I’ve lived in the Seattle area for much of my life, though I spent 4 years in Minnesota as an undergraduate (St. Olaf College) and 10 years in Northern California as a graduate student and teacher (UC Berkeley). My husband of 26 years and I met in Kindergarten, when my mom bought homemade puppets from his mom. We have 3 children, one in high school, one in college, and one in Denver (he’s the recent college graduate.) This year we added a Norwegian Buhund to our family and she loves to join us on hiking and snowshoe adventures. She has not, however, shown an interest in two of my other favorite activities: cycling and Nordic skiing.
Interest and Experience in Education
Reading allows us to experience emotions, adventures, relationships, times and places that no one person could embrace in a lifetime. It helps us define who we are, both individually and culturally. Writing and speaking enable us to share who we are with the world. As a high school English Language Arts teacher I want to help students develop the competent literacy skills that will aid them in these discoveries and allow them to become fully voiced participants in a democratic society.
My past teaching experience spans a variety of ages in diverse settings, but the content has always involved books or bikes (sometimes both.) I have taught reading and composition in the college classroom and led Classic Books discussion groups in elementary school. As a cycling instructor I have worked with home school families, senior adults, and P.E. teachers. Most recently I have volunteered as a tutor in two public high schools, serving in the literacy and ELL support rooms for 6 years. I particularly enjoy creating modified high school Language Arts curriculum for emerging readers and writers. Finding texts that are rich and accessible, and creating assignments that require strong critical thinking while developing foundational reading and writing skills, are both challenging and exciting. Of course, my greatest teaching reward lies in the success of my amazingly capable, kind, and often hardworking students.
Expected Outcomes and Program Standards
Expected outcomes are expressed as program standards, which are aligned with State-designated teacher preparation approval criteria shown in WAC 181-78A-270. Program standards include criteria (e.g. 1.), elements (e.g. 1.1), and examples. Any level of the program standard is appropriate for reflection, feedback, or evaluation.
1. Expectations – The teacher communicates high expectations for student learning.
1.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
Teacher recognizes the value of understanding students’ interests and cultural heritage and displays this knowledge for groups of students.
1.2 Communicating with Students
Teacher’s explanation of content is appropriate and connects with students’ knowledge and experience.
1.3 Engaging Students in Learning
The lesson has a clearly defined structure around which the activities are organized. Pacing of the lesson is generally appropriate.
2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.
2.1 Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
Most of the teacher’s questions are of high quality. Adequate time is provided for students to respond.
2.2 Engaging Students in Learning
Most activities and assignments are appropriate to students, and almost all students are cognitively engaged in exploring content.
2.3 Reflecting on Teaching
Teacher makes an accurate assessment of a lesson’s effectiveness and the extent to which it achieved its instructional outcomes and can cite general references to support the judgment.
3. Differentiation – The teacher acquires and uses specific knowledge about students’ cultural, individual intellectual and social development and uses that knowledge to adjust their practice by employing strategies that advance student learning.
3.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Students
Teacher recognizes the value of understanding students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency and displays this knowledge for groups of – students.
3.2 Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness in Lesson Adjustments
Teacher makes a minor adjustment to a lesson, and the adjustment occurs smoothly.
3.3 Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness in Persisting to Support Students
Teacher persists in seeking approaches for students who have difficulty learning, drawing on a broad repertoire of strategies.
4. Content Knowledge – The teacher uses content area knowledge, learning standards, appropriate pedagogy and resources to design and deliver curricula and instruction to impact student learning.
4.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
Teacher’s plans and practice reflect familiarity with a wide range of effective pedagogical approaches in the discipline.
4.2 Setting Instructional Outcomes
All the instructional outcomes are clear, written in the form of student learning. Most suggest viable methods of assessment.
4.3 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Learning Activities
All of the learning activities are suitable to students or to the instructional outcomes, and most represent significant cognitive challenge, with some differentiation for different groups of students.
4.4 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Lesson and Unit Structure
The lesson or unit has a clearly defined structure around which activities are organized. Progression of activities is even, with reasonable time allocations.
5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.
5.1 Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport
Teacher-student interactions are friendly and demonstrate general caring and respect. Such interactions are appropriate to the age and cultures of the students. Students exhibit respect for the teacher.
5.2 Managing Classroom Procedures through Transitions
Transitions occur smoothly, with little loss of instructional time.
5.3 Managing Classroom Procedures through Performance of Noninstructional Duties
Efficient systems for performing noninstructional duties are in place, resulting in minimal loss of instructional time.
5.4 Managing Student Behavior by Establishing Expectations
Standards of conduct are clear to all students.
5.5 Managing Student Behavior by Monitoring
Teacher is alert to student behavior at all times.
6. Assessment – The teacher uses multiple data elements (both formative and summative) to plan, inform and adjust instruction and evaluate student learning.
6.1 Designing Student Assessments around Criteria and Standards
Assessment criteria and standards are clear.
6.2 Designing Student Assessments with an Emphasis on Formative Assessment
Teacher has a well-developed strategy to using formative assessment and has designed particular approaches to be used.
6.3 Designing Student Assessments to Inform Planning
Teacher plans to use assessment results to plan for future instruction for groups of students.
6.4 Using Assessment to Provide Feedback to Students
Teacher’s feedback to students is timely and of consistently high quality.
7. Families and Community – The teacher communicates and collaborates with students, families and all educational stakeholders in an ethical and professional manner to promote student learning.
7.1 Communicating with Families
Teacher communicates with families about students’ progress on a regular basis, respecting cultural norms, and is available as needed to respond to family concerns.
8. Professional Practice – The teacher participates collaboratively in the educational community to improve instruction, advance the knowledge and practice of teaching as a profession, and ultimately impact student learning.
8.1 Participating in a Professional Community
Relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation.
8.2 Growing and Developing Professionally
Teacher welcomes feedback from colleagues when made by supervisors or when opportunities arise through professional collaboration.
Elements of a Model Entry
There are different formats for writing portfolio entries. However, responding to writing prompts 1-6 helps to address desired performance on professional knowledge and skills, along with identifying steps for having a greater impact on K-12 student learning.
1. Citation of the program standard (either criteria, element, or example) along with an interpretation of what the standard means.
2. Presentation of evidence with description. The description includes context and related research or theory associated with the creation of the evidence.
3. Justification of how the evidence demonstrates competence, or emerging competence, on the program standard.
4. Summary of what was learned as a result of creating the evidence or having the experience.
5. Comment on the implications for student learning.
6. Propose specific changes or next steps to increase effectiveness in the area under examination.