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.