This semester, I have had more opportunities to experiment with teaching activities and styles than I have before this year.
In the field, I was given a great deal of freedom to create materials, design lessons, and even implement entire projects. I was determined to integrate technology in a meaningful way while I was in the field. The 21st Century Journalism project in the Teaching Materials section is a project that I designed, implemented, led, and graded. I learned a great deal about troubleshooting when technology fails, integrating technology in a meaningful way, and setting up projects in a clear, understandable way.
In the classroom of the capstone class itself, I learned a number of strategies that I was able to use in the field and see their effects for students. The reading signposts helped students read closer and recognize moments across texts that had similar features. The signposts were also helpful when students were looking for quotes for essays or important moments in the text. I also used Toulmin’s argument model to help students understand the parts to a good argument. Using these strategies in the field helped me see their benefits and their weaknesses, which could be improved on for next time I use them.
Learning about the new Common Core Standards was also significantly helpful. Because I learned about the standards and saw them for myself, I have been able to engage in meaningful conversations with others about the standards and whether they are a good change or a negative one. I have also used them to design assessments similar to the assessments that will join the Common Core in the new changes. This has allowed me to become more familiar with the standards and with ways to prepare students for the tests without it taking too much time out of our unit.
With more chances to take the lead in the classroom and see the shift from theory to practice, it has also given me more opportunity to become a more organized and professional educator as well as a reflective one. I plan to take the lessons I have learned from methods and from the field and apply them to my future classroom and my practice.