A Penny For Your Thoughts

A Penny For Your Thoughts
Something to contemplate as you study to be a teacher

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Math: Chapter 2: Classroom Diversity

I think that the first few pages of Chapter 2 gave a nice brief overview of how classrooms have started to change over time into more inclusive classrooms. All of the classes in the Masters in Special Education program I have been in so far has touched on the subject of laws and new regulations that have been passed regarding the rights of students with special needs and how even regular education teachers need to learn how to teach these students. I think that this chapter gave a nice overview then moved on to discussing suggestions for teachers in the area of diversity.
I really enjoyed reading the information on learning style preferences. This is probably the basis of all lesson plans I would imagine. Even though there have been so many changes to curriculum and lesson plans from when I was in school, I remember discussing and talking about learning style preferences. I believe without a doubt that all of us have different learning styles. Personally I learn visually and need to see what I'm learning for it to be understood, for this reason, PowerPoint's were always my best friend. I believe that as teachers we need to adapt our lessons in order to include many different learning styles into one lesson. I think that sometimes this could be time consuming and confusing, because of having to remember and teach lessons the way that each student in the class needs to be taught, but it can be so beneficial in the long run. If you don't do this the first time around you may spend several lessons reteaching the original lesson for students that don't understand it the first time it is taught a certain way, that right there would be more time consuming than accommodating the students in the first place, in my opinion.
The next section I enjoyed reading as well. This section was on Low Cognitive Abilities. I work with special needs children right now in the classrooms, but as their TSS and not their teacher, but I still see some of the same points made in the book. My clients often times get overwhelmed with too much information in a lesson and will have a meltdown, because it is hard for them to only focus on one out of many unless it is broken down. This was a suggestion made by the book and I fully agree without a doubt in my mind. I also liked the suggestion to use more developmental activities and also to use aids. What an excellent idea! I know that it is easier for me when learning new concepts to be able to link it to concepts already learned, this is true for my future students as well. Allowing work to be completed with partners as well is another great point. I deal with a lot of behavioral problems in my line of work and one thing that has been repeated and repeated to me is how important it is for my non-typical clients to be around typical kids for modeling and help with their behaviors. If it is true for behaviors then I am sure it is true in academics as well.
All in all I enjoyed the chapter mostly because I LOVE MATH and cannot wait to teach it one day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Math: Chapters 1 and 13

I may sound like the biggest nerd with this next statement: I love Math and hope to one day teach it! I have enjoyed math ever since I was a little girl. I used to sit at my dad's desk in third grade and ask my papers to make up a multiplication speed test for me to practice taking for school the next day : ) Even though there are positives and negatives to giving speed tests, every child is different in the way they learn math. We began to discuss in class how some people say "I am just not a math person". In my eyes when I hear this I hear a voice of someone that didn't have a motivating and encouraging instructor when it came to math. Everyone is capable of learning math, but it lies in the teacher's responsibility to instill the motivation in their students to learn it.

Even though the above statements are opinion and a little off topic from the reading the reading really motivated me to say the statement and to want to learn more ways to teach math to all students. I like how the chapter readings broke up the different activities into categories (developmental, practice, application, and assessment). I think that this is an awesome way to look at the ways we teach math and to remember to base our activities off of this model to make them as productive as possible at meeting the learning objectives. I also like how it broke assessments down and all the many ways teachers can assess. It is hard to break the habit of always giving paper and pencil tests to check for understanding and application, at least I think it is because I feel this is always what my teachers did growing up. For me, and the love I have for math, I cannot wait to apply these concepts to my classroom.

Of course my favorite part of the reading were all of the examples for practice activities. I really like to see students getting up and moving around especially kindergarteners and first graders. They never seem to want to sit in their seats anyway and definitely lose interest quickly if they are made to do this all day. The lessons that required the students to get up and move around such as match me, round we go, and line up. I am definitely going to use these in my classroom one day. I have found in the past year while being in the classrooms that the more the kids get to get up and actively engage in an activity the better behaved they are and the more they learn. My favorite of all the examples was round we go. I could almost see my kindergarteners doing this with shapes as I was reading. Again, being able to apply reading a text to real life examples really brings it into focus for me and motivates me even more as a teacher, because I know one day I will be able to use all these fun activities in my own classroom : )

Gipe (2010) Chapter 8 and 9 Response

Chapter 8 gave a very concise run down of the importance of literacy in particular reading/writing. It discussed the connections between the two and the importance of including both together in the classroom. I really enjoyed reading about the importance of collaborative lessons in reading and writing. In particular I liked all the ideas presented on writing such as: Write a sentence/make a story, add a word/stretch a sentence, change a word/change the sentence, add a paragraph/write a book, and dialogue journals. I can see by reading these ideas how students would enjoy working together as a group on a writing lesson. I will definitely keep these in mind for my future classroom. The one that I thought was the most interesting is the dialogue journals. That is such an interesting one on one approach, because they are using writing to communicate with the teacher at the same time they are learning to be better readers! What a great idea. Also in chapter 8 were discussions on structures and unstructured writing activities. I think that teachers can get so caught up in meeting the standards that we forget to allow student to take the time to just write for fun and not for a lesson, this is o so important to keep in mind! I am currently in another class in which I have to teach the writing process to 2nd graders and I found the layout of this in Chapter 8 extremely helpful! The section on spelling was fun to read because I TSS a third grader currently that has a spelling list every week and different activities along with it. It was interesting to read about teaching ideas for spelling and to compare that to what I am seeing my third grader do now. Some of the same ideas in the book are used for her spelling and some are still like the past, where she has to copy her words 3 or 5 times each....I hated that in school!

Chapter 9 was packed full of information on word recognition. I never really thought about the connection between listening vocabulary and reading vocabulary when it can to meaning. I found it so interesting to look at it in this way in order to help students to not only pronounce the word currectly, but to also find meaning in the word through context or in research. I like how it broke down the parts of the chapter and included assessments, instructions, and examples. These all can be made useful in my future classroom. I really especially enjoyed reading the part about the use of context clues. I have worked in a kindergarten classroom for a year now and these is used all the time in both the classrooms I worked in. The picture walk is the best example of this. For me, being able to connect experiences I have had in the classroom with the chapter text brings it to life and helps me to plan what instructional methods I would like to use in my classroom one day. In another class I also am working on writing a phonics lesson to teach and I enjoyed reading about the knowledge of word parts section because it pertains to this. It gave a nice brief overview that I can consult along with my text from my other class.

All in all the chapters had so much information in them I could write about it for a long time, but above I have stated what stood out the most and caught my eye, the rest will also be useful for many different lessons in my future classroom.