Friday, May 10, 2013

Digital Citizenship Inside the Early Childhood Classroom

This week I have been researching about digital citizenship and specifically what it means for children in the early childhood classroom. Look at this Prezi that I created that provides an overview of what digital citizenship is and how it relates to Early Childhood.
Digital citizenship is something that I was never specifically taught about. I learned over time through trial and error. I believe that teachers have the unique opportunity to introduce the important concepts of digital citizenship to children at a young age. Every child has different experiences before they come to school. It is up to the teacher to expand on these experiences and grow the students' skills. There are many important skills that we need to safely and effectively use the technology that surrounds us. Some skills are taught as the children get older such as citing sources, but many skills can be taught during the early school years such as how to stay safe online. Here are the sources I used in this post and prezi.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

In the book The Connected Educator the authors talk about how as teachers we must learn to unlearn. This a hard concept to think about at first. When I first read about this concept I had a hard time understanding it. I thought about it as I am in college learning to teach so why would I unlearn? Aren't we supposed to build on our prior knowledge? The whole concept left me feeling lost.

After the initial shock wore off and I had time to think about this I saw where this can be useful as a teacher. I can see a few ways where it would be beneficial. First, I think that when someone decides to become a teacher they have preconceived notions about what a teacher does and who a teacher is. Through my classes and experiences in schools I have seen these beliefs challenged and in many cases shift.

We also have to unlearn how to teach in many cases. The ways that I was taught information in school, in most cases, are no longer acceptable. This has changed based on research that is constantly occurring to see if children can learn content easier if it is taught in a different way. I think that there is a constant cycle of learning that occurs as a teacher.

I also think that as teachers we need to unlearn every new school year. Every year we learn about our students. We learn how they learn and about their personal lives. We learn how to reach them and how to teach them. We have to unlearn all of this with each new year so that we can relearn about our new students. Some practices might carryover, while others need to be adjusted for the new students. It is the teacher's job to learn about their students and create a classroom that meets those needs. If they don't, then the students are the ones who suffer.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Flipped Learning

I had my first introduction to Flipped learning over the last few weeks in my Technology for Education class. Before this class I did not know anything about flipped learning.

Personally, I think that Flipped learning is an interesting concept for older students. With my degree being Pre-Kindergarden to fourth grade I don't know if this is something that I will use in my classroom, however. I do think that there is a possibility that I would use this style of video for extra enrichment. I might create videos that the students could reference at home if they were having difficulty with a certain topic. The school district that I am working with now for my field experience has a lower socioeconomic status and most of the students do not have internet access at home. Because of this I have a hard time seeing this as a practical approach for the students I am working with.

Here is the video I made while learning how to flip a lesson.
It is an introduction to area. The following day I would have the students work with different problems to see if they understood the material.

I liked how my boards came out. I think that it was fun making them. Also, I think that these are boards I can use in my future classroom. I like the idea of a Daily 5 so I could use these in the various centers around my classroom. I recently played a game that had three teams. It would have been nice to give each team their own board for recording their score.

As far as filming went I didn't think it went too badly for my first time. In the future, if I were to do this I would position myself higher in the frame in relation to the boards. I think that this would result in a better looking final product. I also think that doing this more would give me more confidence with it and make me more comfortable being on camera.

While I don't think that I will be running a flipped classroom in the future I am glad that I am aware of what it is. If I am asked in an interview I have an idea of what they're talking about. I also might use these techniques in my future classroom. I can see applications where this could be used to help struggling learners as well as enriching the advanced learners.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

This Week

In my personal life this week has been very busy and stressful. Despite all that hasa been going on I still have been focusing on preparing for my classes. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring makes me focus and prepare for everything in advance.

This week has been busy, but great at BC3. I got to teach two different lessons on Tuesday in my field experience class. The students made state stamps and we played "popcorn spelling" for review. For the first lesson I included technology by having the students research facts about the state they had selected. Here is where I found the original idea for the lesson, This went really well and the students had a blast. Here is my finished display of their stamps. 

The students really enjoyed this lesson. They loved getting to go on the computers for something besides Study Island and Spelling City. Their final projects were beyond my expectations. Next week will be bitter sweet for me. It is my last week with this class. The following week I will be going into the third grade for the rest of the semester. I made them all gift bags as a goodbye gift and I am making a couple of gifts for my cooperating teacher. This is what the gift bags look like. They each are getting pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, stickers, a notebook, pop point crayon, and a shape tracing bookmark.

In my other classes we are preparing for midterms and Spring Break. We are learning about infant development. So far I have not seen much opportunity to incorporate this class into my other courses. I am using technology, but it is general programs that I have been using for years, Word, Excel, and Firefox.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Twitter Find

This week as part of my Technology for Education class I created a professional twitter and connected to many professionals in the field to see what they are doing and come up with ideas for my classroom. While going through my twitter feed I found a lot of things that I think could be useful in the future. I found an interesting post by Brad Wilson. In this tweet he linked to a webpage about an app he created for the iPad. The app is called Write About This. The app is intended to get children writing. It provides a picture to accompany a writing prompt.
 A prompt from the app.
This is the apps homescreen.

I think that this would me great for my future classroom to encourage them to be more comfortable with writing. It also allows teachers the opportunity to create their own prompts. I think this would be useful in my writing center as well as to connect it to a projector to provide the whole class with the prompt.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welcome to My Classroom

For my Technology for Education lesson this week I was assigned to create a PowerPoint that I could use in the future to introduce myself to my students and their parents. I would use this PowerPoint during open house and on the first day of school to help break the ice. It took me some time to figure out how to do this lesson on my own. I tried many times to get the PowerPoint to import correctly. I got it to upload to Google Drive, but then I had to do some editing. There were words that did not fit once it was imported. Though it took me some time to figure out I enjoyed doing it and can see myself uploading presentations in the future. I enjoyed making the form below as well. I found the program simple to navigate and self-explanatory. Take a minute to watch my presentation then please leave me some feedback on the form below.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Look What I Found Blog Exploring

This week I have been exploring many different teaching blogs around the internet. Some of these were based in the United States and some were international. One of my favorite new blogs that I found was Teach 123. This is a great website with tons of tips and ideas for elementary classrooms. It is written by a woman, Michelle, who has been a teacher for many years in many different classroom environments. This is the type of blog that I could spend hours on exploring. There are lots of resources on this site that I think will come in handy in the future for my classroom. There are tips and ideas on the website, Common Core Materials she has designed available for download, and lists of books for teaching various skills.

While I was exploring, I found a post that really caught my attention. It was simply titled Reading Goals. It caught my eye because next week I will be teaching a fourth grade reading lesson in my field experience placement. While this did not have any information to specifically use in my lesson, it did provide some great ideas for the future. She talked about how teachers can get more books in their classrooms for the students to be exposed to. She suggested sending home notes at the beginning of the year  and around the holidays asking parents for any books that their children no longer want to add to the classroom library.

Some of my favorite ideas that she had involved the Scholastic book orders. She had a letter that she sent to parents at the begging of the year explaining about the orders to parents and explaining some
of the benefits of them. She told them that the class earns points to get more books for the class library from their orders. I thought this was great because most teachers I have seen just give the orders to parents without any explanation. I also liked that she had her students work in pairs doing a scavenger hunt with the order forms. By making this a game, it can help encourage the students love of books. I think that most things in our lives that we are passionate about get their roots in early childhood. By reading for fun as a child, I believe that it encourages us to continue reading as adults. It also makes those of us in college more willing to read for class.