As an undergraduate student participating in an accredited teacher preparation program in the State of Iowa, I am required to develop an electronic teaching portfolio. My portfolio is divided into ten sections. Each section meets one of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners’ (BOEE) ten New Teacher Standards. Prior to receiving my teaching license in the State of Iowa, I must present and defend my portfolio to faculty at Coe College, my home institution.
Over the course of my four years as an undergraduate education major, I have been collecting artifacts to use in my portfolio. These artifacts include individual lesson plans, week-long plans, home-school communications, professional development materials, and reflections. Each of the ten sections of my portfolio includes at least two artifacts.
In addition to the artifacts, the Iowa BOEE requires all new teacher candidates to include ten synthesized rationale statements describing their instructional decisions, assessment strategies, teaching philosophies, and reflections. You will find one of my rationale statements below. I will post all ten over the course of the next few days. To view my teaching portfolio, please click on the tab at the top of my page.
Standard 3, Instructional Planning: The practitioner plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, curriculum goals, and state curriculum models.
I develop my lesson plans utilizing the backwards design model. As I begin the instructional planning process, I ensure my lessons are aligned with school, district, state, and national standards and performance expectations. Regardless of my lesson objectives or specific activities, alignment with the standards is always my initial step. Once I have aligned my lessons with the national, state, and school standards, I establish opportunities for my students’ development to be monitored. Every one of my lessons includes an opportunity for me to assess how successful my students were in meeting the aligned performance standards. Only then, after I have aligned my material with the standards and generated appropriate opportunities for assessment, do I begin to craft my lesson.
I believe that my instructional plans should be personalized and connected to every one of my students. Therefore, I modify the content suggested in my curriculum to meet the unique needs of my students. However, I am careful to not compromise the instructional focus of the lesson as it is presented in the curriculum. I simply adjust activities or examples to allow for my unique group of students to access the material and unlock their learning. I also believe in expressing the rationale behind each lesson to my students. I view my instructional plans as gateways for students to utilize to further develop as learners. Each lesson should not be presented in isolation. I believe in connecting the content I teach with the world my students engage with outside of my classroom.
In order to determine the success of my instructional plans, I consistently assess my students’ progressions towards a mastery of the content. Inclusion of assessment within my instructional plans is essential because it provides me with data that I can use to determine if I appropriately met the standards and lesson objectives. Without assessment, I cannot paint an accurate picture of my students’ progression towards an attainment of the standards. Based on the results of my assessment, I modify and adjust my instruction accordingly, re-teaching or accelerating my pacing as needed.
When developing my instructional plans for reading, I establish clear alignments with the Common Core State Standards and the curriculum’s performance objectives. Every lesson includes multiple opportunities for me to assess my students’ progress including formal written assessment and informal oral assessment. Additionally, I include opportunities for differentiated instruction based on previously collected assessment data. I utilize one-on-one conferencing as well as small-groups to provide appropriate challenges for my students.