This week for the first portion of class we worked on the Smart Board. I enjoyed being in a small group because everyone was able to touch and play with the features that the Smart Board had to offer. I have had some experiences with the Smart Board from my student teaching placements, so it was a great opportunity to utilize some of my strengths and show the group the things that I know how to do. Also it was amazing to see all of things the Smart Board could do that I never knew before. The people in my group collaborated together and helped one another when talking about lesson plans and things you could do with your students. It is nice to think that one day when I have a teaching job, that there might be teachers that help me in the same way and we will collaborate together to benefit our students!
In class this week, we talked about internet safety for our students. The internet carries so much information that can be very useful for our students, but then there is also a lot of information that could be potentially harmful, or false as we saw in class. There have been so many times where I have typed something into Google, and it has brought me to a site that is far from where I wanted to be, or the information is obviously not valid. We have to think as teachers and know that when our students look up information on the internet, they do not have the same filter that we do and cannot detect when information is true or false. We cannot blame them at times for finding information that is far from their topic. I know for myself that when I look up something on the internet, even the news, I click on side notes or related articles on the page that take me far from where I originally intended to be. We need to make sure that our students are kept safe and can be prevented from this type of thing happening. It is hard to know what is right from wrong and I think the activity we did in class helped us to see this through the eyes of student. You have to look up the information within the site to see if it is what you are looking for. This is a hard task, but we can teach our students the correct way to do this…after all, that is what we are there for!!
During class this week, we discovered new software to use with our students to enhance our lesson plans. These types of programs can be done within any content area in school, with various ages of students, and create an environment that is interactive and engaging for the students. I learned about Kidspiration in my undergraduate work, but I did not use it in such ways that we have with this class. I feel, as a teacher, I use graphic organizers frequently. I have had students in the past make graphic organizers in their notebooks. Although this has enhanced their learning and helped to gather their thoughts, I feel that if Kidspiration was used, their attention and focus would be far greater with this program. I love that the program is brightly colored and user- friendly. I sometimes feel that some programs are easy for a teacher to use, but when the students try to use it, they get lost and bogged down. I agree with Dr. Ransom when he said that these programs assist our teaching, but they will not be something that you will use every day with every lesson. We want to keep this program intriguing for the students, and overuse will only cause exhaustion! I appreciated learning about these programs and cannot wait to use them in my future teaching.
I cannot tell you the fascination that I have within this class. Each week I feel as though I am learning new material. Not only have I not heard this information before, but it can be entirely useful throughout my future teaching. During last class, I loved the way in which we discovered new ways we can assess our students. I never new that Google Docs could have so many things to offer and I feel as though each week, I am learning more and more about this program. During class when we made up quizzes and tests for our classmates to take, we had the opportunity to practice techniques that will be useful to our students in the future. I am fascinated by the way the teacher has the power to see every student’s tests and correct them right on the spot without doing any paperwork. I know that this will be something that I will use within my classroom and with my students. I think that children are becoming more technologically savvy within their academic endeavors, and asking them to conduct a test on the computer will provide them with the versatility and the creative edge that I feel education needs.
During class this week, I was so fascinated and intrigued by this new service of Google Docs. Apparently this is not such a new concept, but for me it certainly was! Before I took this class, I have never heard of Google Docs and did not know what types of enemities it had to offer. On Tuesday night, although the instruction on how to use Google Docs was short, especially for someone that is not technologically savvy, I have learned so much about it and cannot wait until I have the opportunity to use it. Throughout the lesson on Tuesday night, I kept thinking about all of the times in which Google Docs could have been extremely useful and a lot less time consuming. Last year I was a long-term substitute teacher for ESOL students and there were so many instances where I made quizzes and tests myself in a word document. The ultilization of Google Docs in the test forms section would have been so useful. I spent so much time making lesson plans that were geared towards collaboration and all of the lesson plans that can be created on Google Docs could have been easily accessed. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to see all of the things that Google Docs has to offer and I am eager to use it in my future for teaching and personal use!
Throughout the readings for this week, there was one that I connected with the most. The reading titled “Building Better Instruction” really hit home with me and made me reflect on the lessons that I do each day with the kindergarteners at my school. I teach four and five year old children, so the one thing that I have to keep in mind throughout my teaching is versatility and creativity. I cannot teach in the same manner every day, or teach with the same learning strategy in mind all of the time. To keep my lessons interesting and to keep the children engaged, I take notice to all of their different learning strategies and I gear my lessons towards them each day. One day I might do a lesson catered to the visual learners by drawing a picture of what I am teaching or showing a diagram. The next day I may play Spanish music or play an audio of people speaking Spanish for my audio learners. The next day I will have the students move around the room and play games, or I will have the students dance to cater to my kinesthetic learners. My students adapt to the learning styles and thrive when given new material each day.
In the reading “Building Better Instruction”, the author talks about nonlinguistic representations. I agree with this portion of the reading because I know that all students learn in various ways and teaching should be represented in such ways that vary from just a teacher giving a lecture. Students will have more success and a better appreciation for learning when given opportunities that enhance their academic achievement.