Friday, August 19, 2011

Affirmations from Last Class

I hope that no one will be terribly offended or upset that I have posted this. It is my notes from our last class on Content Reading with Ms. Phyllis Lerner. I think that it is really important for teachers and students to remember that we are ultimately always learning together and it is not a one way street. Phyllis asked us to name one thing that we were able to take away from this course. My list is just so that we can not only always remember these things ourselves as a group, but so that we can be reminded how important and meaningful the opportunity to affirm those who have impacted our lives truly is.

If anyone would like me to remove your comment please let me know.

Phyllis - the thinking map template, made me realize how again how a model can improve the quality of work
Robyn - How you can engage the students and how you modeled behaviors of good teachers for us
Mark - Taught us to remember that this is the only profession where everyone has had the experience of watching some else do the same job everyday for twelve years and that the way they saw it done is not necessarily the correct way to do it
Jake - Let students teach themselves because they learn more that way, you as a teacher can just observe
Steve - Don't spend more time preparing than it will take time to teach, you'll have nothing else in your life and your students will see that, it's not good for your health or theirs
Phyllis - find something that fuels you
Lydia - relax it's not that serious
Kevin - How you taught the class was good to see how engaging a class can be
Theresa - Even on hard days, when I had maybe only four hours of sleep, I never really had to struggle to pay attention
Liz - How positive affirmations go so far, even though I'm 24, it shows me how much they can impact a high school student
Jackie - Don't overplan but plan well. Set policies and procedures so that the students know what to do, teach the strategy before you do the strategy.
Isa - How you would break down the lesson plan into a handout for us. It made me feel that we've covered things and so I know what we did in class. It is organized and visual.
Margaret - I've been trying to compare and understand the distinction between an instructor and a leader, today you showed be that the analogy in teaching is the distinction between a teacher and an educator, you are teaching us how to be educators and not just teachers.
Will - The availability of the professor is something I had not experienced in the past, it has been refreshing to see a teacher actually cares
Kim - Learned a lot of little details and things that I can share with other teachers like the passing out papers thing

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lesson Plan: SONG TO STORY

Dear PLN,
Please review my latest lesson plan, it's simple, but personalized. Please let me know what you think, all comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Song to Story: Creative writing to make your own story

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lesson Plan - VCR: Vocalize, Comment, Repeat

Dear PLN,
The following link is to my social-media-tech integrated lesson plan titled VCR: Vocalize, Comment, Repeat. It uses VoiceThread as a venue for allowing students to practice reading and speaking aloud in private before having to do so in front of the class, while helping them learn about the sounds of poetry. Please feel free to participate on the VoiceThread or leave a comment of any suggestions of comments!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Volunteering in Baltimore at Campus Kitchen

My first experience with Campus Kitchen was today August 5, 2011. I arrived at 9:15 and caught up with Lydia. Once we got inside I met a few of the other volunteers John, Kim, and Sabrina, and then Amy and Liz arrived too. First we got on aprons, gloves, and hair nets. I was assigned to the hot food serving, so I spent the time ladling casserole and then chicken rice vegetable soup into bowls and saying good morning to the patrons of the Franciscan Center.

We heard some interesting stories today. The one that came as the clearest view through an odd window was a story that Kim, the cook told us. She told us about her son when he was a little boy, he is thirty five now, which makes her about fifty or so. She said that she came home from work and told him and his little cousin to get ready because they were going out to eat. She didn't have any money at the time but they took the car and the two were so excited. They went out and the two boys told her family for months about how great it was to go out to the restaurant and how great it was because they served you the meal, and had drinks, and nice tables, and on and on. The boys were so excited, and she just let them smile and enjoy it, because where she had taken them was the Daily Bread, a soup kitchen that also provides free meals and serves its patrons at the tables. I was shocked as I heard this story and realized where it was going. And now she is giving back to the community that helped her as a volunteer cook at the Franciscan Center.

There was also another young girl there today. Her name was Sabrina and she was a volunteer as well, it seemed she had been there before. She is starting ninth grade in a few weeks. So we talked a little bit about that, she told me she was nervous and excited. I told her me too and that I was going to teach middle school English. She then told me that she didn't like English because the books are boring to her and that she does bad on the tests because she gets nervous and scared of them. I told her that made me said because I love reading. I think I might have convinced her to start reading just for fun, she told me that she had promised her parents that she would. I hope that she does, she was a very smart and well spoken girl.
I found it quite interesting how many different types of people there were coming to the kitchen. I was surprised at how very ordinary most of the people looked. Just normal people, I guess going through a hard time, or enjoying a free meal. And many of the people were happy, and there were only few who were unsatisfied. I was very surprised. It was the first time I had ever worked in a soup kitchen.

My First Lesson Plan

Dear PLN,
Please help me by letting me know what you think! Any and all feedback is appreciated. I will be posting a few more soon!

POETIC DECONSTRUCTION: A Digital Approach to Poetry Annotation

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reinventing the "Ideal Student"

As we were discussing Chris Lehmann's presentation on the notion that school should not be considered preparation for real life but is real life in our Paperless Classroom class, I noted a few quotes of significance that led me to at least what I feel is a compelling idea.

First, we as "teachers are not to makes students the implied subject in their education. When someone asks what do I do? I say 'I teach Physics' NO 'I teach kids Physics!'"

Secondly, "When was the last time at your job you did a task solely about you?"

And most significantly, "Classes can not be silos they must be lenses through which we view the world."

Our class then moved into a discussion where several times the concept or rather classification of the "Ideal Student" was mentioned. As I noticed this, I realized that several times over the last two weeks, multiple times our teachers have noted that 'your students will not be like you' or 'remember you are likely perfect students, ideal students, you will not have these students in your classes, you will have maybe one or two, but not like you.' Through this repetition, I began to really wonder what it is they were talking about. When this concept was combined with our constant banter on what the classroom of the future will look like, I thought to myself, what does the student of the future look like, and better yet, what does the student of now actually look like?

The current glamorization of the Ideal Student is one like many recent college graduates. They can write well because they are capable of identifying key aspects of texts and expressing themselves in a clear and definitive fashion, they have a sufficient understanding of math and the sciences, and they are competent problem solvers. All in all they are good test takers, they can comprehend what they read, write on their feet, and do basic mathematics. But more than this, we are good listeners, we are interested in the material we are learning, we have chosen to be engaged in our work, we actually want to participate - we are an active part of our lives because we as teaching students want to learn, we want it.

This brings me to my questioning of the Ideal Student. It seems to me that our group of students have come to this place in our lives of seeking masters degrees in teaching because we are a product of the current system. We became Ideal Students and the process of testing and separated subjects worked for us and we were able to work the system itself, to our advantage. I fear this will be the most daunting task for us as new teachers - the system worked for us, we were successful, how do we work with students who are not like us? We will be teaching students who the system does not and can not and will not work for. Not all students can work the system, the system needs to change so that it works for all of the students, not just those who are made to be traditional learners.

The Ideal Student must be reinvented. It must be revised and reinvented to escape the school of traditional reading, writing, and arithmetic. In today's world and in our future world, those skills will not be the most valued. It is not just the student who can guess all of the questions before the teacher even asks, or the student who volunteers adamantly to answer every question, or the student who gets a perfect score on every test, it is the student that can operate successfully in all of our modernity. The Ideal Student must be one that can incorporate everything they experience, everything they learn, everything they value into each of their subjects and into their life. We are not the Ideal Students of tomorrow. I hope that we are the Ideal Teachers and that we can see through our own creative lens to facilitate the growth in our students to let them see the world, so that every one of them can be the Ideal Student in their own way.

Every student has a view and therefore every student can make their own ideal if only we give them the opportunity to do so.