Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
While reading an excerpt from The Courage to Teach, I came upon a quote that made me stop to think. The author recounts several anecdotes about teachers and students, adding that the stories "remind [us] of many facts about good teaching: that it comes in many forms, that the imprint of good teachers remain long after the facts they gave us had faded" (22).
I am particularly inspired by the idea that good teaching comes in many forms, because it celebrates the diversity of technique and practice that is present in the classrooms of effective teachers. Even within a highly effective school team, while commonalities are no doubt present, each teacher will likely have a unique style. And that's a good thing.
I'm reminded of a particularly fabulous class I took in college, which by almost all definitions of best practices and buzz words in education, the professor would be deemed terrible. The class met once a week for a lecture with 300+ students, and was held from 7 - 9:50pm. The professor lectured for the entire time, without the use of visual aids or multimedia.
But the class was fabulous, and possibly one of the most engaging courses I've taken in my entire educational career. I'm trying to reflect on why that class was so engaging, and why I still have the notebook from that class that took place over four years ago.
The professor was engaging and charismatic. He shared his personal experiences and made the content come to life. But most of all, the course was relevant and he was knowledgable. Entitled Media, Money, and Power, the class focused on the way corporations controlled media outlets and how general public opinion around current events was formed in deliberate ways by those who had a vested interest in the outcome. He talked about issues we cared about, particularly from a perspective we had never heard before. And while attendance in most college classes typically dwindled as the semester went on, his lecture hall was consistently filled. He didn't enforce attendance by taking it for a grade, or offer pop quizzes to force students to attend lecture. Instead, he provided an incredibly relevant curriculum in an incredibly engaging way.
As I move toward my third year in the classroom, and think about my former students in the past two years, I wonder: will my class be one to remember four years down the road? and how do I make the content so relevant, that students can't wait until the next class? if my class was held in the evening, and attendance was optional, would students show up?
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"We can turn in one lab per group."
Thursday, June 10, 2010
- Read the sign outside my door, which communicates the number of handouts and supplies needing to be picked up from the supply table (located inside the door as you walk in)
- Pick up the handouts and supplies and sit in assigned seat
- Update table of contents (my example was projected on the screen using a document camera)
- Attach handouts to appropriate pages using the glue picked up from the supply table
- Some students took forever to glue because they methodically (slowly) covered the entire page in glue.
- Some students glued extremely quickly. This posed two problems: they wasted time waiting for other students to finish and their pages started to fall out due to lack of appropriate adhesive.
- Some students refused to use glue (they claimed aversion to stickiness) and spent precious moments in search of a stapler or waiting for a student to finish using the stapler.
- Some students preferred tape, and like the staple-preference students, spent time looking/waiting for the tape dispenser. If tape dispenser was empty, chaos ensued.
- Shouldn't students arrive at the conclusion about Hooke's Law on their own, rather than during a teacher-guided lecture?
- Is there any portion of this lab investigation that should be teacher-directed?
- Was the notebook set-up for this lab last year a strong way to structure the activity?
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
- Why did I give a grade for the table of contents? I won't try to justify giving a grade, because at this point I admit that was a bad idea. I was thinking that giving students a grade for the table of contents would hold them accountable to keeping it maintained and completed.
- What skill was I assessing for this assignment? Apparently I was assessing the ability to complete a mundane task (copying an example). Bummer.
- How do I motivate students to maintain a table of contents and how do I enforce non-compliance? I'm still thinking through the answer to this. Suggestions appreciated.
- Is it really important for students to maintain an organized table of contents? I would argue that yes, the most organized notebooks I saw were ones that included a complete table of contents. I think a student's diligence in completing the main page for the unit was a behavior that stemmed from their intrinsic motivation to comply, perhaps regardless of whether it was graded or not.
- Why didn't all my students earn 100% for this "assignment"? There is investment and classroom management tied into this answer. Not all of my students were invested in my class and in using the notebook. Unfortunately, I failed to effectively portray the purpose and usefulness of the notebook to that group of students. Also unfortunately, I often assumed that if a student was starting to glue in handouts, then they of course must have already updated their table of contents. Not exactly.