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 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

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.