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SPECIAL EDUCATION INTERN MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

FINAL ASSESSMENT DEPARTMENT OF SPECIAL EDUCATION


REPORT

Intern Name: Danielle Smith


Mentor Teacher: Jenny Wejman
Grade and School: 4th grade Ray Elementary
District: Chicago Public School, Chicago, IL
Major: Special Education
Date: December 13, 2016

THE INTERNSHIP SETTING


Danielle Smiths internship during the fall semester was in a fourth grade classroom. As an active
member of the fourth grade team, she taught writing to all three of the fourth grade classes. Each fourth
grade class had 24 students. Additionally, she taught her homeroom reading and writing.
Ray School is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural elementary school serving approximately 730 students from
pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. The school is located in the heart of the Hyde Park community just
two blocks from the University of Chicago campus.

KNOWING SUBJECT MATTERS AND HOW TO TEACH THEM


Danielle Smith came to Ray Elementary from Michigan State extremely well prepared to teach the wide
range of subject matter presented in an elementary school. She was knowledgeable, aware, and
cognizant of what was appropriate learning material for the fourth grader. In an addition to her prior
knowledge, she was very good at researching to create engaging lessons. She never hesitated to ask a
question using her creative ideas combined with advice to enhance her planned lessons.

Right from the start, she knew the value of reading aloud to her students. Because of this important part
of the literacy block, she incorporated the read aloud to introduce the reading strategy. In writing, Miss
Smith created the opinion writing unit. Using the Common Core Standards, she taught planned lessons
that resulted in the students creating the opinion writing piece of their choice. To add technology to her
instruction, Miss Smith used Storybird for publishing. This writing tool allows students to type their stories
online and have other readers comment on their writing. The fourth graders were greatly motivated with
this technology interaction. Miss Smith was extremely thorough in her math planning. She always used
manipulatives and taught math in a variety of ways. In her math instruction, she became fluid in using the
nine mathematical practices to best teach math.
WORKING WITH STUDENTS
Because Danielle put a great amount of effort in creating her lessons, she did an excellent job of helping
all of her students learn in every subject that she taught. The fourth grade math block, was composed of
direct instruction, heterogenous math groups, homogenous math groups, and an assessment. Danielle
introduced the lesson in variety of ways using concrete examples, math manipulatives, and excellent
math talks. In heterogeneous groups, she walked around the room monitoring student performance.
Using beginning of the year data, she worked with the students in the low-low average range in a
homogeneous group. She re-taught the math skill of the day giving them feedback and helping them to
master the skill. During the assessment, she walked around the room to grade the work and make
corrections.

After teaching the reading strategy of the day through the read aloud, she worked with a guided reading
group. In this group, she explicitly taught lessons having students use context clues to define words,
identifying main idea, making inferences, and using cause and effect to aid in comprehension. To monitor
the progress of this particular group, she used MobyMax. Through this data, she was able to best help
her students.

While teaching writing, she effectively modeled strong writing through a brief mini-lesson. During the
student independent writing time, she gave excellent feedback to her students as they were writing. At
the conclusion of each lesson, she encouraged the students to share their writing and give compliments
to each other. This helped to foster so much positivity in the class. Danielles excellent implementation of
her lessons highlight her as such an outstanding teacher!

CREATING AND MANAGING A CLASSROOM


It is obvious of how much Danielle loves the students that she teaches. She fostered positive
relationships with all of her students creating an outstanding learning community. In every interaction,
she showed genuine care in the lives of the students. Throughout the semester, Miss Smith was
consistent in implementing the routines established in the beginning of the school year. Her caring, calm,
and compassionate demeanor resulted in the students showing a strong work ethic. Through all models
of student learning, she was specific with her praise and reinforcement.

WORKING AND LEARNING IN A SCHOOL


From the very beginning of the school year, Danielle showed great professionalism at Ray Elementary. It
was obvious that she wanted to learn more from all of the staff members. She always asked questions
and asked to observe different classrooms to best help her teaching and learning. With every interaction,
she showed a great amount of respect to every staff member. Danielle was an active member of the
Fourth Grade teaching team participating in all grade level meetings. Additionally, she was part of the
Instructional Leadership Team focusing on how to best implement the CIWP (Continuous Improvement
Work Plan). She contributed her ideas during meetings and took notes in a small group. Because of
Miss Smiths hard work, dedication, to helping children, and excellent professionalism, she is a teacher
that I would be happy to work with on a team. Danielle Smith is a highly qualified teacher and has my
strongest recommendation.