Student Teaching Reflection 3

 

Content Knowledge: The teacher uses content area knowledge, learning standards, appropriate pedagogy and resources to design and deliver curricula and instruction to impact student learning. This standard focuses on the most critical elements of the lesson design process. It establishes that teachers create purposeful learning units that align with core instructional standards, along with the needs and interests of students.

Students in my class recently started a science unit that involves exploring different types of wood, how they are produced, and how they are used in real world buildings and structures. Students delved into the scientist’s role by experimenting to figure out which type of wood was the most absorbent.

In Picture 1 below (on the left) a student is testing five different types of wood by placing two drops on each piece and waiting to see how long it takes for the water to soak in. After students observed the results of this experiment, they discussed what type of wood they would want to build a house with and what type of wood their desks are made out of. In Picture 2 below (on the right), two students look closer at a desk before deciding that the classroom desks are built from plywood.

During the next lesson, students made predictions about whether it would take more or less paperclips to sink the plywood than the pinewood. In Picture 3 below (on the left), a student colors in the “more” choice. In Picture 4 (middle), students work with the pieces of wood and paperclips to prepare them for the float or sink test. In Picture 5 (on the right) a student anxiously awaits to see if the wood will sink.

 

These lessons were very exciting for the students as they investigated using hands-on experiments, made connections to what they know, and learned new scientific terms such as absorbent, repel, and prediction. These activities are part of a kit that was designed over a decade ago, but I learned that the tasks are adaptable to modern standards. The school district is currently in the process of adopting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The new standards emphasize the importance of students practicing in-depth experiments to delve deeper into core scientific concepts through hands-on experiments and investigations (Joyce, Weil, Calhoun, 2015, p. 72). Despite being created under a different set of standards, this wood unit and activities align with NGSS’s K-2-ETS1 Engineering Design standards. So far students have practiced making observations, gathering information, and analyzed the results. At the end of this lesson sequence, students will build their own structures out of wood, an activity that aligns with the developing and using models objective. It will be really exciting to see what the students create and learn why they wanted to build certain structures!

As this lesson sequence continues, my goal is to develop a stronger understanding of the new science standards. I am particularly interested in increasing my knowledge about how the standards relate to the Common Core State Standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. I think it is so beneficial to plan lessons that incorporate students’ skills and knowledge across all subject areas.

Reference

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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Netiquette Infographic

My goal for this project was to create an infographic that I could give to students or post in my classroom concerning Netiquette Guidelines. ISTE Standard 4 recommends teachers promote online digital citizenship and student creativity while focusing on relevant technology issues like security, plagiarism, research, global communication, and copyright laws. These are all important topics and one of the reasons netiquette captured my attention is because the guidelines summarize many of the other digital citizenship objectives.

After I decided on netiquette as my topic, I searched for websites about specific tips and rules to teach students. I was surprised how many of the articles I found were written nearly 10 years ago. This confirmed that netiquette was a good topic. Updated materials and information is appealing to any learner, but it is especially helpful when trying to capture younger students attention. Next, I googled examples of infographics so I knew what one looked like. I also watched the EDTC6433 YouTube video that teaches how to make an infographic and examples of projects to assign students. I learned there should be a relationship between pictures and text and that the images should be noticed before the details.

I used the website http://www.piktochart.com to create, modify, and download my poster. The free demo offers limited templates, but I think that is actually a benefit for new learners. After selecting a template, I discovered I had more creative control than I initially realized so I changed some of the fonts and color schemes. The majority of my time was spent writing and editing content. I would have liked more image choices since the visual aspect is so important, but I was able to work with what was provided. Overall, I think the site is a valuable free resource. If I want to create more charts and posters in the future I think it is worth the annual cost, especially to have access to higher quality final versions.

Creating an infographic is a really fun assignment to demonstrate knowledge in an artistic method. If students cannot access a computer, then I would teach them how to make an infographic either through drawings or assembling together pictures from magazines and newspapers. I look forward to seeing what my students create in the future when I assign infographics as part of group projects or individual assignments.

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ISTE Standard 5 – Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

ISTE Standard 5 stresses the importance for teachers to stay updated on technology research and trends. In addition, teachers should participate in a digital society by sharing their knowledge and research through digital communication methods. Standard 5 also emphasizes that teachers find creative methods to use technology during classroom instruction and create engaging activities so students can practice and apply new digital skills. This standard prompted me to ask myself: as a new elementary school teacher, what local and online communities can I join or monitor to ensure I am devoting time to continually learning about updated technology and integrating new digital ideas into my curriculum?

Teaching is a complex, time-consuming profession that requires many character traits including commitment, organization, effort, and motivation. One of the goals of teaching is for students to master challenging content and learn new skills. Effectively incorporating technology is difficult for many teachers because technology is constantly changing and sometimes complicated. The U.S. Department of Education (2010) asserts that educators can become more effective teachers when they practice a connected teaching model. The connected teaching model is a technology-centered approach that encourages teachers to continuously use the necessary computer equipment, resources, and technical assistance to connect with students, teachers from around the world, and to access current course-related content (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, p. 40). The connected teaching model reflects how important technology skills are in a rapidly changing global society. This type of instructional approach and planning is quite different than what I experienced as student. As a teacher, I need to monitor resources and websites that will help me practice being a connected teacher and continually learning about technology.

StudentGuide lists essential resources for teachers who want to incorporate technology in the classroom. This list is very helpful for me because it divides potential resources into seven categories. Under each category are links to corresponding websites, resources, articles, or organizations. The seven categories include: 1) general educational technology tools; 2) technology initiatives and grant funding; 3) integrating technology; 4) web tools; 5) planning lessons using digital tools; 6) using technology to enhance learning among special education students; and 7) ongoing professional development. I like StudentGuide’s website because resources are organized by specific topics and I think I can find additional information through the recommended links. A classmate of mine shared a different source from TeacherVision that includes information about similar categories, along with links to specific lessons and resources about how to begin using technology in the classroom. I like TeacherVision’s list because it has more subject specific links and activities. When I review any resource, I know the purpose is for me to acquire additional knowledge so I can create innovated learning activities for students instead of relying on traditional teaching instruction approaches and assignments.

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ISTE Standard 5 for teachers is one of my favorite standards I have learned about over the last few months. I do not want my lesson plans and curriculum to become outdated or repetitive. That is not interesting for my students or myself. I can prevent that from happening if I continually explore what new technology is available. I also need to maintain communication with other teaching professionals and my students. Through routine communication I can ask questions and assess what technology is effective during lessons or how activities could be changed. My students will experience my commitment to technology as they become involved in the process of continually researching, connecting, and reflecting.

References

StudentGuide. 2013. Essential resources for integrating technology in the classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.studentguide.org/essential-resources-for-integrating-technology-in-the-classroom/

TeacherVision. 2016. Technology in the classroom: Resources for teachers. Retrieved from: https://www.teachervision.com/educational-technology/teacher-resources/43743.html

US Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2010). Transforming American education learning powered by technology. Washington D.C. (38-50). Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED512681.pdf

 

 

My Digital Storytelling Video

I created my digital storytelling project on why I decided to become a teacher because then my video serves multiple purposes. First, I can use it as an example to show my students what a digital storytelling project is. Second, they know I have finished one before too. And lastly, the video has another message to them about why I enjoy being their teacher. This video is primarily focused on my students as the audience in a formal educational setting, but I would likely share it with parents and other educators too.

The recommendation of ISTE Standard 1 for teachers is to create an inspirational student learning community through technology. The entire digital storytelling creation process is fun for students while engaging them to apply technology skills and research content for their topic. Also, because the videos take time and planning to finish, students’ learning is enhanced as they continually combine prior knowledge with new information.

Creation Process

The creation process can be as simple or as a complex as someone wants it to be. I decided fairly quickly on a topic and began gathering my photos to include in the video. I typed out a script so I could think about what other photos I needed. While writing the script I tried to use simpler vocabulary words and thought of how I would emphasize certain terms during the audio recording step. I searched for the additional pictures using the website Creative Commons. I specifically downloaded map pictures for the different geographic locations so students had a visual representation of where I was during different parts of my story. I searched for graphic art style pictures too because I thought the variety added more character to the video.

As I collected pictures online, I saved them in an iPhoto folder. Next, I imported the pictures to iMovie. Since I had not created any videos before, I watched a few videos on YouTube about how to use iMovie. I preferred an educational series from user KQED Education because the videos were in a sequential order and concise. After watching a few videos I worked on making transitional changes between pictures and extending their length for more than four seconds. The tutorial videos advised that the pictures are timed a bit longer than your audio so it would be easier to adjust after recording narrative.

I practiced my script a few times using my iPhone stopwatch to record how long it took to read through. The stopwatch ended just before four minutes and thirty seconds so I knew I had the right amount of content. I recorded the audio in iMovie was satisfied after my fourth recording. I adjusted the pictures to ensure photos changed at appropriate times. Next, I looked for music to add to the background. The music is from YouTube’s free library, although I searched a bit on SoundCloud as well. I found two free songs on YouTube and added them to the video. I watched and listened to the video at least five times while making slight changes before deciding I liked the final product.

Learning Process

The biggest challenge of this project was thinking about the fact that nearly all of the technical steps were completely new to me. I was really overwhelmed before starting to make my video, but soon realized I had enough research skills and basic technology knowledge. Finding music was probably the most difficult step because I was really nervous about how I would know if it was free or not. I also wanted to find music that had good tempo, was a bit calming, and not a distraction from my story and the pictures.

The most significant thing I learned from this project is that as a teacher, I must practice whatever I assign my students and have many resources available for them when they need help. This is definitely a project I would assign to my class, although I would specify a shorter video time for younger students. I would also build the class up to a project like this by having them practice skills in recording audio, finding music, searching for pictures, and slowly combining information along the way. I am excited to see what types of videos my students create in the future.

Multiple Intelligences Theory

In 1983 psychologist Howard Gardner introduced his theory of Multiple Intelligences. After spending years researching cognitive processing, Gardner concluded people have “different kinds of minds and therefore, learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways” (Edwards). Gardner initially specified seven types of intelligences: visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, and logical-mathematical. He has added naturalistic to the list and believes there might be a few other intelligences that could be included.

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Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence (Retrieved from http://www.connectionsacademy.com

If an educator believes in this theory, how can she or he plan enough activities so students receive a variety of lessons that support the basis of multiple intelligences? There is obviously not enough time in the school day or enough resources available for teachers to specifically target each one of these intelligences during every lesson. Instead, teachers should coordinate lesson plans to allow opportunities for students to use basic concepts of the different types of intelligences. Teachers can organize activities so students practice combinations of intelligences during one activity. For example, small group discussions activities focus on interpersonal intelligence, which supports learning through interaction, and an activity where students talk a lot, therefore supporting linguistic intelligence. Another idea is to combine visual-spatial and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences. Each student can represent a certain step in a procedure and move around the classroom to show what happens when the steps combine or are out of order. Music and intrapersonal can be combined. Part of a lesson could assign students to reflect on progress and achievement, an intrapersonal intelligence. The reflection directions might be instructing students to write their thoughts out as a song to support musical intelligence.

Gardner also advises teachers to individualize and pluralize lessons (Strauss, 2013). Each subject is an opportunity for teachers to incorporate an intelligence type into the lesson plan. I think Gardner’s multiple intelligences can be easily integrated into lessons with some planning. Teachers should be also cautious to balance out activities so all intelligence types are explored in the classroom. Students should have ample opportunities to practice applying Gardner’s intelligences because each one is an important part of a student’s learning and education.

Edwards, O. (Date unknown). An interview with Howard Gardner, father of multiple intelligences. Retrieved from https://bbweb03.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-1133734-dt-content-rid-2472073_1/courses/EDU6526_26357_201562/SIS%20Session%207%20Reading%20%28Gardner%29.pdf

Strauss, V. (2013). Howard Gardner: ‘multiple intelligences’ are not ‘learning styles.’ The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/16/howard-gardner-multiple-intelligences-are-not-learning-styles/

 

 

Teaching Values

The American education system has always included value-based curriculum as part of lessons in either a formal or informal manner. Schools create rules that students are expected to follow typically revolving around respect, commitment, honesty, and teamwork. Figure 1 below lists many of the fundamental values taught by schools, families, cultures, and religions.

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Figure 1 (Retrieved from http://www.newtampamasjid.org)

According to Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun (2015), studying values is important because students learn to think more critically about how their personal behavior and values impact their decisions and other people. Teaching values to children includes several considerations. How do you decide what are important values and do those values align with students’ cultures and home life? Why are certain values taught? How do you incorporate virtue lessons in classroom instruction? And perhaps the most important question is can values actually be taught?

Russell Kirk (1987) stated, “Can virtue be taught? Why, it can be learnt, though more through a kind of illative process than as a formal program of study…” I think Kirk’s statement is accurate because ideally, values would be learned through personal reflection and motivation. A formal program exposes students to what virtues are and what they mean, but the formality does not help students understand why people hold certain values and how values impact daily life. Parents, teachers, and other mentors can guide virtue lessons by having students think about why they believe in certain values and how those values influence their decisions. One strategy to teach children about values is through role playing. The basics of role playing involve providing students with a problem situation in which the outcomes are affected by an individual’s virtue and students act out the roles of people in the scenario. Role playing is an opportunity for students to model positive behaviors and interactions, work together to assess social issues, and practice a democratic way of solving issues (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2015, pgs. 261-262). This is also an effective kinesthetic activity since as children move around while acting out different roles, more neural networks are being developed in their brain so the learning is retained longer (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, 2012, p. 73).

Coordinating students to act out certain scenarios aligns more with teaching values instead of students learning values on their own, but I do not believe most children will learn the importance of values and how to think about them without some direction. A benefit of role playing is students experience how their actions and values impact other people and they spend time thinking about why someone might decide differently. This activity is interactive and involves higher thinking skills than a student reading about virtues or listening to a lecture. Teachers should not rely on one method to teach students about morals. Teachers should also consider modeling virtues, complimenting students when they practice a positive behavior, or initiating discussions about decisions made by historical figures or characters from stories. These activities provide ample opportunities for students to observe actions, think about outcomes, and decide how they want to represent themselves and their community.

References

Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, Bj. (2012). Classroom Instruction that Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of Teaching (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Kirk, R. (1987). The wise men know what wicked things are written in the sky. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway.

Module 1 – Facilitating and Inspiring Student Learning and Creativity

ISTE Standard I states that teachers facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity when using technology in the classroom. This standard made me wonder how I can use technology in science related lessons with fourth grade students.

Science lessons should include active learning opportunities for students to apply what they are learning. Technology can be involved in the practice stage of application or when students are ready to showcase their new knowledge. Project-based learning is one method for teachers to engage students and increase creativity (Dougherty, 2015). An advantage of project-based learning is that it helps students learn and retain information long term (2015). To accomplish ISTE Standard I, teachers should combine technology with project-based learning. One example of integrating technology and project-based learning is digital storytelling. Sadik explains that when students produce videos about their knowledge and comprehension of a topic, the video creation process is a prime opportunity for students to collect, organize, reflect, and communicate what they have learned (2008). A key element of digital storytelling is to involve students in the process as active participants (2008).

Is digital storytelling an effective way to incorporate technology in all subjects? Would it translate to science lessons? Students in Barney Peterson’s fourth grade class created videos after a yearlong physical science project learning about the design and construction of their environmentally friendly school (2015). Students were actively involved in researching construction and building systems, as well as engaged in the task of creating video content about what they had learned. Peterson found the unit very effective and specifies that other teachers were impressed by students’ knowledge when they described the materials and functions of the building system (2015). The videos were also assigned URLs so they could be QR tagged to share with an audience outside of class.

Peterson’s project is a great way to integrate technology while facilitating learning and creativity. Teachers can follow Peterson’s model to plan similar projects. Another example of a yearlong video science project could involve students learning about how plants change throughout year. Each month students would take pictures of plants, trees, and flowers around their school or home. Groups could be assigned based on if students preferred learning about trees, flowers, or plants. During the school year groups would research why and how the plants change each season. Near the end of the school year, students would create video projects explaining what they learned while incorporating their pictures and research.

Integrating QR tags in various lessons and activities is another option for teachers. Grantham suggests five ways for teachers to apply QR tags in education, including replacing standard classroom posters with special QR tagged copies (2012).

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Figure 1 (Grantham, 2012).

Figure 1 on the right is an example of how QR tags support student learning. In this example, a QR tag replaces the information usually provided on a visual representation of the periodic table. When students scan an element on this poster,  a linked YouTube video begins to play which describes the details of the element. Students are actively engaged with QR tagged pictures and posters around the classroom because they make decisions about which pictures they are most interested in before moving to the next poster.

Student produced videos and using QR tags each have a few requirements. Making videos requires access to a computer and video creation software. Internet access is needed if students are completing any research online. Cameras or tablets with picture taking ability might be also be necessary. When using QR tags, students will need access to a tablet and an Internet connection to watch videos.

Whether teachers decide to assign students create a video, utilize QR tagging as part of lessons, or any other technology during activities, student responsiveness and feedback should be observed. The goal of integrating technology in lessons is to promote student learning and motivate them to investigate their interests.

References

Dougherty, K. (August 6 2015). Is passive learning unethical? The science of teaching science. Retrieved from http://blog.iat.com/2015/08/06/is-passive-learning-unethical/

Grantham, N. (February 20, 2012). 5 real ways to use QR codes in education. Retrieved from http://www.fractuslearning.com/2012/02/20/qr-codes-in-education/

Peterson, B. (2015). A system of systems. Science & Children, 52(5), 75-81. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=25&sid=a1c881b4-6b39-473c-9d44 d18815359567%40sessionmgr198&hid=101&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=eft&AN=100092448

Sadik, A. (2008). Digital storytelling: a meaningful technology-integrated approach for engaged student learning. Education Technology Research and Development, 56, 487-506. doi: 10.1007/s11423-0008-9091-8