Reflection Paper

The Content Literacy Strategies E-folio project has given me an opportunity to evaluate my current teaching practices and to add new strategies to my teaching toolbox. I have realized that I already use many of the strategies presented in the readings, I just have different names for them. This was an affirmation for me that I am on my way to becoming a master teacher. As I evaluated my teaching practices, I realized that I do need to adjust some of those practices.
Technology is such a large part of our society today and the way I teach has not adequately been addressing this fact. As a result, I will be making a concerted effort to include technology in my teaching practices. I will be teaching my students how to use computers to make projects as a response to their reading through the use of digital stories or PowerPoint presentations. Students will have the opportunity to use Garage Band software earlier in the school year, rather than at the end of the school year after ISAT is over. I will use strategies like the Jeopardy game to help my students review what they have learned. My goal is to make learning exciting and using technology will help make that goal a reality.
Through this project, I have been reminded of how important instructional grouping strategies are in a classroom. Besides Think-Pair-Share, which is a strategy I rely upon much of the time, there are strategies where I can be far more intentional about grouping students. These strategies include pairing students by color coded cards, pairing students by reading levels, pairing them by interests, etc. I need to be more intentional in how I group my students in the future and as I result of this project, I now have some ideas of how to group my students in a variety of different ways according to the needs of the students and the needs of the lesson.
Accommodating diverse learners is a challenge in an ever changing classroom. My lessons tend to be geared toward visual learners more than any other type of learner—probably because I am a visual learner. I need to have more opportunities for kinesthetic learners in my classroom to be able to learn though movement. I have gotten some good ideas of how to make that possible with ideas like the foldables and games. I do give my more artistic students opportunities to show their learning through art, however, I need to allow more musical students the same opportunities. I am still working through how to do this, but perhaps having students compose songs to help them learn a new lesson could be an idea.
Throughout the course of the semester, I have been implementing these strategies, trying them on in a sense. Each strategy will need to be tweeked for each new year to meet the needs of students in that class. I will be implementing many of these strategies from the first weeks of school. They are excellent teaching tools that are now a part of my toolbox. I will use them and add to them as I go into the next school year. Fortunately, I can think about which lessons I can use these strategies in now so that I can be prepared for next year. I will also be sharing my binder with my colleagues so that they have access to these strategies should they want to use them.
If I were to do this project over again, there is not much I would change. It is important to think about why I do certain things and so I really appreciated being asked to give my rationale for choosing a certain strategy. I also appreciated the feedback I received on those strategies that were posted on the class wiki. Professional support is so important and so this was a nice feature of the project. If I am going to be honest, I would have paced myself a little better on the implementation of new strategies. Some of the new strategies included in my portfolio were not implemented at the time of this writing. They are strategies I will be trying and using before the end of the school year and in the next one. Overall, I would say this was an excellent experience.