Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reflections on my Winter half day student teaching

I feel very privileged to be able to return to a school where I have built so many positive relationships in the past and continue my journey to becoming a licensed teacher in the State of Oregon. My experiences here have definitely improved my abilities in being an effective teacher. The relationships that I have built with students, faculty, and staff here have enriched these experiences and made me feel even more at home at this school.

My cooperating teacher for my Winter placement has definitely pushed me to be the best teacher I can be. The insights, support, and criticism that she has offered has made me a better teacher and refined my skills in creating an effective and positive learning environment. Without her help, I feel that I would still be unaware of many different aspects of classroom management and instructional strategies that can help build strong interpersonal relationships with students, faculty, and staff.

The students that I have dealt with in these classrooms have been wonderful as well. The diversity of characters and abilities of these students have contributed to enjoyable and sometimes challenging experiences. My interaction with the students has been nothing short of enjoyable. I hope to continue building relationships with these students in the future even though I will have to depart after such a short time in the classroom with them.

The overall experience of my half day student teaching experience has solidified my commitment to being a teacher. I still haven't identified any other professional experience that could be more rewarding than working with students and taking educational expeditions with them in the classroom. Although it is unfortunate that I will be leaving this placement soon, I am extremely excited about taking the next step in my professional development. I will soon be teaching full time and reconnecting with students from my Fall placement. I am very confident that the skills I have gained from my Winter placement will benefit me in my Spring placement.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reflection on Teaching the Digital Natives.

I found Prensky's article to be very interesting and enlightening. In a few weeks I will be headed out to become a teacher to students who would be considered digital natives. The challenge that lies before teachers is how to get their students to learn the information that they need to be successful. Prensky argues that the children who have grown up with digital technology (digital natives) have new ways of thinking and processing new information. The problem, according to Prensky, is that the teachers who have come to learn about digital technology (digital immigrants) still cling to traditional teaching styles that are starting to get lost on the digital natives.

The increased level of information and the speed in which it is presented has changed the face of education and teachers need to be prepared to deal with digital natives' expectations of receiving information. I personally feel that incorporating technology into the classrooms present a new exciting way to interact and reach children through common ground. One thing I found particularly interesting was when Prensky pointed out that digital natives could memorize 100 pokemon characters why not 101 countries. If teachers can apply student's interests and recognize the ways that students are familiar with receiving information, they can create lessons that promote learning.

Teachers must also not assume that every student has an iPod, iPhone, and supercomputer at home with every program. There are those natives that don't have the resources that others do. If teachers assume that all their students watch cable while instant messaging they risk alienating the students that don't have the knowledge or means to be technologically savvy. There should also be attention paid to creating an level playing field for understanding technology use in the classroom. Again, teachers must be able to deal with all of the digital natives and the ways they process information.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Powerpoint and Standards

The reading in "Clear and to The Point" highlighted the major aspects to presenting an effective Powerpoint presentation. The ideas of simplicity, fluidity, and relevance are universal in presenting any topics to k-12 students. I think one of the obstacles that Grad students will face once we reach our own classrooms is keeping information simple and clear. Next year's new teachers will have spent 5 to who knows how many years trying to master complex topics and problems in specialized learning environments. Once we receive our Master's, we will probably head into the classroom expecting to devise brilliant lessons that aim to impart all of the knowledge possible on our new subjects.

This is where I think this book's main points will help bring us back to earth and understand what we need to do to accomplish our objectives as educators for "all". Keeping simplicity and comprehension in mind will probably help us go a long way in presenting material to entire classes of students. I'm positive that our education here at SOU will keep us abreast of the different techniques to individualize instruction but we'll also be expected to meet standards and produce results in student's abilities and sometimes simple, to the point instruction will allow us to meet those requirements.

In regards to technology and NETS, effectively communicating through quality Powerpoint presentations can also reach these new standards of educating for the technology age. NETS sets standards for teachers to be models of technologically savvy and responsible. Implementing technology such as Powerpoint can help teachers relate information more effectively to students who continue to gather more and more information through digital devices.

The process in which we use technology can also help students realize the potential that technology has to not only entertain but also enhance their learning experiences. The modeling of using technology can capture the imaginations of students and help the realize the numerous ways they can express themselves through well conceived digital production.

NETS and Claymation

The claymation project addressed a number of NETS standards for students. The standards are addressed by number and letter according to the NETS outline:

Standard 1b was addressed because students created an original piece of work within a cooperative group effort.

Standard 2b was also addressed by allowing students to use different processes in creating these original works which communicated ideas.

Standard 2d was reached because students worked in cooperative groups and used unique ways of communicating ideas.

Standard 4b was addressed because students were required to develop a plan and adapt it to developing their project. Students were also required to manage the groups times and activities to complete the project in a timely manner.

Standard 5b: Since students were allowed to create unique projects in a group format, they also were responsible for making sure that projects were appropriate and represented the groups opinion of how to communicate information responsibly.

Standard 6c/d: Students developed plans based on their own knowledge and created animation using different types of media. Integrating the different types of media can sometimes be difficult and problem solving was used to edit and complete the projects.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Intro to My Blog!

I want to formally say thank you to the three people who might stumble upon this exquisite piece of well produced information for public use. Thanks and use with extreme caution.

This is Edna the Cat. She is not impressed. We'll meet Jimmy James and Ruth later.