Posted in Elementary Education Preparation


Once you have made the decision to apply for the Elementary Education program there are a few tasks that must be completed. You can refer to my previous posts for other details about applying for the major, since this entry’s main purpose is to inform you about one of the steps: fingerprinting.

Fingerprinting and an FBI clearance check are required of all potential educators attending BYU and must be completed prior to the application due date. The Education Student Services site gives guidelines to get started. Below are additional helpful tips:

1. First, you will need to visit the Educator Licensing webpage to start the process to be cleared for fingerprinting. On the right side you will notice some text boxes in yellow–click on Background Check. Then, you will come to a Licensing Procedure page: click on “Initial Licensure” and continue with the application.
2. On the application make sure to enter your permanent address and to enter Brigham Young University for your university.
3. For those of you who are U.S. citizens, enter your social security number when the question comes. Those who are international students, go to room 120 of the McKay Building to talk with Education Student Services.
4. Near the end of the application you will be asked to pay with a credit or debit card the $74.00 fee.
5. After you have paid, print out the LiveScan authorization form from the Utah State Office of Education website.

You’re almost there:

6. As soon as possible, head up the hill with your LiveScan authorization form, a government issued ID (a driver’s license, birth certificate, Social Security card, military ID, or a passport) and $20 on your signature card to Education Student Services in room 120 MCKB and let them know you want to be fingerprinted. It should only take a few minutes for them to get the equipment ready to perform the procedure.
7. Once you have been fingerprinted and your LiveScan authorization form has been filled out by Education Student Services, attach a copy of the authorization form to the program application and you are set with that portion of your application!

As long as you follow these steps you will be able to complete this procedure. However, if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to comment and I can answer your individual questions.


Posted in Elementary Education Preparation

What I Liked Most About the Arts Semester

Winter 2010 was an exciting time in my life because I was able to start taking classes for the Elementary Education program that would lead me on the path towards graduation and teaching. That first semester was known by past students of the program as the “arts semester.” The purpose of this semester was to give pre-elementary teachers an idea of how to integrate common curriculum subjects, such as: math, reading, writing, and science with music, dance, drama, and visual arts. Integration is key in teaching for the 21st century and it can also serve as a motivator for students to learn new ideas through creative means. I am glad for the experience the arts semester gave me and the classes that showed me how to integrate the arts into my classroom.

One of the four required arts courses was TMA 352: Drama in the Elementary Classroom. Coming from a family where I grew up around theater, I felt at ease in this class as we read, discussed, and taught each other how best to use drama in our classrooms. I’m grateful for the perspective that class gave me about being animated as a teacher and allowing students to express themselves in multiple ways through drama activities such as using puppets or read-alouds as a means of assessing content understanding in the main subjects we will all teach: math, science, history, reading and writing.

The next course that gave me more ideas for integration was Music 378: Music for the Elementary School Teacher. Not only was I able to sing and learn some songs to teach to my future students, but I have a whole packet that contains hundreds of songs and other activities I can incorporate throughout my curriculum in any grade I teach. I am definitely not a music teacher, but this class gave me more confidence about using song to teach other subjects or even to use as a fun activity when the students need a break from the daily tasks that school can require.

A third course that broadened my horizons about the arts and core content was Dance 326: Rhythm and Dance. This was a fun class for me to be in because of the two sections it went over: movement dance and folk dance. The movement section of the class required that I twirl, jump, and move to express myself and not worry about what others thought. This carefree skill helps me use dance and movement to help students understand core content. For example, students can gather together as a group and make a shape like a trapezoid and as the teacher calls out for the trapezoid to change into a square, students move and squeeze so they can change their shape. The lessons I learned from the class helped me incorporate dance into my own courses, thus helping my students learn to embrace it as I do.

However, the last half of the dance class, folk dance, was helpful because it teaches students to move to a rhythm and watch their footwork. This form of dance integrates well with motor skills and mathematics because you have to count the beats in your head and follow certain patterns. While both were helpful, I loved the movement half of the class the most because I can see how to use movement to teach various concepts, and students don’t have to be worried about what others think of their representations.

Finally, even though I struggled with this class, VAEDU (Visual Art Education) 326: Art for Elementary School Teachers, was probably the most beneficial because visuals get the most attention in the classroom during the school day. Whether using it to color graphs, make a colored background for a poem, or make a card for a holiday, visual art is used in multiple subjects, multiple times during the day. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn how to become a better artist so I could then teach the skills and activities for my own students to learn.

As I look back, I know I preferred some of the arts semester classes more than others, but all were equally important concepts to study so I could learn in greater depth about each and then make a fairer judgment as to why they are important to use in the classroom, and actually how I will incorporate them in my class.That is what I liked most about the arts semester: the different options and lessons I learned from each course that will help me become a more versatile teacher.

For those of you who have participated in the arts semester, what did you like the most? Likewise, for those of you who are just starting to take some of these classes with the new program, which ones sound the most beneficial to you as a teacher?


Posted in Secondary Education Preparation

Applying for a Secondary Education Program

Winter semester of 2010 started out like any other semester for me. I had attended my first few weeks of classes, collected a number of syllabi from my various professors, and had taken a few class quizzes. Everything seemed to be going very smoothly–that is until I started talking to my fellow teaching majors as we were waiting for a class to start. “Have you applied for your teaching program yet?” someone asked. I was a little confused. I had just transferred to BYU from a school that simply had students register online for a specific major. I didn’t realize I had to actually apply and get approved in order to declare a teaching major!

After class I rushed home and checked my program’s application deadline. It was in three days!  Suddenly my smooth transition into the new semester became a whirlwind of panic. Why had I not known about applying for my program?

I have since discovered that every secondary education program of study has “limited enrollment.” This means that a formal application and department acceptance is required before entering a specific teaching program. There are around twenty-four different secondary education teaching programs, each with their own emphasis such as math, science, art, history, theater and language arts.

In many cases, programs for specific teaching emphases are offered through a college other than the David O. McKay School of Education. For example, since I am a social science teaching major, my program is offered through the History Department, which is part of the College of Family, Home, and Social Science. My application to my program was reviewed by faculty from both colleges.

Because every secondary education teaching program is offered through a different college and department, the application processes differ. I had to apply for my major by writing a personal statement of interest, taking certain prerequisite classes, and filling out an application form.  Other students need to provide letters of recommendation, a short recording of them teaching, or even interview with an admissions board. Some application forms and requirements can be found online, but many programs require the student to request information from a department advisor. Needless to say, this entire process can be very time consuming, and since many applications are due September 15, now would be the best time to contact your respective department, and inquire about their specific application process.

Finally, if you are required to provide a personal statement, make sure it is short and yet interesting. Two or three pages should be the perfect length. Make sure to share personal experiences, but do so carefully. You do not want to bore the admissions committee with superfluous stories from your personal life. Instead, briefly relate your experiences and explain how they have prepared you to teach teenagers in the public schools. Remember that this statement helps the committee get better acquainted with you, and to see if the major is a good fit.

Since all secondary teaching programs have different application requirements, I would love to hear from those secondary education majors who are already in a program of study.  What did you have to do in order to apply for your major?

Posted in Elementary Education Preparation, Miscellaneous

Applying for the Elementary Education Major

David O. McKay School of Education

Congratulations! Here you stand, a declared Elementary Education major, having made the decision to apply for a major that is both demanding and extremely rewarding. The David O. McKay School is full of caring professors and relevant classes to help you succeed as you continue on your journey through higher education.

Now the big questions are: How do I apply for the major? Where do I look for the
materials? When is everything due? These are fabulous questions and knowing
the answers now before the deadlines will ease your stress.  Breathe deeply and read on.

How do I apply for the major?
First, after you have declared yourself an Elementary Education major to the
secretaries in room 120 of the McKay, you need to check with MyMap
to make sure that you have all the prerequisite classes (Civilization, Religion,
Arts, Science, Letters, First Year Writing, and Advanced Writing) completed. Go
to room 120 of the McKay building and tell the secretaries you are a declared
elementary education major and want to apply for the major. Then you will make an appointment to meet with a counselor so you can decide together what semester to apply for.  Finally, you will be instructed to go online and print out and read the entrance materials.
For those of you who are done with your general education requirement classes
and plan to start the Elementary Education program in the winter, the entrance
materials are ready to be filled out for Winter 2012 entrance.

Where do I find materials?
On the entrance materials website, you’ll find the checklists
and directions for each form you are accountable to fill out and turn in to
Education Student Services in Room 120 of the McKay building.

When is everything due?
There are five main deadlines:
1. Attend an orientation meeting. The orientation meeting is on September 1 at 11 a.m. in Room 180 or Room 185 of the McKay building.
2. Attend a LiveText meeting the day following (September 2nd) at 12 p.m. in Room 180 or 185 of the McKay building. There will be technicians who work in the McKay TEC lab to help you through this process.
3. Within the month of September prepare for and take four technology
skills assessments
. These assessments are given in the TEC lab, Room 180 of the McKay. The deadline for completing and passing these tests begins September
2nd and ends on September 26th. The best advice I can give regarding these
assessments is to practice making the templates by yourself and then going and
taking the tests. Here is an example of what the assessments test you on for
4. After you have completed and passed all the tests, and attended all the
necessary meetings, go online and fill out the necessary LiveScan
so that you can be cleared to teach in the state of Utah. Be sure to click on Background Check and Initial Licensure to ensure that you are asked the right questions. After you have completed the registration online and paid the
required $74, you have 60 days to go to Room 120 of the McKay building and Education Student Services to be fingerprinted.
5. All entrance materials are due on Thursday, September
15, 2011.

I hope that these few instructions have better guided you as you journey on the
path towards getting a degree in elementary education. We learned how to apply for the major, where to find materials, and reviewed due dates for materials and turning them in. Though there are a lot of instructions to apply for the major it can be hassle-free as you refer back to the application
pdf file
, this blog post, professors, or talk with an advisor in the Education Student Services Department (120 MCKB).