Prepared by Laurie Goode

Elementary teachers are commonly referred to as a "Jack of all trades" or generalists of the curriculum. It is important for me to become an expert in each field to provide a better education for students. While I have strengths and passions for certain areas, I understand I must Even though this page demonstrates my content knowledge and preparation for the core subject areas separately, I am a strong component of finding links between the curriculum in order to help students better understand the connections of knowledge. This is where my background in Interdisciplinary Studies is useful. Below are a listing of classes and other background information that has contributed to my foundational understandings of each of the four content areas as well as health and art.

Language Arts

I have always enjoyed sitting down and getting lost within a good book. I give some of the credit for my love of books to my parents, who read me bedtime stories nightly. I hope to bring my love of literature into the classroom for students through read-alouds, book clubs, author studies, and other related activities that will help students make meaningful connections to books.

In elementary school, I was an avid participant in the Accelerated Reader program. I took four years of English in high school, and entered college with 6 credits in the English/Language Arts content area with completion of two Dual Enrollment classes. I added to my knowledge of Composition and British Literature during college with courses in Children's Literature and a Literary Study of Operas. I also completed a language arts methods course in graduate school where the content focused on best practices in teaching reading and writing through the workshop model.


In the fall, I tutored a student in reading over eight one-on-one sessions. I gave the Reading Inventory at the first session to determine the focus of the lessons based on the student's needs. After analyzing the assessment, I realized the student could read aloud at a much higher level than what she comprehended, so I focused the lessons on improving reading comprehension. We discussed and practiced using different strategies such as character charts, quick paragraph/page summaries, and using context clues and pictures to help us remember what we read. After eight sessions, the student's silent reading comprehension had improved by one level, as found by the readministering the Reading Inventory.

Mathematics
Math has always been my favorite subject, which is what led me to minor in PreK-6 mathematics. Math courses that have contributed to my background knowledge in this area began in high school when I completed Dual Enrollment Calculus and Vector Geometry. In addition to statistics classes and Elementary Linear Algebra that I took as an undergraduate, I have taken three methods classes that directly related to teaching mathematics: Geometry and Computation for Teachers, Numbers and Computation for Teachers, and Elementary Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to coursework, I was fortunate to attend the 12th Annual Math Day Conference held at The College of William and Mary to further extend my foundational understanding of mathematics through workshops with local math teachers.

Today, I continue to be drawn to this subject as a teacher. I have experienced math in both elementary school and in middle school during my student teaching experiences. I enjoy learning new ways to see and understand math along with students. Because of my passion for this subject, I have added an endorsement in Middle Grades (6-8) Mathematics with a passing score on the Praxis II test.


Science

I have been interested in my natural surroundings since an early age: always fascinated by the night sky, wondering why the leaves changed colors in the fall, and how the sun was able to "rise and fall" each day. This early sense of curiosity about what was going on around me led to an interest in science class. I completed Earth science, biology, chemistry and earned three college credits with completion of the Dual Enrollment physics class in high school. In my undergraduate education, I completed nine more credit hours of science courses in the areas of geology, chemistry, biology (physics credit was transferred from the Dual Enrollment course). I also completed a science methods course, where I learned to use the 5-E lesson plan to engage and use an inquiry-approach to discovering science: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Extension, and Evaluation.

In my practica and student teaching experiences, I have had the opportunity to develop a unit on soil, collaboratively teach a complete learning cycle lesson on food chains and lead a discovery circus on magnets, and demonstrate a science activity to show the concept of night and day in relation to the Earth, sun, and moon.

Social Studies
I have a PK-6 social studies minor. In fulfillment of this minor, I completed many United States and European history courses. I took a history class specific to Virginian history and a class focused on the modern world. I also took Dual Enrollment Government as a senior in high school.

Social studies is an important part of the elementary curriculum because it helps students understand the world in which they live. Students learn the value of patriotism as well as their civic responsibilities to their community, state, and nation. In methods, I analyzed the Standards of Learning in terms of the amount of focus on different groups (ethnicities, gender, etc.) throughout K-6 grades and realized that there is history in all cultures that must be shared rather than a sole dominant viewpoint. I also learned creative ways to teach social studies through inquiry learning. Through inquiry learning or guided-inquiry learning, students find, interpret, and evaluate information to draw conclusions about events in history.

My experiences teaching social studies came during the practica. I observed at least an hour of social studies instruction in each elementary grade level (K-6), and I developed and taught an election lesson plan for third grade to correlate with the 2008 Presidential Election. The students were aware of the politics around them and the lesson helped bring the "news" they were hearing on the television, radio, and from adults to their level. We discussed what it means to vote and how it is a citizen's right to vote, what a candidate and representative are, and we led a mock election between "Sticky Steve" and "Pencil Penny," who were the candidates who represented having stickers or pencils at the Fall Party.

Health
It is extremely important in today's society to be health conscious, especially with the increase in childhood obesity. I will pay attention to students' nutrition in the classroom and try to help students stay active in school. In the science methods course, a guest speaker presented many ideas and tips on how to keep students moving in the classroom. It is important for students to be active to keep the blood flowing to the brain and keep concentration levels high. She also shared with us the importance of staying hydrated during class as well.

I graduated from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and took health class in grade school. I periodically attended health classes in college with my roommate who was a Human Nutrition and Exercise major. I stayed active in after school activities such as basketball, softball, cheerleading, and dance. Today, I still believe it is important to lead an active lifestyle, and I will implement movement into the classroom to help keep students active too.

Arts
While I have never considered myself an artist, I appreciate different works of art. I took art and music classes throughout my education, from elementary school to college. As an elementary student, I took piano lessons and attended dance classes in jazz, ballet, and tap genres. Throughout my high school career, I was a member in the church choir and handbells group. In college, I studied Opera and Literary Sources in an honors course. Through these experiences, my appreciation for art has been strengthened and I learned that art is about interpretation.

I have used and will continue to use art in the classroom as a resource to meet all learning styles and help visual students make connections with the material. For example, when third grade was learning about fractions as sets, they created pictures using construction paper, glue, and foam shapes. Then they had to write one or two sentences describing a part of the picture in fraction terms.

A quote that has stuck with me about art is from one of my elementary art teachers; she would always say, "There are no mistakes in art, just a stroke that you had not planned on." This quote can be changed to fit life: "There are no mistakes in life, just experiences that you had not planned on." This is an important lesson for all to learn, and art can help us appreciate this!




Relevant Test Scores for Teaching LicensurePraxis I

  • Exempted from SAT scores

Praxis II Scores

  • Elemenetary Education Content Knowledge: 187, Passed
  • Middle School English Language Arts: 177, Passed
  • Middle School Mathematics: 180, Passed

Virginia Reading Assessment for Elementary and Special Education Teachers

  • 273, Passed

Virginia Communication Literacy Assessment
  • Reading: 291
  • Writing: 290
  • Total: 581, Passed