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Deirdre Sanborn

Classroom Management
Portfolio B
Dear Parents/Guardians,
My name is Deirdre Sanborn and I am your childs 5th grade teacher for
the 2016-2017 school year. I am beyond excited to get to know you and your
students as the year progresses. In order to get to you know you all, I first
want to introduce myself. I am originally from Seattle, WA, however I
relocated to Pullman, WA to pursue my degree in Elementary Education at
Washington State University. In addition to receiving my K-8 teaching
certification, I also have an endorsement in English Language Learners. In
my spare time I enjoy time outdoors activities such as hiking, kayaking and
snowboarding. I have a huge passion for teaching and learning and cannot
wait to get this year started with your students!
In order for our classroom to be as successful as possible, I have
several expectations for your students. I expect them to stay on task, come
to class prepared, be supportive of peers, and follow all class procedures.
These simple tasks will be the backbone of our classroom environment. From
me, you and your students can have similar expectations. First, I am a big
advocate of respect. I will always show your students the upmost respect,
and in return, I expect them to do the same. You can expect that I will have
an open line of communication between you, your student and myself. I will
do my very best to keep you in the loop with everything going on in your
students academic life. You are your students first teacher, and I would love
any insight regarding how your student learns best. Please fill out the parent
questionnaire included in your first day of school packet so that I can learn
more about you and your family.
My plans for this school year include covering a wide variety of
material in ELA, Science, Math and Social Studies. I am a strong believer in
collaboration and project based learning. This year, your students will have
many opportunities to show their learning through creative assignments and
projects. I try my hardest to veer away from multiple choice tests, long
essays and redundant worksheets, as I feel there are many other ways for
your students to show me their understanding. Because of this, homework
will be limited in my class this school year. I will not assign daily homework,
but there will be times when your students are responsible for working on
projects outside of class. I will be sure to communicate when these projects
are due through our weekly newsletters. I will also send home optional
activities that provoke fun and thoughtful thinking, but I do not expect these
to return to me. Please let me know if you have any questions, thoughts or
concerns.
Best,
Ms. Sanborn
Part 2
Parent-teacher communication is essential for a successful classroom. I
will do my best to make my parent-teacher communication consistent and
two ways. In order to achieve the most efficient communication, I will have
parents fill out a questionnaire in the beginning of the year asking what their
preferred method of contact is. This way, I am accommodating to parents
needs and wishes. Parents may contact me via email, phone or notes. Each
week, I will send home a newsletter that informs parents about upcoming
events and reminders. The top portion will include updates and instructional
expectations for the week. The newsletter will also contain a scholar of the
week where each week, I choose one student to be the spotlight. I will share
a few fun facts about this student for their classmates and families to see. I
will also include each weeks spelling words in the newsletter. This way
parents can be aware of what the words are to encourage practice at home.
Finally, the bottom portion of my letter will be individual to each student. I
will write one accomplishment and one improvement for each student
depending on how well they meet objectives and behave. Often times, many
students will not have anything written in their improvement section which
is totally okay. The improvement portion is mostly to let parents know
when there is a consistent problem happening with their student. In the
bottom right of the newsletter I have a space for a parent signature and any
questions, comments or concerns they may have. I will be sure to respond to
the parents note immediately after it is returned to me using their preferred
communication line identified in the beginning of the year. My relationship
with students will also benefit from these newsletters. When students bring
them home each week, they will have a chance to view them over first.
When they see that I have handwritten a personal note to their parents, it
shows that I care about them and notice what they do in class. It also gives
them an opportunity to speak with me about negative behaviors before the
note goes home to a parent or guardian.
Part 3
The skill mentioned in Evertson & Emmer that I am most comfortable
with is listening and empathic responding. I would consider myself a very
empathetic person, so showing this to students come very naturally to me. I
also attribute my ability to show empathy to my 6 younger siblings. I am
very good at faking feeling sorry for paper cuts, scratched knees or
accidental falls. One of my strong suits explained in the text is showing
strong listening skills. The author encourages making eye contact, looking
interested and using verbal cues like um-hm and I see (E&E, 2017, pg.
209). I consider myself a great listener and can demonstrate that very well to
students. Often times, if you just listen to what a student has to say, they
solve their problems on their own without much guidance. An example of this
happened in my practicum class last week. One student came up to me
complaining that another student had tripped her in the hallway (even
though it was clearly an accident). I let her explain her entire side of the
story while listening closely. At the end I said well are you okay now? and
she replied yes. I said do you think it was an accident? and she reluctantly
agreed that it was. And off she went. By just listening her side of the story
this student realized mid-complaint that she was actually just fine.
The skill mentioned in Evertson & Emmer that I am least comfortable
with is constructive assertiveness. This communication skill seems to be the
most challenging for me, not because I dont know how to be assertive, but I
dont know the right times to address a situation. In teaching, often times
you have to pick your battles. You cannot possibly correct or address every
misbehavior that happens in the class or else you would get nothing done. I
have trouble deciding when a behavior needs to be addressed. Also, what do
you do when a student continually does not listen? There is a point when you
need to let it go and address it later because you are taking away from the
rest of the class by constantly asking one child to rejoin the group. I
experienced this issue with constructive assertiveness a lot when I taught
gymnastics classes to kids. I really like the example the text gives to identify
the behavior and then describe its effects so that the student understands
the reason why their behavior is not okay (E&E, 2017, pg. 206). I remember
myself saying Its time to sit down and listen or Its time to rejoin the
group a lot when teaching gymnastics. My instruction may have been more
effective if I said something like Its time to be quiet so that we can all hear
the instructions for our game. I will definitely be more conscious of what I
say to redirect students when working in the classroom.

Everston, C.M., Emmer, E.T. (2017). Classroom Management for Elementary


Teachers (10th edition). Boston, MA: Pearson.