Student Teaching Reflective Narrative

Student Teaching Rationale
Artifact: World Issues Unit Plan
April 1, 2011

The artifact that I chose to use is a lesson entitled “World Issues Sculpture.” This lesson plan demonstrates my knowledge and ability to perform to meet each teaching standard. The lesson is well rounded, and includes ties to art creation, aesthetics, and criticism, which are all important aspects of art. I feel that this lesson clearly demonstrates my knowledge, and I am very happy about how the lesson went overall with my students, who created some amazing art projects relating to a wide variety of world issues which they had individually researched as part of the project. The lesson began with a research period, before allowing the students to move on to creating junk art recycled sculptures presenting an opinion of a world issue.

Standard 1: Teachers know the subjects they are teaching.
    Throughout the unit, “World Issues Sculpture,” I demonstrated my knowledge of my content area, art, in a variety of ways. First, the lesson itself is a lesson on sculpture, which is very greatly involved in art. Additionally, throughout the lesson, I incorporate a variety of artistic methods, such as sketching and building, which I first demonstrate to the students. My content area knowledge is also shown through my use of deep content material which students associated with their pieces. The students each researched world issues, and made art about them, while learning about art made by professional artists that also relates to the art field. The Washburn Neighborhood rain barrel project also incorporated yet another part of my content area, which is painting. I was able to help show the students techniques for painting as well as talk with them about the important preparation steps and sealing coats that are necessary for something that will be kept outside after it is painted.
    In addition to these ways of demonstrating my knowledge of the art content, I also related the lesson to other areas, such as social studies and English, through the incorporation of research into world issues within my unit plan. Additionally, after the project was finished, students worked on both their written and verbal communication skills through a written self reflection as well as a verbal critique in which they were required to give each other feedback.

Standard 1 INTASC Standards addressed:
K:The teacher relates his/her disciplinary knowledge to other subject areas.
D:The teacher appreciates multiple perspectives and conveys to learners how knowledge is developed from the vantage point of the learner.
D:The teacher has enthusiasm for the discipline(s) s/he teaches and sees connections to everyday life.
P: The teacher engages students in generating knowledge and testing hypotheses according to the methods of inquiry and standards of evidence used in the discipline.
P: The teacher develops and uses curricula that encourage students to see, question, and interpret ideas from diverse perspectives.
P: The teacher can create interdisciplinary learning experiences that encourage students to integrate knowledge, skills, and methods of inquiry from several subject areas.

Standard 2: Teachers know how children grow.
    In my World Issues Sculpture unit, I was able to use a variety of teaching strategies to reach students at different developmental levels. Students were first able to acquire knowledge about both their topics and the sculpture building process, and then move onto grow in their skill levels while testing new ways of building their sculptures. The students, being eighth graders, were also able to investigate their world issues and create art about them which was meaningful and represented the subject on a variety of levels. In identifying the students different maturity levels, I also worked to present materials in a variety of ways so that my students would learn in an environment that provided them every opportunity to learn. I taught through interactive lectures, in which I asked students questions and allowed them to provide comments and through hands on demonstration. In addition, I had students participate in written, hands on, and verbal activities throughout the course of the lesson, including writing self evaluations of themselves, providing each other verbal feedback, and constructing a piece of art in a very hands on way. In addition to these ways of showing my knowledge of student growth, the highly individualized format of this project allowed students to enter the project from where they were as a student. I helped to push each of them individually to improve through one on one conferences during each art class, and by having individualized projects I was able to make sure that everyone learned and improved in some way. High level learners often went very in depth with the content of their art, while others worked on a more surface level symbolic approach to the project. Each of them learned individually about their topic and about a process in creating art from recycled junk. 

Standard 2 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher understands how learning occurs-how students construct knowledge, acquire skills, and develop habits of mind-and knows how to use instructional strategies that promote student learning for a wide range of student abilities.
K: The teacher understands that students 'physical, social, emotional, moral, and cognitive development influence learning and knows how to address these factors when making instructional decisions.
D: The teacher appreciates individual variation within each area of development, shows respect for the diverse talents of all learners, and is committed to help them develop self confidence and competence.
D: The teacher is disposed to use students 'strengths as a basis for growth, and their errors as an opportunity for learning.
P:  The teacher assesses individual and group performance in order to design instruction that meets learners 'current needs in each domain (cognitive, social, emotional, moral, and physical)and that leads to the next level of development.
P: The teacher stimulates student reflection on prior knowledge and links new ideas to already familiar ideas, making connections to students 'experiences, providing opportunities for active engagement, manipulation, and testing of ideas and materials, and encouraging students to assume responsibility for shaping their learning task.

Standard 3: Teachers understand that children learn differently.
    As I mentioned previously, the World Issues Sculpture unit plan incorporated a variety of strategies for teaching students, as well as a highly individualized lesson that allowed students to be challenged and learn no matter where they started out with the project. By allowing my students to choose their topics, they innately had an interest in the topic. In addition to that, allowing them to research their topic in depth, and in class, for three days allowed students to understand different viewpoints about the topic and formulate their own opinions on the topic. Through my presentation, the students were also able to learn about professional artists who make art about a cause, and began thinking about the symbolism in their own art. Finally, the individual projects, and my individual conferences with the students allowed them each to get the individual attention and challenges that they needed to take their art to the next level.  Through evaluating both their performance as a group, in group discussions, and their individual performance through their pieces, I was able to find ways to challenge each student and be sure that they each took their artwork to a new level, even though that level wasn’t the same for all of them.
    In addition to these ways of interacting with students who learn differently, I also worked  to be sure that gifted and talented art students were even further challenged. I did this through working with two of our very talented student artists to create a rain barrel, along with my cooperating teacher, that took the idea of world issues to yet another level by creating a rain barrel with a painting that showed the impact that industrialization has on nature and the world around us. I was very impressed with the students abilities, and they were expected to use their class time to get not only their class sculpture done, but also to create the painting. The student’s efforts for this endeavor were also rewarded when they received third place for the rain barrel competition, one which both crafters and professional artists enter as well.
Standard 3 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher understands and can identify differences in approaches to learning and performance, including different learning styles, multiple intelligences, and performance modes, and can design instruction that helps use students' strengths as the basis for growth.
K: The teacher understands how students 'learning is influenced by individual experiences, talents, and prior learning, as well as language, culture, family and community values.
K:The teacher has a well-grounded framework for understanding cultural and community diversity and knows how to learn about and incorporate students 'experiences, cultures, and community resources into instruction.
D: The teacher believes that all children can learn at high levels and persists in helping all children achieve success.
D: The teacher appreciates and values human diversity, shows respect for students 'varied talents and perspectives, and is committed to the pursuit of "individually configured excellence.
D: The teacher respects students as individuals with differing personal and family backgrounds and various skills, talents, and interests.
D: The teacher is sensitive to community and cultural norms.
D: The teacher makes students feel valued for their potential as people, and helps them learn to value eachother.
P:  The teacher identifies and designs instruction appropriate to students' stages of development, learning styles, strengths, and needs.
P:  The teacher uses teaching approaches that are sensitive to the multiple experiences of learners and that address different learning and performance modes.
P: The teacher can identify when and howto access appropriate resources to meet the needs of students with particular talents.

Standard 4:Teachers know how to teach.
    Throughout this unit plan, I showed my knowledge of how to teach in a variety of ways. First, I incorporated visual, verbal, and hands on activities for my students to ensure that they all had the chance to understand and communicate their knowledge of the information. Next, I incorporated technology through not only presentations, but also the use of laptops to do research on the internet on each individuals topic. I also taught students as a larger group, and then on an individual one on one basis. Through having the students work individually with a variety of materials, my unit plan ensured that each student thought critically and had to solve problems on their own. I monitored student progress throughout the lesson and met up with students individually to ensure that they were all being challenged, as well as on task. As I saw students rise above challenges, I questioned them and set the bar higher and higher to encourage them to keep learning and pushing forward.

Standard 4 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher understands principles and techniques, along with advantages and limitations, associated with various instructional strategies (e. g. cooperative learning, direct instruction, discovery learning, whole group discussion, independent study, interdisciplinary instruction).
K: The teacher knows how to enhance learning through the use of a wide variety of materials as well as human and technological resources (e. g. computers, audio-visual technologies, videotapes and discs, local experts, primary documents and artifacts,texts, reference books, literature, and other print resources).
D: The teacher values the development of students 'critical thinking, independent problem solving, and performance capabilities.
D: The teacher values flexibility and reciprocity in the teaching process as necessary for adapting instruction to student responses, ideas, and needs.
P: The teacher carefully evaluates how to achieve learning goals, choosing alternative teaching strategies and materials to achieve different instructional purposes and to meet student needs(e. g. developmental stages, prior knowledge, learning styles, learning differences, and interests).
P: The teacher uses multiple teaching and learning strategies to engage students in active learning opportunities that promote the development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance capabilities and that help students assume responsibility for identifying and using learning resources.
P: The teacher constantly monitors and adjusts strategies in response to learner feedback.
P: The teacher varies his or her role in the instructional process (e. g. instructor, facilitator, coach, audience) in relation to the content and purposes of instruction and the needs of students.

Standard 5: Teachers know how to manage a classroom.
    Through allowing my students to choose their own topics for this assignment, as well as showing them exciting examples of other recycled art, I was able to motivate the class both individually and as a group overall. In our critiques, I was able to help students learn to work with each other in a social setting, as well as grow to be able to accept both positive and constructive feedback about their art. In addition to the social benefits of the learning environment, I was able to create and maintain a positive environment in which my students felt welcomed and encouraged, while being challenged to improve and be creative.
    I was also able to manage my classroom by staying on top of any issues that arose as soon as they happened. I kept my eye out for any issues that students were having, and made sure to give reminders to students when they needed to get back on task. Also, to solve the many issues that can arise during transitions, each day I stopped the students exactly where they were, got their attention, and went over the expectations for clean up time. This seemed to help avoid issues and also got the students to start cleaning up as soon as they needed to.

Standard 5 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher can use knowledge about human motivation and behavior drawn from the foundational sciences of psychology, anthropology, and sociology to develop strategies for organizing and supporting individual and group work.
K: The teacher understands how social groups function and influence people, and how people influence groups.
K: The teacher knows how to help people work productively and cooperatively with each other in complex social settings.
K: The teacher understands the principles of effective classroom management and can use a range of strategies to promote positive relationships, cooperation, and purposeful learning in the classroom.
D: The teacher takes responsibility for establishing a positive climate in the classroom and participates in maintaining such a climate in the school as a whole.
D: The teacher values the role of students in promoting each other's learning and recognizes the importance of peer relationships in establishing a climate of learning.
D: The teacher recognizes the value of intrinsic motivation to students 'life-long growth and learning.
P: The teacher creates a smoothly functioning learning community in which students assume responsibility for themselves and one another, participate in decision making, work collaboratively and independently, and engage in purposeful learning activities.
P: The teacher engages students in individual and cooperative learning activities that help them develop the motivation to achieve, by, for example, relating lessons to students 'personal interests, allowing students to have choices in their learning, and leading students to ask questions and pursue problems that are meaningful to them.
P: The teacher organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, activities, and attention to provide active and equitable engagement of students in productive tasks.

Standard 6: Teachers communicate well.
    Throughout this unit, I was able to incorporate effective verbal and nonverbal communication, while also using my skills in technology to communicate with my students through presentations.   Through my presentations, I often asked questions of my students and allowed them to provide comments and feedback to make the presentation more relevant and interesting to them. I also related ideas that I presented to individual projects that students were working on. On a more individual basis,  I was able to ask guiding questions to my students to help them discover their own ideas and ways of thinking about art. They learned to question their own art to find the things that they could make better, while still appreciating what the had done well. In addition to communicating with my students, I gave them numerous opportunities to improve their communication skills through writing activities as well as verbal critiques and participation.
Standard 6 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher recognizes the importance of nonverbal as well as verbal communication.
K: The teacher understands and can use effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques.
K: The teacher understands communication theory, language development, and the role of language in learning.
D: The teacher recognizes the power of language for fostering self-expression, identity development, and learning.
D: The teacher values many ways in which people seek to communicate and encourages many modes of communication in the classroom.
D: The teacher is a thoughtful and responsive listener.
P: The teacher models effective communication strategies in conveying ideas and information and in asking questions (e. g. monitoring the effects of messages, restating ideas and drawing connections, using visual, aural, and kinesthetic cues, being sensitive to nonverbal cues given and received).
P: The teacher supports and expands learner expression in speaking, writing, and other media.
P: The teacher knows how to ask questions and stimulate discussion in different ways for particular purposes, for example, probing for learning understanding, helping students articulate their ideas and thinking processes, promoting risk-taking and problem-solving, facilitating factual recall, encouraging convergent and divergent thinking, stimulating curiosity, helping students to question
P: The teacher knows how to use a variety of media communication tools, including audiovisual aids and computers,to enrich learning opportunities.

Standard 7: Teachers are able to plan different kinds of lessons.
    The World Issues Unit Plan incorporates a variety of different kinds of lessons, including lectures, work days, in process critiques, and final evaluation critiques. Throughout these different types of lessons, both my students and I communicated in a variety of ways to ensure their learning. I also was very flexible in working cooperatively with my students to set critique times and due dates, ensuring that students had an adequate amount of time to complete their work without losing interest. This meant extending work days to include two additional days, and also allowing students to come in during their study halls and/or resources to be able to complete their work.
    Additionally, I was able to work with my students from the very basic planning stages of sketching, to planning for materials, building, and adding finishing touches onto their recycled junk art sculptures. This required me to be able to constantly adjust to changes in student projects, and materials that were sometimes sparingly available. Throughout the unit, my incorporation of these multiple approaches to lessons and teaching proved valuable, as in the final critique my students were able to provide valuable feedback to each other, and later move on into another project on the same topic in which they were even further able to push their ideas to the next level and deal with the challenges of working additively and subtractively on a slab of clay.
          Standard 7 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher understands learning theory, subject matter, curriculum development, and student development and knows how to use this knowledge in planning instruction to meet curriculum goals.
K: The teacher knows when and how to adjust plans based on student responses and other contingencies.
D: The teacher values both long-term and short-term planning.
D: The teacher believes that plans must always be open to adjustment and revision based on student needs and changing circumstances.
D: The teacher values planning as a collegial activity.
P: The teacher plans for learning opportunities that recognize and address variation in learning styles, learning differences, and performance modes.
P: The teacher creates lessons and activities that operate at multiple levels to meet the developmental and individual needs of diverse learners and help each progress.

Standard 8: Teachers know how to test for student progress.
    When it comes to assessment, this unit plan incorporated numerous different methods. First, through lectures, I would ask questions and leave time for comments to ensure that the lesson was valuable for each student, and to ensure that I knew that students were actively engaged and understanding the material. Next, as students moved into their planning stages, I was able to have an informal conference and discussion with the students to be sure that they were on the right track with the project. While building, the students were again informally assessed as I checked in on their progress and helped them to come to the solutions of many of  the issues that they were facing. In the final critique, I was able to formally evaluate their understanding through their participation, as well as the way in which they spoke about their research, the process of building, and the final project itself.     Following the final critique, and after getting the students started on another world issues related art project, I also had a formal grading conference with each student where we discussed the goals of the assignment, what they had individually succeeded with, and where they could still use improvement. Through this process of working individually with these students I was able to achieve both formal and informal assessment that really let me know where my students ended up. As I mentioned before, all of the students improved through the project, but got there in different ways and started and ended on different levels.
Standard 8 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher understands the characteristics, uses, advantages, and limitations of different types of assessments (e. g. criterion-referenced and norm-referenced instruments, traditional standardized and performance-based tests, observation systems, and assessments of student work)for evaluating how students learn, what they know and are able to do, and what kinds of experiences will support their further growth and development.
K: The teacher knows how to select, construct, and use assessment strategies and instruments appropriate to the learning outcomes being evaluated and to other diagnostic purposes.
D: The teacher values ongoing assessments as essential to the instructional process and recognizes that many different assessment strategies, accurately and systematically used, are necessary for monitoring and promoting student learning.
D: The teacher is committed to using assessment to identify student strengths and promote student growth rather than to deny students access to learning opportunities.
P: The teacher appropriately uses a variety of formal and informal assessment techniques (e. g. observation, port-folios of student work, teacher-made tests, performance tasks, projects, student self-assessments, peer assessment,and standardized tests)to enhance her or his knowledge of learners, evaluate students 'progress and performances, and modify teaching and learning strategies.
P: The teacher solicits and uses information about students' experiences learning behavior, needs, and progress from parents, other colleagues, and the students themselves.
P: The teacher uses assessment strategies to involve learners in self-assessment activities, to help them become aware of their strengths and needs, and to encourage them to set personal goals for learning.
P: The teacher evaluates the effect of class activities on both individuals and the class as a whole, collecting information through observation of classroom interactions, questioning, and analysis of student work.
P: The teacher monitors his or her own teaching strategies and behavior in relation to student success, modifying plans and instructional approaches accordingly.

Standard 9: Teachers are able to evaluate themselves.
    Throughout the entire process of this unit, I was constantly able to reflect, which can be seen in the reflections that I wrote for each day underneath the daily plan. On top of my personal reflection, I also constantly talked with my cooperating teacher on what was going well, what could go better, and what things to think about in the future. These conversations allowed me to continually adapt my teaching strategies to help meet the needs of my students. Additionally, by attending team meetings and full staff meetings with other teachers I was able to gain more information on what works with students and ask for feedback about issues that I was experiencing in my own classroom. I learned the value of being social with other teachers, even at lunch, and how much it helps even to know if someone is just having a rough week or has something going on at home. These conversations allowed me to continually adapt my lessons and evaluate my effectiveness with each and every student.
Standard 9 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher understands methods of inquiry that provide him/her with a variety of self assessment and problem-solving strategies for reflecting on his/her practice, its influences on students 'growth and learning, and the complex interactions between them.
K: The teacher knows how to select, construct, and use assessment strategies and instruments appropriate to the learning outcomes being evaluated and to other diagnostic purposes.
K:The teacher understands critical frameworks for reflecting on teaching practice (e. g. frameworks from social, cultural, and philosophical foundations of education).
D: The teacher values critical thinking and self-directed learning as habits of mind.
D: The teacher is committed to reflection, assessment, and learning as an ongoing process.
D: The teacher is willing to give and receive help.
D: The teacher is committed to seeking out, developing, and continually refining practices that address the individual needs of students.
P:The teacher uses classroom observation, information about students, cultural, social, and philosophical frame-works, and research as sources for evaluating the outcomes of teaching and learning and as a basis for reflecting on and revising practice.
P: The teacher draws upon professional colleagues within the school and other professional areas as supports for reflection, problem-solving and new ideas, actively sharing experiences and seeking and giving feedback.

Standard 10: Teachers are connected with other teachers and the community.

Throughout this unit, there were many ways in which I was involved with other teachers, the school community, and the La Crosse Community.
    First, I attended numerous meetings with other teachers and even observed in a social studies classroom so that I could see my students in a non-art context. Additionally, through the meetings and even discussions at lunch, I was able to learn new and important information about my students, and relate how they were doing in my class to how they were doing in school in general. I was also able to use my knowledge of technology to help another teacher learn to use a web creation site and learn to resize and upload videos.
    Next, in the school community, I was able to participate in conferences and meetings with the teachers. Conferences proved to be incredibly valuable as they gave insight into the home lives of the students and also gave me the chance to provide some much needed confidence boosting to some of my seventh grade students. This chance to make a difference in a students life was very valuable to me and I now look forward to any chance that I have to discuss art both with students, and their parents. Also, following conferences, I was on numerous occasions able to have the chance to make phone calls to parents regarding students art class behavior.
    Finally, through our gifted and talented project in working on the rain barrel, I was able to get my students involved in their neighborhood and the greater La Crosse community. They were able to create art that sent a message about our environment, while also quite literally helping others to go green with a beautifully painted rain barrel to be used to recycle water for planting and gardening.
Standard 10 INTASC Standards addressed:
K: The teacher understands schools as organizations within the larger community context and understands the operations of the relevant aspects of the system(s) within which s/he works.
K: The teacher understands how factors in the students' environment outside of school (e. g. family circumstances, community environments, health, and economic conditions) may influence students 'lives and learning.
D:The teacher values and appreciates the importance of all aspects of a child's experience.
D: The teacher is concerned about all aspects of a child’s well-being (cognitive, emotional, social, and physical), and is alert to signs of difficulties.
D: The teacher is willing to consult with other adults regarding the education and well-being of his/her students.
D:The teacher is willing to work with other professionals to improve the overall learning environment for students.
P: The teacher participates in collegial activities designed to make the entire school a productive learning environment.
P: The teacher makes links with the learners 'other environments on behalf of students, by consulting with parents, counselors, teachers of other classes and activities within the schools, and professionals in other community agencies.
P: The teacher can identify and use community resources to foster student learning.
P: The teacher establishes respectful and productive relationships with parents and guardians from diverse home and community situations, and seeks to develop cooperative partnerships in support of student learning and well-being.
P: The teacher  talks with and listens to the student , is sensitive and responsive t o clues of distress, investigates situations, and seeks outside help as needed and appropriate to remedy problems.
P: The teacher acts as an advocate for students.

In conclusion, I feel that this unit plan meets each and every one of the ten standards. I was able to show not only my knowledge of art, but also my knowledge of my students on a developmental and emotional level. The lesson allowed me to bring modern topics into art and helped my students to grow through critical thinking. I plan to use this successful lesson format in the future, ensuring that I consistently consider and reflect on the standards to improve my overall classroom environment.