Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

Yellow School Bus

Krissy Venosdale's idea of the perfect school sounds so exciting. Kids are excited and eager to learn! Krissy is very passionate about creating a school with an environment that feels welcoming to students. She is also passionate about making every moment with her students count. In Krissy's dream school, children are craving learning because of the environment they are placed in and the enthusiasm of  the teachers. I loved when she stated "Digging deep, not covering curriculum, would be the requirement". It wouldn't matter what specifics were being studied as long as the students were showing interest and understanding what was being taught. Students would be able to expand their knowledge by traveling on field trips and experiencing hands on activities in real labs and also be a part of service work. What better way is there to learn? She also mentioned no state tests. Students would just be taught for the sake of learning topics that interest them. Krissy Venosdale couldn't have done a better job describing the perfect dream school.

Sugata Mitra is very interested in technology. He did several projects called "Hole in the Wall", where he placed computers in different areas, like in Southern India, and observed how children responded to them over a period of time. One he set up and came back 8 hours later and the children were already browsing the computer. He then moved it to a different village and came back in a few months and the children were playing games and asking for faster processors and a new mouse! The children were given no instruction on how to work the machines. After observing the students, he saw that not only were they figuring out how to work the machines, they were able to teach other children how to work them. These children were learning and having fun while also learning to work the computer and play the games. Sugata believes we need to design a future for learning by supporting children all over the world to work together. He will call it "A School in the Cloud", students will be given big questions and then study and learn from technology.

Kids working together

I want my classroom to be a fun learning environment. For example, in a 1st grade classroom teaching reading, there are so many different projects, field trips, and resources to dig into. When you add technology to the picture the variety of activities increases so much more. Adding field trips, as Krissy Venosdale mentioned, could include road trips different local libraries instead of just the school library. Attending live plays that have been read in class is a great way for children to get a visual and better understanding of popular stories. Having computers and iPads with headphones that could read out loud to the students would be great. They can follow along and hear the words spoken out loud at their own pace. Reading is going to be a very important aspect to my classroom. Technology, field trips, and activities are going to play major roles in the learning process.

What I want my students to know:

Most importantly, I want my students to know that learning is fun! I want to be able to create a comfortable environment in my classroom so that my students feel welcomed and are excited to learn when starting my class. My students will know I care about their education and want the best for them. Any student that walks through my door will set goals for the year and I will make sure they know that I am there to help them every step of the way. I will introduce all the different resources we have that can help them learn in their own way.

What I want my students to be able to do:

I want my students to be able to try their hardest. I won't expect them to do things if I don't believe they are capable of doing the certain tasks. I want them to help their classmates if they notice each other struggling and learn how to work together. Reading out loud in groups and helping each other pronounce words is great practice. Learning the meanings to words is also very important. I want my students to be passionate about reading and expanding their vocabulary.

My primary way of teaching my students what I want them to know and do:

My primary way of teaching my students will be by creative activities. I think hands-on learning is one of the best ways to help students remember certain points. Visual learning is also a good approach. Posters in the classroom, pictures to refer to, and videos to show concepts explained differently. In my observation hours I have seen the smartboards help students in several ways. The games that smartboards offer and the different vocal programs they have allow students to interact and learn in a fun way.

Tools I will use in my classroom:

By the time I have my own classroom, my students will probably have access to iPads or computers. The list of activities that you can do on such devices is never ending. I also hope to have a classroom blog as one of my tools. This way if I can get the parents permission, I could post pictures of the students working and playing throughout the day. Keeping the parents updated on what is going on in class and posting newsletters on the blog will also be of good use. This would be beneficial to the parents, as well as to the children because it will mean a lot to them to see their work posted on the web. Another tool I will use often is the smartboard if it is available. There are so many games that can help the students learn in creative ways. It is very interactive and helps to keep the students attention while learning to read.

What role will students play in my classroom:

When it comes to participating in the learning process, my students will play a major role. Students will get to read out loud with the help of me and their classmates. I want my students to be vocal about their learning because, every student learns in a different way. If a students speaks out about their favorite way to practice reading, this could help encourage other students to try new methods.

To do List

Dr. Pausch and Joe Landsberger's Time Management Strategies 

I personally do not have too much trouble with time management, but there is always room for improvement. I am very organized when it comes to meeting deadlines. I like to know when things are due weeks ahead of time. I live my life by my planner to a certain extent and sometimes this can be a bad thing. By doing this though, it helps me to stay organized, meet deadlines, and know what's coming up ahead. 

Dr. Pausch in his video discusses how time is very important in everyday life. When dealing with goals, priorities, and planning you should always ask 1. Why am I doing this? 2. Why will I succeed? 3. What happens if I choose not to do it? He states it is dangerous to just do things right, it is more important to do the right things correctly. If things aren't going well, you learn from those mistakes and do better next time. Planning is important and has to be done at different levels. Meaning, to plan out what needs to be done today, this week, and this semester. You can't change your plan if you never create one. It is okay to change plans! Create a to-do list and create small steps to check off. Dr. Pausch had very good insight on tips to time management in this video. 

In Joe Landsberger's study guide on time management he helps you to think about how you use your time each day. He continues on to gives you strategies on how to manage your time better. One suggestion he made was to come up with a designated study space. This way you are free from distraction and can focus on the task you are trying to complete. He also talks about how you need to use your time wisely. If you are standing in line somewhere, get out your flashcards. If you are walking to class, listen to a recorded lecture. My favorite strategy that he listed was to review your lecture notes before and after class. This way you are refreshing your memory before learning new material. Reviewing new lecture notes after class is important because he states that the first 24 hours are when you will forget the most if you don't refresh. At the end of his strategy list, he suggests that you make to-do lists and/or get a planner. I love the idea of both! I always have my planner with dues date wrote down and also a weekly to-do list. Joe Landsberger's study guide pointed out some great strategies on time management. 

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