Standard Reflection H2

January 28, 2013

H2 – Honor student access to content material.

Students learn differently. There are many different ways students can be taught, and some of these are more effective for certain students than others. For example, some students learn best from listening to a lecture and following those auditory directions. Some students learn better by seeing an example and then attempting to replicate the results. Others are better at imitating the motions until they can perform it perfectly. Students learn differently and it is the teacher’s job to teach to their strengths.

This topic isn’t quite so simple for some of my classes. For example, there are students in my class that are ELL or have 504s. For these students, utilizing academic language or even properly understanding and expressing themselves becomes a challenge. Because of this, it is important that students have multiple forms of instruction to allow each student access to the content. In my class we try to utilize a number of different teaching tools to help students meet the objective and get a good grasp on the material.

Simple Animals Rubric

When teaching a lesson it is important that in our class we present a rubric with the learning objective clearly stated, we state the learning objective during the lesson, and that we show examples of these objectives in not only our rubrics, but in our demonstration. In this way, we teach to as many strengths as we can, and then give individual attention to those who need the extra assistance. Motivation aside, by teaching the lesson in multiple ways, teachers gain the benefit of being able to reach as many students as they can utilizing these different methods for the same goal.

Because students receive the objectives and content in the lesson in a number of different ways, the students are more likely to retain at least one of the methods and be able to succeed and achieve their objectives. This helps not only the majority of the student population, but also the students who need extra help due to the additional challenges they each may be facing. Unfortunately, this may not be enough and it  will also be important, in my class, to give each student individual attention so that they aren’t at all confused about how the achieve their goal or what direction to be heading in.

To improve student access to content material, I think that there may be even more methods I could use to help students grasp the concepts and objectives. I’m still researching ways to effectively integrate these different methods into my class to better my lessons and student achievement.

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Standard Reflection O1

January 21, 2013

O1. – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes.

Teachers must endeavor to plan lessons that have learning targets for students with objectives that they can clearly understand. It is also important that these objectives be measurable in that students and teachers are able to gauge their progress towards these goals. It is important that students clearly understand what is expected of them, and also clearly understand what it is they’re trying to achieve. In this way, students can better plan for meeting targets and check their own progress.

One of the lessons I was recently writing was challenging. When I sought help from my mentor teacher he pointed out that my objectives were too broad and not easy to understand. This was an important part of lesson planning that I still struggle with. Making objectives clear for students is important as students in my class need to know that, for example, today we are learning how to use the brush tool. The objective, for them, is to demonstrate a simple exercise. Students by the end of this lesson will be able to render a composition with the brush tool.  Students will know the objective, be given the tools and instruction necessary, and assistance to achieve these targets. They will be able to see how far they’ve grown just by looking at what they have demonstrated. That is my hope, anyway.

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On the road to clear, easily understood objectives and targets for students.

By understanding that objectives must be clear for students, I think it improves how students will come to understand what is expected of them in class. On more than one occasion, I have wondered if I was too vague, but with simple and clear objectives for students I can proudly state what is their target and how they can reach it. I’m sure that this not only helps me when writing a lesson, but students as well. When my objectives were too general and broad, I can recall more questions on what exactly was expected, but when they were simple and succinct, students were much more engaged in their task.

When planning objectives it is difficult for me to state explicitly, “This is what students will be able to do..” This statement sounds so simple, but to me it sounds restrictive. If a student will only be able to do this by the end of the lesson, where is my room for students to explore or find their own methods and means for success? Art is a topic where some areas are not measurable and where objectivity is not always an option. However, for many classrooms and even for much of an art classroom, it is important to offer these lesson where the objectives are made extremely clear to students. If I stated that by the end of the lesson the student will be able to paint a sunrise, they would still need the requisite skills in painting, even if their particular style makes it difficult to judge the quality of the painting (in some cases).  In this way, I think that planning these art lessons is difficult. Finding these measurable targets for learning in art is challenging. I want my students to be able to understand what it is they’re attempting to undertake, how they can get there, and also how close they are to achievement, but to tell them that their particular style is not conducive to my assessment of their progress is disheartening. It is something I constantly struggle with. Maybe with proper planning some of these doubts could be alleviate, but I am still suspicious. Perhaps my understanding of this standard is suspect.

It is extremely beneficial to have teachers wiser than I to look to for support.  With each lesson I write, I hope the objectives for myself and the students are clearer and more easily gauged. I will continue to ask my mentor for assistance on my plans, as his feedback is invaluable not only as a much more experienced teacher, but as a different perspective that lends itself well to some of my broader thoughts.

Standard Reflection H1

January 10, 2013

H1 – Honor student diversity and development.

The standard H1 is a challenging one to meet in  curriculum centered school systems. H1 has teacher candidates support students with learner centered strategies that focus on the individual needs and experiences of the student. This means that not all students will arrive to a class at the same level of preparedness, but each will bring their own unique strengths and weaknesses. To address this, lessons need to be aware of the differences and adjust accordingly so that every student in the class gets a relevant and appropriate growth experience. This means providing opportunities for all students with necessary steps taken to allow the expression of culture and self and also their level development relative to the challenge of the program.

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Examples of Student Work

A short while ago, my class was assigned a sticker project. In this project, students were directed to create the design for a sticker, print the sticker, and then weed it. The design process held some technical challenges and printing and weeding went fairly smoothly when students understood the steps involved. However, the most challenging area for most students was choosing the design for their stickers. The guidelines for the assignment limited the size of the sticker and also stipulated that their design must be original. With this in mind, students were perplexed as to what they could create that would meet the assignment criteria and, more importantly, how their sticker would represent them. It was difficult for some students to communicate their ideas, so they were encouraged to make stickers that represented themselves or things they found important. Some students went with geometric shapes, unsure of how to best represent their specific interests and cultures, but many chose designs that were influenced by who they were, and what they valued.

By allowing students the ability to express themselves and the importance of their ideas as individuals, I think more students became invested in what they were doing. It also allowed students who were not as apt at design as their counterparts to create designs that may not have been as technically impressive, but were of similar quality due the representation of their ideas or identities. This gave all students the chance to make something relevant and important with fewer difficulties regarding experience and knowledge. This was refreshing as implementing assignments seems to be very curriculum centered with each student having to achieve the same goal, but with this it seemed very much that each student were given opportunities to express themselves and also took into account where they were at developmentally.

I think students took more from this assignment than from some of the assignments with a much more rigid curriculum centered focus. It allowed them express themselves as individuals and also made it so that each student didn’t feel pressured to play keep up if they met challenges that others had already overcome.

I think that to improve on this as a teacher, I be more aware of how the students in my class face assignments. Is it something relevant to them? Will they all be able to learn from it? These are questions that I think I need to ask before working on any project. If they aren’t interested, or completely hopelessly lost, then the lesson won’t work. It is more important to teach to their strengths and identities so they can feel more apt and more connected to what they are learning.

Standard Reflection- P1

January 7, 2013

P1 – Practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction.

Before teaching, it is important to think about the objectives for the students, how to measure those objectives, and extensive planning in a number of areas. Being able to do this before planning a lesson is extremely helpful as students will be more easily able to comprehend objectives, academic language, and core ideas. It is also helpful for the teacher, as they can better understand what they are teaching and some of the potential challenges students may have with the lesson.

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Finished style example for students.

Vector Example Deconstructed

Deconstructed example for students.

I have now planned numerous lessons for my internship class and planning for intentional inquiry and general preparedness are crucial in making a lesson go well. It is always a challenge, but with each experience I learn a little more. For example, in one of my lessons students were directed to use many of the tools they’ve already learned to demonstrate an understanding of value, line and form to create a vectorized portrait of themselves or one of ten famous individuals. When planning for this project it was important that students have options to work outside of a self portrait as many these students have difficulties with self image and self confidence. Giving them these other options makes sure that they’re working on something appropriate for the lesson, but also challenging enough that they’re learning from it as well. It was also important to give the students many different ways to complete this assignment as one of the main objectives is to measure their use of tools within the finished piece. How they accomplish this is totally up to them. Because of this, they were provided with many different examples that were handpicked because they exhibited the tools and techniques that the students already know and can apply to their portrait. It was also important to include examples that helped the students understand how to construct the portrait. This is difficult, as many resources only provide a finished product. Therefore, I had to make some examples so students could understand each step of the process and be able to manipulate the file so they could “reverse engineer” it.

From many of these lessons, especially this one, it becomes apparent that much planning goes into each and every lesson. Not only should the content be appropriate, measurable, effective, and accepting, but it also needs to be thorough and clear. By planning, the lesson should be more effective for students and better help them understand the expectations and ideas behind it.

Planning is always a difficult step, but practicing more and more definitely helps. It also helps that with every lesson, I learn a little more to help students the next time. With each challenge they may have, I better understand issues that may need to be address for the nextlesson.

Vector Portrait Rubric

Standard Reflection- H5

January 7, 2013

H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society.

Helping students understand what it means to be an upstanding individual and how society views them is an important lesson that teachers can  include in many parts of their classroom. For example, utilizing classroom management techniques, teachers can help students understand respect for the teacher and their peers. When these students enter the world, they will be more understanding and respectful due to their experiences in the classroom.

Student Handbook Technology Rules

In my school cellphone use such as texting or making calls is not allowed. More specifically, in my class, cellphone use is much more limited with students being directed to not even be listening to music from their phones. In many instances, students receive a warning if they are using their cellphone in class. In more extreme cases their phones would be confiscated til the end of the day. In one case, my mentor teacher warned a student, the student then used the phone soon after, and the phone was confiscated. The student acted belligerent when my mentor asked for it, throwing it into teachers hand. My mentor decided to talk with the student after school and even contact their parent due to the disrespectful nature of the interaction. The main goal of this was to have the student understand why what they did was disrespectful and not conducive to a respectful, effective learning environment.

As I continue in my internship, it has become apparent that many students have lapses with how they act in class and how they follow the rules and guidelines that help make the community an effective learning environment. Keeping the classroom clean, not using cellphones in class, and being quiet and attentive during lectures are constant challenges in classroom management. Most students usually don’t have malicious intent when they deviate from these rules, and usually just need a small reminder to get them back on track. The anecdote mentioned previously was an extreme case where the student acted inappropriately toward another person in in the classroom, specifically a teacher. Reinforcing that these disrespectful behaviors are not tolerated and helping them reform will help them in the future when they enter society as respectful individuals. It will also help them in the classroom, as part of an effective learning environment is a respectful community.

I would like to improve my classroom management to better assist students in growing their potential for being respectful and upstanding members of their community and society. Helping students understand their responsibilities and why it is beneficial to act in these ways is an important part of a teacher’s job and one that I hope improve by better communicating and upholding the standards that help students achieve their potential.