Bruce Ewing


#1: Written reflection on lesson other than those observed:

Summarizing the lesson's strengths and alternative actions the teacher would take in the future. This one deals with a quiz making web tool called and is based on a smore page I created for the biochemistry unit. Also linked is a reflection post about a Homeostasis Lesson that I held against Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner also described on the Domain 1 page. Here's one based on my first attempts at running two different labs at the same time in the same class.

#2: A lesson plan that addresses a specific way to improve a lesson (websites, materials etc.)

This one is for my pedigree analysis section. I had no choice but to modify this lesson since I was away on senior trip for this topic. Luckily, the kids only had a few questions when I returned (mostly technological), so I can see myself using this web quest in lieu of notes in the future, provided PARCC hasn't taken all of the computers again.

#7: Student or parent survey giving specific feedback for the teacher.

This is a link to a survey from freeonline that I give at the start of each year.


#9: Artifact that logs student make ups initiated by student.

This is from my advanced class. This student suffers from a condition that causes her to miss many classes. Do not mistake the brevity of my remark for a lack of attention. I try very hard to make her situation seem less daunting. Here is another example in which I sent home screen shots of a students missing work in Power School. He initiated the email through a guidance counselor, and I sent over the screen shot to the student, counselor and parents.

#10: Artifact that notes student interest in their own records:

Here are just a FEW of the emails from a student named Joe that has asked about missing work, labs, extra help and other materials (start at the bottom). Here's another email from a student concerned about an unfinished lab.


#16: Email folder for parent communications: Here is just a sample of my parent emails. It comes from a woman concerned about her daughter's grades early in the year. She was replying to a mass email I had sent in advance of a literacy assignment. I believe it is a fair representation of my dealings with all parents. If not, just let me know. Don't you just love emails that end with "please advise"?

Here's another that includes emails concerning a student's missing work due to concussion. And another one regarding a student's absence/missing work. And another about a senior that MUST pass ALL classes in order to graduate this year. I also had the counselor come and sit in for class prior to these emails.

Here's the first parent contact regarding a new change to the phone policy. It actually went well.

#18: Cite community resource documents (tutorial websites etc.)

Such resources are listed at the bottom of this assignment under "Help Tools" and I generally have these kinds of things at the ready for my kids. I also give kids this page I created and encourage them to use it in all of their classes.

#20: email updates to whole class or parent list

Here is a copy of the email I sent out in advance of our first "Literacy Lab" in September. Unfortunately, I used PowerSchool to generate the list and received way too many "undeliverable" replies as seen here. When it came time to do the next bulk email, I had the kids write down their parents email and the problem seemed to be fixed. I used the updated list for larger assignments and quarterly exams.

#22: Reflections of students, by students, for students.

I cannot offer a student copy, just the form that the kids will fill out at the end of the year.

#23: Letters of appreciation

Generally speaking, my kids aren't the types to write such letters, but I do have this birthday card (front) and (back) from a student that claims I am "actually not that bad as a teacher". She even stayed after school to decorate my room for me. Truth be told, she is the younger sister of a former student that enjoyed the class so I was a "shoe-in" before she ever came to my class. And truth be told she did the same for Rob Sheridan that same week.

While technically not a letter, here's an email from a parent that claims I am her child's favorite teacher of all time. This is a little surprising since I need to be a little strict with her son's class.

This one is from a transfer student named Nina that is probably the nicest letter I've ever received. It also gives me confidence that I'm doing what's right by my students above and beyond what is trendy or popular.


#25: Artifact demonstrating collaboration with colleague:

A link to the Q3 conversation with a fellow biology teacher. Please also see 4F #51 for a more involved project I am working on with my wife.

#26: Log of peer collaboration:

A few emails about creating the Q2 exam and review. Generally speaking, I began the process of writing all of the Advanced Biology quarterly exams, sent large tests to the other teachers and asked that they edit and choose the questions that best suited their needs. I also wrote all of the quarterly reviews this year. In January, I attended a "Cell Phones in Science" workshop and shared the information with our Anatomy teacher.

#28: Volunteer experience descriptions:

Senior Trip Chaperone, Homecoming Dance (You're welcome John M.),Bowling Fundraiser sponsor (10 kids), A.M. Morning Duty (all year), extra lunch supervision (only after Carole begged me to do it) and Art Trip Chaperone (two trips), P.M. Bus Duty (all year). Heading up membership committee for CEA with Patti Arni in 2017 - 2018.

#33: List participation on a professional school committee:

AR representative (mainly foreign language teachers) and negotiations team member for the last three contracts. Also received training as negotiator for future contracts if needed. CEA Vice President as of April 2017.

This year I tried to get on the ScIP, DEAC and Discipline Committees. DEAC was closed and my low observation scores (grrrrr) will keep me off of ScIP. I truly wanted to be on the Discipline Committee since I was on the original one years ago. Here's the letter that explains why I'm NOT on the committee. Can a person be a volunteer if they are picked by administration? Maybe Ms. Danielson can shed some light on this one...


#37: List subscriptions to professional journals.

Currently I receive email updates by means of subscriptions to the following organizations/people:

Kathy Schrock (She even featured my essay on her site!)

Edutopia (Lucas Foundation)

SimpleK12 (I recently received and shared this document with fellow teachers)

#39 and #40: Document professional organizations/professional reading lists.

Here is a screen shot from a circle called EDIM 510. It is a Google + group from my grad school days that has stayed together. If you look close you will see my contribution next to Kathy Schrock (who also remains a member).

#45: List leadership role in clubs or committees: AR representative, negotiations team/negotiator training through NJEA

#49: Reflections of academic reading on teaching that further knowledge of the profession.

Here's the link (again) to my reflections on Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner. The link can also be found in 4A #1.


#48: log when support student, even if in conflict with current policy/path:

RecentlyI nearly received a failing score for an observation. Long story short, I was observed during a test period in which I gave each student a notecard with their late and/or missing work to complete once the test was over. For reasons I will never understand, I received points off my observation for doing so. Apparently I was supposed to have them use their phones to look up their missing work on Power School....during a test period. Here's the thing, the majority of these students have iep and 504 plans that legally require me to write down things like missing work for my kids. To not do so would be breaking the law. I still don't know how our school can allow the Danielson model/path to supersede the law, but regardless, I wrote down missing work to support my kids despite being told such actions were in conflict the observation rubric and detrimental to my observation (p.s. the work got done!)

#50: List leadership roles in the school:

Attached is a reply email to the Assistant Superintendent regarding my role in the New Teacher Academy. It dealt with new web 2.0 tools available based on my time at Wilkes University. I had originally been scheduled for the summer, but after talking with a fellow presenter, I thought it best that she take a full class rather than share her time with me. It took place early in the year and I have been asked follow up questions by many of the attendees. This year I also create a handout for the workshop. I even had some veteran teachers showing up based on positive feedback from last year's session!

#51: Document when refocused practice based on students needs.

Basically, my kids struggle with larger concepts due to a limited scientific vocabulary. The problem is that many years ago, some guy named Bloom came along and made teaching vocabulary a big "no-no" especially in today's reformist climate. But my kids REALLY need to get the terminology down, so my wife and I have started replacing textbook definitions with mini-sagas or short stories that are exactly 50 words in length. Each comes with a worksheet that contains a checklist, an area to demonstrate understanding and an extension activity for researched based creative writing. There is also an area for video links for each story. I have more than 100 stories written this year that are waiting for the movies to be made. If only Charlotte Danielson would get out of the way...

#53: Log fulfilling all district mandates/procedures.

Link to show that all Safe Schools trainings have been completed. IEPs were also completed on time but without any documentation. Here is the 2015/2016 list of completed training. Here's the latest Fire Extinguisher Training certificate and a letter from the Superintendent that commends my record of attendance.

#54: Sample student self-assessment using a scale or rubric

Most kids worked really hard on what is a very abstract project. I thought I would let them use their own rubric to come up with their scores.

#56: Open minded and willing to adapt to new approaches

This year I addressed what I identified to be a poor approach to reading by many of my students. They too often jump to the glossary or seek out bolded words only. I decided to write a reading guide for one of their chapters in their own vernacular. Have a look at the Evolution of Jawn.

In another attempt to create better readers, I decided to use/create pictures to represent key concepts from the speciation chapter. The kids had to identify the concept that best matched the picture and explain their rationale for each selection.

Here's a link for a cell phone activity I actually created for my advanced class but decided to let my general level kids try this year. I absolutely despise cell phones, so this one is a stretch for me. I cannot speak to the results since I believe they will be doing the lesson after my conference, but we will see how it goes.

Another idea I tried (after finding computer access impossible) was to have the kids use their smart phones to start research into a new chapter and then rank everything they found according to the strength of their relevance. As you can see on the PowerPoint, they even used "signal strength bars" to mark each fact.

I also created an evolution lesson that enabled the kids to use their phones and QR codes instead of taking notes. Another evolution based lesson involved short presentations using an app called Picmotion. Basically the kids create a slideshow to demonstrate understanding of three complimentary terms.

In 2016 I even attended a workshop entirely dedicated to educational apps for smartphones. Honestly, here's the certificate. I even gave the instructor a short "PowToon" tutorial after the workshop.

This year I even allowed the kids to design and implement a new floor plan for all classes. Caitlyn G. came up with the plan. Unfortunately it did not work, but we came up with this design on the fly...

#60: Positive/Professional relationship with colleagues

I think the picture says it all...

Also, here is an email from the school nurse before the upcoming senior trip about a student's medical concern.