Second Grade Teacher-Lemont

I taught in a second grade classroom with 30 students at Oakwood School in Lemont, Illinois.  My students had various learning abilities and styles, and I also had a reading cluster in my classroom.  In addition to teaching all content areas, I was responsible to teach art, music, and a bullying prevention curriculum.  In reading, I focused on a different comprehension strategy each month and used the Daily 5 format during guided reading.  I also included both fiction and nonfiction texts to expose students to both as the curriculum shifts to the Common Core State Standards.  I received training on the 6 Traits writing program, and I incorporated these ideas into my writing instruction.  During math, I showed the students multiple ways to problem solve, often used manipulatives, and had students explain their thinking.

Additionally, I developed a classroom community and continually adapted classroom management techniques based on my students’ needs.  I got to know each of my students, including their interests, learning styles, and strengths.  I often met with the second grade team as we worked together to share ideas and resources as we incorporated the Common Core State Standards into our curriculum.  I regularly communicated with members of the support staff, including reading specialists, Title 1 Math, the special education teacher, psychologist, and social worker, to discuss student progress and best help my students learn and succeed.  Throughout the school year, all my students demonstrated growth, and they were excited to be part of my class.  Below is a summary of my accomplishments and responsibilities.

Curriculum

  • Used the Harcourt Reading series for reading, spelling, and grammar instruction
  • Used the Daily 5 format during guided reading; I focused on comprehension strategies with small groups while other students read silently,completed reading comprehension questions, wrote in journals or responded to prompts, or practiced grammar or word work skills 
  • Used the Harcourt Math series to guide math instruction while incorporating manipulatives and online tools such as Xtra Math and Moby Math to differentiate instruction
  • Gave weekly timed tests to increase math fluency
  • Taught writing units focusing on the 6 Traits of Writing
  • Used Harcourt Social Studies and FOSS science kits to teach and guide instruction
  • Differentiated curriculum as needed: I modified math tests, read tests aloud, gave 3 spelling and dictation tests, helped students brainstorm while writing

Other Responsibilities

  • Regularly communicated with parents via a website, weekly newsletter, emails, and phone calls
  • Attended all new teacher and staff professional development meetings
  • Regularly met with second grade team to discuss our curriculum and share ideas
  • Utilized Student Support Staff to discuss students’ behavior and progress in my classroom and learn new strategies
  • Completed yearly benchmark testing: RIGBY, Dibels, and MAP
  • Completed trimester progress reports and held Parent-Teacher Conferences

Classroom Highlights

  • Adapted my management systems including: Clip Chart and Tickets for positive behavior with a weekly lottery for individuals, students earning money to “cash in” for intangible reward, class-wide incentive to earn a class reward, music and instruments used during transitions, used Word of the Day to help with transitions, gave students movement breaks between activities
  • When reflecting with my students on their favorite activities throughout the year, majority said music transitions, the clip chart, and earning money
  • Set up a visit from the mayor for all 2nd graders after my students wrote letters to him; helped relate learning to their lives
  • Introduced and modeled descriptive writing before students brainstormed with partners and described a banana split using the 5 senses; students were engaged and motivated to write during this activity
  • Students used base-ten blocks and white boards to show the process when adding 3 digit numbers together; they also were able to explain their thinking and steps to solve the problems through writing
  • Created a classroom community: held morning meetings, students helped create classroom rules and expectations, used different grouping strategies (purposeful grouping or random with popsicle sticks or sticker cards) so everyone could work together, read from a compliment bowl each week
  • Utilized parent volunteers to assist during activities; also had a weekly mystery reader
  • Created and introduced new activities and games during literacy and math centers throughout the school year
  • Changed my room decorations throughout the school year to showcase student work and seasonal assignments
  • Created and added to classroom library based on student levels and interests; also introduced students to new reading series and some of my favorite books
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