Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Session Two- Week Three

"Lesson Description"
-The objective of this lesson is to enlighten the students on the Worldwide phenomenon that was the depression during the 1929 and the 1930s.  I will have the terms to know on the board when they walk into class.  To begin class I am going to give the students the terms on a sheet of paper.  I will ask them to complete wha tthey can without looking at their book.  I don't expect the students to be able to fill out too much of this "quiz."  The reasoning for this will come later.  Before I do anything else I am going to give the students the current situation in the world (post World War I).  After that I am going to assign students certain segments of the section.  I am going to show the students how to skim and scan and then have them do the same for their segments.  I will give them time to read it then ask them to summarize it in one sentence.  The ability to grasp important information from reading as well as to compact it is valuable in numerous professions as well as later on in school.  After that I will continue explaining the rest of the section.  Once I have reached the end of the section I will hand back out the original "quiz."  This will show the students and myself what they have learned from this lesson.

"Strategy Descriptions"
graphic organizer- visual aids used to arrange generated information in an orderly manner.
reciprocal reading- it is a set of four strategies taught to struggling readers, primarily to develop their comprehension monitoring abilities.  In pairs or small groups, participants sharing a common text take turns assuming the roles of teacher and studen.
varied homework- diversify the types of assessment and homework that is given to the students. (couldn't really find an answer online)
reading workshops- students participate in three broad areas: a mini-lesson conducted by the teacher, activity time, and sharing time.  In the workshop strategy, students hold most of the decision-making power regarding material to be read or written, and responses to that reading or writing.

Scenario 3:
I would recommend that Mr. C. give his students another shot at the project.  If the majority of his students were unsuccessful then I can assume that they did not fully understand the assignment.  He should attempt to explain the assignment another way or change the project slightly (or dramatically if needed).  The goal of the project is for the students to learn something and when the majority of the students haven't something needs to be changed.
Scenario 4:
I would suspect that the students are bored with their work.  When students feel that they are just being given busy work, they are less likely to get it done.  One thing that Ms. D can do is to change up the kinds of homework that she is using.  If she gives out a worksheet every day, students will quickly become disinterested.  If she finds the first idea unsuccessful or unwilling to try, she can always think about not assigning homework.  Several teachers don't assignment homework.  By doing all of the work in class the issue of not having to turn in homework becomes irrelevant.

How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning
For the longest time teachers and administrators have been incorrectly using assessment.  The well-known national assessments that everyone focuses on on practically useless for teachers to use in a way to better their teaching.  Instead teachers need to focus on their own assessments.  For the exams and tests that teachers give, they need to test what students have already done instead of trying to fool students by putting something on that they haven't seen before, "testing what [teachers] teach."  Teachers need to use assessments as a way to understand what adjustments need to be made in order to have all students successfully achieve the desired goal.  All corrective work that is going to be done needs to be done in the classroom because students tend not to do it otherwise, it is seen as extra work.  One issue that comes up, should students who perform good work after the assessment receive the same grade as those who did so before.  They should because it might have been the teachers style of presenting the information that caused them not to understand the assignment and the goal is for the students to perform at a high level and they did.

Rich Tasks
As teachers our lessons need to do more than teach, they need to provide meaningful real world applications.  This way we as teachers able to show the students exactly why what we are teaching is relevant.  The article describes a lesson plan in which a chemistry teacher wanted to measure acid/base levels takes the students to a local river to do their study.  Also the assessment strategies need to be varied in order to best get the students to explore the material.  For the river study, the teacher had the students then right a paper in which they would suggest how to best treat the river to keep the acid/base levels healthy.  They key is having open ended exploration in which the students are pushed to answer complex questions.

Strategies That Close the Gap
The best strategies for finding how to close or eliminate the achievement gap is to look at schools that have already done so.  One important thing to do is to emphasize reading, perhaps have a reading portion of every class.  Also it is important to challenge every student.  Students who are already lower in achievement will stay there if you don't challenge them.  Students that are at-risk are likely to need reteaching of material, teachers should patient with these students.  Another key point is to also incorporate everyone into the classroom.  Make sure to involve everyone, not just the students who raise their hand.  Lastly, students need to know that you care about them, see what they think about the lessons you are teaching, and teach your lessons with some humor.

3. -it is crucial to take the time to develop lesson plans that involve teaching to all types of learners to that every student has the chance to succeed
-building relationships inside the school is important because other faculty can provide assistance and ideas
-assessments need to be used so that teachers can reflect on their teaching, go back and tweak the lesson so all students can succeed.
2. -It is important to not accept that some students are not incapable of understand the material.  After assessing the students think of ways to include every student.
-It is crucial to keep students interested, a way to do this is to vary the types of homework that is given out.
1. -Make every lesson meaningful for the students, by making lessons more meaningful for the students.  They are more likely to be interested.  A key is to show students how what they are doing actually has real-world application.  Lastly, each students needs to be pushed, that includes at-risk and lower tracked students.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Session Two- Week Two

Numbered List:
-treat everyone with respect (this covers almost everything: I would elaborate upon introducing the rule)
-think before you act
(will revise after I see Brian's, either his isn't done like mine or for some reason I can't see his post, I can only see Nov. 5)

3-2-1 Activity
3.) -showing an organized classroom shows students a good model for following rules and expectations
-classroom management is crucial because if it isn't an issue then the students have more time to learn
-as a teacher you can't assume that because a rule or expectation is inherent to you that doesn't mean the students have the same understanding
2.) -within the first two weeks of school you should make sure that students understand what you expect so that you can maximize learning time the rest of the year
-involving students in their own education is a good way to maintain classroom management because the students then care more for their own education
1.) -writing daily expectations on the board before each class
-after establishing expectations for the year it is important for students to see what they need to accomplish each class
-this also allows them to get a sense o accomplishment at the end of the day

Reading 5:  Hearts and Minds
This article is about classroom relationships and how important they are to learning and effective teaching.  Some teachers feel that they must develop a good relationship before they can teach, however the article says that "their relationships are their teaching."  Classroom management is not an issue in a democratic classroom.  A good way to solve the management issue to have a good curriculum around which the students can relate.  Another way is to create a classroom community through discussion, class murals, and role playing.  It is very important to get to know the students as individuals.  The curriculum is a very crucial part to the classroom.  It must be relevant to the students lives, culturally and worldly.  Lastly is to have the students see as a person, not just a teacher.  Let them see you laugh and that you have ambitions so that understand you better.

Reading 7:  Stubbornness and the Kindness of Strangers
What happens in your first year of teaching is very crucial.  A real teacher is defined by the fact that they try to make a difference every day against surmountable odds.  It is also very important for veteran teachers to take you under their wing and to encourage you.  It is very hard as a teacher to join the teaching community unless you have your own class under control.  With time comes experience.  Even though it may not look like you have made a difference look back at the beginning of the year/career and you will see what you have done.

Reading 9:  Start the Day with Community
This teacher at the beginning of his/her day has the class come together for what they call community meeting.  They begin with greeting then group activity and lastly news and announcements.  This is a good way for students build their circle of friends and work on their social skills.  These activities are meant to bring the class in as a community.  Also how a teacher begins the day sets the tone, so by doing this it is starting class on a good note.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Session Two- Week One

1.  My favorite teacher was my Calculus teacher my senior year.  He was a really nice guy who at the same time pushed you to do your best.  It was one of the only classes that I had in high school that challenged me.  Not so much just the teacher himself but the advanced nature of the math.  I excelled in the class and the teacher was very good about keeping up my spirits when I was struggling or praising me when I got it right.  He brought a lot of humor to the class but didn't let it get out of hand.  There is a very thin line to tread in that territory but he did it very well.  
a.)  He was a very intelligent, funny, nice, stern (when he needed to be), fair, and just person
b.)  I think that I possess very similar characteristics to those of my favorite teacher.  I tend to think that I am smart (not to boast, not the smartest by smart), nice, funny, and I try to be fair.
c.)  One of the things that I need to work on is keeping being humorous and having a fun classroom but knowing when the class is getting out of hand and to stop it.  I have never had problems befriending the students but then I am looked at as a friend instead of a teacher.

2. a)  I made the mistake of not fully understanding my students.  I feel that it would have been extremely beneficial for me to see the students' IEPs.  This would have allowed me to learn more about the students before I started teaching.  Also as I said before, I made the mistake of being their friend instead of their teacher.  I am not saying that teachers can't be friendly, but they also need to be seen as an authoritative figure.  I also tended only to teach to one type of learning, in some lessons only applying to visual learners and others audio learners.
b)  How they prepare their lessons toward specific students.  In every class there are those students who are either problematic or need a different style of teaching.  How do you plan a lesson for that student that does not take away from everyone else's learning.

3.)  Almost There, But Not Quite
The main idea behind the article is that teachers and administrators need to rethink classroom management.  Instead of focusing on how to make the students behave to what I think it right, they should be encouraged to find out what is right for them.  Teachers have often complained that they can't get their students to obey and this article thinks the correct question should be "how can I adapt my plan to engage this child?"  Teachers need to focus more on students needs.  A lot of the teachers who think that they are doing this are sorely mistaken.  They may have started with good intentions but have slowly drifted back to the traditional picture of discipline.  Teachers are the ones with the "power" in the classroom and students tend to conform to it in order for the teacher to like them.  This approach is wrong.  The students should have a say in the classroom as to what is right and wrong.  I really like one of the quotes that a teacher put up in her classroom, "Think for yourself; the teacher might be wrong!"  

3-2-1 Activity
3.)  -Problems in classroom management means that the lesson needs to be changed, not the students.  I am not doing my job if students are not fully understanding (if they aren't paying attention, they aren't understanding) my lessons.
- there are several characteristics that good teachers contain and that they need to continuously work on improving these skills in order to better teach and reach their students.
-Too much praise is a bad thing.  I wish to set and example that the students can follow but that doesn't mean that they need to.  Too much praise makes the students conform to how I expect them to behave instead of as individuals.
2.) -I will allow students to help create the rules and expectations for the class.  That way they are more likely to follow them and behavior will not be an issue.  At the same time is gives the students power over their own classroom and education.
-In your classroom it is important to be both liked and respected.  I think this is one of the key components to all of the good teachers I have seen.  Show the students that you care about their education and that you want them to succeed, all while being fair and treating them as individuals.
1.) -Allowing my students to have more say in their education.  I know that I am responsible for creating the lesson plans and structuring what they learn about.  But I feel that the students should be able to look into things that interest them.  This guarantees that they will be engaged in their learning.  One way is to have an overarching topic and allow the students to research or read what interests them and then share it with the class.  I can't remember the number but it is something along the lines of you remember 80% of what you teach.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Program Three, "The Reflective Teen"

One of the problems I have seen in students and had myself was dealing with sports and education.  On the days when I had a game I was basically always thinking about the game ahead and going through the motions until school was over.  One of the ways teachers can bring the students back is to incorporate their students activities into their lessons.  Say that is it the school's rivalry week, maybe focus on sports during WWII or how sports have influenced history.  Things along those lines would interest the student and keep their minds in the classroom.

What is metacognition?
Being conscious of one's mental processes
Looks like:
When a student is referring back to a map while they are reading.  The student understands that they use the map to help comprehend the information that they just read.  They are using the map to put things in perspective.  

Sounds like: 
A student asking for a visual representation of what they are learning is an example.  They understand that by using a visual aide it helps them to better understand the material.  The students know what helps them learn and for a teacher to recognize this is key.  If the students need a visual aide to help them with the lesson the teacher should have one prepared for them each lesson.

Safe Schools for the Roller Coaster Years
This article was quite enlightening.  IT talks about how students are going to make mistakes and that they should be allowed to make them.  Making these mistakes are the way for students to find out who they are.  The teacher and school's job is to create a safe environment to which the students can make these mistakes safely.  This system also runs on the fact that there aren't any detentions.  The teachers instead have students who have created a mistake to reflect on what they have done and why they did it.  This way they will not make the same mistake again.  Also when students are in a safer environment they are more likely to excel.  This also allows the students to take an active role in their school and education.

A Case for School Connectedness
The main point of this article is that students need to feel a connection with their school.  School connectedness is crucial on many levels for the students to be successful (both academic and otherwise).  Teachers are a very important part of this equation.  They need to make the learning meaningful and relevant while having consistent expectations and using strategies such as team learning exercises in order to get the students interacting.  The article also says to avoid separating students into vocational and college tracks.  It is also very important to have high expectations for everyone so that no student feels left out.  It is also important for there to be a strong adult/student relationship so that the students feel the school is doing everything possible to help them out.  

Self-Assessment Radar
For some reason I can not find my first radar but I am sure that the score could not have much more than 20.  This time it was 38.5.  I feel like a lot of the material I have learned is focusing on teaching to adolescents specifically.  A lot of the information, whether it be the brain development during that time or the dire need for student centered learning and environment.  A lot of this information could have helped me last semester because it would have explained a lot about their behaviors.  One of the more important things that I have forgotten to talk about was that teachers need to be friendly to warm to students but remain their teachers.  Most times I find myself being more of a friend then a teacher so the students don't show me the same respect.  It needs to be a combination of the two.  One of the ways in which it can help for the future is getting more creative with my lessons.  Reading out of the book in necessary to an extent but there are also other ways to cover the material in which the students can do it themselves.  I used to think that handing out a bulleted list to cover main ideas as I went over them was a great idea (and it is to an extent), but doing something that the students are more interested is the way to getting students to learn.  I realized in 251 that students weren't retaining what I had taught them.  This would definitely help to explain why.  Getting the students to interact more and having them engaged in their own learning is the way to get them to learn and remember the material.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Program Two, "The Engaged Teen"


1.) Students need a safe, respectful setting.
-allow the students to take part designing and decorating the room
-this would allows the students to feel more comfortable in an environment that they helped create.
2.)Students need varied input for learning.
-have the students become lobbyists for something that is either important or of interest to them
-this will keep them engaged and understanding politics
3.) Students need to learn experientially.
-have the students act as members of the U.N. and attempt to pass legislation
-gives them insight into some of the global politics 
4.) Students need timely feedback.
-have the students track their own grades
-this way the students know exactly what their grades are at all times and creates a sense of responsibility
-also make it well know that I am willing to answer any questions about grades and encourage students to maximize their potential

"Multiple Intelligences Review"
In every classroom there is going to be a varying combination of the different intelligences.  Through my field experience I have been able to see these varying types, especially in last semester's field placement.  In that classroom there were a lot of intelligences that clashed with others.  Some of the students were intrapersonal and had to work on their own where as others were interpersonal and wanted to work with others.  It was a real challenge for me to find activities that allowed each of these groups to get the best of their education.  On top of this you also have the audio,visual, and tactile learning styles.  This is one of the things I feel is tough for teachers is to individualize the education making sure that each students is given the opportunity to succeed.  

"Implications of Learning Research"
1.)Active learning is more powerful than passive learning
-this is most important to me because it is something that I have personally experienced to help greatly.  When students are participating in their own learning it allows them to stay engaged, hence learn more.  It is crucial that students do more than sit back and listen to what a teacher/professor has to say.  
2.)  New information structured in personally meaningful ways is more likely to be retained, learned, and used.
-I have found this to be true as well as the movie that I just got done watching did everything to assist in proving the point.  In the Ed 300 course we were discussing how particular groups of Americans (usually minorities) felt that the education they were getting didn't meet their needs.  It was because the information that they were getting from their teachers did not appeal to them.  If it appears to be of no use to the student, they will not only be unlikely to retain the information but will not listen to it in the first place.
3.)  To be remembered, new information must be connected to prior knowledge, and information must be remembered in order to be learned.
-This is why in history courses things move chronologically so that it is easier to understand.  It allows events to be explained in the cause/effect manner.  I learned the hard way in one of my earlier field placement that when you don't apply what they are going to learn to what they know, they students retain very little of what I taught them.  The day after I taught them the lesson they had forgotten most of it.  So tying the lessons together is crucial to getting the students to remember the information.
4.)  No learning is emotion free; emotions can help or hinder learning.
-appealing to the students emotions can greatly help your lesson and their ability to learn.  When a student is frustrated, it isn't always a bad thing.  It means that they are being challenged.  It means that they will need to use everything that they know to solve the problem.  However, if students become frustrated, they can easily just assume that the problem is too difficult for them.  Teachers need to ensure students that they are capable of doing the work.  Also having the students work together or possibly having peer tudors would also help keep students emotions helpful instead of a hinder.
5.)  To be most effective, teachers must balance levels of intellectual challenge and instructional support.
-This sort of ties back into number 4.  It is important to challenge to students but it is also key for students to feel that they can accomplish the course work.  Also the students may need the teacher to give them an example.   Teachers must challenge the students and allow creativity but sometimes it is important to show the students what they want.  Within history, the students need to understand the material before it is possible to have them think critically on the topic.  That is why we have a textbook or other sources of reading material.

a.  What was the most important information you learned during week two?
b.  Looking forward, how do you feel you will be able to sue this new information?
c.  What questions do you have regarding adolescent development?

a.  The most important thing I learned this week is that an active students learns much more than a passive students.  Along with that is teaching toward the students.  Make sure that what you are teaching them is of interest to them instead of the other way around.  It is tough for several older teachers to make the transition because of the generational difference.  But with todays society is important that students be able to perform certain tasks by the time that they graduate.  The way that we do this now is different than 20 years ago and will be different 20 years from now.  Teaching is an ever changing profession in which the clients (students and parents) need to take priority.

b.  There are so many ways in which I can apply this information.  It is key to find the interests of my students for several reasons.  One to show that I have an interest in the students' futures but more importantly to gear my lesson toward them to enhance their learning.  Also the way in which I teach is crucial.  History tends to be a subject where I lecture and the students take notes while I talk.  That needs to be changed.  Students need to be more active in the lessons.  I see it as my tasks to make history fun again.  I enjoy it want everyone else to feel the same way.  When I hear people say that they "hated" history that upsets me.  It is more probably in the way it was taught than the subject itself.  I want to make it so that students are more actively learning in my lessons.

c.  How is it possible to teach every lesson to all of the intelligences?  It just seems overwhelming to have all of them within a lesson.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Readings, Program One

The Adolescent Brain:  A Work In Progress

It has been commonly thought that teenagers brains are adult brains in adjusting bodies.  However, some research is showing that the frontal lobes (reasoning and reflection) are the last parts of the brain to mature (as late as age 20).  However, the amygdala, the part of the brain that covers emotional responses is fully functional, so a lot of times teenagers react instinctively rather than thinking.  In the article was also the possible effects of substance abuse for teenagers.  Now that research is showing the change in brain activity in your teens the use of alcohol and other drugs can potentially disrupt or stop those changes.  Lastly is sleep patterns for teenagers.  The article mentions that many parents and teachers complain that teenagers stay up late and sleep in.  Research has now shown that teenagers need around 9 hours of sleep and don't wake up until around 8-9.  Some school are experimenting with having classes start later in the day to compensate.  

What Makes Them Tick

This article in many ways is very similar to the first one in what they have to say.  In fact they both include many of the same doctors and research.  One of the areas that this articles differs is the depth it talks about the difference between the biological and neurological changes during puberty.  It was generally thought that during these years the rebellious attitude were the hormones and they did risky and dangerous things because of them.  However, as in the last article research is being done to show that it is because the teens lack the maturity in the frontal cortex.  The article then talks about how to possibly handle children during this time assuming that the change is more in the brain than in the hormones.

Program One "Almost Adults"

a. What was the most important information you learned from the video?
b. How does this new information affect your understanding of AYA students?
c. How might you apply what you have learned to your next field placement?

a./b.   I feel as though as lot of the information in this film has been covered through either my education or psychology courses.  However,  the one section of this film that I really found important is the part about brain anatomy.  It gives reason behind the actions or lack their of for the students that I will be seeing once I enter a classroom.  The fact that the emotional sector of the brain is in full function but the frontal lobe which controls reasoning and other complexities is just starting to form itself.  The idea of pruning sort of combines nature and nurture.  The students naturally create the neuro-connections but what they do in life can make one of them strong and others weak.  This is extremely important because being an educator during this point in their lives it is important for me to help the students to create complex thinking abilities as well as creating an environment to help them express themselves.  

c.  For my next field placement I intend on taking the history/psychology teacher's advice in making the content more personal.  Relating them to events that happened so many years ago or comparing something today to a recent event.  This program also reinforced the idea of having a safe environment for my students.  When students are concerned with the way they look or what others think about them they are distracted and it greatly affects their ability to learn.  One of the big keys in this film was the use of active learning, having the students participate in their education.  A teacher just spitting information to students is not the way that they learn best.  I understand that in several classes, especially history, there has to be time taken to give the students information before they can start to think about it.  I had a field placement for Ed. 300 and the English teacher I was with had a nice strategy going.  She allowed the students to do a writing piece then showed them their literacy rating.  Now they are doing a project in which they are creating a magazine article using several writing strategies that the teacher hasn't explained to them.  She is using this as a learning experience for the students to go through and will go back and explain.  Based on the way her students react in class and their want to learn I have to say that it looks successful.