be extremely
careful and very responsible with the money you are allowed to handle.
The money belongs to the state, and you are entrusted with it,
therefore, you must handle it right. From payroll procedures to filling
out forms for fieldtrips, there are certain procedures you must go
through and you are expected to follow those procedures. There are
receipt procedures, receipt books, fundraising procedures, field trip
procedures, purchase order forms, reimbursement forms, contracts you
must sign, forms to fill out before you collect money, and forms to fill
out before you take leave. This information was extremely
overwhelming to me, and I am so nervous that I will mess something
up. However, it is encouraging to know that most schools have a
bookkeeper for this reason, and that she is there to help us. I thought it
was interesting how at Trace they give the teachers P Cards for use
for instructional material. I think this is a wonderful idea, and it will
benefit the students. Another topic I found interesting was that you are
not allowed to receive more than $25 dollars from one family for
personal use. If you can find a way to make it for educational use that
is okay, but personal funds cannot exceed $25. You also must log all
the money you receive. I also loved the Care and Needs fund, for
students who cannot afford certain activities. I have a big passion for
those students, and I was glad to hear that they are provided for
somehow. This session was most useful for me because I knew
absolutely nothing about it, and I learned lots of new information that I
had questions about.
Ms. Roebuck and Ms. Northcutt teach music and art respectively.
The PE teacher and Librarian are also included in the Specials block,
but they were unable to attend. The Specials teachers have a unique
role in student achievement. They provide different outlets for students
to express themselves besides in the classroom. Often times, students

that struggle with learning excel in either music or art. They can
express themselves better in these areas, and therefore they shine in
these classes. It can also be therapeutic for some students, if they
have behavior issues. At the same time, gifted students who need
extra activities or assignments can utilize what the Specials teachers
have to offer. Both the Art and Music teacher mentioned how they try
to do collaborative projects with the teachers so that what the students
are learning in class is supported by what they do in Art and Music.
Because the students only get 30 minutes of each a week, the
teachers are responsible for providing 30 more minutes of Art and
Music, so it is important for the classroom teachers and Specials
teachers to communicate. Ms. Northcutt mentioned the website
DickBlick and Deep Space Sparkle for resources for art projects.
These websites provide valuable tips for Art teachers. Deep Space
Sparkle includes Art management tips, art lessons by grade, art videos,
more art resources, and even art literature. It is an amazing website!
The Librarian is another Specials teacher that is there to assist
teachers. She is a good resource for finding appropriate books, as well
as for finding books that children will love. The PE teacher is the final
Specials teacher, and it is a law that students must have 30 minutes of
exercise a day. This is good for students because they get out their
energy and can run and play for a little while, which wakes up the brain
and prepares them for learning. One of my favorite things that these
teachers said was about how Special teachers are really good
resources to ask about student behavior. These teachers notice things
because they see the children in different environments. It is important
to use these teachers as resources and for advice. I enjoyed listening
to these teachers because I love Specials, and so do the students.
Lunch Team
Ms. Ida Collins is the head of the lunch staff at Trace Crossings, and she
is a saint. Her role is important because if the students are not fed
properly, then, no matter what the teachers do, the students will not
learn. Students must have their basic needs met before they can focus
on anything else, and so Ms. Ida makes sure that those needs are met!
By doing this, she is supporting what the teachers teach in the
classroom, because she is making sure the students are equipped to
learn. Each morning, she provides breakfast for the students, complete
with one entre, one fruit, and a milk. The teachers must place the
breakfast on every childs desk to ensure that the child was given
breakfast. I found it interesting how she said that she advices the
teachers to keep the leftover food in the classroom, so the students
can take it home at the end of the day or eat it as a snack. Otherwise,
she has to throw the food away. For lunch, the children are required to
have vegetables, fruit, and milk. They try to make the meals more like

what the students would get at home. I also loved how Ms. Ida said
that loves to get to know the students, and to pay attention to them
because she never wants a child to be hungry, and she will never say
no to them about getting more food. She cares about the children. She
will give them the extra that they need, because she does not know
what the situation is, but she cares. She was such a blessing to listen
to, and she made me want to eat in the cafeteria every single day just
so I could talk to her.
ELL Teacher
Mr. Pitts is the ELL teacher and I enjoyed listening to what he had to
say, because I am interested in working with students who speak a
different language, preferably Spanish. He is a key contributor to
students success in the classroom because he helps them reach a
level where they can comprehend what is happening in the classroom.
He said at one point that he is an advocate for the students. I think
that is so true, but I also think that all teachers need to have that
mindset. He is not only helping the students, but also the faculty. He
can communicate to the teachers how the children learn and where
they are in their progress, so that the teachers can adjust assignments
and know where the student is and what they need more help with. He
has a very important role. I found it interesting that he tests each
student before they come into Trace, so he gets to know each one on a
personal level. Then, he takes the test scores and decides whether
they should be in ELL classes or not. Once that decision is made, he
starts working with the students weekly. Even after they have been
dismissed from the program, he monitors them for two years. I also
found it interesting how he is not only used to communicate to the
students, but he is needed to help the parents too. That makes perfect
sense, but I had never thought of that before. He serves as a translator
in many situations, as well as helping the parents do things that they
do not understand regarding school. He also mentioned how frustrated
he gets with the ACT INSPIRE that the ELL students have to take
because they are not capable of doing it, yet they are required to it.
Mrs. Barber called it education malpractice and I could not agree
more. Mr. Pitts also talked about the website WIDA, and this is just a
long list of standards for students who are developing the English
Language. I can see how that would be very helpful. I thoroughly
enjoyed Mr. Pitts, and this session made me consider working with
students who do not speak English.

Carol Barber is the principle at Trace Crossings. She has had many
years of experience in administration, both as a principle and in school

administration in general. Her passion for the students was obvious,

and it is clear that she is not there to get people in trouble or to be the
boss, but to make sure everything is running smoothly and to care
about the people under her. She mentioned how she did not want
students to think of her as being scary or as a disciplinarian. She wants
students to see the principle as someone who is there to help, and the
same with the teachers. While she must discipline both teachers and
students, that is not her main job. Her job is to oversee the school, to
help the students receive the best education they can, and to make
sure the teachers are providing the best education they can give. She
also said how her job is to make life as easy as possible for teachers.
She wants to provide them with the materials and resources that they
need and want, so they can be highly effective teachers. However, she
said that her most important role is to interview good people, because
once she gets good people, then they do their job, and do it well. She
gave us some wonderful hints about interviews, and these were
extremely impactful. First, a resume should be no longer than one page
and it should be bullet points. It should also include what you did
outside of school, because administrators want to see that you were
involved in more than just classes. She also instructed us to always
have a cover letter and to take the initiative to turn in the application,
cover letter, and resume either in person or by email. Next, the
interview process is extremely vital. Always come dressed
professionally, because first impressions are key. She gave us a list of
questions to be prepared to answer, and the one I found most
interesting was about having guidelines and expectations in the
classroom, not rules, and how those should be phrased in a positive
way. She also mentioned to be ready to talk about your goals,
discipline, and instruction. Finally, she gave us good advice about
being a first year teacher. We should work well with our team, be a
great colleague, but most importantly we should go the extra mile.
Volunteering for different projects or teams shows that you are
committed and willing to work, and it also shows a sense of
responsibility and initiative. Do not be timid! You were hired for a
reason, so do not hesitate to voice your opinions and take the plunge.
Mrs. Barbers advice was extremely helpful and I feel more prepared
for these five years as I look for a job and start teaching.

Title One Team

The Title One teachers are all three lovely ladies, and I hope to get to
know each of them better. I thoroughly enjoyed their session. At the
beginning of the year, they look at the ACT INSPIRE test scores, and
then choose to work with the students who are barely struggling to
make it. They think it is important to help those students reach the

level where they can succeed, and it is these students who need the
most help. It was also interesting to me that they said that they work
with students who are not Title One as well. I think that is an excellent
idea. These teachers help students who are behind to reach the level
where they should be. Without their help, the students would be
struggling with no chance of survival in the education system. They are
there to support the classroom teachers. They said that they do not
want to both the teachers, but instead work with them and support the
students in the classroom. Teachers should work closely with the Title
One teachers because you learn valuable information about your
students from them. I loved how their goal was to not keep the
students for the whole year. They want to see progress and they want
to dismiss the student, although they keep monitoring them, so that
they can have room for more students who need help. The passion that
these three ladies exude is obvious. They have to be extremely
talented and driven, because they work with all different grade levels
on all different content areas, all in one day. They are constantly
changing children and changing subjects, yet it is so obvious that they
love the students and that they love their job. I was grateful for this
session and learned a lot.
Instructional support
Ms. Paige teaches instructional support, otherwise known as working
with the special needs children. She was very thorough in her
description of her job, and I appreciated that. I also thought it was very
helpful of her to print out a handout for us, to have for future
reference. Ms. Paige works with the children with IEPs, and supports
them outside of the classroom. Although they learn in the classroom,
she pulls them out and works with them throughout the day. She also
mentioned how it was important for her to collaborate with the
teachers, so she knows what they are doing in class and can teach the
students what they need based on that. However, she said that her
schedule is 70% teaching, and 30% paperwork. Working with
disabilities requires a large amount of paperwork. That is because each
IEP student requires paperwork (it is a legal document), and there is
always more paperwork to be done. She works with around 20 different
students that qualify for different learning abilities, such as Down
Syndrome, autism, etc. One idea that she does that I love is the idea of
the Lunch Bunch, where autistic children can come and learn
emotional, social, and communication skills. While their learning might
be fine, they struggle in a different area. She also uses instructional
support aids in the classroom. These aids will work alongside the
student in the classroom, so that they do not miss any important
instruction. They are also there to support the teacher in a time of
need, and show them the best way to relate to the student. Finally, I

liked how she mentioned that the only thing constant in her teaching
world is change. This highlights the need for teachers to be flexible and
to expect problems. Those are okay, but you have to be willing to
change and prepared to change. I learned a lot from Ms. Paige!