Wednesday, December 23, 2009

final Blog Posting

My personal theory of learning has only grown in this class. I think that the theory would change based on the children/students you have in your class, and what your class needs at that point. The adjustments would be to find the area that the students need at that moment and tweak my plans to meet the needs of my students.
One of the tools I would be implementing would be cooperative learning. I believe that the more students interact with each other the more they benefit from learning. The other tool I will be using and have used is cues, questions and advance organizers. Students can benefit much more from being able to organize their information and put it into something other than words. It can go with them.
My first long-term goal would be for me to give more immediate feedback to the students on their work; And to make myself more available to the students while they are working. I feel like being able to talk to the students as they are working is more helpful than after the fact. This would be the tool of setting objectives and providing feedback.
My second long term goal would be to use more of the tools that we learned about in this course. I feel like the more we can bring into the students' learning, the better off they'll be, and the more that they'll be able to recall and spit back to us what we teach them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Unregister to bloggr

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cooperative Learning

In the chapter on Cooperative Learning, the instructional strategy of cooperative learning focuses on having students interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning (Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, and Pitler, 2008). I understand that having students work together in cooperative groups helps them identify problems, or things that are not comprehended by other students in that group. I liked the example of explaining the jigsaw strategy that was given. I used something similar last year in my 4th grade class. We were studying the water cycle. I had the children in groups of 5 and each picked a different part of the water cycle. I then took all the "water vapors" etc and put them in the same group. I told them that they had to work together at first so they could determine how the cycle works. Then they were put into the same groupings and they had to collaborate on ways to perfect their research.

Our children of today (whether our own or our students), as well as the adults of today, have any social network that we want at our fingertips. We can look up anything, or anyone at the click of fingers. I find myself saying to other educators that I work with, "I remember when I was these kids age, I had to actually go to a library, and use a card catalog and look up the information that I wanted to research and actually go find a book and look it up!!!!" Today's children just have to point and click. So I think that as wonderful as technology has become and where it is going, they still need to be able to know that there are other ways to find what they are looking for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An instructional strategy that was explored was Apple Learning Interchange-Online project based learning. I read about the and the 2,500-mile voyage of the Monarch butterflies to Canada from Mexico. Any child can look on a map and find where Mexico is. But Journey North creates a real life experience for the students. They have communication with children in Mexico about the temps, the air quality, and it intertwines all the content areas. The children then write back and forth, which forces them to use their best handwriting. I believe that this is using the constructionist learning theory. The students in each area/state are encouraged to be scientists in and outside of their own classroom.

Another game that they play through Journey North is "Mystery Class." I think that this is great. Most kids know how to play "I Spy", but I think that this puts it into real-life prospective. They are given information about anywhere in the world and they have to guess where it is. Clues are given to them either by their teacher or someone else, and they have to make guesses on where it is, based on the information that they have been given. This is something that I would definitely consider doing in my 4th grade classroom.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cognitivism in the Classroom

This week, in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works we explored two instructional strategies that embed technology: "Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers" and "Summarizing and Note Taking." Dr. Michael Orey discussed the Information Processing Model and the components of cognitive learning theories. The one theory that I could identify with and I have used in my own classroom for remembering information is the elaboration theory. It is the primary mechanism for storing information in long term memory. I have used association by words and pictures for anything I have taught and I want the children to remember. I do the same thing with my own children. The example that he gave of General Lee stuck with me even now as a teacher. I found myself putting on my "jeans" and remember who the South's general was, all because of the association that I made with my jeans and Lee and Lee jeans. One of the reason's that children forget about the information they are given is they lose the connection that was made for the information. Which is why the elaboration theory helps to engrain in their minds the things that they need to remember. Sometimes I have told my class that sometimes you might not understand what the information means, but you just need to be able to spit it back out for the test. However, keeping that same information in the "filing cabinets" of your brain is pertinent for end of the year testing. Concept mapping tools help children also make the connection with pictures (squares, circles, one word answers, etc) to the information. Looking at pictures may also make it so they can "see" the picture of the map in their mind, and it is then easily retained for future use.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"The instructional strategy of reinforcing effort enhances students' understanding of the relationship between effort and achievement by addressing their attitudes and beliefs about learning" (McREL, 2007). Students do not realize how important it is for them to look at their efforts and evaluate them. Reinforcing effort is as important as reinforcing behavior. The exercise that was discussed using a spreadsheet is something that I will be starting to set up for my students this week. I was in awe of how that could work in any grade that was taught. I currently am an inclusion EIP (early intervention program) teacher in a 4th grade classroom, and this is the most unmotivated group of children I have ever had to deal with. This teacher and I continuously find ourselves brainstorming to find out what to do next, what is going on....question after question after question.

The section of the book that dealt with reinforcing effort is something that all too often teachers don't think about as often as they should. We get so caught up in teaching and making sure we cover the curriculum, that we forget to reward those that at least have made the effort to try, just may not have "succeeded." Unfortunately, we have to say that they didn't succeed based on test scores/grades, but we can't say that they succeeded if they have bad scores even if their effort was outstanding. Which sounds a little backwards, but I have to say that it's hard to teach students about the importance of effort, if the effort doesn't bring the success and good scores. I see the defeatist attitude quite a bit in the classroom that I am in, and when that is the attitude in half of the class, it's very hard to change the beliefs and make a connection between effort and achievement. Behaviorist learning theory is reinforcing the positive behavior and not the punishment and that goes hand in hand with the reinforcing effort section of this book.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Final Blog Posting

This course has helped me to develop my own technology skills as a professional teacher in many ways. I never had done blogging before nor did I even know how to set one up. A google reader, that was the thing that I had the most difficulty with. I couldn't figure out what was supposed to be linked and how to set it up. But I have to say that since I have done this, it is amazing how easy it is.

I have learned that the teaching and learning process goes together. As the students learn in new ways and with new tools, the teachers also have to come up with new innovative ways to keep the students attention. Another thing that I have learned to accept is "if you can't beat them, join them." Yes, I know that we cannot give into everything that they do and is into, but I do think we could find a way to involve them through technology with the resources that they already use!!

There were many ways that my perspective from teacher-centered to learner-centered has changed in that before I do anything in the classroom right now, I think, "is this going to benefit the children?" I want to make sure that the students can get the most out of it that they can so that the impact of learning is top priority. Then I also am finding myself thinking "can all children learn through this?" Our learning can expand by continuing our education and keeping up on the up and coming technology. By taking master's classes like we are, that will keep our technology awareness and skills up to date.

I have two goals of transforming my class. My first goal is to start a "blog" for my class with a variation of different subjects that the parents could participate in it also. I would like to create a blog of all different subjects and content areas. It'll take a while to set up and train the kids as well as the parents on it. I would also love it if our school started up a blog for parents as a communication tool. I also would like for my students to be responsible for setting up a website for our class. It would also take sometime, but I think it is possible!!! I would have to slowly introduce the children to blogging, and setting up wiki's and/or a website. There are a lot of avenues that can be traveled through this, and I am willing to try each one until I get success! Really none of my answers changed from my original list. I feel I have gained a knowledge in order to try and attempt many things.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kim Huston's podcast-click here

This is the new podcast for week 5.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Evaluating 21st Century Skills

The Partnership or 21st Century Skills is the leading advocacy organization ( focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. My reaction is still that of amazement that this is what is going on and I was unclear of all the ins and outs of this. It was a user friendly website and did give quite a few snap shots of how these particular things work, just not as detailed as I would like.

Just as students can deepen their knowledge when teamed with their peers in the classroom, students can broaden their prospective of the world through relationships with international counterparts. ( This will allow them to navigate globally later in life.

The thing that I disagreed with was the states that were associated with this and that only 11 states were on this list. Looking at this for the first time, and reading all the emphasis they are doing to coordinate government and schools and get everyone together, one would assume that all 50 states would be applicable to this. Once these 11 get with the program what will happen to the other 41 states? Who will catch them up while the first 11 get ahead?

Georgia is not on the list of 11 states, but there is no reason why I cannot go ahead and start implementing these strategies in my classroom. Once Georgia gets on the list, I would like to think that because I advocated being a contemporary educator, my students (regardless of what grade they were in) would be a step above the learning curve of technology wherever it may fall at that moment. The ICT/Global awareness is something that will be implemented in my class next year; it can be achieved at different levels and made age appropriate. My students will benefit greatly from these new skills and I feel as they go to middle school, highschool and college, they will feel more confident in themselves and the amount of technology they have been taught to better them for their future.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Utilizing Blogs in the Classroom

This would be my first time blogging or even posting! I think that starting a blog for students can open up to a world of opportunities. I would probably start off by having the students blog about what interests them and how they learn best. I would show them examples of what are proper and improper ways of "answering blogs." Something that has had an impact on my previous students is showing them the wrong and right ways of doing something (it doesn't matter what subject is being taught).

When children blog all in the same area, this could be available for the parents to see their work firsthand. I think that blogging enhances the lesson because if there are children that do not want to raise their hands and "speak" in class, would most likely write more in depth and share more on the blog vs in the classroom. I was one of those children. I would much prefer to write something than to publicly speak in front of anyone! Since then, I have overcome my fear of raising my hand, but it might ease children into it!

The grade I would use it in would be 4th grade, and I would give the children a writing prompt. Starting with something easy to get them used to the blogging atmosphere like what they would like to be when they grow up and why. I would then have them respond to a certain number of classmates, commenting on their career choice. I feel this would be something that each child could relate to each other about. I think every child has thought at one time or another about what they want to be "when they grow up." My rubric would consist of how well they made comments on each others post and how well their writing was. I have always had children that could explain themselves better with writing, than have to answer multiple choice. This is where the future is going, and I believe that the sooner they are exposed to it the better.