Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Final Learning Log

When I took the quiz on blackboard to see how I thing people learn best I aligned most with Humanism. I am not quite sure what humanism is, but I personally think that children learn best using the theories from Social Cognitivism. Everything about Social Cognitivism promotes students in learning to manage themselves. In Social Cognitivism Modeling is one of the main components which I think is a huge teaching tool. I don't know that there is a more effective way to learn something than by watching someone model it for you first. I also love that this theory encourages a high self efficacy due to a large emphasis on reciprocal causation. I think reciprocal causation is something we need to be constantly aware of in our classrooms, because we can have a huge impact on that students life depending on what happens in the classroom. I also think that when students learn to self-regulate and self-monitor they will be that much more successful in the classroom. Those are great skills that will always help those students throughout life. I think humanism has something to do with caring about peoples feelings and I think Social Cognitivism does as well. I feel like everything within Social Cognitivism is very positive and is about building up a child's self-esteem and self-efficacy.

So What?
This theory will have a huge impact on how I teach my class. I do think that there is good in every theory and I obviously want to incorporate all of them into my own classroom someday. I think some theories work better for classroom management types of things and some theories work better for promoting learning. I like that Social Cognitivism puts an emphasis on reciprocal causation. As I read about reciprocal causation it just made me realize what a huge impact we can have on our students. I think because of what I know about reciprocal causation I need to always be mindful of my students that are struggling, and really try and understand WHY they are struggling and work through the problem with them. The last thing I want to do is add to the problem so it is important that I make my classroom a nice environment where that student feels good about themselves and feels like they can accomplish the tasks that are given to them, even if they do need some help. I also love the idea of teaching my students self-regulation. I think if I could teach my students that one concept than my school year would go so smoothly. A student that can set a goal and talk themselves through the process, observe themselves in action and make sure they are accomplishing the things they need to, and after they have accomplished the goal be able to reinforce themselves, is a student that will be successful! I am also a big believer in vicarious reinforcement in my own life so I do think it can be used successfully in the classroom. I think that with vicarious reinforcement it is important to make sure you are not being damaging to a student by announcing to the class something you observed them doing that you did not like. I think vicarious positive reinforcement is wonderful and should be used often. I would definitely use that in my classroom to help cue the students on what they should be doing, and what behaviors I like to see from them.

Now What?
The next steps for me to take are to just keep learning and applying things in the classroom. I love studying educational psychology and definitely think it is something I will continue to study on my own. I would like to learn more about the different learning theories, and am just really excited to get into a classroom and put some of them into practice to see what works best for me. I think I could improve in all areas of ed psych! There is so much to learn and I still know so little. I am grateful I at least now have a foundation to build onto. I would like to study more specifically about Erickson, Piaget, and Vygotskys theories. This whole semester in every class when I would learn something I felt like it always went back to those three theories so I would love to find out more about them and how to use their discoveries in my classroom more effectively.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I really enjoyed reading these articles on homework, especially because it was from a parents perspective. I agree completely with this article. I hope that when I am a teacher I always try to look at the educational value of assignments that are given to my students and I am not just assigning busy work. I also liked reading about the parent teacher relationship. This helps me understand even more how important it is more me to keep open lines of communication with the parents and work with them as a team to provide the best education possible for each student.

Learning Log Ch.10


Today in class we talked about Social Cognitivism. This theory was really interesting because it encompassed a lot that was contained in the other theories we have learned about these past few weeks. I liked learning about modeling and vicarious reinforcement because I think it is something so prevalent in our society today, and so many children learn that way. I know in my own life I have seen modeling be the most effective practice in teaching young kids. I don't know if it is necessarily the best way to teach children, but it definitely has been effective. I also enjoyed learned about the response inhibition effect because I think it is so true, and can be a good tool when used properly. I also think that if we can teach our students good self-regulating skills they will be that much further ahead in life. Self-regulation, self-talk, self-efficacy are all so important and I think I need to do everything I can in my classroom to promote those traits.

So What?

I think that this theory is important and can be put into practice so easily. I feel that it would be very useful in my classroom and can be used in a variety of ways. I do think that it is important to remember as we go into the classroom though that all students are not reinforced by the same thing. Something that works well for one student may not work well for another, and I will need to be able to see that, and change to a different method that will be more effective for that particular student.

Now What?

I just need to remember all of this stuff for when I get into the classroom! There are so many ways I can improve and be a more effective teacher, I just need to take everything that I am learning and apply it now as much as I can, so I will be able to use these skills later. I think it is important for me to decide now what methods might work best for me and practice using them in my own life, but remember to be flexible for when I am in the classroom.

Technology Research # 2


When I first thought about podcasting and how it can be used in the classroom I could see no connection at all but as I was doing some research and reading articles about the use of podcasting in the classroom I am totally sold on the idea! One thing I found in my research is that it really helps students increase their writing ability and creativity. When the students are writing a script for a podcast that they know is going to be on the Internet and potentially can be listened to by everyone in the world they tend to write more creatively and get excited and passionate about what they are writing, which increases the quality of their writing. Podcasting is also a really cheap way to incorporate technology into the classroom. There is not a lot of expensive equipment that needs to be purchased, and so it is something that can be used in every classroom by every single student. I think it is a great way for students to feel like they can put their ideas out there for others to hear, and comment on. One idea I found online was for the class to develop a weekly podcast together in connection with another school that is producing their own weekly podcast. The students can listen to and provide feedback on each others podcasts which makes it fun and exciting for the students. Another way podcasting could be utilized is students could listen to a lecture or the reading of a literature piece they are assigned to do a write-up on. If the students are listening to it as a podcast they can do it on their own time outside of the classroom, and I think students will be more inclined to be interested and listen if it coming from a podcast rather than direct instruction from their teacher. The possibilities with podcasting are limitless and it is a great way to get students excited about the work they are doing in class.

Technology Research # 1

Distance Learning:

Distance learning has been around since the late 1700’s and can be thought of in many different ways. Distance learning can be online courses that are taken from a university you are attending, attending a class through video-conference, or receiving a degree from an online university. I think distance learning is a great way to allow students who can’t take classes at a university or in high school because of work schedules or whatever can do some sort of distance learning and still have the opportunity to get an education. I thought in the elementary education classroom we could use distance learning for so many different things that would be fun and exciting for the students. Once a week or month we could have a video conference with an “expert” on a topic we are currently studying in science, or someone who has a job that utilizes the skills the students are currently learning in math class. By doing video-conferencing or distance learning we might have more access to resources or people that we normally wouldn’t if they had to physically be in the classroom. I also think for the older grades it gives students the opportunity to take courses in a subject they might be interested in that we might not normally study in class. It is just a great tool for giving students more opportunity to learn. I read an article online about two teachers from neighboring school districts who used distance learning. I thought it was a great way for students to share their work with others. One thing they talked about was having students from one school becoming experts on a subject and teaching it to the students from the other school and visa-versa via distance learning. Distance learning is a great way for students to learn and to be exposed to technology and realize all of the things that can be accomplished using technology!

My Beliefs

After watching these video clips and reading the articles I think my beliefs have changed a little bit. I always believed it was important for schools to have access to technology, but I wasn’t aware of, or maybe just didn’t realize the importance of actually integrating technology into our classrooms. These articles and videos helped me to see how we can utilize technology in every classroom, and that when we do that students are more engaged and retain the information they are learning better. I believe that as we integrate technology into our classrooms we can help our students learn at a deeper level and engage them more regularly in higher level thinking and problem solving skills.
I think that every teacher should be trained in integrating technology into their classroom before they enter the field, and have a passion instilled in them that teaching with technology brings countless benefits into their classroom. I believe that when teaching with technology we can help our students have a passion for technology and a passion for utilizing it in a way to benefit their learning.

Lessons Learned

The main thing I learned as I did this assignment is that there is a lot of expected of me that I can’t perform yet. If anything it showed me how much work I have to do to prepare to teach using technology in today’s classroom. I am concerned about not being able to meet the students needs when in comes to technology integration in the classroom. I definitely need to get more creative with my thinking and find interesting, fun, but useful ways for the students to be using technology.

I loved the “Why Integrate?” video. It helped me to see how much can be done with technology in the classroom, and also how we can teach the students with technology using real-world applications more than we could without the use of technology. The “new WWW” was really interesting to me because I never thought about educating students using technology for that reason or in that way. It is a very valid point that is being made that we as teachers should all keep in mind. It will be important to me to allow my students to learn and express themselves using technology in productive ways and create meaningful learning in the classroom.

Strengths & Weaknesses

As I went through the UNI survey and read through the NET standards I realized my biggest strength is that I have an idea of what all of these technologically rich tools are, but my biggest weakness is that I don’t know that much about them. I feel that if these skills will be useful to me in the classroom I will need to understand them completely in order to teach my students how to use the applications. Just knowing about the application will not be enough, my goal is to research the various applications and find ways that it can enhance classroom learning, and help students to more fully understand material that is being studied. I found a series of online workshops at http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/alt/basic/cover.htm that would help me to just understand the basic applications I will be using in my classroom. Once I have learned the basic applications I will be a more effective teacher and also know how those applications can benefit my students in their learning.

Another weakness of mine is that I do not have a very open or creative mind when it comes to incorporating technology in the classroom. As I read through the NET standards I understood how technology would be helpful when used in all of the areas that are talked about, but I was completely lost on how I would incorporate technology to perform those tasks. My goal is to learn how to apply the knowledge that I have about technology in the classroom and to teach effectively using technology. I found a website that is dedicated to just that at http://www.wtvi.com/teks/workshops.html. I think this workshop would be really helpful because it would be giving me examples of how technology can be applied in a real world classroom and help me see how I can integrate the ideas they give me into my own lesson plans.

One of my strengths is that I know how to communicate well using technology which I think will be a huge benefit in my future classroom. I believe that using technology as a communication tool makes me more effective and efficient. I will have to work on using more appropriate computer language though. One of the UNI survey questions was if I knew and used correct computer terminology which is something I could learn more about and practice in my teaching.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Learning Log


This past week I have been learning about Behaviorism. I really liked this chapter because I think it can be so effective and helpful in the classroom. It was a little confusing learning about reinforcement, and getting positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement straight. I think both of these strategies can be effective, but I think it is important that I am careful how they are used in the classroom. I think some times teachers might use behaviorism to kind of "bribe" the students and it takes away their intrinsic motivation. Once students are offered prizes or tokens for completing a project, their only reason for completing that project becomes to get their token.

So What?

I think as I go into my next field experiences and spend time in the classroom I should focus more on what types of behaviorism techniques teachers use to manage their classroom. I think that behaviorism should be used for classroom management but not necessarily the students learning. I also think that behaviorism techniques come naturally to us, and we don't necessarily make a conscious decision to use those techniques, but it will be important as a teacher in the classroom that we are using behaviorism techniques in the correct way.

Now What?

Now I think I need to find out what is the best learning theory for me to use in my classroom, and which learning theory I can be the most effective using. There are so many different ways to teach I think it is important to find one that I am comfortable with and works with my classroom. Obviously the different learning theories I use in the classroom will change from year to year and have to be adapted to the students in the classroom that year, but I think as I get familiar with each theory and how to implement them in the classroom appropriately I will be able to help my students using the best learning theory for them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Integrating Tech in the Classroom

We have been working in class on preparing our webquest. Our webquest is designed for Kindergartners and focuses on site words. The students go through the webquest and listen to ten different site words we have selected. After they listen to a word, they write down the word they have just heard and draw a picture that illustrates that word. I think this is a great way to utilize technology in a Kindergarten classroom. I didn't really understand before that the point of using a webquest was to have the students use technology in a more interactive way to learn new skills. Once I understood that concept, it was a lot harder for me to come up with ideas for a webquest, but I thought that the webquest ideas were a lot more effective and the students would learn a lot more. The webquest has been easier to assemble than I thought it would be, and I can really see myself using a webquest in the classroom. It is a very practical skill to have as an elementary teacher, and I am glad that I finally understand what a webquest is, how to use one, and why they are useful. The great thing about webquests is that they can be used for anything. They would be a useful tool in math, science, reading, writing, even research projects. I think by using a webquest you are allowing student to familiarize themselves with the technology that is available to us, but it also helps them develop other skills, like time management, and self-motivation. I can't wait to use a webquest in my own classroom.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tech Interview

My partner and I did our tech interview with our cooperating teacher. It was really interesting to see the different technological resources that are available in today's schools. Each teacher has their own computer in their room, with a network drive that they can save all of their documents to. There were two computer labs in the school and a mobile Mac lab that the students could bring into their classrooms to use. Each classroom was equipped with a T.V. where they watched the morning announcements. The school did not have a lot of extra technology applications on their computers, but our cooperating teacher had purchased a few programs he had on his computer that were really interesting and seemed to be very practical for classroom use. The downside was that the students could only interact with it as a class on the Teachers computer, and not every individual student. Our cooperating teacher was talking to my partner and I about their mobile Mac lab and told us that the school had the computers for a year before they were able to use them because the school district did not have anyone that could provide tech support for a Mac computer. I thought that was so sad, and it really helped me understand why as teachers it is so important to know about the current technology and the tools our students are using. If we don't understand how to use them we will never be able to help our students use them effectively for academic purposes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Learning Log


It has been interesting these past few weeks to be in a classroom. It has opened my eyes to a lot of things that I would have never thought about before. One thing I noticed in the classroom this week especially was the student inability to focus on the task at hand. I think in large part it is because they are only in 6th grade. I did notice though that when higher expectations were set for our students, that they were able to perform at a higher level. They just had to understand that something was expected of them and then they could usually complete that task quicker and correctly.

So What?

I think this was something huge for me to realize because in my own classroom if I have high expectations for my students and they know that they will be able to achieve higher than if they think I don't have high expectations for them. I think that I need to develop a sense for when students really don't understand a problem or a concept or when they are just being a little lazy and don't want to put forth the effort to do it. That was one of the hardest things for me to discern.

Now What?

I am excited and looking forward to the next time when I will be in a classroom and can practice on these skills a little bit more and develop other skills and areas where I am not as strong as a teacher. I think as you teach a class for a whole year and you get to know them it is easier to have that feel for a student to know when they truly are struggling, and what you can do to help that student understand those concepts they are struggling with a little bit more.

Technology in the Classroom

This past week in school our server was down and so we couldn't access the computer at all! It was a total nightmare and all of our lessons were planned around being able to use the Internet. We quickly had to make and switch over to a plan B. It made me realize how dependent we are on the technology and how easy it makes our lives! The students were in the middle of doing a research project on current events, and without the Internet they were virtually at a stand still. The students can't go to a encyclopedia to learn about a current event. It is great that students in today's classrooms know about the technology that is available to them and how to utilize it. In class we had a discussion about social studies and technology came up. One of the students suggested it was important for them to know about technology and how it benefits us because one day they will be responsible for creating new technology to aid future generations. I thought this was a profound thought from a 6th grader and it is great to see that they realize how much technology can impact society. Before the computers went down this week we had the chance to bring in the Mac lab and have all the students working on their own computer. Every single student in the classroom was engaged in the lesson and focused on what we were learning. The students were excited to be using the computers and it was amazing to me to see the difference in how focused they could be when they were given that technology to utilize. It made me realize how important it is to teach students using the tools that their generation likes to and are used to using.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Learning Log

I had another great week in the classroom and love being able to apply the things that we have been learning. I had some of my first opportunities to teach this past week and it was so interesting to work one on one with the students and to be able to understand a little bit better how their mind is working and what I can do better as a teacher to help them grasp this new concept. I have seen a lot of assimilation and accommodation and more fully understand the importance of prior knowledge in our lessons and relating it to their own lives.

So What?
I have loved the practice I have gotten this past week, and can't wait to teach more! I have learned a lot this past week and am excited to apply my new knowledge. I think it helps me understand the concepts a lot better when I see them in action and I have something concrete to remember the concept by.

Now What?
I just need to practice, practice, practice! I am glad I still have 1 year of school left before I actually have to teach. I have a lot to learn!

Integrating Technology into the Classroom

This past week we haven't used a lot of technology in the classroom. We are preparing the students to do a research project and we will have the Mac lab in our classroom for 2 days next week which I am very excited for. It will be so fun to see the students using the computers and to have them teach us a thing or two. Our cooperating teacher was gone two days this week at a workshop about using technology in the classroom, and said the workshop was awesome. He showed us a few of the really cool and practical tools that they showed him that he felt like could really be used in the classroom. The workshop was through the Jordan District. One website he showed us was www.uen.org/itc. From the main page you go to resources. I have just browsed through there and there are a ton of great things that would be very useful in an elementary classroom. I especially thought the movie maker and imovie tutorials would be really helpful. I also liked that they provided links for places to get free multimedia. As I have been in the classroom I am constantly more aware of all the possibilities there are for integrating technology into the classroom.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Learning Log

It has been great this past week being able to observe students in the classroom. Since we have been working on our field experience journals I have been keeping my eyes open for the different concepts and theories that we discussed in class.

Now What?
I have been thinking a lot more on how I can apply what I have learned about the different learning theories and developmental stages the students will go through in order to increase their learning. It has been interesting to observe the students and see where they are at and try and figure out as a teacher how I could teach them best.

So What?
I have A LOT to learn still! I taught my first lesson last week and it was so overwhelming and there were so many things that I didn't even think about before I taught, but I know that each time is a learning experience and I can only get better. It was fun to see the students respond to different techniques and I am excited for the next time I get to teach!

Technology in the Classroom

This past week in the classroom has been so fun. It has been great to see all of the technological resources that are available to the students at their school, and the efforts our cooperating teacher has made to integrate technology into his own classroom. In the classroom we are observing in they have a projector that they use for everything! I never knew that the projectors could be so useful. The Daily morning review is projected onto the board for students to work on, a quiz is projected onto the board and students do their work on their own piece of paper. Each student also put together their own PowerPoint presentation and was able to use the projector to present it to the class. The thing that was most amazing to me was that these students were so familiar and comfortable with the different technology tools they used in the classroom. I can definitely see that the students respond really well to the lessons that are given using technology and they really enjoy them. I am getting a lot of ideas for using technology in my own classroom someday. I love that a lot of worksheets that teachers would usually hand out to every student are just projected up onto the board and every student can see it and work on it on their own papers- less copies for the teacher to make!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Learning Log


This past week we learned about constructivism which is a very interesting theory to me. I guess I don't exactly see how it is different from Vygotskys theory. I think as we discuss it more in class I will unerstand it better. This week we also talked a lot about preparing for our field experience which was really helpful. I am excited to see the different theories put into practice in an actual classroom and see how the students respond to them.

So What?

I think that I need to understand what constructivism is a little better so that I can apply it in the classroom. I think the main thing though with all of these theories is to incorporate students prior knowledge when we are teaching something new, and that is the way that they will learn best.

Now What?

I am SO excited for field and ready to apply the things that I have been learning this past semester. I am really excited to find a student who is not currently working in their zone of proximal development and help them get there.

Integrating Technology in the Classroom

As we are getting ready to go into the classroom and do our field experience next week we have been looking for opportunities to use technology in the classroom. For me, it is very difficult to put into practice the things we have been learning in class and apply them in the classroom. One thing that I would like to learn more about that I think would be really helpful in the lower level elementary grades would be a webquest. I have heard them being talked about in a few of our classes but I have never seen one, or really been explained to what it is. From what I understand about webquests though, they would be great in allowing students to explore and research for an upcoming project or paper that they would be doing in class. I am excited to see how our field teacher uses technology in his classroom. I think it will be extremely helpful to see a teacher in an actual classroom using technology in the classroom, and will probably help me get my ideas flowing on how I can incorporate it. I am also really excited in my field experience to see what kinds of technology is available to students in elementary schools today.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Study Strategy

This past week as I read and chapter 7 I made a commitment so stop after I read each section and summarize what I just read, and also ask myself some questions to make sure I was understanding the material I was reading. I thought this was really helpful to me. As I was reading I knew I would need to be summarizing after I was done reading so I was constantly evaluating the information that was being read and deciding what was essential and non-essential to understand the concepts. I felt as I sorted out information I could remember more because I was not trying to remember a lot of useless things. I did have a hard time remembering to summarize after each section, but I think that with practice it would become natural. I really felt that I grasped the concepts better and understood the big ideas more fully as I summarized and quizzed myself on the material that was being read.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Learning Log


This past week in Ed Psych we learned about cognitive psychology. The thing that was most interesting to me was learning about the Model of Memory and the process our brain goes through to get something to stay in our long term memory. It was interesting to learn about those different parts of the memory model and what we can do as we learn in order to remember things better. The main thing is to encode the information by meaningful learning, organization, elaboration, and visual imagery.

So What?

As a teacher I need to learn and create ways that can better assist my students in acquiring the skills they need to work the content they will be learning into their long-term memory. So many times in a classroom we use those route learning skills that do not really help students to retain the knowledge we want them to retain. This will especially be helpful to me so that I can train myself to study in ways that will allow me to actually retain the information I am trying to learn.

Now What?

I need to implement those effective study strategies into my own learning so that I will be able to teach it to students. I will also need to remember as I am teaching to not try and put too much information on students. If a student has enough time to process the information and isn't worried about learning a million other things they are more likely to retain that knowledge and transfer it to their working memory.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Technology in the Classroom

We have been making websites for our "classrooms" this week and it was so fun to see how I could create my own website and really utilize it in my classroom. I think that if students can be trained from the beginning to check for updates, announcements, assignments, reminders, etc. on the class website everyday it would be an amazing tool! It is definitely a way to get the information out there where it is easily accessible, and they can refer back to it whenever they need to. I think the parents would really appreciate it as well and take comfort in the fact that the teacher is organized and knows what they are doing ahead of time. Using the classroom website is also a fun way for students to get to know a little more about their teacher. A teacher can post pictures from a recent trip she went on, or talk about a play she has seen. Some things that might not normally be shared in the classroom can be shared on the classroom website and the students can really connect to their teacher.

I also have been thinking about the use of digital cameras in the classroom and think that they can be a great tool when used in the right way. As a teacher I would just have to be sure that students only have access to them when they are being supervised and doing structured activities. They would be great especially in Science to record observations they made.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Technology in the Classroom

I can't say there has been a lot this past week I have seen that I can do to incorporate technology into my classroom. One thing that I did discover was a small portable digital recorder that my mother in law has that you can record things onto and then upload them onto your computer. I didn't know that a tool like that was available and I think it will be great to use in the classroom. There are so many things that you could do with it. Each week as we learn new things in each of our classes I feel like I get a better idea about how I can incorporate technology into my classroom and almost into every single lesson plan. There is always some way that technology can be utilized in the classroom to help students learn.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Judy Willis

Judy Willis is a educational researcher and classroom teacher. Her studies deal mainly with the RAD theory. To put it in Judy Willis' words, "when the fun stops, the learning stops." We need to be able to engage our students making learning exciting and fun for them in order to maximize their learning potential. I think at times it can be easy just to fall into direct instruction learning and bore our students to death. It does take extra effort to make our classrooms fun, exciting places of learning but the payout is definitley worth it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Technology in the Classroom

This past week we have been focused on storyboarding and preparing our digital story. I think it has been a great experience because this is a skill I know I will be using in the classroom. As we have been putting together this digital story I have been able to learn about and use so many resources that will be helpful to me in the classroom. I know it is important for me to be learning these skills because this is the way that my students are going to be communicating.

One thing that I love is that we can get a hold of Sandie through facebook or gmail and chat with her. I know I will not be using those tools necessarily in a first grade classroom, but I can make myself available that way for parents to contact me. One of the greatest things about technology and using it in the classroom I think is that is more fully opens the lines of communication between me and the students, and me and the parents. There will be multiple ways that a parent can contact me if they need to ask a question or have a concern, and I will be able to get back to them quickly and efficiently. I know that is something that will be very much appreciated by the parents.

I am excited to be able to teach my future students the new things that I have learned about technology and the tools that will be useful for them to learn as they grow up in this ever increasing world of technology.

Learning Log

This past week we have been learning about individual, social and moral development. It has been very interesting to see the different stages described in all of the theories that we are studying and how they intertwine together. I really enjoyed learning about Erickson's stages. I think these developmental stages are so important for us to remember in parenting and especially in the classroom. If we understand these stages we can help and encourage students to get to the right side of all these stages. I think it is crucial that we understand them and do everything we can so that a student does not feel guilt, inferiority, role confusion, or isolation and so on.

I also liked learning about Kohlbergs stages of moral development. I think that we can teach morals in the classroom. I believe that there are universal morals that everyone can practice to be a better person. I do see anything wrong with teaching those morals in my classroom. Obviously I would not impose my own religious beliefs on a student, but I do think that we can teach those universal "wrongs" and "rights." In class we talked about holding discussions in class about stories and historical figures and talking about their own moral development. I think this is so important. I think that when students hear other peoples views and have a chance to think about or defend their own views they can really understand where they stand morally and be more sure in who they are as a person.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Piagetian Tasks

I performed the Piagetan tasks with my nephew Reed, he is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. The three tasks that I performed were the penny task, the water conservation task, and the beads task.

I really enjoyed doing these tasks with Reed and it was interesting to see what his responses were. I thought that he would be able to give the correct answer on all the tasks but he failed to give the correct answer on any of them. There were a lot of people around while I was doing it and it wasn't very quiet, so he might have been able to understand the task better if there was not so many other things going on. The thing that was interesting to me was that Reed did not have to think about his answers very long. He was able to decide very quickly what he believed was the correct answer and he was very confident in his answer. I was performing the tasks on one of his neighbor friends that was over, and he gave the wrong answer on one of the tasks. When I asked him why he thought that was correct he replied, "Because I know everything."

The first task was the water conservation task. I asked him if the two cups had even amounts and then poured one cup into another and asked if those two cups had the same amount. He said they did not because one water line was higher than the other.

The second task was the penny task. I lined up two rows and asked is they had the same amount. He said they did. Then I spread one row of pennies out and asked the same question again. He said the spread out row contained more pennies.

The third task was the bead task, which personally I found a little confusing when I was first asked to do it. He was able to correctly identify which color had more beads, but he wasn't able to recognize that there were more beads than silver beads.

The most interesting thing I found about this was that I was spreading out the pennies right in front of him, or pouring the water into a different cup right in front of him, and he still would get the answer wrong. He would be in the pre-operational stage. At that stage they are very egocentric (as displayed by his friend who knows everything.) They also cannot understand conservation or use logical thinking.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fertile Minds

After reading this article by J. Madeline Nash, I am blown away. I have to admit I did not understand about the first three pages of it completely when they were talking about the anatomy of the brain, but I think I got the idea of it. I love what this article is saying though. I love that is is encouraging parents to take care of their first kids. That first year is especially critical and now there is scientific data to support what has been said for so many years. I myself did not realize the implications of all the things that can take place just in their first year. What I found really interesting was when it was talking about mothers with depression. It said that even when mothers who are depressed take time to give their babies attention and love, and indulge them with play, the child's brain can still develop less. This was a great article and I am glad as a future mother I have read it so I know what responsibility lies on my shoulders to nurture that child, play with them, talk to them, engage with them so that I will be allowing their brains to develop as fully as they can.

I think that this applies to me as a teacher in the classroom, to just realize that some students brains did not develop the same as others. There are situations that they are not in control of that may have not allowed their brain to develop to it's full potential. I think if I can remember that and realize it when I am working with a student I will be able to understand that student a little more and understand what I can do as a teacher to help that student learn the best way he/she can.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Technology in the Classroom

As I have been making my digital story and searching on-line to find video clips and sound clips to go on my digital story I realized how much educational resources we have at our disposal. This class has been so great for me to open my eyes and see how many places I can go to find information and tools to teach my class more effectively. I feel like I can utilize so much of what is out there and instruct using technology in my classroom everyday!

I was on an elementary school's website this week and loved how they laid it out. I felt like if I was a parent that website would have been so beneficial to me. I really felt like the Principal and the teachers were all on top of their game. On the front page there was a weekly newsletter from the principal indicating any important school activities that were coming up that would need to be remembered. Each grade and classroom also had their own sub-page where information can be found. I thought the idea was so fabulous, and I think it is something I will definitely want to use in my classroom to communicate with the parents of my students.

We talked a little bit about webquests in class recently and I think those are such a great idea! I don't know a lot about them but I am definitely interested in learning more. I think they are great because it gives the student some independence in doing their own research, but they still receive guidance on where good information can be found. I also like that it lets students use the computer to do the research independently and helps them get familiar with the resources they can utilize. I think that doing webquests will help students realize how much information they have at their disposal and hopefully encourage them to research about other things in their life they are interested in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Technology in the Classroom

I am loving putting together this digital story. It was definitely hard for me to narrow down a topic because I had so many ideas of what great topics would be for storyboards. I think this is such a great tool to use in our classroom! I really like them because I am a visual person and when I can get an image in my mind to go along with information I am being taught I am able to remember it a lot longer. I think this concept is also true for many students. I am hoping that I will be able to make storyboards for a lot of different topics in my class that will peak students interest and help them retain information longer. I think storyboards could be effective in almost every topic, and would be especially good in the introduction of a topic.

I didn't really like the website digitalstories.org. I would have liked it better if there were more digital story examples from teachers. I did enjoy a few of the digital stories from the students and found them very informational. I liked the ideas and being able to look at a representation of what I am trying to create. I also liked seeing the variety of digital stories. It just shows me that they can be used for ANYTHING! The possibilities are definitely endless. I also think this would be a good website to show students if you were asking them to create a digital story of their own.

Students creating their own digital story is a great idea as well! I could definitely see myself using them as a sort of assessment in my classroom. If students create a digital story of their own they will be able to use the computer and become more familiar with more complicated tasks on the computer. They will at the same time be gathering information and organizing it in order to present the most important information in their digital stories.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Learning Log

Today in class and in the chapters we read we discussed individual differences. We talked a lot about IQ and the IQ tests we took last week. I really don't think that IQ tests are helpful or should be used unless in a situation where you are trying to determine whether a student will be able to learn at a normal pace. I do like the multiple intelligence tests because they only focus on a students strengths. I think as a teacher it is important to focus on a students strengths and recognize their weaknesses so you can help improve those areas, but make your focus their strengths.

I like the idea of inclusion in today's classrooms. I think students with special needs and students in a regular ed classroom would both greatly benefit from inclusion. I would have loved it if I had more interaction with students with special needs when I was younger because now that I am older I would not have such a fear of teaching students with special needs. I just am afraid that I do not have the skill set and knowledge to effectively teach students with special needs. I really like the idea of having a mentor in the classroom with me for certain subjects to help educate me on how I can be of most help to students with special needs, and what kinds of things I can do in my classroom to help the students succeed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Integrating Technology into my Classroom

Today I created a site using Google sites. This site would be so useful in the classroom. It is a lot like blogging, and maybe even easier than blogging but it allows you to create an actual website and sub-pages within a website. There are also a lot of different tools available on Google sites that we could teach the students about that would be helpful to them as well as helpful to myself in keeping organized.

I really liked the idea of having each student create their own website through Google sites and post a picture, and tell a little bit about themselves, and make a list of their top 10 dreams. I think this would allow me as the teacher to get to know my students a lot better and be able to know some of the things that they might be interested in doing this in the classroom. I think the students would also be motivated to do this activity because they would want to tell information about themselves, they want their teacher to be interested in them, and I think that they would like it when a teacher shows interest in their personal life, not just their school life. I also think it would be beneficial for the students to just get familiar with the website and learn how to use the tools that are available through Google sites. Those tools would be useful to students in the future. All of this technology that we are learning about is helpful in everyday life, in school, and especially in work. Students would go into the workforce with a knowledge that a lot of other people entering the workforce don't have. If we can equip our students with skills that will make them stand out when they go out in the world and try and find a job, I think that is the best thing we can do for them.

I also think it is a great way for students to present information they have put together for a group project. We could assemble one site as a class and then have different sections for different topics the students have covered. Once the site is complete students could use it as a study guide or for preparation for tests. For example, if we were doing a unit on World War II in class. We could create a World War II Website, and on the website have different sections for different points of view of the different people involved in the website. We could have one section for the Jews, one for the Americans, one for the Nazis, etc. Under each section students would be able to post information that they have found in their preparation and share it with the class through the website. I think that since this is a tool that the students can use and understand they would be more willing to study from information that they have compiled and think to be important than just a boring worksheet that the teacher might hand them. Using technology this way makes things exciting for students. They will engage in the work they are doing, and since they are engaged and interested they will REMEMBER what they are reading or studying! If we can use technology in our classroom in a way that it is interesting to our students I know that they will perform better.

This would be a great tool as a teacher to keep parents informed on what is going on in the classroom. As students are becoming tech savvy, so are their parents. I think I would rather use a blog than this to keep parents up to date on what is going on, and send out announcements, or what homework their student should be working on. I do think that Google sites does have a more professional "website" look to it, but I think the blog is easier to just once over and be able to get the information that you need. On a blog the most recent information is on top, you can place a new heading for what information you are trying to convey. With Google Sites I feel like some of the parents who are not as tech savvy would kind of get lost, and give up using the site all together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Implicit association quizzes

These quizzes were so interesting! My results were a lot different than I thought they would be. I think it is a great way to test someone's unconscious thoughts. The pictures were flashing up so quickly sometimes it was easy for me to process, and sometimes it took a little bit longer for me to process. I don't necessarily agree with the results that came back from my test, but I guess they are gaging our unconscious preferences, so maybe I do have some unconscious preferences I am unaware of. I think this is a great learning tool as a future teacher to help me realize I might have some sub-conscious preferences and I will really need to work on not letting those come through and actually be put into action. The gender differences quiz was a lot easier for me to process and do quickly than the race one. I felt like the gender differences quiz results came back more accurately to what I believe as well.

Learning Log

As I read and studied about gender and group differences I learned so much! It was so interesting to read about the different biases we form in our minds for different cultures or genders. One thing that I really thought about was making students comfortable in their classroom environment no matter what their home environment is. We talked about cultural mismatches and helping the student transition from home to school life. One other thing I learned was that there is a very minimal and in some areas no difference at all in girls and boys abilities to perform in certain areas. So many times we assume boys are good at and like math, science, and spatial activities. We also assume that girls like and are good at language arts, social skills, and art. Genders seem to follow those patterns, but it makes me wonder if we train students to like and do typical gender related activities.

It is important as I go into a classroom that I don't have any biases and treat every student the same giving them equal opportunity. If I encourage students to do the things that they want to do and not what someone of that gender normally does then all of the students will be able to thrive and succeed at the things they desire to do. It is also important for me to not look at students of different cultures and automatically assume something about them because of the stereotype that is in my head. Each student is unique and individual and I will need to get to know that student personally and find out the needs of that student and how I can help them achieve in the classroom. One thing I think that will be so important is to have open lines of communication with all the parents of my students. Most of the time if you can talk with the parents and get an idea of what that child is like and how their life if outside of school we will be able to better meet the needs of that student. Just like the example in the book where the teacher was having trouble engaging in conversation with one of her students, once she understood that he thought it was disrespectful to look her in the eye she would look the other way while they conversed and the boy was excited to speak with her. If we can just find out ways to make our students comfortable we will both be able to succeed in the classroom.

As I prepare to become a teacher I can always keep in mind these gender and cultural differences and try to overcome them. I hope that when I am a teacher I will be able to teach every student equally and that every student will have the same opportunity to succeed in my classroom regardless of race, culture, religion, or gender. Hopefully before I become a teacher I will be able to learn more about different cultures that will help me to more fully understand the students in my classroom.

Intelligence Tests

The IQ test that I took was a very interesting way to gauge my abilities. The test was hard, but I liked the fact that it was timed because it helped me move through the questions quickly and didn't leave too much time to mull over every question. I thought the questions were not too easy but not too hard as well. They challenged me, but I still felt like I was competent enough to find the answer to most of the questions. I am not familiar with IQ scores, but my score came back at "above average." I really liked the evaluation that was sent to my e-mail concerning my results, although I did find it a little cheesy.

The Multiple Intelligence test was very helpful to me. I enjoyed taking the test because the questions made me really think about myself and how I learn best or like to learn. On the multiple intelligence tests it showed that the intelligences I was strongest in are linguistic and personal. I showed pretty low intelligences in all other areas, but at least some in every area. I thought the results to this test were pretty true to the best way that I learn.

I don't think I would use the IQ test in my classroom mainly because of the results that came back. The IQ score tells you whether you are average, below average, above average, etc. I would not want one of my students receiving a score that was below average and then thinking they couldn't succeed in academics or in life. I think it is important to gauge where students are, but I believe there would be better ways than using the IQ test.

I really like the multiple intelligence test and definitely think I would use that in my classroom. There is no score on this test that is better than another, just different. I think this test would be a great tool for me to use to know how I should be teaching material in my classroom so that my students will be able to learn best. I also think it would be a very beneficial test for the students to take to help them understand themselves a little bit better. If a student realizes they are very kinestetically intelligent, they might learn to study in a way that allows them to move around or form a dance that will help them remember certain concepts. I also think this test helps people just to understand themselves a little bit better.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Integrating Technology into my Classroom

This week in class we were able to work in groups creating our own "Wiki" through Google. It was definitely an experience, and quite confusing at first. I think that using wikis in the classroom in the future is a great way to get all students involved, working together as a team. Using the wiki was confusing for our group because we were all trying to use it at the same time, if we assigned students a weekend or week long project to use the wiki and collaborate on a project together it would be a great tool for them to use. Students could post pictures, videos, games, and websites found online that would help them with their assigned project to be shared with group members. Another great feature about the wiki is that it would allow students to work on their language arts as well. Students would be able to read their group members work, edit it, help write better structured sentences and paragraphs, etc.

As I was working on the wiki project I had the opportunity to look on the Internet for different ideas to incorporate technology into the classroom. My group and I mainly focused on finding tools that would help us teach math, but it really opened my eyes to how much there is out there! Every website I looked on there was a new great tool I could use in the classroom to help illustrate ideas, practice problems, and teach with. I especially enjoyed the University of Utah's website with it's applets. The different tools I found there could be used in so many ways! I was working with a graph making application. I would graph points on the graph and using that information I could see trends, correlations, outliers, etc. The possibilities are endless with a tool like this. One idea I had for using this tool was integrating math and science together. As a class we could look at the number of boys vs. number of girls. Which number is the most popular favorite number, which color is the most popular. We could also use things outside of the classroom where students need to gather data and bring it to class the next day to share. From the data gathered we would be able to make a graph and discuss it as a class. And this is just one of the tools I found on the Internet today!

Today I definitely learned that integrating technology into the classroom is easier than I think it is. There is so much information out there for us to use, as long as we take the time to prepare and search for material we will be able to use technology in our own classrooms that will be engaging and interesting for our students.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Educational Research Study

I found a research report online of a study that was performed in Revere, Massachusetts public School District from 2001-2004. The study was performed district wide by the public schools in collaboration with Lexia Learning Systems, a supplemental language arts instruction. The study was to test the effectiveness of Lexia reading software as a supplement to Revere's language arts instruction.

I found this study to be very interesting since it was an experimental study, and in our classroom discussion we kind of concluded that these studies were pretty difficult to perform accurately in a classroom setting. The "key findings" of this study were that Lexia improved reading scores in grades K-3, the lowest performing children benefited the most from using Lexia, and all reported findings were statistically significant.

In order to perform the study for each grade they chose a control group and an experimental (Lexia) group at random. Each child was given a pre-test. After a six month period of time each student was re-tested. The Lexia groups showed a significant amount of improvement more than the control groups who did not use Lexia in their curriculum.

As I read about the study I though it was done very carefully as to not have any biases. I thought it was a great study to perform and now hopefully every student in the Revere School District will be able to benefit from the Lexia reading program.

The research report for this study can be found online at http://www.readingsoftware.com/LexiaUK/upload/research/revere.pdf

Integrating Technology into my Classroom

This is probably going to be one area in which I struggle. I am not what you would call "technologically savvy" so I know incorporating technology into my classroom will be something I will have to consciously work on.

One idea that came up as we talked in class was using a blog to promote better communication in the parent/teacher relationship. I think a blog is a great way I could stay connected to my students parents that would also allow them to see what is going on in the classroom, what upcoming events we are planning for, what I would like their child to be doing at home, what a parent can do at home to help their children succeed in school, etc.

I think as I enter the classroom as a teacher in the next year probably 3/4 of the students will know more about technology than I do. The students in elementary schools today have grown up learning to count from computer and video games, and I think it is important that we utilize the skill sets they have already developed technologically to help increase their knowledge in other areas. I am excited for this next year and the chance I will have to learn new ideas, and new ways to teach in the classroom using technology.

Learning Log

As I read the chapter this past week and after our discussion in class the thing that I have learned the most about is research and the different types of research that can be conducted to obtain different types of information. The four main types are; descriptive, correlation, experimental, and action research.

This information is so important for me now and for when I am going to be teaching in a classroom. Now that I know what kind of studies can be conducted and what kind of information and data I would gather from each study I will be able to observe and assess the needs of my class and utilize those studies as tools to become a more effective teacher.

I am not in a classroom teaching right now, but I think I can still use action research in my education. Especially as I prepare to do my field experience, I will be able to think of the different things and different settings I will observe, and what conclusions can be drawn from what actions. I think as I am in my own class right now I can also look at the way I learn, and the way people around me learn, and the different things we are doing in the classroom to be most productive. I think as I am conducting my own "action research" I will learn new things about myself that will help me become a more effective learner and teacher.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I am so excited to start this program! I really want to be a teacher so that I can work with children while watching them learn and grow. While I was in Elementary School I just loved my teachers! They were always so full of life and excited to learn that their desire to teach was contagious. I know that while I am in this program I will be able to learn and acquire the knowledge and tools I need to be a successful teacher. I hope that once I am ready to enter the teaching field I will be able to guide my students in increasing their love for learning.

I am generally motivated by accomplishing goals, and making myself and others happy. I love the feeling once a goal is accomplished. Even if I feel like my day was totally shot, if I can accomplish at least one goal I had set for myself that day I can feel like it was still a good day. I think I am motivated by accomplishing goals because I know that in order to accomplish the big things in life I need to accomplish all the small steps along the way. As I work on the smaller goals I am always keeping my larger goal in mind and that helps to motivate me. I also am motivated by happiness. If I know something I can do will bring happiness to myself and others, I am very motivated to accomplish that thing.

I think one of the main things that help me succeed is my family support and the values that I have grown up with. I have always been taught of the importance of finishing a job I start, and doing things right the first time. My family has placed a great emphasis on education and teaching me that I can accomplish any goal I set my mind to. I think without the support and encouragement of my family members it would have been a lot harder for me to accomplish all the things I have accomplished. When I fail, I think it is because I allow outside things to interfere with the goals I have. I love spending time with my family and friends, and sometimes allow myself to lose focus. It is hard for me to study when my husband is around just hanging out, but it is always helpful when he encourages and motivates me to accomplish the goals I have made for myself.

My motivation and perspective could improve for me to in order to more fully succeed in the program. I think the most important thing for me is to set aside time every night in order to study and learn and prepare myself for school the next day. I also think it will be important for me to set goals every semester and work my hardest to accomplish those goals. When I set short term goals that will help me to accomplish a larger goal it helps me to stay focused and on target in order to accomplish my ultimate goal. My biggest challenge will be to remain focused throughout the next two years, and being able to take all the knowledge and tools I will be given and learn how to effectively use them in my future classroom.