Friday, February 24, 2012

Chapter One Reading! Discussion Questions/ Notes
1.      As adolescent teachers, we are faced with the reality that we may not have a classroom to call our own.  We also are faced with the school systems that have students that are not able to have steady access to certain resources.  How can we use the idea of a word wall in this case? How might we be able to adapt certain methods for these circumstances?

-          How to accommodate students when you as the teacher may lack the necessary resources, or your own classroom.

-          Is it worth it to take the extra time to reorganize the room or set up according to how you would like it?

-           Are we expected as teachers to put in our own money as teachers towards materials for students?

-          It takes more than just a 7 to 3 job to be a teacher; we must be working all the time to accommodate the needs that include lesson plans and unit plans and accommodations for students.

2.      All of the ideas posed by the book seem to work in excellent ways. What if we have a student who is the reacting in a positive way to them?

-          A teacher needs to use a variety of strategies in a classroom so that students of different learning styles and students who have learning disabilities will be accommodated.  

3.      How do we constitute a method of teaching to be success? What percentage of students do we expect to have gained knowledge through that method to call it successful? What makes a method unsuccessful?

-          Students are engaged, asking questions, showing understanding (through testable abilities/ formative and summative)

-          How would you call a method successful?

o   Who determines what an acceptable grade is?

o   How many students should be passing or above a certain grade average in order to be considered a “good” percentage”?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sara's Response For February 24th

          I think the first chapter of this book, Reading History by Janet Allen, shows some great insight on the connection between literacy and history, and how we as teachers will need to adjust to the needs of our students. For example, Allen lists different processes for assessing student’s background knowledge. This is essential in the subject of history because everything connects. In the section about “Creating meaningful and memorable historical contexts”, Allen address gaps in historical content. This reminded me of my freshman year of high school, we were learning about the printing press, and how books used to be copied by hand before this invention. One of my peers honestly did not understand why these people didn’t just use a copy machine. It was comical at the time, but she honestly did not realize the lack of electricity until someone explicitly reminded her. This is something that as a teacher I will need to be able to address, instead of just giggling at the girl’s mistake and moving on.
            I like that Christine, the 8th grade teacher, used a myriad of sources to engage her students, including relating her lessons to Titanic when the movie was released. I really like the idea of book passes, especially if students were then able to choose one of the books they sampled and do some kind of additional project with it. I also really loved the idea of the Anticipation Guide, especially since students’ opinions change after they learn all the facts (I saw this in a more informal way in my CPD regarding students’ opinions on the Vietnam War). I did have a little bit of trouble with the idea of a word wall. This device is used often in our other readings, but I feel like it looks too childish to give to 15 and 16 year olds. Is there a way to get the point of a word wall across without actually writing the words on a strip of colorful paper at the front of the room?  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Emily's Book Club Response

The book chosen to read was Reading History by Janet Allen. This book speaks a lot about having the student's be connected to their subject, in this case history. A lot of the techniques that Allen writes about can be seen in most classrooms, at least I feel I have seen them throughout my school days, and in the CPD. One part of the reading was when Allen started mentioning specific activities to be used within the classroom, it was easy enough to read through, much like the 125 Strategies book and within Teach 430, the Bring Learning Alive book.

One of the activities that caught my eye would have to be the box of the primary source documents. I thought that this might be a great way for students to also learn what a primary source is, how to tell that a source is a primary source, and how to search for a complete picture of an event. Another activity that I thought could be used in any adolescent grade would be the List-Group-Label. This pushes the students to think critically, and could also be a great way to wrap up a unit because the students would have previous knowledge (Vygotsky scaffolding) to integrate. This is a simple, resourceful activity that could be applied to any unit, and teaches the students that they should not have simple answers, but to have a reason for why they each believe in certain perspectives.

The Concept Ladder struck home with me, especially with the example being about the atomic bomb. If I had this book last semester, I could have integrated it into my unit plan. This was a great way to get the students to think outside of the box and to have them look up the information themselves. Students would have a chance to get interested because there could be one or two questions (at least) that would spark something within them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Emma's Dialogue Journal

February 24, 2012
                The first chapter in Reading History: A Practical Guide to Improving Literacy written by Janet Allen, proposed a lot of interesting strategies for teachers to ensure that their students have a deeper understanding of the information that is being thrown at them.  Many of the problems that this chapter poses are problems that I have seen frequently throughout my experiences in my CPD.  In order for a modern day student to be interested in studying a historical individual who, most likely died quite a long time ago, the teacher must incorporate present day experiences into the lesson, while connecting them to experiences that historical individual might also have had.  If a student sees that people from all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and time periods have had similar experiences, perhaps that will stimulate a student’s interest, and want to learn more on their own.  I have seen both of my mentor teachers struggle with making these connections meaningful for the students.  In almost every class I have observed and participated in, the students seem to actually want to make these types of connections to their daily lives, in that way, the class and the material instantly becomes easier and more understandable for them.
                   The same difficulty goes for a teacher’s ability to make sure students have the proper background knowledge about any given subject before delving deeper into material.  I really loved the way the teacher, Christine, incorporated so many different types of texts into her curriculum and lesson plans of all different topics.  This obviously helps the students to make their own connections and assumptions as to what they will be learning about, and what they should be prepared for.  The example on pages four and five in which Christine did an entire lesson just off of the simple idea of the movie Titanic directed by James Cameron was a novel idea.  Not only did it incorporate modern day cinema into the classroom, which I’m sure got the kids excited, but it allowed the students to take on personal roles of people during that time period.  Because of this, students such as the one described in this lesson, Ebony, appreciate the history behind a story more than just facts and dates, but they see history through the eyes of people living at that time period.
 I know that I will personally try to use strategies from this reading into my teaching.  I am already trying to incorporate the Anticipation Guide strategy or the Here And Now strategy into assignments that I currently have for Professor Kava! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week 1

The post is due by midnight on Wednesday, February 22nd!

The roles are as follows:
Sara - Tech Manager, Connector
Emily - Discussion Director, Connector
Emma - Notetaker, Summarizer, Connector

Book Club Post #1

Here's the schedule for our book club!

Reading History: A Practical Guide to Improving Literacy by Janet Allen
Friday, Feb 24- Ch.1 (Pg 1-28)
          Roles: Sara- Tech Manager, Emma- Notetaker, Clarifier, Summarizer, Emily- Discussion Director (We ALL take the role of connector)
Friday, March 23- Ch. 2 (Pg 29- 62)
           Roles: Sara- Tech Manager, Notetaker Emma- Discussion Director, Emily- Summarizer, Clarifier  (We ALL take the role of connector) Friday, April 27- Ch.3 & 4 (Pg 63- 96)
          Roles: Sara- Tech Manager, Discussion Director, Emma- Summarizer, Clarifier, Emily- Notetaker (We ALL take the role of connector)
*ALL posting should be done by Wednesday at midnight!