Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Reflection on 2nd Grade Lesson Plan: http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/blog/archives/2005/11/entry_668.htm

There's nothing more rewarding to a student than to be praised by others when you have worked hard on an assignment. Adding students work online is a great way to maximize student feedback and exposure. Even though it is password protected, the students have the opportunity to collaborate. The internet broadens our connections and our resources, so I guess it makes sense to ask, why not take advantage of it?

Although password protection is most likely a necessity in this day and time, I wonder if Miguel might find a way to share the password with parents. Parents too would love to see their students work, and it's a great way to share with families, without sending home papers that seem to get lost in the bottomless pit of backpack.

Here's another thought: although this was one unit, I think it might be neat to post multiple examples of student work throughout the year. This way, students have a way to review their work and the progress they've made. Maybe you could even make it a schoolwide initiative to show progress across grades!

Technology Inventory

The Technology Inventory was a great tool for learning about the resources that are available to me in my practicum. I cannot imagine how terrible it would be to plan an excellent lesson in the classroom, only to realize that you lack the means to implement it.

I'm glad to see that our school has access to digital video cameras. These will be extremely useful as student teachers. It will be a great way to showcase our work, and possibly add as artifacts in our electronic portfolios. I am also pleased to know that LCD projectors are available to us as student teachers. Because there are a limited number of classroom computers (2 in my classroom to be exact) there will have to be more whole group activities, and LCD projectors are a useful tool for incorporating the entire class.

Being in a school with good technology is great for teachers and students alike. Teachers can use it to engage students of all backgrounds, and the students who do not have it in the home can have exposure to it.

My main question/concern is that suppose I teach in a school one day that lacks the technology I hope to incorporate into my curriculum. What can I do to help improve the technology in this type of setting? How do I convince parents and administrators that it is essential to the curriculum, and what individual initiatives could be taken to improve the technology in the school?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Planning for the unexpected?

I'm beginning to notice that despite the countless hours put into planning lessons, there will always be things that arise that were not planned. For instance, the fire drill midday, the child who gets sick, or even unforseen behavioral problems.

I'm realizing that lesson plans often must be taken as a suggestion or as a possibility. Allowing oneself to stray from the planned activities creates flexibility and allows for new opportunities...Sure this will be hard to deal with, especially during the lessons that took hours to prepare, but part of being a teacher is learning how to handle anything.

I'm not suggesting that teachers throw away the planner, but I think my cooperating teacher presented me with good advice. He told me that I should always be ready for the unexpected and always have an emergency back-up activity. There will always be new things that we, as teachers, will face daily in the classroom, many of which could not have been taught in a textbook due to the overwhelming wealth of contingencies.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another year has begun, and I am already in my second week of my practicum. Once again, I'm in a fifth grade class with the same cooperating teacher.

Last year I began my observation during the spring semester. This year, I begin my practicum with a new group of students. I get to see firsthand the importance of a structured classroom in the development of routines and procedures as well as the prevention of discipline problems. I have noticed that students are trying to find their place in the classroom, but they are constantly testing the limits, so consistency is a MUST!

This semester my practicum hours are in social studies, technology, and reading/language arts. Although much of my work is centered around the 5th grade curriculum, I take the time to visit a first grade classroom for language arts and a third grade classroom for social studies. I think it will prove beneficial to gain experience with a variety of age groups. Afterall, the challenges faced in a fifth grade class are entirely different from a first grade classroom.

So much to learn in a year... I will continue to blog about my experiences, concerns, hopes, fears, and random reflections from the perspective of a student teacher @ the College of William and Mary