Saturday, June 21, 2014

Final Thoughts on ED5410

Final Thoughts.  I'm very appreciative for all the work and assistance by Dr. Smirnova. In all honesty, this was of the most challenging classes I've taken at the college. I strongly considered opting out and trying again in the Fall but I do not quit. My intent was to stay the course and more importantly, learn something new !

I've learned so much in the last 5 weeks that I simply wished we had more time. We were able to witness firsthand the idea of the flipped classroom, learning based on less teaching. I am very thankful to read and research the selected theorists mentioned in the course.

I stand by my belief that constructivism in teaching is a practical and effective approach. No theory stands alone which is why I embrace all of the work done by the theorists in helping us to understand how children learn. I often thought that the development of learning was rather quit simple entering the course. I now realize that it is much more complex than I thought. Rather, I now reflect on how I look at myself as a learner; kinestic and hands on.

I'm grateful for the presentations given by my fellow classmates introducing us to Vygotsky, Montessori, Gardner and my pick, Jerome Bruner. Piaget and Skinner should not be left out. Importantly, each makes a major contribution to the study of education and research in learning.

Throughout this course, I further learned about several new software and applications that I never knew existed. All of which by the way i am now using, including :Google doc,  Google Share and presentations, Kahoot - online game for the classroom, Prezi for presentations,, Livebinder - e-folio, screencast-o-matic, - for maps and several more.

Thank you again for ED5410. I look forward to exploring again in the near future ! 

Blog Reflection on my Theorist Presentation

For my theorist, i chose Jerome Bruner. Jerome Bruner is truly one of the fathers of cognitive development. Coining the term 'scaffolding,'  Bruner is a key contributor to the constructivist movement in education.

See my presentation here!

Looking on my Paper and Presentation, I am thrilled that i had to the opportunity to spend time researching about Dr Bruner. Much of what he says in my opinion i hold dear to in my opinion. Bruner, at the age of 98, continues to teach at NYU.

Podcast #5

Anita Woolfolk Podcast: 5;  Dr Woolfolk discusses the multiple theories in education. No theory is favored over another. It is up to us to embrace theories that fits to our needs with an open mind to others. No theory is implied as the best.

Each approach to learning has been studied for many years. Each theory touches on an aspect of learning in education.

Behavioral Theories: behavioral help us understand the role of consequences in learning. consequenes in practice

Cognitive Theories: students ability to pay attention

Constructivist Theories: how student understand and make sense of the meaning.

Teachers need the best of all three approaches. all three are important.

Anita Podcast #4

Anita Woolfolk Podcast #4 Self - Esteem
"What is the difference between self-concept and self-esteem? Should teachers focus on building self-esteem? Is there a better approach to helping students build a positive sense of self. Listen to Anita describe the findings on self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy and explain the differences among these important concepts in educational psychology."

Think about the 'selves' we talk about in our society. Selves in the teaching of learning:
Self Esteem : Personal evaluation about yourself , self worth, in the present

Self Efficacy: is the extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.
beliefs about the future

Self-efficacy focuses on the abilities to perform a personal task. No direct relationship between self-efficacy and self - esteem.  Self efficacy is needed in the classroom, its task specific, motivating and liberating.
Situation specific.

Anita Podcast # 3

Anita Woolfolk discusses the importance of culture in the classroom. 18% of the United States population speaks a language other than English. Half them speak speak Spanish. By 2020, over 66% of all school aged children in the US will be African American, Native American, Asian or Hispanic.

What we need to remember is how different our cultures are and how might we interpret something as disrespect when its really a misunderstanding, ie: maintaining eye contact, or group work, or writing something in red.

Anita recommends the website The website is designed at developing an effective learning environment for ELL Learners. Highly recommend it!


C - E - R #14 Teaching from Different Perspectives

C - E - R #14 Teaching from Different Perspectives

C - E - R # 13 What's your classroom like?

C - E - R #13 What's your classroom like?

My future classroom will be unique. I want it to be a center for discovery. Learners of all ages will be excited to enter the room. My room will have themes, hands-on experimenting, labs and fun.

I invite to direct you to my video of Integrating Psychology into my classroom. I talk about of this topic in the video. Click here. 

EVALUATE/RELATE: Classroom Management. I found a book that was remarkable in discussing classroom management. The book is written by educators that have spent many years in the practice of teaching.

My book:  The First Days of School by Harry Wong. Rather than do a webquest, I offer a suggestion what I feel to be a great addition to any teachers toolbox including veterans. This book can radically change any classroom and set the tone for a great year.

C - E - R #12 Images of Motivation

C - E - R # 12 Images of Motivation

CREATE:  Create a powerpoint presentation on images reflecting motivation.
Following my presentation here:   Motivation

Motivation means so many things to me but when putting together this brief power point, it did have me reflecting more. The images captured demonstrate both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Firstly, after searching through google images, I chose what i felt demonstrated what motivation represents. I noticed that each of my pictures captured either a sunset or someone at the peak of a mountain top. Motivation to me means reaching for the summit no matter what it takes. And even when you get there, try to go further.

EVALUATE: My motivation has always been in my family, particularly my father. My father has experienced his share of illnesse and fights with cancer. Despite the loss of my mother, his wife, my father pressed forward and always, always told us to never give up. I know it sounds so similar to stories we've all heard and it's true. Our parents do want what is best for us and instill that in us much like our teachers, nothing is unimaginable if you really want it.

RELATE: I have not developed my own philosophy of teaching as yet. I'll be honest. My philosophy is continuously evolving as my studies progress. I do have a rough idea of what my philosophy entails:

I’m a firm believer that age has no reflection to learning. I’m a firm believer that Anyone and anyone learn anything if they want to. We simply have to inspire
My ideal classroom will be designed to inspire for all age, a center for discovery
  I believe in instilling a passion for a lifetime of learning into my students.
One way I instill this is by applying what I have learned thus far about constructivism in teaching.
We want students to be open minded just as we want our teacher to be as well.

Rather than be a transmitter of knowledge, I offer myself as more of a facilitator, a coach offering  thought provoking suggestions for solving tasks given.
I  want my students to use their own experiences to solve a problem as a group using different ways and methods.
In this classroom, there is not one way true to solve a task.   The solution of a problem rather depends upon individual experiences and thoughts.
Students work together in groups, exchange their suggestions and thoughts in discussions to reach one or more solutions.
Experience and connections to learning is hands on.
W.B Yeats wrote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”
We’ve often heard the theory that children are like blank slates. I couldn’t disagree more.
We all have differences that are unique to their own.
It is my goal as a teacher to ignite in my learners a passion that helps to inspire them and foster the belief that nothing is unimaginable.
Equally important is learning who my learners are, what kinds of knowledge and experience do they bring to the classroom and what they want to achieve.
I believe in using case based teaching and active learning activities. It helps to inspire argumentation
 cooperative problem solving
 intellectual exchange of information
and life long collaborative practice.
My goal is to demonstrate curiosity and passion to help motivate students to learn.
I want my students to be accepted for who and where they are
I want my students to feel safe
I believe in positive environment filled with laughter.
  Now, I come to the realization that every theory has it’s limitation and usefulness depending on the context.
Rather than embrace one perspective, I can gladly say that I embrace many perspectives in children’s development and learning in my teaching practice.
While we continue to discover more about childrens learning, my philosophy will continue to evolve as well.

C - E - R #11 Resources for Setting Academic Goals

C - E - R # 11

CREATE: One of my favorite site for setting academic goals is from motivational speaker, Kantis Simmons.
As a motivational speaker and college graduate himself, Kantis speaks about his practical success principals.  kantis simmons



This is personal one of my favorite videos regarding constructivism. Jerome Bruner is a pioneer in constructivism and this video demonstrates his impact on the classroom. Everything that we know about the classroom is strongly influenced by the work of Jerome Bruner. Bruner is a major contributor to the cognitive revolution. His work in the research of education has provided a new perspective on how we manage our classroom.

 RELATE: When we look at the impact of the social networking sites in schools, we enter a gray area of whether or not if truly is beneficial. You do not have to go far to find stories on the internet or on the news about cases of cyber bullying or predators speaking to children. 

While the internet has allowed us to expand communication ways never imagined, we struggle with the downside that it brings. Firstly, in my opinion, the internet on multiple levels has created a growing culture of impersonal communication. We even have an entirely new texting language. Cyber bully has been an increasingly growing trend sadly contributing to suicides in students. The has its benefits, don't get me wrong. Social networking sites however, are not the place for students or children. There has to be a filter when it comes to what is put on the internet and who has the ability to access it.

C - E - R #10 Concept Transfer

C - E - R #10 Concept Transfer
CREATE: An activity that I would consider on a broader term is giving students a topic to think about.
I like to use the model of Think-pair-share. Students will be in pairs of two or four.
 I will give the students a topic to 'think' about and write their thoughts. After some time, students will 'pair' up and discuss the topic.  Together they will 'share' their individual thoughts and one as a group.

EVALUATE: lesson plans are available throughout the internet.,,
Each website has their own individual strength and weakness. Rather than go through each one, I will explain what to look for when I research them.
 Look at the context: Many of the lesson plans are submitted by other users. while the material is great to have, it's not necessarily genuine source. Most of the time it is but we have to really look through the lesson plan thoroughly.

Is it in line with common core? Common core is the 'law' by which we instruct in accordance. for that reason, we should make sure that any lesson plan adopted from the internet is in line with the common core and consider any adjustments.

Material is appropriate: Students are all different. One size does not fit all. Again, look through the lesson plan material and see if it is something that would apply to the culture of the classroom.

RELATE: the following is a group activity by which we researched articles related to critical thinking and teacher effectiveness.

Monday, June 16, 2014

C - E - R #9 Understanding How I Learn

CREATE : C - E - R #9 I learn by doing things hands on. I love to work with my hands and often learn more from doing rather than listening. A good example is throughout this course. We have been introduced to many forms of apps and software. Our professor guided us through the use of the software through a hands-on approach but allowing us to explore. Essentially, we learn more through less teaching.

 Evaluate:    Presentation on Boiling a Pot of Water

Boiling a pot of hot water is much more difficult then what we would ordinarily think. When given the task to explicitly describe how to boil a pot of water, the steps can rather be tedious. And even then, some steps still have to be simplified.

Fieldwork #6 Reflection

"Observe your FW classroom (or give examples from the previous visits) and determine what elements/principles of constructivist practice you would see."
In my fieldwork classroom, I had the opportunity to watch a lesson in science regarding the diet. Using resources from my and newspaper and magazine clippings, students were able to construct and talk about what they ate for the supper the evening before, the morning of, and what they had for lunch. We were able build 'their plate' and then construct what the ideal plate should have in our diet. Students were amazed at how different the diets were and what lacking or sufficient. In this hands on model, students were able to reflect on their own diet and compare it what is considered the model diet by the U.S. Gov't.

As a tried exemplify during my presentation, hands on learning has always been my focus of interest. Whether it be trying to build a circuit or navigating a stream in nature. By giving students the tools to experiment with, it allows them to figure out on their own why things work. By adding supported guidance, students can learn to do amazing things.

C - E - R #7 What is your community

Create - Evaluate:
As Anita Woolfolk has pointed out, the internet has truly revolutionized news media by merging the key elements of print, sound and visual imagery into one place. What makes the internet so valuable is it's ability to present itself in real time. Newspapers generally printed the news a day or two later. Now, with the advancements of technology and internet, we can access nearly news topic in real time.

We are living in the technical age. For that reason, we are moving much faster than ever. We can communicate and relay information from one side of the globe to the other in seconds. We can access information on any topic at the tips of our hands. Technology has given us so much to look forward to at the speed of 'now.' With that comes the demand of moving at a faster pace. We all carry smart phones, we 'need' our information immediately, and without it, we feel at a loss.

The same can be said about our news and how it is transmitted. More importantly, the source of the information.
Take this example: Several days ago, United States Defeated Ghana in the World Cup. The World Cup has always been a sport that the United States struggled to compete in. Looking at the first opening win for the United States, how would you expect the news articles to reflect on the win from the respective countries?

 On Tuesday, June 17, the respective news medias hit to the net to explain the win and loss.

Here is an example of an article from Ghana Soccer Net

Here is an example of an article from The NY Times

Each article brings an interesting perspective that I would have not have noticed until I read both. I was expecting the perspectives to be opposite.
 Ghana Soccer Net article come from the perspective of the defiant and challenging team that will not let an early goal hurt their ego. Despite having the U.S. score early on, Ghana was not demoralized and they pressed on.

From the NY times perspective, the United States was like the 'little engine that could.' Despite the early goal, the U.S. continued on its journey in hopes of defeating a country that has defeated the U.S. twice already.

Relate: This is just a small example but it reminds me of how we perceive things differently in terms of culture.
Pick up any newspaper and look at the key terminology used everyday. We hear the terms very often. I depends on the source and who is writing the article. It's important that we be cognizant of this especially in our classrooms ie: webquests. While the internet is open to all, we need to be cognizant of the possibility that the source is open and opinionated as well.
Examples: Freedom fighter or a terrorist,  passionate or one eyed, illegal arrival or asylum seeker?

Fieldwork #4 Reflection

Fieldwork #4 Reflection

Throughout my observations for this semester and the previous, I had the privilege to work with the students on a one on one basis. The students were eager to learn about me since I was there last semester and they wanted to know what more I had done in my school studies.

The classroom that I observed is an Integrated Co-Teaching setting (ICT) where there is one general Ed teacher and one Special Ed Teacher. I particularly favor this model of teaching because it allows students from varying abilities to co-mingle in one setting. What makes the model successful is the collaboration embedded within. Success is measured by the working relationship of the co-teachers.

Why do I mention this? Without a successful collaboration within the teaching environment, student needs will hardly be met. During my observations from the past two semesters, one can get a sense of feel for the classroom just by sitting in the classroom for a day or two. You learn who needs guidance and who likes to be independent. You learn who is the social butterfly and who is the class helper. You find out who is the shy one and who is the most outspoken.

A good teacher will learn who the students are in the first meeting and put that in their toolbox. You 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bribe - Homework Exemptions

 "A teacher last year got in trouble for bribing students with homework exemptions to get them to behave in class. What do you think about using rewards and punishments in teaching. What will you say?"

Let's face it. This is a no-brainer but lets go back to the tape. Homework is a way of life to the classroom.  
Homework offers balance and instills the days lesson. While homework may not be the most favored item on a student's list, it does possess an incredible amount of importance making it a valuable asset to any classroom. 

With that said, by suggesting to children the possibility of homework being excused if their behavior improves is truly a counter productive argument. By using homework as a leverage, you have now instilled in the student's mind that homework is 1) expendable and 2) lacks importance. Rather than take away something so vital to the classroom, rather consider a reward. If the students improve their behavior, they may get an extra recess. If behavior is a major issue in the classroom, it may be wise to consider a behavior plan and reward system. 

Never under any circumstances  take away something so vital like homework. Those same students will exhibit the same behavior in no time AND have less of a concern for their homework. 

The following is an interesting link and further explanation to the ramifications of using the 'homework.' The link is courtesy of and should be considered important to parents and teachers alike. 

Bribing Kids for Good Behavior

Thursday, June 5, 2014

C - E - R #6 Supporting Emergent Literacy

Chapter 8

C - E - R #5 Exceptional Children

CREATE: Aspergers is often a confusing and misunderstood diagnosis in children with specials needs. Up until 2013, the DSM Medical Journal included the diagnosis in it's review of diagnosis'.  In 2013, the Medical board concluded that the diagnosis would be included under the label of autism with high functioning. The move is considered very controversial and with it comes the fear that people with the diagnosis may not receive the attention they deserve.

Why do we need to understand AS?
¨Asperger Syndrome is not a physical disability, meaning the condition can be invisible to the rest of the world (i.e., wheelchair bound).

¨As in the case of autism spectrum disorder, people look just like anyone else without a disability, meaning it can be extremely difficult to raise awareness and foster an understanding of the condition. 
Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is an autism spectrum disorder that affects language and communication skills

A person with AS generally demonstrates diminished nonverbal communication and social interaction BUT has normal (or superior) vocabulary and cognitive development (generally without delays)

Children with AS have trouble reading facial expressions and people’s gestures

They often find it difficult to identify and express their feelings

They may also have a hard time connecting with their peers and classmates
¨AS shares many traits with autism especially in the 5 main components of  social interaction, sensory, communication, behavior and academic skills.

¨The degree of impairment differs widely from individual to individual

¨Younger children who are diagnosed with classical autism move through the spectrum and are re-diagnosed with AS later in childhood.
¨Asperger Syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities, communication and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. (In other words, AS is determined through a collective means by observing various patterns in an individual)
¨In the classroom, there are 5 areas that need to be addressed when understanding Asperger’s Syndrome.

¡Social Interaction

¡Sensory Skills

¡Communication Skills

¡Behavior Skills

¡Academic Skill
EVALUATE: There are many examples of IEPs available on the internet. Importantly, the internet has many resources to help guide educators and parents the know how to understanding an IEP.

Some example sites under search key terms   'IEP' and 'New York'

New York State Education Department
City of New York Education Site
IEP Direct-Internet Software for Districts

Two of the first sources to come up in my specific search yielded State and  City sites for the department of Education. The sites offers assistance and tutorials for parents to help guide and understand what is involved in an IEP. The later of the three sites is a common provider used by many districts throughout New York. IEP Direct is an internet software designed to help build and write up IEPs.

RELATE: With all the internet has to offer, we now have the ability to take a IQ Test from the comfort of our home.
Internet IQ Test

As the text explains, we should be careful and keep in mind source of the tests and how they interpret the results. One test that I'd recommend is Gardner's Multi Intelligence  Test. If you are interested in knowing what kind of learner you might be, this is a test designed specific to Gardner's theory and research.
Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Test

C -E - R #4 Images of Self-Concept

Create:  Media is everywhere. In a previous blog, we discussed the influence of the Super Bowl commercials and the mindset behind it.

Below is a quick Presentation of snap-shots from modern media. Some things to consider as we enter further in the technical age.  Long term effects of Modern Media? Will we ever see a transition back to limiting what is appropriate? Acceptance? Parents often are to blame for the exposure to media. We are a media driven generation.

One personal concern is centered around the acceptance. In just the past few years, the television show have become more edgier, language that was once considered forbidden is now spoken on prime time, images are more graphic and the targeted audience is getting younger. There was a time when we would look at the clock and call it a night at 8pm. Children stay up much later and exposure is much more pronounced. Even with social media, texting and the internet. Children are exposed in more ways then ever creating a notion of self-image. What they thought was real is now portrayed differently on the television. The television must be correct. Yes?
Sadly, I think we are in too deep and the only recourse is to pressure media and law makers to consider the research. What are the potential long term effects of exposure to mass media and yet another element, video games. Video games is another blog in and of itself. 

Self - Concept and Self-Esteem PowerPoint

EVALUATE:  School violence and bullying has been the hotbed of discussion in education. What is alarming to us is the amount of reported incidents that involve violence and shootings. The information is two-folded. Bullying has existed since for a long time. It's really been  more recent that we hear more about the shootings around the country.

CNN REPORT ON School Shootings

It's my belief that violence in schools is increasing. I believe with the advances in technology and media, we have the ability to report on incidences that ordinarily would have been ignored. But why is it increasing?

It goes back to a personal belief that the culture has changed. Our mission is to ensure the safety of every child the minute they walk into the door. As much as it pains us to agree, safety often takes a back seat once students leave the school. In the age of cyber bullying and self identification, students are finding more and more ways to hide behind a screen to cause harm. The students being targeted are often hiding as well. Sadly, it's the reality in today's classroom. As a parent, tax payer and future educator, I try to be fair in understanding all sides of this argument.

We often place the focus of blame on the teachers, parents, breakdown in society etc. What I never hear in the reports is what makes the children 'snap.' What compels a person to break from traditional morals to perform something so heinous, from both sides. What message do we send when the media broadcasts the images on the television.

The images are real and so are the emotions.

RELATE: My ideal classroom is in the elementary setting, kindergarten through 6th grade. My goal is to present my classroom in a manner that is welcoming to EVERY student. My students will feel safe. My students will feel accepted. My students will be excited to come to school. My students will know that I am here for them. My students will learn. Without the previous stated goals, learning will not happen. This is how I see a snapshot of my classroom.  

C -E - R # 3 Piaget vs. Vygotsky

The ultimate showdown, Piaget vs Vygotksy. Battle of theories. Who will remain standing

Create: Piaget and Vygotsky both Constructivist theorists pivotal to our understanding of education. Both lend themselves to similar thoughts but differ on others. Here's a sample:

Evaluate: Social Bookmarking. For this portion of the C-E-R, I joined the social bookmarking site, Key word of interest is 'Standardized Testing in NY.'

My Links that I linked, saved and tagged included articles on "Performance Assessment, the alternative to High stakes Testing" and one that is more interesting "Can you answer this question from an Eighth Grade Reading Exam?" The later of the two is an interesting article since it discusses the widely

What is an important take away from this assignment is this: be cognizant of the source of information.

As educators, we must be certain that the sources we search are valid ie: articles, research based, opinion based or social media.  Take a webquest for instance. Webquests are a fantastic tool to incorporate into the classroom. I was first introduced to webquests by our professor Dr. Smirnova. Webquests are unique and designed for problem solving in a team approach. Groups hit the internet to research a topic and depending on the assignment, draw conclusions about that topic or create a presentation of that topic. In this C-E-R, I want to emphasize that the internet is full of incredible information, all accessible at our fingertips. We just have to be sure of the source of the information and teach our students the tools to make certain of the source.

Relate: As I mentioned, a Webquest is one example of how we can get students to collaborate together to research and share their knowledge. Building a wiki is another example. In an example classroom, I would consider building a wiki online. The wiki is an interactive page where a topic is posted and students can research and post on the topic. In addition, students have the opportunity to comment on each other and provide feedback on their research.

C - E - R #2 Assessment

C - E - R  #2     Create-Evaluate-Relate
ABC School
Oral Reading Rubric
Name: ________________________Teacher: Mr Werba
Date Submitted: ____________Title of Work: ___________________

Body Language
Movements seemed fluid and helped the audience visualize.
Made movements or gestures that enhanced articulation.
Very little movement or descriptive gestures.
No movement or descriptive gestures.
Eye Contact
Holds attention of entire audience with the use of direct eye contact.
Consistent use of direct eye contact with audience.
Displayed minimal eye contact with audience.
No eye contact with audience.
Introduction and Closure
Student delivers open and closing remarks that capture the attention of the audience and set the mood.
Student displays clear introductory or closing remarks.
Student clearly uses either an introductory or closing remark, but not both.
Student does not display clear introductory or closing remarks.
Good use of drama and student meets apportioned time interval.
Delivery is patterned, but does not meet apportioned time interval.
Delivery is in bursts and does not meet apportioned time interval.
Delivery is either too quick or too slow to meet apportioned time interval.
Student displays relaxed, self-confident nature about self, with no mistakes.
Makes minor mistakes, but quickly recovers from them; displays little or no tension.
Displays mild tension; has trouble recovering from mistakes.
Tension and nervousness is obvious; has trouble recovering from mistakes.
Use of fluid speech and inflection maintains the interest of the audience.
Satisfactory use of inflection, but does not consistently use fluid speech.
Displays some level of inflection throughout delivery.
Consistently uses a monotone voice.

Create:  For my lesson, I chose an oral reading, target grade of 4-6th. What we will do is look at examples of poetry on the smartboard/overhead and perform a choral reading in the class. Following the choral reading, we will examine the poetry we just read and discuss the importance of expression. Reading with meaning. Students will then be partnered up and tasked with choosing a poem to read together and analyze. Students will be encouraged to hone in on their craft and become fluent with their chosen work. After working in pairs, the students will be encouraged to share the poem from a power point designed by the teacher.

Evaluate: In reviewing the material on Jonathan Mueller's site, I would lean toward using authentic assessments in the classroom. My goals for the students is to work collaboratively and determine the tone and expression of the poem/poetry passage. The objective is for the students to make a connection to the literature piece and read with meaning what they interpret as the context of the poem. Poetry can be simple and very complicated at times. The intention here is to allow the students to freely discuss the selected poem and practice their craft as to how it should be read aloud. Reading with meaning and understanding of punctuation is key to success. For an assignment like this, I would encourage an authentic assessment in contrast to a traditional test. Poetry can be interpreted in various ways as should an assessment. I want the students to explore and consider what the author was trying to convey.

Relate:  The classroom should have a balance of traditional tests and authentic assessment tools. Tests, depending on how they are administered, allow for us to assess prior knowledge, gauge knowledge of material taught and assess teaching strategy. I believe that classrooms should have a fair mix of both because they provide important details of assessment to the classroom. They allow you get a read of the class from multiple plains.

Fieldwork #2 Reflection

Fieldwork #2 

During my observations, I asked my host teacher several questions in terms of the students and their individual academic abilities. I observed a ICT - Integrated Co-Teaching Classroom during the course of this semester and the semester earlier.

As both teachers pointed out, the class is generally made up of general ed approx (60-70%) and identified students (30-40%).

To really understand how they build their lessons, you first have to look at the culture and environment of the room and students. My teachers emphasized that building a lesson plan is often a long and tedious task as it needs to be specific to the needs of all students. You have to look at the students first before building your lesson plan. Similar to inspecting the ground before laying down the foundation to the building.

Each student will have a different and unique perspective of how they handle the new lesson. This is where it is important for the co-teacher to be cognizant of the students that may find the task difficult. Co-teaching involves an incredible amount of collaboration. Lessons in this classroom are generally built together in the spare time that they have. Included in the lessons is the element of excitement. My teachers emphasized that sometimes certain topics are not that appealing to others ie: math.  Math is a hard topic to 'sell' however, with technology now readily available in the classroom, lessons are built right into the smartboard to enhance the experience visually and with animation.

The teachers will often consider technology when building their lessons. In their opinion, technology has served as another means to help support a lesson. Think of it as 'technology scaffolding.'  They often use visuals, models and videos to help support their lessons.

Anita's Podcast #1 & 2. Fieldwork #1

Chapter 2.  Podcast.  Teacher Interview - Fieldwork #1 

Anita's Podcast on NCLB:      Anita Woolfolk's Podcast on NCLB

In the example given by Anita Woolfolk, one particular school that she attended demonstrated what we as future educators may expect to see in the future. In accordance to the NCLB act, the school provided a power point presentation of the 'weaker' areas of academics and implemented a year long staff development plan to encourage a system of checks and balances and more importantly, emphasis on improvement in the test scores. 

Here are the issues: No school is 100% proficient. While NCLB incorporates strict measures, it overlooks the problems with standardization. No education is considered universal. No child is considered the same so the testing that we implement should be cognizant to that. As educators emerging into the field, we are challenged with the task of providing all students with equal and fair access to quality education. While the jury is out on standardized testing, we as educators must fulfill our obligation to make certain that every child is provided with instruction that is individualized geared toward their needs. 


Anita's Podcast #1  The Important of Teachers 

Research indicates that students that had an effective teacher 3 years in a row clearly indicated scores that were ahead of everyone else. Importantly, teachers are considered a lifeline to students from K-12 grade. Again, it's important that teacher make certain that the environment they foster provides a sense of belonging. The teachers care about them and their lives. Classes are interesting. Fair and respectful even in times of discipline. 


FIELDWORK Teacher Interview: 

During my observations, what I often wondered is how do you reach out to each student. How do you effectively engage every student? How do you connect?

What I found throughout all of my observations is the common theme of belonging and enthusiasm. I asked my teachers; How do you connect? How do you keep them engaged?

The answers were simple. Practice. Students are motivated by motivated teachers. You can walk by a classroom and determine within the first 10-20 seconds whether or not learning is going on. New material can always be challenging but if it is presented in a way that is engaging and exciting, students are likely to latch on. More over, a good teacher gets a decent vibe and read of the classroom. Which student is confused, unclear of the material or not paying attention. The secret in my interview was motivation. Without motivation, the teacher is doing most of the cognitive processing. 

C - E - R #1 Research concept Map

Behavioral Learning and the Media C - E - R # 8

Below we collaborated as a group and designed a power point demonstrating behaviorist theories found in the modern media. We've learned that we do not have to look to far to realize modern media is full of examples of behaviorist theories.

More importantly, what we observed is how the application of the theory of behavior is traced to commercials. For example, the 2014 Super Bowl Commercials demonstrate nearly each theory discussed from Pavlov to Skinner.

See our presentation of behavioral theory in modern media here: Behavorial Learning and the Media

Picture courtesy of:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Exercise on short term memory:
Today in class, we tested the element of short term memory. A text was read to us about Russia and it's culture. After the text was read, the teacher asked us to recall and type how many things we recall from the text. Interestingly, we were all about the same regarding results, however some had more and that possibly demonstrates prior knowledge of the subject.

The exercise demonstrates our use of short term memory and how we retain information that is given to us. The exercise was very interesting to say the least but also serves as a reminder about when we teach to our children. Recollection is best served when we maintain our memory base, constantly going back to the information and recalling. We learn over 90% of what we know by teaching. By repeating what we have learned, it becomes instilled and serves in long term memory.

About Russian Culture.

1.       Russians are often viewed as pessimistic, generally do not problem solve.           
2.       They are very cordial and professional with each other, addressing each, introducing each other as ‘Mr’ or Mrs.;
3.       Russians dress very well while out in public.       
4.       It is frowned upon to shake hands across an entrance
5.       Its impolite to talk and have your hands in your pocket, across your chest.
6.       Orthodox is the main religion
7.       Popular to see Western Wear/American wear during the summer months.

The difference between Cognitive and Behavioral learning views is complex and often misunderstood by myself including others. Early theorists like B.F Skinner believed behavior is the result of what is learned from experience. He believed that environmental influences control people. Albert Bandura believed behavior is learned from experience but feels people are more goal-oriented and have specific intentions and purposes. He argues the basis for learning is through observing others

Behavioral learning theories: explanations of learning that focus on external events as the cause of changes in observable behaviors.

Cognitive view of learning: a general approach that views learning as an active mental process of acquiring, remembering, and using knowledge.

As author Anita Woolfolk (2013) points out "According to the cognitive view, knowledge is learned, and changes in knowledge make change in behavior possible. According to the behavioral view, the new behaviors themselves are learned. Both behavioral and cognitive theorists believe reinforcement is important in learning, but for different reasons. The strict behaviorist maintains that reinforcement strengthens responses; cognitive theorists see reinforcement as  a source of feedback about what is likely to happen if behaviors are repeated or changed-as a source for information."

So what does this mean?
Reinforcement so that I understand it defined the effect that it has on behavior, it can either increase or decrease behavior. Commonly used example is by using praise. We reinforce a desired behavior from students with praise with the premise that the student will likely perform the same actions again.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June 3, 2014

Revisit Pavlov's Dogs. Pavlov learned that when a doctor would attempt to feed the dogs in his experiment, the dogs would salivate. Ringing a bell in conjunction with feeding the dogs proved the same response. Pavlov learned that by even just ringing the bell with the food caused the dogs to salivate. Unconditional Response.

Watson's Little Albert experiment was similar in that he introduced a toy rat to a child. The child expressed no reaction. However, when he introduced a sudden bang sound, the child reacted in fear. As he repeated the experiment, the child began to associate the loud noise with the toy rat.

BF Skinner performed similar experiments on pigeons. When the pigeons were hungry, they learned to press a button to be fed.

The experiments of Skinner and Pavlov both demonstrate incredible findings in researching the animals response to stimuli and unconditional response. While I agree with the findings and research, I question the lack of attention to the role of survival. In both cases, we overlook what I consider pivotal in understanding our very being. Since we were born, our sole function is to survive whether it be through nourishment, ie water or food.

Looking at the experiments of Skinner and Pavlov, I think we can agree that survival can be considered a primary reinforcement, better yet, an unconditional  reinforcement since it occurs naturally and does not require learning to work. Evolutionary basis to be considered since it aids in the survival of the species. Water, food, air, sleep,... primary reinforcers in order to survive. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stop and Ponder:

Cognitive Development: Gradual orderly changes by which mental processes become more complex and sophisticated

Critical periods:

Early Experience:

Later Experience:

Continuity vs. Discontinuity: A third major issue in developmental  psychology.

  •  Does change occur smoothly over time?

Nature vs. Nurture: the debate of relative contributions of inheritance and the environment is deemed one of the oldest issues in philosophy and psychology

  • Plato and Descartes supported the ideas that some ideas are inborn. 
  • John Locke on the other hand argues the mind is a blank slate at birth with experience determining our knowledge. 

Critical Periods: If learning doesn't happen during these periods, it never will. \
  • Are there critical periods where certain abilities need to develop?
  • There is no critical period that limits the possibility of language learning by adults. Adults have more learning strategies and greater knowledge of language in general to bring to bear in mastering a second language. 
  • However recent research indicates "there is a 'sensitive period' for optimal bilingual language and reading exposure and mastery"
  • There is a critical period for learning accurate language pronunciation 
Critical Periods to Know
There are many specific physical, psychosocial (also called social/emotional or relating), and cognitive development milestones that most typically developing children go through. One of the earliest psychosocial critical periods is bonding. This happens in the newborn period. Holding, soothing, and caring for your baby makes it easy for her to move through this critical period. (In understaffed, overpopulated orphanages where babies do not receive the nurturing they need in this critical period, irreparable damage can be done emotionally, making it difficult for those children later in life to form close relationships.)
"Following birth there is a period of rapid brain reorganization that is a/the critical period in brain development during which children are most sensitive to environmental stimuli.”

Decades of research show the brain may then undergo changes that could permanently alter future functionality. However, recent studies suggest it may be possible to extend critical periods, perhaps one day offering treatment options for people who are deprived of early sensory input or experience brain injury later in life.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Discovery: Technology and Planetariums

DISCOVERY: May  25,  2014.  A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to return back to my high school. Through my daughter's PTA, we arranged a trip for the elementary students to take advantage of our high school's own planetarium. While the trip may sound simplistic, it possesses a world of opportunity to view the sky in the comfort of our own school. Our district is lucky to have in it's possession one of the most advanced planetariums in the area. In fact, it's one of only two districts in the entire area to have a planetarium and observatory. The planetarium has changed since I walked the same halls over 18 years ago. The projector is a new state of the art projector which begins our journey from the school's football field to nearest planet and well beyond.

Technology through constant research and development has allowed students to see firsthand the wonders of our own solar system. Imagine what the planetarium may be like in the next 18-20 years. It's important for schools to be cognizant of these planetariums in the area. The technology is state of the art and more importantly, in line with curriculum. As schools enter further into the technology era, I feels its imperative that they consider planetariums into their budget and continue to maintain those that are luck to exist.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Journeys: The first steps in exploring child development

Green Flag....  Let the Learning Adventure Begin

On May 20th, we came into the classroom and immediately discussed exploring blogging how to build a blog. This form of technology is completely new to me so I look forward to learning some of the 'tricks' and 'trades' on the internet. The internet is full of so many resources, many of which are not mentioned enough.  Let's hope we can learn it all in the time we have .... :)