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.