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Jennifer Topping’s Professional Teaching Portfolio. Table of Contents. Table of Contents. Introduction Teaching Philosophy Standard 1: Content Pedagogy Standard 2: Student Development Standard 3: Diverse Learners Standard 4: Multiple Instructional Strategies.

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Jennifer Topping’s Professional Teaching Portfolio


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    1. Jennifer Topping’s Professional Teaching Portfolio Table of Contents

    2. Table of Contents Introduction Teaching Philosophy Standard 1: Content Pedagogy Standard 2: Student Development Standard 3: Diverse Learners Standard 4: Multiple Instructional Strategies Standard 5: Motivation and Management Standard 6: Communication and Technology Standard 7: Planning Standard 8: Assessment Standard 9: Reflective Practice: Professional Growth Standard 10: School and Community Involvement

    3. Introduction My name is Jennifer Topping and I’m what is referred to as a career changer. I received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 2000 and immediately entered the work force as a clay modeler for the automotive industry. Since then I have had several jobs and have even run my own business, but at the end of the day none of these positions left me feeling fulfilled. Each job was merely that- a job- something I had to get through everyday to survive. It wasn’t until the birth of my daughter that I seriously examined the career path I was on, and began to consider pursuing a career in the education field. Seeing the impact I could have on young lives made me realize that I wanted more out of life than living paycheck to paycheck. Finally, I decided to return to school and earn my teaching certification. However, first I had to figure out what I was really passionate about teaching. If I was going to make such a commitment, I wanted to teach an area I which I felt I could contribute the most. Therefore, I returned to college, not only to acquire a teaching certification, but to become dually certified in the fields of art and English and allow myself the option to teach either subject. Three years later, I have found reserves of strength and determination that I was previously unaware that I possessed. Raising a child as a single parent, attending college full-time and running a small business during much of that time period taught me the virtues of organization, time-management, and perseverance; all traits I hope to effectively model and pass on to my future students. Thanks to the support of my family and certain professors I was privileged enough to come to know, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Arts and Science in English in May 2007 and am currently working towards obtaining my Master’s in Adolescent Education at SUNY Oswego. Home

    4. Personal Teaching Philosophy I believe that every student has the capacity to learn, but they are first and foremost unique individuals. The various interests and experiences they enter the classroom with are all avenues to utilize in producing individuals who thirst for knowledge. Guiding students to discover that each of them has the potential to be their own teacher and to continue learning long after they have graduated is a goal I feel every teacher should have. Furthermore, I believe that every classroom should be a sanctuary, a place of safety where students have the freedom to explore, question and even fail without fear of ridicule or persecution. Differences should cherished and creativity should be allowed to flourish. As an educator, I believe that above all else it is my duty to provide students with the means, the security, and the skills to become life long learners. Home

    5. Standard 1: Content Pedagogy Definition: “The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.” Reflection Evidence Home

    6. Standard 2: Student Development Definition: “The teacher understands how children learn and develop and can provide learning opportunities that support a child’s intellectual, social, and personal development.” Reflection Evidence Home

    7. Standard 3: Diverse Learners Definition: “The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.” Reflection Evidence Home

    8. Standard 4: Multiple Instructional Strategies Definition: “The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage student development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.” Reflection Evidence Home

    9. Standard 5: Motivation and Management Definition: “The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation.” Reflection Evidence Home

    10. Standard 6: Communication and Technology Definition: “The teacher uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communications techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.” Reflection Evidence Home

    11. Standard 7: Planning Definition: “The teacher plans instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.” Reflection Evidence Home

    12. Standard 8: Assessment Definition: “The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.” Reflection Evidence Home

    13. Standard 9: Reflective Practice: Professional Growth Definition: “The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his or her choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.” Reflection Evidence Home

    14. Standard 10: Communication and Community Definition: “The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support students’ learning and well-being.” Reflection Evidence Home

    15. Standard 1 Evidence To show that I have the necessary degree of expertise in the content areas of Fine Arts and English, I respectfully submit my Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Center for Creative Studies and my Bachelor’s of Arts and Science in English from SUNY Oswego. Internet Access is required to Artifact 1 Artifact 2 Home

    16. Standard 2 Evidence Evidence: Over the years, I have taken an introductory pyschology course, an adolescent psychology course and an abnormal psychology course, giving me foundational knowledge into the behavior many of my students will exhibit. Moreover, I have enrolled in several graduate classes which have taught ne a variety of strategies designed to promote authentic, student-centered learning. In addition to passively learning about strategies, I have conducted research and written a paper exploring strategies for teaching male learners. Home

    17. Standard 3 Evidence The English classroom offers a teacher the opportunity to utilize and incorporate the interests of her students directly into her instructions. A classroom library that offers students a variety of authors, genres and topics enables them to pursue interests they already possess and discover new interests to learn about. Classroom Library Home

    18. Standard 4 Evidence Differentiating instruction to meet the learning needs of our students must become second nature to teachers. Educators need to design lessons that address several styles of learning at one time, instead of giving traditional lessons and then offering alternative assignments for students who may not learn best in a lecture-based environment. One way to do this is through the creation of theme sets and/or learning centers. These instructional strategies allow teachers to scaffold complex issues, themes and concepts in a way that provides an avenue for every student to learn. In a fairy tale unit I developed, I intergrated learning stations seamlessly into its design. Artifacts: Fairy Tale Unit & Learning Center Internet Access is required to view these artifacts. Home

    19. Standard 5 Evidence Evidence: While I have not had the opportunity to manage my own class, I have read several books dealing with the subject of classroom management and discipline. I have also read numerous articles that address management issues found in secondary classrooms. In addition, I have done research and written a paper examining questioning skills and the development of inquiry-based, student centered classrooms. Through my research I have discovered that learning which is initiated by the students’ interests and questions has the ability to motivate students more than teacher generated questions ever could. Classroom Management Books & Questioning Skills Paper Internet Access is required to view these artifacts. Home

    20. Standard 6 Evidence Evidence:                English is an interesting content area, as it provides teachers with a myriad of mediums to examine with their students. Literature (classic and contemporary), non-traditional literature (graphic novels), cinema, music, and advertisements are all fair game in an English class. Our job is to equip our students with the understanding of how words can effect and influence their lives. Words are everywhere; therefore, it’s our job to examine everything. As part of a fairy tale unit (check standard 4 for the complete unit summary), I developed a powerpoint presentation that would supplement my direct instruction.   This visual presentation would enhance the learning of my visual learners allowing them to read along as I lectured. Additionally, I would also be able to distribute the powerpoint presentation to my class as a handout, where they could take additional notes in the provided margins next to each slide.  This transition from presentation to written text makes it easy for students with certain learning disabilities to have accessible and accurate notes. Powerpoint Presentation Internet Access is required to view this artifact. Home

    21. Standard 7 Evidence Evidence:                 Over the course of my graduate studies, I have created several different lesson plans that I submit as evidence of my ability to plan in detail. I have included in my portfolio a lesson on poetry, foreshadowing, and point of view. Lessons: Poetry, Foreshadowing, and P.O.V Home

    22. Standard 8 Evidence Evidence:                 The goal of assessments is to determine the students’ level of understanding and the effectiveness of my lessons and instruction; therefore, I make sure to offer students several assessment options, that way students will be able to choose the assignment they feel will allow them to communicate their understanding best. In the creation of my fairy tale unit, I designed four project options for my students to choose from. Then, I constructed separate rubrics and self assessment sheets to accompany each option, letting students know what is required of them. In addition, I included regular formative assessments throughout my fairy tale unit, which will enable me to provide students with extra attention or mini lessons when needed.                   I have also created a series of pre-assessments,  designed to activate my students’ prior knowledge or to determine what they already know before delving into a unit or theme set. Artifacts: Projects, Rubrics, Assessments Internet access is required to view these artifacts. Home

    23. Standard 9 Evidence Evidence: To illustrate my dedication towards continued learning and professional growth, I am including several artifacts: my resume and a list of books on education and educational strategies that I have read. Also, I’m a member of the National Council for Teachers of English and subscribe to several educational magazines, such as: English Journal, Voices in the Middle, Education Weekly, and Ceramics Monthly. Resume Professional Books Home

    24. Standard 10 Evidence Again, as I am not currently employed as teacher I do not have a community to build relationships with. However, I recognize the need to keep parents apprised of what is occurring in their child’s education. Therefore, one of the first things I will do when acquiring a position as a teacher is to write an introduction letter that I would send out to my students and their parents before school officially begins. This would allow them time to contact me for meetings or if they have any questions regarding the upcoming year.          Additionally, I would develop a class website as a way to keep parents and students aware of what is happening in my classroom. This would be a way for parents to find out what their children are learning and for my students to print out any missed handouts or find out homework assignments, if they miss class. Creating a website is a way to establish constant contact with the community I will be teaching in and having an email address as a way for parents and students to contact me allows them to ask questions or vocalize concerns at a time that is convenient for them. Home

    25. Standard 1 Reflection: To be an effective instructor, an individual must possess a degree of mastery over her chosen content area. Students and parents need to have faith in the competency of their school’s instructors and believe that the information being imparted is both valid and contributes to the academic growth of the student population. It’s not enough for an English teacher to have an appreciation for writing or literature; she needs to understand the principles behind poetry, grammar, composition, reading comprehension and numerous other literary devices. A teacher must act as a guide, expert, and coach for her students; an individual who is there to help them uncover answers and discover questions which will lead them towards a deeper understanding of the subject. In addition, it is a teacher’s job to show students that the knowledge being presented is relevant to their lives and is therefore something worth taking the time to learn. Bridges need to be uilt, demonstrating that themes in literature are not isolated pieces of academia, these ideas have immediate value in life and the skills of reading and writing are crucial to their daily existence. Home

    26. Standard 2 Reflection Just as an educator needs to be proficient in the subject matter she will be teaching, she must also be required to understand the needs of the students in her class. Mastery that can not be effectively taught is worthless in the field of education and an individual pursuing a career as a teacher should be as educated in the developmental and learning needs of her students as she is in her content areas. Through understanding and respecting the differences of her students, a mutaul respect can develop and this will strengthen the educational bond in the classroom. A class that is run absent the concept of respect is one where little true, authentic learning takes place and it is this authentic learning that will accompany my students beyond the walls of middle or high school. Instilling a desire to learn is the greatest gift a teacher can give her students and to do this an educator needs to know them on an individual and basic level. Home

    27. Standard 3 Reflection: Diversity is nothing new to the field of education. Students have always entered the classroom with differing ability levels, interests, values, beliefs and cultures, yet they walk into an environment designed to accommodate one type of student. Therefore, it is our jobs as educators to acknowledge these differences and differentiate our instruction in order to provide each student with the tools to succeed academically. In a culture as diverse as the one we live in, teachers should encourage students to acknowledge and embrace their differences. Students should be taught to revel in their idiosyncrasies and respect the unique nature of their peers. A multicultural component is a necessity in todays English curriculum. The days of focusing on dead Caucasian authors has passed, replaced by a curriculum rich in literature from all corners of the world. English teachers can provide their students with stories that reflect cultural views and values extremely different than their own. By exposing students to these values and thoroughly examining them, teachers can help students broad their concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, and accepted and forbidden. Home

    28. Standard 4 Reflection: It seems to me that the concepts addressed by this standard are really a continuation of those examined in the previous standard; except, instead of looking at the diversity found in the students’ background, this standard concentrates on the learning differences of the student population. Research has shown that not every student is best served by traditional academic instruction. Instructional techniques that may open doors for some students, offer only barriers and obstacles for others. Put simply: students are all different; therefore, they all learn differently. Though this statement may seem easy to implement, providing instruction that reaches every student is a painstaking and complicated process that requires educators to put considerable thought into their instructional choices. Home

    29. Standard 5 Reflection: Classroom management is a critical component in providing students with a conducive learning environment. In fact, establishing an orderly class is one of the most important things an educator can do. Creating a safe, well-managed environment enables students to focus on the material and to discuss questions and ideas without fear of ridicule or persecution. A classroom that does not offer students the safety to share their ideas in an open forum is not presenting students with the opportunity to develop into critical thinkers. In order to create an environment free from distractions, educators must establish consistent routines and procedures on the very first day. Regardless of what they claim, students don’t want classrooms that are unorganized and unpredictable. Students who are secure in the rules and procedures of their class can concentrate on learning the curriculum at a higher level than students who are constantly faced with changing rules and daily distractions. Aside from creating a safe atmosphere for students to learn in, students need to be engaged in the material. Educators need to open the floor to their students, and assume the role of guide or facilitator rather than dictator and judge. Though teachers should be regarded as content experts by their students, they should not be viewed as infallible. Students must be taught to think and question for themselves. Inquiry and exploration are essential skills for students to master in order to develop into lifelong learners. It’s a teacher’s duty to provide students with the tools needed to explore concepts and interests on their own, further showing them that education is not isolated to the confines of classroom walls. Home

    30. Standard 6 Reflection: Technology is such an ingrained part of contemporary existence that its inclusion in education is often expected by the community. The students of today are extraordinarily savvy in technological matters; these children grow up as surfers on the World Wide Web and technology, in its many forms, is as much a part of their daily life as breathing. Therefore, it’s only natural that educators incorporate technology into their classrooms and lesson plans. Many classrooms already come equipped with televisions, computers, Smartboards and overhead projectors, providing teachers with the means to utilize endless instructional strategies. Powerpoint presentations and the creation of Youtube-like videos offer teachers a way to interact with students on a level that they understand; whether it is imparting information via a powerpoint or allowing students to create their own movie, the technology allows educators to reach students where they live- in a technology-rich world. The Internet also provides teachers with the opportunity to stay in constant contact with parents and students alike. Developing a class website that informs the public about what is being taught, the homework being assigned, and what books are being read is an excellent way to keep parents aware of what is happening in my classroom. E-mail offers parents a way to contact me with questions at any time, regardless of their work schedule. Thanks to advances in technology, there is no longer any excuse as to why teachers and parents can not effectively communicate with each other. Home

    31. Standard 7 Reflection: Planning and organization are foundational elements in the development of stable, safe classroom environments and successful, effective lesson plans. It is essential that teachers place great importance on the planning of each unit and every lesson that will go into their yearly curriculum. Though a teacher can’t account for everything that will occur during a class, it is extremely important that they have a generalized, overall plan for the class. Businesses that are run in a disorganized fashion are prone to failure, and it is no different in the education field. Having a disorganized class is the surest way to create a chaotic, distraction filled learning environment; one that is not conducive at all to learning at any level, much less the authentic higher level learning that educators strive to reach with their students. A teacher who is well-prepared will most assuredly be able to meet the educational needs of her students more than one who flounders about, haphazardly making decisions. An educator must be vigilant, not only in planning their daily lesson plans and activities, but in keeping grades and keeping records on student and parental activity. Grade books should be clear and concise, easily decipherable by anyone with questions on grades or missing work. Moreover, teachers need to keep detailed records noting when they have communicated with parents and students, and what those communications consisted of. Home

    32. Standard 8 Reflection: To plan and implement a successful, interesting, engaging and effective lesson is one thing, but to truly know if your students understand the material, an educator must assess their comprehension on a regular, if not daily basis. Formative assessments should take place constantly. These assessments are designed to quickly gauge the comprehension level of each student, thereby enabling teachers to alter their instruction when necessary. However, just like with instructional strategies, assessments should be varied and differentiated to give students the opportunity to show their knowledge in a way that they are comfortable with. Assessments which are traditional will only show what traditional learners comprehend; with other types of learners, the results of their comprehension and retention will be harder to determine based upon these traditional assessments. Every student deserves the same depth of assessment, and the activities and summative assessments assigned should reflect their diversity. Home

    33. Standard 9 Reflection: The concept of professional development for educators seems almost redundant to me. There are always going to be new literature, new ideas, new technologies, and new educational strategies to learn about and utilize. Acquiring a job does not give an individual license to stagnant in their learning, especially when that job entails imparting current and relevant knowledge. How can we expect our students to become lifelong learners if we do not model that behavior by continuously learning ourselves? It would be hypocritical of us to believe we can create something we can not become. Teachers should devour new information and search out anything pertinent to their subject matter. As an instructor, I would attend seminars and classes that address content issues as well as those which focus on educational strategies and theories. I believe that it is an education professional’s responsibility to occasionally step back and reassess the techniques she is using in her classroom, in order to ensure that the most effective methods are being utilized. Home

    34. Standard 10 Reflection: Regardless of how effective I may be in my classroom, I will not exist in a bubble. It’s important for an educator to cultivate relationships with parents and the surrounding community. Getting acquainted with community members who are committed to the success of their students can only benefit a teacher. Becoming involved can build bridges between the community, the parents, and the school. Furthermore, active involvement shows the community and my students that I have an interest in their lives outside of school. The more parents see me at school functions and outside in the community itself, the more they wil view me a a concerned teacher as opposed to an interloper who doesn’t care about their beliefs and values. Home

    35. Teaching Male Learners The field of education is littered with horror stories; tales of the unmotivated and the undisciplined, that spread like seeds throughout the academic community. Oftentimes, boy students feature a starring role in these tales of classroom terror and statistical data only reinforces these notions. Statistics paint a depressing portrait of a male student’s educational potential and prospects; showing him to be more likely to drop out, be kicked out or remain in the academic shadow of female students in the literacy arena. However, the numbers don’t explain why this situation exists; the statistics don’t give educators the reasons why boys lag behind girls in these various areas, all they do is illuminate deficiencies in the educational process. Once these issues have been brought to light, it then falls to the education professionals to take up the cause and discover where the system has been failing these young male learners. It has become obvious that male learners need to have their specific educational needs examined and addressed if the education system is going to be able to close the substantial gap that currently exists between male and female students. Male oriented strategies, especially in the area of literacy, need to be incorporated into classrooms, so male students can move out of the realm of “problematic” and into that of achieving student. According to the vast amount of statistical data available for consumption and analysis, boys scored lower than girls on the language arts section of standardized tests, were more likely to get suspended from school, were retained twice as often as girls and Next Page

    36. had a higher drop out rate. (Taylor & Lorimer, 2002, Hunsader, 2002) It’s a paint by numbers picture that depicts male students as behavior problems who are destined to fail where it really counts. In response to this alarming picture, educators have taken up the challenge of discovering a way to bridge the gap that lies between male and female students. Some of the differences between male learners and female learners that must be taken into account when formulating male oriented strategies are: * Boys are less attentive than girls * Boys are attracted to different forms of literature than girls * Boys read for different reasons than girls * Boys are less likely to respond to their reading than girls * Boys spend less time reading and value the activity less than girls (Smith & Wilhelm, 2002, p. 10-11). At first glance, these differences may not seem so difficult to overcome, but when traditional school settings value one over the other, suddenly these differences may seem insurmountable. The first step to developing and implementing male oriented literacy strategies is to understand male students and the literacy activities they already engage in. By understanding what boys read and why they read, educators can create literacy strategies that appeal to their specific literacy interests. According to Blair and Sanford (2004), “boys reported interest in reading texts that involved action and violence, games/competition, challenges and satire. They chose fantasy and science fiction, texts that illustrated sports activities, magazines that Next Page

    37. interviewed sports and media heroic personalities, or humorous and often visual texts” (p. 456). Their reading tastes often reflected hobbies they participated in, sports they enjoyed or things they might do or be otherwise interested in doing. Regrettably, these texts and genres are not prominent in traditional school curriculums; in fact, they are usually ignored and neglected in the classroom. Furthermore, many times the reading that male students engage in is not acknowledged by them or by their teachers as being a literacy activity. The magazines, graphic novels and other informational texts that boys are drawn to is not held in the same regard as the more narrative, fictional texts that are staples in teaching literacy. Unfortunately, the literary practices that tend to appeal to males are not the ones valued by the educational system and so while boys are reading and are “making meaning with texts,” they “are doing so in ways that schools aren’t recognizing” ( Lester Taylor, 2004, p. 292). By belittling the literacy activities male learners do participate in, schools essentially inform boys that their literacy practices are not worthwhile and are not valuable, which leads to further avoidance of what boys define as “schoolish” reading and writing. Therefore, it seems that it’s imperative that educators expand their definition of what constitutes appropriate literacy practices to include the reading and writing activities already being pursued by male learners. Additionally, this discrepancy between the material males are exposed to at school and what they actually enjoy has led males to develop a low self image of their literacy practices. Due to this disconnect, boys don’t view their literacy activities as being reading and many male students who do read these kinds texts will often declare themselves “nonreaders” when asked. This low literacy self image has created a situation where male students need to feel they have a Next Page

    38. certain level of competence in an activity or they would avoid it, assuming that their lack of competence would inevitably lead to their failure at the activity. Moreover, not only did male learners need to feel that they were competent enough at an activity to succeed at it; they also wanted to feel challenged in doing an assignment. (Smith & Wilhelm, 2002) Hence, boys want to feel as though the activities they undertake are ones that they can conquer, but they don’t want to feel as though the activities offer them no challenge; more importantly, boys don’t want to be bored by the activities given to them. Furthermore, even though male students don’t see themselves as traditional readers they do see the importance of school and reading. Smith and Wilhelm (2002) discovered that even though the male students they interviewed believed in the “importance of school literacy in theory, they often rejected and resisted it in actual practice because it was not related to immediate interests and needs” (p. 94). In fact, King and Gurian (2006) found that “one of the primary reasons that some boys get Ds and Fs in school is their inattention to homework” (p. 58). This so-called “inattention” may be due to the fact that boys don’t find the work given to them relevant to their lives; therefore, they neglect it to pursue the literacy activities that interest them and satisfy their immediate needs. Thus, the best way to get male students to participate is to assign work that allows them to bring their outside interests into the classroom, which will enable them to multitask by learning about issues and topics that they feel relates to their lives while at the same time doing work that will advance their academic careers. Offering male students a choice in their readings and assignments is another way to allow them to bring their outside interests into the classroom while giving them a sense of control over their academic environment. According to Smith and Wilhelm (2002), “boys were generally Next Page

    39. more willing to put in the effort needed to gain competence when they had a chance to express themselves in ways that marked their identity” (p. 105). Educators need to engage male students by incorporating their personal interests and already honed literary skills into the curriculum. Classes need to begin offering a choice of reading material and a variety of possible assignment choices for students. Instead of confining students (male or female) to strictly traditional writing assignments, teachers must devise other potential ways students can show their comprehension and competence in a unit. By opening up the boundaries of classroom activities, teachers can show male students that the literacy skills they have are important and that their interests have a place in the classroom. There are a variety of different strategies available to educators who wish to provide male learners with options that appeal to them and their interests. One strategy recommended by Anderson, Labbo and Martinez-Roldan (2003) is to utilize the concept of an open-genre workshop. This type of workshop allows students free reign in choosing the writing topics and genre they wish to pursue. In their research, Anderson, Labbo and Martinez-Roldan (2003) observed that often when male students were given an assigned topic they only did the minimum amount of work necessary, if that much. However, when given a choice of topics their work far exceeded previous attempts. Nurturing the interests and genres that boys naturally gravitate towards helps them scaffold off the knowledge they already possess and enables them to invest themselves in work that they deem worth doing. In addition to showing male students that their personal interests are important, giving them a choice in their assignments shows them that their teachers care about their personal success as well. In questioning their male participants, Smith and Wilhelm (2002) found that Next Page

    40. these boys would work hard for any teacher they perceived to genuinely care about them as individuals and truly care about their educational needs. One of their participants named Rev stated, “The teachers they don’t know you, care about you, recognize you. So why should you care about them or the work they want you to do?” (p. 102). Male learners need to feel as though their teachers are invested in them personally and are as equally invested in their academic success. Teachers that meet these requirements find male students who are more willing to go the extra mile for them and in doing so these students discover that they have the potential to achieve in a classroom setting. Another strategy to engage male learners is to introduce inquiry-based learning into the classroom. Letting students generate their own questions and investigate their own topics allows them to follow issues that they find to be interesting. Instead of researching somebody else’s questions and pretending to care about somebody else’s issues, students can formulate questions and investigate topics that matter to them. This technique, if properly implemented, can benefit both male and female students. Of course, any educator who wishes to incorporate a student question generation strategy into their class needs to introduce it slowly and model it many times before expecting their students to be able to generate effective questions. Modeling and practice are essential components to ensuring the successful assimilation of this kind of technique into the classroom. Educators need to start addressing the gap that exists between male and female students by making male learners feel more comfortable with the knowledge and skills they possess. Schools must show that a variety of different genres and texts deserve a place in the educational curriculum. Teachers have to reach out to their struggling male learners, along with their not so Next Page

    41. struggling male learners, and acknowledge the strengths and the literacy talents they have been forced to develop on their own. Blair and Sanford (2004) believe that the literacy practices that boys do actively engage in, “although not ensuring academic success, may be better preparing them for the world beyond school” (p. 459). Male learners’ interests and literacy practices should be embraced, as opposed to overlooked, and until educators prove to male students that they matter, this academic gap will most certainly continue. Reference Page

    42. References Anderson, M.; Labbo, L. D. & Martinez-Roldan, C. (2003, January). “Reading violence in boys’ writing.” Language Arts: 80(3), 223-231. Blair, H. A. & Sanford, K. (2004, July). “Morphing literacy: Boys reshaping their school-based literacy practices.” Language Arts: 81(6), 452-460. Hunsader, P. D. (2002, November/December). “Why boys fail- and what we can do about it.” Principal: 82(2), 52-54. King, K. & Gurian, M. (2006, September). “Teaching to the minds of boys.” Educational Leadership: 64(1), 56-61. Lester Taylor, D. (2004/2005, December/January). “’Not just boring stories”: Reconsidering the gender gap for boys.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy: 48(4), 280-288. Smith, M.W. & Wilhelm, J. D. (2002) “Reading don’t fix no Chevys”: Literacy in the lives of young men. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Taylor, D. & Lorimer, M. (2002/2003, December/January). “Helping boys succeed.” Educational Leadership: 60(4), 68-70. Home

    43. Back to Standard 1 Evidence

    44. Back to Standard 1 Evidence

    45. The following is a sampling the of books that I have collected over the years to be included in my classroom library. I strongly believe that an English class should offer a wide variety of genres and reading levels to students and allow them to read for pleasure as well as for assignments. I have compiled this diverse library in the hopes of incorporating independent reading and literature circles into my yearly schedule. Notable Authors: Peter Abrahams: Jerry Spinelli Down the Rabbit Hole Crash Behind the Curtain Stargirl Douglas Adams: Love, Stargirl Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Maniac Magee The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Life, the Universe & Everything J.R.R. Tolkien So Long, & Thanks for All the Fish The Hobbit Young Zaphoid Plays it Safe Fellowship of the Ring Agatha Christie: Two Towers ABC Murders Return of the King And Then There Were None Next Page

    46. Robert Cormier:Chris Crutcher: The Chocolate War Athletic Shorts After the First Death Ironman We All Fall Down Running Loose   Whale Talk Margaret Peterson Haddix: Among the Hidden Christopher Paolini: Among the Barons Eragon Among the Brave Eldest Gary Paulsen: J.K. Rowling: Hatchet Sorcerer’s Stone Brian’s Winter Chamber of Secrets The River Prisoner of Azkaban Brian’s Return Goblet of Fire Next Page

    47. Will Hobbs Walter Dean Myers Crossing the Wire The Beast Downriver The Dream Bearer Far North Scorpions Leaving Protection Slam! The Maze River Thunder Chris Van Allsburg: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Donna Jo Napoli: The Garden of Abdul Gasazi Zel The Wretched Stone Breathe The Z Was Zapped Stones in the Water Just a Dream The Magic Circle The Widow’s Broom Beast Spinners Bound Next Page

    48. A The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain All the King’s Men- Robert Penn Warren Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll Anansi Boys- Neil Gaiman Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging- Louise Rennison Animal Farm- George Orwell B Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress- Dai Sijie Be More Chill- Ned Vizzini The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath Beloved- Toni Morrison Beowulf The Best American Short Stories The Big Sleep- Raymond Chandler Black Thorn, White Rose- Ellen Datlow The Body of Christopher Creed- Carol Plum-Ucci The Breadwinner- Deborah Ellis A Break with Charity- Anne Rinaldi Next Page

    49. C Can’t Get There From Here- Todd Strasser The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger The Clique – Lisi Harrison The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister- Gregory Maguire Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems Crackback- John Coy The Crucible- Arthur Miller D Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books- Francesca Lia Block The Dante Club- Matthew Pearl A Day No Pigs Would Die Day of Tears- Julius Lester Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters- Gail Giles Dear America: The Great Railroad Race Don’t Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales- Jack Zipes Next Page

    50. E The Ear, the Eye, & the Arm- Nancy Farmer The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds- Paul Zindel Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life- Amy Krouse Rosenthal Eva – Peter Dickinson The Eyre Affair- Jasper Fforde F Fever 1793- Laurie Halse Anderson Frankenstein- Mary Shelley The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East- Naomi Shihab Nye Flowers for Algernon- Daniel Keyes Four Stupid Cupids- Gregory Maguire Freak the Mighty- Rodman Philbrick From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler- E.L. Konigsburg Next Page