Monday, October 10, 2011

Workshop Exemplar

The workshop that helped me be immersed the most was the observation report.  The observation report helped me understand the characteristics of my learners.  I was immersed while I was observing teenagers because I tried to find patterns and understand what made those individuals excited and able to have fun.  I found that students like to do activities in group.  I have seen this in practice in my school districts.  When students work together in groups, some people are upset because they have to fill all the shoes for their teammates.  In other cases, people jump to the option of working together because they can collaborate and delegate the tasks.  I find that teachers need to be flexible when it comes to group work and that if a student will succeed at a high level by themselves that they should be allowed to work by themselves.  I also found out what boredom looks like in a teenager.  This experience also helped me because I now notice boredom in my students.  Right now, I hear many comments about how they do not understand the purpose of the class activities and are very bored.  I am keeping this in mind as I plan my units so that I try to come up with innovative ways to get content standards across.  Lastly, I feel as though my experience doing the observation report helped me understand the demographics of my students. Many of my students come from difficult situations at home.  This has helped me understand that I need to create a safe haven for my students.  

The blog entries that indicate my progress on my observation report are as follows: 

Thursday, August 4, 2011: Moving Forward with the Observation project 

Observation Workshop (Write-up) Who are my learners? Part II

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Shadow Study

Shadow Study:

Schema activation: Engagement looks like paying attention to the teacher by:
1.     not talking with friends
2.     answering teacher’s questions
3.     keeping one’s head off the desk (not sleeping)
4.     not being disruptive through getting out of the seat or
5.     doing the classwork

Method for measuring student activation:
The purpose of this activity was to record a particular student’s engagement through their classes all day long.  The method that I used to collect data on being engaged/or disengaged was by indicating whether or not the student was engaged/disengaged and what evidence I had for my conclusion.  I collected data every 5 minutes and my chart of engagement looked like:

Time into class 
Not Engaged
What evidence did I use to make my conclusion
0-5 mins

5-10 mins

10-15 mins

15-20 mins

20-25 mins

25-30 mins

30-35 mins

35-40 mins

40-45 mins

45-50 mins

50-55 mins

Table 1: Data table used to collect data

The figure above is the data table that I used to collect data for each class hour of the day.  I would check a box for engaged or not engaged and then record what type of evidence I had for my conclusion.   I also would include a number on a scale from 1 to 5 to indicate how engaged or disengaged she was.   The scale went from 1 being very disengaged to 5 being very engaged.  Each class is around an hour in length. 

Information on the student I chose:
My student is an eighth grade girl who seems to be relatively engaged in the science course that I have her in.  She has science 1st hour and is always prepared for class with a pencil and does well on course assignments.  I chose her because I wanted to see if she was attentive in all of her classes or if it was just for science courses.  I also wanted to choose her so that I could see what attentiveness looked like in other course types.  My student’s schedule was as follows: 1st hour: 8th grade science, 2nd hour: Orchestra, 3rd hour: 8th grade history, 4th hour: Art, 5th hour: 8th grade English, 6th hour: 8th grade math. 

Reflection:  I found that my student was relatively engaged for each of her classes except 6th hour.   I also noticed that for the most part my student was relatively disengaged (2-3) during the first 10 minutes of class.  This could be a result of the teacher having to take care of attendance and other paperwork necessary for starting class.  Generally speaking, I found that after taking attendance, my student made sure not to talk with her friends and started to be engaged in her coursework.  There was a few times where I found that my student was disengaged. 

Evidence of engagement:
1.     completing the warm up in each of her classes
2.     listening to the teacher’s instruction and completing the group work (i.e. in art class she listened to the teacher’s instruction and then spent the rest of the class completing the activity for that class period)
3.     actively participating in the class (i.e. in orchestra she always had her violin ready to play and would stop when the teacher stopped)
4.     quietly sitting while the teacher talks
5.     answering questions that the teacher asks

Evidence of disengagement:
1.     talking with friends
2.     not completing the task at hand (for instance, I saw in her sixth hour course and she did not complete the task at hand and did not ask her teacher for help; this could have been a result of

Top 5 Things that I learned about engagement:

  • 1 When I first conducted this project, I thought of engagement of a student differently. I thought that if a student was not being disruptive, was not talking with their friends, and was not sleeping, it meant that they were engaged.  After completing this task and talking with other fellows, I realize that engagement means much more.   I also thought that engagement meant following the teacher’s instruction.  The main problem with this assumption that I had made is that even if a student writes down the directions to a lab experiment, if they do not understand the steps or why they are doing it, then they might just go through the motions to get the task done.  I saw this happen when my student was in art class. She was told to complete a worksheet but she did not understand how to complete it.  Instead of asking clarifying questions she tried her best to complete the activity.  I heard comments such as, “why are we doing this”, and “I don’t understand this”.   I realized after witnessing this, that it is very easy for teachers to think that their students are engaged when they are actually struggling and not understanding the task at hand.  
  •  Engagement means listening to the teacher’s instruction and synthesizing through the information to achieve understanding.  This is possibly the most important aspect of engagement.  Engagement needs to lead to “aha” moments and that the activity that they are completing could be completed on their own correctly without any help. 
  •  Engagement means asking good questions about the topic that is being covered in class.  Questions in class could be about the content being covered or how it is relevant.  The biggest struggle for teachers is to keep students engaged in the classroom.  Many students want to feel as if the information they are learning is going to help them in the future.  If they do not feel as though it is relevant than they will check out of the classroom and become disengaged.  I have seen this in my observations so far of my student in her science and math course.  
  • Sixth hour seems to be for whatever reason the hardest class hour to have students stay engaged for.  Many of these students have already checked out of the classroom and are thinking about the rest of their day.  A couple of ideas I have to help mitigate this are: 1.  have activities that last 15 minutes or less and then change the activity. If an activity lasts longer than 15 minutes, it is easy for students to become disengaged.; 2.  Try to incorporate hands-on activities so that students are minds-on, hands on.   
Overall, I think that being engaged in a classroom is much much more than just paying attention in a classroom and not causing problems.  It is about making the information relevant to themselves and asking the teacher questions to help clarify the information.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blackboard Workshop (Reading Groups) Chapter 2

Notes on Chapter 2

Behavorial Techniques: Practices used to modify classroom behaviors.

Behavior modification: Programs developed for individual students.

Importance of Pavlov: began the behaviorist movement with his experiment with dogs. He noticed that when a conditioned stimulus is applied with an unconditional response, the result is a conditioned response.

Importance of John Watson (1878-1958): found that learning was the process of conditioning responses through the subsituation of one stimulus for another.

Importance of Edward Thorndike (1874-1949): operant conditions and came up with the Law of Effect (a rewarded behavior will be repeated and an unrewarded behavior will cease).

Importance of B.F. Skinner: operant conditioning is a theory and concentrated on the observation and manipulation of behaviors. What is operant conditioning? describes the relationship between behavior and environmental events and focuses on the use of reinforcement to obtain desired behaviors.

Behavorists: believe that all behaviors regardless of whether they are good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, are learned and maintained by reinforcement.

Elements of Behavior Management:

Consequences: events or changes in the environment following a behavior.

Three basic consequences of behavior:

1. Behavior followed immediately by a reward (reinforcement) will occur more frequently

2. Behavior followed closely by a punishing consequence will occur less often.

3. Behavior will be extinguished (stopped) when it is no longer reinforced.

As a teacher we have three choices of ways to respond to inappropriate behavior:

1. Rewarding appropriate behavior in order to increase the chances the desired behavior will occur again.

2. Ignoring the inappropriate behavior in hopes of extinction.

3. Punishing the student for inappropriate behavior.

Consequences of behavior:

Reinforcement: operates on the likelihood that the desired behavior will be repeated under the same or similar circumstances. Can be positive or negative.

Positive Reinforcement: presentation of a reinforcer wanted by the student after the desired behavior has been exhibited. This only works if:

1. reinforcement is given only if the student exhibits the desired behavior
2. reinforcement is individualized for a particular child
3. desired behavior is reinforced immediately after it is exhibited
4. verbal praise is combined with the reinforcement
5. the target behavior is reinforced each time it is exhibited
6. the reinforcement is given by someone the child loves, likes, or respects.

Negative reinforcement: strengthens the behavior, a behavior that is strengthened is more likely to reoccur.

It involves the removal of an aversive stimulus following a desired behavior

Removal: something aversive is removed
Desired behavior: wanted behavior, expected behavior

Negative reinforcement is not punishment.  Reinforcement strengthens the behavior whereas punishment suppresses the behavior

Punishment: application of an unpleasant stimulus or the withdrawal of a pleasant reward in an attempt to weaken a response

1. Presentation punishment: presentation of an aversive stimulus in order to decrease inappropriate behavior

2. Removal punishment: pleasant stimulus or the eligibility to receive a positive reinforcement is taken away. 
Detention, in-school suspensions are examples of removal punishment

3. Three Types of time out: 

a. nonseclusionary: The student remains in the classroom but must be completely silent or is required to put his or her head on the desk.

b. exclusionary: Removed from the immediate instructional area to another part of the room

c. seclusionary: The student is removed from the classroom. 

Extinction: process of ending undesired behaviors by withholding reinforcement

Schedules of Reinforcement: 

1. Continuous schedule: children are reinforced every time they respond

2. Intermittent schedule: child is reinforced after some occurrences of the desired behavior, not each time

a. Interval schedules of reinforcement: distribute reinforcement based on time

b. Ratio schedule of reinforcement: based on the number of responses rather than the passage of time

3. Variable schedule: the giving of the reward is so varied so that no patterns can be established. 

Types of Reinforcement: 

1. Primary reinforcements: satisfy the biological needs or drives of a student, and their reinforcing value does not have to be explained (eating, water, sleep).

2. Secondary reinforcements: get their power from the significance attached to them by students, can be in the form of a tangible object, approval or attention from another

3. Token reinforcements: has no intrinsic reinforcing properties; its value is based on the tangible object or desired activity for which it can be exchanged

4.  Social reinforcers: behaviors of other people (teachers, parents, peers, and administrators) that increase desired behaviors, include compliments, praise, facial expressions, physical contact, and attention

5. Activity reinforcers: rewards by allowing the student to participate in perferred activities and are another natural and easily dispensable reward for desirable behavior, includes extra time at the computer, leadership roles in the classroom, etc.

Working with Individual students: 
1. Shaping: used to teach new behaviors and skills and refers to the reinforcement of successive approximations of a terminal behavior

2. Behavior modification: involves systematically applying behavioral principles in an effort to change specific behaviors in an individual

 Strategies for dealing with difficult students: 
1. Functional behavioral assessment. The research shows that interventions based on functional behavior assessments are more likely to be effective in changing behaviors than interventions developed without the use of a functional behavioral assessment.
What is this type of assessment? multi step process that is designed to identify causal factors associated with challenging behaviors and to generate plausible hypotheses about the functions of problem behaviors and also to develop possible interventions aimed at replacing such behaviors. 

Take aways: 

Those behaviors that are inappropriate or unwarrented need to be stopped either through negative reinforcement or extinction.  Those behaviors that are appropriate need to be encouraged and praised and have positive reinforcement. 

The praise needs to be given regularly on some sort of schedule otherwise the student will not know that they are doing well. 

We also need to think about our learners when we give positive or negative reinforcement.  For instance, in the chapter it talks about a boy whose parents think that baby talk is cute and how it would be much harder for the teacher to stop that behavior.  They also state that if you give a student a piece of candy that they do not like, they might not see it as a reward.  I think the latter example is a little shallow because the teacher would explain that it is a reward and even if they didn't like the piece of candy they could see that the teacher was proud of them. 

Moving Forward with Observation project

I have decided to work with Tammy, Anne, and Ana on this project. We are going to come together to work on a Prezi presentation so that we learn how to incorporate newer technology into our classes.

We are going to meet during class today to go over our notes and what we have individually noticed during our observation. Hopefully, we can synthesize our information together so that we can concentrate on looking for certain attributes in our last chunk of observation.

For instance, Tammy and I have already agreed that we are going to go back to Rivertown Mall tomorrow at 5 pm to observe. I think that Tammy wants to concentrate on the type of clothing the learners are wearing and where they like to shop.

I know that I will be at Muskegon in the Fall so I hope that some of this will relate back to what I will be seeing.

The main objectives that I would like to concentrate on when I go back to observe at Rivertown Mall are:

1. Are Caucasian youth primarily by themselves or with a parent or do they seem like they are taking care of their younger siblings? If they are by themselves, it could suggest that they have more free time to be with just their friends and that they do not have as many outward responsibilities to their families.

2. Do Latino youth go to the mall with their family and are they expected to take care of their younger siblings or friends of their parents? How will this make their school experience different? How can I meet their needs in the classroom when they might be focused on family issues?

3. Do I see any other instances of boredom in middle school youth? If so, what might be the cause of the boredom? This can relate back to my classrooms because I will know what boredom looks like. The goal would be to have classroom activities that change their boredom into interest. (This goes back to what Jacque Melin talked about in her class when she said that middle school students can concentrate for around 15 minutes before they need a different activity.)

4. Are middle school learners more active then high school learners? This is very important to notice so that I can foster a classroom environment where they feel like they are active and can channel their energy to classroom activities.

Hopefully, each of us participating in this group (Anne, Ana, and Tammy) will bring different perspectives to the table and we can work together to make our Prezi presentation showing the natural environment of our learners and how we can take what we learned in our observations and apply it to the classroom.

I would also like to go back to Muskegon this weekend and see if I notice anything different than in Grand Rapids because I will be in Muskegon.

I have three hours left to observe and am going to concentrate on those points that I stated above.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Observation Workshop (Write-up) Who are my learners? Part II

Notes on Observation in Muskegon, MI (1 hr on Pere Marquette Beach)

Who? I observed multiple groups of high school and middle school aged learners on the beach. They were primarily groups of Caucasian high school or middle school learners. I observed one group of three teenage Caucasian girls who were wearing the same exact swimsuit but in different colored stripes. This struck me as important as the teenagers thinking it was cool to wear the same type of article of clothing but that it could not be 100% exactly the same.
I observed a group of Caucasian boys who were all in swim attire walking down the pier. They were socializing with each other and seemed to be getting along.
I did not see a large number of African American or Latino students on the beach. This could be because I went later in the afternoon (around 4 pm) which is not a prime time to go the beach.

So what? Fitting in seemed to be a number one priority of the girls I observed and that wearing a similar swimsuit indicated solidarity but the different colors indicated individuality. This could be reading in between the lines but I think there is something about wanting solidarity and individuality at the same time. It also seemed like many of the people at the beach were probably with their families but were allowed to walk the beach alone in their group of friends. It seemed like they were happy when they were away from their parents.

Now what?
I would like to observe the beach either at an earlier or later time to see if the demographics change with the time of day. I would also like to see if latino and African American learners are with their families on the beach or if they are by themselves. I would also like to see whether or not the sense of solidarity/individuality is as important to African Americans or Latino? Does clothing matter or is it about the personal relationships? Is what I am seeing at Rivertown mall with the Caucasian populous caring about brand names and African American/Latino populous not caring as much true as well at the beach?

Observation Workshop (Write-up) Who are my learners?

Notes on observation at Rivertown Mall July 22, 2011 (2-4 pm)

1st Group of students:
Who? 2 students:
-one girl and one guy
-playing with a phone and texting.
-They are both high school aged.
-Interaction is revolving around using the phone.
-sometimes the phone is used as a tool for conversation for both of them perhaps to look at something like a text, picture (media file) or even the internet
-sometimes it is used individually so that they can communicate with others outside of the situation.
So what? The interaction seemed to revolve around technology. This suggests that they find it very useful and they are familiar with it.
Now what? If technology is very familiar to them and they use daily, then I should not feel apprehensive about using it in my classroom. The key is how to incorporate it appropriately in the classroom. I also wonder if I should allow cell phones in my classrooms or have a policy that they can only be out and used when we are doing an activity with them.

2nd group of students:
Who? I observed a group of 3 boys who are latino. They have no cell phones out (at least that I could see from a distance). They are wearing simple clothes (white short sleeved t-shirts). They are joking with each other and appear to be in late middle school or early high school. They do not seem to be focused on appearance and have simple sneakers on.
So what? They seemed focused on each other and personal interactions without technology being used. They also seemed interested more in their friendship than what they were wearing or their outward appearance.
Now what? This was the first experience I had with really observing Latinos in terms of a classroom setting. It seems that they were definitely interested in each other and the social interaction which is interesting because of their sex. Perhaps, Latino culture values interaction over personal appearance. This is important to know as a teacher because I can make sure that I do not favor those students who are dressing nice. It is so easy for teachers to not purposely give attention to those students who dress nicer or have brand name clothes on. However, the book The First Days of School, stated that no matter whether we think that it is right or wrong to judge people on their outward appearance, it happens anyways. The goal as teachers is to not show favoritism.

3rd group of students:
Who? I observed a group of 7 boys and 3 girls who were all middle school aged. They are all Caucasian and most of them do not have visible cell phones out. When I did see a cell phone it was not a smart phone. I observed that they were telling each other stories and one of them was pretending to use a telephone as part of the story. They were a very dynamic group of students when they were all together. They could not sit still and were very vocal. The boys primarily had a “skater” boy look and had hair in their eyes. One of the boys had an Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirt one and another one had a Hardley t-shirt on. The girls were wearing standard informal clothes but did seem slightly worried about looking good (one of the girls had a t-shirt that was tied in the back with a hair-tie making it slightly more tight). I observed twice that the boys got up and left, leaving two girls behind. The two girls that were left behind seemed very bored and did not appear to be having a good time. Eventually one of the girls started playing with yarn to make friendship bracelets, and another girl brought out her ipod. They were staring out into thin air and were not talking with each other. When the group returned they had not bought anything. I thought that was interesting because most students were buying things and had bags with them. Perhaps they were just hanging out at the mall.
So what? It was important to observe a group of students who were younger as I will be working with middle school aged students. I need to realize that they have a ton of energy and find ways in my classroom to channel that energy to a positive end. It also means that I need to be willing to do multiple activities so they are not sitting too long. I also know what it looks like to be bored and as a teacher I need to watch for that in my classroom. If I do see boredom, I need to have activities in place that hopefully mitigate the boredom.
Now what? The next step is to see if I see the same level of energy in other similarly aged students and note whether or not I see boredom as well. I also want to note if other middle school aged students do not generally buy products at the mall but use it as a hang out.

4th group of students:
Who? I observed three boys and one girl. They seemed more appearance focused based on the clothes they were wearing. The boys all had baseball caps on and had Pac Sun bags. One of the boys seemed a bit younger and it did seem plausible that the older siblings were taking care of the younger boy. They were middle school aged.
So what? It was important for me to see what might be family interactions and how family life influences the social relationships that my learners have.
Now what? I would like to observe more of the family relationships that my learners have. I think that it is important that I know where my learners are coming from (i.e. if they have to take care of siblings, etc.)

5th group of students:
Who? I observed two girls who were eating Taco Bell. They were high school aged, and Caucasian. One girl had a Vera Bradley bag and the other girl had an iPhone. They were talking to each other but the girl with the iPhone kept having her hand on her phone either as a security measure or to check for texts.
So what? This is important because there were only two girls interacting with each other and I also got to see where they shopped. Vera Bradley is a high-end quilted purse company and iPhones are not inexpensive. I was able to view that they probably were middle class.
Now what? I do not know who my learners are going to be but I think that it is important to note all learners that come from a variety of backgrounds. I would like to see if Muskegon has a similar group of Caucasian girls. Is what I am seeing here indicative of my student population?

6th group of students:
Who? I observed a group of African American girls and boys. There was one boy and 5 girls (one of the girls seemed like she was late elementary or early middle school aged. It seemed like there were 4 teenage girls and 1 teenage boy. Near the end of observing them, I noticed that 2 younger boys joined them who were late elementary or middle school in aged. Perhaps this was a group of sisters and brothers or a group of children from two families. One of the girls was on her cell phone and she seemed like one of the older girls. Perhaps, she was the one who was in charge of them all.
So what? This was interesting because I got to observe a group of African Americans and see how much they valued the family environment and caring for one another.
Now what? Am I making a generalization about African American families in that they congregate? Do older siblings generally take care of younger siblings or is that generalization unfounded? I would like to see if I see the same pattern with other African American learners or if the pattern is different.

7th group of students:
Who? I observed 6 latino teenage girls and boys. They were sitting for a long time and had cell phones out until a mom or family member came. It seemed like they were joking with each other and having a good time.
So what? Like African American students, it seems like these teenagers have a huge responsibility to their families. It seems as though they take their family as their number one priority. This means that my learners that are Latino might have more of a responsibility to their families and for taking care of their younger siblings.
Now what? Is this really a pattern? How do I deal with this in a classroom setting? How do I meet their needs in a classroom when their minds might be focused on home issues?

8th group of students:
Who? 2 teenage girls, Caucasian, looking for friends, using long strapped purses, simple shirts, trying to find their friends.
So what? The mall is a place to find their friends and socialize and enjoy each other.
Now what? Friendship is essential to development and how can I create an environment in my classroom that fosters real relationships.

Lastly, I observed multiple high school couples. Some high school couples seemed shy about their affection and were only talking with each other and not publicly holding hands where other couples did not feel shy and were showing affection by holding hands. This is important because I need to realize that teenagers might be uncomfortable admitting they are in a relationship and do not want to bring attention to it whereas others might be overly public about it. This is important in the classroom because I should not comment on a person’s relationship unless it gets in the way of the learning process.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reflection on class

I can see how you have incorporated various techniques into your teaching to provide us with ideas for our classrooms. For instance, I have really enjoyed the interactive activities such as the Twitter-posting during a speaker, the TED talks and Jigsaw activity afterwards. The interactive events in our course have been very useful.

I can also see how you have provided us with professional contacts who can help us in our transition from pre-service teachers to in-service teachers. It was great that you were able to get us in contact with ThinkThankThunk as well as Dr. Britten. That was great.

I have been a little frustrated at the amount of handouts and expected work. I have felt like I had to do everything and do every worksheet but now I realize that is not the case.

You have employed responsibility in that you have told us that we are responsible for deciding what is important and what is not important.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reading Workshop (Unit A-The First Days of School)

Schema Activation: What do you remember about the first day of middle school or high school?

I remember the first day of my senior year. I thought it was important to dress up and that everyone would be looking at what you were wearing, what that said about your economic situation, give people an image of who you were going to represent that year. People would make sure to get a new outfit for the first day from the most expensive clothing store possible. In the classes, the teachers would go over the syllabus and other rules for the school year and then spend a few minutes working through problems. I also remember going from class to class getting more and more syllabi and learning very little about what the targets were for learning except passing the state mandated standardized tests.

Activity: Reading Unit A: The First Day of school:

TS: Text to self
TW: Text to world
TT: Text to text

Chapter 1: Why you need to succeed on the first days of school

Effective teachers spent time organizing and structuring their classrooms so the students knew what to do to succeed.

TS: I need to establish consistency in my classroom because students want to know exactly what they getting in to and what is going to happen. One of my top prioritiies should be to provide a classroom that is consistent. I have to establish rules and then a set of consequences that are always the same. I cannot back away down and not make the consequencess different.

TW: If I establish consistency in my room, then those students will always know what to expect. Many professors have stressed to us that school life might be the only consistent aspect of their life. At home they do not always know what to expect but we as teachers can help them always know what is going on.

TS: Students want to have a safe, predictable, and nurturing environment, consistency, well-managed classes, no yelling and a place where learning can take place.

Everyone has stressed that we need have a predictable and consistent setting.

Effective teachers teach classroom management procedures that create consistency.

Effective teachers have lesson plans and procedures that produce student learning.

Effective teacher establishes good control of the class in the very first day of school. Control is what you are doing, classroom procedures, and professional responsibilities

Four stages of Teaching

Stage 1- Fantasy
Generally neophyte teachers believe that they just need to be friends.
Relate and be a friend to their students.
Rarely talk about standards, assessment, or student achievement

Stage 2- Survival
Teachers look for busywork for the students to do, students spend time completing worksheets, watching videos, and doing seat work. Goal is to keep their students quiet.

Stage 3- Mastery

teach for mastery, and have high expectations for their students
reading the literature and going to professional meeting to help their teaching

Stage 4- Impact

Teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students. Students come back years later to thank them for helping them.

Reaching the Impact stage will fulfill your fantasy or dream of making a difference in the live of your students.

Teachers were hired to impact lives, influence lives and touch lives.

2-The Effective Teacher

Three Characteristics of an effective teacher

1. has positive expectations for student success
2. is an extremely good classroom manager
3. Knows how to design lessons for student mastery

Positive Expectations

Positive Expectations: means that the teacher believes in the learner and that the learner can learn.

Text to self: I need to believe that the student can and will learn something. The teacher (me) needs to emotionally and verbally communicate that we believe in the learner by not yelling at a students mistake and using the word "yet". The student may not understand something initially but eventually they will meet the target.

Text to text: This is seems to fit in well with the growth mindset.

Text to world: As a body of teachers, we should all demonstrate that we believe that the learner will eventually learn something.

It is essential that the teacher exhibit positive expectations toward all students.

Text to self: I think that it is easy to exhibit favoritism and this quote touches on that. We must have the same expectations for all students. If a student misses a questions, we must have the deep-rooted belief that the student will eventually know it.

Classroom Management

Classroom management consists of the practices and procedures that a teacher uses to maintain an environment in which instruction and learning can occur.

Lesson Mastery

Mastery refers to how well a student can demonstrate that a concept has been comprehended, or perform a skill at a level of proficiency, as determined by the teacher.

Chapter 3: The First Year can be successful

What is a good teacher? One who continually improves themselves by going back to college, joining professional organizations, attends conferences, conventions, workshops, and participate in professional development meets, working cooperatively with others on the staff in collegial support networks, and learning communities

Text to self: I agree with all of those attributes for good teachers. I want to be a teacher that is continually revising and learning. I do not think teaching is about knowing everything and perfection. It is about realizing that you will never be perfect but taking the steps to become as perfect as possible. I can see myself attending conferences and conventions in order to learn more about content knowledge as well as pedagogical content knowledge. I want to be teacher who continually goes back to school and takes classes. I also want to not just talk the talk but walk the walk. I want to be a collaborator and not be so prideful that I don't go to other teachers to ask what works and what doesn't. Teaching is about being willing to admit your faults and grow through more education and more conversations with other teachers.

Text to world: This goes along with what we are learning in other classes. In Becoming a Teacher, we analyzed our content knowledge to find those areas that we are week in and come up with a professional development plan about how we are going to address those weaknesses. We then came up with solutions to those weaknesses.

Effective districts and schools, likewise have a training or comprehensive induction program for all newly hired teachers.

Text to self: I think this is really important. I am actually really looking forward to professional development. I think this relates back to the idea of teamwork and realizing that being a teacher is not about being alone. I also realize that I am going to have to do a lot of work as well.

Question that I have: Do most of he high need schools or Title 1 schools that we will be applying o in the Winter/Spring have induction courses or professional development specifically for entry-level teachers? Does Muskegon Public Schools, G-L Public Schools and Grand Rapdis Public school districts have this type of training for new teachers?

Text to self: When signing a contract, I must see if they have professional development and make sure that they are investing in me as a new teacher.

I will be required to perform immediately and education is not a product

Text to self: I must approach teaching as a never-ending process and not as a product. I totally agree with this and some of the best teachers I have had have instilled this belief in me. To teach is to believe that there is still much to learn. I actually love this idea. I do not want to think I have mastered anything or that I have learned everything there is. There is always more to learn and more to sink my teeth into. Teaching is always changing with the times and as a teacher I must be willing to change and make my teaching better through conferences, conventions, etc.

I was shocked by the following:

1. Teachers do not go to conferences.

Wow. As a graduate student, I was encouraged to present my research at professional geology conferences. I also was encouraged as an undergrad to do the same. I cannot imagine becoming a teacher and not attending a conference for continuing education. That is one of the things I am looking forward to the most. I wonder where their statistics came from to come up with a statement like that.

2. By 2013, the U.S. will need to hire more than 2 millino teachers and administrators.

This should be encouraging because that is a lot of teachers. My question is if this is still true with all the budget cuts and changes in the educational system in America.

Chapter 4: The Importance of Effective Teachers

What is the difference between an effective teacher and an ineffective teacher?

Effective teacher: steal from the best and learn from the rest. These look at the resources that are available to them and reorganize those resources to reach a goal. Effective teachers are problem solves who analyze, synthesize, and create materials to help students learn.

Ineffective teachers: busywork, survivors, whine that nothing useful ever applies to them.

The The single most important aspect of an effective teacher is that they steal from the best and learn from the rest.

Teachers do not want programs; they want achievement for their students. Programs do not produce achievement; teachers produce student achievement.

The effective teacher, even in an ineffective school, produces improved student learning and increased student achievement.

I was shocked at the statistics for students who have ineffective teachers in an ineffective school. I could not believe that the student achievement would drop by that amount. In thinking about it though, it does make sense that how well a student does has a lot to do with the teacher. The teacher has to foster critical thinking and an environment where learning can take place.

The achievement gap can be closed with a school of average to above-average teachers, but the school and the teachers must work together on improving student achievement.

The achievement gap is something that I really dislike. I think that it is really important to address the achievement gap in education circles as well as by government programs. I think that students in at-risk schools do deserve to have the best teachers. Unfortunately, those schools might be the ones with the least number of teachers that stay for more 2-3 years. This could be because of a lack of support that those teachers are given. It should be a priority to have a support network for those teachers.

What are the characteristics of a teacher?

1. Teachers are poets.

Teachers weave with colorful language a passion for your subject. We come up with secrets, pictures, etc.

Totally true!

2. Teachers are physicist.

We bring magic, logic, reason and wonder to the properties, changes and interactions of our universe.

3. Teachers are maestros. We conduct and orchestrate individuals' thoughts.

We are architects by providing students with a solid foundation for future thinking and learning.

Teachers are diplomats and the ambassadors of tact and sensitiivity.

I need to work on tact. I sometimes speak everything I am thinking in a moment because I am an external processor. This is why I struggle with conflict because generally I go right for the heart or juggular because then my thoughts are out and done with. I need to be very careful in my classroom that I do not hurt my students' feelings.

Teachers are philosophers, as our actions and ethics convy meaning and hope to young people who look to you for guidance and example.

I look forward to this the most. I want to provide students with hope and the idea that with a certain amount of work they will be able to achieve their dreams and have better lives.

Chapter 5: The Research Process.

What is reasearch? process of critical thinking and problem solving employed by thousands.

We must not teach how we were taught. This is huge! I am so worried of teaching how I was taught and demonstrating a fixed mindset when I want to foster a growth mindset. I do not want to be someone who talks as if they have a fixed mindset when in the heart there is a growth mindset. It is about mentally sitting down and thinking critically about the growth mindset and how best to put it to practice.

Closing thoughts: I need to take teaching as something that is fluid and always changing. I need to change with the times and after my first year of teaching critically think about what worked and what didn't. If something didn't work than I need to be willing to change or get rid of it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reading Workshop (Chapter One-Effective Classroom Management)

Journal Jot: What is classroom management and why is it important?

Classroom management is creating a safe environment for all learners, having a set guide of rules that the students must follow and having consequences when students do not follow the rules. There should be a component of a classroom management plan that involves the students which shows that the teacher believes that the students are capable of coming up with rules and subsequent consequences. In a geology lab, there are certain rules or standard operating procedures (SOP's) that must be followed in order for a safe environment to be created. These should be required by the state so that if an emergency happened, there would be a plan in state.

List of Information, Facts and Ideas that are important to me:

1. There is a debate about whether or not classroom management and discipline are synonymous terms.
2. Some educators think that classroom management should be a process of controlling students' behaviors. Other educators think that classroom management is not discipline and more about the practices and procedures that allow students to learn and the teachers to do their job.
3. Educators that take the student-centered approach, view classroom management as a way of preparing students for their future and how to live in the tomorrow-world.
4. Discipline: n. rules established to maintain classroom order
v. what teachers do to help students behave acceptably in school.
5. There are three models: Classroom management as Discipline, as a System, as instruction.

Classroom Management as Discipline:
teacher is expected to maintain classroom control and disciplining students comes before control, there must be a set of consequences for misbehavior.

Classroom Managament as a System:
Classroom management is systematic and management and instruction are interwoven, there is a focus on the building of learning communities. In order for this plan to work there needs to be planning.

Classroom Management as Instruction:
Focus on teaching prosocial skills, goal is to establish habits of peacemaking, conflict resolution and peer mediation, teachers help students make ethical judgements and decisions

Classroom management is influenced by our own philosophy of classroom management.

Information on Fritz Redl and William Wattenberg:

"key students"-students who influenced other students

Four types of interactions that are effective in dealing with difficult situations:
1. Teacher provide support for self-control. Teacher models by using an appropriate tone. They also should cue behavior that is appropriate in a particular situation.

2. Teacher proves situational or task assistance by helping students in getting past temporary frustration, resturcturing or changing the activity, and using situational routines to minimize confusion.

3. Teacher to provide reality or value apprisal. This is the realty check. Students need to know the real life consequences for their actions. If a student is caught stealing another students' possession then the teacher needs to step in and explain that if this was in the real world there would be serious consequences.

4. The teacher needs to apply the pleasure-pain principle. This suggests that if you do something good you will be rewarded but if you act in a bad way you will be punished.

Jacob Kounin:

Desists: Teacher's actions and words used to stop misbehavior
Ripple effect: Teacher's method of handing a student who is acting out, influences the behavior of other students in the classroom.
Withitness: This principle is based on the teacher's ability to know everything that is happening in the classroom and an awareness of the verbal and nonverbal interactions of students with the teacher and their classmates.
Overlapping: Teacher's ability to manage two issues simultaneously
Transition smoothness: Teacher's management of various activities throughout the day.

Rudolf Dreikurs: Every student views the world differently and teachers cannot change student behavior until the reasons for the behavior is understood.

William Glasser: Glasser came up with the Reality Therapy which states:

1. Individuals are responsible for their own behavior. Behavior is not seen as a by-product of society, heredity, or an individual's past.
2. Individuals can change and live more effective lives when given guidance and support.
3. Individuals behave in certain ways in order to mold their environment to match their own inner pictures of what they want.

Good quality schools: satisfy 4 student psychological need:

1. need to belong
2. need for power
3. need for freedom
4. need for fun.

Haim Ginott

Ginott stresses that teachers set the tone of the classroom through positive communication.

Take aways from the reading:

1. The most important factor when constructing a classroom management plan is to think of your learners and developed by an individual teacher. In the chapter, there are three main factors to consider when designing a personal classroom-management plan:
1. Teacher traits: personality, personal values, teaching styles
(This means that I need to reflect on my own personality traits and how my values influence how I approach classroom management and discipline issues. This also relates to my teaching philosophy.)
2. School environment: age-grade level of students, students' characteristics and needs, principal style, school policy, parental support.

The struggle that I can see is having the parental support. Many parents want their daughters and sons to do well in school and behave themselves but might not have the time or energy to model appropriate behavior. Also, with cultural differences in how conflict is dealt with, we have to be careful to critize students who might not know that it is not appropriate to swear or yell.

3. knowledge and Experiences: Personal experiences, knowledge of models of classroom management and knowledge of research on effective practices.

We have to be willing to change our classroom management plan based on what works and doesn't. If we don't approach classroom management as something that is fluid and evolves, then we will not service our students.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reading Workshop (Teaching-Learning-Language)

I learned that the six most important words are: Engage, Demonstration, Discussion, Transformation, Application and Evaluation.

In order for learning to take place these parts need to be incorporated:

1) The person must have a need to learn and must actively seek demonstrations and actively engage in the demonstrations.
2) In learning, transformation must happen by the learner adding new information to old and reflect upon and think about what had been demonstrated and said.
3) There needs to be a discussion between the learner and teacher. The language needs to be accessible to both parties.
4) There need to be multiple opportunities for application to take place which will enforce the learning.
5) Evaluation needs to occur. This means reflecting on and subsequently modifying my ways of operating as I make new connections and add new knowledge.

These are not to represent a linear sequence and some of them will co-occur.

There is a tenuous link between language and learning. Also each subject are uses distinctive phrases and words to fram its concepts and relationships. When we are teaching we need to be very careful we don't slip into Englishese, Biology-ese, Geology-ese, or Math-ese because most of our students will be lost. Teachers and learners also have to share a common set of meanings and there is a need for access to the same patterns of language. Lastly, teachers have the responsibility of helping their learners get control of those forms of language that they themselves had learned to control.

Here are the most important aspects of each word:

1. Demonstration: actions vs. artifacts
Action: someone ironing a shirt
Artifact: a shirt folded perfectly in a drawer, a shirt without any creases on a hanger

2. Engagement: fundamental to learning
Buzz words: attention, attending, active participation

In order for engagement to occur the learner has to believe that the that they will eventually be capable of learning and doing the expected activity. They will be increasingly engaged if they feel whatever they are learning has purpose, value, use for them, and if there is no pressure or anxiety associated with learning it and if the teacher shows them respect and trust.

3. Transformation: Creating personal paraphrases and a unique style based on your worldview.

4. Discussion: Exchange/interchange of interpretation

5. Application: approximation

The teacher needs to allow the learners to go from amateur to expert. They must not evaluate a student as highly from the beginning if the skill is new or if it is common for them to start in an amateur way.

6. Evaluation: Engage, discuss, transform, apply

There needs to be a authentic supportive relationship between the teacher and learner.

In conclusion: This article stressed a lot of the same principles that were covered in other articles but in more detail. I really like the idea that the teacher needs to have a good relationship and should be viewed as mentor, friend, and trusted source.

Learners will learn best when they do not feel threatened or undervalued. it is imperative that the teacher foster this type of environment.

Reading Workshop (Vygotsky and the Three Bears)

Journal Jot:

I think that learning happens through modeling, good instruction, thoughtful feedback, and kind words. For instance, if one is riding a bike, I feel like one learns the best if they are taught by someone else and shown some of the basic skills. I think it is also important to touch on the fact that sometimes you have to learn by not succeeding the first time and making mistakes. With mistakes, you need to be in a safe environment where mistakes are okay and you will not be ridiculed.

Vygotsky and the Three Bears:

Notes: "How do I reach all the needs of my students?" This is a really good point and one that I am afraid of. When you have a classroom of 30 kids then how can you reach all your learners? What activities can you do to show that you care about the needs to every child? Perhaps this is why we talked about differentiated instruction in Jacque's class and how we as teachers need to design activities that help every learner through the learning process.

Comments on reading:

1. This article stresses that the world should be a "fascinating place" where learning is fun and new adventures are key and accomplishments are endorsed.

2. Direct quote: "Take one precious bear cub and give him a safe, encouraging environment. Let him grow strong with good food and a positive atmosphere to try new things, where getting the wrong answer is ok". Can you say growth mindset? :-) This reminds me a lot of the other articles we have read so far on making sure that students feel okay with making mistakes. This also goes along with the idea that I have that learning takes place only if the students feel safe and that they are not going to be made fun of.

3. Direct quote: "My other concept is called zone of proximal development. Children will make progress learning when parents and teachers give them opportunities that are challenging but not to the point of frustration." Learning must require stretching of what the learner already knows but it cannot require too much stretching that they get overwhelmed. This also goes with the growth mindset we read about earlier. Learning happens by challenges and overcoming those challenges.

4. Learning takes place in groups. The learning process cannot always happen on one's own. Sometimes students need to help other students through modeling and more explanation. This is key to the learning process.

5. Learning expectations need to be age specific and appropriate for the learner. A teacher cannot assign a high school assignment to a middle schooler and have the expectation that they will succeed.

6. "The more opportunities to manipulate physical objects to understand the relationships the better." In my mind this touches on project based learning activities to promote true understanding of a topic. It is imperative that we have a chance for students to learn the information in the way that makes sense to them. This might mean using objects, constructing a visual, or writing a paper on the topic. This also touches on the idea that students need to practice and practice.

7. Like I said earlier, learning needs to take place with playmates, groups and teachers. Learners need to feel like they can come up with their own way for understanding something and that if their way is different from the teacher, playmate, and group it is okay.

Overall, I thought this article was okay. I was kind of annoyed though that it was in parable form because I feel like the main points could have just been stated and it would have been the same. But perhaps, I learn in a practical way and listening to a story doesn't work for me.