As a practicum student, you have the opportunity to be in schools and volunteer in a classroom full of children. When parents drop off and pick up their child, they may see you in and around the school.
Parents will want to know who is in their child’s classroom working with their children
I recommend creating an all about me page to share with your supervising teachers. They may choose to share this page with parents by posting it on the parent communication bulletin board or find another way to share it.
I have created a “Meet your practicum student” one page outline for you to use to print and use in your classroom. (see below)
What to Include: Here are some examples of what you can put on the all about me page… Continue reading →
For many Pre-Service Teachers (either in practicum or student teaching), it is good to look at why one wants to become a teacher…
In another post, we looked at goodness of fit with teaching. Do you possess the qualities inherent to become a good teacher? Read the post here: Goodness of Fit-Teaching.
Let’s take some time to reflect upon why you want to be a teacher…
Think about your educational background: What was your school experience like? was it positive? Did you have a teachers who inspired and encouraged you to be your best in all ways? Or, did you have a negative experience? What made the experience challenging?
Why do you want to become a teacher? I always knew I was a born teacher. It was always my instinct to help my twin brother from a young age and found myself naturally taking on the “teacher” role even as a young child. Do you want to follow in the footsteps of a good teacher you had or want to provide others with a better experience than you had?
Lastly, If you are a practicum or student teacher…
What are you hopeful to get out of this experience? If you are volunteering in a kindergarten, are you hopeful to learn about what motivates this age group to learn? Are you excited to learn about the curriculum or positive behavior support?
Check out this worksheet I created to reflect upon “why I want to be a teacher”
when we teach we learn about what works and what doesn’t work by using self-reflection. Teach a lesson, a day, a week and look back and take the time to examine what worked well, and what didn’t work.
Here are some questions to ask:
How did the students respond? Was the lesson too hard, too easy? How would you present the materials or lesson differently next time?
How are you feeling physically and emotionally? Are issues in your personal life creeping into the classroom? Are you able to leave stress from home at home?
Every facet of teaching and education including the teacher’s cognitive, psychological, social/emotional and professional characteristics can be reflected upon. How you show up in your classroom and your school matters! Every facet of you as a person and teacher impacts your students and the whole school is impacted on some level.
When we prepare to review dispositions of our pre-service teachers with self-reflection in mind, we have the following rubric and scale:
Take a look at this scale and see how you would rate yourself right now…
We always want to see ourselves with a growth mindset and as a person who can grow and develop new skills.
Are you a person who is willing to put in the work to self-reflect so you can grow personally or professionally? If so how are you self-reflecting?
One student teacher I had two years ago said he had a long drive home from his student teaching placement. He took this long commute to run through his school day. He would think about the areas of the day that went well and the areas of the day that he would do differently next time. One suggestion I had for him is to have some type of journal or log to eventually (after he is done driving:) record those thoughts. Even though you think you would never forget them, the year is so full and there is no way to remember everything.
I designed this self-reflection worksheet as a way to encapsulate that self-reflection every week.
Take a moment to fill this out each week. Create a file to keep the reflections and by the end of the year you will be so amazed at how much you have grown.
Last night in our weekly guide meeting my wonderful pre-service teachers got into partners and used this self-reflection worksheet to reflect upon their week in the classroom. They enjoyed the chance to share with a partner and we will try this again next week.
The student on the left side of the picture, Hailey also shared her journal which she uses daily to write in. Her collaborating teacher encouraged her to use a daily journal to write notes about the day and questions that come up. I was so impressed to see this level of self-reflection from a student teacher!
Independent work systems are evidence-based practice for students with autism, but they are very helpful for any child who needs some structure to be able to work on his or her own.
My son who started Kindergarten, now has homework so I set up a structured work system so he has somewhere in the house dedicated to completing his homework.
Special education classrooms use a variation of these work systems and supports to help teach independence and provide structure.
♥ I want to share this technique and show how easy this independent work system is to create and use at home. Even if you don’t work with an autism specialist or have in-home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist, this is something you can create with a quick trip to the dollar store and moving around some furniture. Continue reading →
Words are important! They hold meaning! Words have the ability to lift people up to promote and celebrate them and also have the potential to alienate and marginalize people. We must choose our words carefully so we don’t unintentionally get into a deficit mindsets with our students.
Condition First Language: This is when you put the condition first when speaking about people who have disabilities. An example of this is: A blind child
Person First Language: Put the child/person first before the condition. An example of this is: A child who is visually impaired (blind). Think of children with disabilities as children first.
Children with disabilities have a wide variety of skills. Some children with disabilities may be gifted in some areas. It is not helpful to think of any group of disabilities as a homogenous group.
Focus on what students can do to create a strength based approach. Before an IEP meeting, create a list of the child’s strengths to start the meeting with. What is an IEP?
Exceptions: The Deaf population typically refers to themselves as Deaf because they have a stand alone language (American Sign Language). They use the capital D in the word Deaf as well. Recently people with autism have been sharing their desire to be called autistic because they acknowledge that although they are not neuro-typical. They are proud of who they are and want to acknowledge their autism.
Check with the individual: It is always best practice to check with the individual to see what langauge they prefer. When you are in a school, defer to using person first langauge unless told otherwise.
Students with autism or other special needs, who have an Individual Education Plan (I.E.P) or 504 plan, will have a section in the plan detailing accommodations and/or modifications. The student’s IEP or 504 team will determine what these accommodation or modifications will be and it is the responsibility of the classroom teacher (and other members of the team) to follow through on the plan in class. To learn more about an IEP check out my link What is an IEP?
Students with IEPs qualify under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Public Law No. 94-142
Laws require that students who have special needs have equal access to educational opportunities.
Equal access to general education curriculum
Schools are required to make reasonable accommodations for students identified as having a disability
Building resilience for children who are experiencing bullying or have Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES): When students are being bullied, they are more likely to experience:
Depression and anxiety. Signs of these include increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
Creating Resilience– Focusing on gratitude Cultivate Gratitude For Students With ACES for what you have in your life has been proven to support students with ACES. Educators and parents can help young children focus on the support they already have in their lives. Here are two ideas to promote resilience in the home and in the classroom:
At home support: Heart Garland of Love and Support:
Hang a heart garland showing the names of people who care about the child where they can see it every day. We created it together and I allowed him to brainstorm the people in his life who care about him. He came up with 4 close family members and one teacher from his school. Every day when we wakes up and before he goes to bed, the garland acts as a visual reminder to focus on the people who have his back and care about him.
Alternative Ideas: For children who can’t read yet, you can put small pictures of the people. Gratitude: Each heart can contain one word signifying what the child is grateful for or positive core qualities the person possesses.
In School Support: Lace Up Your Best Personal Qualities Art Activity
One of my students at SOU created this fun classroom art activity for students to identify 5 things they notice about their peers that are great or positive. Each student in class has a shoe and the “laces” have a word or something positive about each student in class. Some examples of positive words include “reliable, kind, outgoing and good friend”
What are some ways you provide emotional support for students who are bullied or have ACES?
Transitions are when a student moves from one activity to another in the classroom. Going from small group work time to large group work, lining up for lunch, going home and going to P.E. are all examples of transitions.
Transitions are commonly a time when children who experience autism struggle. Wait time, uncertainty, and needing to go from preferred to non-preferred activities all contribute to this breakdown. Staying one step ahead of the curve and supporting the student with autism will help the school day go smoothly. Here are some tips for creating success with transitions during the school day.
Minimize wait time during transitions Hurry up and wait should not be the motto for your transitions. Waiting in line for example can exacerbate anxiety, frustration and uncertainty for students with autism. Continue reading →