Category Archives: 1 Expectations

Internship Reflection 1: Expectations

1 Expectations: The teacher communicates high expectations for student learning.  Establishing high expectations for student learning means creating a structured environment and limiting distractions and interruptions.   This is a key element of successful classroom management and allows teachers to make the most out of their time with their students.  Students will stay on task when expectations are understood and can spend more time on learning instead of needing to be redirected.

I decided I needed to clearly communicate expectations during my lesson Measurement of Time.  The lesson included multiple activities and transitions so I wanted to make sure they went as smooth as possible to maximize their learning.  I demonstrated emerging competence on Standard 1 by going over what I wanted students to do before letting them transition to the next task.  For example, before the students went from teacher instruction on the carpet to independent work at their tables, I told students I expected them to be silently working through their workbooks.  If they had a question or wanted to share ideas with a peer, that would be okay but only if it was math related.  I noticed in a previous lesson that students were having off topic conversations at the table so wanted to make sure they understood my expectations during math time.

I learned through this experience that setting expectations improves performance from students.  They worked well during their independent work with few interruptions.  During another activity using white boards, I instructed students to only use the white boards for math, not decorations or drawing.  Although these expectations were set up, not all students followed them and I missed some opportunities for addressing these concerns.  Next steps to increase effectiveness with expectations would be to follow up with certain behaviors and hold students accountable.  This is another key aspect of creating a structured environment where students should be reminded if they are not following directions.  I will continue to communicate high expectations for student learning before beginning a new task and follow up with students who need it.

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EDU 6526 Session 6: Problem Solving and Class Meetings

Students come to school with sets of values they may not be able to identify themselves but will show when they work with their peers.  Problem solving, cooperation, and collaboration are all developed in the classroom.  As they interact with one another, they discover the roles they will play with one another.  Utilizing role playing activities gives students a chance to practice social skills as well as discover what is important to their lives.  “It explores how values drive behavior and raises student consciousness about the role of values in their lives and those of others.  A direct effect is greater understanding about and empathy with differences in values as people interact.” (Calhoun, Weil, & Joyce, 2015, p. 258).   Students figure out how to cooperate with one another and overcome obstacles.  They begin to learn how to operate in a group and how best they can use their strengths.

In the kindergarten class I work in, we have a weekly “class meeting” where we sit down and discuss any issues that need to be addressed.  The teacher writes down student problems or concerns on a paper flip chart and discusses each one by one (see image below).  Students practice listening to one another and find ways to peacefully solve problems.  They are held accountable to the solutions and are referenced back to them if needed.  As the solutions come directly from the students, they carry more weight and have greater impact then the teacher simply telling them what they need to do.  Students work with one another in class meetings, examine what’s important to them, and learn lifelong social skills they will use in future grades.

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Reference

Calhoun, E., Weil, M., & Joyce, B. (2015). Models of Teaching. (9th ed.) Boston: Pearson.

EDU 6526 Session 5: Socially Constructed Knowledge

Classrooms are environments that model the larger world.  Learning how to work together, solve problems, and negotiate points of view are vital skills needed to be taught.  Students learn how to interact in a class setting and take with them skills to use in future professional and social relationships. These important skills are constructed socially as they learn through one another viewpoints and interactions.  Students figure out how to negotiate with each other which in turn helps each person negotiate their own world, making sense of their values within the larger society. “The abilities to continually reconstruct one’s value stance and to create compatible value systems are both essential to mature development.” (Calhoun, Weil, & Joyce, 2015, p. 249)  When they are finished in our classrooms, they will need to know how to problem solve with their peers.  Working with others effectively is a crucial life-long skill.

Mortimer Adler’s “Paidea Principles” outline what schools should focus on as their objectives.  http://www.paideia.org/about-paideia/philosophy/  “That the three callings for which schooling should prepare all Americans are, (a) to earn a decent livelihood, (b) to be a good citizen of the nation and the world, and (c) to make a good life for one’s self.”  (National Paideia Center, 2015).  In order to be good citizens and make a good life for one’s self, students need to know how to negotiate in the world.  They will face difficult obstacles and interactions that need social skills to solve.  Instilling positive, productive, and healthy democratic processes in classrooms will prepare students to be good citizens in the world.

Reference

Calhoun, E., Weil, M., & Joyce, B. (2015). Models of Teaching. (9th ed.) Boston: Pearson.

National Paideia Center. (2015) Paideia: Active Learning. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from http://www.paideia.org/about-paideia/philosophy/

EDU 6526: Session 4, Advance Organizers

Advance organizers are useful tools and a strategy teachers can use in their classrooms to prepare students for instruction.  The method allows teachers to figure out what students know about a particular topic and provide a preview of what the lesson will be.  “ . . . the purpose of graphic organizers is to make clear to students what they will be learning with regard to a particular topic.” (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, 2012, p. 62)  Students get a sense of the information which will prepare their minds to better learn the material.  Organizers are also equally important as a screening tool to gage what they already know.

There are a variety of approaches when it comes to advance organizers and certain formats are better than others depending on the type of lesson.  Dean, Hubbell, Pitler & Stone (2012) describe four formats: expository, narrative, skimming, and graphic.  Expository advance organizers explain in written or verbal form the content students are about to learn and specifically the critical pieces the teacher wants the students to remember.  Exp Organizer In this example, the teacher, Ms. Hollman uses an expository organizer to activate prior knowledge of students and get them ready for new information in the upcoming video.  Students can then see their responses before and after the film to witness their own learning.   This format works well for this activity but might not in another.   Understanding the correct use of all the formats would be beneficial to teachers to get quality data and information from their students.  The more a teacher practices the use of these organizers, the better they will become at successfully implementing them into their practice.

Reference

Dean, C.,  Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012) Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement 2nd Ed. United States of America: McREL International.

Characteristics of an Effective Educator

Working as an effective educator takes a lot of hard work including planning, connecting, instructing and assessing.  A teacher should be well educated understanding theory and practice of teaching in a classroom.   Being mentored by an experienced teacher and interning in a classroom before stepping into a lead role is hugely beneficial to the development and learning of a teacher.  Feedback and reflection helps a teacher develop their own strengths and skills when working with students.  An effective educator is a role model and leads by example for students to develop successful habits towards learning and education.   Sincerity and authenticity are required attributes of a teacher as students can read and understand when a teacher is not fully engaged in their instruction.  Students should feel cared for and comfortable in the classroom so they can feel excited and accomplished when completing their work.  Taking time to work one on one with each student lets the students feel appreciated and understood as learners in their classroom.  Teachers not only should understand the nature of their students but also get to know their families as well.  Students learn more from their families and in their home environments then they do at school so understanding where a student comes from and goes to after school is crucial information for an educator.  An effective teacher creates a learning environment of excitement and engagement and reflects their love of their career in their instruction.