Sunday, May 18, 2014

Interviews and Demo Lesson

Hey Loves!

How is your Sunday?  Mine is pretty good!  Just chillaxing and catching up on my DVR.  We recently got DVR (welcome to 2005 Kitley family) and I've been loving it!

Today's post will be all about interview tips and demo lesson tips.  I've been on quite a few interviews thankfully and I'm going to glean some of my knowledge/tips/tricks to you my readers!  When I freely dispense interview and demo lesson tips, some people ask me why.  They wonder why I share these things with my "competition".  Well, I don't believe anyone is my competition.  I want everyone to get what they need.  If I lose a job to a classmate or friend, oh well, they were better than me and it's just.that.simple.

My motto for interviews!

This is my motto for interviews.  I want all my friends to get hired for their dream jobs!  

Ok, so here are my tips.

First Interview Clothes:
  • Do dress professionally, but don't be a bore.
  • YES YES 1000 TIMES YES, you can wear a dress!  I once had a classmate quip that, "Well, if it comes down to you verse me and I'm in a suit and you're in a dress, I'm going to get the job."  OK!  If someone dislikes you because you're wearing a dress, that person has bigger issues than your choice of attire.  Do you really want to work for someone who would do that?  I don't.  
  • I've worn a dress to every interview and always gotten a call back.  
  • Dress Code-I'm not saying you should wear a hoochie mama dress. NO!  Wear a dress that comes to your knees.  Being 5'8" this is something that I struggle with because a size 4 dress usually hits above my knee--but just an inch!  I also throw a cardi on top to keep my arms covered.  My dresses are always high, crew necked dresses.
Demo Lesson Clothes:
  • Pants!  I advise you to wear pants because you will be moving around and want to show the administrators that you are willing to get down on the ground with the kids.  
  • I wore (I'll post a pic soon) grey cigarette crops, black flats, and a green gingham button down with a ponytail to one demo lesson.  And my lucky necklace, Tiffany ball earrings, and an infinity ring also from T&Co.
  • I wore (I'll post a pic soon) the same grey cigarette crops, a black cami, a sleeveless white collared tank, and a lavender blazer.  I wore nude flats, and the same aforementioned jewelry.  My hair was again in a ponytail.  I wanted it out of my face.  I'm not the kinda girl who plays with her hair, but when nerves take over, you just never know!
Interview Tips:
  • Be yourself!  You want to show them what they will be getting.
  • Pretend that you are on Ellen.  I know this might sound stupid but seriously pretend you are on Ellen!  Ellen's guests are informative, passionate, and fun.  This is what you want to convey in a teaching interview.  You are a wealth of knowledge, uuber passionate, and super fun/enigmatic and engaging to children.  
  • Tell your brain to shush!  Chris Evans said this in an interview once, just tell your brain to shhhhhh.  Get out of your head, speak from your heart.
  • Be smart!  Research your district, coach yourself before the interview to prep your answers.  This gives you time to tease out your answer, remix it, and perfect it.
  • Be confident with what you know.  You spent 4-5 years studying this subject matter, you know your stuff!  Use it!
  • Go Back-think about what programs, reading curriculums, math curriculums, and technology you have used/know.  Do this a few days before your interview so you have time to write a culminating list.
  • Admit what you don't know with tact-If you're clueless about something, admit it.  Don't say I have no idea what that is, say, "I haven't used that in districts I have been in, but I'm sure I could learn to use _______".  Interviewers know that you are 22 or 23 and have just graduated.  They know you don't know all the programs, they don't know all the programs either.  They want to know that you are willing to learn about their programs.  That's all. 
  • Take a beat.  You're going to be nervous, after a question is posed take a few seconds to breathe and create a coherent answer.  I'm guilty of answering too quickly.  I remind myself to take a breather and then fire off a great answer.
  • If you don't know something about a specific program but have heard it mentioned say, "You know what, I have just started reading about it, but I'm not too familiar with that topic."  This way if they say, "Do you know _______" you can say, "I haven't read about that part yet."  This statement shows that you are familiar with the topic but not an expert. After this interview, you better find out as much about this topic as humanly possible.  I did this with guided math.  I'm still reading about this math approach.
Demo Lesson Tips:
  • Congrats on getting a demo!
  • Ask the administrator if you could have the email address of the teacher whose room you will be using.  Usually this is not a problem.
  • Ask Questions!  Ask the teacher whose room you will be using for info about the types of technology they have access to.  Ask how many students, ask what the students' interests are (so you can pick a topic they like), ask behavior management strategies, (usually they give you ages, levels, and other basic info--if they don't though, ASK!)  Also, ask if there is anything else you should know.
  • Use technology!  One classroom I had access to a Prometheon Board and Document Camera, so I created a PowerPoint and used the Doc Cam to project my article.  On another demo I didn't have access to a SMARTboard so I brought my own laptop and used Preview to highlight an article.  
Use anchor charts-I used an anchor chart for the demo I did on Close Reading.  It's great because it shows a visual for the kids, displays expectations, and keeps you from repeating yourself.  That being said, tell the students what the anchor chart is for.  This might so obvious but trust me it isn't.  Tell them, "This is an anchor chart for Close Reading.  You can find all of your Annotating Symbols here."  It's that easy.  The other demo lesson I went on featured an anchor chart about Summarizing.  I kept vital info up on the chart like Fiction/Non Fiction, Title, Goal, etc. on that chart.  In today's world, you have to be prepared to have an administrator ask any student what the learning objective is and that student has to answer.  This way, the student can glance up and tell them.  

 Sorry these are wrinkly, it was raining during both of my demo lessons.

Summarizing Anchor Chart.  Notice that the goal is on the chart, so is the title, the type of text, and word work.  
Anchor Chart for 8th graders.  Visuals for students
  • Make name tags!  You might think, I only have 30 minutes to do this demo (max 30 mins, usually 20!) I'm not going to waste a few minutes on a name tag.  This is not a waste!  It's important to show the kids that you are interested in them.  It makes the lesson look more professional if you have a handle on the students' names.  Bring index cards and markers and have them set out before your lesson.  Have the kids quickly write their name on the card.  This takes 1 minute and therefore can buy you one minute to prepare.  
  • Get there early!  20 minutes is preferable.  Ask if you can set up for your lesson.  Be prepared for them to say no.  Have everything prepared before hand.  This way you can just pass out your supplies.  If you can set up, set up like your job is on the line...because it is!
  • Make your lesson look official!  I make copies of my graphic organizers or hand outs on colored paper because it looks more official.  In my classroom I would use colored graphic organizers because it's easier to find.  Laminate things.  I laminated a Close Reading bookmark.
  • Interactive is a must!  Engage your students with cool attention grabber.  Summaries can be boring, but a summary cube...not boring!  
    Summary Cube!  
    I found this cube template on (a life saver btw) and wrote the components of a good summary on each of the sides.  Also, I wrote each component in the same color that I wrote its corresponding name on the Summary Anchor Chart.  This is a great visual. I also brought those markers to write the corresponding information on the chart.  I found this cube to be the best!  It worked really well!  The kids loved it and it kept them engaged.
  • Bring a copy of everything your giving to the kids for the people reviewing your lesson.  This makes you look professional.
  • Make extra copies!  Of.EVERYTHING!
  • Lesson plan-it's better to overwrite than underwrite.  Make sure you explain little teaching tricks (like the matching marker trick/contrasting tricks (only use dark color ink on light colored paper) etc.) because that shows that you know tricks
  • Ask Questions!  If you're doing a demo for a 4th grade class, ask a 4th grade teacher.  My best demo lesson (summarizing 4th grade) was crafted through talking to a friend of mine who is a 4th grade resource room teacher, TeachersPayTeachers, my own knowledge, and researching classrooms.
  • Use Self-Talk until you want to die from hearing your voice.  It's important to narrate what you're doing.  These kids don't know you, don't know your learning style, and might have never heard of this skill before.  
  • Praise them constantly!  
  • Gradual release!  Use your time wisely!  You have 25 minutes to give the lesson of your life.  
    • First 5 minutes-find out what they know, use the phrase activate your schema!  It shows you what the kids know and where the holes are.  Intro the skill.  Make name tags!
    • 5-15 minutes-Teacher model, read the text, demonstrate the skill
    • 15-20 minutes-Students work together on honing the skill
    • 20-23 minutes-Students work independenlty on the skill
    • 23-25 minutes-wrap up/closure.
  • How I did this with summarizing:
  • First 5 Minutes
    • pass out summary charts but keep face down.  
    • pass out pencils
    • I had 5 kids in my lesson so I just memeorized their names.
    • Asked the students to self assess their knowledge of summarizing.  
    • Text walk of the non-fiction text.  Goal was for the students to discover the text was non-fiction and let me know how they knew this/what non-fiction text features led them to this decision-record on anchor chart
    • Asked the students to make quick connections to the text topic.
    • Talk about difference between summary and retelling.  Summary is a postcard from your trip, retelling is a scrapbook of your trip.  
    • define summarizing
    • word work-find the words you think will be tricky before hand and know a kid friendly definition. 
  • Next 10 minutes
    • choral reading/whisper reading 
    • use glossary to define terms-write on anchor chart
    • model (using summary cube) how to fill in summary chart on anchor chart 
    • Have students use summary cube and write down their answers on the chart (highlight on Preview.  I pulled the article up on Preview and then was able to highlight it as they answered--using the matching marker color obviously!) 
  • Next 5 minutes
    • Have the students use the cube to write out their own answers on their charts
  • Final 5 minutes
    • Had students make their own summaries and shared with the group.  I said, "Now for a closure activity, we are going to use our graphic organizers to create a summary!
    • Have students rate their comfort level with the new skill
One student told me he loved me and wanted me to come back tomorrow.  No, he's not currently on the Erin Payroll...  

Packing Your Bag

Packing a bag for your demo looks good.  It is not your purse!  Do not put the junk in your purse!  That doesn't look good.  It looks unorganized.  I use this bag:

A Vera Bradley (I think weekender)
Yes, it's one cares if you have a pink bag.
It holds everything!  My MacBook, my Teacher Binder, my supply binder, my supplies, etc.  

Supply Binder from Target's A Shore Thing line...again it's pastel in color.
A supervisor even told me that she loved the bright colors!  

Inside I have index cards (name tags), lined paper, copies of lesson plans, hand outs, and usually markers.
 Every supply you need should be in here!

An emergency supply bag:

More Vera!  These are all the extra supplies that you don't need for your lesson, but if there is a problem (marker runs out/scissors break) you have extra!
It has 20+ Sharpies in various colors, staples, stapler, scissors, pens, pencils, highlighters, tape, etc.


Graphic organizer for Summarizing (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)

Close Reading Bookmark (laminated and on colored paper)

Steps of Close Reading on the reverse side of the laminated bookmark
The most important rule?

MAKE THE KIDS LIKE YOU!  Go out of your way to make them like you.  Be fun, be positive, be goofy, be smart!  One kid told me that 

So I hope you enjoy your demo!  



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