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Pre-Service Teacher: Ms. Gemma FitzPatrick

School: Fritsche Middle School

Cooperating Teacher: Ms. Voelker

Grade Level: 8th grade

Lessons Taught: Viruses, Fungi, and Plant Project

My clinical experience at Fritsche Middle School was very positive and informative.  During the first classroom observation it became very apparent that Ms. Voelker focused her instruction around project-based science.  We taught lessons that included note taking, a group activity, mushroom spore experiment, growing bread-mold, and the set up of plant experiment.  The lessons were very successful and students were very engaged.  Students asked questions, expressed concerns, connected information to previous lessons, and were engaged in the group activity.  The method that we found to be most effective was the experiment.  In several of the lessons we observed and taught, the students completed small experiments.  In every experiment students were required to complete a lab write.  Students seemed to enjoy the experiments because they were given a lot of freedom in creating the hypothesis and the procedures.  This motivated students to take responsibility for the completion of the experiment because they were testing their own ideas.  Ms. Voelker taught me the importance of project-based science.  It is one thing to read about project-based science in a book, but to see it in action in a classroom is completely different.  In my future classroom, I will definitely create lessons that are project-based because they stimulate the students' interest.  Project-based learning can be connected across subjects and can become embedded in the curriculum through the use of long-term projects. 


The clinical experience demonstrated the amount time and energy that is put into every lesson.  The different lessons I observed in my clinical reinforced the variety of learning styles that should be addressed in a lesson.  Also, Ms. Voelker's teaching style can be connected to performance indictor 1.8, which states that “The teacher effectively uses multiple representations and explanations of disciplinary concepts that capture key ideas and links them to students’ prior understandings.”  The experiments Ms. Voelker introduced in her classroom reinforced the material that had been discussed in class early that day.  In one day, students were presented with two perspectives focusing on the same concepts and principles.  Ms. Voelker also displays an understanding for the major importance of the process of inquiry.  Students design and conduct experiments that investigate major concepts and principles in a manner which interests them.  My knowledge and awareness of my dispositions helped me become better prepared for the lessons I taught in the clinical.  I was able to develop lessons which were suited to the students and subject being taught.  The lessons were meaningful, interesting, and engaging to the students.  A limitation I encountered was that, as a result of being unfamiliar with the students, I was unknowledgeable about the students' misconceptions, prior knowledge, and assumptions.  


Ms. Gemma FitzPatrick
Marquette University class of '08
Elementary Education and Psychology Undergraduate

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