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RMIBMS 6th Graders and Inquiry Unit Project


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Introduction

From 2006 to 2009, I attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) where I was enrolled in an undergraduate secondary education and teacher licensure program. My pre-service teaching experiences comprised two practicums, each lasting approximately four to five months. It culminated with a five-month student teaching period. UNLV partners with the Clark County School District (CCSD), which is currently the fifth largest school district in the United States. My undergraduate program has provided me with wonderful opportunities to observe and learn from many students and professional educators in diverse settings.

First Practicum
For my first practicum, I was deployed to **Foothill High School**. It was a suburban high school where I studied under a 9th grade biology teacher. I visited her classroom two days a week and observed four periods in the morning for a total of 3-4 hours a day. One of my greatest lessons during first practicum was how to create a professional teacher presence in the classroom. Learning how to transition from student to teacher was a difficult process. My petite stature and eagerness to be liked by the students initially interfered with my classroom management. With the help of my supervisor and cooperative teacher, I was able to develop my classroom management systems, and learned how to cultivate connections with students.

Second Practicum

I spent m
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Using manipulatives for Organ Systems
y second practicum at **Roy W. Martin Middle School**. It was an urban international baccalaureate middle school, where I was placed with a 6th grade science teacher. I visited her classroom for two days a week. It was here that I learned how to differentiate science unit and lesson plans based on student needs and also practiced transforming theory into application. One of my greatest lessons during my second practicum was learning how to balance teacher creativity with national standards and state benchmarks. I developed my skills in inquiry instruction and experiential methods in order to create engaging curricula that helped promote science literacy in a hands-on/minds-on way.

My favorite lesson plan during this time was about the digestive system, in which the whole class role-played the digestive process. Different groups performed as different organs and organ systems to "eat and break down" a Ziploc bag of crackers. I liked it because it involved multiple learner modalities. This particular lesson plan, however, received a low mark from my cooperating teacher because it was "messy and disorganized". I later realized that it was because I tried to control the entire situation. From this lesson plan, I learned not to attempt to involve the whole class at one time, but instead hold the class accountable by dividing them into smaller collaborative groups with assigned roles and responsibilities. By doing it this way, each student would be more engaged and take more responsibility for their learning.

Photo SlideShow of Sample Classroom Activities



This Animoto photo slideshow features some of the learning activities I helped oversee in the classroom. They range from labs to student performance assessments. Many of the activities target multiple learner styles, which help engage and keep the middle school students' attention. The slideshow also shows projects and the bulletin board designs I was asked to create by my cooperative teacher.

Sample Lesson Plan and Reflection