"Always start with a larger pot than what you think you need." Julia Child

Effective instruction begins with systematic and reflective planning. In my practicum and student teaching lesson plans, I methodically aligned my unit pacing and daily lessons to district, state, and national standards. I also considered variations in teaching methods and settings, opportunities for student movement and hands-on exploration, differentiation for both struggling and advanced students, and appropriate integration of technology.

Entering the classroom every day, I am well prepared with detailed lesson plans that outline the timing for the full instructional period, methods to activate student background knowledge, detailed reference lists of online and print resources and materials, assessment methods, and closure of the lesson. With the goal of keeping students fully engaged, I created video guides for students to complete as they viewed educational films and also used Qwizdom personal response systems for unit reviews. As my student teaching progressed, I developed routines to optimize instructional time by including warm-ups and comprehension checks for student transitions into the classroom and "lightning reviews" when managing students as they lined up for departure for their next class. I also kept a focus on remaining flexible in order to be responsive to student interests and ability levels as well as unanticipated classroom interruptions and surprises. To this end, I prepared supplemental activities and resources to engage advanced students who finished classwork early and to provide an alternative approach for students who needed a different perspective on a lesson.

Ancient Rome: Warm-up
Ancient Rome: Warm-up map and Video Guide


Social Studies
In my fall social studies methods class, I worked with three colleagues to devise a comprehensive unit on the West African empire of Ancient Mali . Launching off the essential knowledge specified in the Virginia Standards of Learning, we created lesson plans for both the primary and intermediate elementary school classrooms that used a variety of teaching methods, resources, and artifacts. Within this unit, I developed a Mali map and globe lesson and an anthropology lesson based on a Peace Corps volunteer’s blog. During student teaching, I was fortunate to be able to teach a week-long Mali unit and incorporated elements of this academic exercise into my classroom instruction. I made multiple modifications to the original unit plan including an adjustment to the map lesson to shift focus from map scales to coordinate grids to better align with the Virginia SOLs.

Exploring Magnets in Centers

My science lessons provided ample opportunity for extensive hands-on student investigation. In my practicum, I worked with a colleague to plan a ten day unit on States of Matter, In this comprehensive unit, we created a pacing guide, aligned content to state and national standards, drafted four detailed lesson plans, and developed a rubric for assessment. Included in this module is an adaptation of an Oobleck Lesson Plan that I had drafted early in the fall and had revised and adapted after six separate teaching sessions.

In my six weeks of teaching science during student teaching, I taught units on simple machines, animal life cycles, and natural cycles as well as a review of magnets in preparation for the third grade science SOLs. I revised an animal adaptations discovery circus that I had originally planned with two colleagues in the fall and independently planned a simple machines discovery circus and presented it to different third grade classes. In my simple machines unit, my daily lesson plans incorporated an activity that permitted students' personal observation and experience with simple and compound machines. Similarly, I planned hands-on observations of magnets in centers and modeled investigations of natural cycles such as the phases of the moon.

Computers are one of three stations during math instruction.

During my math practicum, I planned and taught lessons on place value, regrouping, adding and subtracting three-digit numbers, money, inverse relationships and four fact families, and rounding. In my student teaching, I worked with a third grade team of instructors at my elementary school to source materials to support lessons that aligned with local and state standards. Using both internet and print resources, I developed lessons on fractions, decimals, multiplication of two digit numbers, and time and calendar. These lessons were structured around math centers that allowed for differentiated instruction among ability groups. In addition, I assembled individualized math folders that allowed students to apply their math knowledge in a less structured, more entertaining format. Folders included math activity sheets that incorporated art, word play, graphing, and coordinate mapping. Students accessed these folders when finished with their independent classwork.

Reading and Language Arts
Mini-lesson on plot

My William and Mary reading methods class provided comprehensive instruction about how to devise lesson plans for interactive read-alouds, shared reading, guided reading, writing, and language arts instruction. In my practicum at Matoaka, I planned a guided reading lesson for a second grade classroom, a read-write-think aloud lesson for my third grade class, and eight one-on-one tutorial sessions for a third grade student who was struggling with reading comprehension. During my student teaching, I learned that planning for reading instruction requires multilayered preparation of each of these separate reading components. My lessons incorporated separate plans for the mini-lesson and individual guided reading groups.
Character Trait Mini Lesson: "The Other Side" by Jacqueline Woodson