Professional Teaching Portfolio

Sarah Morris

Education

Tertiary:

Bachelor of Education (with distinction)

RMIT University

2002-2006

Secondary:

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

Warrandyte High School

1995-2000

Career Summary

2013 - Current

Generalist Classroom Teacher - Westgarth Primary School

Major Responsibilities

  • Classroom teaching responsibilities (Year 3/4)
  • Member of the Literacy Team
  • Member of Staff Welfare Association
  • Member of the Harmony Week Committee
  • Member of the Book Week Committee
  • Member of the JS Sustainability Art Project Team
  • Member of the Art Exhibition Team
  • Pre-service Teacher Mentor

Key Achievements

  • Researched and sourced educational apps for use throughout the school.
  • Trained colleagues is blog design and use, iPad use, educational apps, QR code technology and Augmented Reality application in the classroom.
  • Developed a curriculum which authentically integrated technology.
  • Sourced and organised excursions and incursions.
  • Collaborated with colleagues to produce the Westgarth Primary School Art Show.
  • Successfully supported the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program

2011-2012

Visual Arts Teacher - Acacia College

Reason For Leaving: School Closed

Major Responsibilities

  • Visual Arts Teaching Responsibilities (Prep-Year 7)
  • Middle School Homegroup Teacher (welfare position)
  • Member of Staff Welfare Association
  • Member of the Arts Team
  • Member of the Prep Transition Teaching Team
  • Art Club co-ordinator (extra-curricular)
  • Acting House Performing Arts Co-ordinator (Term Three, 2012)
  • Pre-service Teacher Mentor

Key Achievements

  • Independently developed a new Visual Arts Curriculum.
  • Developed and implemented the Acacia College Art Club (extra-curricular).
  • Developed and implemented the Buddying Artists program (prep/year 6 welfare program).
  • Collaborated with a colleague to develop the Art Studio Program (cross age art tutoring).
  • Collaborated with colleagues to develop and introduce the inaugural Art Exhibition.
  • Successfully supported the individual iPad program.
  • Having students work exhibited in the Zart Art Student Gallery and in the Zart Art Catalogue.
  • Developed a curriculum which authentically integrated technology that was relevant to the trends and practices that the students were encountering in their day to day lives (eg: Pinterest, Twitter, IWBs, Apps).

2007-2010

Classroom Teacher - Old Orchard Primary School

Reason for leaving: Seeking a position in The Arts

Major Responsibilities

  • Classroom Teacher Responsibilities (Prep/1/2)
  • Level One Co-ordinator
  • Better Buddy Program Co-ordinator
  • Future Friends Program Co-ordinator
  • Member of the Student Wellbeing and Engagement Team
  • Member of the Literacy Team
  • Pre-service Teacher Mentor

Key Achievements

  • Established connections with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation and corporate partners at NAB in order to introduce a successful Better Buddies Program.
  • Worked as part of a team to reinvigorate the school assembly program to assist in enhancing the collective esteem of the students and staff.
  • Worked as part of a team to develop and implement an effective Prep Transition Program.
  • Collaborated with a colleague to introduce Team Teaching into the school context. This program was observed by two regional principals who were interested in following our lead to implement a similar program into their own school environments.

Teaching Profile

  • 2007 Year 1/2 Classroom Teacher
  • 2008 Year 1/2 Classroom Teacher
  • 2009 Prep Classroom Teacher
  • 2010 Prep Classroom Teacher
  • 2011 Prep-Year 7 Visual Arts Teacher (with homegroup teaching responsibilities)
  • 2012 Prep-Year 6 Visual Arts Teacher (with homegroup teaching responsibilities)
  • 2013 Year 3/4 Teacher

I am an enthusiastic and committed educator with an innate ability to understand and motivate children. I am dedicated, resourceful and possess a solid commitment to the social and academic growth and development of every child. I am committed to creating a learning environment that is stimulating, dynamic and encouraging so that children are able to grow and develop in their own individual way. I create learning environments that feel safe so that students feel confident enough to take important risks in their learning and social interactions. I have an aptitude for remaining flexible and can adapt lessons and daily structures to suit the ever changing needs of the students and the whole school environment. I am committed to staying up-to-date on best teaching practises and ensure that I authentically integrate current trends in technology into my classroom.

Teaching Philosophy

"Promise me you will always remember,

You are braver than you believe,

You are stronger than you seem,

And you are smarter than you think" - A.A. Milne

I believe that every child has the capacity to learn and be successful. It is our job as educators to help them develop and refine their individual strengths and discover untapped potential. I believe that best learning occurs when students are active, engaged and empowered. Our students should be encouraged to ask questions, explore answers, test theories, discuss ideas and proudly make mistakes.

A Look Inside The Classroom

ART ROOM IMAGES: In this space, a selection of student work adorned the walls so students across the school could explore what their peers have been working on. Selected works are connected with Augmented Technology (AT) overlays so students could look at the artworks while an audiovisual of the student artist provided information about the artistic process.

CLASSROOM IMAGES: In this space, wall displays were used to celebrate and acknowledge student work as well as act as teaching tools. Classroom displays included word walls, thinking boards, KWL charts and wondering walls.

Technology in the Classroom

I was privileged to work alongside some leaders in educational technology at Acacia College in 2011 and 2012. From this experience I have been able to glean a wealth of information from their knowledge and experience. During my time at Acacia College there was a one-to-one iPad program for all students in Years 5-9 which provided me with the opportunity to gain extensive experience in using the technology in an authentic way within the classroom.

  • I am confident in using iPads and a wide range of apps.
  • I am confident in using IWBs to support lesson delivery.
  • I am confident in using QR code technology to enhance student learning
  • I am confident in using Augmented Reality technology in the classroom.
  • I am confident in using a range of educational webpages including Edmodo, Twitter and Pinterest.

QR CODE & AR Technology: The first image (above) is an example of how I have used QR code technology in my classroom. During the Art Exhibition, these codes were tagged to some of the students art works. When parents arrived, they could sign out an ipad and use the QR reader to scan and connect with a web page (www.tackk.com) that provided more information about the story behind the artwork they were viewing.

The second image is a still shot of Augmented Reality overlays in operation. I have worked with the students in Years 3 6 to create Augmented Reality overlays connected to their artworks so that they are able to provide additional information about their work without having to use the traditional essay format.

Assessment

Assessment is integrated into my program as an ongoing feature. I make it a priority to work with students to reflect on learning, analyse outcomes and formulate SMART goals - strategic and achievable steps to improve student learning. In turn I am able to tailor learning experiences to target students at their individual point of need

While planning for assessment is an integral part of the cyclic teaching and learning process, I believe it is important that creativity, initiative and risk taking are not curtailed by assessment driven activities. Instead, just as students learn in different ways, I believe they should also have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understandings via a range of different assessment tasks. I regularly use graphic organisers, review and reflection journals, assessment rubrics, peer assessment, self assessment, skill observation (audio/visual recordings) and formalised testing to make assessments OF learning, AS learning and FOR learning.

Student Welfare

Students must feel safe in order to learn. In the school context, student welfare is perhaps the most important role that we as teachers play in the day to day lives of the children in our care. I have a passion for developing school environments in which children feel safe and secure. I truely believe that when children feel safe they are more likely to take important risks in their learning and social interactions.

Throughout my career I have established and developed a number of programs and initiatives that have addressed welfare matters within the school environment. One of these programs was the BETTER BUDDIES program - A student welfare program designed to address bullying and develop positive cross age friendships. This program was highly successful. It brought about a positive shift in the way students interacted with each other in the play-ground and armed students with the skills they needed to resolve conflicts and interact positively with others.

From the success of this program I went on to work with a colleague to develop the Future Friends Program. This program was designed to create cross-age friendships through learning experiences which saw children of a range of ages working collaboratively on a task or project. The motivation behind this program was to provide students with friends in other year levels so that transition into multi-age classes would be less stressful for the students. This program worked incredibly well to ease student tension during transitional periods in the school.

BETTER BUDDIES ADVERTISEMENT: The advertisement shown above was created in 2010. As the co-ordinator of the Better Buddies program I was approached by the Alannah and Madaline Foundation to use our school's success and involvement in the program to support the nation wide television campaign.

Behaviour Management

In my classroom I operate under the notion that "Behaviour is the expectation and engagement is the tool." I believe that there are 3 key factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction amongst our students: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Therefore, rather than embedding behavioural rewards into my classroom, I instead empower students to take control of their learning and in turn responsibility for their own behaviours. I have found that across all year levels this has been my most successful tool in managing behaviours.

I manage all types of behavioural challenges almost "invisibly" through the way:

  • I develop interested and positive relationships with my students.
  • I trust students with genuine levels of responsibility.
  • I allow students' interests to help develop the curriculum.
  • I design and deliver engaging lessons.
  • I work WITH students to develop mutually agreed upon classroom expectations.
  • I work WITH students to develop relevant consequences for off-task or poor behaviour.
  • I give students that I know will be distracted added responsibility.
  • I work with parents and colleagues to provide consistency of expectations.

Student Artwork

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