Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Karen Donohoe
April 28, 2015

            I am from a small town in the seacoast of New Hampshire. I went to a small K-8 school where everyone knew everyone in town. My brother had gone through the school before me and my Mom is still a teacher at the school today. I went to the public high school and found myself at Wheelock four years later. Growing up in a small-secluded town in New Hampshire, I never thought I would become a city girl, especially in a city that has such heart and passion for their own.
            The college application process was a stressful one for myself because I was in denial that my life was going to change. If it wasn’t for my mother and all of her help with my applications and college visits I would not be graduating from Wheelock College this year. I originally did not want to go to school in the city but once the letters of acceptation and polite declines came in the mail Wheelock seemed like the path I was going to follow.
            At the age of seventeen I was a director of a camp for children ages 3-5. I was responsible for 4 staff members, about 15 children, and each days planning. At a young age I was put into the role of a classroom teacher. At such a young age I thought it was going to be difficult but it felt natural. I had one camper who has severe autism. Over the years she has improved tremendously but when I had her she was non-verbal and transitions were extremely difficult for her. One day this little girl came up to me and hugged me and said, “smells? Like flowers?” This was the day that I knew I wanted to become an educator. Seeing improvement in one child over 5 weeks gave me a warm thrill of passion. This one little girl at the age of four at the time told me I smelt good, but she really told me what my passion was and what I wanted to do with my life. I will forever owe this little girl gratitude for being such a prominent part of my life’s path.
            Once I got to Wheelock I knew education was the program I wanted to be apart of, but I had no idea what I wanted my professional major to be. I thought long and hard and decided on Humanities with a focus in history. I do not have as moving of a story for as to why I chose history, I actually don’t have a story at all, but I am glad that I chose it. Being Humanities major has really adapted my skills as a learner for the better. I am able to think critically about my learning and I have learned to push myself to an intelligence level that I did not know I could reach.
            Throughout my time at Wheelock I have made myself a well known role model on campus by being a resident assistant my junior and senior year. This role has pushed me to be an adult in a student’s body. I have been trained to deal with a wide variety of issues ranging from roommate problems to suicide attempts. This role has helped me to better understand how to deal with other people in an appropriate way, helping me for my future career. I also have participated in the Colleges of the Fenway Dance Project for all four years of my college career. I have been apart of instructor choreographed pieces as well as pieces I have choreographed myself.
            During human growth and development I was placed at Project Hope in Dorchester working with infants, and St. Columbkille School in Brighton in a fifth grade classroom. I was at these placements three hours a week observing the students, conducting research, and evidence to support my learning of children of young ages and older ages. First semester of my senior year I was placed at the Pierce School in Brookline in a second grade classroom. This was an amazing experience for me. I was able to see each child’s parent at least once a week, because of the parent involvement in the school and schools involvement within the community. I created a warm relationship with these students as well as my mentoring teacher. I was only in the classroom a day and a half and the students gave me an extremely warm goodbye when I left. I am currently placed in a fourth grade classroom at the JFK Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. I have been in this classroom for about three and a half months now and have never met one of the students’ parents. I am in this classroom everyday all day and I do not know a lot about my students lives at home. I have connected strongly with certain students who have benefited from having an extra teacher in the room. This has made me feel like I have made a difference in these students educational experience through giving them the extra attention that they need.

Educational Beliefs
1.     I believe that educators need to teach to each student’s learning needs through diverse teaching strategies.
2.     I believe that educators have to understand each student in all areas of his and her lives in order to understand the child fully.
3.     I believe that the educator’s assessment of student understanding is important in the educator’s role to insure student understanding.
4.     I believe that in order for an educator to meet the entire student’s needs, extensions of educators knowledge needs to be an ongoing process.
5.     I believe that family and community involvement in the students’ learning will enhance their drive to learn.
6.     I believe that educators need to understand the advantages and limitations that come along with prepared teaching strategies or curriculum. Within knowing this everything should be modified personally to the specific students.

Standard 1

Karen Donohoe
Standard 2
April 28, 2015
Standard 1        Advocacy for Social Justice

1)    Educators who embrace a social justice perspective are attentive to inequalities associated with race, social class, gender, language, and other social categories. 

2)    They consciously look for alternatives to established educational practices that support the learning, development, and academic achievement of children whose backgrounds place them outside of the dominant culture.

3)    They employ multicultural, anti-racist, anti-bias educational practices that foster deep engagement in learning and high academic achievement among all of the nation’s children.

            This standard is important because of its focus on applying teaching strategies with attention to students’ different background. This standard stresses the importance of recognizing that not every student is the same and that all people are different in different ways and teaching students about differences in race, gender, class, and language. It is important to educate students on these topics because in the diverse urban setting that they live in they should be education about social justice. Educators need to pay attention to what they are teaching when teaching to students of non-dominant cultures.
             It is important for educators to supply diverse material for the students so that they can educate themselves or feel comfortable in the classroom. This is often done through literature within the classroom. Educators can choose a read aloud or small group readings that educate students on other cultures as well as making the resources available to each students’ needs or preference.
            I found an article online that focuses on the lack of social justice through teaching of history and it says, “Traditional materials invite children into Columbus’s thoughts and dreams; he gets to speak, claim land, and rename the ancient homelands of Native Americans, who appear to have no rights. Implicit in many traditional accounts of history is the notion that children should disregard the lives of women, working people, and especially people of color—they’re led to view history and current events from the standpoint of the dominant groups. By contrast, a social justice curriculum must strive to include the lives of all those in our society, especially the marginalized and dominated.”(Intro, xi) History is the easiest way to incorporate social justice into the classroom. It provides real examples of racism and discrimination, and is a great way to get an engaged, safe conversation going with your classroom about social justice. This quote highlights the racism within the education system that was happening not even ten years ago within history textbooks. These books taught students that the white people that came to America were good, pure and saved the world, lacking to tell the many other sides of history. This article states the same importance of this standard, educating all students, majority or minority, is important to a well rounded classroom as well as a well rounded education.
            Artifact 1A is a copy of a lesson plan where I taught a lesson on North America. I knew that five out of the twenty students were new to the country and that none of the other students had had a social studies class before. This worked out to my advantage because I was starting with no prior knowledge what so ever. I was able to teach the simplicity of North America being formed by four different countries and work on the students identifying those countries. There was a minority of students who were not born in this country but the rest of the students where not able to find themselves on a map of the United States so all students were starting at the same knowledge level of North America. In this lesson I met standard 1.2 through my attention to the students who were not from this country. I spent time with them previewing the material and vocabulary before I taught the lesson to the entire class. I was able to preview the material providing these students who are level one English Language Learners (ELL) the language skills to be able to participate in the lesson. An alternative strategy that I used for these students was to make a game out of finding countries on a blow up globe. Through my attention to the minority students I did not ignore the majority. I previewed the material with the ELL’s because the language was not there for them to be able to participate in the lesson, where as the language was there for the other students. I did similar activities during the whole class lesson that I did with the ELL’s insuring that all students would comprehend the material.
            I believe that this is a standard that I have not had a lot of practice in. I understand the importance of social justice within all classrooms and plan to practice this within my own classroom one day. I plan to have a wide variety of literature within my classroom that reflects each student in a variety of domains. I also intend to teach the importance of social justice through social studies. I want the students to be able to learn life skills and life knowledge through their knowledge of the past. History is such a powerful subject that students can learn from. It is important for students to learn the mistakes of the past in order to prevent them from happening in the future.
Introduction: Creating Classrooms for equity and social Justice. Introduction.

Artifact 1A
Karen Donohoe
S.S. North American Map
April 17, 2015
Objective: Students will be able to identify the countries in North America when given a blank map of North America.
MA Curriculum Frameworks:  History/Social Studies (grade 4)
4.9- Regions of the Unites States: On a map of North America, locate the current boundaries of the United Sates (including Alaska and Hawaii)…
4.17- Canada: On a map of North America locate Canada…
4.23- Mexico: On a map of North America, locate Mexico…
-Each table group that has a level one ELL also has a native Spanish speaker in the group so they can translate if needed. Students will be working on the “we do” puzzle in their table groups.
-I have already previewed a labeled map of North America with the level one ELL’s in their map books. I have named countries and they had to point to where they were on the map of North America.
-While students will have time to work on their S.S. projects in the morning I will work with the level ones on the rug. I will do a mini lesson with them so they will be prepared for the whole class lesson in the afternoon.
-We will start with looking at a labeled map of North America and I will have the students find countries that I say out loud.
-The students will each be given a puzzle of North America that they will put together using the map in their map books as reference.
-We will then play a game with the globe ball. We will take turns naming countries in North America and throw the ball to a friend who has to then find the country that was named.
-IEP / ELL students have already seen and colored a labeled map of North America.
-I will be using manipulative to help students who need a visual. (Puzzle)
-Word banks will be used to help ELLs.
 -Country: An area of land that is controlled by its own government.
-Continent: a large piece of land that makes up our globe.
-Ocean: A large body of salt water.
-Tropic of Cancer: The horizontal line north of the equator
-Arctic Circle: imaginary circle drawn around the North Pole, parallel to the equator, above the tropic of cancer.
-Equator: imaginary line splitting the world into northern and southern hemispheres.
1.     Students will come back from the bathroom and come to their seats
2.    I will project the objective on the board we will read it as a class.
3.    I will define vocabulary for the students on the smart board. (Country, continent, ocean, tropic of cancer, arctic circle)
4.     I will show a blank map of North America and label it. Showing the students where the countries in North America are located.
5.    I will give each table North America puzzle pieces that they need to label and put together. Students will have t15 minutes to do this.
6.    When students are done they will complete the North American Map Activity worksheet INDEPENDENTLY.
7.    Instruct students that when they are done with their activity they can fill out the blank map worksheet that will be on the rug.
8.    Students will be able to show what they have learned by filling out a blank map of North America using a word bank. (Assessment)

WORD BANK                               

Standard 2

Karen Donohoe
Standard 2
April 22, 2015

Standard 2     Understanding all children in their many dimensions           

1)     Educators should know their students as individuals and as learners, and be able to relate to them in a variety of ways.

2)     They should be familiar with the cultures, histories, and values of the communities and families they serve, and know the attributes of the individual children and families with whom they work.

3)     Educators should be aware of the range of special needs their children may have, and seek out information concerning the strengths of specific children as well as resources to address their developmental and learning needs.

4)     They should use their knowledge of variations in development, second language acquisition, and disabilities to support children’s physical, emotional, social, cognitive, linguistic, intellectual, and creative development.

5)     Educators should observe and listen to children as they work, learn, and play in a variety of settings to gain insights into what their students know, how they think, what they value, who they are, where they come from, and what motivates them. 

6)     Educators’ knowledge of children and families, language and culture, and community development should motivate educators to view children’s actions and responses through multiple lenses.  The more they learn about their students, the better they can tailor their teaching to engage children in active learning and meet their specific needs.

            Standard two is about knowing each student as an individual in order to help them learn to their greatest potential. There are many different parts to the student that a teacher needs to be aware of. It is important for the teacher to be able to connect with the students on a personal level as well as in the classroom. Teachers must know each students life outside of school as well. If a teacher knows what is going on at home they will be able to gage better whether the student does not understand the concept or if they really did not have the time or space to do their homework at home. Student’s home lives can have a strong affect on their attitude during school. It is the teacher’s responsibility to meet all of the learning needs of each of the students, by reaching out to past teachers or other professionals within the school that have worked with the students that would know what or what not to do to help the student. Teachers need to address all students needs including physical, and emotional. For example taking away recess is not meeting the physical needs of the students; they need at least twenty minutes to let out their energy. It is important to the teacher to also observe their students during different times of the day to see them in learning and social settings. The more teachers know their students the better they can modify their teaching to each students needs.
            I think that this standard is extremely important because it coincides with my philosophy of being a compassionate teacher. In order to be the best teacher that you can be you must know your students in all of their domains. Artifact 2A is a piece of my philosophy of education paper that I wrote during my pre practicum. I talk about my strong belief in a healthy relationship with the students. I think that this relates to standard 2.1 because I believe in relating to my students in different ways. I think it is important to have a relationship with your students that are school related but also that is not school related. I think that artifact 2A shows my thinking about what kind of educator I want to be and how my strong beliefs of education show my intentions of being a teacher that understands the many dimension of my students.
            I have reached 2.3 through my focus child observations. I have one child that I have decided to focus on because of her need for an individual education plan (IEP) in math and her denial of testing by the school. This child’s mother spoke with the classroom teacher in January about getting her tested for an IEP and then left the country for three month because of a family emergency. During this time the school did not take this child’s learning into their own hands based on the mothers request. The school’s reasoning was that they needed the family’s request for an IEP in written form. Once I found out that this student had not been tested when the parent asked I knew that she would be a perfect student to focus on and try to give her the extra help that she needed to succeed. Artifact 2B is my notes of an observation that I made during a math lesson. My focus child is in the lowest leveled math group. When doing a multiplication word problem my student was unsure if she should multiply. She needed me to reread the problem to her and after I emphasized some words for her she realized that she needed to use multiplication. After observing my child I could narrow down her difficulty in math to her ability to comprehend what she is doing. Repetition of new material is helpful for her, and for a lot of her classmates as well. I was able to take this observation of this one student and use it in my own teaching. When teaching the lowest level math group I needed to pace my instruction and make sure that when I was teaching new material I provided enough examples and practice with the new material before having the students work independently. I was able to make myself aware of this student’s needs and use my knowledge of teaching through my courses and adapt my lessons to benefit her learning the best I can.
            I have accomplished standard 2.5 through observing my students during indoor recess. The students just started going outside for recess in the beginning of April, so they were indoors for two months while I was student teaching. I was able to observe and accidently over hear conversation and interactions. I was able to see who is a friend with who and what they have in common that draws them to each other. Through my observations I have learned about the students interests and what they prefer to do with their free time when they are not outside. It is nice to see the students using their imaginations and what they are interested in to entertain themselves. They often show no emotion during class time making it difficult for a new student teacher such as myself to really get to know the students. Artifact 2C are some of my notes that took during recess. In the beginning of my time in the classroom I liked to observe the kids during recess to see how they interacted with each other and what things interested them. I tried to incorporate the things that they liked into math problems or examples that I could use to explain something I was teaching to grasp their attention. My observations of the students at recess helped me to be able to get to know my students but also some of the things that they value, things that they are good at or enjoy and how they think in social situations.
            One of my students is very shy and I did not know how to read her. My cooperating teacher let out little bits of information over a long period of time about this particular student. My cooperating teacher told me that she was just defiant and that is why she does not participate. She then told me that this little has a stutter and that is why she does not like to participate because she doesn’t want to stutter in front of the class. Throughout reading and writing my cooperating teacher asked me to sit next to this students and make sure that was doing her work, which I later was told that when a teacher sits next to her during class she works harder because she is receiving positive attention. I was notified that this little girl seeks attention because she receives none at home. One day when I was sitting next to this girl during reading she said that her mother told her she needs to eat a hamburger because her arms are too skinny. A few weeks ago this child came into the classroom without responding to my good morning with a word or eye contact. After creating a relationship with this child, something in my stomach told me that something was wrong. I reached out to this child and she would refuse to speak to me or look at me. After getting the cooperating teacher involved she informed my cooperating teacher of what was going on at home that had her so upset.  After getting the school nurse involved and assuring the students that everything was going to be okay, I realized that this little girl needs positive reinforcement to excel in her learning. She needs a compassionate meaningful relationship with an adult that she can trust. It is not that this little girl is incapable of understanding the work; it is that she is terrified of her home life creating a constant distraction from her ability to learn. This story applies to standard 2.6 where an educator must know the different aspects of their student’s life in order to look at situations through different lenses and respond in the most appropriate way. If I had only known that this student was defiant and has a stutter I would not have known how much a difference I was making in her learning just by sitting next to her while she writes. Although I do not have an artifact for 2.6 I believe that this example speaks for itself in a way that no artifact could. The students took a standardized state practice test last week and this girl came up to me and said, “Ms. Donohoe I don’t understand this”. I told her that I could not help her with the work but would it help if I sit next to you so you can focus, and she responded with yes. I knew that I could not help this student with her practice test but that all it took was for me to single her out with positive attention for her succeed in her learning.
            Within this standard it is important to make time for reflection. Teachers must observe and reflect to come to a conclusion on how to understand the different aspects of their students and use them to their advantage as a teacher. A Teacher’s Reflection Book’s goal is “to help dedicated teachers who were committed to reflection, but who simply couldn’t figure out how to work it into their daily lives, to find that time and structure that reflection.” (Peters, Weisberg 2011) This book provides guidance for teachers who are struggling with finding the time to reflect on their lessons, students and overall days. Reflection is extremely important when dealing with student’s personal issues that they may share with you. A teacher needs to be compassionate but also find time to reflect on separate their day from their life outside of work. Without reflection and time to decompress, teachers would burst with emotion or stress.
            This standard coincides with my philosophy of education so much that I could share a million stories where I have created a bond with a student over the years that will stay in my memories forever. Creating the relationship with a student is the hardest part; the connections and information about themselves will come with time, but creating a trustworthy, honest relationship requires equal effort from both parties involved. I think that I need to work on being the one to create these powerful teacher student relationships instead of letting them just happen. I feel like in a few situations I have let the students come to me and she bonded that way, but I think that if I were to seek them out for a connection they would respond surprisingly well to me. This standard is so important to improving the lives of children and can never be accomplished to completion because relationships are constantly growing and changing.

Peters, J.K., & Weisberg, M.A (2011) Teacher’s Reflection Book: Exercises, stories, invitations. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Philosophy of Education Paper
A caring teacher that takes the extra few minutes to check in with a student and make sure they are understanding can give a child confidence and a sense of affection that can make them want to do well in school. It is as simple as person believing in the child to motivate the child to do well in school or in life. Teachers have a large influence on children because for ten months out of the year the children are with their teachers five days a week. Family relationships also have a lot to do with how children are influenced. I think that the people they spend the most time with, and also the people they respect and trust most easily influence children.
            I still strongly believe in this statement of relationships are the greatest motivators. I would like to elaborate on this a littler more. The classroom teacher that I am working with now is very sweet and kind with the students and I really admire it. It is important to be kind to the children and have a strong relationship with them. It is difficult to have a strong relationship with a student if you are always strict with them and only talk about school related things. A strong relationship is well rounded and requires different connections between two people.

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Recess observations:
-D and J are creating a research book. Finding answers to student’s questions and publishing them in a book they plan to finish by the end of the year.
-Group of boys making video cameras with stick together cubes and microphones pretending to be the paparazzi asking teachers and students question and putting the microphones by their mouths (hiding from people they are videoing)
-Girls doing dance competitions in teams of two
-Two girls are dancers and do splits and turns while other girls act a little sillier
-J often sits quietly not playing with boys or girls and colors
-F also colors and gives drawings to teachers
-B will interact with different friends on different days and sometimes will chose to read to self
-L wants gymnastics lesson for her birthday but her mom is to poor to get them