Monday, October 31, 2005

Week 3-Take 5 #2

I am finding that when I try to put learning into my own kids' hands, many don't know what to do with it.With a couple of assignments, I have set just a few parameters and said, "I want you to make this your own." Yet, they really struggle with how to create their own learning. I try to give them tools, but they would rather have the easy way out and have me tell them what to do. Anyone else have this problem? Our kids are so conditioned to us bailing them out when they don't have the answers or questions, and I am constantly telling them that sooner than later, the ability to think for themselves and create their own meaning, will be right in front of them, and they need to start now. This is not to say I won't guide them, but they know that I am not looking for right and wrong, I am looking for them to THINK-and they know I'll sit and wait in silence till someone voices their opinion.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Week 3 Take 5-#1

Well, I just had a breakthrough with my freshman-they ran with a constructivist teaching approach and nailed it! I have had a teaching moment! I asked my students to do a double entry diary for the most difficult scene in Inherit the Wind. They were to write quotes on one side then repsond to those quotes on the other. Briefly, the purprose is for them to hold their own thinking and create their own menaing. They came to class with their responses and did the whole discussion on their own. I sat back, said nothing and scored the responses. The students loved it! I'll admit, I didn't know if I could do this with freshman, but they followed the parameters set, reacted off one another, asked questions, clarified ideas, created new background knowledge, had questions answered that they may have been confused about or wondered about- and they did it in a socractic method where they took their time, didn't bash anyone, took turns, and made relevant, poignant comments. Instead of giving all the information, they created their own reactions and responses and they loved it! They thought it was fun, and when we debriefed, they were in tune as to what relevancy and purpose it had on the class in general and what it did for them subjectively.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Week 2-Take 5-#2

I will be honest from the get-go and say this post will be brief-but I am currently finishing up a boys and literacy class and the inforamtion talks a lot about what we as teachers an do to help in the classroom. They talk about authentic assessments frequently,and lately, I have started to ask myself if my assignments create authentic learning? Can students individually pull out meaning that is beneficial to them? I don't ever give an assignment without purpose. I have to give them rationale, otherwise it's busy work-and I HATE busy work. Sometimes we just do things to do it and fill some time; but I'm beginning to realize that everything I do in the class directly affects what my students take away (obviously)and I'm excited to learn new strategies to help me toward that constructivist approach.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Week 2-Take 5-#1

I was thinking about the constructivist approach and I was wondering if I currently implement some of these techniques in the class; and I found that I do do many activities where the studetns are creating their own meaning and taking charge of their own learning. I never wanted to be the teacher who stood up in front of a class and just lectured and the studetns sat there never responding, just listening.
However, in order to get what we desire from students, I beleive we have to lead them the way first. We need to give them the skills and tools to use in order to create authentic learning. Teaching reading strategies, I always tell my kids that many of them truly don't know how to think for themselves, questioning ideals and issues, showing curiosity. So, I have to show them how. Creating meaning isn't done in isolation. We have to model the how-to's. Yes, I want my students actively thinking about my content, but they have to learn HOW to think about it. I think the ultimate goal of learning is to create meaning so that we better understand/comprehend subjects/topics/the world around us and how that fits into our own world. Students need the proper guidance to get them to that place.

Week 1-Take 5-#2

With regard to implementing these tech. pieces into the classroom, it's not so much the issue of what I can do it for, as it is the problem of WHEN. I'm not sure I'm comfortable to just give up some of the things I do in order to implement these strategies. I'm still, as I've said before, still trying to figure out how to teach. However, I am hopeful that when I DO, I will be touching on a new teaching style that will spark a fire under my students. For now, I just need to figure out where it will work and the time frame it will take. I would be lying if I said it doesn't intimidate me a bit.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Week 1-Take 5-#1

I'm finding that I'm still trying to get down the little things of being a teacher. I feel like the whole teaching profession is still new to me, and it is kind of. The time crunch is always something that plays on my mind; how am I going to get this done? But, I think being new to all of this is only going to make me better and more compentent in my own skinwith what I teach. When it comes to my classroom, I have taken on new strategies to apply them to constructivist ideals. In my American Literature class, I had students ask questions of their reading, having them pick out what was important and we did a fishbowl for 2 of the acts. It was tremendous for me to sit back and watch my students interact with one another, feed off each others' comments and questions, taking their own notes that were relevant to them, holding each other accountable for what they say, and responding to the discussion in their own way that gave them their own individual meaning to the story. The greatest part of it was that they did all the work; and I just scored them. Thanks Ann Smith!