I am a middle school teacher. No further explanation necessary, right!

Week 8 Reflective Post


Reflection Blog post

As I reflect on the resources I’ve come across in this course, I think first about my group’s social networking site.   Prior to this course, I was unaware of social networking in venues other than Facebook or MySpace.  Social networking is a hotly debated topic currently in the education setting, but I believe it definitely has a place in schools. 

Our site was beneficial as a “meeting” place for us to share ideas.  However, as busy professionals, I don’t think it was any more beneficial than personal blogs or a wiki.  Although the site had a chat feature, it was difficult to schedule times to “meet” in order to chat. 

The group shared many ideas, but because of the nature of the site, I would have to click on the member, and then each individual post to find the resources.  I think the site would be more useful to a busy educator if there were one page for all of us to use to add the resources that we found and a short description of each. 

That being said, our group found some great resources that will be very helpful to implement DI and UDL in the classroom.  The CAST website (www.udlcenter.org) is a great all-inclusive source for any teacher wanting to implement more UDL and DI into his/her classroom.  Theo shared a couple of videos from Youtube (www.youtube.com) that were not only informative, but ground-breaking as well.  I also liked being able to see Kelli’s presentation on UDL.  As a student, it is always helpful to see how others respond to an assignment.

Personally, I will not use our social networking site to locate these resources, however.  I have a resource file on my flash drive.  In order for the information to be more accessible to me, I will copy and paste the applicable or helpful information from all the different posts and different pages into one word document and save it as “Ideas for DI” in my resources file.  I know that I will access it more easily this way. 

In all, I enjoyed the experience of being a part of a small, exclusive social networking group.  Although I did not think it was the best fit for the objectives of this course, I do think it would be extremely beneficial in a classroom setting.  I can envision using it for book discussions with students.  Most schools block social networking sites like Facebook.  I think that I could probably get my technology director to allow sites such as Ning.  As always, with technology there are infinite possibilities, and we are only limited by our own narrow thinking.  I will begin by asking the students how they think we can use it!  In this way, students begin to be responsible for their own learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009), a cornerstone of differentiated instruction.

 

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Reaching and engaging all learners through technology. Baltimore: Author

Week 8 Reflective Post


As we reach the last week, and the reflective portion of this course, I am evaluating my own progress towards my GAME plan goals.  Cennamo, Ross and Ertmer (2009) suggested a 5-step process to enable self-directed learning. Where G is for setting goals, A is for taking Action to meet those goals, M is monitoring your progress, and E is evaluate and extend your learning (p. 3).  

My goals were based on the National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T).  I  identified two indicators for self-improvement. NETS-T indicator # 2, “Design and Develop digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments” is where I have based my personal goals, with 2a advising teachers to, “design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote students learning and creativity” and 2b as, “develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.” 

With these ends in mind, I took action by designing a Lesson Plan Template that I can use to be more mindful of adding technology to my lesson planning process.  Secondly, I planned to develop a goal sheet for students to use in setting their own technology goals.   When this course is over, I plan to use my new lesson template immediately. 

I am currently a part of our districts’ K-8 vertical alignment team for communication arts.  Through this process, I have been reevaluating my own curriculum and I have begun to truly incorporate backwards design into my teaching.  With the team, each grade level has identified the critical power standards.  Next, we selected a quarter where each standard would be assessed.  Now, we are beginning to align our curriculum with the end in mind.  For the first time in my teaching, I feel that I am designing a curriculum plan that is research-based, and hopefully, students will benefit from clear expectations.  Teachers will benefit for the same reasons.  I have used my lesson plan template to add lessons to the vertical alignment curriculum. 

My second goal of developing a goal sheet for students to set their own goals has not yet materialized.  There are several factors for this.  First, I am unsure of the direction of this tool.  Will students simply write their goals for the year, or the semester?  Both?  Or rather, would the teacher give some examples of the types of technology the students will be exposed to throughout the year, and students could write goals based on this knowledge?  Either way, I need to see some examples of this before I try to do it.  Also, I feel that this should be done at the beginning of the year, semester, quarter, unit, etc. 

As I reflect on my own GAME plan, I feel that my lesson plan template is a valuable addition to my teaching practice, however I was not very successful with the students goal-setting sheet.  This course was so time intensive, that I was literally thrust back into survival mode at school.  The time that I would have usually spent creating assessments and planning, I was spending reading other students’ blog, discussion, and wiki posts.  When I am finished with my studies at Walden, I will return to my course materials and enrich my teaching practice.  At this time, however, it is extremely difficult to add to what I am already doing to stay afloat.  

Lisa S.

Reference:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Blog Post Week 7


 

 

This week, the focus is using the GAME plan (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 009) with students. Where G stands for setting goals, A is for Action, M is for monitor progress and E stands for evaluate and reflect.  When applying the GAME plan process with students, I would allow students to read and review the NETS for students standards.  Using these, I would suggest that students select a standard to create a goal.  Using goal sheets, students would write a specific and measurable goal and what action steps are required.  Using this information, students would set out on their own to inquire and lead their own learning.  As their teacher, I would monitor their progress, but I would also help them to monitor their own progress and adjust their action steps if necessary.  Last, I would have students write about the process.  In this way students would evaluate and reflect on their progress. 

 

As I’ve said before, the NETS standards are incredibly daunting for me and my students because we simply do not have access to computers like other classes have.  Even our elementary school has more access than the middle school at this time.  I just do not envision our ability to take action with very many technology goals if students have to have access to a computer.  At this time, I can not grant full class access in any class.  It is extremely difficult (but doable) for students to complete any projects of the nature of this class when they have access to two computers.  This is another reason I have set up centers in my classroom, so students will have a day of computer access. 

 

Lisa S.

 

References:

 

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore: Author.

Week 6 Revising Your Game Plan


This week, I am in the revising phase of my personal GAME plan. I have set goals, taken actions, monitored my progress. I’m heading towards evaluation, but at this point I have to revise.

The following questions guide me in this process:

What have you learned so far that you can apply in your instructional practice?

I have learned that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is more than differentiation. UDL is sophisticated and learned. I have learned that problem-based learning is an excellent way to add the inquiry process to my communication arts classroom. When I first learned about using inquiry in the classroom, I was skeptical because it lacked structure, and I am just not comfortable with that. However, by framing the inquiry to a central, driving question (Laureate Education, 2009), students monitor and set their own goals and I am able to keep structure while the learning is taking place.

What goals are you still working toward?

I am still working toward having my students set their own learning goals and targets. I have implemented my lesson plan template and have made some revisions. I intend this template to be a living document that expands and contracts as needed.

Based on the NETS-T, what new learning goals will you set for yourself?

At this time, finishing my Master’s program is my largest goal. This pervades all else, and there is little time to set new goals. In the future, however, I plan to implement a personal GAME plan grounded in NETS standards.

If you are not ready to set new learning goals, how will you extend what you have learned so far?

Direct implementation in the classroom is the main way that I can extend my learning.

What learning approaches will you try next time to improve your learning?

After I finish my Masters, I plan to continually read books related to my field. I attend workshops and conferences as much as my district will allow. I will continue to do this. After some time, I feel that I would be qualified to begin to teach my peers as well.

Lisa S.

Reference:
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore: Author.

For John…


Copy of May 15 2004 046In fifth grade, my son (who is now a sophomore) caught a ball in the right eyebrow.  He is a catcher.  Our centerfielder winged a ball in as the runner on third was coming home.  Jon threw off his mask, checked the runner, and lost the ball.  It hit him in the eyebrow and fractured his orbit under his eye.  It dropped him right there on the plate.  He was rushed to ER, but thank God – he was and is ok too.  The first game he was able to play again, the coach said he could play any position, but Jon was confused, he said, “I’m catcher, right?”  I was amazed.  He’s still behind the plate, and we’re hoping he’ll be catching in college as well.

Week 5 Game Plan Goals


My Goal is to think more about how I can add technology to my existing resources and to encourage my students to become goal-setters and begin to monitor their own learning. This first step in attaining my goal as it relates to technology was to establish a lesson plan template that I can use. The attached Lesson Plan Template is the one I created based on looking at many templates and comparing those to my needs.

I am happy with my template. I will probably alter it in the future as the need arises, but it is definitely a start. In this way, my action of seeking and then creating a template was an effective step towards my goal.

My second goal was to encourage my students to become goal-setters and monitor their own learning. To effectively reach this goal, I would like to see examples of teachers doing this with their students. I have heard of teachers in my building using learning contracts and I’m wondering how goal sheets and learning contracts compare. Ertmer and Simon (2006) suggest the use of “frequent checkpoints and record-keeping devices (e.g., group folders, design diaries, goal charts)”. These items should keep students on track. But does the teacher need to create everything? Currently in my fourth year of teaching, I certainly did not expect to have to create the bulk of my classroom resources, my curriculum, everything.

I’m learning that I want to see examples to be able to apply to my own practice of teaching. I realize how important it is to furnish examples to my students when they are working on projects for me.

Unfortunately, this whole process has me feeling like I’m in the middle of a dilemma that I cannot solve. I am about as unable to implement technology integration in my classroom as if I were studying oceanography from my central Missouri home. It is difficult when there are just no resources at my disposal. I utilize my available technology daily. Unfortunately, I am simply unable to get a computer in the hands of all of my students.

Lisa Siegfried

Reference:
Ertmer, P., & Simons, K. (Spring 2006). Jumping the PBL implementation hurdle: Supporting the efforts of K-12 teachers. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1), 40-54. Retrieved February 1, 2009
from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontnt.cgi?article=1005&context=ijpbl

Progress towards GAME plan goals


This week, I am reflecting upon my own progress towards my GAME plan goals.  My first plan of attack to add more technology to my lessons was to come up with a working, usable lesson plan template.  I have asked some of my colleagues at school if they use a lesson plan template and only one, the social studies teacher, uses them!  She is going to email me her template, but she hasn’t yet.  I have searched the Internet, but soon get bogged down with many templates that are for primary, or elementary, or just simply don’t fit my needs.  I spoke of Madeline Hunter’s template, and the link to the pdf file is in my last post, but I did not like this one either.  It looks like I will probably use the Hunter template, but modify it to fit my own needs in my middle school communication arts classroom. 

I am not modifying my action plan at this time, but I need to work on making that template in the near future, as I haven’t been able to locate one that works for me.

So far, I have learned that I am certainly in the majority (at least in my school) when it comes to writing more formal lesson plans – nobody does it! 

Since I have been working on curriculum mapping, I am very interested in having my year’s lessons in a more accessible and easier to map format.  I am not the type of teacher who can have all my lessons for the year written and ready to go in August.  I believe that my students should drive the lessons, not the lessons drive the students.  So, because of that, I wonder how to write plans for future use when the future is not constant? 

Lisa S.

EDUC 6713 Week 3 Post: Carrying Out Your Game Plan


While revisiting my personal GAME plan (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009) this week, (where my goal is to integrate more technology not only in my teaching but also to get the technology into the hands of the students) I realized that there are some things that I need to have in place before I can begin.  Additionally, if this process is going to be actually useful (as I have hoped for all my post-grad classes) I realized that I need to be honest and forthright with my own situation if I truly hope to improve it.

First, I stated that I would be adding a “Technology Used” section to my lesson plan template. But I must admit, that I don’t use lesson plan templates very often. Not that I’m making excuses, but 2 years ago, when I started teaching in this school district, there was no curriculum in place. I think there was one, but it must have left with the previous teacher. So for the last two years I have tried to get some footing by determining what I would be teaching. This is very time-consuming, and I am embarrassed to say that I still don’t have a great curriculum. My lesson plan book is the extent of many of my lesson plans, although I have begun to build units into binders that I have kept for future use.

I have found that in order to teach my curriculum, I am really open to use any reading materials that I choose. I can teach irony by reading many different things, so as such, I rely on my textbook very little. pencil pic

So – I guess my first step would be to design, or better yet, download a working lesson plan template that would be helpful not only for lesson design right now, but would be helpful in the future. I would want this template to have a space for “Technology used” but I think it should be in most of the sections, not just one space. I think I would like to use a template that is similar to Madeline Hunter’s lesson plan design that I could tweak to fit my needs – like adding a spot for the “Bellringer Activity” and adding a spot for an “After-Lesson Reflection.” I wonder if Harry Wong has a lesson plan template?

My first action towards my personal GAME plan then is to acquire an actual lesson plan template that is designed to meet my needs. Secondly, I will begin to use this template and add to my existing unit binders to assist me in future planning. Each section of the template should have a place for “Technology Used” so that I can begin to reflect upon my amount of technology integration. In this way, I will start making some informed decisions about my future lesson planning.

Lisa S.

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

EDUC 6713: Week 2 Posting


Cennamo, Ross and Ertmer (2009) suggest a 5-step process to enable self-directed learning. They call this process the GAME plan, where G is for setting goals, A is for taking Action to meet those goals, M is monitoring your progress, and E is evaluate and extend your learning (p. 3).

This week, I have been reviewing the International Society for Technology in Education site. Specifically, the National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T). I have identified two indicators that I could set my own GAME plan for self-improvement. NETS-T indicator # 2, “Design and Develop digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments” is one that I struggle with the most.

I teach in a rural school district in central Missouri. Resources are scarce. Although I have built my 7th & 8th grade communication arts classroom around learning centers, my technology center has only 2 computers – and one runs very slowly. NETS-T 2a advises teachers to: “design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.” NETS-T 2b suggests, “develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.”

Because I struggle with these two indicators the most, I am developing my own GAME plan to become more proficient. My Goal is to think more about how I can add technology to my existing resources and to encourage my students to become goal-setters and begin to monitor their own learning.

First, I will add “Technology Used” to my own lesson plan template. This will promote my own thinking about technology integration in every lesson. Second, I will have students add a “Goals sheet” to their binders under the “Technology” tab. I will model how to fill out a goal sheet and then have students begin to fill them out independently.

I will Monitor my own progress by reflecting on a month’s worth of lesson plans at a time. Was I able to integrate more technology than I did previously? Second, I will monitor the students’ goal sheets. Are they meeting their goals?

Last, I will evaluate my own experiences with added technology integration. I will keep notes on my lesson plans about modifications that may need to be made and what further could be done. I will keep students’ goal sheets to use as exemplars for future classes.

Hopefully, by setting a GAME plan, I will be able to more effectively reach my own personal goals. Writing down a plan is always more effective than just simply thinking, “I’d like to do that someday!”

Lisa Siegfried
Communication Arts 7/8

References:
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). The ISTE national educational technology standards (NET-T) and performance indicators for teachers.
Retrieved from
http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_ T_Standards_Final.pdf.

Reflective Essay for Educ 6712: Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom


During my studies in my most recent graduate course, Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom, one of the most striking revelations about teaching literacy in the 21st century is how essential it is to prepare students for the new literacies and online environments (Leu, Charles, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2000, p1571). American society is wrought with such disparity among students and communities. The school is challenged to educate all children even though some have no access to technology outside the school.

As I continue with my own teaching practices, through this course, I have gained the expertise and ability to teach my students how to critically evaluate content on the web. I have gained the experience and the language to teach my students to look at websites and make a judgment regarding the validity of the information found on the site.

Based on the course readings and videos, I hope to ignite my students’ interests and passions for learning that are already within. Dr. David Thornburg adds that the inquiry process has benefits; “The learner will not only have a solid grasp of a domain of inquiry, but may develop a passion for a subject that can last a lifetime” (p.1). This is the type of learning and direction I seek for my students.

Now that I have completed this course, I hope to share with my colleagues many of the resources and ideas that I have learned. I strive to be a leader in my school and community. By sharing what I have learned in my focus team meetings, with my principal and with others, I am exemplifying what it means to be an effective teacher and leader. Harry Wong, a well-known educator and consultant says, “Leaders are people who strive for results and have passionate pursuit for achievement” (p.280).

Resources:

Leu, D.J., Kinzer, C.K., Coiro, J.L., & Cammack, D.W. (2004). Toward a theory of new literacies emerging from the internet and other information and communication technologies. In Ruddell, R.B. & Unrau, J.J., (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes or reading (5th ed.). (pp. 1570-1813). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Thornburg, D. (2004). Inqiry: The art of helping students ask good questions. (Executive Briefing No. 402). Retrieved from http://www.tcpdpodcast.org/briefings/inquiry.pdf.

Wong, H.K. & Wong, R.T. (2005). How to be an effective teacher: The first days of school. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.

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