"First, Next, Then, Finally..."
On the blog A Journey in TEFL, the author writes about teaching a mixed ability group of students the writing process, specifically writing a narrative using sequencing words. You may know these words as first, next, then, and finally. The author found it difficult to teach this process to some of her struggling students. So, she decided to group them for an activity. First, she grouped them in high-low groups. Next, she regrouped them in high-high and low-low groups.
In my comments, I said that I thought her grouping and then regrouping was a great idea! I also added that using a graphic organizer might be helpful. I even suggested to try recording students telling their stories orally, and then play it back for them. They could use this as a guide to get their story on paper.
"Career v. Motherhood"
Kathleen Morris writes about her decision to be a stay at home mom and the strange feeling of not preparing for the upcoming school year in her blog, Primary Tech. Ms. Morris's post really resonated with me because I have felt those same feelings of disconnect that she was discussing. I remember the first year that I did not prepare for a return to the classroom, and it was bittersweet. I was happy because I was about to become a mother, but I was sad because I missed teaching. As each year has passed, the sadness of August and the start of a new school year has lessened, but it still remains. Teaching is not a job. It's a reward to get to go to a room filled with bright young minds each day and do your best to encourage learning. It is a passion and a love of learning and a desire to share and instill that love of learning with students that drives the teacher.
Ms. Morris also writes about staying connected through blogging. I admire her for doing that. I wish I had thought of it!
"What's the true cost of FREE?"
In my comments, I thanked Ms. Davis for an insightful article and complimented her on her new Wordpress blog. The layout was much more neat, simplistic, and user friendly. I also said that when I start my blog as a teacher that I would consider my options before automatically choosing a "free" option.
In the post, "On cold calling," the author writes about his experience of being called on randomly by his math teacher in high school and being filled with fear of not knowing the answer. As a result, he refrained from using the "cold calling" method in his classroom, but he had recently read an article that caused him to see a usefulness to the method. It allows for quick gaging of student understanding.
In the comments left by me, I stated that I had never been a fan of "cold calling" either and that I had not used it as a teacher. I also expressed some concern for using this method. I think there are more positive ways to gage student understand rather than in front of the entire classroom. I think calling on students should be more about engagement, participation, and contribution. In my opinion, each student should be allowed to contribute to the discussion and learning process in ways that they are comfortable. It is the job of the teacher to give them those opportunities.
"Caught on Camera"
This week all students in EDM510 commented on Jenny's Learning Journey after we commented on some of her students' blog posts. First of all, I'd like to say that I love the title of Miss She's blog. The title reflects her attitude about teaching. You have to be a good learner to be a good teacher, and it seems as though she embraces the learning part of teaching. I also loved the picture that Tatiana took. The look of joy on Miss She's face that was captured by Tatiana shows how much she enjoys her job! Since I've always wanted to go to New Zealand, maybe I'll get a chance to visit Miss She's class if I ever get to go!
I also commented on her photography post. I couldn't resist! Photography is something I'm very interested in, and her pictures of the flowers were very good.
"Students Making a Difference"
William Chamberlain is doing something very meaningful and profound with his students. He's doing a service based project through an organization called Kiva. His students work together by each making small donations, $1 to be exact. These students then work together to decide who will receive the money as a loan. They have chose people from around the world. One man was from Armenia, and the loan helped him buy farm animals.
I absolutely love this idea! This is a great way to show students how working together can have such a huge positive impact on the lives of people that they didn't even know and maybe even learn something about the country and culture in the process. It also teaches them about financial responsibility and economics! I hope to someday incorporate a program like this into a classroom. If you are interested in this service project, you can find more information here, Kiva.
"Homework and Standardized Testing:
Are they helping or harming students?"
This topic is something I feel very passionately about. When I was assigned to Will Richardson's blog, READ. WRITE. CONNECT. LEARN., I was supposed to comment on a different post, but I could not resist commenting on "One Mom's Struggle With School and Tests."
In the post, Will shares a letter that he had recently received from a very frustrated mom. She admits to yelling at her daughter over a spelling homework assignment. She wrote:
Tonight, I yelled at my 7 year old child because she misspelled one of her spelling words… the word ‘rainbows’. Yes you read that correctly. I yelled at her. She sobbed uncontrollably as I refused to let her erase the mistake. This I know is ludicrous. Why the hell would I do that? Mistakes happen. That’s why pencils have erasers, right? Well its because of what public school is doing to my child and I cannot stand to watch it anymore. Tonight it turned me into a monster. Its been over 6 hours since this incident and I’m still overwhelmingly disgusted with myself as if it had just happened.
How could I not respond to that? As both a parent and a teacher, I felt so much compassion for her and her daughter. I'm sharing my entire comment because, like I said, I feel very passionately about this topic. Also, I forgot to mention in my comment that standardized testing is a very lucrative business, and teachers and students are paying the price! Dearly!
Here's my response:
"Do we really need a PLN?"
Dean Shareski writes about his personal experience of having a PLN (Personal Living Network as he renamed it) in his blog Ideas and Thoughts. #SocksforDean is a post about his 50th birthday, and how a multitude of people from around the world sent him socks for his birthday. He expresses a lot of gratitude for the gestures and shares some links with readers that provide more information on the power of the connections we make via the internet. "Digital dualism" is a very intriguing look at the differing opinions of our culture's immersion in technology and social media.
Of course, I wrote "Happy Birthday" in my comments! I also wrote that I am just getting back into my teaching career and his post helped me see the benefits of developing a PLN.
On his blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Wesley Fryer introduces his readers to the new superintendent in his area. He gives an extensive background of Rob Neu. To save his readers time he includes time stamped links to videos that feature the incoming superintendent. "Meet New OKCPS Superintendent: Rob Neu (April 2014)" was an excellent introduction that allowed readers to form their own opinions.
After reading through the comments made by Neu in interviews, I commented that it appeared they would be getting a forward-thinking superintendent. I even mentioned a book I had recently read, Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning by Marc Prensky. I spoke about the need for positive change and wished them luck in getting some changes in their area.