Monday, February 27, 2012

The language of teaching... (4)

     After completing my last teaching assignment, one student stood out in my mind. Amongst all of the children being engaged, exploring, following directions, and responding to questions, there sat a lonely child who just seemed to look around in confusion.
     Surrounded by those who knew what to do and how to do it, one child had no idea what was going on. This boy of topic just relocated to western Kentucky from Africa. While in the middle of students like himself, on the same level, and same age there was only difference...he did not speak English.
    I sat there and thought to myself..."How awful is it to be in a place where no one spoke my language?" I could only imagine if I went to a new country, such as Africa, and tried to live my day to day life. It would be tremendously hard. Now, to imagine being in a classroom trying to learn new ideas as a young child...almost heartbreaking.
    The teacher of the classroom pointed out the barrier he had with the student. He asked the student a question in English in which the boy had no response. I asked, "how do you teach a child with no communication?"

 The teacher replied with..."Do the best you can."

   The more I think about this topic...the more real it becomes. With diversity rising everyday, this will more than likely be a challenge in every future classroom. As a pre-service teacher this makes me nervous. There will be numerous challenges for me to face in order to manage, excite, and motivate the students to learn. This added to the everyday challenges seems impossible to overcome at first glance. How do I make the student feel welcomed and comfortable in my classroom? How do I engage the student in lessons with such a language barrier? In the can I help him learn?
   I've been looking around and many schools are establishing programs to help students transition to English based classrooms. Here is a video talking about such programs for her Alabama based school welcoming a flood of Korean students.
    This may seem like a small topic to discuss, but if we stop and recognize the problem we see how it is becoming a greater need everyday in the US classrooms.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Educational Technology (3)

     This semester has been jam packed with technology. Following suit of many college course, all of my classes this semester of course use blackboard to communicate. Fellow students can communicate with each other as well as student to teacher and vice versa. The simple us of search engines and research on the web have helped in my learning process. 
     Special programs such as "mastering biology" and Bio Labs are being utilized on the net for my science courses. These programs take place class of in class work but still serve as a hands on approach to learning. The assignments are interactive challenging us students to learn and respond through each objective. 
     Diigo, Edu 2.0, and Google+ have helped with this classroom in keeping the communication flowing through different avenues. Here we can communicate, do individual research and share, highlight and bookmark information on the web, discuss topics, and reflect on what we have done with each other and not have to  be in the same place. I have even gotten the chance to use google hangout to conference with multiple peers.
     Even in preparing for the lesson I taught, my partner and I used Powerpoint and the web to download tools into the presentation such as links and  timers. Pretty much everything  I have done this semester has incorporated technology. 

     In education, the internet is present. In researching I use the internet for information. Sharing and retrieving information is done through the internet. Simple e-mails to send classroom tools help in teaching. Pulling articles, videos, pictures, and presentations from the "net" are daily processes in my education. I am no longer a 1.0 person. I don't simply read items on the net and act as a viewer. I now participate in the spreading of information and continuing learning. 
     "A Web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators..."
     We can now add our own input through the sites we are using. Teaching is the best form of learning and now we can teach and learn from each other and the web. As a  student, I can post helpful links, ask and answer questions with other students, and reflect my own thoughts through pages such as diigo, Google+. Blogger, Edu2.0, and other forum sites.
     As a teacher, I can present information to the students through sites. Offer ways of learning through exercises the students can do on their own is a great idea as a teacher. I can even create my own "teacher website" to allow students to further explore topics and lessons. 
     We are all moving towards a 2.0 society. Some of us are jumping at the opportunity while others are slowing giving in. We have the world at our fingertips and need to do our part to share what we can.

Excerpt from "Reflection 1"

1.            Comment on your overall experience (e.g., lesson preparation, practice, implementation, students’ responses, your realizations, etc.) Your well-written response should be 2-5 paragraphs.

2.            Rate your confidence level as a teacher on a 1 to 5 scale with 1 being terrified and 5 being confident. Elaborate in 3 sentences or less. 

1.             My first experience in teaching with the Sky Teach program went better than expected, however I still have a lot to learn. The part I worried the most with (the actual teaching/classroom management) went smooth and seemed to be the quickest part of the process. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of bumps and roadblocks with time/participation...yet I feel it was an overall success. 
                The planning of the lesson and putting our ideas together to get the main objective required most of our time and focus. A lot goes into what few minutes we have with students. Thus we want to make the biggest impact and utilize the full time we do have with them. This requires a lot of planning. Planning and practice can be a struggle when working with a partner. Setting up times that coincide with both schedules and being on the same page at all times can be challenging. That is just another part of teaching and working in general. Though I feel we were prepared...I think we can never practice enough. At least now we know more of what to expect in the classroom.
                Putting our "planning into action" seems a little different in the actual doing than it does in theory. Remembering everything we wanted to say and do, while dealing with the issues and questions arising can be difficult. The major difference I noticed was, in our eyes, we thought we had broken down our lesson in the simplest form and made it very clear. Yet with the numerous questions and was obvious we could have done a better job. 
                I realize that each person has a different teaching style and way of approaching a classroom and lesson. I seem to have a relaxed and approachable manner. However I do need to work on establishing a teacher/authoritative presence and presenting myself in that light. Vocal tone, management techniques, and the simple way in which I carry myself can all improve for the class benefit. I am excited to tackle another lesson. 

2.            After this run, I am both more and less confident as a teacher. Overall, I would say I am at a 3. The evaluations brought things to my attention that I did not realize and sort of shook up my confidence, while other parts I was intimidated of doing in the beginning I did well on. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The 5 E's....Learn it. Love it. Live it.

The 5E Instruction model...

What is it? What does it do? How can we utilize it to best aid our classroom? Today I am going to break down and summarize the 5E's in this model.

1. Engagement
    -First impressions are everything...whether it's for yourself or the lesson you are going to teach. Here is when you want to GRAB the students' attention. The questions start here. You introduce and idea and a problem.  The students become introduced the material you are about to cover, laying the groundwork for their exploration. Brainstorming is a key idea. They make connections with the new material and what they already know.

2. Exploration
    - Students begin working with the material presented. Questions that were raised before are the driving source. Working as a team you will explore and test the questions discussed. Students will work together collecting data, making decisions, and building their knowledge base.

3. Explanation
    -Explain the discoveries and processes observed. Develop the content and lesson you are trying to achieve. Written, verbal, and creative resources will aid in clarification and feedback. Sum up the ideas, explain vocabulary and new terms, review what you have spoken on.

4. Elaboration
    -Take it a step farther. Take what the students have learned and apply it to a new stiuation to reiterate the idea. This can lead to new inquiries and questions and help the students fully understand.

5. Evaluation
     -Be aware of how well the students actually learn the material. This is an ongoing process through many source by teacher and learner. Follow ups, checklists, portfolios, and interviews. Further needed problem solving will be decided upon.

         This model is all about challenging the students to figure out things on their own. The E's are developed to have the student think outside of the the box. Introduce a topic. Have the students take what they already know and use that to develop the new ideas and solve problems. Continuing that idea, the students then take the observations and information and use that in challenging another idea. This model keeps the learning process going with the students driving it the whole time. The teacher is just a controller, leading them in the right direction. This is interesting and challenging at the same time. As a teacher, most of us will have the inclination to explain everything and show the children what is happening and how it is happening. Though they will learn far more when they figure things out themselves.

   In confidence of my execution and performance, I would rank the E's as follows. Most confident to least....

1. Engagement
2. Exploration
3. Elaboration
4. Explanation
5. Evaluation

1. I seem to do well engaging students and getting them excited on a topic. Introducing the idea and getting things going will be fine.
2. Exploring the topic and letting the students go doesn't seem too hard. Showing them how to perform the lesson and keeping classroom management would be the only difficulties I could foresee. Other than that it is pretty straight forward.
3. Challenging the students to take it the next step on in exploring their ideas may be tricky but with a little guidance I can see it being fine. Any misconceptions may be the main issue here. 
4. The explanation is the only time where we briefly "lecture" on the topic. The main concern here is truly getting the point across while maintaining their attention. I have to be on my game and  be able to explain the objective in a simple enough way.
5. Evaluation is the ongoing process of improving ourselves. Stepping back, examining yourself, and being critiqued all are harder than they appear. Then figuring out how to improve on what I did seems to be challenging.