Effective Urban Educators are Innovative Practitioners who are able to demonstrate the ability to problem solve, develop ideas, and use creative methods. Below are artifacts that provide evidence of my ability to problem solve and develop ideas using new methods.

Evidence that demonstrates an innovative approach to motivating and/or increasing student learning:

Technology and the Writing Classroom: An Exploration of Possibilities and Challenges
This is a research paper written for a Methods of Teaching Writing course. The paper explores both the possibilities and challenges of employing technology in the writing classroom. The benefits discussed include: collaboration, writing as a social act or process, creativity, and classroom culture. In addition to these benefits, the limitations of technology for writing instruction are also considered.

Memoir Unit Plan
In this unit plan, students write and illustrate a short six word memoir, read and respond to a short story memoir, and write their own memoir. These multiple methods of assessment allow students to demonstrate understanding of the content in a variety of ways. The unit plan engages learners in their own growth by focusing on a subject that is important and engaging to students: themselves. Lastly, the skills required in this unit, such as reading comprehension and writing, are presented as “works in progress;” something that students will continue to improve upon throughout the year and that both students and teacher can monitor the growth of.

Evidence that demonstrates an innovative or creative method of assessment:

Interactive Notebook
My Grade 7 Language Arts classes created Interactive Notebooks that are to be used as both a reference guide and portfolio of student work not only this year, but in future years as they grow as writers and readers. The notebooks require students to use creativity and inquiry to demonstrate mastery of required subject area content by filling the notebook with their own work on concepts such as plot elements and the parts of an argumentative essay.

Evidence of an innovative way to integrate content across curricular areas:

Thanksgiving Interpretations
This lesson plan is intended to be a collaborative, interdisciplinary and intellectually challenging way to get my students to learn about author’s perspective and think critically about subjectivity in informational texts. In this lesson, students work independently and in small groups to explore how different authors’ perspectives determine how the authors tell the story of the first Thanksgiving.

Additional evidence that I am an innovative practitioner:

Social Media: Pinterest and Twitter
I use my professional Pinterest and Twitter accounts to find out about innovative ideas to use in the classroom, to keep track of these ideas, and to share these ideas with others. I have found Twitter to be a great resource to follow other educators and learn about current topics in education. Pinterest is a wonderful resource to find and organize teaching ideas.

Tabletop Twitter
This lesson requires students to work collaboratively and cooperatively in small groups to read and respond to quotes from an informative text about the death penalty, an authentic issue. The groups are required to think critically about this topic, write a response, and respond to the other groups’ responses.

Teaching and Learning Statement
This is reflective statement on my teaching philosophies and practices created during my semester of student teaching. In my statement I explain how constructivism, a philosophy of learner growth and development, can be implemented to create innovative, developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences for students, and provide several examples of these learning experiences. I also describe how constructivist-based teaching is inherently student-centered and inclusive, as it welcomes diversity in cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas.