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.