Summary of Learning Statement
My first class that I took to initiate my journey within this program was ED 911 Advanced Foundations of Reading with Professor Trainor. This class opened my eyes into what reading can be within a classroom. We looked at the philosophies of reading and different reading strategies that different teachers were utilizing within their classroom. It was my first experience with this graduate program and I was so glad to have taken this class first.
Another valuable class that I took was ED 914 Teaching Reading the Content Area, again with Professor Trainor. My Artifacts #5 and #8 utilized pieces of the unit that I constructed as a requirement for this class. I created a science content area unit on Rocks and Minerals, incorporating reading and writing in all aspects of the units. This class introduced me to the concept of understanding by design through a backwards design process. I learned how to examine what the finish line of a unit should be and then create a unit with that goal constantly in mind. By learning this strategy, I was able to find resources that fit into a goal, rather than gather resources and then create a goal.
One of my most valuable experiences as a WSU was when I participated within were ED 971 Balanced Literacy within the 21st Century, which is discussed in Artifact #3. At first I just took the class from the recommendation of a different professor. She noticed my ability to be technologically savvy and recommended that I look into taking ED 971, if it were to fit into my program of studies. Though it was only a week long, I was exposed to so many new ideas and resources that I use everyday in my classroom. Being able to gain such a wealth of knowledge in such a short period of time still amazes me. I have recommended this class to so many colleagues because of the valuable information that I learned.
Another class that was such a valuable experience to partake in was the Author's Institute. It was the chance to see a successful reading/writing experience in action. Being able to meet authors, explore their writing process and learn different techniques to implement their writing's in the classroom was worth the extremely short week of class that we had to endure. Artifact #3 within this portfolio is a paper that I created as part of a requirement for the Author's Institute on the importance of literature in the classroom. I discussed how educators plan curriculum incorporating reading within various aspects of instruction. I also discussed the importance of genre instruction and incorporation. The overall thought of this writing was the literature is a key piece of a successful classroom by incorporating reading opportunities within all content areas and being a supportive environment.
One of my final classes that I participated within was the Reading Practicum, which is discussed with Artifact #1. This was a great class to kind of wrap up my reading program experiences. I took all that I had learned and gathered throughout my learning. I selected two fantastic students who were great participants for my practicum experience. They were patient learners as I gave them numerous literacy tests to evaluate their literacy levels. Through administering these pre-tests, I was able to look at where to start with each student and plan my instruction from their levels. I created literacy opportunities to support their developmental needs. Then at the end of the experience, I administered post-tests to the students to determine student growth within the size areas of literacy.
There are so many decisions that we make as teachers each day. We are asked so many questions and make so many corresponding choices, doing our best to benefit everyone. I know that from my experience within this program that I made the right choice for myself as an educator and for my students. The gains that I have made and the knowledge that I have acquired are so valuable to all aspects of my life. I am so excited with the decision that I made to further my education through Worcester State, within the Reading Specialist Program.