Patricia Virella

MS, Sarah Lawrence College. PhD (in process), University of Connecticut Neag School of Education. An urban educator who has worked in the urban intensive setting for nearly a decade, she has worked as a teacher, literacy coach, and most recently as a principal.  She has recently presented at the 2016 National Girls School Conference on implementation of Interdisciplinary Framework in STEM and participated in AERA 2017 as a discussant and peer reviewer. Her work in charter schools has led to increased outcomes for students as well as to teacher retention. SLC, 2017–

Graduate Courses

Art of Teaching 2018-2019

Mathematics and Technology I and II

Graduate Seminar—Year

This course will place strong emphasis on students’ own understanding of mathematics as directly related to the mathematics that they will be teaching in early-childhood and elementary-school classrooms. The course will focus on core concepts of mathematics teaching and learning: the science of patterns and number relationships. Patterns and functions will serve as the lenses through which students will examine connections and applications of the topics to the early childhood and childhood school curricula. Students will develop understandings of the content, concepts, computation, and teaching and learning strategies of mathematics in schools. Emphasis will be placed on constructivist teaching and learning; inquiry-based learning; problem solving; and mathematical reasoning, connections, and communication. Students will be exposed to techniques in differentiating instruction that addresses learning differences and the special needs of English-language learners, as well as ways to identify tasks that challenge and augment mathematical understandings. The use of technology as an integral support for the understanding and application of mathematics will also be a focus of the course. Each class session will provide students with opportunities to engage in authentic mathematical activities, followed by sharing these experiences and ways to implement similar, engaging mathematical tasks in classrooms. As part of their conference work, students will create a concept teaching game and a presentation of the solutions to complex problems.

Faculty

Practicum Seminar

Graduate Seminar—Year

The Practicum Seminar is a yearlong course that supports early childhood and childhood student-teaching experiences and provides opportunities to draw together the ideas, processes, and approaches in early childhood and childhood teaching practice, curriculum development, and instructional planning across content disciplines in prekindergarten through grade two settings and in grades one-through-six classrooms. Issues and questions that arise in student teaching and continue to be present in classrooms and schools will be explored. These include the role of observation and documentation as they inform assessments of children’s learning and of teaching itself; the creation of learning environments for children from birth through grade two and in grades one through six, inclusive of all children across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and learning differences; the development of approaches that enable continuity for children between home and school and in their school lives; the development of classrooms as communities of learners; and the exploration of the teacher’s role and approaches to classroom organization and structure that relate to very young and elementary-age children. Other topics of importance in the course are the creation of opportunities and processes for collaboration among teachers, parents, and administrators and the development of strategies to reflect on, renew, and revise teaching with an emphasis on the importance of professional development. The Practicum Seminar also supports students in their continued efforts to understand the political nature of teaching, placing emphasis on educating for a democratic society. The roles of the family, school, and community in educating children are explored, as well as current philosophies and climate regarding home, school, and community relationships. Practicum Seminar students will keep a reflective journal of their field placement and student-teaching experiences, including observation and documentation of children, classrooms, activities, curriculum planning and facilitation, materials, and media. Students will also begin to develop, refine, and share their thinking regarding their master’s project topics.

Faculty

Teaching for Diversity

Graduate Seminar—Year

This course will provide instruction in the methodologies of teaching diverse communities of learners, with an emphasis on meeting the needs of at-risk students. The course will address racial and economic inequality, multilingual education, and the educational needs of diverse families, including single-parent, multiracial, foster, adoptive, blended, LGBTQ, and immigrant families. It will bring forward new research-based practice, such as sheltered instruction operational protocol (SIOP), STEAM learning, and the project model. Engaging families and encouraging them to become collaborators in their child’s schooling will be addressed. All students will attend a biweekly, discussion-based seminar and participate in campus initiatives that address key course themes, including the Art of Teaching’s Film Series and the Undoing Racism Workshop. Students will integrate their experiential learning with theory, research, policy, and practice. Students in this course will be able to: identify the complex social factors of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and ability that influence the teaching and learning process; examine their own cultural experience of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and ability; incorporate developmentally appropriate, evidence-based practice into their classrooms; develop strategies for culturally responsive teaching and assessment; and create a learning environment that respects the dignity of all students.

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Previous Courses

Emergent Curriculum I and II: The Child as Meaning Maker

Graduate Seminar—Year

Emergent Curriculum is a yearlong course in which children’s interests and approaches to learning are at the forefront. Central to the course is understanding how to create a curriculum that is driven by ideas—striving for wholeness, integration, coherence, meaning—and focused on assisting children in applying knowledge and thinking to real-life problems. Classroom design and organization, media and materials, and approaches to teaching and learning across disciplines will be discussed, with an emphasis on the arts, sciences, and humanities. We will learn how to develop curricula with multiple entry points. We will reflect on ways of knowing in our own learning and that of the children and explore teaching strategies that expand children’s knowledge and modes of thinking and learning. We will discuss curriculum and teaching strategies for individual subject areas, with an emphasis on the connections among disciplines, building toward an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum and instruction. The roles of the teacher as observer, provisioner, collaborator, and facilitator will be discussed. During the year, we will engage in hands-on inquiry in workshop settings and take multiple local field trips to environmental centers, historical sites, and arts museums—reflecting on our own learning in order to draw implications for classroom practice. We will discuss how children’s interests and questions connect to the large ideas and questions at the core of the subject matter disciplines. Value will be placed on enabling in-depth inquiry, experimentation, and discovery and on establishing classroom communities based on collaborative learning and rooted in social justice. National and state standards, including the New York State Standards for the Arts, Social Studies, and Sciences, will be critiqued and integrated into our work. By the end of the year, students will create their own multidisciplinary curriculum plan, which will become a resource for colleagues and Art of Teaching alumni.

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