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Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
by Stephanie Capalbo

This week we asked our diarists, "What have you learned about yourself through the certification process?"

October 27, 2003

The process of pursuing National Board Certification has highlighted the habit of procrastination that has been with me since elementary school. I've been able to work past this procrastinating nature of mine, however, by setting goals and timelines for the work that needs to be done. Somehow, I've taken a negative aspect of my study habits and turned it around to enable me to work productively on this arduous process.

The process also has helped me analyze the work I'm doing as a teacher. Every teacher has days of feeling like Teacher of the Year and days of thinking Am I an effective teacher? The process of analyzing myself professionally, both as a learner and as a leader, has helped reveal all the learning I do as an educator. It also has helped me see some gaps in my role as a parent communicator, enabling me to provide more effective communication within my classroom community.

The curriculum entries have helped me determine the strengths and weaknesses in my teaching practices and curriculum. I found the entry related to literacy development more natural to work on due to the focus on literacy development in kindergarten. The entry that focused on integrating science and math presented more of a challenge, however, as I tried to choose an engaging and appropriate science lesson to videotape, analyze, and reflect on. My district has placed science curricular activities relatively low on the hierarchy of core subjects in the early grades, which makes those standards more challenging to meet. I'll keep you posted

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Meet Stephanie Capalbo

Stephanie Capalbo received a bachelor's degree in psychology with a concentration in elementary education from Rhode Island College in May 1995. She became certified in early childhood education in August 1997. For the past six years, Stephanie has been teaching kindergarten at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. In the fall of 2000, the kindergarten at Bradford became the first and only kindergarten in the district to receive accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In 2003, Stephanie was named Westerly's Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.

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