Thursday, October 30, 2014

BlogPost 9

Many different factors make a school "good."  The most important factor is the safety of the children.  As Deborah Meier explains, "to create a safe school, we needed to have the confidence of parents, and children needed to know that their parents trusted us," (144).  The next most important thing is making the education about the students in order for them to grow as individuals.  Meier also shares, "good early childhood education, we believed, required collaboration between the school and the family," (144).  I feel that the classroom size effects a student's learning as well.  If there are too many kids in a classroom, they can't focus on what they are being taught and they will not have a personal relationship with their teacher.  The conditions of the school also effect the learning process as well.  If the school is run down or needs repairs it may be unsafe for a child to attend.  A good school is one that focuses on helping students develop and prepares them for the next school year.  This can't be done without good teachers.  A student needs their teacher to push and encourage them to try and get good grades.  A teacher can't give up on his or her students, no matter the circumstances.  From my personal experience in elementary school, the teachers stopped teaching us the curriculum and became very irritated because they felt there was no hope for us to succeed.  This made us as students feel helpless and very unprepared for our next school year.  Unfortunately, my school closed when I was in 5th grade because there was no money to support the school and only 119 children attended in kindergarten through 8th grade.  There wasn't enough space for all of us and there weren't good facilities to learn in.  A good school gives students many opportunities to learn every subject in school and activities out of school to be involved in.  Another factor that is important in a good school is diversity.  Accepting others, no matter how different they may be, is key for every child to learn in order to be successful people in the future.  A school needs to be open to any situation that may arise and offer to accommodate students to whatever they may need.

Canestrari, Alan S., and Bruce A. Marlowe. Educational Foundations: An Anthology of Critical Readings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.

Friday, October 24, 2014

FieldBlog Post 2: Heights High

At Heights High, I felt very different than when I was at Beachwood Middle School.  This could have been because this was a high school with bigger students or because the atmosphere in general felt very different.  Immediately after entering the school, I noticed the many security guards lining the hallway and I was very curious as to why.  After walking down the hallway to my assigned location, I witnessed a teacher calling security on a student walking into her classroom and I felt that this was very odd.  I was placed in Dr. Eaton's science classroom.  The group we were observing only had 2 boys and 5 girls.  These students were sophomores and were learning about compounds and elements in this particular class.  When I first walked in, I felt the room was rather dull compared to other schools I've observed.  There were hardly any posters on the wall or decorations, there were only a few desks and tables.  Around me, there was a mass amount of lab equipment and on the wall there was a smart board displaying slides for the class.  The students seemed very attentive and involved in what the teacher was saying.  I really liked that Dr. Eaton put a slide up and explained it and then encouraged her students to take out their whiteboards and answer a question to show that they understand what each slide was teaching them.  This allowed for individual comprehension among each student because they had to write their own answer out and hold it up for Dr. Eaton to see.  I felt that Dr. Eaton was very good and making sure each student understood what she was explaining and was very patient with the students that weren't getting the right answers.  She had a very controlled classroom because she was not very stern at all however, no one was acting out.
My question for this observation was how does the discipline differ from a middle school to a high school?  I noticed that the discipline was different because the teachers at Heights High were treating their students as adults rather than sensitive children.  The discipline has to be more intense for these students because at that age, you never know what might happen.  As for middle school students, they are just starting to grow up and understand how things work so they don't need as intense discipline.  Also, these students obey their elders where high school students may not.  After observing here, I confirmed that I could never be a high school teacher.  Younger children may be harder to take care of at times, but I would not be able to control high school students.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week 7/8 Post

During the week, we read chapters 4 and 7 of To Teach the journey in comics.  We learned about "building a bridge" for students and how to achieve greatness as a teacher.  With the bridge metaphor, I felt that Ayers means each student needs to work together in the classroom to make a positive learning environment for everyone.  He also means the students and their parents should have a good connection with their teacher in order for the learning process and shaping of each individual student to begin.  I feel that the "bridge" starts with little to no knowledge of things and grows into higher, more complicated knowledge that will be necessary later in life.  One example of a pattern is building a person's knowledge from childhood to adulthood as in each grade level increases knowledge by building off the previous grade.  A second example is allowing the children to learn from each other and not be afraid to ask questions in order to be better prepared for the next grade.
I decided to make a lesson plan about poem styles for elementary school students in order to instill a sense of creative thinking in each child.  I would first need to explain what a poem is and read a few simple ones to the class.  I then would go into more detail and give specific examples of different kinds of poems such as a haiku or a rhyming poem.  I would also need to take into account that these students are in elementary school and they may not yet be capable of comprehending and writing deep, lengthy poems.  Therefore, I could create a guideline for them to copy off of in order to make their first poem because I would not be expecting them to correctly come up with them on their own.  Next, I would give them an easy topic and ask them to practice each style in class and show it to me so I could help them with spelling and word choice.  Lastly, I would encourage each student to read their poem to the class to get used to comfortably speaking to their peers.  I feel that this lesson would encourage them to increase their vocabulary by finding new words to rhyme with and inspire their creativity even more.
In chapter 10 of Educational Foundations, Robert DiGiulio discusses the stress of becoming a teacher and the pressure put on teachers to take care of children while helping them succeed in life and receive good test scores.  DiGiulio writes, "No standardized test for students can ever inform us of a teachers' enthusiasm, caring, or belief that students can be successful-- three factors that have an enormous effect on student achievement and self-esteem," (127).  In other words, it is more important for the teacher to have a personality and be a role model for his or her students.  To be a successful teacher, one must have successful students, "And, to achieve student success, great teachers help move their students via three paths: producing, empowering and connecting," (DiGiulio 129).  Everyone focuses so much on the academic aspect of school and who is the smartest and who will get into the best college but at the end of the day, it is more important to be a selfless, well rounded person that achieves greater things than a high standardized test score.

Canestrari, Alan S., and Bruce A. Marlowe. Educational Foundations: An Anthology of Critical Readings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.

Moreland Hills Elementary School Visit #1

Today I took my first visit to my assigned school for my individual field hours.  When I walked in Mrs. Newman's second grade classroom, I immediately felt welcome and comfortable.  I was introduced to the class and then Mrs. Newman asked me to play an addition/subtraction game on the iPad with a student that was struggling with her math skills.  We played a few times and then Mrs. Newman saw how much this student was improving so she allowed her to move on to something else.  After this, Mrs. Newman counted down from 15 letting the students know that they had to be in their seats with everything cleaned up so she could begin her lesson.  While the kids were cleaning up, I looked around the classroom to see many works of art hung from the ceiling or taped to the walls which made the room feel very kid friendly.  She began discussing the pioneers and reviewed what the students had learned about that time period.  She then asked the students to take out their notebooks and pencils and write 8 things that the pioneers ate in their everyday lives.  Once completed, the students wrote the answers on the board.  She asked them to do the same thing with the clothing pioneers wore as well.  After this activity, it was time for the kids to eat their snacks.  Once they settled down in their desks, Mrs. Newman read them a book called The BFG by Roald Dahl.  I found it interesting that after a few sentences, the students were called on to interpret parts of the book that weren't clear.  I was also surprised by how much the students knew!  The students were then asked to take out their "punch cards" to get hole punched for participating in class and obeying their teacher which I feel was an effective method for a reward system.  Lastly, the students gathered on the floor in a circle for Mrs. Newman to read them a book about the pioneers.  The students were engaged, listened intently and even chimed in when they found facts interesting.  After this, the students packed up their belongings and then walked to their "special" of the day which was art.
I felt that Mrs. Newman was strict enough to make the students do what they are told immediately but she was also very approachable when students wanted to share something with her.  The students could sense when their teacher was getting frustrated and changed their behavior right away.  Because of this, I could tell that Mrs. Newman had a great handle of her classroom even if she was irritated at times.  One student in particular acted out quite a bit and wasn't doing what he was told but instead of reprimanding him, Mrs. Newman talked to him calmly to settle down and told him he must behave or he will have to miss Art.  I felt that overall, it was evident this had happened before and she handled it well.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Field Blog Post 1: Beachwood Middle School

Today we visited Beachwood Middle School as our first field experience.  I was worried about going to a middle school because I know that at that age, children are starting to figure themselves out and therefore have strong personalities which is almost intimidating, although they are much younger than me.  I first started out in a Math Lab classroom with Mrs. Urbanski.  At first, I walked around to each child's area to look at the work they were completing on their computers, then I began to answer their questions and help them with math problems.  I really enjoyed interacting with the students even though math has always terrified me!  One thing that really interested me was seeing a young Chinese student that could hardly speak any English.  Mrs. Urbanski communicates with her by speaking English into a translator app onto her phone and giving the student her phone to hear the Chinese version of it.  I kept thinking how challenging that must be for the student to be the only one in the classroom that isn't fluent in English and how challenging it must be for the teacher to have to repeat everything she is doing individually to this student.  Another instance that stuck out to me during this period was at one point, a girl began insulting her classmates and even hitting her partner once.  She immediately asked to leave the room for her "daily walk in the hall" to calm down and instead of the teacher reprimanding her for her actions, she simply told her to keep her hands to herself and allowed her to take a walk. I thought it was really smart to allow this student to a daily walk when ever she gets upset about something in the classroom.  I was also very impressed when the student returned to the classroom more collected and quietly finished her work.  In the book Educational Foundations, Freire makes a point in the 8th chapter of saying: "the teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach," (110).  I thought this point applied to the situation I witnessed today because the student needed to learn to calm down and not take her anger out on the student next her but at the same time, the teacher needed to have patience with her and allow her to escape briefly.  It is evident that this understanding has been established since the beginning of the school year and will continue to establish all year.
After this class, I visited the 6th grade Honors Science classroom with Mr. Ristau.  He explained to us that these children were placed into this class from a placement test in 5th grade and that this class is 3 years of material learned in 2 years.  This is because the goal of the Honors Science program is to have students take a High School science class in 8th grade so they can take Advanced Placement science classes by the time they get to their Junior and Senior years of High School.  I found this crazy because my middle school never began shaping us for Junior and Senior level classes in 6th grade!  The students were very quiet and attentive when their teacher was explaining their upcoming research project about tectonic plates.  They then spilt off into groups to begin created a video about the research they discover.  I was still in shock at how much individual work was being done and how little the teacher was giving information.  Clearly these students are extremely intelligent and independent learners.  Through this field experience, I have learned that in the future I will have to work individually with students that may need extra assistance or supervision even if it is not convenient for me.  I have also learned that it is crucial to shape children for their futures so they can excel in not only high school and college courses but life in general.

Canestrari, Alan S., and Bruce A. Marlowe. Educational Foundations: An Anthology of Critical Readings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 6 Post

In the Banking Concept of Education chapter by Paulo Freire, the banking concept is explained by teachers "depositing" knowledge into the students so, "instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize and repeat," (Freire 104).  Through the banking concept, children are considered inferior to the teacher and as if the students know nothing and the teacher knows everything.  These teachers are not interested in children understanding the material but rather having them submit to authority.  Because of this, my most important post-it note says learning shouldn't be memorizing then regurgitating the information then forgetting it but instead learning the information through memory hints so the facts are remembered and used later in life.  I feel that I remember information the best when a teacher has a funny saying or hint to help me remember rather than reading off endless slides and writing down definitions.  I do not agree that the teacher should act as if they know everything to make the child feel inferior, I believe that the teacher and student should work together to learn the correct way to obtain information.  I agreed with Freire when he says, "the teacher cannot think for her students, nor can she impose her thought on them," (108).  From this chapter, I learned "banking education treats students as objects of assistance; problem-posing education makes them critical thinkers," (Freire 113).  I did not like the concept of children being objects that learn because every child has the right to think for themselves and offer up their opinions for others to hear. For me personally, when I feel that I am being talked down to by a teacher, I do not like to participate in the class or voice my opinion because I am afraid of being shut down, which happened to me last year.  Therefore, the class was very unenjoyable and uncomfortable.  I feel that a discussion based class is best for students to learn because they can say what they want and they can listen to other students and take their opinion into account.

Canestrari, Alan S., and Bruce A. Marlowe. Educational Foundations: An Anthology of Critical Readings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Week 5 Post

Every school is different these days when it comes to acceptance of LGBT students.  I know that my high school was very accepting of every person, however, we never had any clubs or organizations trying to help the issue.  There were many girls at my school dating other girls and one of my best friends is a transgender.  It was incredibly hard for my friend to tell everyone before graduation that she would soon be a he, but everyone understood this was what needed to happen and we all still supported it.  At the end of the year, one of the girls that is lesbian even won "Most Respected" in my class because everyone knew how hard it was for her to come out and explain how she had actually been feeling for years.  Because it was a public school, no one really had the right to say anything negative about anyone for their sexual orientation.  Last year, one of my teachers even came out to us and although we were all shocked, no one judged her for it.  I feel that all these individuals have always been like this despite what Rofes says about choosing to be LBGT.  Rofes is clear that every person's childhood truly shapes how they grow up into adults as he says, "we become accustomed to searching for the sources of our current unhappiness and adult failings in the persecution we experienced as children,"  (3).  He also explains, "the oppression of children and youth constitutes the foundation out of which highly charged issues related to LGBT and gender-nonconforming youth arise," (7).  Rofes believes that the negative experiences a child has, causes them to have issues with their gender or sexual orientation.  Later in the book, Rofes discusses that although liberals have embraced gay rights, they question the effects a gay kindergarten teacher would have on his students.  He feels that homophobia is at an all time high right now and children are still getting harassed at school for the issue even though people try everything they can to stop it.  I truly hope that the school I work at in the future is accepting and does not allow discrimination to LGBT students because in the end, we are all God's children and it is unfair to think that the way a person feels inside is wrong.

Canestrari, Alan S., and Bruce A. Marlowe. Educational Foundations: An Anthology of Critical Readings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.