Image Attributions

Showcase of Work

Here you can find a collection of the work I have completed during my Master of Arts in Education (MAED) program through Michigan State University. For more information on the specific courses these works were completed in, please visit my annotated transcript.

My work is organized into three categories that summarize the three most important components of my teaching philosophy and practice:

  • Purposeful Instruction-- It can be easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of "things" educators need to do on a daily basis, from curriculum development to classroom management to lesson planning. Because there is always so much to do, it is important to me that all of this behind-the-scenes work is done with purpose and supported by research. My work in MAED program helped me to become more adept at this practice, and these artifacts provide a first-hand look.

  • Critical Reading-- Although I have a love for all aspects of language arts, the ways that I have seen reading transform lives remain at the core of my passion for teaching English. I provide students with as much choice as possible in their free reading books and challenge students with our whole-class novels that push them outside their comfort zone. Exposing children to books is not enough, however. We must also teach them to read these works thoughtfully, and the artifacts in this section demonstrate how I do this in my own reading life and how I encourage my students to do the same. The artifacts in this section show my own critical reading skills and how I hope to develop these skills in my students.

  • Creative Learning-- Finding opportunities to cultivate my students' creativity and draw on their diverse interests is another thing high on my priorities list. Allowing students to exercise choice in topics, assignments, or assessment methods helps increase their engagement and strengthen the relevance of the material for them. Through the MAED program, I was able to draw upon my own creativity and think of new ways to incorporate creativity into my classroom, as you will see through these pieces.

Please click on the title of each piece to view the full PDF or YouTube version.

Purposeful Instruction

To develop this academic and behavior plan, I conducted a case study of one of my students who struggled in the classroom. After applying what I learned through a variety of academic readings and discussions, I created a plan to increase the student's motivation in school and decrease his behaviors of learned helplessness. This piece demonstrates my knowledge of research-based methods to improve student motivation and highlights my commitment to reach even the most challenging of students.

Here, I created a rubric with ten researched-based criteria upon which to evaluate an assessment for its effectiveness. This rubric gives me the ability to think critically about each assessment I administer to my students so that I am certain that I am assessing the skills I intend to and doing so in a way that is in the best interests of my students. I seek to be an intentional teacher always seeking to improve my practice, and that commitment to my planning and instruction is revealed in this document.

This is a critical analysis of the literary analysis essay, a common genre for assessment in secondary English classrooms. By applying a rough draft of my own rubric for effective assessments and by considering academic articles regarding best practices for assessment, I made recommendations to the professional community when assigning a literary analysis essay. This essay showcases my ability to be reflective within my own practice as I work toward ensuring that I am truly meeting the needs of my students.

After comparing several content management systems (CMS), I chose to use Schoology to design a formative assessment. This assessment was created with my English II students in mind as they prepared to begin a unit reading Arthur Miller's drama The Crucible. This screencast highlights my deliberateness when developing instruction and the role that assessment plays within that instruction. I also believe in an intentional, technology-rich classroom, and that belief also influenced this creation.

Critical Reading

I created this lesson for online students to supplement a reading of Sherman Alexie's young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Here, you can see how I integrated technology and a variety of media and text resources to help the audience think more critically about the novel and how it might improve their practice. Just as I do in my lessons for my high school students, I began with clear goals to keep the learning focused on our desired outcomes.

This essay applies an intertextual lens to the graphic novel Persepolis. Reading this novel brought to mind some texts we were studying in my English IV class, so I chose to write my reflection emphasizing these connections. I am always searching for new resources to integrate into my classroom because I believe this deepens my students' understanding. My lessons change each year because of these discoveries I make, and you can see evidence of this in this reflection.

I wrote this critique of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory focusing specifically on its stereotypical portrayal of non-Western cultures and how this might be problematic for young readers who are still working to build their critical reading skills. I firmly believe in exposing children to a wide range of literature, but my study of this novel reminded me of the importance of teachers and other adults in helping students think more carefully about the messages being portrayed by the texts they read. 

Creative Learning

When presented with the challenge to craft an original piece of writing in an unfamiliar genre, I at first felt over my head. This is what many of my students must feel like, I realized. At the time, I was expecting my first child, so I decided to write a children's story with my daughter and our dog as the starring characters. In this draft, you can see my willingness to push myself to try new things, and this is a mentality I try to encourage in my students as well.

In this screencast, I used the popular game Minecraft to develop an assessment giving my students the opportunity to build a scene from the novel Lord of the Flies. One of the most powerful takeaways occurred when some of my more disengaged students noticed me working on this project. The excitement they showed, especially when I let them teach me how to use Minecraft, reminded me of the importance of giving all of my students the opportunity to feel like experts and finding ways to draw upon my students' interests.