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.

Instructional Strategies Meta-Reflection

Throughout this course the readings, lectures, and reflections have reviewed teaching techniques educators practice in the classroom. These strategies are grouped together in broader models, so teachers have the opportunity to learn and assess how to apply the instructional approaches. Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2015) categorize the four main models as: 1) the information-processing family; 2) the social family; 3) the personal family; and 4) the behavioral systems family.

Information-processing models are important because people strive to make sense of information by organizing their knowledge, applying critical thinking skills, and attempting to solve problems (Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun, 2015, p. 10). The scientific inquiry approach is a natural instructional strategy for me to include in my classroom.The_Scientific_Method_as_an_Ongoing_Process.svg This approach primarily focuses on science-related lessons, but I think it should be used in many different subjects. Advantages of this approach include that it allows students to experience hands-on practice and teachers are encouraged to seek “cross-cutting”concepts to identify content that is similar to other subjects (Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun, 2015, p. 72).The steps are also applicable for students when they try to solve problems outside of school. Additionally, I hope that the more practice students have using the scientific inquiry process will further benefit them in their future Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics endeavors.

Social model strategies promote a positive cooperative learning environment in which students interact during supportive learning activities (Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun, 2015, p. 12). Creating and consistently using a cooperative learning approach is very important to me when I begin teaching. The world has advanced to a global society and successful interactions requires the ability to work with people of different cultures, beliefs, and values. Cooperative learning activities should incorporate elements of positive interdependence so students can reflect on how everyone’s effort is significant and individual accountability so students recognize how their individual contribution impacted the group (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, 2012, p. 37). Cooperative learning activities also keep students actively thinking and they learn how to communicate their understanding and knowledge with others.

The strategies discussed in personal and behavioral systems families are crucial as well, although I think of those approaches more often at an independent, personalized level for students. Information-processing and social models requires more planning at a broader classroom approach. I look forward to discovering more about these models, instructional techniques, and experiencing how students respond to certain strategies.

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.

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).

peridodic_tableQRtag
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