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Professional Portfolio

EDUC4820 Professional Portfolio assignment. Esther Knott
by Esther Knott on 29 October 2012

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Transcript of Professional Portfolio

Esther Knott 2063931 EDUC4820 Professional Portfolio This Professional
Portfolio uses outcomes
from the National Professional Standards for Teachers, for Graduate teachers. Reference List These standards were developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. 1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities Standard 1: Know students and how they learn 3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs 6.1 Identify and plan professional learning needs Standard 3: Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning Standard 6: Engage in professional learning This standard says that I must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific needs of students across the full range of abilities.
The following examples demonstrate my understanding of the importance of differentiated pedagogy, and how I implement this in a learning environment. Standard 1: Know students and how they learn 1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with a disability This standard says that I need to demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disability.
As a result of my reading's and research, I know that students with a disability should receive equal treatment as students without a disability.

The Disability Standards for Education website is a helpful resource, and highlights the importance of a learning environment that is free from discrimination, in which all children receive equal rights and opportunities. Standard 2: Know the content and how to teach it 2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting This standard says that I need to plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.
This is another area that I feel confident in. A major part of my teaching practicums and university assignments has been planning learning experiences that are based upon what children know, and using effective teaching strategies to further develop their understanding. Standard 4: Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments 4.3 Manage challenging behaviour This standard says i should demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.
I understand that I have a responsibility to create a safe and supportive learning environment, and that managing challenging behaviour is an important part of this. This standard says I should demonstrate an understanding of the role of the National Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.
I understand that ongoing professional learning and development are both requirements for best teaching practice, and that the National Professional Standards for Teachers provide a benchmark for assessment. Standard 7: Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community. 7.3 Engage with the parents/carers This standard says that I should understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.
I know that this is a very important part of being an educator, and will result in better outcomes for students. This example is from an assignment I have done at university. As part of a group, I was asked to design a unit plan for a maths topic. Our group chose to look at maps. We began by determining the relevant outcome from the National Curriculum. This gave us a starting point, as we knew what we would need to be assessing, and planned our unit around this outcome. We then built upon this outcome and identified specific things that we wanted our students to learn. At the beginning of my third practicum, an area that my mentor teacher highlighted as needing improvement was connecting my planned activities to observations that I had made. As part of my assessment, I needed to prove that I had built upon children's preexisting knowledge and interests. I began to use sticky notes to take quick observations. These made it very easy to connect my planning to my observations. Once I had taken these observations, I thought about how I could scaffold these children in learning more about these particular areas. Children became much more engaged and interested in my activities when they were personally involved in them, and I developed a skill that I will continue to use in my teaching practice. When planning my science unit of work, I began the same way as the maths unit. I started with the relevant outcome from the National Curriculum. I then developed a brief outline of how I imagined the unit outline to look. In the first lesson, I gave the children the final assessment task, and asked them to complete it. This served as a diagnostic tool, and also assisted me in my final assessment, as I could see how their knowledge had developed over the six week block. Based upon their responses to the initial task, I made some changes to the timeline, that meant that children could develop a more in-depth understanding of the concept. During my final Professional Teaching Experience I worked in a year one class that had children with significant differences in their learning abilities. This was mostly evident in writing and reading tasks. In order to meet the needs of all students during reading activities, I planned a number of activities that were all based around the same story/book. Throughout my research and studies at university, I have done work that relates to differentiating my teaching to meet the learning needs of all students. I understand that all children are different, and that my own teaching style may not be best suited for all children. This is why it is important for me to have a sound understanding of a variety of teaching strategies that I can use in any learning environment.
One of the main ways in which I plan learning experiences that meet the needs of all students is by ensuring that activities are relevant and interesting. I can only do this by knowing students' interests, dislikes, hobbies, skills and areas for improvement. This also means that I am aware of potential problem areas. Building supportive relationships with students will have a positive influence on my teaching, and children's learning.
Another important point is that outcomes must be set at appropriate levels for students, especially those with additional needs. This is part of planning appropriate learning experiences, that are realistic and engaging for children. For an assignment in an Education topic on the Arts, I was required to plan a learning experience that was based on observations and interpretations of children's interests. The observation that I used was from a practicum in kindergarten. During my studies, many tutorials have been devoted to giving all students equal opportunities, that are free from discrimination.


The Early Years Learning Framework highlights the importance of inclusion, and says that it "involves taking into account all children’s social, cultural and linguistic diversity (including learning styles, abilities, disabilities, gender, family circumstances and geographic location) in curriculum decision-making processes. The intent is to ensure that all children’s experiences are recognised and valued. The intent is also to ensure that all children have equitable access to resources and participation, and opportunities to demonstrate their learning and to value difference." (Department of Education and Children's Services, 2011, p.45.)

ACARA provides a supporting document to the curriculum, called 'Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting in Special Educational Needs and Disability', which assists teachers in developing curriculum, assessment and reporting for students with special needs. During my final teaching practicum, I had several children in my class with learning disabilities. During most lessons, the majority of these children would be taken out of the classroom and receive one-on-one help from a specialised teacher. However, I had to plan my lessons appropriately for the times that all students were in attendance. In order to cater to all learning abilities, I planned many open-ended activities. This meant that all students could participate and explore at a level that they felt comfortable with. This also ensured that these students were not singled out or made to feel different. These activities were inclusive of all students, regardless of their abilities. For one of my university topics, I was required to take an uncomfortable situation that I had experience on a recent practicum, and document what had happened. I then had to retell the story from the students' perspective. The moment that I had chosen to write about included a student who had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. In order to write from his perspective I had to research Aspergers, so that I could attempt to understand the child's mindset in that particular situation. As educators, we need to be able to provide our students with the best teaching, resources, and opportunities. This is why it is important for us to be continually expanding our own ideas and knowledge.
The EYLF says that "Educators’ professional judgements are central to their active role in facilitating children’s learning. In making professional judgements, they weave together their:
• professional knowledge and skills
• knowledge of children, families and communities
• awareness of how their beliefs and values impact on children’s learning
• personal styles and past experiences." (Department of Education and Children's Services, 2011, p.11).

The EYLF also highlights the importance of ongoing learning and reflective practice, saying that educators must "continually seek ways to build their professional knowledge and develop learning communities." (Department of Education and Children's Services, 2011, p.13.)

The National Professional Standards assist us in our teaching, by setting expectations for teachers to meet. By continuously re-assessing and evaluating our own practice, we can highlight areas for improvement, ensuring for best teaching practice. During my final teaching practicum, I attended several staff meetings. Some of these were professional development sessions, including SMART Board training, National Curriculum meetings, and Primary Connections assessment talks. Throughout my studies I have come across many documents that highlight the importance of working effectively with families/carers. This is emphasized in the EYLF, saying "Educators’ practices and the relationships they form with children and families have a significant effect on
children’s involvement and success in learning" (Department of Education and Children's Service, 2011, p.9). Dowling (2010) supports this by prioritising these relationships,saying that there are three key points:
exchanging information with families
tuning in together to understand children's development
respecting and supporting families (p.199) During my final placement I made sure that I formed positive relationships with students and their families. As I was responsible for a majority of the learning experiences, many of the parents came to me to discuss their children. I wrote a letter to families introducing myself, and to let families know what I had planned for my teaching block. This was also an important part of my inquiry project. As I mentioned early, DECD highlight the importance of developing effective partnerships. I looked at the 'Supporting and Managing Children's Behaviour' document, which discusses methods of developing a positive approach to behaviour management. Developing effective partnerships was identified as being a priority for educators. This is a lesson outline for a reading lesson. We had been reading The Gruffalo together as a class for a week, and each reading lesson the children would be required to complete an activity that was relevant to the story and that suited their reading and writing ability. There were four groups in the class: The Cat in the Hat, The Gruffalos, The Cinderella's and The Little Pigs. I grouped the two lower levels together, and the two higher groups together so that the activities were suitable for each group. While the groups were working on their activities, I was walking around the classroom and helping children who needed help. Each week, the class were assigned a list of spelling words. These were sorted by ability level. Some weeks all groups would have the same 'theme', such as vowels or focusing on one letter. The children in the Spiders group had very low literacy levels, and often required further help. These children all had learning difficulties. The Dragonflies were advanced for their age group and required work that was more challenging.

This is an example of the spelling words from week 6. Every Monday all groups would be given their list words on the board. They would then copy these into their writing books, and do Look, Cover, Write, Check. Once they had done this, they would write a sentence using at least one word from their list. This ensured that they could use the words in context, and they were also practicing sentence forming. I found a very useful resource for planning open-ended maths activities, which also gave me some general advice about planning inclusive lessons that all children could benefit and learn from. Many of my maths lessons involved open-ended activities. Children were responsible for their own learning. These lessons were successful because all children were engaged and interested in what they were doing. This is another example of a reading lesson. This week we had been reading a book called Lovely Lunch. The Cat in the Hat group had the lowest literacy levels, so their task was to find words in the book that they knew. The higher groups were asked to record a journey of a character in the book. The Little Pigs were asked to write a longer sentence than the Gruffalos, and I expected them to include more detail than the other two groups. These examples show that I can practically differentiate my teaching to suit each ability level. On my final teaching practicum, I used curriculum, assessment and reporting when planning unit plans. I began planning this maths unit plan on money by identifying the relevant outcome from the National Curriculum. As part of my placement, I was responsible for planning, implementing, and assessing a maths and science unit. This sheet was given to me by my mentor teacher when I was designing assessment tasks for these units of work. This showed me what I needed to be looking for when marking students' work, and taking observations. I also used these guidelines when writing my final assessments, as it helped me to determine how well each student had/hadn't met the outcome. This is an extract of my assessment of a student's work over the period of the maths unit on money. We had been looking at coins. The outcome stated that students needed to describe, recognise and order Australian coins. I used ongoing observations, initial assessment, and final assessment tasks to determine if each student had met the outcome. This student had not met the outcome. This student had mostly satisfied the outcome's requirements. For my science assessment, I included comments, where relevant, to demonstrate each student's understanding of the concept. The children's names have been changed. Hudson and Sarah have significant differences in learning ability. Hudson had just begun kindergarten, while Sarah was nearly ready to begin school. Hudson also had learning difficulties. The following observation was the basis of my planned activity. I was required to make a short interpretation of what I had observed. From this interpretation, I identified the following objectives: I then developed the following activity. Due to the differences in learning ability, I produced a learning experience that focused on Hudson's experiences, but made it relevant to all children. I provided Hudson with extra support during the activity when he requested it. This activity was meaningful to Hudson, and catered for his learning needs. I applied differentiated teaching techniques by working with the whole group, while also providing Hudson with extra support that the other children did not require. In a different university topic, as part of a group assignment I was required to produce part of a unit plan for mathematics. The following is an example from this assignment: We received positive feedback on our unit plan. We highlighted the ways in which our unit was connected to the outcomes from the National Curriculum. Once I knew the outcome of the unit, I began to plan an overall structure of how I would work towards achieving this. This rough timeline showed individual steps that I planned to take. This also helped me to plan my assessment materials for the unit. I knew what I wanted the class to achieve, how I would assess if they had met the standard, so then I began planning more specific learning experiences. I received positive feedback from my mentor teacher. I used the same planning technique for the next maths unit, which was on time. As an initial assessment, I set a task that would demonstrate how much children knew about time. This helped me to further develop my planning, as I could determine how much progress they needed to make in order to say that they had met the standard. This concept was something that I struggled with during my final practicum. I communicated this to my mentor teacher, who gave me copious amounts of supportive feedback. My mentor continuously highlighted the importance of using positive, supportive language. This worked as a preventative approach, because students became aware of the positive behaviour and the attention that I was giving to the person doing the right thing. I applied the feedback and suggestions into my teaching practice, and it became routine. For an assignment during my final year of university, I worked with a group to produce an inquiry project. We looked at how to create positive preventative measures for behaviour management in the classroom. Specifically, I looked at what DECD guidelines suggest. The DECD 'Supporting and Managing Children's Behaviour' document provided helpful information in creating positive preventataive measures for behaviour management. It highlighted the importance of
teacher's modeling positive behaviour
forming effective partnerships within the learning community
understanding that behaviour is a form of communication, and that we need to meet children's needs. This was the after-school schedule for staff meetings. There were several more that were scheduled for NIT time. Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting in Special Educational Needs and Disability Curriculum, 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012, <http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/ACARA_Research_for_Publication_Final.pdf#search=disabilities>.

Australian Government, 2011, Disability Standards for Education. Retrieved 25 October, 2012, <http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/Programs/Pages/disabilitystandardsforeducation.aspx>.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2012), National Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved 20 October 2012, <http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/>.

Department of Education and Children’s Services, Early Years Learning Framework, Government of South Australia, 2011, retrieved 4 April 2011, <http://www.earlyyears.sa.edu.au/pages/EYLF/eylf_home/?reFlag=1>

Dowling, M. (2010) Young Children's Personal, Social and Emotional Development. SAGE Publications, Great Britain.

Government of South Australia. Department of Education and Children’s Services (2004). Supporting and Managing Children’s Behaviour. Retrieved from http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/speced/files/links/link_61315.pdf.

Nebraska Department of Education (1996). Teaching Strategies for Students with Diverse Learning Needs. Nebraska Department of Education, Lincoln: Nebraska.

. By Esther Knott, 2012 The teacher supported my comments. This example is from a Physical Education topic at university. I was required to observe students, assess their skills, and then plan an activity based upon this. I observed children's locomotor skills, focussing on jumping and leaping. Based on what I saw, I created the following activity outline: This provides evidence that I can plan relevant learning programs that are based on children's interests and abilities.
It shows that I can structure learning programs. This activity follows the basic lesson outline - including a beginning, middle and end.
This also shows that I sequence them accordingly. The beginning (warm-up), leads into the middle (activity), which is then supported by the end (cool-down).
This activity was successful because I had observed what children already knew, and worked to further refine and develop these skills. All children were interested and enjoyed the activity. As part of an assignment I previously mentioned, I was required to reflect upon a 'tricky situation' and identify the underlying issues behind the child's behaviour. I looked at how these could have been avoided. This shows that I have a practical understanding of different approaches to managing challenging behaviour, especially by working to prevent it from happening again. This assignment has required me to reflect on my own teaching experiences, and identify areas in which I believe I require further development.

By looking at the Graduate Benchmark of the National Professional Standards for Teachers, I have gained a general idea of what is expected of me as a new teacher, and I can identify ways in which I can continue to improve my teaching. During my final practicum, I wrote daily reflections in a journal. I recorded how I felt each day, what worked well, and what I could have improved upon. These reflections were very helpful for my own teaching practice, as they made me critically analyse my teaching styles, and reflect upon them. It was difficult for me to self-evaluate like this, but it was very beneficial to my teaching. I would also try to relate these reflections to the National Professional Standards for Teachers, so that at the end of my placement I could show evidence of how I had met these standards. During this placement, I was also involved in a school sleepover, which was a great experience, and required significant communication with families. Many children's parents volunteered to help at the sleepover. This standard requires me to use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.
This is something that I have had to apply in many university assignments, and felt most comfortable with on my practicum. The following comment is from my mentor teacher on my final teaching practicum report. This shows that I have met the standard. This is a comment from my final practicum report, that shows that I am working towards meeting this standard. These comments were from my mentor teacher on my final practicum. They show that I have met this standard. These comments are from my mentor teacher on my final practicum. These show that I have met this standard. The following comments are from my mentor teacher on my final practicum report, and show that I have met this standard. The following comments are from my mentor teacher on my final practicum report. They show that I have met this standard. These comments are from my mentor teacher on my final practicum report. They show that I have met this standard.
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