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.

Standard Reflection- O2

December 17, 2012

O2. – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area.

Poster Examples

Student Poster Examples

Offering students appropriate challenges while they’re learning the content is, in itself, challenging. Pushing them to learn more and perform better is one of the goals, but pushing them into areas that they can’t comprehend and to the point of frustration and despair is not one of those goals. In a recent lesson, students in my class were challenged to create professional looking posters using photographs, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator. Not only were they pushed to accomplish such a great task, but they were also challenged to produce these fine posters while working in a group. Both of these provided unique opportunities for learning and also appropriate levels of difficulty that helped them grow in many areas.

The students in my class first worked on making their own posters after having taken many photos in a group. Some students took to designing posters better than others, but most everyone had the tools they needed to create their own poster after group demonstrations and individual assistance. After they had all learned the basics and done a poster of their own, they split into groups and had to design and print a group poster. I think this was a new experience for many of the groups, as large school projects are usually a solo endeavor, but when they leave school for broader horizons, they will find collaboration a big part of the larger picture. Students took away different things from this assignment depending upon the success they had within their groups. Some groups had groups that clashed and some were much more cooperative. We asked them after this experience to write a reflection on their experience with guided questions.  These responses reflected the difficulties they had as individuals, but as well as groups. This fell directly in line with our expectations and did not seem too challenging for the students to gain understanding of the tools, concepts, and working within a group. Each group’s poster was usually greatly improved by collaboration compared to the individual posters. By making them practice it first, but then pooling their knowledge, they surmounted the challenges they had individually, learned more, and created something greater.

Student A Reflection

Student B Reflection

Some ways to improve this assignment would be to maybe give a breakdown of group responsibility to better measure the effort by individuals within the group. As far as I know, each group member worked fairly diligently, though some had to be reminded to stay on task in groups with their friends. This is also a troubling issue in that students work better with like minded peers, but also stray off task due to their close relationship. It may be good to mix students together to prevent this, but they may be less apt to share and improve on each other’s knowledge. The objectives in this assignments met standards, appropriately challenged the students, and helped them learn about the content and also working in a group with room for improvement.

EDU 4200 taught us, my peers and I, to think about strategies for diverse learners. As standard H1 states, ” Honor student diversity and development. Teacher-candidates plan and/or adapt learner centered curricula that engage students in a variety of culturally responsive, developmentally, and age appropriate strategies.” EDU 2400 was important in addressing these issues and how we as teachers should think about how to best help our students in a number of ways. This lesson plan was one of many activities, and perhaps one of the ones we had the most trouble with. The purpose of this class and the lesson plan were to learn ways that we could better assist and teacher our students, especially students who may be on the margins, and without an easy grasp on the opportunities that their peers may have. When crafting this lesson plan, including this response to how we would better help these learners was an important issue, but also a very challenging one. This lesson plan made me think about these students that need these considerations and how best to accomplish them, and this lesson plan helped me understand that.

As a great teacher once told me, “Most of the things in lesson plans are what great teachers do intrinsically.” This statement really resonates with me.  Unfortunately, I am not a great teacher yet, but am striving to achieve it. Some parts of this lesson plan were very confusing to me. When we talk about students in the context of diverse learners or marginalized populations, we are not usually talking about individuals and all the special intrinsic baggage that comes with them. In this way, it is hard for me to connect some of the content I was learning about in the class and the lesson plan as it related to my person experiences. When I have a relationship with some of these students, it becomes more difficult to differentiate between these general observations about marginalized students, and becomes more pertinent that I treat each individual student differently. I hope this doesn’t make me less of a teacher, as I try to assist each student in a way that seems as if it would help them the most. I think this reflects somewhat the idea of differentiated instruction. Not only will I be teaching the whole class new ideas and content that will help them as they venture off into the world, but I’ll be adjusting as necessary to help each student, and then even again to help them with challenges individually. This idea makes sense to me more than some of the other things we discussed, but I think that this is somewhat due to the experiences I’ve had during my internship. Students will not fit within these homogeneous groups we talk about, but I understand more the importance to be aware of strategies that may help students experiencing problems described by some of these aforementioned groups. In the future, with more time, I hope to understand these issues better to aid my growth as a good teacher.

This lesson plan has made think a lot about how I will need to help my students learn. It has made me aware of some of the challenges I face and must learn more about. I wish that there were more time for EDU 4200, as I feel that there is more to be discussed, not only about the content, but also our experiences as we learn and teach.

Standard Reflection- P4

November 16, 2012

P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction.

Towards the beginning of my internship, my mentor teacher mentioned his challenges with organization. His desk is cluttered, at best, but it does little to negatively impact his teaching. However, there was one area that seemed in need of some better organization. His upper division class is regularly responsible for producing t-shirts and banners for schools and other groups. The way he had these tasks organized was to write each task in the constantly dwindling space on his whiteboard, already cluttered with numerous tasks that students were already responsible for. These tasks are assigned to particular students, must be completed within a certain time, and also have particular dimensions and numbers for production. This is extremely difficult to keep track of using only a whiteboard.

Moved to aid my mentor teacher, I suggested a website to organize the list. This was a task that I wasn’t immediately familiar with. Attempting a number of different methods, I eventually came up with a Google site, a free site building tool and hosting service, to make a list that could include the data on the board and more. My mentor was extremely enthusiastic about this tool and tried to integrate it into his class immediately.

Students and teachers still currently use this list, but are seeking to improve it by using even newer and better methods and technologies.

Standard P4 urges teachers to utilize appropriate technology to meet the needs of its class. By implementing this list, students are better able to understand the objectives of their assigned tasks, and it is easier for the teacher to keep track of progress and assignments. This works much better than my mentor teacher’s older method and he is already thinking of ways to improve upon this one.

I learned from using this tool that there are always better ways a teacher can implement technology within the classroom and to always be improving the systems we do have. By improving the way the database is handled, the list could be significantly improved for the teacher by providing more control and for the students by providing more content and information  As for what students took from this, I believe they have a better understanding of their responsibilities and will have to spend less time deciphering the previous system as the new system is much easier to use. It also includes more information for them and the teacher in an easier to manage function, so it makes both roles much more fluid and efficient. This also passes onto the students this idea of organization and accountability which prepares them better for life after school.

Standard Reflection- E2

November 16, 2012

E2 – Exemplify collaboration within the school.

Wenesday afternoon I went to a staff meeting with all the teachers. We discussed a few of the things average to most class meetings, but we also discussed something special. PBIS, or, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, is a schoolwide initiative that seeks to create a more effective learning environment by helping teachers and students respond to eachother with understanding and kindness. This movement was prompted by the administrations recent professional development that showed them strategies at other schools that help create a better school environment. They used a school in Walla Walla, WA that had implemented a similar change and had found that suspension rates, explusions, and written referrals had dropped considerably.

Article Link

Many of the teachers at the meeting had some feedback they wanted to give regarding this new policy. Through this, the administration lead the conversation into the sweeping reform that would have to take place throughout the school. The change would happen slowly, not only at the administrative level, but at the teaching level as well. By adopting these changes, the hope would be that the students and staff would benefit from a better and more effective learning environment.

Standard E2 relates to this as teacher candidates we seek to become more involved in school activites, and what better activity than an initiative to make the school a better place. Teachers take on the responsibility to engage their school community; the peers they work with and the students they teach. By communicating these changes to the teachers, the administration hopes to instigate community involvement to improve their school. Each teacher is responsible for adopting and integrating the new PBIS method, and I, too, will strive to implement this in my teaching. In the meeting, we talked about how we could implement this new PBIS method in personal examples, and I think that within our group we communicated some extremely effective examples of how and when to utilize the new PBIS method to create an effective learning environment.

Standard Reflection- P3

November 16, 2012

P3 – Practice standards-based assessment.

On Thursday, November 15th, I presented a lesson on 6 of the color relationships during our small unit on color theory. I lead students in a discussion about the 6 relationships; Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Split Complementary, Primary, and Secondary. By using a slide presentation that presented each of these relationships and also using student discussion and responses, I could formatively assess some of the group and how they understood the lesson. I attempted to include this more formative focused lesson in light of some suggestions I received from my coordinator on my previous lesson. When students were asked to identify the color relationships, I asked students to raise their hand if they could summarize to the class one of each of the color relationships. Most students were unsure and did not raise their hands, but could participate more effectively when one of their classmates explained it in terms they could understand. We also split into groups during this lesson to assess the color relations in 4 different magazine colors. Each group tried to determine what each color relationship was, and then we came back together to discuss what we had learned. During the discussion I talked to various groups to assess their understanding of the color relations so that I could better tailor the rest of the discussion toward addressing the issues they may be having understanding the color relationships.

Color Wheel Questions

After discussing these ideas together, the groups split apart into individuals and we started work on an assignment that they could each apply the color relationships to.

During the discussion, I had particular things I was looking for from the students. If they didn’t meet these objectives, I would help lead their questions to make their learning more effective. In this way, I had to use different strategies to help them understand the objectives and concepts that we were discussing.

A big part of the P3 standard is using standards based assessment to help teachers learn how they can implement better strategies to help their students learn more effectively. By using formative assessment, teachers can measure the progress of each student. If a student doesn’t learn effectively from a certain strategy, it helps that the teacher understands and adjusts the lesson to be better and more effective.