Archive for November, 2012

Week 13

24 Nov

What do students learn in schools?

What students learn is schools varies from school to school and sometimes even student to student. Sure, everyone would like to think that students are being taught the necessary skills they’ll need in order to succeed in the real world, “In the classroom, our educators are ready and waiting to give all students the knowledge and skills needed for success in college, careers, and life”( sadly this statement isn’t always true. We have proof that students aren’t learning the skills they need to succeed when we have high school graduates who is at an 8th grade reading level. The sad fact is a lot of students are just being taught how to take tests rather than being taught how to critically think and take knowledge that that have gained and apply it to real life situations. Also, like we have discussed in class education tends to go through trends as to which subjects are more valuable right now the more “important” subjects are math and science. Rather than focusing on specific subjects students need to have an education that makes them a well rounded person who is able to function and critically think and problem solve in the real world. How do we do this? Is one subject more important than another one? How do we really assess and make sure that students will be able to function well in society?

What are some models of direct instruction?
“Direct instruction is used to describe a lesson where the teacher has control” (Moore). Basically the teacher lectures at their students and then models what they want the students to do, or walks them through step by step how to do a problem. Picture that big lecture hall in college, with the teacher who has a slide show and a monotone voice and you’ve got direct instruction. It’s really boring and in all honesty it doesn’t require the learner to really think about anything. All they have to do is listen, memorize and be able to regurgitate the step by step process they saw the teacher preform. So really there isn’t too much learning going on, mostly its memorization.

What are some models of indirect instruction?
Indirect instruction is the opposite of direct instruction. It is more hands on, students are allowed to experiment and ask questions that lead to them discovering the answers or solving the problems either by themselves or with their peers. The teacher is more of a guide, there to help when needed and answer questions. Instead of giving students the answer or teaching them a step by step process teachers guide students in the correct direction by doing things like asking questions. This type of teaching allows students to collaborate together teaching them social skills, group management skills, and critical thinking skills. An example of indirect instruction would be: group discussions or group activities. Indirect instruction is something that I wish I was exposed to earlier in life. I didn’t really get exposed to it until high school and then a lot more in college. I have issues with thinking critically and thinking “outside the box” and I think if I had been taught using indirect method earlier in life I would be more skilled at problem solving and critical thinking.

Brainstorm ideas of authentic assessments that you may use that are appropriate for a content area that you might teach as well as developmentally appropriate for your future students:

I always stress about coming up with ideas on how to assess my students that doesn’t involve giving a test. I find tests boring and so un-original, and like I’ve said before I’m a horrible test taker and I get test anxiety so as a future teacher I would like to spare my students that stress as much as possible. I know that tests will have to be given and taken and I know that my students will have to pass state tests because of this obviously I won’t never give any tests but in situations where I can be more creative with assessments I will take advantage of it.  Some possible ideas I have:

Project based assessments: Anything to get the students using their hands and imaginations. So for example in a 3rd grade classroom for science I would assign each student a specific bug or animal study more in depth about, and then come up with some creative idea to present their information to the class. Either a poster board, or a slide show, or an art project.

Story writing: I would have the students write a creative story that we would develop over a few weeks. It could start with just a short paragraph for them to get their creative juices flowing and then get longer from there.


-Moore , D. (n.d.). Direct instruction: Targeted strategies for student success . 21(414)

Week 12

17 Nov

I think schools are doing their best to stay relevant in the 21st century. Computers are being used more and more in the classroom in all grade levels and I think that is a great idea because students are use to so much stimulation all the time and computers are a great way to keep them engaged in learning and also giving them the freedom to explore and discover things on their own. I think that schools could be doing better at staying relevant for the 21st centery because “teacher licensing standards should include assessment of knowledge and skills involving incorporation of technology in classroom lessons” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 514), this statement is very true and I know that many teaching programs don’t help their future teachers build these specific skills. Teachers licensing programs should include training and assessments on how to use technology in the classroom so that teachers are able to use the technology they have available to them to the best of their abilities. Teachers also need to learn how to get students interested and excited about technology because it can be used in some very interesting, unique and fun ways. One of the biggest issues with technology though is that not every school has equal opportunities to technology “whether in their schools or homes, lower-income students generally have less access to certain computer-based learning opportunities that middle-income students do” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 515). This is sad but true and in order for schools to continue to engage their students and show their students that they have a purpose in the 21st century schools, their communities and the government need to work together to make sure that all students have access to decent technology.

I think that students should have some say in the content that they study. Rather they have a say in what they study or how they study students need to feel like what they are learning is relevant to their lives, that they can relate to it and they should enjoy learning! It’s not hard for a teacher to simply ask their students, “what are you interested in learning?” or when they are studying a subject asking them something like, “Would you all like to create a poster board or a powerpoint about this subject?” instead of just lecturing and testing students teachers need to figure out creative and new ways to engage their students. I have found it amazing to see what ideas students come up with about their education when they are simply asked. So personally I think it is a great idea to let students have some control over the content that they learn and how they learn it.

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Diversity in the Classroom

09 Nov

-How might you teach a student who is gifted and talented in your inclusive classroom?
“Often, highly able students learn more quickly than others their age. As a result, they typically need a more rapid instructional pace than do many of their peers”(Tomlinson, 1997) I think because gifted students are able to learn more quickly than their peers many gifted students become bored in the classroom so they start to act up and then the teacher gets frustrated because they aren’t exactly sure what to do with their gifted students. I think that identifying your gifted students with in your classroom as quickly as possible is the first step to helping them get the education they need. If you can identify a gifted student than as the teacher you could meet with the parents of the students and come up with an individualized lesson plan so that the child stays interested in the learning material and so that the child doesn’t become a distraction to the other students. As a teachers I would seek advice from my peers on how to teach a gifted student ask for ideas and activities that would challenge the student to make sure that they are getting the most out of the material and that they aren’t bored in my classroom. I would never want a child to be bored in my classroom because boredom tends to lead to distraction and becoming uninterested in education.

-Managing a classroom environment:
I always found the “token system” and interesting a great idea to help to manage behavior in a classroom. “A token system is a system in which students earn some type of a token that can be exchanged later for a specific reinforcer” (Peters Laura C., 2010). I remember having a few teachers growing up that used this system in their classrooms and I loved it. Obviously as a student I didn’t realize the true purpose of the system I just knew that I loved having the opportunity to earn some tokens that could then be traded in latter for a prize, it was great! Obviously to use this in a classroom the teacher needs to know their students well and know rather or not this kind of system would work for them. But, out of the many ways that I have read to manage a classroom this one is in my top favorites list.

-What steps should you take to help prepare you to teach students with disabilities?
I think the most important step I can take is educating myself any way possible. I will do internet research because the internet leads you to many different types of sources that can have great advice and helpful types. I also hope that I can actually volunteer within a classroom that has multiple types of disabilities because I believe that hands on experience is one of the best ways that I learn. Actually being able to interact with students who have disabilities and seeing how more experienced teachers handle it and what strategies they use is going to be much more helpful for me than just reading about what I should do in a book. I would also like the chance to be able to talk one on one with special needs teachers. Even though I might not work with students who have as intense disabilities as they work with being prepared to deal with as many situations that could possibly come my way is on the top of my list of things to do before I am by myself in my own classroom. Asking questions, doing research and seeking out the answers to my questions is how I plan on preparing myself to teach students with disabilities.

I thought this website was really interesting. It’s a site for teachers to come and collaborate ideas with each other. It is put together by teacher is West Virginia but I still think it has a lot of useful tools and ideas that can be used by teachers everywhere.

Peters Laura C. (2010, January 08). Innovations and perspectives. Retrieved from

Tomlinson, C. A. (1997, May). National association for gifted children. Retrieved from

Week 10 Social Class and School Achievement

04 Nov

1. What steps can you take to create a more supportive school environment?
One of the biggest steps that I think we can take as educators to create a more supportive school environment is to put our own prejudices aside. “For educators, the challenge is to improve the performance of all low-status students, from whatever ethnic group”(Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 348). We want to educate ALL students and give each of them the chance to succeed and how can we do that if we go into a classroom with prejudices? It would be impossible. As a teacher if we think that a student isn’t capable of doing something, the students is most likely going to pick up on that negative attitude and then most likely they will just give up. If you as their teacher doesn’t believe in them why would they believe in themselves? As a future teacher I personally plan on leaving any prior knowledge that I THINK I know about my students outside of the classroom. Every year I’ll be getting a new group of kids with their own individual background stories and personalities and I plan on letting them express that, I plan on letting them tell me who they are rather than just making assumptions. I want to see what prior knowledge they have and then build on that knowledge. I plan on lifting my students up, believing in them and encouraging them on a daily basis. I think that if you go into a classroom and expect your students to work hard, try their best and encourage them students are able to accomplish pretty much anything. Students and teachers have to be willing to work hard and listen to one another. Look at the movie Freedom Writers Erin treated her students with respect, she believed in them and she didn’t treat them like they were stupid like many other teachers did and ever single one of her students went to college. That’s pretty amazing. Erin showed what teachers and students are able to accomplish if you work hard as a group and put your prejudices aside.

2. How is class time related to student achievement?
I think that class time is where teachers can make the biggest impact on a student on an educational level. It is during class time that teachers can assess students and the knowledge that they know. Also class time tends to go one of two ways either it is engaging and the students are having fun while they are learning or they are bored, tune out the teacher and they learn very little to no information. I have been involved in both types of classrooms. I think it is the teacher’s responsibility to make the information fun, engaging and relatable. As educators we need to make our students understand why education is important and how it matters in their life. The class time is also a very important time to help and encourage students. It is very, very important that we help students understand better when they are having trouble in school and that we continue to encourage them everyday. “Lack of academic success in the early grades not only detracts from learning more difficult material later; it also damages a student’s perception that he or she is a capable learner who has a chance to succeed in school and later in life” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 355) so encouraging students must start at an early age and continue throughout their academic career. Also, during class time is where students should be getting most, if not all, of the explanation they need to complete homework and other projects that get completed outside of the classroom. If a student doesn’t understand an assignment and they go home to either an empty house, because their parents are working, or a house with parents who also don’t understand the assignment how likely is it that the student is going to complete the assignment? Students should leave the classroom feeling confident in their own personal knowledge and their own abilities to do assignments by themselves.

3. Do you think tracking is a valid method for enhancing student performance?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about tracking in schools. There is so much debate over tracking and rather or not it is helpful or harmful to students, “…If teachers find it easier to teach a homogeneous group of students, tracking could enhance school effectiveness and raise test scores of both low- and high-ability students. But if students benefit from learning with higher-achieving peers, tracking could disadvantage lower-achieving students, thereby exacerbating inequality”(Duflo, 2009). I think that tracking can work well for certain students and then not work well for others so I think students and parents should be given the choice to be involved in tracking or to not be involved with tracking.

I found this article about tracking to be very interesting and informative: Can Tracking Improve Learning? by Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas and Michael Kremer.
This is the link:


1. Duflo, E. (2009). Education next. Retrieved from

2. Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Thoughts of a Future Teacher

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