40 Awesome EdTPA Tips to Pass On Your First Try


1. Get a huge binder (https://amzn.to/2YMfwGe)

2. Print your handbook (https://secure.aacte.org/apps/rl/resource.php?ref=edtpa)

3. Skim it, write notes, separate with tabs (https://amzn.to/31kxlty)

4. Outline checkpoints, create your own rubric and print (SAMPLE: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j3zuixNmA2yFd86seQKwCKai9SJqpaVYrbx6D7XF934/edit?usp=sharing)

5. Obtain all necessary permission slips and release forms


6. Know what your community has to offer. Workshops? Local resources? Boys and Girls clubs? How do you make material connect to students’ lives?

7. Get to know your students

8. Familiarize yourself with the bell schedule (for example, I had a block schedule so I had to do 3 longer lessons instead of 5 shorter ones)

9. Brainstorm up a few different options for lesson segments (my ideas were macromolecules, meiosis, or Punnett squares)

10. Write out your lesson plans (follow some examples: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Secondary-Science-EdTPA-PORTFOLIO-BUNDLE-4609323)

11. Be specific with your objectives and how you will show that students are meeting them

12. Reference your standards and cite them (NGSS? Common Core? State?)

13. Identify students who need scaffolding or additional support and explain how you are planning for equitable outcomes. It’s important to address this in your edTPA because it is an easy area to lose points.

14. Write out your lesson plans (follow some examples like this one: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Secondary-Science-EdTPA-PORTFOLIO-BUNDLE-4609323)

13. Identify students who need scaffolding or additional support and explain how you are planning for equitable outcomes. It’s important to address this in your edTPA because it is an easy area to lose points.


14. Figure out a filming setup. (I bought a cheap-o camcorder for this like this one: https://amzn.to/2YrIgVr) (also, don’t forget a memory card https://amzn.to/2Kl0QWI) You want the memory card to record at least 50 minutes for the entire class period because you don’t know what clips will be usable or not. If your guiding teacher isn’t busy, you can ask him/her to film you!

15. Transfer each video clip right after class to minimize the chance of losing all your footage

16. Use the cloud and/or other backup methods. I worked on google docs, but also used iCloud when working with MS word. You don’t want all your work disappearing on you if something happens to your computer!

17. Watch yourself and ask your students to be camera appropriate (speak clearly and ask students to speak up, keep their side conversations and to try not to use swear words)

18. Start filming before your actual lesson segment (start filming as soon as you can. it’ll help you work out any audio issues.)

19. Leave yourself enough time for a re-do just in case. Don’t start filming with 1 week left in the semester.

20. Use one clip that shows high student engagement and another that shows you modeling or explaining something.

21. If your audio isn’t clear, consider subtitling. I had to do this because some students were mumbled. The handbook states subtitles are acceptable edits. No jump cuts or anything else though!

22. Show rapport with your students


23. Always include citations for your included research and keep it organized. Follow standard APA formatting.

24. Show your data graphically/visually (item analysis)

25. Explain what you will do differently, what you have learned, etc.

26. Reflect on your own actions in the video

27. Make sure your evaluation criteria (rubrics and such) are specific and align with the learning objectives

28. Give positive feedback. if there is negative feedback, frame it in a positive, encouraging way. 

29. Make sure assessments are a fair representation of what you have taught

30. Include 1 or 2 creative assessments… not just quizzes. Maybe some CERs or surveys!

31. Talk a little about your environment and what you have done to facilitate the learning process.


32. Don’t stress too much

33. Don’t rely on your guiding teacher for help. Be independent, but make sure your lessons fit in their schedule.

34. Don’t turn it in at the last minute (consider turning it in early)

35. Grade yourself based on that rubric you made in the beginning

36. Know learning theories and how you have used them in your segment

37. Include lots of research

38. Write as close to the page limit as possible

39. Include vocabulary from the glossary and from your teacher education program. Just as we want students to use academic language, edTPA graders want to see you use it as well.

40. Proofread and/or ask for a second opinion

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