Friday, September 27, 2013

Blog Post #6

What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?

question marks

There are two types of questions: open-ended questions and close-ended questions. As Joanne Chelsey states in her video, Asking Better Questions in the Classroom Pt. 1, "a close-ended question structures a response for the student, and it can be answered by one word, such as yes or no, or by a very brief phrase. An open-ended question leaves the form of the answer up to the person who is responding, thereby eliciting more thinking and yielding more information." Teachers are often looking for more in depth answers to their questions than just "yes" or "no," but they are getting exactly what they ask for when they ask questions that do not invite extended or thoughtful kinds of responses. Open-ended questions allow the student to do more thinking on their own and come up with a variety of responses. To help encourage students to think about their responses and give detailed answers, it is the teachers responsibility to think about and prepare open-ended questions for their lessons.

Ben Johnson, a high school principal in San Antonio, Texas explains The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom. Mr. Johnson begins by explaining that the reason students get so confused is because the teachers will present themselves to be the ones with all the answers, and then after they talk to the students, they start asking questions as if they don't know anything they just talked about. Teachers ask the question "Do you understand?" or "Does everybody understand?" even though they realize that students may not say anything, but they do not understand. This question is a useless question in the classroom and as educators we need to steer away from asking this. This question is close-ended and does not allow the student to think extensively about the answer. Mr. Johnson explains that the effective way to ask a question is to ask the question, pause for about three seconds, and then call on a student to answer your question. When you ask questions like this and wait for the answer, this requires all of the students to think about the answer before they know who will be called on. When teachers call on a student and then ask the question it only requires that specific student to use higher-order thinking to come up with the answer to that question.

Maryellen Weimer, PhD, provides us with Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom. Ms. Weimer explains that good questions make students think and they encourage students to participate. The first action she recommends is to prepare questions. A lot of the time, teachers spend so much time on the content and organization of the lesson but they just try to wing it when it comes to asking questions throughout or at the end of a lesson. If teachers would prepare the questions in advance, it would help them to know they are asking well written, higher-order questions that require their students to think. Preparing questions ahead of time also eliminates confusion for the teacher as well as the students. The second action she recommends is to play with questions. "Playing with the question means leaving it unanswered for a while and using some strategies that encourage students to think about it." Too often, teachers will ask a question, call on a student, the student will answer the question, and the thought process is complete. Weimer suggests asking the question and then giving the students time to be actively engaged in finding the answer. Students could take time to talk with a partner or a group or simply write down their own ideas to answer the question. The third action she recommends is to preserve good questions. Weimer says that good questions can be kept. Questions can be asked in subsequent classes, and even be revised if necessary. Questions that students ask may also be kept for teachers to talk to their other students about.

We need to know about they two types of questions to become an effective teacher. We need to be able to prepare open-ended questions for our lessons in order to engage the students in higher-order thinking. By asking questions, we will get our students to participate and be more actively involved in the lesson and learning process.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Project # 3 Presentation

Blog Post #4

Judy Scharf provides a lot of helpful information for someone who does not know much about podcasts or how they are done. Scharf states "The term "podcast" is a cross between "broadcast" and "iPod." A podcast is a "radio-style" talk show." Scharf also explains that a podcast may be listened to on the computer or an MP3 player, and they may be downloaded from iTunes or a podcast hosting service. According to Ms. Scharf, podcasts are easy to do, cost very little, and can be shared with millions of people via the internet. This page also provides several resources, such as YouTube videos, step-by-step instructions to creating your own podcast, and resources for teachers to use with their students when creating a podcast.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom by Joe Dale explains many reasons podcasting may be useful in the classroom. Mr. Dale provides real-life examples of when podcasts can be helpful for students. Mr. Dale explained that if a student is sick and cannot come to school they will be able to stay caught up by listening to their teachers podcasts. Teachers are able to upload their podcasts to the class website, a blog, or iTunes for both parents and students to stay involved and up to date on what is going on in the classroom. Dale also explains that the process of creating and uploading audio files is easy and it promotes creativity and innovation.

iPod with headphones

I also listened to the Flat Stanley podcast. I really enjoyed listening to this podcast because you could hear the excitement in all of the students voices. Listening to the students really made me think about how this would be a great tool to use in my future classroom for students of all ages. Before the students recorded their podcast, they had read the book Flat Stanley by Jim Brown. This also showed me how I could incorporate reading a book, using technology while creating a podcast, and having the students work in groups to do so.

Friday, September 13, 2013

C4T #1

Building Non-Cognitive Skills into a Blended Model
Meghan Dunne has been teaching kindergarten, but is moving to teach a first grade classroom this year. Dunne explains that many people do not see this as a big change, but in reality it is a very big change. First grade is a huge year for academic growth and the expectations for the students and herself are increasing. Dunne also states "(many studies have shown that gaps in the primary years are significantly harder to close after 3rd grade)And while this is why I wanted to move to first grade, I do not want to sacrifice the routines and procedures that promote “soft skills.” Dunne talks about how when working with young children you have to provide classroom instruction that goes beyond academic instruction. "Teachers of young children must find the time, in an already tightly scheduled day, to engage students in routines that promote the growth of non-cognitive skills such as persistence, grit and self-regulation." Dunne explained that she was a week away from meeting her new first graders and she has decided to implement the station rotation model in her classroom which will demand student self regulation.
Caterpillar with dots. The Very Busy First Graders.

My Response to Ms. Dunne
I explained that I found her thoughts on soft skills very interesting. You always hear teachers talk about how busy the school day already is and how hard it is to fit anything else into the daily schedule. I also explained that I think the station rotation model will be very useful in her classroom because it will get her children engaged with their peers as well as teach them self regulation.

Back to School 2.0
Adam Hurwitz explains that Edna Brewer Middle School has just received 180 Google Chromebooks as well as network and device infrastructure upgrades, through the Blended Learning Pilot Program joint-sponsored by the Oakland Unified School District and the Rogers Foundation. The school will also receive on-going teacher support and training sessions throughout the year. The students all received a google account. A sixth grade class is instructed to take a "Welcome to Being a Panther Quiz." Students who don’t get a perfect score on the first try have up to five attempts — most nail it in two or three, which is great. Everyone is very excited to see how well this blended classroom works out.

My Response to Mr. Hurwitz
I explained to Mr. Hurwitz a little bit about what we are doing in EDM310 since it involves technology like they are trying to incorporate in Edna Brewer Middle School. I think it is great that they were able to get so many Google Chromebooks through the Blended Learning Pilot Program. I feel like having the computers and incorporating technology will greatly influence the students and have a very positive impact on them. Technology is ever increasing in schools and it is important to help the students become familiar.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing can be a scary thing for many students. A lot of the time, students do not know a good way to edit their peers and they are afraid of hurting their feelings. I know that I have always been worried about criticizing someone else's work because I did not want to upset them. In the video, "What is Peer Editing?" we are given three important steps to peer editing.
Step one: Compliments.
There is one important rule in peer editing, STAY POSITIVE.
stay positive

Step two: Making Suggestions.
Give the writer specific ideas of how to make their writing better.
Step three: Corrections.
When making corrections, check for punctuation, grammar, sentences, and spelling.

There are many things you need to stay away from when doing a quality peer review. You do not want to be a Picky Patty or a Mean Margret. When giving suggestions to someone, we need to always be aware of their feelings and if we need to criticize or critique something, it needs to be done in a way that will benefit them and not offend them in any way. In peer editing, you need to be sure to use constructive criticism to help your peers. If used correctly, peer editing can be a very effective tool in the classroom. There are several ways to go about the peer editing process. You can do this publicly by commenting directly on their blog, or you can do it privately through an email, a phone call, or a text message. When making specific suggestions on corrections, I would probably prefer to do that in a private setting. I have learned a lot about peer editing and feel much more comfortable about this process now.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Post #2 A Collaborative Assignment

Mr. Dancealot
By:Keri Brown, Kenesha Brown, and Chelsea Calvert

In Mr. Dancealot’s video, he teaches a dance class with no hands-on experience. By using a PowerPoint, he has his students take notes and sit quietly during his lecture. When one student stood up to give the dance steps a try, he was instructed to have a seat. How can a dance teacher teach dance through lecture?
The truth is he can’t. Actually, nothing can be learned just through lecture. Students need to have hands-on experience in order to grasp the idea of anything. It’s okay to explain the fundamental of how to do a particular assignments; however, students won’t get the concept unless they try it for themselves. Technology is growing in our society and it is becoming more and more important in our schools as well as our everyday lives. Hands on experience is necessary when learning how to use this technology instead of just a lecture or reading something out of a book. The information needs to be applied to be learned. The students in this video did not actually stand up and dance before their exam, which caused them to be very confused on the day of the exam.

Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts by: Vicki Davis
By:Keri Brown

Vicki Davis is a teacher in a rural city in south Georgia. Vicki has completely opened the minds of her students to many new ideas of technology. She has provided them with access to wikis, blogs, podcasts, virtual worlds, and other media tools. These students are constantly learning something new about technology. Everyday there are opportunities in the classroom for students to use technology with their classmates as well as others around the world on blogs or other resources.
As a teacher, Vicki does not spoon feed her students. In the video, she said that she often gives them unfamiliar words and tells them to look up the meaning of the word in the context in which she has used it. Vicki also was partners in a founding a global collaborative project. “Digi Teen,” which is digital citizenship for teenagers. On Digi Teen, students from around the world studied digital citizenship by researching, writing, and posting their work through two digital portals. Vicki also believes that she is constantly learning from her students and that they can learn from each other as well, therefore she has specific times in her class where each student will be the teacher, or certain groups will teach on certain days.
The Edutopia website is full of resources for teachers. There are links for student engagement in the classroom and tips for keeping the students involved. There are also links to other blogs from teachers with experience in the classroom setting. Also on the website, there is a spot you can go to search things specific to each grade-level which can be a very useful tool for teachers. At the bottom of the webpage, there are links to “get inspired,” “find solutions” to problems or issues in the classroom or school, and “join the conversation” by getting connected with fellow educators on social media.

a baby being fed by a spoon with an X through it

The Networked Student by: Wendy Drexler
By:Kenesha Brown

Wendy Drexler explains what it would be like if students took control of their learning. She goes on telling a story about a student from 21st Century High. The student was assigned to do research on any topic. He chose American Psychology. However, there is no textbook for the class and the teacher hardly ever lectures. His teacher believes in connectivism, which is a theory that learning occurs by social networks and many diverse connections and ties. Connectivism are made up of many tools and technology. However, the question was asked “ Why does a network student need a teacher?”
Drexler explains that the teacher empowers students to take control of their learning and connect with new people who will strengthen the learning process. They teach students how to build their learning network. They also show them how to take advantage of opportunities. The teacher is there to be the learning architect when the students get lost. He/She serves as a learning concierge when the student gets stuck, as well as, teaching them how to be a network sherpa when looking at resource. In addition, (s)he teaches them how to be a synthesizer when looking at information.
From viewing this video, network learning is something that the educational system is becoming. Students are being pushed to go out there, find resources, and look up information. As educators, we should allow them to spread their wings and find answers to their questions. Drexler explained the teacher’s role really well. Basically, teachers should allow the learning process to happen until they notice a student is unsure about something.

Teaching in the 21st Century by: Kevin Roberts
By:Chelsea Calvert

This video by Roberts asks many questions to future teachers. He says that teaching is not the main source of knowledge anymore. He believes students should be taught skills not facts. He believes that students will be able to learn the information they are getting from a teacher from the internet. The students will be able to communicate from a variety of sites such as blogger, twitter, facebook, pinterest and many more. The students can also type the question they have into any search engine. If the students are able to find out everything thru the internet or by discussing it with each other, then why do they need teachers. If his suggestions are true and accurate, teachers will become obsolete.
I agree that the student must be shown how to use the technological applications available to them. Teachers should be encouraging in any type of learning. Students need to form their own opinions and need to be able to find out the answers to questions they might ask themselves or a teacher. Students need to be taught responsibility and integrity. Teachers have an effect on every aspect of a students life. Teachers can be any one who teaches a student a life lesson. Students should be shown every possible form of technology and then allowed to study how they choose. However I do not believe that teachers could ever become obsolete.