First, a big thank you to everyone who weighed in on my post last week about National Board. This has truly been something I have always known I would do eventually. It just feels important and worthy to me.
After careful consideration, I decided to focus on the Early/Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading-Language Arts. My undergrad is in Language Arts and it is my passion. I LOVE teaching reading. It doesn't mean I am good at it though! This is an area I want to improve in so that's where my focus will be. As I was deciding what to focus on, I downloaded and looked through the Assessment at a Glance for each area. They are short but quite detailed. That was actually what helped me to decide what my focus would be.
This weekend I succeeded in convincing The Husband that yes, this WAS a good idea and IS worth the assessment fee. I had sent a message to the gal in my district who is in charge of the reimbursements and such for this and she told me to just send her a letter declaring my intent and we'll be good to go on that end. I thought about doing Take One but decided that I want to go for the full certificate. In looking through the center exercises and the portfolios, seriously this is not going to be any worse for me than my Master's was (and THAT was a pill because of all of the extra crap I was doing at the time).
Altogether you do 10 exercises -- 4 portfolios and 10 computer exercises. I know that this will be challenging and push me to the max...but I have to admit I am very excited about the prospect.
Entry 1 - Promoting Literacy Development through Writing: In this entry I will select one of my 2nd grade students to feature and will use two work samples plus instructional materials to help show how I am facilitating his/her writing development. I really like how broad yet specific this entry is. It gives you some flexibility and wiggle room but also is very clear on what they want.
Entry 2 - Constructing Meaning through Reading: This is a video based entry. I will videotape myself and my students during a reading lesson (and I'm thinking the small group Reading Street stuff would probably fit this perfectly) and then analyze and reflect on it. Again, I really like the flexibility here.
Entry 3 - Integration of Speaking, Listening and Viewing: This is also a video based entry. In this video, I have to show how I integrate the language arts skills of speaking, listening and viewing in an interdisciplinary lesson. This really appeals to me because I am always trying to make connections for the students that we don't only use reading strategies during reading.
Entry 4 - Documented Accomplishments: This is the only portfolio that is the same for every candidate, regardless of the certificate they pursue. Two-way communication is essential and I love that because it will force me to be creative in making sure I make myself more available to my Spanish-speaking families. All of that stuff has to be documented from the current school year. Then there are two other areas which you can draw from over the last 5 years. So I can use all of my work as a demonstration teacher and presenter for Former School as one of my accomplishments, which is really cool. It'll make all that pain and suffering worth it!
Assessment Center Exercises
Exercise 1: Reading Comprehension - Clearly you analyze a student's comprehension of a reading passage and then suggest a strategy.
Exercise 2: Oral Language Acquisition for ESL Students - Identify one strength and two weaknesses in oral language development for an ELL student. Two developmental teaching strategies have to be identified to address the weaknesses (can't be teacher correction).
Exercise 3: Emergent Literacy - Analysis of a student writing sample, describing developmental characteristics and propose two developmentally appropriate teaching strategies. [I like this one because since I am teaching 2nd grade this year, I will reacquaint myself with our developmental writing rubric my district uses.]
Exercise 4: Analyzing Student Reading - Analysis of a transcript of student's oral reading, identify two significant patterns of error and then discuss an appropriate strategy to address one.
Exercise 5: Interpreting Visual Text - Interpreting a piece of visual text by identifying the message, the target audience and how the text targets that audience.
Exercise 6: Writing Development - Identify one strength and one weakness from a writing sample and identify a strategy to address each.
Do I labor under the delusion that this will be easy? No. But I really think I would be disappointed in myself if I didn't go for the whole certification at once. I am a HUGE advocate of "clear expectations" and these expectations are about as clear as you can get. They tell you, before you ever even apply, exactly what is expected of you. So I can't turn around and bitch later that I didn't know or wasn't sure or whatever.
And being the weirdo that I am, I actually already printed myself a calendar and started to plug in deadlines and dates for myself. Again, the application is down until July 20 or 21st but I am definitely going to do this. There is no time like the present. And since the certification covers age 3-12, I feel like the time to do this will be while teaching 2nd. I feel VERY secure in my ability to teach reading at the upper grades. The best time to push myself and show growth for my own professional benefit will be when I am teaching a grade level that I don't have 100% confidence in myself in.
Oh...and I checked the NBPTS database...there is not a single teacher in my entire district who currently has National Board. Not one. So this would be a very, very good thing for me both personally and professionally.
Part of me can't believe I am really going to do this...and the other part of me can't help but think that it's about time I do this.