Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Who Pushed Humpty?

Originally uploaded by crunchbot.
Digital books?

During my practicum, I encountered an awesome teaching tool while working with the technology instructor. He had a digital bok that he projected onto the smartboard screen in the lab. He read the book WHO PUSHED HUMPTY? to his class, and it was great because all the students were able to see the pictures because the illustrations contained clues in solving this mystery.

I asked the teacher following the lesson where he got this digitized book. He explained that he created it himself. He simply took digital pictures of each page of the book and put them on powerpoint and added voice recordings to narrate each page. Pretty cool use of technology, huh?

Personal Response System

During my educational classes, specifically Educational Psychology, I have encountered a neat little technology that could prove beneficial in the classroom called the Personal Response System. This tool enables all the students to have their own handheld device, and they can choose a number choice on their keypad to answer multiple choice questions.

The neat thing about this is that the answers all appear on the board and are 100% anonymous. It's a great way to encourage classroom participation. It shows wrong answers as well as right answers, so it is great for getting feedback about the current level of comprehension in your class. It's also useful in the sense that it does not provide biased feedback. Often, the only students who raise their hands are the ones that know the answer, so teachers get a poor assessment of the actual comprehension of the class as a whole.

Click here to learn more about this useful tool in the classroom!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I sympathized with Bud the Teacher who is trying to integrate technology into the classroom but is reaching nothing but dead ends. He ordered laptops for his classroom, but still have not received them.

Oh, the frustrations of teaching begin. And here is my concern as a beginning teacher: I love technology! I welcome it, embrace it, and encourage it...unfortunately the rest of the world is a little more reluctant. So many people in the world are still stuck in the "Oh, we didn't need that stuff when I was coming along, so why do you need it now?" mindset.

Face it people...TIMES ARE CHANGING, like it or not!!! Technology is new, it's different; it's the way of the future! This is what it boils down to: the students who have exposure to technology willl have that extra edge in the real world. They'll get the big breaks and be snatched up quickly out of high school and college.

Fortunately, I grew up in a school with good technology, and I have a lot of access to technology at the elementary school in which I student teach. I can only sympathize with the teachers who have to fight for every computer, piece of software, etc. Don't give in; your battle is worth the fight.

So for those of you reading this, you probably agree. Afterall, those of you who disagree are still probably clinging to your typewriters...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Brown Starfish

Brown Starfish
Originally uploaded by simonyfrontsjones.
Child abuse and neglect is sadly something we as educators must one day witness in the lives of our students. However, debate exists about whose responsibility is it to help these children...is it the educators, social services, principals? I can only speak for myself when I say that I think that teachers should be the first to help a child. Afterall, teachers do spend more time with a child than almost anyone else. You have the opportunity to make a difference or an impact. Maybe you won't reach everyone; maybe you will only make a difference to one child, but to one child, this difference could mean the world. I always refer to this starfish story when I talk about reaching children. It reminds you that you need to take an individual approach when assessing the needs of other students. Maybe we can't change the world, but we can start one child at a time.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I was reading on Elementary Education Majors and Interns' Blog about a poetry style known as Me poems to introduce poetry. I think I might have found what the author was looking at Education World. I think writing about yourself is a great way to begin poetry because poetry can be so insightful and spiritual for some students.

On the lines of poetry, I thought I would share a really creative way to teach poetry that I observed in my practicum today. My teacher is beginning a unit on poetry by using music. Today, he required all the students to write down four or five lines of their favorite song, and he then mapped the rhyme scheme of these songs on the board. He then introduced his newest assignment: the students will be responsible for either writing new words to an already exisiting song or writing their own song to get them into the swing of poetry. And wait, that's not all. The students are then responsible for recording their songs on a CD, creating a music video, and even having a "Jammy" music awards at the end of the semester. Who knew poetry could be this fun?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I read a brief blog by D. Kuropatwa, and I found his entry Make'em Laugh! and insightful little reminder. He reminded teachers to not forget the importance of laughter in the classroom. I think teachers often get so swept into the fears of standardization and cramming information in that they forget to laugh every now and again with students.

Now I'm a silly person at heart, so laughter for me is not a problem. However, I do want my students to see me as a professional. I want to learn how to find a balance so I become a professional and a warm person.

I always think a great think to remember is to learn to laugh at yourself. Be prepared to make mistakes and embarass yourself, but learn to laugh it off!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Miss Previs, Miss Previs...." I don't see my Mom, oh wait, you mean me!

I have now made two visits to my practicum location. Working with fifth graders has been incredible, except that I seem to blend among the taller kids. I have seen lots of evidence of SOL review because it's beginning to be crunch time!!!

The students are so enthusiastic. One girl randomly asked me if I liked her orange and black socks. Although this kind of thing is trivial, it's nice knowing that the students see me as approachable.

My cooperating teacher told me that as I grow more comfortable in the classroom, he will begin to ask me to prepare a lesson, and give me only 10 minutes to get it together. He said he wants me to learn to handle things in an instant because not everything goes according to plan.

I'm going to try and spend a lot of time in the school over spring break. I want the kids to feel comfortable with my presence and ask me questions with ease. It's hard transitioning each day from being a student at college to a teacher in the school. I never thought I'd see the day when people call me Miss Previs!