Thursday, April 25, 2013

Barb Rentenbach Presentation

Barb began this presentation by typing: "dear utk autism is my prism not my prison"

- Dr. Prislovsky has worked with Barb for over 10 years and read excerpts from the book she and Bard wrote entitled "I Might Be You"

- Barb say- Autism is not designed for physical or mental juggling

1. Discover- find out who person is and help him/her
2. Persevere- dont give up
3. Remember we are all the same
4. Allow person time each day to be inside autism
5. Open- keep an open mind and consider other forms of communication
6. Empower- autistic person should have power- offer responsibility and we may take it

- Flower metaphor
--> just like no standard flower theres no standard race

- What is autism?
Autism is a type of neurology. (no comparisons, no judging)

- We know there are functional and structural differences in people with autism

- Individuals with autism often relate better with objects rather than people. Often completely immersed in systems, processing, and order

- When we medicate ADHD away, how many entrepreneurs don't happen? Seek stimulation

-People with dislexia are twice as likely to be entrepreneurs than people without dislexia

material thinking- ordinary perception of time and space
interconnectedness- piecing together big picture
narrative- have ability to make amazing images
dynamic thinking- being able to interpret what comes next
**benefits to all types of diversity**

-find out who you are and be that on purpose- Barbs favorite quote

-Began typing in therapy to display love of history

-Sometimes to connect you need to relate (ex- not speaking a lot when dealing with people who may be nonverbal) MEET THESE INDIVIDUALS WHERE THEY ARE

- Respect interests. Build on strengths, find out where they are comfortable, be patient-- it takes time (everything is within walking distance if you have the time)

- Barb is a brillant thinker

- We are all flecks of God- all diverse- all important to this world

- DVD- meaning of life

- Proving alternative forms of communication is as important as education gets
- Book took 10 years to write
- first part of book was written by hand-over-hand support
  second part of book written using progressively less suport
- be patient- there are more autistics now because of evolution
- silence opens worlds of communications
- remember who you are and what you are here to teach-- do that for your students. students embrace the ladder and get out your colored chalk--> it is time to brighten the world

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chapter 5

Chapter 5 (p. 137-149)
(3) You have now read several views about intelligence. What do you think about intelligence?
Is it one trait or many? more heavily influenced by nature or nurture? a fixed capacity or a
modifiable ability? Articulate your views in a paragraph of 6-8 sentences. 

I believe that intelligence is one trait, with many different domains. I think that everyone has a type of intelligence, and teachers need to focus on the individual intelligence of each student. I agree with Howard Gardner's multiple Intelligences, where people have many different types of intelligence that are virtually independent of one another. I believe that everyone is instilled with intelligence by nature, and by nurturing intelligence we can allow it to grow and foster. So, I personally believe that intelligence is a modifiable ability and as we grow, change, learn, and are exposed to new experiences then intelligence has the ability to change. Overall, I believe that everyone in innately born with intelligence of some sort, and educators are given the responsibility to foster this intelligence and explore students individual strengths and weaknesses.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Discussion of Poverty: Radical Possibilities

Radical Possibilities

Radical Possibilities suggests that if we want to uncover poverty we need to look at our urban schools. These schools depict poverty, joblessness, low wages, and racial and class segregation. Looking at urban schools will model both poor schools and poor communities with a lack of resources. Urban schools expose injustice, and many parents and students show a passion and willingness to fight to make education a central part of their lives. As educators, we have an opportunity to build a change regarding the injustices that urban schools face, since we have continual access to students, parents, and the community.
This article spoke a lot about how to inspire urban students and give them a voice. Finding a cause that students are passionate about and can relate to is an important aspect in inspiring them to succeed. Teachers should use the classroom as a tool to inspire critical thinking skills and provide a thought-provoking atmosphere where students are free to discuss the problems they face. As teachers, we need to always have social justice as a goal.
Some ways to inspire urban students and involve them in the community:
      • Help students appreciate their own value, intelligence, and potential
      • Emphasize relationship between education and freedom
      • Recognize and acknowledge with students that they are not free--social change is necessary
      • Show an interest as an educator- make sure they know you think the issue is important (parent-teacher conferences, community “walks”, develop vision for what needs to be changed)
      • Organize extended issue campaigns--issues should come from parents, students, and other residents. Locate key school and district personnel, develop changes and a plan, pressure administration
      • Find a social problem students are interested in and give them the tools to have an empowering voice. Some main issues involve college preparation, criminal and juvenile justice, economic justice, and immigrant rights. Promote teen activism to increase community connections, teach life skills, increase trust between students and teacher
      • Students map out and document community resources and important people and present to community
      • Have students consider who is in power in their community. Ask leading questions to allow them to think
      • Develop an issue campaign-- give students responsibility.

Quotes I found really interesting

“ African American and Latino scholars write tellingly about the fears harbored by many students of color that they fit stereotypes white society has of them.”
“ An important mechanism is that this “stereotype threat” can prevent students’ full engagement in academic work, as they fear failure and fulfillment of the stereotype.”
“ We must also teach minority students the culture and knowledge held by powerful Whites and the middle and upper classes”
“When educators work with community residents as equals and as change agents to organize for better education, movement building is taking place; and as a not inconsequential outcome, schools typically improve and student achievement increases”
“ A reason for increased achievement in schools where parents and educators work together as change agents may be an increase in trust and respect between parties”
“An angry parent is an opportunity”
“Moreover- I believe it is the case that teens want an education- a high quality education.”
“And college would be understood as a continuation of government’s financial responsibility for public education, thus providing a material basis for motivation and effort on the part of the K-12 students and educators”

Questions I had
Why are urban schools surrounded with this stigma?
What are some ways to implement empowering ideas and community action to elementary students?


This article was of particular importance to me. I plan to work in an urban school, and I believe that while doing this it is so important to be aware of students home situations, must like the article suggests, and encourages students to overcome adversity they are faced with. It is important to let students know of resources that provide outside support (health care, financial, etc). I have seen a concrete example of this at Lonsdale Elementary School. After school, they provide classes for parents to get their GED, classes for parents to learn English, and free dinner for families of students. Lonsdale also does an amazing job of informing
parents about additional resources

Giving students a voice is so important, especially in schools from a primarily low SES. Letting students know that they fit into the community where they are oppressed and have an opportunity to make a change is something that can really inspire students. Giving students an empowering rather than domestic education is a key to success.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Personal and Social Development

Song Activity 

"100 Years"
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
I'm 22 for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
Half time goes by
Suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...
I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you’re on your way
Every day's a new day...
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

I'm 15 for a moment

1. This song portrays Erikson's stages of development, on page 72-73 of our text. As the character in the song is 15, he is caught between 10 and 20 and dreaming. In this stage of adolescence, the character is experiencing role confusion, which is characteristic of Erikson's identity vs. role confusion stage. He has mixed ideas and feelings about his identity and is "stuck" between 10 and 20. When the person depicted in the song is 33 he has a kid on the way and is thinking about a family. This is characteristic of Erikson's middle age stage of development, where the focus is on contributing to society, perhaps by raising a family. Erikson would say they are reaching generativity. However, when the person is 45, he is "heading towards a crisis" and "chasing the years of his life". While still in the middle age stage, Erikson might say that he is reaching stagnation, or a dissatisfaction with his or her lack of productivity. At 67, the character is "suddenly wise". This person is reaching integrity,  characteristic of retirement years. People look back on their lives and accomplishments. They develop a sense of commitment and integrity if they believe they have led a happy and productive life. Conversely, when the person in the song is 99 he is dying for a moment and dreaming. This may be Erikson's stage of despair in the retirement years, if they look back on a life of disappointments and unachieved goals. 

2. Although this focuses on Erikson's stages associated with adolescents into adulthood, I could use the knowledge of Erikson's earlier stages in my future elementary classroom. I should be aware of the concept of Industry vs. Inferiority and know how critical elementary school is in developing self-confidence. I would need to know what fosters both a sense of industry and inferiority and make sure that I encourage industry in my classroom. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chapter 3

(3.1) Personal and social development can have a major influence on both individual student learning and the learning environment as a whole. Identify a case from the CSEL guidelines* that you would like to address in your paper. Then, examine the possible developmental factors that could be influencing your target student(s) or classroom in the case study.

You engage your third grade students in cooperative learning activities at least twice a day, changing heterogeneous group members once every four weeks. You have agreed upon routine procedures that your classroom community uses within their small groups, including the roles and responsibilities of group members. Lately you have noticed that one small group always seems to have difficulty grasping material and completing their project in an acceptable manner.  You observe this group carefully and find that Lisa seems to be the catalyst for their problems.  She gets angry with others if she does not get the job she wants and refuses to do her part in contributing to the group’s learning.  She constantly interrupts others in her group.  She does not pay attention when her group prepares for class presentations. 

While looking at Piaget's basic assumptions, he assumes that "Children are active and motivated learners", meaning they are naturally motivated to learn how to live in and adapt to their environment. My first thought is that Lisa is not motivated in this group, which is the cause of acting out.

Although Lisa is in 3rd grade and probably around 8 or 9, she seems like she may be still be operating in Piaget's preoperational stage, which lasts from 2 to age 6 or 7. I think this because Lisa does have language skills, clearly, since she gets angry with her group and interrupts. But, Lisa seems to be experiencing preoperational egocentrism, which is an inability to view situations from another person's perspective. Since Lisa gets angry when she does not get the job she wants, it tells me that she is not able to see why people are getting assigned jobs and that sometimes you do not always get your first pick. I would also assume that jobs are under a rotation, so Lisa may not be able to understand that rotation.

 Looking at Vygotsky's theory,  he states that "Complex mental processes begin as social activities and gradually evolve into internal mental activities that children can use independently. To Vygotsky, many complex thought processes have their roots in social interactions. Since Lisa is having such a problem socially interacting with her peers, I would say that she is not gaining the full potential from this interaction and potentially not developing these complex mental processes.

One of Vygotsky's main areas of interest is the zone of proximal development. The zone of proximal development is an area where students participate in tasks that they can accomplish only with some assistance and support. Since this group work is something that is more independent and group oriented with less teacher support, I would say that as of now group work is something that is out of Lisa's zone of proximal development.

(3.22) Check out tables 3.1 (p. 75), 3.2 (p. 83) and 3.3 (p. 91) with particular attention to the age ranges you are interested in teaching. Identify your personal favorite ways that an educator canpromote a child’s sense of self, perspective taking, and moral reasoning skills

Table 3.1 gives suggestions for encouraging a sense of self in different grade levels. I chose to focus on the grade level 3-5. Personally, I really like the suggestion Focus students' attention on their improvement over time. I think that showing children progress and improvement really encourages them. A great way to do this is keeping a portfolio and tracking progress in a kid-friendly way.

Table 3.2 talks about perspective taking and theory of mind at different grade levels. Again, focusing on grade levels 3-5, I liked the suggestion As students read literature, ask them to consider why various characters might behave as they do. There are so many fun ways to incorporate this into a classroom, such as acting out or giving a writing prompt. Considering others' perspectives is such a important skill to develop.

Table 3.3 give suggestions for promoting moral reasoning and prosocial behavior at different grade levels. There were many suggestions for grades 3-5, but my personal favorite includes: Explain how students can often meet their own needs while helping others. I really like this suggestion because students need to realize the importance of helping others and the way that it benefits them socially, emotionally, and morally. A great example of this is when an older class, say 3rd grade, goes and reads to kindergartners. Given this scenario, as a teacher it would be important to tell the 5th graders that it will help them become better readers as well as benefit the kindergartners.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chapter 2

Given the influential theorists' (Piaget or Vygotsky) ideas on cognitive development, how might you accomodate students who are not yet working at the level of peers?

If I had a student who was not performing at the level of their peers, I would try out various methods to accommodate my students.

While looking at Piaget's basic assumptions, I think that the assumption Interactions with one's physical and social environments are are essential for cognitive development would really help a struggling student. In this assumption, students need to manipulate physical objects and experience the physical world in order to grow cognitively. With struggling students, often times the problem lies with not having multiple representation to understand a problem. I think that actually showing a concept and letting students experience it is a really important in growing their understanding. Also, I think socially interacting with peers is a great way to understand new concepts for students who may be struggling. Being challenged by other students and seeing new ways of thinking may really help a struggling student understand a concept. Often times, peers are able to explain something in more understandable terms than an adult can.

(2) Theories in educational psychology promote the idea that language plays a critical role in
cognitive development. Examine Table 2.2 (p. 51), paying particular attention to the age range
that you are interested in teaching. Consider how you might incorporate or adapt the strategies
presented for use with your own students.

While focusing on the age range of 6-8 year old children, I notice that 6-8 year olds should know about 50,000 words. To promote this, I would encourage use of vocabulary in my classroom through verbalization, written language, and social interaction. I will provide vocabulary that is authentic and can be used frequently. To learn this vocabulary, we will act out the vocabulary words in skits to give students a visual representation and show them application, hopefully this will improve their memory of the word and meaning.

By this age range, students should have the ability to carry on lengthy conversations about abstract topics. I will implement this in my classroom through social interaction. I think that collaborating and talking is such a great way for students to learn and grow in their beliefs! These social skills are also what they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. This also intertwines with the significant growth in knowledge about the nature of language, which should be happening around 6-8. How else is linguistic knowledge supposed to grow without practice through social interaction? I plan to have students participate in small group and partner work all the time in my future classroom!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chapter 10

Which of the learning activities/skills can you think of that lend themselves to learning through modeling?

Modeling is a change in people that results from observing others. I can think of a million ways to model in the classroom, however, I am just going to focus on a few. 

Since I plan (hope) to teach third grade, I can be fairly sure that they have been exposed to school rules, rule following, etc. However, I may need to correctly model classroom procedures that are characteristic of my classroom. For example, one of the teachers I have observed gains classroom attention by clapping a pattern and having her students mimic it. I really liked this idea, and plan to model it to my future classroom. 

Another major thing to model in elementary school involves math computation. Students do not just automatically know how to correctly multiply two digit numbers. I will need to show many interactive examples and talk my way through the problem, complete a guided practice, and then let children do individual work as I monitor. This is true of any math skill. 
 Through this method, hopefully we can avoid this!!
I love the sequence of modeling that focuses on I do: You watch, I do: You help (together), and You do: I watch. I think when introducing any new concept, this sequence is really  important.  

How might self-efficacy and self-regulation contribute to the intervention plans you use in your case study?


You engage your third grade students in cooperative learning activities at least twice a day, changing heterogeneous group members once every four weeks. You have agreed upon routine procedures that your classroom community uses within their small groups, including the roles and responsibilities of group members. Lately you have noticed that one small group always seems to have difficulty grasping material and completing their project in an acceptable manner.  You observe this group carefully and find that Lisa seems to be the catalyst for their problems.  She gets angry with others if she does not get the job she wants and refuses to do her part in contributing to the group’s learning.  She constantly interrupts others in her group.  She does not pay attention when her group prepares for class presentations. 

 I would first begin by teaching self-regulation to the whole cooperative learning group. For example, if you know you are getting off task or distracting other students get up and go get a drink of water to focus. I would teach them to make a time-table together, to show what they need to complete each day in order to complete and turn in their project on time and in an acceptable manner. 

Next, I would speak with Lisa individually. I would encourage her in order to raise her self-efficacy, because maybe her problem lies with feeling inadequate and being lost when the other students are working together so she acts out to compensate. I would try to get to the bottom of her issue while also encouraging her. I would then work on self-regulation tasks and we could brainstorm together ways to regulate her behavior if she gets angry. I would also want to come up with some system of job delegation so everyone gets a chance to do everything, which may help Lisa by realizing she will get a chance to do the job that she wants as time goes on. I will tell her if she wants to interrupt then raise her hand or pass a not to the person speaking, this way she is still getting to make her point without being rude to other students. In this situation, I think the key would be to let Lisa be an active participant in brainstorming ways to self-regulate and working together to implement this behavior in her small group setting.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chapter 9

How would you define successful mastery of your lesson objectives from a behavioral view of learning?


Anytime that I plan a lesson and have objectives, I expect that my students master them. Behaviorally, I would know if my students have mastered a lesson by any observable measure. This could include if they got a problem right or wrong, the body language they display as they are working or listening to my lesson, and the informal and formal testing I will do throughout my lesson. 

From a behavioral perspective, I could encourage mastery by providing a positive and comfortable environment in my classroom. Our textbook states: "behaviorism focuses on how environmental stimuli bring about changes in people behaviors" (285). I want my classroom to be a place where students feel comfortable to be themselves, push the boundaries, and are not scared to fail. I think developing a level of respect between students and teachers is essential in providing a classroom where students feel free to express themselves and learn and master topics. According to behaviorism, environmental influence is so important to the way that students behave. Anything that is observable in the environment are thought to influence environment. I could encourage this safe place by the classroom layout, the decoration I have around the classroom, the resources that I have provided my students, as well as the way that I conduct the class and treat my students and the way that the students treat each other. All of these observable environmental variables can influence if students successfully master learning objectives throughout the school year. 

Here is a classroom layout that I developed on a  on a classroom layout maker that I think  encourages learning and mastery of skills. 

P.S. This website is REALLY cool and its fun to think about how we would design our future classrooms :)    

Consider your CSEL intervention case study.  Are there tools from a behaviorist view for either encouraging productive behaviors or discouraging undesirable behaviors that you could apply to the case?  What are they? 

In my CSEL intervention case, a small group is not working well together. They often cannot master the skills and have a difficult time completing tasks in an acceptable manner. After observation, I have noticed that Lisa always seems to be cause.
She gets angry with others if she does not get the job she wants and refuses to do her part in contributing to the group’s learning.  She constantly interrupts others in her group and she does not pay attention when her group prepares for class presentations. 

To correct this, I would rely on punishing negative behaviors and reinforcing positive behavior. A reinforcer is a consequence of a response that increases the frequency of the behavior and a punishment is a consequence that decreases the frequency of a response. (pg. 292)

In this case, I would speak with Lisa's group and alert them that I have noticed their inability to complete assignments and their lack of working together properly. I would also talk to Lisa individually and let her know that I have noticed she has been acting up. I will tell Lisa if this behavior continues, there will be consequences. If it does continue, I will try punishing the undesirable behavior. If Lisa acts up again, I would have her sit out at recess for 5 minutes, which is something I know that she enjoys. I would be consistent in this punishment and the each time it happens add another minute to the time she has to sit out. 

Hopefully, this improves her behavior. If it does, I would begin reinforcing the good behavior. If she does not act out and works well in her group I will allow her to do something that she enjoys, like dropping her name in the classroom "good behavior" box that enters her to win a prize at the end of the week. 

Personally, I think that reinforcement and punishment is so effective and can really improve classroom behavior.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chapter 8

Which metacognitive skills/abilities are involved as students gain facility/knowledge in this domain? Think of an activity or lesson component that explicitly teaches one or more metacognitive and one or more problem solving skills.


If I were teaching a lesson about parallel lines (which I recently did) I would expect students to continually use metacognitive skills. Students have to learn to continually check themselves and  express their thought processes and answers to questions. 
To begin, I would make sure students had an understanding of parallel lines by applying it to a real life topic, such as parallel bars in gymnastics. After we had covered and learned the definition for parallel, I would have students explain why parallel bars in gymnastics are called parallel. This would allow students to verbalize their thoughts and also problem solve.
I would also have students participating in overt learning strategies, that is, drawing parallel lines on a paper. These are thought process that we can actually see. I would then have students list what made the lines that they drew parallel, another observable behavior. This would also aid students in increasing self-explanation.  

To increase problem solving skills of heuristics, with no step-by-step instruction, I would show students two lines that are not parallel and have them explain how they would manipulate them to make them parallel. This would cause students to really have a grasp on the concept and be able to problem solve. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter 7

Describe a constructivist lesson you would teach.


To begin, construction is a mental process in which a learner takes many separate pieces of information and uses them to build an overall understanding or interpretation.

**Note: I was actually taught this lesson in 6th grade and STILL remember it! 

To teach a constructivist lesson, I would begin by introducing the topic to my kids. Lets say we were doing a social studies lesson and learning about Ancient Olympics. I would begin by talking about our modern Olympic games and what those games mean for a country, etc. I would then introduce Ancient Olympics and explain that our modern Olympics are inspired by the Ancient Olympics. After spending a day or so collaborating about the Ancient Olympics and what kinds of Olympic events the ancient Romans participated in, we would try out these Olympic events! Constructivism is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge as opposed to simply passively receiving information. I would divide my class into various teams, and have them participate in our own "Ancient Olympics" with events that are comparable to those that were involved in the Ancient Olympics years ago. This way, my students are actively participating and applying meaning to a topic that could otherwise be dull or boring. I think that this lesson plan captures the essence of the constructivist theory by providing opportunities for firsthand observation and engaging my students as active learners.


Which of these learning activities/skills lend themselves to student’s individual or group construction?  How might you structure learning activities that lead students to discover these skills/these principles?

To encourage students' individual or group construction, I would provide an expert's perspective by providing them with the concepts and other information regarding Ancient Olympics. I would then allow them to participate in our classroom "Ancient Olympics" that would allow them to experience these Olympic events first-hand after they have been given expert knowledge. I would also give students a conceptual understanding of the Ancient Olympics, where they can make connections between the modern Olympics that they are familiar with. Students would be encouraged to collaborate and engage in meaningful dialogue while participating the the events to come up with strategy. Although students will never engage in the Ancient Olympics outside of school, many of the skills associated with participating are authentic activities. Students can carry the skills of hard-work, team work, collaboration, etc. outside of the classroom and into everyday life. This activity will also create a community of learners where I, as the teacher, will collaborate with my classroom to build knowledge about the topic of Ancient Olympics through a constructivist lesson.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chapter 6

What are the essential skills and/or learning outcomes you want your students to know and be able to do that relate to cognitive learning? 


Personally, I believe that cognitive learning is so important while teaching and aiding the student in his or her learning process. Firstly, I would want my students to understand that many things are effectively learned by watching, touching, reading, or experiencing something. I would make sure to
let my students know that everyone learns differently, and people often think about and interpret things in ways that are really complex. With this being said, I want to give my students valuable information that is relatable and relevant, and the skills to be able to take a classroom lesson or topic and make it meaningful to them in a way that makes it easier to process. Since we are so selective about what we mentally process and lean from the influx of information we receive daily, I want my students to find ways to make meaningful interpretations of classroom topics. As a teacher, I know that I must remember that all students are not going to learn the information in the way that I present to them, so it is my job to explain things in different and creative ways that makes information more interpretable.

I found this really cool website, called Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn that has a helpful (and short!) description of the cognitive approach to learning in children.

How might your knowledge of the memory processes guide your instructional decisions?

Memory, as defined by our text, is the ability to save something that has been previously learned. Since I plan to teach elementary students and I will need to cover so much information and focus on all subject areas, I will really have to come up with come creative and out-of-the-box strategies that will help students remember important information. Like the cognitive process talks about, we are more likely to remember something that sticks out to us or that we can connect to. I think that making personal connections and using real-life examples while teaching is a big key to students memory. If I can tell a funny story or use a catchy rhyme while explaining a topic, my students are much more likely to relate and pay ATTENTION to what I am saying. I am giving them the input, they are registering this information and paying attention, then this information will travel to short-term memory. It is then my job to have student work examples or explain the topic to me through journals, etc. so that they can process the information and store it in long-term memory. If I think back to my elementary years, the things that I remember most are the catchy phrases (such as Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492) and stories my teachers told to teach a topic. I think interaction is so important while teaching, and this also really encourages students to pay attention to the lesson taught. This way, they remember the information better because they were involved in the learning process and can make a connection, rather than just sitting and listening to their teacher speak. I will also really allow my students to practice what they have learned, rather than just moving to the next topic or activity.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chapter 15

Turn to p. 559 in Ormrod’s text.  Now, imagine that you are meeting with Ingrid’s grandmother today to explain her scores on the recent standardized achievement test pictured at the bottom of p. 559.  What will you tell her about Ingrid’s performance? her strengths? her weaknesses? If grandmother asks you what she could be doing at home to help strengthen Ingrid’s skills, what will you suggest?


  First of all, I would begin with letting Ingrid's grandmother know how much I enjoy teaching Ingrid! I think that in a conference, it is so important to begin with a compliment to assure your student's guardian that you want the best for the student, just like they do.
I would show Ingrid's grandmother the computer printout showing all of Ingrid's scores on the standardized achievement test. This way, she would have a visual as I explain Ingrid's strengths and weaknesses.  I would begin by noting how well Ingrid performed in reading comprehension, science, social studies, and math concepts. I would stress that these are definitely some of Ingrid's strengths, especially reading comprehension, where she performed well above-average. However, I would also point out that Ingrid performed below average in spelling and math computation, which may be some of her academic weaknesses. 
I would suggest that Ingrid's grandmother work with her at night of her math computation and spelling. As a teacher, I would look at Ingrid's work and compile a list of words that Ingrid seems to have a hard time spelling that most children her age do not have trouble with. I would give this list to her grandmother and encourage her to work with Ingrid on her spelling nightly. Each week I would give her grandmother a new list of words to practice with Ingrid. I would also encourage Ingrid's grandmother to work with her on math computation skills. Again, I would send extra practice problems that we are working on in class home with Ingrid and encourage her grandmother to work with her a couple of nights a week. I would suggest a website about math computation strategies for her grandmother to read. This website has a lot of great pointers about improving math computation. I would also suggest websites, like Arcademic Skills Builder , that have tons of games in all subject areas to improve skills. This could really help Ingrid in both spelling and math computation. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chapter 14

(14.1) Think of a lesson plan from your licensure area. Knowing that assessment is an integral part of teaching, explain at least four informal and formal assessments that you will use in your lesson plan to provide you with feedback and involve the students in assessing their own learning.


If I was conducting a lesson in third grade language arts, we might cover the topics of analogies. In teaching this, I would really want to consider the elements of informal and formal testing to assess my students understanding. Informal testing consists of spontaneous and unplanned observation while formal testing consists of preplanned and systematic attempt to assess a student's understanding.

I would teach the topic of analogies as a whole group, giving many examples and asking for class feedback.  After my explanation and while still in a whole group setting, I would give examples for the class to complete on the board. To informally test during this time, I might randomly call on students and see what they believe the answer to be. If there are students who get stumped or are not sure of the answer, I will know that I may need a little extra help. Another way to informally assess my students would be to break them up in partners to complete a worksheet pertaining to analogies. I could walk around and check their progress and accuracy to see if they are grasping the concept.

After the children had a chance to practice their knowledge of analogies, I may want to formally test them to gain a better understanding of their individual knowledge. I could pass out a small sheet of paper to the students individually, and put an analogy to complete on the board. On their sheet of paper, they could write what they believe to be the answer and set it on my desk as they leave the classroom. This way, I could see how each student is doing. Another example of a formal assessment that I could implement in my classroom is a standard end-of-unit test. They could individually complete a test assessing knowledge of the topic of analogies.

(14.2) Consider norm referenced assessment and criterion referenced assessment. Are there advantages to both? Are their disadvantages?


Criterion-Referenced assessment indicates mastery or non-mastery of specific topics, while norm-referenced assessment compares performance to that of peers. I believe there are both advantages and disadvantages to both types of assessment.

A main advantage to criterion-referenced assessment is that you know immediately what student's know and don't know, as well as which students are not performing as well as others. This way, teachers know that they need to reconstruct the lesson to better understand or that that they need to pull certain students away to further develop their understanding. Criterion-referenced assessment also gives a standard assessment so that all children are being tested equally. On the other hand,  a disadvantage of criterion-referenced assessment is the fact that there is no way to test all concepts so it isn't a completely accurate portrayal of student's knowledge.

A main advantage of norm-referenced assessment is that it shows which students are continually falling behind the average of the class. This would help teachers come up with a plan for a struggling student and have documentation of progress. Standardized tests, for example, show which school systems, classes, etc. are not performing the way that they should be. Norm-referenced assessments are really beneficial when collecting data. However, norm-referenced tests can be really stigmatizing. If a student doesn't perform well compared to other classmates, that student may feel uncomfortable and categorized. Norm-referenced assessment can also create pressure and stress within a class or school because they are being compared against someone else.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chapter 13

1. Based on our readings and class discussion, how will you create a learning environment that is conducive to learning?

To create a learning environment conducive to learning, I would make sure that my classroom was arranged in the best set-up possible. After getting a feel for my class I would decide if they would work best seated in pairs or clusters. I would try to consistently engage my class through discussion and interaction, and have plenty of stimuli on the wall for them to look at if they need a "brain break".

As a whole, I want my classroom climate to just be happy. In class, we talked about how children may control the weather but as a teacher you control the overall climate. Since I plan to teach elementary age children, I will create a classroom where everyone shares some sort of class responsibility designated by rotating classroom jobs. I plan to create a really safe environment where kids can be themselves and respect each other and their classroom. I will do this by CONSISTENTLY not tolerating the breaking of classroom rules and have absolute zero-tolerance for any type of bullying or putting-down. I want to continually show my children love and support throughout the day and make an effort to praise them when they succeed and give constructive criticism when they do not. I want to show children the same kind of respect that I want them to show to me! After reading the book, I realize how important it is to have the same kind of relationship with all of the kids in your classroom. Even if you have that one problem child that you continually have to get on to throughout the day, it is important to be just as kind and loving to them as you are to the rest of the class.

I want my future classroom to be a community, so I plan to make time to share together and really get to know each other. I want to make everyone feel like they belong and like they are so important to the classroom. When a classroom feels like a community, I think that students will be much more inclined to adhere to rules and guidelines to make the classroom function at the highest possible level.

Next, I want to come up with interactive and interesting ways to teach the topics we are studying. Elementary children work and concentrate best when they are entertained, so I want to find fun ways to teach the topics that we have to cover.

Overall, I really just want to create a happy and fun environment where students are free to learn and be themselves. I want students to challenge themselves and hold themselves accountable for their own learning. I want my classroom to be a community where we can all be comfortable with each other and feel like everyone is just as important as the next. I think that these key aspects are the essential elements to creating a classroom that is conducive to learning.

2. CSEL Case Study: Develop a full continuum of responses for dealing with the misbehavior of your case

You engage your third grade students in cooperative learning activities at least twice a day, changing heterogeneous group members once every four weeks. You have agreed upon routine procedures that your classroom community uses within their small groups, including the roles and responsibilities of group members. Lately you have noticed that one small group always seems to have difficulty grasping material and completing their project in an acceptable manner.  You observe this group carefully and find that Lisa seems to be the catalyst for their problems.  She gets angry with others if she does not get the job she wants and refuses to do her part in contributing to the group’s learning.  She constantly interrupts others in her group.  She does not pay attention when her group prepares for class presentations.
  • Clearly, something is going on with Lisa. From this case study, I would want to know if Lisa has always acted out or if this is just starting. If it is a new behavior, I would pull Lisa aside and try to find out why she is behaving this way and explain how it is hurting others. In this example, it really seems like Lisa wants attention. I would probably ignore the situation at first and see if the group members can work it out on their own. If not, I would not give Lisa the recognition in class and pull her aside privately. I would tell her that her behavior is disruptive and she being rude and unkind to her group members. If that doesn't work, I may start offering rewards to group that are cooperating and being really productive in class. This way, Lisa would see that her behavior is the reason she is not receiving the reward that other teams are. This would also really encourage the teammates to hold Lisa accountable for her actions. If neither of these strategies worked, I would probably move Lisa to a seat alone where she will have to complete the same work and do the same presentations individually. Although that is not the most ideal situation, there is no reason for other class members to have to suffer because of her disruptive behavior.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chapter 11

1. Consider the theories of motivation that we discussed in class. Which theories are most helpful and instructive for you? How can they enhance motivation and affect your students?

Many of the motivational theories we discussed in class are very helpful to me in my profession as an elementary teacher.

Although not a "theory," I found the information on both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation very useful. The text talks about how we need to build intrinsic motivation in our students rather than focus on extrinsic motivation (such as a reward for reaching a certain AR point goal). I really think that we are responsible for showing students that motivation needs to come from within, in order to better yourselves, rather than teaching them that when you behave a certain way you will receive a reward for it. Teachers are responsible for teaching children that the way to accomplish goals is to motivate themselves, rather than being motivated by a outward object.

I think that Maslow's hierarchy of needs is another important theory of motivation (although not COMPLETELY correct). I think that a school setting is such an important area where you can satisfy all of the basic needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and needs for self-actualization. As talked about in class, Maslow said that these happened independently and in a sequence, but, other studies have shown these are not independent of each other and happen in no sequence. As a teacher, I think that it is really important to satisfy all of the needs of children so that they can strive towards self-actualization. When they reach self-actualization (which Maslow says is very rare) students will be intrinsically motivated to strive to be the best that they can be. An example of this is the Pond Gap video that we watched in class. In this video, we were shown an example of an after school program in Knoxville. Pond Gap is a school where 80% of students are on free and reduced lunch. Many students have hard home situations, and Pond Gap has reached out to them with a free after school care program that tailors to their needs. Pond Gap's after school staff focuses on providing a safe, happy, and stable environment for children, much like those hierarchy of needs that Maslow listed. Hopefully, this Pond Gap program will make a huge difference in the lives of the children it reaches out to and, in turn, give them a love of learning that motivates them to be the best that they can possibly be!

I also think that cognitive theories are really important to motivation. Teacher's have a responsibility to find out what interests students and then build on that. When children are interested in a topic they will be much more motivated to learn it. I also think that setting goals is so important within a classroom. When children set a tangible goal, they will strive to reach that goal (motivated to reach that goal).

Overall, I found the motivational theories discussed in class and chapter 11 very useful. As a teacher, I will strive to find what motivates my children and provide a safe and happy environment where they can feel comfortable enough to push the boundaries!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First PLE post

So far, I think I will really enjoy Educational Psychology. I think that we will cover a lot of really relevant topics that will really benefit me in my teaching profession. The questions we discussed the first day as we introduced ourselves really made me think about my personal goals and my beliefs as they stand now. I plan to challenge my beliefs in this class and really try to learn all that I can. Here's to a great semester!