Saturday, February 5, 2011

Evaluating Game Plan Progress

As of right now, I have been very successful with the actions that I chose in order to meet my goals. I am fortunate to work with wonderful teachers and administration that are willing to lend a helping hand to assist our students. They know a wealth of information, and many have been teaching a lot longer than myself. This is beneficial, because they have the experience, and also the resources. Collaborating with them has been extemely helpful in the sense that if they did not have an answer or resource for me, they told me who has.

I know my students really well, and my first step was to really target what it is that they need in order to be successful. So far, I have learned some strategies to help those students struggling in math. They are experiencing extreme difficulties with using strategies to both add and subtract, even though they already learned both the counting up and counting down strategies. Of of the self contained teacher's in my school has Touch Math, and I feel that this has assisted my struggling students. I also have students that experience difficulties with reading. They are now using websites where they click on the word, and you can hear it. This is helping those students with key sight word recognition. I am still researching assistive technology that the district itself has to offer. I e-mailed the supervisor of technology for the district, and I am waiting to hear back from her.

I am also continiuing my own reseach online. I would like to find ways that students who need enrichment can use technology. I am researching various interactive websites for students to use during center time. Those that need enrichment will have the opportunity to work during center time, and those that need reinforcement of skills as well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Monitoring My Game Plan Progress

To date, I have been very successful in carrying out my GAME plan. Since I have some students with special needs, I am working very closely with not only resource teachers, but teachers in the self contained room that are very familiar with assistive technology. Some of my students have experienced difficulties with counting both up and counting back. A teacher suggested that I try Touch Math because she has been using this program. I am going to borrow what I need to from her, and try it on my SMART board. This will benefit all of my students, not just those with special needs. In addition, I have been speaking with the technology teacher, and she had suggested that in addition to the SMART board, I use the Smart Table in her computer lab. Some of my students have difficulties with using the SMART board, and I think the Smart Table will be easier for some to use. This will also work out wonderfully during center time as well.

I am completing my own research on how I can incorportate strategies to assist all of my learners needs. I visited the National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education, and it gives a listing and desciption of various assistive technology that can support those with ADHD, Autism, the Gifted and Talented, etc. This is a great start, because at one point when I first began my research I didn't know about assistive technology.

At this point, I don't believe I have to modify my action plan. I am turning to all resources I have avaiable to me including the internet, and other colleagues. Some questions that are arising are exactly what technology to use for what the needs are. In this case, I have already identified the individual needs of my students. I am now turning to my principal to hear her input. I know that we have many resources in the district and access to the technology, but now it is a matter of finding out exactly what we have. I believe that I am on the right track, and look forward to continuing my research. I am even more excited about incorportating varying technologies to support the needs and learning styles of my students!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Carrying out My Game Plan

My first step to carrying out my GAME Plan is to decide exactly what it is that my students need support with at this point in time. From there, I will complete searches on the internet to not only see what assistive technologies are available, but what strategies can be incorporated to assist my students in achieving success. In addition, I will speak with my colleagues and discuss what technology they used and strategies as well to meet the needs of their diverse learners. We always meet in our Professional Learning Community, and this topic would be one to discuss. My plan would also involve continuing to work very closely with the technology teacher in my school. She would know what the district itself has to offer in regard to technology. The technology teacher is also a great person to turn to because she knows my students. She can share her insights and it truly would be meaningful because she has known the majority of them since kindergarten.

So far, I have been using the SMARTBoard in my classroom with all subjects. In math especially, I see that my students have an easier time understanding what it is that I am teaching when they can see visual models (virtual manipulatives) and use those manipulatives. For example, if my students must count up or count back and they have difficulties, I have a virtual number line that can assist them. If my students have to figure out the expanded or word form of a number, it is easier when they can see the actual base ten blocks. The internet is also providing my students with the opportunity to complete reports, especially if they have difficulties with reading such as my resource students. They can access the information they need and view videos on any topic that I am assigning. In Math, I am also exploring Touch Math. A colleague of mine teaches in the self contained room, and she said this is a great technology tool to explore to help my struggling students. For those that need enrichment, I can assign interactive websites that they can explore.

As of right now, I still have much research to complete because assistive technology is all new to me. I have always differentiated instruction, but I have only recently been using technology to support my teaching. I now have a SMART board in my room, and next door to me in the self contained room, they have a SMART Table. After completing more research on my own, I can decide what is the next step in working on my GAME plan and accomplishing my goals.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

NETS-T: Developing My Personal Game Plan

After reviewing the NETS-T standards, I feel that there are quite a few that I need to develop in order to prepare my students for the workforce of both today and tomorrow. I encourage my second grade "digital natives" to use 21st century skills as best I can. I chose Integrating Technology in the Classroom to improve upon my own 21st century skills as well. I have utilizing technology for my own personal use, and in my classroom to the best of my ability. Not only am I taking technology courses for this specialization, but I have been attending courses for professional development in my district as well.

With this being said, there are many standards that I plan to work on, trying to master one at a time. The first standard that I need to improve upon is: 4.b- Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility- Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies and providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources. My GAME plan is to learn more about learner centered strategies to assist all my students. I have many diverse needs in my classroom, and learner centered strategies would raise their interest level, promote self directed learning, and will cater to their individual needs. I have the access to digital tools and resources in my district. I need to research various strategies that I can then incorporate with my students. I will then monitor and evaluate through daily observation. If my students are learning and are engaged, then I will certainly continue. If not, then I will continue to research more learner centered strategies.

The second standard that I feel I need to improve upon is 5.C- Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership- Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning. Once again, I feel that as a lifelong learner, and one that wants to encourage my students to be 21st century thinkers and use 21st century tools I need to continuously look at current research and implement what is learned in the classroom. The more I learn and explore on my own, the more I will be confident to not only share this new technology with my students, but I would act as facilitator and give my students the opportunity to explore as well. There is so much technology out there to support my teaching, and support the individual needs of my students. In addition, my students will be engaged in their own learning and be self directed learners. They too will learn to use these digital tools and I am pretty confident that it will help to raise the interest level of my students. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my teaching, and my student's learning. I want to provide my students with an enjoyable learning experience.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflection: Final Blog Posting

My personal theory of learning involves making meaningful patterns. I feel that meaningful information is easier to remember, just as Dr. Wolfe had stated. I assess prior knowledge by using a KWL chart and help students to organize their thoughts by using advance organizers. I believe that students should be active in their learning . My class is student centered and I act as facilitator. I feel that my students will learn by doing and should apply what they have learned through authentic assessments. Cooperative learning is encouraged in my classroom, because students learn from one another.

This course has not changed my personal theory of learning, but what it did was give me ideas, and instructional strategies of how to go about carrying out what it is that I want for my students. I encourage using 21st century skills and want to expose my students to using technology to create something new. I believe in cooperative learning, and now have learned many ways to incorporate technology. They can use a voicethread, create a blog, and use the internet to collaborate with students all over the world. This course provided me with not only examples, but numerous websites that I can use to enhance learning in my classroom.

In order to incorporate my new learning in my classroom, I have just purchased a laptop to take with me each day. The computers in my classroom are not updated and I cannot do all that I want to do. By taking my laptop and making more use of the computer lab, my students will have the opportunity to be involved in authentic learning experiences that are enjoyable.

I would like to start off the new school year with teaching my students how to make a voicethread. I would like for them to think about a summer memory and take it from there. I think this will be interesting for the students and will give them an opportunity to provide feedback to their fellow classmates. I think this will encourage cooperative learning and using 21st century skills in the classroom. I would like to introduce my students to a class blog that I would like to create. We can begin the blog by sharing ideas of how to use the blog. Not only myself, but my students can offer feedback to one another.

My long term goal is to incorporate technology as much as I can. I want my students to use the technology and I want us to try to use the technology to create different things. If my class is to complete a report, I want them to use Read Write Thinking Press. When my students complete the unit on Flat Stanley, I want them to collaborate with other students around the world. If they are completing a cooperative learning activity, I want all of my students to be engaged and create something together. I will be there to facilitate every step of the way. I know that I want to do a lot and I am excited about it. I also know that this takes time.

My students mean a lot to me. I will always take into consideration how they learn and make sure that my lessons cater to their way of learning. Technology can help me to support whatever it is that I am teaching, and make it more enjoyable for my students!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Voice Thread on Bullying

Please view the following voice thread and leave a comment if you wish. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

The Social Learning Theory is a type of learning which involves one learning from another. Students benefit from conversing with eachother. They share ideas, offer feedback, encouragement and as a result, have a greater understanding.

Cooperative learning correlates with the principles of the social learning theory. Through technology, students have the opportunity to not only create, but also have the benefit of working with others. When giving a cooperative learning task, you must present clear expectations. Students must know what the task is, and the criteria that will be used in order to assign a grade. I believe that there should not only be group accountability, but individual accountablility as well. The teacher is there to facilitate when needed.

In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, examples are given of how technology supports the social learning theory. Multimedia is used by creating a rubric of how students will be evaluated. This rubric is not only for the use of the teacher, but more so for the students. Students can see how they will be evaluated, what is expected of them, and how they can succeed. Web resources allow students not only to search the web, but become connected with others all over the world. They can share ideas and feedback for whatever it is they are working on. This sense of learning from others then goes beyond the classroom. If a child needs assistance with something, they can reach out to others for assistance as well. Keypals are a way for students to become connected with individuals from other schools and other states. At one pont in time with had penpals, and this is a much easier, and faster way to collaborate with others through using the internet. Again, this supports the social learning theory because students are working and learning from one another. Building a website is also something that students can create by working cooperatively. There is much involved in completing this task, but students can complete it successfully providing each person contributes. Web enhanced multiplayer simulation games support the social learning theory, because students are playing interactive games on the internet with one another.

In conclusion, cooperative learning strategies correlate with the principles of the social learning theory. Students are worling with one another and now because of technology, learning can be done with others outside of the classroom.