Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blog Post # 6 Questions??

Any Questions??
The routine of lecturing and then questioning students is an obvious steeple in teaching but, I wanted to take a closer look at the theories about questions in the classroom. Has questioning students become an obsolete form of classroom assessment? What can students and teachers ultimately gain from eradicating the use of classroom questionnaires? Is there a way to balance questions with more interactive approaches for comprehension evaluation?

The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom
by Ben Johnson
       There is no real reason or benefit to asking a class room if they understand what's being taught during a lesson. For the most part, educators attempt to use general questions for assessment. In most classes there is at least one student or group of students always willing to answer these questions, they essentially keep the class moving. Even when the rest of the class isn't comprehending. So how do you get around this problem? Make your classroom more interactive. Ask questions that engage the entire class, or change from the method you would usually use. Propose a question; then wait before choosing a student. That way all students have to think of what  the answer could be. Another way would be to implement Total Physical Response (TPR), a teaching technique originally designed to teach people a second language. This creative style of teaching targets the whole class, certain incentives prompt a physical response instead of a verbal one. This video explains TPR and gives a great demonstration.
Asking Questions to Improve Learning 
by Wilbert McKeachie
     This source emphasizes the theory that asking questions to produce and measure results can be done effectively with proper planning. You want to give students the opportunity to think for themselves and by doing so, allowing discussion to flourish between students. As a teacher you want to show students that you're interested in their answer, and that you want them to explore their answers deeply. The real goal is to prompt students to support their assertions and interpretation. Varying the type of questions you ask could help guide your class to this goal. Try to avoid leading questions, simple yes or no questions, and make questions direct and specific. Questions not only assess the classroom they also help to structure the lesson. When building your lesson plan you should make notes of where and what questions you want to ask. How to respond to student answers is just as important you posing the question. There will be times when a student answers incorrectly or their answer is not sufficient. At those times its important to respond in a way that wont stifle the students desire to answer anymore questions.
So to answer the question, "What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" We need to know that we as teachers do not know everything and that our students won't know comprehend or know all that we know. It's good to know what questions you want to ask and to ask questions that give room for discussion. You want to make your classroom interactive and engage all of your students, not just that group of smart kids. You should also try varying the type of questions that you ask.
the word questions surrounded by colorful question marks

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

C4T #1

C4T #1
My Comment:This post actually makes a lot of sense. I graduated from high school recently enough to remember my teachers seemed to be in this situation. They were more concerned with getting grades in and the standardized tests, rather than our subject matter. It suffered, like yours did. As a student it is nice to know that you still have enough of a passion about your subject to get back in touch with it.

My Reason: My assigned teacher Mary,had fallen into a rut. She was becoming less concerned with what she was supposed to be teaching. Instead she became bogged down with the responsibilities of being a teacher. To remedy this problem she got back in tune with her subject writing and literature by reading well written books (for work). This rekindled her passion for the language art.

C4T #2
My Comment: I'm sure most new teachers have this problem, knowing how much to share about themselves. This is actually one the things I'm about when it comes to teach. You want your students to respect you, but you don't want them to think you're scary. How much should they know before they feel like you're more of a friend than an educator? You emphasized how finding that balance has made you a better teacher and person in general. My question is how long did it take to find your balance?

My Reason: My best learning experience was in my high school biology class. My teacher incorporated anecdotes about her comical toddlers and her reluctant husband in lessons that would've otherwise been boring, to make them hilarious and effective. Her class was one of the highlights of my day, because my teacher was naturally funny and inviting. If she had to be stern and hide the funny deep inside her teachings would have been bland and I would most definitely have fallen asleep. Now obviously you wouldn't share your entire life or get to involved with your students and at first it might be a good to only share the minimum. Still I believe as a future teacher, that we have to swallow that initial fear and let our humanity shine through to our students.
P.S. I hate all sciences and maths.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blog Post #4- Podcasting

1st Graders Create Own Read Along Book
      I'm excited to get to experience this in my classroom. A lot of the material we read or listen too emphasizes how the student should be hands on with their education. Usually I can only apply that to secondary levels, but this demonstrates that self teaching can start early. In the post Lang mentions that the students wanted to do numerous recordings until it was "just right". On their own without prompting the children experimented with their pitch, fluency, voice, and speed. These are public speaking skills that are valuable in almost any career.
A young boy reading a book
Listening-Comprehension Podcasting 
      Looking at the pictures of the students putting their voice clips in order on the SmartBoard it was obvious that they were learning more than the Story of Esther and Purim. They created the script, recorded it, and then put it order to create a fluid and coherent piece of work. The students were the cast and crew in their own production. More than a just a technical skill they learned to collaborate as a class, and not just as a group. I do not speak Hebrew but, recording,and listening to any language in proper context repeatedly would make it easier to learn. With this one podcast those students gained so many things.
The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
      Podcast are good for more than just making read along books. Podcasts allow differentiation in a classroom, using this technology helps bring new and relevant information. It gives a more in depth look at the material and can even trigger an emotional response from students making want to be more involved. It gives the opportunity for project based work, this builds and prompts self reliance and higher order thinking. Aside from teaching aspects podcasts are convenient they are easy to upload, and accessible anywhere you have an the necessary media. More importantly podcast allow parents to be involved with their children's education. In this video it seemed that the whole school was involved and that they were genuinely interested what they were learning.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Blog Post #3 Peer Editing

Peer Editing
One cat is smacking the other cat

Even though the picture above doesn't exactly exemplify what I learned this week,it was so cute I just had to use it.The art of effectively editing the work of your peers can a hard one to master, taking the three step approach makes it much easier. This week's videos and lessons (What Is Peer Editing, Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial, Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes)  were very helpful.  Giving compliments, suggestions, and then corrections gives the editor a better opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the writing.
When reading through the first time you must look for something to compliment, addressing whats good in a piece of work makes it easier for the author to take criticism later. It also allows the author to see their strong points. Another thing to remember is to stay positive throughout the entire evaluation. Naturally criticism is hard to take, by presenting commentary in a positive, non-offensive way it can be more helpful than harmful.
After you compliment and pick out the whats exceptional in a piece of work its time to point out the areas that could use improvement. Suggestions about word choice, and sentence structure can be help the author convey their point with more clarity.Suggestions can also pertain to topic, how to organize, writing and the use of details.
Your peer evaluation should end with corrections. A good area to apply corrections to is grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. This is the time to be the most critical. The best writing, is writing that is correct and easy to read. Mistakes can take away from the main focus of the writing. Misspelled words, lack of punctuation, run-on sentences are all distractions.
A list of editing symbols

After receiving a critique from one of peers I learned another important part of peer editing is to receive the review in a positive way.I am a "Defensive Dave" upon reading my first serious critique from a peer my first instinct was explain or defend my writing. Peer editing is only effective when positive criticism is taken and applied.
Two young girls are editing each others work in a class room setting

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Post #2 What Will Teaching Be Like in the 21st Century
Professor Dancealot by: Jo Davis, Secoria Burks, and Lindsay Stewart
Professor Dancealot is not your ideal teacher. Was he knowledgeable about his subject? Yes. Was he knowledgeable about being able to effectively teach his skills to others? No, if anything, the professor provides an example of what not to do in teaching. Professor Dancelot did utilize one form of technology (PowerPoint) in his classroom; however, the subject he was teaching could have benefited from a more “hands-on” style of instruction as a dance class by nature should be interactive. Even though the professor used a PowerPoint, it did not engage the students as it was only words with a few diagrams. With the technology available today, even adding a video in his lessons would have made his teaching slightly less depressing for his students. Professor Dancealot attempted to teach his students the different types of dances including form and movement; however, Professor Dancelot stayed behind a long desk the entire time. This prevented his students from seeing the necessary moves for each respective dance, and when the students attempted to participate, the professor advised them to remain seated and quiet. The students stated they felt as if they were not learning anything, and they showed no comprehension of the material taught. This is because they were not allowed to practice the skills being taught nor were they able to see the skills performed correctly. Professor Dancealot’s teaching style leaves much to be desired, and this style could be aligned with the “burp-back” education method that today’s students see far too often. Professor Dancealot could benefit from a semester in EDM310!

Teaching in the 21st Century
by Lindsay Stewart
In Kevin Roberts’ Prezi, he expresses his views for what it means to teach in the 21st century. Kevin views the changing landscape of education to be one that is evolving into an environment of technology, networking, and collaboration. Kevin describes how traditional education is becoming obsolete. He explains how students can now get the information they need on any topic at any moment via the internet (through various sources). Kevin suggests that teachers should become “filters,” because students can find the information they need; however, someone is needed to help the students break that information down and use it effectively with all the available technological tools. Kevin’s views on the future of education may in fact one day be the norm, and in some educational settings, it is being used on a smaller scale. While I agree with Kevin on many of his points, I also believe there is more work to be done in providing all students with the kind of technology that Kevin presents in his Prezi. There are still many locations/communities that do not have access to a high-speed internet service; in addition, how can we get more funding for our schools to stay on top of the ever-changing technologies? Today, many schools are working on outdated technology equipment (if they have access to any at all). These are issues that merit consideration, as our current education system has certain standards to be met for students at different grade levels. How can we measure a student’s progress if they do not have access to the same tools as a student from a school/community that has the latest technologies at their fingertips?
If Kevin is correct in his analysis, education as we know it will never be the same. Students (and adults) crave knowledge, and this desire cannot and should not be stifled. Kevin’s break down of teaching in the 21st century is certainly something we should contemplate, and when possible, we should utilize these concepts when teaching others.

The Networked Student
by Secoria V. Burks
Connective learning gives students the ability to teach themselves in a very real and interactive way. Through the use of social networks and the internet, the student becomes his own instructor, there are no books, and the teacher barely lectures. The idea behind this type of teaching is that learning is done with connections that can be acquired through technology.
Essentially the student would make their own virtual textbooks. They would use databases, message boards, forums, and expert sources to create a knowledge base on the subjects they are studying. Classmates would then share their findings on a blog that can be seen by the world.
The teacher might seem useless at this point but their role is to teach the student how to build and manage their newly acquired knowledge. The teacher would give guidance and teach how to effectively communicate with potential experts on subjects. Teachers would also help students navigate away from propaganda and stick to the facts, and they would advise how to start the search for information.
I can appreciate this way of teaching, it gives the student the real ability and responsibility to teach and learn for themselves. However, as a person who enjoys more of a human connection between student and teacher this would probably not be the best style of teaching for me. Students in the 20th century,like myself are more accustomed to learning with books and hand-to-mouth notes. Students in the 21st century who would have grown up with these new types technology would be better suited to connectivism. Thus I can see how students in the 21st century would benefit more with this form of teaching.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
By Jo Davis
Edutopia’s video on “Harnessing Your Students’ Digital Smarts” showcased Vicki Davis and her fantastic take on the teaching and application of technology in school. Technology classes such as Vicki Davis’s are the future of our education system. We absolutely need more examples like this class and teacher in schools all around the world. It was made a point to say that Davis did not let the fact that she lives and teaches from rural Georgia stop her from being technologically literate. She has a passion for teaching future generations to be well versed in using technology and getting them to have a desire to explore it themselves. The fact that her class was completely hands-on, and even had the students instruct at times, ensures that the students have an actual understanding and are developing their skills. The use of tools like blogs, online-parter based projects, and even a class wiki provides great opportunity to learn how to utilize technology in various ways. Another thing I found very interesting is at one point in the video the curriculum director speaks on how Vicki Davis has gotten them connected to the whole world. The curriculum director being the one to say this made me think about how due to the fact that this class is being connected to the whole world, it is very likely that the standard of their curriculum is being raised to match that of an international level, not restricted to that of a rural area. This technological interconnectivity results in more culturally aware thinkers! This is a very exciting indication of the future of education and how it will mold the minds of generations to come. Simply giving children access to this kind of technology and then providing the opportunity to learn tech skills is a wonderful thing. Davis even at one point states that she learned how to terraform in the class software from the students. Early introduction of technology into everyday life for these children is first step for education in the Informations and Post-Information Age and its limitless possibilities. Forward thinking pioneers like Vicki Davis, and even sites like Edutopia, are what get me excited for future of education.