My STEM Units

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tooting My Own Horn

I need your help.  

As many of you know, I am working through the National Board Certification process.  It is a humbling experience.  Just when you think you are an accomplished teacher, you read the standards, watch your videos, and realize you have so much more to hone your craft.  Or is that just me?

I'm actually ok with the "humbling" part.  I get that. I get the fact that teachers can work a lifetime and still have areas to improve upon.  In fact, after ten years in the classroom, I actually see more "areas of potential growth" as opposed to "perfection".  

But, here's the hard part for me: tooting my own horn.  We have been taught since childhood to not brag and to not be proud.  In college, we were taught to write in the third person.  In the workplace, we learned to give credit where credit is due and highlight the accomplishments of our colleagues.  However, in National Board, you need to document the evidence that you are an accomplished teacher, i.e. toot your own horn.  

Entry 4 requires that candidates list their accomplishments as a partner with parents and community, learner, and leader/collaborator. I had no problem listing the classes, conferences, and books I read as a "learner".  I am even having fun with the parent/community piece, listing all the PAC nights and contacts with local experts.  However, I need "evidence" of being a leader/collaborator with other teachers in the form of letters.

That's where you come in.  Hopefully.  

I need letters from other teachers in the state (or nation) that document that I have shared teaching tips and techniques with you and it has had an impact on your students' learning.  I know, right?  

Basically, I need an email from you, sent to and include my first name (Susan) and be signed with your first name.  Please indicate which city (if in Arizona) or state.

Here are some sentence frames I took from Bobbie Faulkner's book What Works that would be simple to fill in the blanks.  

National Board Candidate's Name: Susan (no last names)

Date of Presentation/blog post: your choice which one has the biggest impact on your child

Describe how the presentation impacted your teaching of the skill/concept:

  • In Susan's presentation, I learned that I can help my child to _______________ in a new way.

  • Learning ___________________ the way Susan showed in her presentation changed the way I help my child at home (or teach my students) to practice that skill.

  • I saw the impact of what I learned at Susan's presentation when my child ( or students) _____________.  Before I attended Susan's presentation, my child (or students) would __________, but now they ___________.

  • In past years my child would ___________, but after this presentation they _____________, which helps them ________.

Please include this:  This impacted my child's learning by ____________.

I will try to list the presentations I have given here, but seriously, I have given so many over the years I might have forgotten some.  You might remember something that I have forgotten.  Or, you might have gleaned some nugget from a previous post on my old blog or the new blog.  Feel free to scroll back through my blog posts to ones about my classroom.  

Teacher Presentations:

  • Digital Storytelling (Tech Ready Conference/Pre-service):  I shared how you can use various apps to have students retell a story and/or write their own.  
  • Preparing for PARCC:  I showed you the sample test items and we made a plan to embed testing vocabulary and digital items into your weekly routines.  
  • Vocabulary Routines and Games:  I shared Vocabulary-Roll-A-Word and Vocabulary Word Art along with gestures to enhance your vocabulary routine.  
  • FOSS in the Classroom:  I showed you how to embed FOSS into your weekly schedule for reading and writing. 
  • Academic Parent Teacher Team Meetings:  I brought that new idea to our school and shared a new way to involve parents in their child's learning.
  • Literature Units:  I created a PowerPoint to guide the students deeper into the novels.  
  • Free Walking Field Trips:  I shared free field trip ideas.  
  • Literacy Stations:  I shared what I learned from a conference about Literacy Stations and Menu Boards.  
  • DonorsChoose:  I have showed you how to write a project on DC for your own classroom.
  • Social Studies WebQuest:  I have showed you a WebQuest to use in your classroom.
  • Literature Circle:  I shared my passion and organization for Lit Circles to help the students talk about the reading and share their opinions.

Blog Posts:
  • Family Literacy Night:  I shared strategies that parents can use to help their young readers at home.  I linked videos for parents to get more comfortable with the strategies.
  • PARCC Navigation: I created a tutorial for teachers (and parents) to use to prepare their students for the digital test.
  • PARCC Sample Test:  I created a tutorial for teachers (and parents) to offer suggestions of how to embed digital testing items into daily routines.
  • STEM@home Series: I wrote a series on how parents can encourage STEM at home.  

  1. STEM@home: Science - Watching Science on TV
  2. STEM@home: Science - Exploring national parks
  3. STEM@home: Technology - Using apps to support your child
  4. STEM@home: Engineering - Using Legos and K'Nex 
  5. STEM@home: Math - Playing math games at home
  • National Parks - Treasures for Teachers Series:  I wrote a series on how to use our (mostly) free resources at National Parks to bring the outdoors into the classroom.

  1. Teacher Workshops
  2. Traveling Trunks and other Materials on Loan
  3. Virtual Field Trips

Parent Presentations:

  • 8/17 Parent Day meeting: I taught Math Fluency Games with a deck of cards.  I provided you with a new deck.
  • 9/24 PAC Family STEM Night: I taught how families can do STEM activities at home.
  • 10/24 Academic Parent Teacher Team Meeting: I taught you how to time your student reading fluency passages for one minute.
  • 11/7 Academic Game Night meeting: I provided you with dice and Math Fluency Games and a nice Reading Response Journal and asked that you encourage your child to write in it daily to enhance their reading comprehension and their writing skills.
  • 1/16 Academic Parent Teacher Team Meeting: I shared Vocabulary games with you and you made a game board out of stickers and construction paper.
  • 2/25 PAC Family Literacy Night:  I shared strategies that parents can use to help their young readers at home.  Parents role-played and got more comfortable with the strategies.  

Again, thank you so much.  I know that no teacher works in isolation.  I have gleaned so much from other teachers as well over the years.    

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