Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reflection: A Fit and Healthy Classroom

Throughout this course, I have learned how to implement valuable strategies to create a fit and healthy classroom. Colleagues provided me with resources to use right away and course materials demonstrated guidance for proper implementation steps when using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Differentiated Instruction (DI). Every students is different inside and out. When our goal is look and be healthier, we can not all follow the same menu and workout routines. This holds true for students in the classroom. There is not just one way. Technology has helped teachers with DI to provide such a learning environment where students can access these different menus and workouts. Teachers just need to guide and steer individuals toward success using this approach.

I use technology in my classroom often, but this course has given me ideas and direction how to benifit more students in the learning process. After reading about the importance of surveys, I can access similar student interests and learning styles to learn content deeper. In the coming months, I would like to use tech programs like the blog and wiki. students would be grouped according to interests and strengths to complete products in history and science. This would allow students a chance to express themselves through communication and collaboration with their group and other groups as we learn about new topics in class. These programs are unique because students can continually build, share, and add thoughts, ideas, and learnable content for others. This is a great way for students to learn from their peers.

A second way of using technology with DI is to establish student readiness. I typically use pre-tests to set up groups in math. Technology programs will give me a chance to provide the prper level and skills for students to be successful. There are valuable programs to meet the needs of individuals and groups when they struggle with certain math concepts. Technology also offers enrichment to students needing little or no help with math. After I teach mini-lessons in math, students typically break into stations and work on skills. One station with lap tops would be a huge help in class. Technology would assist me in differentiating for al learners. It would be like having an extra teacher.

The last plan for technology in the classroom would be for research and producing. Students were just trained how to use research tools posted on our school web-site. In class we have been learning to research topics and sharing interesting facts to the class. I plan to have students take thes interesting topics and create something through technology for other students to watch. Students will use PowerPoint, Slideshare, Webspiration, and other Digital Storyelling programs to share this new knowledge. These new tech skills will help prepare for operations needed down the road and in the outside world. This will allow students to engage in their learning.

Technology has come a long way and it changes overnight. These tech skills can benefit every learner and help with their learning. One of my colleagues said it best the other week in discussion. Teachers need to take what they can use and apply step by step. My overall goal is to apply technology in slow steps for students to gain confidence and confort, so they will learn to operate and try technological skills on their own. We can all benefit through technology. Teachers just need to take a step forward and see what works for them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Game Plan Reflection

The game plan I put in place during this course made it apparent how important technology growth is to our youth. My focus using the NETS-T standards, is to polish up my skills as a teaching professional and help my students along this path. I chose to work on enhancing my use of technological tools like digital cameras and blogs. I had limited experience with digital cameras and my first blogging experience a year ago was time consuming. As I re-assessed my game plan throughout the last eight weeks, I set up one , gained ideas on the other, and added other goals along the way.

The digital camera was new for me. I was never into cameras. However, I did see it as a tool for my students and something I should know how to handle. I received help from my technology coordinator and sh gave me some pointers. My first project was to make sure I had pictures of all my students for future projects. We just finished Jamestown and my students are taking on the role of John Smith. They are creating a interview product where they can crop in their photo or facial shot to be John Smith or the interviewer. Along the way I learned from this class how to operate and use digital stories. This will be a culminating project for this unit.

Blogging was not new for me, but my first experience was time consuming. I was looking for a faster approach because my school had limitations on blogging. I have not used blogging yet this year, but gained some insight from other colleagues from this course. Many of these colleagues were going through similar situations, however I learned some alternatives to start at the elementary level. I picked up a site called Wallwisher.con which could be a way to start my kids with blogging. When, I felt this goal would not run smoothly I looked to grow int another direction. I decided to focus on providing my students with technological information to help them daily prepare for class. On my web page I added a calendar for homework and special events. I also included links to sites which help students prepare for class. My links were skills, practice, and challenges to meet the needs of all students in the classroom. This has been a success. I started parent conferences and parents offered positive feedback. They said their children were working on these sites ad thanked me providing them with relative learning outside my classroom.

When I look back at these standards in NETS-T, my real goal is provide students with creativity and problem solving skills using technology. For one, students with problem solving skills can do what computers can not readily solve. The second is teaching students how to learn instead of just providing a skill that may not be there down the road (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009). I want my growth to be the growth of my students. My school as technology standards, but they are weak on follow through. I want to be their guide on how to grow and stay up ith this tool that will lead them to success outside our classroom walls. Instead of skills I hope to hope to provide them with a well-rounded portfolio. Technology will provide learning experiences through face-to-face ad virtual environments. This will promote innovation and the will to learn (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009). This game plan has made technology a major part of my classroom. THe tech coordinator now leaves a lap-top cart in my room because she sees me use them all the time.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

GAME Plan process with Students

This course has made me aware of how important the ISTE standards are to both teachers and students. My Game Plan helped me use and teach technology in the classroom for my students. When I first entered teaching, computers just arrived in schools, but teachers were not equipped with the skills to access such great tools. As time went on standards were built, but in our area they are not stressed like other subjects. Reports cards carry standards for each subject except technology. We have the standards in our curriculum guides, but that is where they stay.

My only requirement in the past 14 years of education for technology was to complete a portfolio by year three of teaching. Since that product was turned in, there has been no additional follow through. My game plan was beneficial and gave me the confidence needed to implemet technology to my teaching on a regular basis. I set goals and feel they have been achieved throughout the past few weeks. When looking back at the NETS-T standards, I discovered that I was fulfilling other technological standards. This plan is a process to enrich teachers by adding and keeping up with the tools in our schools. These tools are always updated and a plan will ensure a direction for not just you, but the students in your classroom. It will give them meaningful experiences that will be useful to their future (Cennamo, Ross, Ertmer, 2009).

It was encouraged in our text reading to develop a portfolio of artifacts, products and skills. This portfolio would be your techology resume where you can assess where you are confident and where you need to develop skills (Cennamo, Ross, Ertmer, 2009). If you show growth, then your students will show growth in skills they will need outside classroom walls. The game plan helped me realize the importance of tech skills needed, whether or not they officially show up on a report card. Fururists say students leaving school will need a few key skills to thrive in the job force. Students need to have problem solving skills, collaboration skills, and technology skills. The first two skills can be accessed while working with computers. At our school principals ask us to put up the stadard we teaach with the number of the strand. Maybe itis time to put up the tech standards and help create student portfolios that can be kept in their files.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Revising my Game Plan

Social networking has been a big help with my NETS-T goals. Colleagues have given me better direction and ideas for implementation to classroom learning. I will admit the digital camera has been put on hold, but I did sign it out of our library. It will be used soon. I just need more time. Minus the digital tech tool on hold, my other goals are moving along nicely. One colleague suggested using www.Wallwisher. com as a blog activity. Students can post a short response to my post, and I can see the whole class at once and add additional comments. My school Web page is progressing as we move into other learning material. I continually add links to help studts practice and learn outside my room.

When I look back at the NETS-T, I noticed that I am progressing in other areas. I am showing growth to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. The other week my class examined a National Geographic - Jamestown Virtual Tour. They worked to compare the Jamestown fort to a Powhatan Village. This was followed up with a problem solving activity. Students worked oa site that told them the Jamestown Museum burned down. They had to choose a settler from the departure list to America ad find infromation to create a settler's journal. Students created these artifacts to share and help the museum collect missing historical pieces.

Today, we had the Jamestown people come to our class since we can not take this field trip. It was a great experience giving sutdents a chance to interact and dress in costumes from a long time ago in history. Afterward, I asked the presenter if they had a blog for students to ask questions. I thuoght this would be a great way for students to reach experts if they had questions during this uit of study. He was not aware of a blog and said he would check into this forme. I did not see one on their site. Isn't this a good idea? Does anyone know if there is a blog out there for Jamestown. I put this on my to-do list for this week. My goals are expanding or I just see myself growing into other areas i the NETS-T. My students were excited when they heard me askabout the blog. THey loveto ask questions.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Game Plan Progress

School has been moving along at a rapid pace for me. As a rusty elementary teacher, I have been on the move trying to keep up with curriculum, lesson plans, graduate school, and a 5 month old. In all of this, I feel that my new technological goals are showing promise. Last week, I almost gave up on blogging due to school limitations. I decided to alter this goal, but still reached out for help to my professional colleagues. I received a great tip to use a site called Wallwisher. This site is not an actual blog site, but for fourth graders it gives them a chance to post responses on a screen and look at what others add to the screen. I feel this is a good start for elementary students to share their thoughts and ideas to content in the classroom. We have used this so far for a center called Daring Detective. Students read about animals and unique facts to share with others.

When blogging was looking difficult I added a goal. The added goal is to communicate with parents and students by sharing information, activities, and extra practice to enhance student learning. I have been working hard to create a place where students can take an interest using technology. Currently, I have started a class newsletter and added links that offer practice for everyone. The links are separated by subject, and include basic skills, interactive activities, and brainstorming problems. I contacted parents through open house and e-mail to share my page. I have received positive feedback from parents on the added sites, ad students are sharing their interest in my web page first thing in the morning. We just worked on a Jamestown virtual site today comparing the fort to the Powhatan village. Students wanted to know if they could access this at home. My tech supervisor has been working with me and includes these sites to the school web links page. Are there other ideas that could be added or included to a teacher web-page for students and teachers?

The use of a digital camera for learning purposes was my other original goal. I have recently checked out a digital camera from the library and sat down with our tech supervisor for some tips how to save student pictures to the network for later use. My pal is to include photographs in projects to enhance the use of technological tools. I have not begun to access a project with this tool, but in the next few weeks my tech supervisor and I will be planning together to formulate some plans. I know that teachers have cropped students pictures ad included them into historical projects. Has anyone used studetns photos with science or other subjects?