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.