Sunday, May 3, 2009

Individualized Education Plan

When I began the school year, one of my host teachers, Sven, introduced me to clickers. They are a type of remote control that students can use to communicate with teachers and with particular applications that have been developed to be used with clickers. I had heard about these in college but did not have any experience with them. During my observation semester I learned a lot about the clickers by watching my host teacher.

For more of my IEP click here

I created six lesson plans you can view them here

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Internet Resources

My top 3.

I LOVE this website. It provides access to a number of pictures and short videos. You search your subject and tons of results come back. You can sort the results by type and by grade level. The videos are commonly split up so you can view them in segments or watch the entire video.

Anchorage Daily News has an online version of its newspaper. I commonly put a link to the newspaper on my daily learning log. It makes it so easy to make things current for the kids. They get to learn about biology and geology in Alaska. It helps make what we are learning relevant.

These websites are tied in my list. The United States Geological Society and the Alaska Volcano Observatory have been great in the Geology classroom. The USGS provides information and definitions that my kids and I can access. Sometimes if they are confused about a term after we have discussed it multiple times I tell them to go to the USGS and read about it.

The AVO website has been great this school year. During the fall semester we studied Volcanoes and I was able to show my kids pictures of our active volcanoes and the history of eruptions. Then once Redoubt began to go crazy we checked the website at least once an hour.

Online Community Results

I joined a mail ring called I was actually not too excited about it in the beginning. It was a mailing system that mailed all people signed up whenever something new was started by another teacher. Some of the topics ended up being “venting” and not actually about education. Some of the topics though were beneficial. Topics ranged from discipline to different lesson plan tools.

I do think that this mail ring was a good idea. I do think though that it should be more centered on teachers in a specific area for each ring. Some of the topics didn’t seem to apply to me and my area. Other topics were just general questions that could have been asked elsewhere. There were multiple mail rings that you could join such as; beginning teachers, science teachers and student teachers. Sometimes not much was going on and no one responded to topics so things were a little boring.

I think that after we all graduate from this program us Sitka MAT’ers should do something like this or start our own facebook group so we can keep in touch. Now that would be a relevant mail ring!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Digital Story

This is the story of Iapetus; a water drop that goes on a huge journey. This story was designed to help students understand the water cycle as it would appear for a single drop of water. The story follows Iapetus through all the twists and turns in his journey.

My Story Map can be viewed by clicking here

The actual story can be found on You Tube.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Assistive Technologies for Reading

This article talked about using new technologies to help students with learning disabilities read. Students with learning disabilities are commonly reading well below their grade-level. There are reading support computer programs that help students access grade-level text as they read. There is also technology that helps as a reading intervention to allow students strengthen and improve overall reading skills. Students with learning disabilities commonly skip words or misread written text and even their own writing. Teachers have found that students with disabilities are more likely to read a text passage multiple times using software versus only hearing it once when a teacher is reading it to them. Short videos are also used in conjunction with the program to help students who are not familiar with the words in the passage.

Interesting Bits -
  • 18% of students didn't need special education services for reading after using the computer based programs.
  • Students read the passages multiple times when using computer programs.
  • Computer readable texts need to be made available in order for this to work.
  • 8 out of 10 students with learning disabilities have reading problems.

My Summary -
I have not seen anything used like this in the school at which I work. I think that the article makes a good point when it says that this program hinges on the material being available in a computer format. Most of the books at my school are not available on computer and not even available in enough numbers to sign out a book to each student. This doesn't mean that in "actual" special ed or remedial classes they don't use these technologies. I think that it is a great idea; and if students are willing to use the programs and educators are willing to take the time to learn the programs and implement their use then I can see it working well. The article also makes another point that technologies are merely the vehicles that deliver instruction and do not influence student achievement any more than a truck that delivers vegetables to our grocery stores changes our nutrition.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Overdominance of Computers

This article talked about reasons for and against computers in the life of students. Without computers; students will not be prepared for life after schooling or even life in college. The author (Lowell Monke) feels that making students prepared for life with computers doesn't mean introducing them to computers as soon as they are off the bottle. Students don't only need to learn how to use computers but they also need to learn the discipline needed to be responsible computer goers. The article points out that many children these days have a diminished view of the outside world because they stay glued to their computers. Students are not experiencing real, concrete things. They are instead working in an abstract and symbolic environment. Research has shown that the more access that students have with computers the lower their test scores are.

It seems that computers are distracting students from their work sometimes more than they are helping them. As educators we need to be finding a way to balance our students machine-driven lives.

The author also brings out that we need to not force technology on younger students. We are constantly using technology to "push" students forward instead of letting them develop at their own rate. Students are labeled quickly and external technical fixes are applied almost immediately. This includes using calculators, medications and computer dictionaries without giving the student a chance to naturally progress. Click here for more.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Educational Philosophy

When making this philosophy video, I first went back and looked at some material I had written this past summer. I realized that I had some pretty good ideas and some thoughts from 3 months ago seemed laughable.

It seems that throughout my career as a teacher my ideas are going to change. As we influence students, they will influence us just the same.

This project was a way for me to look at the goals I want to meet and to re-evaluate how I am going to get there.

I think that pieces like this will be little gems that I can look back on and see where I came from.

Here is the link to my video! Enjoy.