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Jason Beattie: Teaching Portfolio

As I inevitably learn new things each day, this portfolio, like me, will always be a work in progress.

Jason Beattie

on 24 February 2014

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Transcript of Jason Beattie: Teaching Portfolio

As I inevitably learn new things each day, this portfolio, like me, will always be a work in progress.
"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
- Albert Einstein
Artistic Integration
I have a background in cartooning and graphic design, and believe it is important to find ways to integrate visual art into everyday class instruction.
Professionalism and
A portfolio in progress
Jason A. Beattie
What I Believe
“Given the challenges we face, education doesn't need to be reformed -- it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”

- Ken Robinson
Classroom fun!
Social Studies Expertise
With a background in American history and a passion for social studies, I enjoy weaving bonus historical content into lessons.
How I Teach
I know that I am very much a hands-on-style learner. That is why I chose to enroll in the Stanley British Primary School Teacher Preparation program. This opportunity allowed me to spend an entire school year as an intern teacher working directly with students every day in Denver Public Schools.

I had hoped that this would be the fastest and most effective way for me to learn about the craft of teaching, and I was not disappointed in how rewarding and valuable an experience it has been for me.
Throughout my year in the Stanley British Primary School Teacher Preparation Program, I participated in 225 hours of seminars, meeting on a weekly basis from August 2012, through May 2013.

The topics of these seminars covered a wide range of valuable subjects, including educational philosophy, classroom best practices, child development, and Common Core State Standards.

A full list of seminars can be viewed here:
Fall 2012:
Spring 2013:

Not only did these seminars allow me to reflect and build upon my classroom experience, they were designed in a highly collaborative and hands-on fashion, which ensured that each week I could consistently learn from and share with my fellow cohorts in the internship program.
“I'm more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in teaching the facts. The facts may change, but that enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them the rest of their lives.”
- Seymour Simon
Cartoons can be used to encourage, writing, drawing, sequential story-telling and overall creativity.
State Coin Lesson Plan:
Art can me integrated into any subject. In a math lesson, students explored the concept of lines of symmetry through creating paintings, folding them over, then examining the results.
I make it a priority to prominently display student artwork on the classroom wall. These "Scenes from a Twister" were from a project in which the students illustrated and wrote about their favorite part of a fictional tornado story.
What I've Learned
Resume and

From Jim Westerberg,
4th Grade Mentor Teacher:
From Sue Sava, Director, Stanley BPS Teacher Preparation Program:
From Pat Duran, Advisor, Stanley British Teacher Preparation Program:
From Alison Monaghan, Advisor, Stanley British Teacher Preparation Program:
“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.”
- Elbert Hubbard
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
-Benjamin Franklin
Steele Elementary 3rd/4th/5th Grade Classroom
My first semester of teaching experience at Steele Elementary was educational in many ways, including the unique challenge of learning how to effectively instruct three grade levels simultaneously.
Eagleton Elementary 4th Grade Classroom
I spent the second semester of my internship at Eagleton Elementary, an urban school with a large high-needs population. I was able to hone my skills here as I spent many hours here planning lessons and leading instruction.
Observed Lesson Preparation
Twice each month, I was observed in my teaching by a program advisor. I provided lesson plans in advance, then debriefed with my advisor after the observation.

These lessons were a wonderful and effective way to receive feedback on my
In addition to regular classroom teaching and participation in seminars, there were a number of other projects that expanded my learning on the teaching profession, including:

Researching and compiling an extensive child study project, in which observed a particular student in my class for several weeks, then documented the student's physical, emotional and academic development as compared to the typical expectations for that age group.
craft, as well as provide thoughtful discourse on what areas of my teaching I most wanted to work on improving throughout
the year.

Creating, teaching and assessing a 10-lesson, multi-disciplinary unit about a single topic of my choosing. The topic I selected was U.S. coins.

Writing daily reflections in a Writer's Journal, making note of all my experiences, questions and learning in the classroom.
Ken Robinson's words ring exceptionally true to my core philosophy of teaching. I have found the most effective way for me to teach children has been to really get to know each of them on a personal level.
Once I figure out what makes each child tick...their dreams, their learning style, and what truly excites them...that's when I can really begin to craft instruction that will motivate them to learn.
Creative Play
Whenever possible, children need to be given the time to simply play. Through play, they are able to express personal creativity, develop abilities in social interaction, as well as practice many needed fine and gross motor skills. Also, kids simply need to have fun!
A major part of understanding each individual student is making a sincere effort to understand their whole self. Not only does every child have a unique background, heritage and family life, each student brings his or her own perspective into the class. The more I can respect and honor each unique point of view, the more I think my class can thrive as a community of learners.
Students examine the results of a science experiment involving cleaning pennies. They were surprised to discover that hot sauce worked better than soap and water.
During choice time, this group of boys created an elaborate floor pong game out of blocks, and even created an entire set of rules for their new game.
In particular, I make it a priority to find ways to celebrate the diversity of my students' learning styles, and celebrate their many talents.

Within the DPS Avenues curriculum, (intended as literacy support for English Language learners) I created
Kids are by their very nature curious about the world. I believe it is crucial to find ways to harness this curiosity through lessons that allow students to fully explore subjects through hands-on exploration and curiosity.
From a Steele 5th Grader:
From a Steele 4th Grader:
From a Steele 5th Grader:
Story graphic organizer:
Interview graphic organizer:
Weather Poem Inspirational Ideas:

Weather Poem Starter Ideas:

Finished poems were displayed and celebrated on our classroom wall.
Another Avenues unit focused on the creation of poetry about the weather. Students were given inspirational ideas and poem starters, and could work independently or with a partner. Students shared their final projects with a class poetry reading.
a series of lessons to inspire students to imagine themselves as contest winners. While using their imaginations to decide and illustrate the type of contest they might win, they also practiced sequential writing and oral interview skills.
Division Exploration Lesson Plan:
U.S. Coin Exploration Lesson Plan:
Science Exploration Lesson Plan:
Throughout the year, I crafted lessons of an exploratory nature whenever possible. This included math lessons exploring multiplication and division using manipulatives, a science experiment to determine what would clean pennies, and the kick-off to my curriculum unit, in which students were prompted to explore U.S. coins in depth.
Our class recorded information about ourselves to commemorate where we were and what we were doing on 12-12-12.
I am an strong advocate of life-long learning. If I can impart a lasting love of learning to each of my students, I will consider that a great success. I try to model how I as their teacher am still learning each day, (and enjoying it!) By instilling the same passion I feel on to the next generation of learners, I will have done my job as an educator.
Working as a teacher, my primary focus is, of course, the students. However, having spent many years in the professional world, I bring extensive experience in working and collaborating with teammates and parents.
Curriculum Unit Pre- and Post-Assessment results:
It is important to determine what students know, and what they are learning, so that we as teachers can better guide instruction. There are many ways I have found to effectively assess students.

When teaching a multidisciplinary curriculum unit, I created formal pre- and post-assessments, which provided hard data to show the level of success of instruction.
Other assessment methods that provide more immediate information include:
Orally prompting students at the end of a lesson to say what they learned, or requiring students to fill out an exit slip.
Homework can be used as an assessment tool to determine if students can do the same work outside the classroom setting.
In some instances, I was able to use Smartboard technology to have students take quizzes with "voting eggs" which can provide real-time feedback.
Students use voting eggs to take a quiz with real-time results. I can use this immediate assesment to guide instruction.
I provided blank comic templates, and students were encouraged to independently draw cartoons. I posted a new "Cartoon of the Week" throughout the semester to celebrate student creative work.
Future of the Penny Debate lesson plan:

“Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” - Ken Robinson
At the beginning of the school year, I created this banner welcoming Steele students to the classroom.
A partially filled-out comic template I designed allowed students to create a "Get to know me" cartoon.
As an extension on a lesson about the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government, I created student "Judge" groups, each named after one of the current Supreme Court Justices. When assessed later, fifth graders who could previously not name any Justices were able to each name several of them.
Key lessons in my curriculum unit included
A lesson where students discovered facts about the historical people and places on coins.
A lesson in which each student wrote a state quarter report on a state of their choosing.
A civics lesson in which students debated whether or not the penny should be discontinued.
People and Places on Coins Lesson Plan
A student shows off her
state quarter report
As partners in their children's education, parents must be provided a clear channel of communication. I've worked closely with parents in many ways. Whether at student conferences, as volunteers in the classroom, or to provide guidance whenever their child may have any issues that need to be addressed, having a strong working relationship with parents is a necessity for all teachers.
Teachers need to consistently work together, on both formal and informal basis. I have successfully worked with other grade-level teachers, specialists and staff to problem solve, share ideas and create new, innovative lesson plans.
Effective collaboration is also important to model to our students.
As every classroom of learners is unique, no one lesson plan will be effective for all of them. I have found that as I've gotten to know my students better throughout the year, I've been more effective in adapting curriculum to meet their needs.
Technology can be an incredibly powerful classroom tool. I try to use it thoughtfully however, not just for the sake of technology itself.
The Promethean Smartboard is a wonderful piece of technology in all classrooms at Eagleton. I have consistently myself using this tool to create more interactive and engaging lessons for students. Additionally, it supports a variety of styles of learning with its ability to seamlessly incorporate visuals and movement.
In addition to using technology as an aid to existing lessons, I believe students in this digital age must become familiar with operating digital devices. Ideally, instruction in computer
skills should be incorporated into all 21st century
elementary school curriculums.
People and Places on Coins Scavenger Hunt Lesson Plan
Matching Main Idea to Supporting Details Scavenger Hunt Lesson Plan
Students collaborate to solve a scavenger hunt.
On two separate occasions, I adapted very standardized lessons into scavenger hunts. Students were each given one piece of information and needed to move around the room in order to find and write additional facts or information. This was well-received both times by the students. They enjoyed a sense of competition, moving about the room, as well a task that was not too daunting, because the information was broken up into smaller parts.
Whenever possible, I adapted lessons to make them more engaging.

In one example, students practiced skills of writing and reading the main idea and details of a story by working as teams of weather and news reporters.

Another lesson on the transfer of energy was adapted to be a physical role-playing game, in which each student had to act out a unique part in the story.
Weather Report Graphic organizer
Students giving their weather report
Full transcript