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Keeping Focused
by Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn is working toward National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

August 18, 2003

I attended a support session for those of us in Rhode Island taking the Boards during this cycle. I left with my head spinning about what to do next. Write entries? Create videos? Study for the assessment center?

During the session, we watched some sample videos created by past NCBPT recipients and I only felt more overwhelmed. What was extremely helpful, however, was to read Elizabeth's Entry 4. As we discussed her entry, I got an even better understanding of what needed to be included in these portfolio entries. And I noticed that all the advice seemed to repeat the same question: How did it impact the students?

When I got home I re-read the third accomplishment for Entry 4. I realized that I really hadn't discussed student impact as much as I had intended. I also discovered that I hadn't referred to any of the Board standards.

As I sat and looked at what I had done, I had a difficult time not thinking about the video entries and what unit(s) I would teach and videotape. All the past applicants I talked to suggested that, because of the rules and possible technology glitches, we should make a multitude of videos so we would have many to choose from. Rules? Where are the rules?

Needless to say, my list grew yet again:

  • Finish revising and editing Accomplishment 3 for Entry 4.
  • Complete the rough draft of Accomplishments 1 and 2 for Entry 4.
  • Write long term plans for the year.
  • Choose units to teach and develop timelines.
  • Find the video rules!
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Meet Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn, one of Education World's 2002-2003 teacher diarists, received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Rhode Island in May 1994. For the first two years of her teaching career, Stephanie worked as an enrichment specialist in the talent development program for the Westerly, Rhode Island, school district. For the past seven years, she has taught fourth grade at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly. Stephanie was awarded a 2002 National Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation, in a program that provides recognizes elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education.

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