Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blog Post #8

As the semester comes to a close I can't help but think of just a few months ago where it all began. After quite the summer I had decided to make a drastic change in my major. Something I swore I would never end up doing. After some life experiences it seems all roads pointed to Education. I read my first blog post again, and talked about being more than "just" a teacher. Though out this class I got a glimpse of what it is really all about. I have been able to spend time in a school, and work closely with students, parents, faculty, and staff. I have learned the important role of each member in the school. I also know the amount of time that the teachers put in for there students.
One of the most important things I have learned is the value of creating a life long learner. As I have studied though out this semester. We have discussed some many different points such as: types of learners, diversities among students, classroom management, and roles of a teacher. I know that each child is going to have different strengths and weakness. It is important as a teacher to be able to recognize each of those in students to know how to help them succeed. I know teachers spend countless hours on organization, and lesson plans. All to make sure their students have a chance at a bright future. I have learned the value of being a good role model. Students need to know that someone cares about them. Its the moments when a struggling child is able to grasp a concept, or seeing them discover something new on their own, or even just a hug from a student makes it all worth it. I wanted to be a teacher to make a difference in someones life, and let them know they are loved and cared for. I want to inspire them to do and be the best they can be. I am blessed to able to have a job in an Elementary School that is allowing me to get just a taste of the importance of Education.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Blogpost #7

What are some classroom rules, and how are they enforced?

I loved how during this module it talked about some strategies that can help you as a teacher manage your classroom, but not only that letting students be responsible for their own behavior. As I have walked into various classrooms I have noticed the class rules posted up at the front of room usually by the white board. It allows the students to look at them everyday. Classroom rules would consist of
1.  Be Respectful to the Teacher, and Fellow Classmates
2. Raise you had
3. Stay on Task
4. Come ready to learn
 The rules would be simple but critical rules to help each student succeed. It would allows the students to know that they can follow them, and it is expected to follow them. That way they don't get overwhelmed with the amount of rules. I also would hear the teachers go over the rules with the students in the morning. Or giving reminders about the class rules. Such as if a student would talk out of turn then to politely remind the student that a class rule is to raise your hand. Or if kids are talking I would hear the teacher give them a reminder about how they child needed to be reading quietly or working on an assignment. I know that teachers do enforce the rules and reward as needed. Children need to have the encouragement, and recognition. Its human nature that when you do something right you want someone to recognize that behavior.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in a class room, and I was looking up at the front of the board. I noticed that the teacher had a behavior chart. Each student would start on green- meaning good behavior, and if behavioral issues would come up it could change to yellow or even a red. Which allows the students to get some warnings, but if it gets to the red meaning that there will be consequences.
 I know for a little boy a few weeks ago had a substitute teacher. He is a good first grader, but because it was out of his normal routine, and with a change in a teacher that day. He had a hard day especially with wanting to focus. He was sent to the office so he could work on some of his school work that way he could be alone with out disrupting the other children. The next day the teacher brought him back to the office so he could write a note apologizing to the substitute. Which the teacher explained that particular behavior was not appropriate in class. Even though they are young it allowed the student to say sorry, and be responsible for his actions.
I work at Windsor Elementary. There are five Windsor focuses:
2. Responsiblity
3. Integrity
4. Compassion
5. Courage
 Of course we want all students to focus on these five behaviors. The teachers are given tokens, and if their students are demonstrating one of these focuses they are given a token. At that point they bring the token to the office, and each Friday I draw 10 tokens. Each of those 10 students get to spin the wheel for a prize.
It is important to set rules for your classroom, and reward and punish as needed.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Post #6

Engaging Students in Learning.

Learning is a two way road. There is no way the students are going to learn if they are not held to some sort of standard or given the opportunity to participate. Engaging your students is one of the best ways to make sure that you know exactly what they know. Also its a good way for students to work together, and be able to learn for experience. One of the more common ways that I have seen is teachers will call on students or ask a question, and wait to see what the students come up with. This is great because it allows it to be an open discussion, and it allows students to build their response from previous responses. I think it is great when a teacher will ask students directly. It allows the student to know that the teacher cares, but it gives the student a chance to have there own opinion. Each class room has a different dynamic especially when it comes to the types of students. Some students are more quiet, but know the information. While others know the information, and will always let you know they know the information. Letting students be a part of the lesson helps them learn, and also helps them know that school is fun. No one wants to be lectured for hours on end. As I was observing and learning about engaging students there were a few points that stood out to me.
First is holding your students to a high standard. Letting them know its an expectation that they are involved, and letting them know that you will accept there ideas or opinions openly. That way students can feel comfortable sharing with each other.
Second is to obviously help where needed is a student is struggling to pronounce a word or doesn't quite know the answer its important to offer assistance as need, and not make the student feel self conscience.
Third its important to have a variety of activities. Such as a discussion, group projects, and individualized work. It just switches up the routine of the classroom, and helps the students learn.
A few weeks ago I was in a 6th grade class, and they were having some type of NOVA presentation. I watched as the officer would ask specific questions, and then just call on students. Of course if the students didn't feel like answering or didn't know the answer they wouldn't raise there hand. Some of the questions were about personal experiences. It allowed to students to decided what they were comfortable with, and wanted to share with the class. Then the next day they were asked to do a history assignment. The teacher had said that they could be in small groups of two. Which allowed them to find a spot in the class room and work together. It allowed the students to discuss answers, and search for the answers in the textbook together. Of course you always have to make sure that they are on task. It allowed them to work together in a smaller setting! Engaging Students and getting them involved is what will help they want to Learn.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Blog Post #5- Roles of a Teacher

What do you think is the most important role a teacher plays? Why?
What is the most challenging role a teacher plays? Why?

I think an important role of a teacher is to help inspire the students. Students need to know that someone believes in them. A teacher needs to be willing to compliment the students and give positive feedback on their ideas. Students need to know that what they are doing is going to help them become better, and want to be better. Students also need to have a positive experience in school. Its important that as a teacher we inspire them, and help them to be life long learners. The other day in the office I had a teacher bring in a student who need some time away from class. He was having a rough day, and the teacher sent him to the office because he was not staying on task. She sent him with some books, and asked if I wouldn't mind letting him read me these particular books. This first grade boy comes up to the desk, and begins to read. He struggles with some words, and looks to me for validation. At that point I say OK lets sound the word out. He would sound ok the word, say it, and I would them let him know that he is doing a good job. He read a few books to me, and did well. When they struggle with a word or a problem we have to let them know that they can do it. We have to be there to let them know that they can learn, and be that support for them.
I think one of the most challenging roles a teacher plays is trying to balance all the needs of everyone in the class. I know there are going to be kids who struggle more than others. Each child needs to have the time with the teacher. I think it could be hard to help every student in the way they need to be helped with still keeping the needs of the class. For instance there is a student who had a difficult time in a particular class so he got switched to another teacher.  He has had a hard background, and for other reasons he has a hard time in school. In talking with the teacher she has been helping him to pay attention in class. Also, she noticed that if she treats him respectfully and politely he has a better chance of staying on task. Which of course to me that is a very important thing no matter the student, but the point is each student needs. As a teacher you have to balance the needs of everyone in the class. Students have different strengths and weakness.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog Entry #4

How does this teacher manage assessment?

For me I had to look up exactly what assessment means.
Assessment means:  the evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something.

As I have been thinking about assessment especially for teachers. I realize that the teachers have certain criteria that they need to meet as a teacher so that there students can be prepared for whats coming. I know during certain points of the year there is standardized testing to figure out where the students are, and what they have learned throughout the year. For a teacher it is there responsibility to help the students succeed. The students also need to have the desire to want to succeed, and to be in school.

 I had the chance to translate for parent teacher conference. For me this is a way that the teacher can assess the student. At parent teacher conference they have a chance to talk with students and parents. During the conferences that I sat in the teachers at the end would ask if the student had any concerns? They also asked what goals they had for the class, and what the teacher could do to help them reach the goal. During the conference the teacher allows the parent and the student to see the students particular progress in the class. It is also a time for the teacher to express any concerns that they might have about the student whether that's in learning or behavior in the classroom. Its a time for each student to get the individual attention they need. Then of course there are tests and assignments to help assess the students. 

During a classroom setting that I was in the other day was a 6th grade class. There is a particular student who really has no desire to be at school. For the first part of the year he was in a class where he could not behave. Though certain circumstances he got switched to another 6th grade class. His desk is close to the teachers desk, and during a math assignment he was having a hard time focusing. The teacher was helping him specifically to understand the assignment, and to work on the assignment. Then after a few mins of him not wanting to do it she pointed out that he was getting individual attention, and how many students would want exactly that. After that he started working on his assignment. For me this is an example of how the teacher can assess the students. The teachers are able to see in the class who may be struggling, and assess certain needs. I loved it because she also pointed out to the student that she was trying to help, and giving him personal attention. Each student is going to have different strengths and weakness. Its up to the teacher to find the balance to help each student. Its important to assess the students to let them know where they stand, and also what needs to be improved. Its also important as a teacher that you let the students know that they are doing a good job. They need to know that you recognize what they are doing good, but of course also as a teacher you have to let them know what needs to be improved.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Post #3

What strategies does the teacher use to support students who are English learners?

I currently work at at title one elementary school, and there is a high population of Hispanic kids. I am blessed enough that I know Spanish, but I also know how difficult it can be for the students to who are learning English. At one point in time I was on the other end learning Spanish..In general English is a difficult language to learn. Students need to become familiar with the words, recognizing the picture, and using it everyday. In the school there is also the program ELL which is specifically designed to help the students learn English. Which it is an amazing program, but the students need those specific skills everyday all day in the classroom. Then the responsibility relies on the teacher. It becomes a much better process when you can work together as a team together to know the needs and skill level of each student. Its important to understand that each child is going to be on a different level. For example I know some kids in are school where there parents specifically come in say that they don't know English. One student specifically his mom mentioned that he had been in Mexico for the past few years, and was still learning English. Other situations the only chance they have to speak English is at school because they primary language in home is Spanish. At my particular school the majority of the kids have that Spanish background, and that's why the examples I have are with that particular language.

 In my different experiences and research I have come up with a few Strategies
Some strategies that can be used are:
1. Having a consistent routine
2. Being able to track progress-Helping the students understand that they are learning. I know it can get frustrating learning a language, and not being able to understand. They need that encouragement, and they need to see what they have accomplished.
3. Picture Glossary- so students can put them both together
4. Being Repetitive-Having you say the word helps them understand how it should be, and then having them repeat it lets them work on saying the sounds, and doing it correctly.
5. Speaking Clear and Slow
6. Letting the students write the words- to help them recognize when they are reading a word
7. Reading the words- to understand pronunciation

In this particular module we have talked about the importance of putting ourselves in their spot. Its not easy to learn a new language, and they need that encouragement. Just like in the class room we have to know that each student has strengths and weakness. They are also unique in there learning style, and they want to learn it!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blog Post #2

I have really enjoyed studying this module. I have loved learning how much progress we have made over the years. Its amazing how each step in history has given us the rights that we enjoy now. I know sometimes we don't think or even understand the sacrifices that were made to get us to the point where we are today. It was the Brown vs Board of Education that allowed all races and genders to go to school together. I am currently working in a Title One elementary school. Which means that the students come from a variety of different living situations with a lot, and very different cultural backgrounds. Because of the Brown vs. Board of Education we are allowed to have a variety of students learning together. Even with the Lau vs. Nichols says the students with follow a certain curriculum to make sure that they are learning what they need in each grade level. Each of these things have shaped the way education in run, and it is such a huge blessing we enjoy in the United States of America to the opportunity to attend public schools.
Sometimes if the students are having a hard time focusing in class they are sent down to the office to work on their work books. I have the opportunity to work in the office of an elementary school. So, a few days ago two little boys came into the office to work on some Math homework. They are both in first grade, and one of these little boys makes a few trips to the office. Now he is not a bad kid at all. In fact he is a good kid who is smart, but he struggles with the classroom structure which I believe a teacher plays a huge role in the structure of the classroom. We sent the boys to different locations in the office to help them focus on their math homework. I was able to help one of the little boys work through the problems. I noticed that he did know what to do, but also kids need things to be explained to them a few different ways. I needed to check his understanding, and help him understand why problems worked they way that they did. In this particular section of math we were working on added two numbers together to get a sum, and then changing the order of the first two number to get the same sum as the first problem. The important thing that I observed with him in the time we worked on homework. Children need the reassurance, and they need an opportunity to be heard. They need to know that they can succeed, and they need to be encouraged. As I continued to watch other teachers, an be familiar with classroom settings there are certain things to be done in groups, and have the children interact together. A common smaller group activity especially in lower grades such as kindergarten is they have different stations to help them focus on reading, math, arts, and even auditory learning. These group things gives kids the opportunity to learn from each other. It helps you as an observer or the teacher to know how kids learn, and how they work together socially.
A lot of preparation goes into each specific lesson. Teachers have to come up with their own lesson plans. Each Monday the students get out of school early, but the teachers have collaboration. Which allows them to meet together as a team to discuss the curriculum, and help the students succeed. The purpose of education is providing a children with a brighter future. It reminds me of a famous quote that  says "you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been." Education is just that to know how it has changed over the years, and those events have changed history. It is what allows teachers to do what they love, and children to learn.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What does it mean to be a good teacher? Blog Entry 1

Over the years I would always say I don't want to be "just" a teacher. For quite some time; to me, it seemed to be just a typical major. It took me a long time, and even some different life experiences to realize that I wanted to head down the path of becoming a teacher. As I have come to realize strengths that I have, and what I love to do there is no better place for me than to be in a classroom. A teacher will spend their day planning a lesson, and teaching a lesson specially for the needs of the students in the class. Being a teacher goes far beyond just those two things. As I have been able to spend time in a school setting a teacher is a motivator, leader, facilitator, behavior manager, supporter, encourager, and need to give praise. As I mentioned earlier one of the roles of a teacher, and this could possibly be a challenge is being able to adapt and specifically meet the needs of your students. From an early age children need to know that they can succeed, but we also need to recognize that each child is different. Which is how we want it to be. I have noticed that it applies a dynamic to a classroom setting as you watch children excel with learning in different ways. We have explored in this section three different types of learners which are: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
Auditory Learners - would rather listen to given information than read about it.
Visual Learners - learn the best by looking at something such as: graphs, pictures, charts, or even reading.
Kinesthetic Learners - Like the "hands on" experiences. For them an activity is more beneficial than sitting down for a discussion.
As a teacher we have the responsibility to apply each of these in are classrooms realizing that the students fall into different categories.  I work at a school with a decent percent of Spanish speaking families, and most of the children are bilingual. In a particular first grade class there is a little boy who only speaks Spanish. I have been blessed with the ability to know Spanish. The other day the teacher was going to be absent, and she let me know that because there was going to be a substitute the next day in class. Which means that this specific child would especially be out of their element, and if I would go make sure that he was doing OK. She explained to me that he is always a good kid, but because there is that language barrier I needed to make sure he was on task. I was able to visit with this little boy, and I noticed that he likes to look at picture books, and will start talking in Spanish as he is looking through them. Now what I observed is that even if this child is an auditory learner it makes it extremely difficult for him where he does not completely understand whats happening. Also, as he looks at picture books I can see his creative mind. For him in that specific situation he may not understand all the the words but he can visually see a picture, and want to come up with something on his own. In situations such as these often times there can be other issues such as distraction or board-em. Its important to understand the specific needs of EACH child, and what ways are going to help them succeed the most.