: What's the most creative or innovative lesson you have taught?
A: During the fifth week of student teaching, I contacted a family friend at Prospect Hill Cemetery. He provided my fifth-grade class with a tour of the cemetery. When we got back to the classroom, we divided the class into several teams. One team worked on a PowerPoint presentation, another created a timeline of important events in the life of the cemetery from the Revolutionary War to the present, a third looked into burial customs from around the world, a fourth developed an annotated bibliography of books about death and dying, and the final team gathered oral histories from some of the docents and volunteers at the cemetery. What was originally conceived as a three-week project eventually turned into a two-month multi- disciplinary project that combined social studies, art, music, language arts, and reading into a most exciting thematic unit.
This is a grand opportunity to provide a specific and concrete example of how you went "above and beyond" the usual lesson planning for student teaching. Be sure to provide specific details and any reactions you obtained from supervisors or administrators. Show, as much as possible, how you are willing to pursue projects that are somewhat out of the ordinary, projects that engage students in creative or innovative ways.
: Describe a teaching strategy you use to maximize the learning potential of all students.
A: I particularly enjoy using K-W-L, the three-step framework that helps students access appropriate information in expository writing. It takes advantage of students' background knowledge and helps demonstrate relationships between that knowledge and the information in a text. When I use K-W-L with students, I want to involve them in three major cognitive steps: accessing their background knowledge about a topic (K), determining what students would like to learn about that subject (W), and evaluating what was learned about the topic (L).
Demonstrate your knowledge of common and familiar teaching strategies by describing a specific technique and its overall value for students.
The following statements are always appropriate:
"I'm sorry. I'm not sure I understood the question. Would you please ask it again?"
"I'm sorry. I thought of a better answer to that question. I'd rather answer it this way...."
: What is RTI, and what are its advantages?
A: Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered service-delivery model designed to bring together educational specialists to provide high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student needs. RTI monitors progress frequently to determine effectiveness of research-based interventions and uses this data to guide instructional decisions. There are several advantages to RTI, including 1) It identifies the teacher as the first line of early intervention, 2) It uses data to inform and guide instruction, 3) It divides interventions into tiers of instruction, 4) It monitors a student's progress over time, 5) It increases the likelihood of student success, and 6) It provides behavioral interventions as well as academic ones.
RTI is one of the current "hot topics" of public education. Your knowledge of this topic should be thorough, complete, and comprehensible. You won't be able to make up an answer to this question; you need to know your facts. Do the necessary homework.
: What can you tell me about differentiated instruction?
A: Differentiated instruction is a concept that makes it possible to maximize learning for all students. It is a collection of instructionally intelligent strategies based on student-centered best practices that make it possible for teachers to create different pathways that respond to the needs of diverse learners. The basic premise of differentiated instruction is that students are different. Indeed, students differ in 1) how they learn best; 2) what interests them; and 3) readiness for the content. Teachers of effective heterogeneous classrooms recognize the similarities and differences in students and proactively plan for these differences.
Another "hot topic"? You bet! Do your homework.. .please!
FROM THE PRINCIPAL'S DESK:
"One of the best candidates I ever interviewed was able to give excellent examples of how she would differentiate for specific needs at the T-1 and T-2 levels."