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SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

610 E. UNIVERSITY AVE., 1302C


ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
Phone 734-763-6718 Fax 734-647-9158
dbirdy@umich.edu





Deanna Birdyshaw, Ph.D.
Teacher Education











May 19, 2014

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter in the behalf of Claire Miller. I have had the opportunity to observe Claire
in three course settings: 1) EDUC 402 Reading and Writing in Content Areas; 2) EDUC510
Teaching and Learning with a focus on differentiated instruction, and 3) EDUC 511/512
Learning With and From Records of Practice. Because I have had an opportunity to observe her
in a variety of settings and throughout her entire program, I feel very qualified to recommend
Claire as a perspective secondary teacher specializing in the instruction of Spanish.

Claire has proven to be a very responsible student, committed to fulfilling the rigorous
requirements mandated for certification by the State Board of Education and the University of
Michigan. She has expert knowledge of Spanish and easily achieved the high standard
established for competency on the Oral Proficiency Interview conducted at the University of
Michigan. She is an extremely conscientious student and works hard to develop expertise in the
teaching of secondary students, and she realizes that joining the teaching profession requires
accepting the role of a life-long learner. She is dedicated to improving the lives of her students
and understands that being an effective teacher necessitates constant research into innovative
methodology and the learning needs of diverse students.

One of Claires most impressive characteristics is her enthusiasm and commitment to education.
From the first days of class, it was clear that Claire was an exceptional student. She is gifted with
the ability to inspire those around her to pursue excellence and share her concern for the welfare
of adolescent learners. She is a leader in her cohort and a model for others to emulate. She is
considerate and supportive of others, and encourages her peers to contribute positively to group
tasks. The MAC program emphasizes the importance of collegial relationships, and Claire
understood the importance of learning from shared experiences.
Claire is very knowledgeable about the content taught in the Spanish curriculum. She is skillful
in designing lesson plans and accommodating the needs of diverse learners through thoughtful
scaffolding of instruction. During student teaching, Claire developed extremely well-planned
lessons that incorporated opportunities for students to develop fluency in Spanish through
reading, writing and speaking activities. She taught almost exclusively in Spanish. She was able
to engage students successfully in reading complex Spanish and answering text-based questions.
She employed Reading Apprenticeship activities to increase her students metacognitive
awareness and ability to comprehend text written in Spanish.

In EDUC 511/512, I require students to video tape their practice and participate in small group
discussions that focus on quality instruction. Claire demonstrated exceptional analytical ability.
She provided productive feedback to classmates and helped them identify strategies for
increasing their teaching skills and understanding of the complexities of teaching adolescents.
Claire used the experience of videoing her teaching to study her own practice and discuss ways
in which she could improve the learning of her students and her effectiveness in engaging them
in meaningful learning activities that develop their fluency and confidence in speaking and
reading Spanish. She clearly demonstrates the characteristics of a reflective practitioner, focused
on the learning success of all students.

I feel very confident in recommending Claire for a teaching position in your school. My
observations of her have shown her to be insightful and persistent in her studies and dedicated to
achieving excellence in her teaching. You will find Claire to be dependable and knowledgeable.
She is thoughtful and considerate and will be a leader in your educational community.

Sincerely,


Deanna Birdyshaw