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Ability to Plan, Organize, and Prepare for Teaching

Good teachers walk into the classroom prepared with thorough, quality lesson plans. Although "teachable moments" often arise on the fly during a moment of inspiration, it is still important to plan ahead and think through the instruction you are going to deliver on a particular day. Sometimes the carefully planned lesson flows smoothly and easily, and other times, a teacher realizes that unforeseen circumstances necessitate an off-the-cuff departure from the lesson plan. But either way, students' learning experiences are usually richer when the teacher has thought through and mapped out the lesson ahead of time. I prefer to follow the "5 E's" lesson plan model -- Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Extension, and Evaluation. During my practicum and student teaching, I planned and implemented numerous lessons. I now have experience planning individual daily lessons as well as collaborating with our team teacher to plan entire units that cover one or two weeks of instruction in a content area. My cooperating teacher and I also consulted district-wide pacing guides periodically to make sure that we did not fall behind schedule or go too far ahead of schedule.

In all the lesson plans that I turned in to my cooperating teacher and professors, I wrote detailed objectives. This helped focus each lesson by reminding me exactly what the instruction needed to accomplish. I also listed relevant SOL standards in each lesson plan, sometimes including SOL standards from higher grade levels if we were delving into more detail than was required of the grade level in that lesson plan. When developing lesson plans, I used my knowledge of content and pedagogy to select appropriate instructional strategies and resources to use. I also integrated technology into some of my lesson plans. Please see the artifacts below for more information:

Language Arts

I wrote numerous reading lesson plans during my student teaching experience because I had five small reading groups and thus five different lessons to plan each day for reading alone! The guided reading lesson plan that I'm attaching was written for a group of four first-grade students who were all at approximately the same reading level. It includes Virginia SOL standards as well as International Reading Association/National Council of Teachers of English standards. Based on my knowledge of reading content and pedagogy, I decided to start this small group reading lesson with a detailed picture walk of the new book that the four students would be reading. After previewing the book's structure, I highlighted challenging vocabulary words and incorporated some phonics work. I also included a mini-lesson on using an index and table of contents.
external image msword.png Guided Reading lesson plan.doc

The read-write-think aloud lesson plan for fourth-grade students that is attached below shows my ability to plan for effective writing lessons. I selected the book Uncle Jed's Barbershop because it touches on issues such as segregation and the Jim Crow South that students learn about in social studies in fourth grade. I planned an interactive read aloud with expressive reading, 'thinking aloud' to help students process the text, and periodic questions to keep students engaged. The book centers on Uncle Jed's decision to save up money most of his life in order to fulfill his dream of opening his own barbershop -- despite the challenges of living in the Jim Crow South and the fact that Uncle Jed died soon after finally opening his shop. Therefore, I decided to have students choose a position (whether they agree with Uncle Jed's decision to save up money for so long for his barbershop, or whether they disagree) and to support their opinion with at least three details from the story. I planned a graphic organizer activity to lead students in brainstorming ideas before having them write independently.


When planning math lessons, I try to incorporate manipulatives and visual representations of concepts as often as possible. In the addition story problems lesson plan below, I incorporated manipulatives and drawings to help make the concept of addition more concrete for the kindergarten and first-grade students. I also used my students' names in the original story problems that I created in order to increase their interest and motivation in the lesson. In order to incorporate cooperative learning, after the whole group lesson I grouped students into pairs and had them work together to solve a set of story problems. I also created three different sets of story problems in order to differentiate the assignment for struggling, average, and advanced students.

In the coin counting lesson attached below, I incorporated manipulatives by having students work directly with coins. I engaged and motivated students by creating a "Room 15 Menu" with food items for them to "purchase" with their coins. I also incorporated cooperative learning by assigning students to pairs to work together to buy and sell the food items from each other.

Students' menu of options for the coin counting lesson


I worked for several weeks with one of my classmates at William & Mary to create an in-depth Grade 1 module on plants with two weeks' worth of lesson plans and assessments, which is an example of planning many days' worth of lessons and activities far in advance. We incorporated numerous experiments (such as growing bean plants in the classroom) and hands-on activities (such as having students compare and contrast different seeds and different leaves) to make the unit as experiential and concrete as possible for students. We also included many plant-related read alouds in order to engage students and incorporate literature in the science unit.

I collaborated with two other William & Mary classmates to plan a "Discovery Circus" on living systems for a classroom of fourth-grade students. The circus was hands-on and exploratory, with multiple activity stations set up with cut-out paper manipulatives and sorting cards around the room where students could hypothesize why different birds have different beak adaptations, explore the effects of a food web disturbance, hypothesize the reason for different animals' structural and behavioral adaptations (e.g., why a cat bristles its fur or why a giraffe has a long neck), investigate changes in CO2 and global temperatures over time, and design an animal well-suited to a particular biome. To increase student interest and motivation, we had them work in teams, and we made the activities creative and engaging.

Social Studies

Two of my William & Mary classmates and I collaborated to create a "Culture Kit" -- or an in-depth social studies unit with artifacts, activities, and detailed lesson plans -- on Contemporary U.S. culture from 1965 to the present. I took a leadership role in the project, completing four out of the eight lessons/activities independently. We incorporated a range of different instructional styles that matched the particular content of each lesson. For example, we used the Madeline Hunter direct instruction model for a lesson on map skills and an inquiry model for a lesson on school desegregation. We also incorporated art into one of the lessons on historical portraiture, which included opportunities for students to create their own self-portraits. To accompany the lesson on school desegregation, I collected relevant artifacts from Special Collections at William & Mary's Swem Library and interviewed a family friend who experienced school desegregation first hand.
external image pdf.png Contemporary U.S., 1965-present.pdf

For a lesson on careers with my kindergarten/Grade 1 multi-age class, I developed a lesson that incorporated a read aloud about the different jobs that people do (Career Day), a hands-on activity (pairing students up to color, cut out, match, and glue pictures of workers with the tools they use), and a performance activity (having student pairs act out different jobs for their classmates).


I took an education technology course at William & Mary which helped me fulfill all five teaching standards established by the International Society for Technology in Education. I also planned several lessons that incorporate technology, such as a Grade 1 social studies lesson on map skills that incorporates Google Earth and a SmartBoard. I decided to integrate technology into that lesson because Google Earth allows one to zoom in on increasingly smaller areas of land, thus showing students that a map of a particular size can show vastly different areas of land. I decided to incorporate the SmartBoard in the lesson plan because I've observed lessons with SmartBoards and they seem to be highly interactive and enjoyable for students. In the lesson, the SmartBoard also allows them to come up and circle their country, state, city, etc., with the SmartBoard pen.
external image msword.png social studies lesson with technology tie-in.doc
external image msword.png Google Earth screen captures.doc

Please visit my Educational Technology page on this wikispace to view more technology-related artifacts.