Dr. Baros is a dedicated researcher, educator, and LGBTQ advocate. Her areas of expertise are proficiency-based language teaching and creating inclusive environments for LGBTQ students and people.
Are you ready or your first "Deep Dive"? Keep in mind that these dives are NOT intended to help you understand the entire component at once - you will come back multiple times to read and re-read. However, this activity will help you start to organize what specifically is expected of you so you can begin to develop your C2, C3, and C4 portfolio pieces. I also recommend that you do this activity with ONE component at a time and take time to really sit with what you learn and process it. Write down ideas and questions, ideally on the blank page opposite the information you're referring to (if you printed everything one-sided).
This is one of the single best activities I learned during my certification process, courtesy of the Jump Start training WEA provided before the school year was underway.
What you'll need: For one component, make pull out the following pages so you can look at them simultaneously (you'll put them back when you're done):
Overview and Submission
On the Overview, find the subheading that has the title of the Component (e.g. "Component 2: Differentiation in Instruction". There should be a one-paragraph summary of the component. Read this and highlight/annotate anything that jumps out to you.
Now, find your Submission at a Glance. This table is a quick summary that you'll come back to over and over again. Each Component has multiple items to submit, and each serves a specific purpose:
The Written Commentary and Rubric
Hopefully you now have an idea of the intent of this component AND the process by which the readers will be scoring you. Let's talk about what they're actually scoring now.
Get out your Composing Written Commentary instructions. Lay it side-by-side with your Level 4 Rubric. Label each rubric item alphabetically so you can quickly identify which item you're talking about. Mark key words so you can quickly descipher the "essence" of each rubric item.
Then, begin reading the questions in the written commentary. Which rubric item(s) match with that question? Label the Written Commentary question with the corresponding letters for the rubric items. Try to be as discriminatory as possible when making these connections so you can speak specifically to what the readers are trying to find out from your written commentary. Repeat this process with all of the Written Commentary questions until you have at least one rubric item connected to each question.
Once you've completed this process, it's time to make sure you've hit EVERY rubric item. Go back to the beginning of your written commentary. Review your labels next to each question and, whenever a particular rubric item is connected, make a tally next to that item on the rubric. Again, repeat for the entire written commentary.
What you should have now is a fairly thorough understanding of what the readers expect from you as an accomplished teacher. However, you may end up with a few rubric items that only got mentioned once or not at all. For each of these, carefully read through the written commentary again to identify a question or two which addresses that rubric item and add the appropriate annotations and tallies..
This process seems straightforward, and it is, but you're bound to have a full brain once you're done. Make sure to utilize the blank space on the opposite page, margins, and anything else to write down your thoughts, ideas, and questions. Don't sell yourself short on this last part - you need to sit with this information and think for a while. Hopefully, you're starting to form ideas of what you might do for this component, the concerns or confusions you may have, and be able to identify your individual next steps to showcase your skills in this area. I would love to hear your impressions and thoughts after you've done this for a component!
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