Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio NarrativeMasters of Early Childhood EducationCareer E-Portfolio NarrativeTaiShara M. TwymanKennesaw State University1

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative2IntroductionAs the Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education program draws to a close, Iam reflective of how my instructional knowledge, practices, and expertise have matured. Beforeentering this program, it was my hope to enhance my knowledge, learn the latest trends ineducation, and develop my craft. As a result of the effort to always remain at the forefront ofeducation, I was prepared to do just that. Although enthused, I was extremely anxious abouttaking on this task. I had been out of college for numerous years and never experienced onlinelearning. Nevertheless, during the course of this graduate program, I have grown as aprofessional; largely in part to the structure and content of the courses. I have become moreconfident in my ability to lead, and have come to understand the significant impact thateducational research has on teaching and learning.I believe that the Masters of Early Childhood Education and Teacher LeaderEndorsement have afforded me the opportunity to both refine and expand my leadership andinstructional practices, techniques, and methodology. Through these avenues, I have learned howto affect change within my classroom, school, and local community. Additionally, through theimplementation of educational research I have learned to closely examine my manner of contentdelivery and engagement. By designing and conducting my own research, I was able to gatherdata, directly impact my students’ learning outcomes, and make informed decisions regardingmy instructional methods and ways of assessing.This experience not only prepared me for the intensive demands of the 21st Centuryclassroom, but also exposed me to the many developmental needs of my students. In particular, Ibelieve I can use the knowledge I gain from the Master’s program to become more skilled atusing technology to broaden my students’ experiences and expose them to the world outside of

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative3their own neighborhoods, as well as advocating for school leadership that encourages teachingthrough a global perspective.Subject Matter ExpertFor the past four years, I have intensely studied and worked on sharpening myunderstanding of the fourth grade curriculum. As a result, I am certain that I possess thespecialized knowledge needed to educate students, support colleagues, and work in partnershipwith parents. During the course of the master’s program, I further developed my knowledge ofthe standards-based classroom by learning how to find deeper meaning in the content standards.The unpacking standards concept map was created in an effort to direct what to teach and how toteach within the science curriculum. This task provided the opportunity to use standards as a toolto drive instruction by having teachers focus on what students should know and be able to do. Inaddition to this deeper analysis of the curriculum, I have designed a lesson, which follows thecomponents of the backward design model. In constructing the backward design lesson, learninggoals were first established. Then, assessment tools were created. Unlike a traditional model,teaching activities were selected last, providing for a more purposeful and meaningful learningexperience for students. Not only were expectations better communicated to students, butparents were also notified of student learning goals via monthly newsletters. The monthlynewsletter informed parents of upcoming curriculum themes, opportunities to increase parentalinvolvement, problem solving practice, and student behavioral expectations.Possessing an understanding of the curriculum that results in real life application andincorporates technology is essential to supporting the 21st century classroom. While enrolled inthe Essentials of Technology course, I learned valuable skills and strategies aimed at integratingtraditional learning processes with internet-based instruction that brought the curriculum alive. I

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative4was able to captivate students by presenting them with information about how living things areinterconnected. This overview of life cycles was created using Movie Maker, and was aphenomenal way to hook students’ interests in the life science unit. The activity certainly piquedstudents’ curiosity and made them want to not only engage in content but also use technology tocreate their own instructional movies. In addition to movie making, I utilized my knowledge ofthe digital learning tool GlogsterEDU to assist students with identifying organisms’ role in anecosystem, how they survive, and how they use their adaptations. From there, I workedcollaboratively to create a Food Energy Prezi, which used Web 2.0 as a platform to integratescience, language arts, and writing. This thematic unit embedded learning resources that wouldequip students to successfully create food chains.Because the needs of the students, classroom, and school are varied, it is important topossess strong content knowledge and use this knowledge to manage instructional challenges. Ioften found that one great challenge, for me, was differentiating instruction to meet the needs ofall of my students. However, the master’s program provided me with techniques, skills, andresearch to create lesson plans that provided opportunities to meet students where they are basedon readiness, interest, and content. One lesson plan, in particular, allowed me to use the 7E’splanning model to give students multiple opportunities and ways to acquire and demonstratelearning. Furthermore, the constructivist classroom lesson and reflection empowered me, as ateacher, to examine the differences in constructivism and traditional education. Previously, I hadfaced the challenge of relinquishing teacher-centered direction of the classroom; however, thistask revealed the value of becoming the facilitator in my classroom as students construct theirown knowledge. Additionally, the Student Learning Analysis (SLA) presented the opportunityfor me to take a closer look at learner outcomes and methods of instruction and assessment. In

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative5addition to examining standards and delivery methods, this assignment also guided me in datacollection, analysis, and reporting. Consequently, after reflecting on the outcomes, I was able topinpoint challenges caused by instruction. I noticed that multiple teaching strategies and variousopportunities for students to demonstrate and construct knowledge were needed. From there, Iwas able to put an action plan in place detailing how I would go about assisting students withbuilding knowledge that was meaningful for them as individuals.The integration of subject matter content was definitely a major component of themaster’s program. I learned that instead of teaching standards in isolation, many could becombined centering on a common theme. For example, the integrated thematic unit focused onthe impact of European exploration on Native American ways of life. During the unit, a list offiction and nonfiction texts is suggested, that dispel many myths about Native Americans. Also,traditional Native American art, music, and games are explored. In a similar activity, I workedcollaboratively to create a thematic Turboquest, which combined science, language arts,mathematics and writing. This task presented students with background knowledge of howenergy flowed through an ecosystem. Students were charged with helping three lost animalsregain their positions on the food chain. As an extension, students were asked to graph the effectsof the missing animals on other populations within that same food chain. The integration ofcontent and interdisciplinary understanding not only has to take place within the classroom, but itcan also be infused by exposing students to other educational settings. My students are alwaysenthusiastic about field trips that enhance classroom instruction. Through these field experiences,students are able to connect their abstract understandings to physical examples.Facilitator of Learning

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative6A master educator is one who facilitates learning by creating educational experiences thattake into account student differences and adjusts accordingly. One way that I meet this criterionis by allowing students to work collaboratively in heterogeneous groups. I find that with this typeof grouping, students learn more from one another. Students with various learning styles oftenbenefit from this model because of the trust and receptiveness they get from one another. Tobetter meet the needs of all students, I also provide them with choice boards. Students use thesegrids to select how they want to demonstrate learning. With equitable access to the curriculum,students are more comfortable setting and reaching instructional goals. An additional way tomake certain that students are receiving equitable treatment is to discover, recognize, andrespond to individual differences. In order to do this, I have used the Student Learning Analysisto inform me of school and classroom demographics and individual student responses toinstruction.Understanding how students learn and develop is the crux of creating enrichingclassroom experiences. By using this understanding, it guarantees that the learning environmentis suitable for all students. During the Diversity and Global Education course, I conducted a casestudy on a student that had recently tested out of ESOL services. Performing this task gave medeeper insight on his individual, family, and cultural beliefs toward learning. I was able to usethis knowledge to tweak instruction so that it reflected this newfound understanding. Althoughnot new information, the science for diverse learners assignment gave me the opportunity to trulyput theory into practice. For years, I had been aware of multiple intelligences and variouslearning theories, but to actually identify characteristics and activities that described my studentswas significant. The ability to see substantial similarities and differences among the students wassurprising. After completing the assignment, I felt better equipped to respond to the individual

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative7differences of each student. In addition to examining learning styles, I have also investigatedhow addressing and incorporating various learning theories will enrich the learning environment.The videotape analysis of teaching provided an opportunity to evaluate a recorded lesson. Thepurpose of the activity was to identify the learning theories that were present in the lesson and togive suggestions on how it could be approved if certain aspects of these theories were notpresent.Creating a safe, well-managed learning environment is important for student success. Toensure that all students are comfortable and reach their fullest potential, students and Icollaboratively establish a classroom behavior plan at the beginning of each school year. Ibelieve that students have a greater sense of ownership and belonging when included in thisprocess. Additionally, my substitute teacher forms include a safety plan to ensure that studentsare in safe hands in my absence. This plan consists of emergency drill procedures, evacuationlocations, and emergency contacts. Not only do I provide for students’ physical safety, but I alsosafeguard instructional time by creating a challenging and supportive environment. In an effort tobest support learning, I designed a problem-based lesson that supported inquiry and allowedstudents to extend their learning to broader contexts.Meeting individual, class, and school goals to improve learning outcomes is essential tobecoming a master teacher. In my classroom, I have used multiple methods and resources tomeet these goals. Working alongside colleagues to complete the Title I Schoolwide/SchoolImprovement Plan has given me insight on how to closely support students experiencingdifficulties. Helping to create the goals outlined in this plan prepared me to meet the needs ofeach individual student. Another tool that I used to meet goals and improvement the elementarylearning environment is the data overview. The data overview compared standardized test scores

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative8of fourth grade students at Dobbs Elementary School to fourth graders in the entire AtlantaPublic Schools system. I found that students at my school were meet expectations at acomparable rate of all fourth grade students; however, more could be done within the classroomto challenge students and extend learning in an effort to see more students within the exceedingexpectations category. Again, the Student Learning Analysis proved to be a beneficial tool inidentifying how learning goals and teaching methods were directly aligned to individual studentoutcomes. I was able to study the methods and resources used in a particular lesson and makejudgments on how to revamp them as a result of what each student needed. For example, Inoticed that there was a greater gain in proficiency among girls than boys in my class. Thissuggested to me that I may need to overhaul my activities or delivery methods so that allstudents, no matter what gender, are meeting learning goals.Monitoring student progress with a variety of formal and informal methods yields greatresults. Student learning improves when multiple ways of assessing are used. I assess studentsusing authentic tasks such as those centered on problem-based learning. With this type ofassessment, students demonstrate their understanding of content by engaging in a task thatrequires them to construct their own knowledge, learn through the process, and present results orsolutions. Students are evaluated using a rubric. How well students fulfill the criteria of therubric typically shows a progression of learning, or lack thereof. In addition to inquiry-basedlessons, another authentic task that allows me to monitor student progress is the use of onlineposters. At the end of each social studies unit or theme, students are assigned projects todemonstrate the knowledge that they have gained. One online poster, in particular, requiredstudents to include information, photographs, and video about the colonial regions. I used theseprojects as a way to gauge what students understood and still needed to know about the subject

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative9matter. I also use quizzes as a more formal way of evaluating learning. Multiple-choice andopen-ended question quizzes both provide me with pertinent data about how well students areprogressing toward their learning goals. Once results are collected, I modify my instruction withremediation and extension activities.As a classroom teacher, I am responsible for effectively communicating studentachievement results to multiple audiences. I am charged with accurately maintaining andinterpreting student performance data. I have used deficiency report and remediation plans tocommunicate students’ weaknesses with parents. This form is sent home with students, needingadditional support, every four and a half weeks. Parents are provided with methods that will helpthem assist their child at home; and are encouraged to schedule a conference. Yet again, fourthgrade students’ glows and grows in each tested content area were studied using the dataoverview. The data overview gave me the platform to analyze fourth grade CRCT data and shareresults and suggestions with my fellow fourth grade team members. We were able to use thisinformation to restructure our lessons and delivery methods. During the master’s program, I wasfortunate to take the Data Analysis & School Improvement course. In the course, I viewed andanalyzed various forms of data. The item analysis task used stoplight highlighting to help me as ateacher, visually see where problem areas were present. From there, I made observations andinferences concerning the data. I was able to reflect on how students answered the questions. Italso helped me envision the misconceptions and difficulties that students had. This type ofinformation is invaluable when communicating results of performance data to all stakeholders.Collaborative ProfessionalPossessing the ability to efficiently collaborate with peers, local community members,and stakeholders is essential for any master teacher. As a teacher leader, I strengthen the school

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative10through my knowledge of policy and practice. In my opinion, one of the most importantpartnerships is the collegial relationship. I often email and share resources with colleagues toimprove teaching practices and enhance the learning of all students at John Wesley DobbsElementary School. Anytime that I come across Common Core resources I am excited to sharethem with fellow teachers. While taking the Leadership Theory and Practice course, Iconstructed an elevator speech designed to change the existing beliefs concerning data analysisat my school. This speech, aimed at acquiring staff buy-in, was the jumpstart for teachers tobrainstorm ways in which we could collaboratively examine student achievement data. Anotherinstrumental task in this course was the leadership perception essay. Not only did this assignmentgive me a chance to examine the type of leader I wished to be, but it also opened lines ofcommunication between my team members who have aspirations of affecting change outside ofthe classroom.I am constantly looking for new ways to improve student achievement. I often set asidetime during each afternoon to reflect on the day’s teaching and learning experiences. I makecertain that I stay abreast of trends in education that could positively impact my classroom. Thismotivation led me to further explore facets of reading for my literature review. Becausetechnology plays such a major role in today’s society, I was interested in how it could be used inmy classroom to improve student comprehension. I enjoy reading aloud fiction and nonfictiontext that connects to content. In the past, I have simply selected texts that I thought were gradeappropriate. But after completing the master’s level courses, I now am aware of author’s bias. Ihave conducted a text analysis that allowed me closely examined the author’s perspective beforereading to students. Now, I am skilled at presenting multiple views to students to help themcreate a more accurate picture of history. I believe that as I evolve as a teacher, my philosophy of

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative11education also evolves. With this evolution comes more self-reflective behavior, which, in turn,directly influences my daily practice and professional growth.Because students, staff, and school communities are equally influenced and shaped bytheir external environment, I feel that it is especially important to keep parents and communitymembers well-informed of how important of a role we all play in children’s lives. Makingmyself available to parents, in various ways, helps support instruction and education. One of themany subjects that I am passionate about is parental involvement. I believe that parents are a keycomponent of a successful learning environment. Before the school year began, I was able toconduct an external assessment of my school. This assessment helped me focus on one majorexternal factor that had a great impact on the inside of the school building. I was able to researchthe demographics of the surrounding community and present solutions to how we, as a school,could increase parental involvement. As a result of the assessment, I started communicatingindividual and school wide goals with parents through text messaging. I can easily use my iPadto text parents from my school email account. I find that this method is very convenient for allparties and is the easiest way to connect to parents and other members of the community whohave multiple obligations. Not only have I led efforts to keep parents informed, but I have alsofacilitated district wide professional development in support of education. During thisprofessional learning session, I served as lead facilitator and provided fourth grade teachers withbest practices for implementing social studies in the Common Core classroom.This year, I have attended various in-services that allowed me to better meet theindividual needs of each student. Also, in an effort to share my strengths with others I havefacilitated curriculum mapping trainings, district social studies instructional learning sessions,and am serving as Atlanta Public Schools Demonstration Classroom Teacher. The

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative12Demonstration Classroom Project allows me to mentor teachers who may be having difficultiesor are simply looking for new strategies to incorporate in their classrooms. Because of theesteemed position, I have been invited to join numerous professional organizations andparticipate in national conferences. I am currently a member of the International ReadingAssociation (IRA) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Iwas recently invited to attend the GE Foundation’s Developing Futures 2014 Conference. Duringthis week long summit educators were empowered with materials and tools that could beimplemented in our classrooms, schools, and districts.Prior to conducting research in the Atlanta Public Schools system, proper authorizationand approval is required. A formal proposal and evidence of the approval of the research by thegraduate committee are needed before moving forward. In order to satisfy these criteria, I soughtto secure an approved IRB form KSU. With this permission, my school district was ready tomove forward with granting the final approval of the research. Before the actually action heart ofthe research began, I made certain that I informed parents about the details of the project, howstudent learning could possibly be impacted, and of course I asked for their permission bycreating a parent consent form. During the course of the action research, I continued to adhere toprofessional ethical standards while collecting and publishing data. I made sure that I abided bythe IRB guidelines to maintain student anonymity.ConclusionThe journey towards earning a Masters of Early Childhood Education has been a veryenlightening and enriching experience. With the knowledge gained in my master’s degreeprogram, I am certain that my passion for preparing students for our ever-changing society hasbeen reignited. In addition to focusing attention on ways in which I can contribute to

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative13improvements in student achievement, I am dedicated to building relationships that demonstratea commitment to continued 21st Century learning through on-going participation in professionaldevelopment and leadership opportunities. Ultimately, my central goal is to use what I learn inthe master’s program to serve as an instructional teacher leader for my school and district.

Masters of ECE Career E-Portfolio Narrative 2 Introduction As the Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education program draws to a close, I am reflective of how my instructional knowledge, practices, and expertise have matured. Before entering this program, it was my hope to enhance my knowledge, learn the latest trends in