I recently joined twitter. I didn’t have any twitter experience prior to starting this course. I was intrigued by the potential benefits that could be gained by collaborating with other educators that might be experiencing similar situations in the classroom. One community that I decided to follow is called Special education@ specialedneeds. I don’t find this sight to be too valuable. There are some good questions posed, but tweeting in general doesn’t allow for much of a conversation to occur. I found that I wanted to write more in response to the question that I answered, but ran out of characters. Of course, this is the whole point. I will try and continue to search for some better sights within twitter.
How can I keep up with all of the demanding requirements of the teaching profession, and still continue to find new tools to enhance my students learning with technology?
I came across a great blog that combines the use of technology and collaboration. Collaboration and technology are becoming ever entwined. Through reflection and great effort, I can continue to enhance my collaboration skills both as a digital citizen and with the community that I will be teaching with. This site provides excellent descriptions of the various roles that we will need to be comfortable maneuvering in and out of, if we are to meet the necessity of collaboration and technology.
A classmate of mine shared a link to a site that promotes teachers to be lifelong learners. There are ten ideas that are meant to inspire us. Reading this list, three of the ideas have on-line in their titles. With this being our last blog post for this class, I find it very fitting to have my final bog for this class include advice that advocates for more time spent on-line to further our learning. I have included a link to the sight below.
I have been participating in online learning for quite a long time know. I have not ever participated in any kind of twitter activity. After watching the Vialogues video for the week, it is clear that twitter can be a place to keep track of what great teachers are doing in the classroom. This was very nice to learn.
I found it interesting to read about the National Education Technology Plan for 2010. To say that technology will be included in education would be to put it mild. Every step of the educational process will be linked into using technology. The report mentions the term connected teacher. The connected teacher will have access to all sorts of programs that will allow them to be better teachers. Assessments, lessons, discussions, will all be able to be held online. The word connected implies hooked, plugged in, or an on-line teacher that will be aware of all the available resources.
I will need to work on becoming more efficient at navigating the various teaching tools that are available. At the same time, I will need to remember to do so with proper etiquette that I aspire to use while having in-person conversations. In engaging with the world, via the web, I also need to remember the ultimate purpose will be to enhance my students’ growth and learning.
Reference and Links
Atkins, D.E., Bennett, J., Brown, J.S., Chopra, A., Dede, C., & Fishman, B. (2010) Teaching:
Prepare and Connect from Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology. National Education Technology Plan, 39-50.
I recently observed in an 8th grade general education science classroom. The teacher was having the students do a lab that was geared towards authentic learning. The lab fit in well with the HOPE standard H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society. To me, this HOPE standard means incorporating activities that will widen students’ perspectives. In addition I would like the students’ to feel like they will be able to play a meaningful part in society.
For this lab students, students began the class with a brief discussion about water resources and water needs for people on our planet. The students’ were then told that they would be doing a desalination lab, figuring out how to remove salt from water. Desalination, is a process that real scientist are working on perfecting. Through questioning that probed students’ prior knowledge, the teacher facilitated the students’ thinking on how to approach the lab. This line of questioning was a great way to allow students to access their prior knowledge. The replies that came out were; evaporation, condensation, the water cycle, that salt doesn’t evaporate, and lots of “Oh yeah’s”.
The supplies for the lab were as follows: salt water inside a large cylinder, a burner, a Styrofoam cup, tinfoil, ice-cubes, and a filter. The students were in groups of four. I found it enjoyable to watch the students collaborate on different ideas for the experiment. Some groups were much better at this than others. Some people got right to it and started crafting objects out of their supplies, other groups held lengthy discussions and shared their ideas and then began building. Watching the students interacting over a real world issue was great. The students were highly engaged.
I don’t know what subject or grade level that I will be fortunate enough to be able to teach. Wherever I end up, I hope to be able to create engaging activities that encourage dialogue and excitement amongst the students. The picture below is an image of the Ashekelon desalination plant, one of the worlds largest.
E2 – Exemplify collaboration within the school. Collaboration within schools is extremely important in order to provide the students with the best possible education. Working with colleagues in grade bands, subject areas, and all school staff interactions will ensure that the staff is all on the same page. To demonstrate my willingness and desire to build on my existing collaboration skills, I have joined the school staff book club. There were eleven staff present at the first meeting that consisted of the assistant principal, teachers, and instructional assistants. The book that we will be studying together is Making Thinking Visible, How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners, by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karen Morrison. The evidence provided is the Protocol put forth by the assistant principal. Subsequent meeting protocols will be put forth by different members of the book club.
For this particular protocol, we broke off into smaller groups, each participant shared a quote from the book to discuss and stimulate dialogue. The whole group then got back together to share some highlights of each small group’s discussion. I found it be an extremely valuable opportunity to engage in rich dialogue about teaching with teacher’s who have multiple years of experience in the teaching profession. I also am really excited about the book. The quote that I discussed was, “In most school settings, educators have focused more on the completion of work and assignments than on a true development of understanding” (Church, Morrison, Ritchhart, 2011, p 9). The educators at the school I am fortunate to be a part of are trying to create authentic thinking. One way this is evident is by utilizing rubrics in grading that will provide the students with much more feedback as to the expectations for their learning. This book club is geared specifically towards improving student learning. I am already looking forward to the next book club meeting. I will be collaborating on the schedule for the discussion of the book with another teacher.
Church, Mark, Morrison, Karin, Ritchhart, Ron (2011). Making Thinking Visible, How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
What are a few of the characteristics of Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory that are applicable to classroom learning?
Think back on previous classes you have taken. What assignment was modeled after sociocultural learning, i.e. done in a group or with a partner? Include a screenshot of the final assignment, if it’s available, with your reflection. Make a few connections between this assignment and Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory.
* Note. Once more, your reflection need not be more than 200 words, but you may opt to write more
H3 – Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning. To me, this standard means creating an environment within the classroom in which learning is the clear visible purpose, guiding all interactions within the classroom. I find this HOPE standard very applicable to Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory. Vygotsky believed strongly, in the influences our environment creates on learning. As such, we will need to create an environment that has rich interactions based around the desired content. Pressley and McCormick (2007), state “excellent instruction involves social interactions between an apprentice student and a more expert adult” (p. 158). The more feedback that we are able to provide, the more opportunity our students will have to learn. All learners are unique and will be operating at different stages. Our one-on-one interactions will be limited due to the numbers of students in the classroom. To counter this problem, teachers can rely on peer tutoring to help provide more apprenticeship style interactions that Vygotsky speaks of.
The suggestion was made during this week’s lecture that a poster about peer tutoring could be made for the classroom. As suggested, the poster could include the following; effective questions, suggestions, hints, scaffold, and no freebies. I would want to create this poster with student involvement and potentially include suggestions students’ voice that fit into the previous categories. It is crucial to teach students how to do this. The point must be made clear to students that it is o.k. not to know everything! We must make students feel like this is normal and expected for all students. Learning from each other should also be a part of the classroom environment. Medina (2008), suggest that in the early elementary years students have a natural tendency to work towards establishing hierarchies. I would discuss this with my students, and let them know that we will not be establishing any hierarchies in here based on knowledge. I also like peer tutoring because it creates peer interactions. Students are craving to interact with one another and it is great if we create times for these interaction to occur while discussing our content.
This past summer, in a Behavior Management class, we did an assignment that involved writing up a functional behavior assessment (FBA), followed by a behavioral intervention plan (BIP). For this project, a classmate had created a scenario about a student that they had encountered. In order for us to complete the FBA and BIP, we had to work closely with each other to find out as much as we could about each other’s hypothetical student. It was great practice in collaboration and it also makes me think of scaffolding in the form of peer tutoring. The student that we were working with, through our questioning, was providing us with the behavioral characteristics of the hypothetical student. Without proper questioning, the assignment wouldn’t turn out that well. In other words, they were giving us just the right amount of information that would be needed for us to complete the FBA and BIP on our own. In completing this assignment, rich content specific interactions were created in our classroom. I have included the final page of my FBA for viewing.
Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
Pressley, M. & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New
York, NY: Guilford Press.