Friday, January 29, 2010

Google (pt.2)

This week we are utilizing what we learned last week in order to create a fun “Classroom Rules” power-point. Again, we are doing this through “Google Documents”, and will be turning it into a web presentation once we’re finished.

So What?
Because the members of my group are planning on teaching the younger years of Elementary, we are making all ten of our classroom rules rhyme, and then adding funny pictures to illustrate the point. Through rhyming we hope to make the memorization of the rules easier, and the pictures will give a fun visual example if any of the children struggle with reading. This assignment not only teaches us to focus on our students needs, even through something as simple as making rules, but also helps us to cater to whatever learning-level they might be at in our class.

Having knowledge of and access to this program will also make things easier for assignments in other classes. If we need to make a power-point for another class, we don’t need to have a power-point program installed on our computer in order to do it anymore. It also makes things like keeping notes for classes and other aspects of our life easier as well, because we now have a fun, orderly way of saving and setting up that information.

Now What?
The power-point program in Google Documents is definitely something I will use for my own class if it is available then. It will make lessons a whole lot easier and more organized, as well as making them more fun for my students. If possible I would also like them to learn how to use it, both for school and personal lives (if they have computers at home). I feel it would be an invaluable tool for later in their school-careers.

I am aware that teachers often have meetings to discuss their classes and teaching techniques that are working for them. I think this program would be ideal then, helping both them and myself to organize our thoughts and ideas. So much of my time is spent making “to do” lists, and “this worked, let’s try this” notes that get lost almost as soon as I write them. Having a program like this would help save paper and keep my mind from blanking on that one important thing I wanted to say—but can’t remember so I’m frustrated the rest of the day trying to recall it.

Video Reflection.
This was the first video I watched in this class that made me laugh out loud. Already I feel that Alex has the potential to become great. If not as a director, than as an actor. He has a way of getting his point across while having a lot of action in the background, as well as music almost drowning out his words. And I liked how he brought in facts about famous movie directors to show that even though they are great, they never would have gotten to where they did without their educations behind them. I highly agree. Some people have a natural talent for certain things, and others need to hone those same skills through study and experience. But neither type of people are going to get very far without a solid foundation. And that foundation is EDUCATION. Rightly said, Alex!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Google (pt. 1)

In class we are learning to broaden our means of communication and education through the tools Google has to offer. Our assignment for this week is for our individual groups to imagine we are already teachers and write a "Welcome Letter" for our chosen grade-levels.

At first I was uncertain when Doc Waters told us we were going to be using "Google Documents" to do an assignment. I was especially apprehensive when she told us that in order to do the assignment, we could communicate with our group members only through Google Docs. But after beginning the document (I was put in charge of the start-up), I was surprised by how quickly my team members responded and began to edit around and within what I had written. It was easy to see where they were going with their thoughts and we were able to meld our ideas smoothly into the letter we have now.

I can now see why Doc Waters introduced us to "Google Documents". It has given me a whole new tool to use when I have writing assignments in my other University courses, and if I have group-work, it is an easy program to use to share ideas or the pieces of the assignment that I am in charge of (and somewhat more efficient than IM or E-mail). Also, the fact that we can go back through our "revising history" and look to see how we got our paper to where it is now, is a huge help. It is definitely a program that I will continue using from now on.


I am excited about what this means for when I become a teacher. Even children in the younger grade-levels write papers, and a program like this would not only give them a secure, easy place to save their work, but it would also allow for group-work and encourage cooperation among my students. I could give them small research assignments, put them into groups, show them how to use the program and then let them go. Google Documents would also allow me easier communication and collaboration with my colleagues. Instead of having to arrange meetings around our busy schedules and worrying if our weekly/monthly/yearly newsletters are coming together as they should, my colleagues and I could simply use Google Documents to compile them.

In the past I never thought about how computers and technology would help me in the classroom. Really, I was stuck back in my own childhood when everything was passed out on paper and computers were only used in that fun class where they taught us how to type on a keyboard and how to play computer games. It was shocking to realize that I can integrate computer technology into my own curriculum, and it would make things a whole lot easier for me, my colleagues, and my students. But now that I have, there is no way I'm letting this new epiphany go. I hope my students will be ready for a lot of computer work...and my co-workers don't get too annoyed with my constant editing of their classroom newsletters...

I agree wholeheartedly with what Rene H. says in her video. Passion is a huge part of reaching your goals, no matter what they may be. In my case, it is the passion for teaching, the desire to help my future students, and especially the passion for positively influincing the minds of each and every student I will have. If you have that desire and drive, I honestly believe it will rub off on your students, your colleagues, and even your family; and it will help you overcome every obsticle you may face in getting to your goals. Only you can make your dreams come true, and ultimately, you are the only one standing in your way.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Ideal Classroom

My ideal classroom would be a simple one. I want it big and wide-open, with large windows along at least one wall. It is fine if the walls are white, but I would have blue and green hangings and decorations up, because blue and green are calm, soothing colors. I hope to teach first to third-grade students, so I will, of course, be adding their artwork and assignments to the decor to give the classroom a more personal feel.

I would have a corner for "rest and reading", which would double as a sick-corner if the students felt ill. The opposite corner of the room would be "my corner", for a computer, lesson plans, and several cupboards for storage. There would be a place to hang coats and backpacks in the back of the room, and the desks would be arranged in fours to promote group work and friendships; two boys to two girls a "table" in the beginning, in an attempt to nix the "girls/boys have cooties" mind-set. I will be willing to make adjustments if certain groups cannot or will not work together, though.

My ideal student-count would be 12-25 students--a small class. I would use both visual and auditory learning techniques to determine which students respond to what. I tend to be a hands-on person, so there would be a lot of lessons where we might go outside or I would bring physical objects into the classroom for a lesson (e.g. different types of leaves, or a bowl of live fish for a math or science lesson). I would keep things basic, but make them fun and interesting to keep the students' attention.

As for the parents of my students--they would expect me to respect their children as they do, but also would allow me to punish them if the need arose. They would want me to bring any of my concerns about their children to them, along with suggestions on how we might resolve those problems as a team.

My colleagues would be a support system, giving me advice when I needed it and asking the same in return. We would share teaching techniques that have worked and failed for us, and if I am new among them, they would make an effort to make me feel comfortable and confident in my new role.

As for the dreaded punishments, I would be one of those teachers that withholds recess and privileges to the students who refuse to listen to me. If they are constantly being loud or disruptive in class, it is an immediate removal of said privileges. If their language is unacceptable, it will be the removal, along with writing lines during the punishment period. If their behavior continues, it is a visit to the principal's office and a call to their parents/guardians. I am a fun person and I enjoy a laugh as much as anyone else. But there comes a place to draw a line, and I draw a cement one.

Finally, my goals for my classroom and students. I want my classroom to be a fun place where the kids can't wait to return to learning. I also want it to be a safe place, where they feel secure enough to allow themselves free reign of their personalities. I want to be able to be a friend to my students, but also an authority-figure they can look up to and not be afraid to approach with their problems and questions. In all, I want my students to be positively affected my me, in a way that lasts for the rest of their lives. Even if they can't remember my name, as long as they remember what they learned in my class and grow from it, that is enough.