P2, Practice differentiated instruction. Teacher candidates apply principles of differentiated instruction, including theories of language acquisition, stages of language, and academic language development, in the integration of subject matter across the content areas of reading, mathematical, scientific, and aesthetic reasoning (1). To me, P2 discusses how teachers should be differentiating instruction and expectations based on student needs (1). For example, we have a writing group four times a week. The writing group has three different students all at various levels of comprehension. I observed my mentor teacher teaching this group this week and was able to take note on all the ways she differentiates for one group (2). During this observation the teacher introduced a new writing prompt to the students. The writing prompt was, “What is something you know a lot about?” The students must go through the planning stages of the writing (plan, rough draft, edit/revise, publish). Throughout this process each student has different needs, this is where the differentiation of instruction comes in. For student A, the teacher modeled and offered minimum support. Student A is able to take the information presented and plan his writing, create his sentences, use his edit/revise check list independently, and type his sentences. For student B, there is a bit more support needed. With student B the teacher will model and then will work one-on-one with the student to generate his ideas for his sentences. After the teacher helps him to come up with the ideas he is able to write out the sentences independently. The teacher then needs to model the edit/revise step. After this step student B is able to independently type his sentences. With student C there is a great deal of differentiation. Although she is able to use the same writing prompt, after the teacher group model, the teacher must go to student C and work one-on-one with her to explain the directions/process for a second time. Then the teacher must scribe for the student, as she dictates her ideas. Student C will then be able to copy the teacher’s scribe and independently go through the edit/revise checklist. Finally, student C is able to publish (type) at a slow pace. Often the teacher will type two sentences for every one sentence the student types (2). As you can see from the evidence below the work from Student A, Student B, and Student C varies significantly. With student A you can see that the student is able to independently write his sentences. Student B needs differentiation in instruction by prompting and modeling for him to come up with ideas for his sentences. Student C needs differentiation in instruction by a second set of directions, scribing, and help with typing/publishing. Each student’s needs are different, and therefore it is important to differentiate the instruction so each student is able to access the material (3). Through this observation I learned how important it was to differentiate instruction for your students. I always thought that each student was able to understand the concepts with the same level of support. After this observation and learning throughout my internship I have realized that differentiation is essential when teaching multiple students at the same time (4). Differentiation is necessary in order to see student achievement. It is also important to develop student’s motivation and self-esteem. When we do not differentiate the student is feeling the pain of constantly struggling with the material (5). One way that I can improve in this area is to take a closer look at each of the areas that my students are struggling in. This well help me to determine how I can differentiate the instruction to help them succeed (6).
H3, Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning (1). Before this observation I didn’t realize how far creative thinking could go when it comes to our lessons. I never considered using the classroom environment as a learning tool. After observing the Safety Net program I learned more about this standard and how we should be utilizing our classroom as a part of our student’s learning (1). For example, as I was observing in the classroom, I noticed how the teacher used her classroom as a learning tool for the students. I was able to learn how posters, calendars and informational boards around our classroom can aid our students in learning specific tasks such as short vowel sounds. The lesson was broken into two parts; first the students reviewed short vowels and gave examples from a reading. Next, students were instructed to independently complete a worksheet using the classroom to find words with short vowel sounds. Below you will find a few examples of where students found short vowel words in their classroom. The classroom became a great learning environment for the students. Each student was able to independently discover words they had been learning about. This was a new approach to teaching that has many benefits (2). Using the classroom community as a milieu for learning enables students to practice applying what they have learned in the classroom as opposed to a written test. This approach allows students to work independently and move around the classroom. This lesson was diverse in that it catered to several types of learners. Included all in one lesson I observed: direct instruction, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning and independent practice. The students felt accomplished when they discovered new words that have short vowels on their own. Throughout the lesson the teacher helped to direct students if they were having trouble finding words. At the end of the lesson the teacher went over each new word the students found and had students read their words aloud to the group (3). After this observation I realized the importance of using our classroom as a learning tool. This promotes student independence and gives them a chance to apply their learning. This is also a great way to check for student understanding (3). Through this observation I learned how I can use my classroom in the future as part of a lesson. I also learned that I could use different teaching styles all within one lesson (4). By using the classroom in new ways and making it a part of student learning we are able to teach students how to apply what they have learned to their environment. Students begin to realize that the classroom is not only a place to sit and listen, they can also make real world application of what they have learned (5). I can improve in this area by beginning to use my classroom as a source of learning. I can encourage my students to discover new ways to include the classroom environment throughout their lessons (6).
H2, Honor student access to content material (1). The last 6 weeks I have been doing my independent teaching in the resource room. I decided to do my second unit plan with the same group that I did my first unit plan with. This is a math group consisting of 4 students in 5th grade. I was able to learn a lot through this second unit plan because I was responsible for every aspect of developing and implementing the unit. Standard H2 applies to our student’s right to have access to content material regardless of their disabilities (1). For example, the unit Fraction Meanings and Concepts, began with a pre-assessment that was taken from the 3rd grade Focus Math curriculum. This pre-assessment was given based on the previous unit the students completed as well as the pre-assessment that was given at the beginning of the school year which determined concepts each students were struggling with. The students IEP goals and common core state standards were also considered before beginning this unit. The unit was organized chronologically and included eight lessons. Each lesson contains a purpose, and shows how the students can apply the information. Guided practice and independent practice goes along with each lesson. Equal Parts was the unit before this one and the next unit consists of geometry concepts, Making New Shapes from Shapes (2). This unit provided a lot of support in relation to allowing student access to the content material. The concept was delivered to the students in a variety of ways including guided practice, independent practice, partner practice, technology, manipulatives, and worksheets. Each activity was followed up with a learning check and formative assessment to check for understanding. At several times throughout the unit students were unable to access the content because of the presentation of the material, this required me to be extremely flexible and creative in presenting the same material in unique ways that were easier for the students to understand and access. After students would complete independent work I would provide a short post-assessment to determine if the students were ready to proceed to the next concept. The learning targets in this unit are as follows: students will identify and show a fraction of a region, students will identify and show fractions of a set, students will use objects to solve problems involving fractions of a set, students will identify and name fractions that are equal to one whole, students will use the benchmarks 0, ½, and 1 to estimate fractions for given parts, students will use improper fractions and mixed numbers to name fractions greater than 1. Each of these learning targets helped the students to master the unit goal and was broken down into steps, which made the content available to the student to comprehend. We could not proceed to the next learning target until students were able to access the material in the current learning target. This was made clear after I gave the students their post-assessment for the unit. Each student failed the post-assessment. After grading the post-assessments I realized that the students were unable to access this content and they needed to be given alternative strategies in order to access this material. I went back and gave the students another strategy to use to solve problems involving fractions of a set. After the re-teach 4 out of 5 students scored 100% on the post-assessment (3). After completing my first unit I realized that it is essential to ensure that each student has access to the content material. This can be difficult when you are teaching five different students that are categorized under five different disabilities. It was imperative that I used a variety of instructional practices such as, check for prior knowledge, direct instruction, guided practice, independent practice, formative assessment, model, provide examples, demonstrate, differentiation. I also learned the importance of re-teaching. If you realize that students are unable to access the material you need to re-teach the concepts to ensure they are able to access the information (4). This unit proved to my students that I would never leave them behind when they couldn’t understand something. I gained the students respect by re-teaching parts of the unit until I was sure they were able to access the content material and were ready to move onto the next lesson (5). I learned a great deal by working through this unit. One of the most important things I learned is that each student has the right to access content material and it is my job to ensure they are making progress to master that material. If I notice that even one student is confused I need to stop and re-teach the section that is not allowing them to master the concept (6).
Reflection – E2
E2, Exemplify collaboration within the school (1). Before this observation I had never seen collaboration quite like this. After observing a kindergarten class I learned more about this standard and how we should all be working towards a higher level of collaboration with our colleagues and setting a better example for our students. Standard E2 applies to the way we should be collaborating with our colleagues (1). For example, as I was observing in the classroom, it happened to be a day where the school counselor came in to do a lesson on behavior. Right away I noticed how well the school counselor worked together with the general education teacher to prepare for this lesson. The school counselor was able to come in and completely take over the class all while implementing the teacher’s rules. I was able to learn about what real collaboration looks like and how it should be used in our classrooms. The example you see below was the daily schedule that was on the board, as you can see the school counselor’s visit was worked into the schedule and listed for the students to see. This wasn’t going to be a visit where the counselor just popped in began her lesson. This was an activity that they had worked together on and prepared for. Before this observation I had an image of collaboration as simply discussing things with a colleague, but I never knew how beneficial real collaboration could be when used properly in the classroom (2). Collaboration in the classroom makes everyday tasks more efficient, it shows the students how adults work together, as well as showing students that each adult in the building, whether your teacher or the school counselor, is someone that should be respected. As you can see from the picture below the simple act of making room in your schedule to allow a colleague to come into your classroom and take over for an hour can be a huge gesture. Just by observing the students actions change from their teacher to the counselor you could see that at first they were attempting to see what they could get away with. At first they would blurt out and have side conversations. Right away the counselor began implementing the teacher’s rules and following through on discipline. Students immediately realized the counselor was no different than their teacher and they were going to have to follow the same rules. When a student acted out the teacher didn’t step in and take over she sat back and allowed the counselor to respond to the disruption. This form of collaboration displays an act of trust and reliability (3). After this observation I realized the importance of collaborating the right way. I also realized that collaboration is essential within a school and without it we could be limiting our students and ourselves. Students follow our example; by showing them a good example of collaboration they are sure to replicate that with their peers (3). Through this observation I learned the importance we should set on collaboration in and out of our classroom, whether our students are watching or not. This is just another way we can prepare our students for the future (4). Collaboration within the school may not always be easy, there are often different opinions and different point of views we must stretch to understand. By practicing collaboration our students can learn how to work in a group setting, how to solve new problems, be accepting of diverse opinions and working together to reach a common goal (5). I can improve my collaborating skills by giving my colleagues the chance to step in and take over when I may need an extra hand. I can also be more aware of others opinions and consider that my way is not always the best way (6).
H1 – Honor student diversity and development.
There is much controversy surrounding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Many individuals deny that the disorder exists, others refuse to treat it with medication and others are suffering from the disorder. A child who is diagnosed with ADHD is likely to have difficulty with attention and impulsivity that interferes with their learning. ADHD has two classes of symptoms. There is the well-known type of ADHD where a child is hyperactive and impulsive with their behaviors. There is also another class of ADHD where the child is simply inattentive, from the outside it may appear as if the child is paying attention but really he/she is in their own world. According to Pressley & McCormick, “These symptoms must be present for at least 6 months to be relatively certain that the symptoms are an enduring pattern of behavior and not the consequences of some transitory developmental or environmental factor, and exist before the age of 7, since the developmental pathology is theoretically present by then and so the ADHD diagnosis does not get confused with other conditions that may occur later in life”(p379).
There are many different strategies that can help students with ADHD. One important strategy that is helpful for these students is to reduce distractions. A child with ADHD has a difficult time paying attention and it is not helpful when there are unnecessary distractions. A few ways to limit distractions is to place the student in the front row in the classroom, facing the board, close to the teacher’s desk. This will help the student to focus without the distractions of other students, windows, or hallways.
Another way to limit distractions is to offer the child to wear silencing headphones. We use these a lot for ADHD students and they love them. Along with limiting distractions it is also helpful for ADHD students when a teacher is constantly checking in. When these students receive prompts and reminders on what they should be working on, they are much more successful.
Although there are many different strategies that can help students who battle ADHD nothing compares to medication. Several of my students with ADHD are on medication and there is a huge difference in how well they are able to focus with the medication. It just makes the child’s life so much easier, they are able to complete work and focus on conversations.
ADHD makes it difficult for many students to participate in activities that come so easily for others. We can make their life a bit easier by applying practical strategies that help them focus their energy.
Pressley, M. & McCormick, C. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction.
Throughout the past ten weeks I have interacted with my peers on Google+ by sharing several different useful resources as they relate to technology in the classroom. I have joined in on a new way of communicating through Google+ Hangout. I have read The Shallows and Brain Gain on my Ipad, as well as read the Horizon Report and NetP.
After reviewing my reflections that I have written each week on my bportfolio I realized how much I have learned over the past ten weeks. It was great to be able to look back and see how much I have grown in the topic of technology throughout this quarter.
One area that I have improved in is being flexible with the use of the e-reader. When reading my reflection from the first week of using the e-reader, I wrote about all the issues I was having when using it. Throughout each week I began to appreciate the use of the e-reader more and more. I even began to enjoy using the e-reader and all it has to offer. I have decided after this course to purchase my textbooks electronically in the future because of the ease of transporting multiple books.
Another area that I have become more educated in is the use of Google+. I had used Google+ in the past and was familiar with some of its features before this course. Through this course I used some features that I had not used in the past like being a part of a ‘community’ and sharing information within the community. I also enjoyed being involved in a Google Hangout. I think this is a great tool that will become useful in the future with class projects. It is great to be able to communicate via Google Hangout, you can invite several people on video to have a discussion, there is also the ability to record the conversations.
One last area that I have grown in is the use of technology in the classroom. Through the resource sharing on Google+ with my colleagues I have learned about so many other ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. There were many different resources that I was not familiar with and now I have an entire list of different tools that I want to apply in my classroom. I have enjoyed learning about new ways to incorporate technology into my classroom, using the e-reader, and learning about the new features Google+ has to offer. I believe that each of these new concepts that I have learned will help me to be successful in my classroom and throughout my masters program.
P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction.
Chapter 9 The Shallows – Search, Memory
This chapter discussed how our memory has been conformed and reformed through the availability of materials to us. These days we are not forced to remember everything because we can just look it up. Our memory ability has changed due to the great increase of resources available to us such as: books, journals, and not to mention the Internet. Our brain has become more like a computer than we would like to think. According to Carr (2010), “If biological memory functions like a hard drive, storing bits of data in fixed locations and serving them up as inputs to the brain’s calculations, then offloading that storage capacity to the Web is not just possible but, as Thompson and Brooks argue, liberating. It provides us with a much more spacious memory while clearing out space in our brains for more valuable and even more human computations” (p282). Eric Kandel decided to look into this theory and began studying what constitutes our short-term memories or long-term memories. According to Carr (2010) they discovered that, “The more times an experience is repeated, the longer the memory of the experience lasts. Repetition encourages consolidation” (p286). I found this study to be quite interesting and, it backs the theory that our students need to repeatedly see material before they are able to master it.
This portion of NetP once again discussed the use of technology in the classroom. According to the article, “The model for learning presented in this plan assumes that we will develop, adopt, and ensure equitable access to a technology-based education system that provides effective learning experiences, assessments, and teaching an a comprehensive infrastructure for learning to support both formal education and all other aspects of learning.” Incorporated into this plan includes four different areas including: providing grants for innovative technology, transferring existing technology innovations in other industries into education, supporting current education R&D, and creating a new organization that will serve the public through R&D.
Horizon Report (3D Printing)
This week I shared a resource that explained 3D printing and how it could benefit education. In general, 3D printing is a new form of ‘prototyping’. It is the ability to take a model and print a life-like 3-D object. The printing can take place on hundreds of different types of materials including plastic. One of the biggest benefits within education is that it gives students the ability to explore objects that may not be available to them otherwise. An example could be the study of fossils in a science class. This type of technology makes learning more engaging and interactive to students.
This week I did a great deal of reading about 3D printing. I found this to be the most useful resource that I would apply in my classroom. If it was possible in my current position I would love to supply my students with a 3D printer. Unfortunately the expense is what will keep most classrooms without the printer. I do believe that it could provide a great advantage to students, especially those that are visual, hands on learners. Being able to see objects that they are only able to read about will help them to better understand and comprehend the material.
Use of E-Reader
I am still enjoying using the E-Reader to read my textbooks.
Source: Carr, N. (2010). <em>The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains</em>. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Prensky, M. (2012). <em>Brain Gain</em>. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishers.