Preparing for the PRAXIS Core exam? Check out these sessions that are run by experienced tutors and last one hour. They are free of charge!
Writing, 7-8pm, Ricker Addition 202
Tuesday, 9/18: “Multiple Choice”
Tuesday, 9/25: “Informative Essay”
Tuesday, 10/2: “Argument Essay”
Math, 7-8pm, Ricker Addition 205
Thursday, 9/20: “Functions and Algebra”
Thursday, 9/27: “Geometry”
Thursday, 10/4: “Stats and Probability”
An excellent additional resource for PRAXIS prep is the Learning Express Library. Students create a free account with Username and Password. They search the site for “PRAXIS CORE”, which produces four practice PRAXIS tests. The site scores the practice tests and provides explanatory answers.
Students preparing for the PRAXIS are also welcome to meet with tutors in the Learning Commons during drop-by tutoring hours:
It can be nerve wracking or even intimidating to go into your Student Teaching placement. There are a lot of expectations that you need to follow, assignments to complete, and a lot to learn. When you begin your Student Teaching, it’s important to prepare what you can early on and to think about what else is expected of you. Below are some tips to help you transition into your Student Teaching placement:
Prepare for each week in advance- Don’t wait until Monday to prepare everything you need for the week. Plan your outfits, the time you’ll leave your house by, what you’ll bring for lunch and snack every day (which you will definitely need!). If you plan all of these in advance, you will be less frantic come Monday morning.
Research the school & area- Know what grades and what regions your school serves. Learn about the extracurricular activities offered at school and in the community. Find out what resources are available, and become more familiar with what your students do when they are not at school. Knowing where your students come from and what they have available to them will better help you plan your instructions and interactions.
Prepare for your lessons to fail- You cannot always predict how a lesson will go or how the students will react to the lesson. Sometimes, the lesson just does not work, and that is okay. But it is important to have a backup lesson or activity to supplement the lesson and to keep students on task and engaged during valuable classroom time.
Know the expectations- Find out what is expected of you as a student teacher from both your mentor, your students, your placement school, and from your UMF Field Supervisor. Also, relay your expectations. Let your mentor know what you will need from them to be successful, outline your expectations about behavior and respect to your students, and express any concerns you have to either your mentor or your field supervisor.
Make connections and learn from others- There are TONS of websites, Instagram pages, Twitter accounts, blogs, etc. that are for teachers, by teachers. You can find a variety of lesson plan ideas, classroom management tips, accommodations, tools, activities, and resources for teaching all ages. UMF alumna Chelsey Oliver took advantage of sites like these during her student teaching experience, and took it upon herself to create her own education inspired Twitter and Instagram pages- feel free to check them out!
Stay organized and on top of your assignments- Start planning lessons ahead of time so that you can go back and make changes as the lesson approaches. Relay any deadlines that you need to meet to your mentor so that they can ensure you are getting what you need when you need it. Once you start to fall behind, it can be much harder to catch back up.
Take notes and ask questions- Your mentor teacher is there to model for you and to provide feedback. Take notes on the techniques and language they use, the way they manage their classroom, what you think works and does not work. Also take notes on student behavior, as you may notice patterns that can be valuable in addressing classroom management skills.
Enjoy the experience- While Student Teaching is a lot of work, it should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Form relationships with students and have fun with them, take advantage of all of the opportunities presented, and make it unique to you! Take it all in and relish the experience, it goes by fast, and it will be over before you know it!
It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it! You have spent the past few years preparing for this, learning from professors, and dipping your toe in the water in practicum placements. Now it’s time to dive in and immerse yourself into the classroom as an active Student Teacher. We know you will all shine and do great. From all of us here at UMF, good luck and have fun!
Maria Minor Newcomb recently earner her Master’s of Education from the University of Maine at Farmington, and she is taking on a leadership and advocacy role as the President elect of the Maine Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD)! The MAHPERD organization consists of 800+ educators/members and is responsible for cutting edge professional development.
From November 5th-7th, MAHPERD will be hosting their 72nd annual conference at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME. Featuring two keynote speakers, and over 70 state and national speakers, this conference is sure to have something that will interest all educators and health/physical education professionals.
The two keynote speakers featured in this year’s conference are Joshua Medcalf and Judy LoBianco. Joshua Medcalf is the president and founder of Train to be CLUTCH. Joshua created the first mental training apps in the world of basketball, soccer, and golf. He is one of two people ever invited to work with the UNC Women’s soccer team, who have won 22 national championships! Joshua has published four books, and every conference participant will receive a free copy of his book Chop Wood, Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great. Joshua will be speaking during the General Session on Monday from 11:20-12:30 in the Knox County Ballroom.
Judy LoBianco is the president elect for SHAPE America. Judy will be addressing the need for advocacy in professionals at local levels to “take back our profession, one gymnasium and classroom at a time.” Judy will be presenting during the All Conference Session on Monday from 1:15-2:10 in the State of Maine Hall.
This is sure to be a great conference, and it is a wonderful opportunity to build on professional development and to collaborate with other colleagues. Information about the conference is posted below, but for a full schedule and itinerary, click here. For more information about MHPERD, visit their website.
The final semester of college for most education majors is one of the most anticipated as they finally take on the role as a student teacher. Students are nervous, excited, anxious, and optimistic as they go into their student teaching position. Most students do not know what to expect during student teaching or how to prepare. Chelsey Oliver, UMF Class of 2017, felt the same way, as she would go to the symposium presentations every year looking for one about the student teaching experience. Year after year her searches came up short, so when it was her time to serve as a student teacher she decided to present at symposium about her experience.
Chelsey Oliver just graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in the spring of 2017. During her final semester as a secondary education mathematics major, Chelsey completed her student teaching at Cony High School and Messalonskee Middle School. While education majors share their student teaching experience through portfolio presentations, Chelsey wanted to go beyond the units, lesson plans, and standards highlighted in portfolio presentations and also focus on the day-to-day experience of being a student teacher in a classroom. “A big part of my philosophy is collaborating with your colleagues, students, and teachers,” said Chelsey, “so this to me was the most exciting presentation I would give.”
Chelsey started her presentation by going over the daily schedule at both schools and comparing them. She touched upon some of the ‘out of the classroom’ components that came with student teaching, such as leaving the house in the morning when it is still dark out and getting home when it was dark out. Chelsey described some of the various programs and blocks in the school day, such as “RAM Time” at Cony High School, which was when teachers could meet one-on-one with students who may need help if they were absent, falling behind, or needed to finish a test. This was a great time for teachers to check-in with their students.
After going over the schedules, Chelsey emphasized the importance of self care and scheduling “me time.” As a teacher, you are constantly planning, grading, teaching, and working even when you are not at school. It is important to take care of yourself, and Chelsey did so by getting fresh air, meal prepping for the week ahead of time, and reflecting on her day.
Chelsey then gave a few classroom management tips, such as having a bin to leave work in for students who were absent. She also discussed making homework meaningful. She found that her students would do their homework, she would give feedback, and they would toss it in the trash. Chelsey then began assigning homework that required the students to talk about their struggles, their mistakes, a conversation they had with her that day, and to just personally reflect. This gave Chelsey a more personal look into her students’ lives as well. Chelsey then discussed technology and how it can be integrated into the classroom. Then, Chelsey touched upon her experience in UMF’s Student MEA (Maine Education Association) and how the various conferences, experiences, and collaborations that she participated in helped her develop as a professional.
Finally, Chelsey discussed the benefits of social media and how teachers can learn from each other. There are various Instagram pages, bloggers, and websites where teachers share their lessons, ideas, classroom management tips, and anything else you could imagine. Chelsey has also taken to social media and created a professional Twitter account (@countonlearning) and Instagram page (@countonlearning207) to share her teaching experience.
Chelsey’s student teaching experience was very meaningful to her, especially since she was able to personally share it at her symposium presentation. As the first student to present about their student teaching experience at symposium, she may have started a new trend as other UMF education majors will wish to share their experience as well. Congratulations to Chelsey and the rest of the UMF Class of 2017, and good luck as your begin your teaching career!
One of the best things about college is that you get to choose classes and topics that interest you, even if they are not part of your declared major! Did you know that UMF offers specialized certification programs that allow students to take a set of classes designed to target a specific field, interest, or topic? The certification programs are not majors, and they are not minors- they are simply a set of courses put together and designed to prepare students going into various fields by giving them knowledge and skills outside of the courses that align with their major. UMF offers Addiction Rehabilitation, Alpine Operations, and English Language Learners (ELL) certifications.
These certification programs are offered to all majors, even with no prior background. Brittany Jerome is a junior at UMF majoring in Early Childhood Special Education while also enrolled in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification program. She has been able to make strong connections between the two fields, as many of her peers have as well. “I never took a rehab class before enrolling in this certification, and I did not feel as though I was behind my classmates,” said Brittany. “These classes include students from a wide range of majors, as many of the classes contain content that is applicable to a variety of majors. The professors understand that not everyone in these classes have the same prior knowledge, so they are really good about including information that non-rehab majors might not know. I have taken classes with students majoring in rehab, education, health, psychology, ORBA, and many more!”
When asked why she has interest in the addiction field, Brittany touched upon the rapid growth of addiction across the nation. “Addiction is spreading, very quickly. Today, almost everyone you meet has been affected by addiction in some way. While working with young children and their families I will come across families where parents, siblings, and other family members may be struggling with addiction, and it affects the whole family. The applied knowledge of addiction and how it can affect families will give me a better understanding and insight into what the family as a whole struggles with, so that I can better help the family meet their needs.”
This program includes classes about substance abuse prevention and addiction, families in rehabilitation, counseling and the helping relationship, child and family psychology, and more! Some of them are health classes, rehabilitation classes, and psychology classes. For a complete list of the courses included in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification, click here.
The classes that are included in this certification have been selected and designed to give students the knowledge and competencies needed in order to take the exam to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state of Maine. More information about the CADC requirements is available here.
This certification program can expose students to various career paths that they had not thought of before that allow them to apply the knowledge they learn in these classes with that of the classes in their major. This was Brittany’s experience, as she was not exactly sure what she wanted to do until recently. “I always knew I wanted to work with babies and young children born with various physical, cognitive, and functional impairments- but I did not want to be a teacher,” Brittany said. “I personally have an interest in working with infants and children born with various mental health needs as well as with parents struggling with their own mental health. I can help parents understand their child’s needs and how to cope with their own struggles as they transition into parenthood. As addiction is a growing epidemic, I will most likely be working with families that struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders, and even babies born with addiction. This certification program allows me to apply my early childhood special education knowledge with my addiction counseling knowledge in order to make me a more appealing and qualified candidate.”
Are you interested in the topic of addiction counseling, but do not think it will apply to your career goals? Think again! The courses in this certification program are applicable to anyone who wants to work with the public, especially in the human services field. Even if you do not have interest in being an addiction counselor, you still learn a lot about addiction in general, families, co-occurring disorders, the helping relationship- so much more. “Since addiction is such a growing issue, it is almost inevitable that you will end up working with someone who has been affected by addiction,” said Brittany. “Addiction does not discriminate, so I think anyone can find a way to apply it to their current field of interest.”
The certification programs offered at UMF are designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of pre-professionals in various areas and disciplines before entering the field. The additional education that students in these programs receive make them a more qualified and appealing candidate, and may be the deciding factor for employers when comparing UMF graduates with other applicants. For more information about the various certification programs offered at UMF, visit the Certificates website.
The University of Maine at Farmington values the partnerships held with various community members and organizations. These partnerships allow UMF students to get involved in the community while building on their field experience and engaging in a hands-on learning environment.
The Franklin County Children’s Task Force provides extensive employment, practicum, volunteer, and internship opportunities for students, including their 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N After School Program. Thomas Desjardins, Program Coordinator, was able to give an insight into the program, the opportunities it provides for UMF students, and the value of this partnership.
“The Franklin County Children’s Task Force generally assists families in need in Franklin county,” Mr. Desjardins explains. “Specifically, my program is the 21st Century After School Program and the mission of this program is to provide quality after school programming with intensive academic supports at no cost to the students in both Farmington and Wilton and the Mt. Blue school district. We provide a safe space for parents to leave their kids when they are at work. We know how much child care costs, but we want to do more. It is more than just a safe space. We want to promote positive interactions and academic achievement in these children. It is all about caring about the people in the community.”
Out of the 31 staff members, 28 of them are UMF students. Kathy Kemp, a UMF Rehabilitation Services professor, is also on the Task Force Board of Directors. Partnering with the University has given the Task Force and the 21st Century Program numerous cooperative and valuable contacts within the community.
UMF students that are employed through the 21st Century Program have the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to this program, as they are involved in lesson planning and implementing those lessons at Mallet or Academy Hill Elementary School. UMF students serve in the role of enrichment facilitator, academic tutor, homework helper, and as the site coordinator. They plan various STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities, provide academic supports, kinesthetic activities, visual and performing arts, and health prevention education.”
As a previous school principal, Mr. Desjardins enjoys coaching and supporting new teachers and helping others build on their own skills. “[UMF students] learn how to interact, manage, teach, plan- all aspects of being a school teacher. It’s not babysitting, it’s more like being paid for student teaching or practicum. They participate in monthly staff meetings and professional development, they bring in professionals from various fields, and engage in professional discussions around teaching and learning.” Mr. Desjardins values the “organic connection” that students have with him and his program. “Students look for opportunities to further their craft outside of the classroom. It’s a win win situation, they get the experience and I get to coach them. And they get a paycheck!” Mr. Desjardins said with a chuckle.
When looking for prospective candidates, positive energy and good character are the most important qualities for a potential employee to have. “My realization is that in your early 20’s as a student you have a lot of capacity to be built, but you do not have a lot of tools in the tool box,” says Mr. Desjardins. “It is incumbent upon me to expand your tool box. I run this program as if I am a principal and these employees are my teachers.”
Thomas Desjardins and the 21st Century After School Program are valuable assets to the community and the University. Mr. Desjardins cares a lot about the community, families, and his employees. His experience as a school principal gives him the skills and knowledge to work with future educators and help them build on their own skills to reach their full potential. He is a tremendous leader, educator, coordinator, and partner. The University of Maine at Farmington and the Franklin county are lucky to have him as a partner and a supporter.
The Franklin County Children’s Task Force and the 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N Program are always recruiting UMF students for practicum, student teaching, volunteer, and employment opportunities. For more information about this program and how to get involved, please contact Thomas Desjardins at email@example.com or (207) 778-6960, or visit the Franklin County Children’s Task Force website.
On behalf of the UMF community, we would like to thank Mr. Desjardins and his program for all that they do for University students and the community. “Franklin County Children’s Task Force, strengthening families for over 30 years.”
EdCamp Western Maine is scheduled for February 4, 2017 at Mt. Blue High School!!! EdCamps are teacher-led professional development experiences in which teachers share their expertise (in this case, about technology) and learn together about new trends and innovations in education. Come meet like-minded educators, network, share and learn!
Sign up early to make sure you’ve reserved a spot!
For more information, or to sign up, visit the EdCampWMe website today!