This course has allowed me to practice important skills when it comes to lesson planning and assessment. Utilizing specific formats and looking deeply into the learning standards I will need to use has been greatly beneficial. Reflecting on SPU program standard 4 Content Knowledge, I have acquired this knowledge throughout coursework such as the Mid Quarter lesson design. (Figure 1). I examined the state standard for 3rd grade math fractions and crafted a lesson that would allow for practice activities and formative assessment throughout. It was helpful to use the same format I will use during my teacher internship and edTPA so I know what to expect. Looking closely at Component 1e: Designing Coherent Instruction, I demonstrate knowledge of this by allowing for multiple learning strategies for student needs. Allowing for visual, building, and listening learners, the lesson will be accessible to a variety of student learning styles. I am continuing to work on a coherent progression and structure in my final lesson design as I became a little ambitious and overwhelming when it came to introducing and operating with fractions.
Our course readings allowed for further understanding of designing curricula to effectively support student understanding. Rosenshine (2012) describes introducing material in small chunks so as not to overwhelm. Also including time for questions and student practice helps retention of new material. “ . . . teachers used this extra time to provide additional explanations, give many examples, check for student understanding, and provide sufficient instruction so that the students could learn to work independently without difficulty.” (Rosenshine, 2012, p 32). This will be important to keep in mind as I design and deliver new content so students feel successful. Allowing myself adequate time for material to sink in and be understood will be necessary as I progress through the learning standards. Coming back to these readings and practice activities as I work through my first year of teaching will greatly aid my effectiveness in the classroom.
Rosenshine, B. (2012). Principles of Instruction: Research based strategies that all teachers should know. American Educator: Education Digest. p 30-40.
I chose to tell a personal narrative of my experience as a chaperone for a high school national youth gathering where I learned a lot about what it means to be a servant. Those interested in community service, youth leaders, volunteers, high school students, and anyone else who has a caring heart and passion for working in the community would be interested in viewing it. This could be used in a formal educational setting when teaching about work in the community, how people affect one another in community, or teaching about the diversity we have in our large cities in the country. I demonstrated competency on ISTE NETS Standard 1 for Teachers by modeling creative and innovative thinking, engaging students in exploring real world issues, and by promoting the use of a digital tool to tell an important story.
The process of digital storytelling began slowly. I came up with the content pretty easily because this event took place just last summer. The bulk of the work came from searching for a program that could meet the requirements of the assignment. At first I tried Microsoft Sway, uploading photos into the order that worked for my story. Unfortunately after doing this I could not find a way to add narration, music, or record it, so I had to move to Windows Live Movie Maker and start again. It took me a lot longer than I anticipated mostly because I was unfamiliar with the software. Most of the time I was experimenting around and searching for the right tools. Having experience or training with the program definitely would have helped complete the assignment.
The most significant things I learned while completing this project was having an open ended, student choice topic allowed me to have full creativity of the assignment. I could choose a topic that was important to my life and creatively present it in a format of my choice. Having so many options allows a student to truly create a project that they are passionate about and that is meaningful to their lives. Having some practice ahead of time with Windows Live Movie Maker would have been helpful, but experimenting with something new is a great learning method as well. Creating this digital story was a great experience to look back at my trip to Detroit and a project I can come back to when reflecting about my service in the Motor City.
Triggering Question: What training, resources, and programs are available as an innovative 3rd grade educator in a global and digital society?
Subject matters change throughout the years in school and as teachers, we need to be able to adapt and change our practices. In terms of literacy, methods of teaching has shifted from memorization and repetition, to social interactions and construction from their peers. “ . . . literacy is now shared and socially situated, and students must know how to cooperate and collaborate as they author, design, and customize their literacy efforts to the demand of the situation.” (Wake & Wittingham, 2013, p 178) As subject matters transform, new technology systems emerge and educators must demonstrate fluency with these programs. Wake and Wittingham (2013) describe this change in literacy and conduct an experiment with teacher candidates to find out how much they already know about certain programs, time to use the programs, and level of comfortability of using it in with students. Results found that teachers were willing to use the technology in classrooms if they had adequate professional training beforehand. Starting training and familiarity during internship will lead to application of these programs effectively in the future which will meet literacy requirements in the digital society.
As literacy changes, so does the emphasis on other subjects such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Schools are pushing towards high achievement in these areas to get students prepared for the global and digital world. One of the members in my learning circle posted a link to a series of STEM simulation activities that wouldn’t necessarily be possible with school resources. http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2011/10/08/great-games-and-simulation-tools-for-teaching-stem-content-p2/
Having this source as an alternative will help students understand concepts and get some practice using materials they would otherwise not have access too. This is another way educators can transfer current knowledge to new technologies and situations.
Discovery Education (2011). Great Games and Simulation Tools for teaching STEM Content! (P2) Retrieved February 13, 2016 from http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2011/10/08/great-games-and-simulation-tools-for-teaching-stem-content-p2/
Wake, D., & Whittingham, J. (2013) Teacher candidates’ perceptions of technology supported literacy practices. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 13(3), 175-206.
Jerome S. Brunner’s article, Some Elements of Discovery, discusses methods of teaching where students use knowledge and learning from school in meaningful and effective ways. Tools that students can draw upon when progressing to the next subject, grade, or level. Rather than focusing on learning new material, students need to discover what they already know to approach new information. “Discovery teaching involves not so much the process of leading students to discover what is ‘out there,’ but, rather, their discovering what is in their own heads.” (Brunner, 1966) Students have many skills they can use towards education, they just need the techniques discover them. Figuring out what they’ve got is the first step to higher learning and thinking.
Brunner compares student’s learning by discovery to concept formation in an example where a class develops ideas of a steadying tool when discussing what the purpose of a compass to draw circles is. The students collaborated together and made meaning from information they already knew. When students listened to each other, they found more and more connections which grew the class’s understanding. ““The children are getting connections that allow them to travel from one part of the system to the other and when something new comes in, they find compatible connections.” (Brunner, 1966) The students formed their own abstract idea of what a steadying tool is based on evidence they already had in their heads. Teaching students methods to unlock this potential will lead to productive and effective approaches to all areas of their education.
Brunner, J. S. (1966). Some Elements of Discovery. Learning by Discovery: A Critical Appraisal.
Rand McNally & Company: Michigan.