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.