Kansas State University
Educational Computing, Design, and Online Learning
Created April 21, 2006
I am a second/third grade looping teacher at McKinley Intermediate School in Abilene, Kansas. I attended school in Abilene from kindergarten through my graduation from Abilene High School. I began my college career at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kansas. I attended classes there for one year before transferring to Emporia State University. I student taught at McKinley with Kathy Horan in second grade. I earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in elementary education from ESU.
After graduating from ESU in 1989, I began teaching at McKinley Intermediate School. All seventeen years of my teaching experience have been there. I taught third grade from 1989 until 1996. During the fall of 1996, I began looping with a second grade class. Kathy Horan and I have worked together with looping since I began. She is teaching the opposite grade level as I do, but we coordinate our curriculum for both grade levels. Looping allows a teacher to teach the same group of students through 2 years of school. The benefits are great. Students, teachers, and parents are able to build strong relationships during this time period. Students have the stability of the same teacher so they are able to focus on their learning. Teachers are able to begin teaching the first day of school during the second year of the loop instead of spending that precious time learning about their students and their abilities. The teacher will know all of this important information from teaching them the previous year. The only drawback, I have found, is when the students leave at the end of the second year. We usually have many tears!
I have taken graduate level courses from Emporia State University, the University of Kansas, and Kansas State University. I decided to earn my master's from KSU because of the course offerings and location to my hometown. I began my coursework in the spring of 2003 and hope to finish by the fall of 2006. I have wanted to earn my master's degree for many years. I am very proud of myself for finally accomplishing this goal.
I have been married to Randy Barrett since 1989. He is an accountant with a local firm. We have three children. Our son, Quinn, is a 15 year old freshman at Abilene High School. He is on the Honor Roll. He is also busy with football, basketball, and baseball. Our oldest daughter, Brenna, is nine years old and in the third grade. She is fortunate to have Kathy Horan as her teacher. She loves to read. She is also involved with softball and volleyball. Our youngest daughter, Sophia, is five years old. She is looking forward to starting kindergarten this fall. During our free time, my family enjoys reading, spending time with other family members, taking walks, watching our children participate in their activities, and watching movies.
I believe a child's education is dependent upon three important factors: teachers, parents, and the child. The education process cannot take place without the interaction of all three. Each one has their own rights and responsibilities.
Teachers must be prepared to teach each day. They need to know the curriculum standards for all areas they are responsible for teaching. The teachers are to provide a safe environment for all of their students. This not only means a student is physically safe, but also mentally safe. Children must feel cared for and respected. Educators must be flexible and willing to change. They need to be lifelong learners and continuously update their teaching through research and learning new methods. Educators are to provide learning experiences through a variety of methods. Every child is an individual and must be taught and treated as such. It is the teacher's job to ensure learning will take place for each child.
Parents must prepare their students for their education. They need to ensure their child receives an adequate amount of sleep each night. Parents must make sure their child eats a nutritious breakfast each morning. They need to spend time with their child by talking with them about the child's life. It is important for parents to read to their children. One of the most important things a parent needs to do to ensure their child is excited about school is to be excited about their own child's learning. If the parent views education as valuable then education will be a valuable experience for the child.
The child needs to come to school ready to learn. The child needs to have a positive attitude about learning. They need to bring their enthusiasm for life, imagination, and love of the world with them every day.
If all three of these groups of people can accomplish these areas, then education will be a positive experience for everyone.
Courses and Applications
The following is a list of my Program of Study and the projects completed for each course.
Palm Computers in Education
Proseminar II: Technology Change, Research, and Theory
Proseminar I: Educational Computing, Design, and Online Learning
Web Curriculum Projects
Project-Based Learning with Technology
Teachers as Researcher
PRB/Curriculum and Instruction (Independent Study for Teaching and Learning Models)
MC Curriculum Programming
(to be taken)
Dr. Diane McGrath, Dr. Chandima Cumaranatunge, Dr. Mary Evan Griffith
The following list of courses offers my reflections of the learning that took place during the completion of my master's degree.
EDSEC 786 Palm Computers in Education
This course was an instructional course for how to integrate handheld computers into the curriculum. Each student was required to create a classroom project using handheld computers. The project required the use of a handheld and no paper/pencil. The project I created for this class involved using camera software with the Palm. Third grade students would take pictures of staff, classrooms, and other important areas of the school. They would then write description for each photo. The photos and descriptions would be kept on a Palm for new students, parents, and staff to view as they toured the school. The projects were then presented through the use of a webpage or PowerPoint presentation.
EDCIP 888 Proseminar II: Technology Change, Research, and Theory
This class was divided into three sections with three different instructors. The first section dealt with ethical and professional issues. This part of the course required me to truly examine my beliefs about educational topics. Dr. Ross made me really think about topics I had never truly examined. He made me "think outside the box". I was not always comfortable doing that. The second section dealt with the theory of teaching. We created an artifact for this class based on a reading. I read the book The Wonder of Boys and created a webpage to share my learning. The book discussed boys' learning and behaviors. It also explained reasons as to why their learning and behaviors differ from girls. The third section of the class had us reading and analyzing qualitative and quantitative research. We examined articles through the stated problems, data, research used, results, and recommendations made by the authors. We were assigned partners to do background research on an educational issue or teaching strategy. My partner and I chose to research the underlying reasons as to why Scientific Spelling would be effective in a classroom. This was difficult since my partner was working in Manhattan while I was in Abilene. It was also difficult because my partner was not a teacher so did not have the knowledge in the areas of education we were researching. My partner did a wonderful job of listening and doing background reading so he would understand the topic of Scientific Spelling. He was always willing to go the extra mile.
EDCIP 803 Curriculum Development
In this course, we focused on Marzano's "What Works in Schools" books and videos. We read and discussed many strategies involving student-related, teacher-related, school-related, and community-related strategies for learning and educating. Our instructor also had us read and discuss topics that involved No Child Left Behind, national and state standards, learning styles, and design alternatives. The history of curriculum, the influences on curriculum, and the factors that drive curriculum were studied. We also discussed problem-based learning, constructivism, curriculum mapping, and technology. We had many interesting discussions about No Child Left Behind. One of our final projects was to create a list of websites useful for educators, students, and families. This list has been beneficial to my teaching. I have used many of the sites I shared and ones provided by class members.
EDIC 887 Proseminar I: Educational Computing, Design, and Online Learning
This course involved readings and discussions on educational thoughts, trends, and theories. Topics included constructivism, technology, cognitive apprenticeships, project-based learning, epistemological pluralism, the difference between technology literacy and using technology to transform lessons, brain-based learning, and the differences between telecollaboration and teleresearch. I created my "Mexico" webquest during this course. This webquest has been used by all of the second grade teachers at McKinley since its creation. We are not using it now since it does not meet the state standards for second grade anymore. I enjoyed creating the webquest. It was so interesting to see all of the material available to teachers on the web.
EDETC 786 Web Curriculum Projects
This course focused on using the Internet to learn how to build a collaborative web page, keep a project log, and then apply this knowledge in our classrooms with students. We learned how to use digital cameras, scanners, and web design software. Part of the course objectives focused on knowledge of multimedia copyright laws and how to follow them. We also discussed issues involving collaborative web projects. These were time management, assessment issues, a successful implementation plan, and how to effectively evaluate student projects through the use of teacher-created rubrics. We learned about what a rubric needs to include and how to implement its use. I particularly enjoyed this class. I find it so interesting to create and maintain a website that is useful to my students, parents, and other educators. The only part of this class I did not enjoy, was putting a picture of me on my webpage. I'm hoping to replace it soon!
EDETC 718 Learning Technologies
This course focused on the use of the Internet in classrooms. We learned about tutorials, webquests, uses of the Internet to facilitate classroom discussions, how to evaluate web resources for classroom use, and how to evaluate software for classroom use. We completed three collaborative projects on the three different types of software and Internet uses: Tutor, Tutee, and Webquests. This course was very frustrating to me because it was completed totally online. My group discovered this frustration with our final project. We read the directions for the final project and interpreted them differently than the instructor wanted. It is difficult to ask questions of the instructor with online courses.
EDETC 786 Project-Based Learning with Technology
This course focused entirely on project-based learning. We used the Internet through readings, collaboration, and browsing through other projects already created. We had to observe our students and plan a project that could only be done using the Internet. We then completed out project with careers for this class. The focus was on learning the definition of project-based learning, why it should be incorporated into the classroom, how to teach using this method, and how educational technology impacts learning experiences. I really enjoyed this class. As with most of our master's courses, we were allowed to create a project we could use with our students. We were also able to do a collaborative project with students from Chapman.
EDEL 760 Teachers as Researchers
This course defined action research. We studied the history of it and the proper way to write an action research proposal. We each chose a topic to do as an action research project. We used data collections, surveys, observations, interviews, and artifacts within our action research projects. We obtained prior approval from KSU to complete our projects since they required the use of human subjects. At the completion of our projects, we wrote the final action research documents. These projects are to become part of a document for the Abilene school district. My students and I enjoyed this course because of my choice of project. I chose to do a study on using a stress relief object, or SRO, with my class. My students really liked having their SROs. Most of the students didn't use it after the first week, but there were about six students who had it out almost all of the day. The students liked them so much they requested that I deliver the SROs to their fourth grade teachers to help them get through the first few days of school.
EDC 1975 Independent Study for Teaching and Learning Models
This course was a compilation of many different types of teaching and learning models. We read about and discussed mnemonics, scaffolding, picture word inductive model, synetics, reciprocal teaching, constructivism, metacognition, discipline, technology, and multiculturalism. This course was one of my favorites. The instructor allowed us to have many different and interesting discussions in class. Our class was culturally diverse so it really made our topics even more meaningful and constructive. This course also helped increase my vocabulary with terms used in education today. Many of the concepts I am already using in my teaching, but I did not know the technical term for them.
EDCIP 890 Capstone Project
This course is a compilation of all the courses taken during my master's program. This project has helped me to examine my learning from my master's program. I definitely am a more confident teacher because of these courses. I have the confidence to design new types of learning for my students. I also am able to design learning activities that involve technology in a more constructive manner. Throughout my program, I have found all of my instructors to be extremely helpful and encouraging. The most valuable asset of my professors was their recognition of my years of educational experience and knowledge. This made me a more confident student.
EDSEC 910 MC Curriculum Programing
Course to be taken summer of 2006.
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Five Year Goals:
These are papers written for the courses taken during my master's program.
Chapter 8 - Ques. # 1
The most important criteria for identifying content for instruction has to be the legal constraints. The No Child Left Behind Act requires educators to place a definite emphasis on reading, math, and science. These will have to be the major part of our instruction so we can continue to be successful and enable us to receive government funding and positive public feedback.
State standards are also important. The state follows the guidelines put forth by national organizations involved with specific curriculums. My local district has revamped our district math curriculum to reflect the changes in the NCTM standards. We have added more standards and made others more specific. I have also been personally involved with developing our district science curriculum. We originally created a more knowledge specific curriculum. As process-driven instruction became more important, we rewrote our curriculum and standards to reflect this movement in science.
Significance is also an issue of importance. I believe this issue is what caused our district to start developing our local curriculum with reading and math. These areas are very important to a student’s success in life. In reading, we used to have just the necessary grade level content identified. The teacher could choose what instructional strategies they wanted to use to teach the content. Now we have the necessary content identified in a very specific manner and specific instructional strategies identified for each teacher to use, i.e. guided reading and Saxon Phonics. Our district has sought guidance from local reading instructors and grade level teachers to reading specialists at the state level. We have done this with each of the subjects taught in our district.
Authenticity in some subject matters is more of a struggle. The content choices in math are easy and obvious compared to science. To develop our district science curriculum, we relied upon the national science standards and advice from science educators at the college and state levels.
Another criteria that is intrinsic to developing content is matching it to student characteristics. Content must be age appropriate. If it is not, we will only be confusing our students and wasting precious instructional time. In science, it is not age appropriate to study chemical compounds. It is age appropriate to study how different substances react when exposed to each other. This type of unit also provides wonderful motivation to this age level. The students learn better and remember more because they are highly motivated by the unit’s content.
Teacher background has been a tough area in our district. We use teachers from K-12 in each subject matter to choose our content. It has been a struggle at times to choose between what is truly important and what we just enjoy teaching. I have always enjoyed teaching mammals in third grade. When we changed to process-driven science, I had to abandon my mammals unit because it did not fit into the chosen content for third grade. One way we did modify our content to fit our teachers likes and dislikes was by changing the order the content was to be taught. We originally had a rocks and minerals unit in third grade, but we switched it with a fourth grade unit. We did this because the fourth grade teachers had already been teaching this unit so they had the prerequisite knowledge to teach the content. We were also able to do the switching because the content did not need to be chronological.
All of these factors are integral to choosing the curriculum, or content. We must use all of these to develop a curriculum our educators and community will support.
Chapter 10 - Ques. #5
There are many important steps to use to affect teachers’ interest and commitment to new innovations. I believe the book offers a winning plan with the phases outlined in the Change Process. The first step I would keep in mind is to use respect. Too often the consultant or expert comes to share the new innovation and treats the teachers like they have no classroom experience. The consultant insults the teachers’ intelligence by reading the overheads and documents out loud to the teachers instead of allowing them to read it themselves or just pointing out the important pieces. The consultant will offer gimmicks or old standards as “new” ideas. All of these actions cause the teachers to shut down and not listen. Respect involves recognizing the amount of experience the staff may have. It also means having a positive discussion with the staff about what they are already doing in their classes within the subject matter involving the innovation.
The positive discussion is another important step. I would then be able to correlate the positive things already being done with what will be expected of the teachers involving the new innovation. This relates to phase one: analyzing the new and the old in the Change Process. Keeping the discussion positive and sharing specific aspects of the old program and how they relate to the new one will take away some of the stress and fear the teachers may have.
Another important step is to make teachers feel a part of the decision-making process so they will truly accept the innovation. The best way to do this, I feel, is to allow them to use the new program and offer their ideas or suggestions about its implementation. This step relates to phases two and three of the Change Process. Teachers will be more likely to accept the innovation if they know they can adapt parts of it to fit their teaching style or the students’ learning styles while keeping the integrity of the innovation intact.
None of the above steps will matter if the teachers’ ideas and suggestions are not recognized so phase four: providing feedback to teachers is vital. Teachers will feel validated by responses that recognize their experience and knowledge. When they know their opinions matter, they will be more willing to use the new innovation.
Standards are in bold print.
Indicators are in italics.
This is a website to help teachers integrate technology into curriculum. It has links teachers can use to create rubrics, quizzes, and research organizers. It also offers WebQuests, project based learning ideas and checklists, activities related to state standards, and technology assessments. The site shares information about professional development which includes grants available. Another interesting offering is the “Site of the Week”. It has an archive for all of the previous sites offered. I would use this site to help me develop rubrics for my multimedia projects my students create. (free website)
Teacher standards/ indicators
II. Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences
2. make appropriate choices about technology systems, resources, and services that are aligned with district and state standards
IV. Assessment and Evaluation
6. plan for, implement, and evaluate the management of student use of
technology resources as part of classroom operations and in specialized
11. guide students in applying self- and peer-assessment tools to criticize student-created technology products and the process used to create the
V. Productivity and Professional Practice
15. use technology resources to facilitate communications with parents or
This website focuses on collaborative learning. It offers teacher created online collaborative projects to join. You can also register a project of your own for others to join. There are also links to resources, professional development, online expeditions with real explorers, classroom conferencing, and news and discussion lists. My class joined one of the projects and enjoyed doing it. I also have a project I created registered at this site. (free website)
Student Standards / indicators
II. Social, Ethical, and Human Issues
(PK-2) 5. Work cooperatively and collaboratively with peers, family members,
and others when using technology in the classroom
III. Technology and Productivity Tools
(PK-2) 8. Create developmentally appropriate multimedia products with support
from teachers, family members, or student partners
(3-5) 5. Use technology tools for individual and collaborative writing,
communication, and publishing activities to create knowledge products for audiences
inside and outside the classroom
IV. Technology Communication Tools
VI. Technology Research Tools
(3-5) 7. Use telecommunications and online resources to participate in collaborative
problem-solving activities for the purpose of developing solutions or products for
audiences inside and outside the classroom
This website offers more than 100 online diagnostic tests for grades 3-8 in reading and math. It allow teachers to access tests, information, assign tests, and review scores of students. You do need to be a subscriber to use, but you can sample tests to see what the site offers. The tests are national tests, but they are in the process of developing state tests based on each state’s academic or learning standards. I could not find information about pricing so I am not sure if it is free or not. I would use this site to help prepare my students for taking standardized tests and to also do some preliminary testing to see if the student may need further testing to identify needs.
Teacher standards / indicators
IV. Assessment and Evaluation
13. Use results from assessment measures to improve instructional planning,
management, and implementation of learning strategies
14. Use technology tools to collect, analyze, interpret, represent, and communicate
data for the purpose of instructional planning and school improvement
This is a free website, but you must register to use the Teacher Toolkit. The
Teacher Toolkit allows you to create assignments, lesson plans, presentations,
and tests/quizzes. This site has all the state standards available so it gives
you the ability to directly link everything you create to state standards for
Kansas. It also has a planner, resources, and browse standards options. Teachers
can create and maintain a class homepage at this site. The homepage is password
secure so only parents and students can access it from the Scholastic website.
There also activities and information for students and parents to access.
I have started my own homepage to communicate more effectively with my students’ parents. I will also use this site to correlate my lesson plans to standards in a more efficient manner.
Teacher standards / indicators
II. Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences
2. Make appropriate choices about technology systems, resources, and services
that are aligned with district and state standards.
III. Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum
8. Facilitate student access to school and community resources that provide
technological and discipline-specific expertise (on the homepage)
V. Productivity and Professional Practice
15. Use technology resources to facilitate communications with parents or
This article offers what I believe is a common sense method of instruction. Most everyone learns and retains knowledge better when they discover and use the knowledge themselves instead of just regurgitating it. As a second and third grade looping teacher, I try to implement the constructivist model whenever possible. Some areas, such as math and science, lend themselves better to this model than others.
I have used both the BIG and WIG approaches. It is harder to use WIG with my grade levels because of the students’ lack of background knowledge and ability to work through a self-directed module. I have found it easier to implement WIG in small chunks instead of as one large unit. I do believe I tend to use BIG more because my students need more guidance and direction because of their age and ability levels.
Growing Up Digital
This article was very interesting. I tend to look at the world as a teacher so to read Brown’s view was enlightening. Multitasking is a skill every parent and educator has attempted on a daily basis. I find myself making breakfast while I am setting out clothes for my little ones and putting my school stuff in my bags. This works great until I find the peanut butter in the refrigerator and my graded papers in my daughter’s bookbag. I don’t think I am the only one who has this problem. We can all multitask, but we often lose our focus easily. There are times it is necessary and times when it is absolutely inappropriate.
I can relate to the Xerox techs. I learn best by discussing ideas with my peers. I like to hear other people’s ideas and thoughts about what was taught. It is also interesting to hear how other people interpret the information given. There have been times when every person in the group interpreted what was said in different ways. Sharing our ideas helped us to guide our thinking in the right direction.
I also think this class is a perfect example of the potential web learning has. The reality of taking a class in this format was beyond my understanding even just 2 years ago. Many people I tell about this class have a hard time understanding how this class can actually be happening with us having real time discussions. (Well, somewhat real time!)
I am going to take the unpopular position in support of Title IV of the CIPA Act. My support of it lies mainly with schools and children’s libraries. I support it not so much because of the controversial reading material as the controversial pictures children may view.
The main reason I support the act is it allows equitable access to the internet for all students. If this act were not in place, it would mean one educator might allow access to a site while another might not. It is then the individual teacher who is creating the censorship. Educators are people so they are subject to the same wide range of views as the general public. Their religious or political views may or may not correspond to the views of the parents’ within the community in which they teach. This has the potential to create turmoil within that community. I have a hard enough time getting the parents in my class to give permission for their child to use the internet even with teacher supervision. I have parents who won’t even allow their child’s initials to be used on a website. Since parents know access is filtered, they will be more willing to allow their students to use the internet.
Another reason I support it is because it returns the responsibility of internet access to the parents. If a student wants to look up information on a site that might be filtered, they will need to look it up elsewhere. They might even have to discuss their topic with their family. It allows teachers to not have to act as parents since we already do so in many other areas. I know by censoring some sites it may seem we are parenting, but I feel it puts the decisions back on parents. I do not know what each family finds acceptable so the use of a filter takes away from the tough decision of appropriateness of topics.
In truth, I do not need the filter when I use the internet with my second and third graders. My students do not have free range of the internet when we use it. I have preselected web sites for their educational value that the students can access. I realize they can go elsewhere, but using the preselected sites helps with my ability to monitor their use. Knowing the filter is there, also helps me feel more at ease using the internet with them. I know it is not foolproof, but it does help keep a lot of unnecessary sites out of reach.
It is a parent’s responsibility to teach their child about what is appropriate on the internet. My own child is given free access since I have no reason not to trust him. We have discussed what to do if something inappropriate comes up. We have also discussed chat rooms and our family feels they are boring so I am not concerned about his visiting those sites. Most importantly, I know my child ultimately makes the final decision about which sites to visit. I need to make sure I share with him our family’s morals and ethics so he can make informed decisions. It is not his teachers’ responsibility.
This has been a hard topic to face. I have always considered myself to be a very honest person, yet our discussions have made me realize this has not always been true. I would never steal from a person I know. I could not walk into another person’s house, get into their car, or even their work area to steal from them. I have decided I could not take from these people because I can see them as people whose lives I would disrupt. When I have used books, magazines, newspapers, software, and some areas of the internet, I did not think of the creators at all. I just viewed it as information there for my taking. I have also viewed items purchased for teachers at my school as open to everyone in the school since our school bought it. I now understand I have been wrong.
Copyrights and patents are actually not so hard to understand once you realize there must be a tangible form of the idea. I now know you must be diligent about writing down or creating a prototype to get your copyright or patent. You must do it early on because you cannot claim it as yours if you have not done so. You must also work hard to make sure everyone involved in the process is given credit or the credit could be claimed by someone else without any legal consequences. The laws are fairly clear, but the personal ethics of those you are working with are not always so clear.
Fair Use laws are still a gray area for many of us. There are so many varying conditions and rules. As educators, it is often easy to push the meaning of the law further than intended. An example might be, a teacher might videotape a television show to share with her class within thirty days, which is fine. The show is very interesting so she just keeps the tape and uses it for years to come. This is not allowable, but we “do it for our students”. People need to realize they are denying the creators the benefits of their labor by using the copy longer than intended instead of buying a legal copy.
Last week, I complimented a teacher on an activity her class had done. She offered me the book she had used. I knew I could take it and copy all of it for myself or buy my own copy next year. I thought for a moment and then thanked her, but declined the offer. Ignorance is no longer bliss!
The issue of privacy has, and always will be, a divisive issue. I feel privacy is important, but not when it could be detrimental to society as a whole.
I feel the government does have a right to know about such things as large cash deposits to find drug dealers. I also think it is a smart idea for the government to combine INS records, IRS records, and FBI records. I feel this should be done for everyone not just immigrants. Terrorists are not just foreign born people! We would be able to catch more criminals by doing this. These ideas do not bother me because I am a law-abiding citizen and have nothing to hide.
Since the internet has begun and the use of technology has increased, we have been warned to be careful about personal information in email and on the web. We now know the information does not even have to be on the internet to be accessed. People with the appropriate technology and knowledge can access the information on my own computer’s hard drive when I am online without me even knowing, which is scary.
It does not bother me that my email can be monitored at work since I am using school property. It also does not bother me since I have been warned this could happen. My personal email account (from home) is another matter. I feel personal email should be treated as mail from the post office. It should not be open to anyone who wants to read it. This should apply to everyone unless government or police officials have valid reasons for a subpoena to search through personal emails.
The privacy issue I feel most strongly about is the use of DNA. I think anyone who has been convicted of murder or any sex crime should have their DNA profile in a national database. As with fingerprints, this would help us solve many crimes. The criminal has lost the right to control this when they were convicted of the crime. I also feel just as strongly about DNA not being used to profile our health. No one has the right to know what my genes tell about me - except me. The knowledge of my genetic makeup will not help society as a whole. In fact, it could jeopardize it. I might be denied a job or health care because of my profile. I would have to turn to welfare to support myself and my family. This would only increase our taxes and health care costs if this happened to many people since society would need to support them. If I am allowed to work, I would be able to pay at least part of these costs instead of being a burden to society just because I have a gene that “might” cause cancer or some other disease.
There are so many aspects to the issue of privacy. It is hard to pick one general rule to follow. I believe it has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Our school has many i-books that are used by both staff and students. Staff members are allowed to check out an i-book to use at home or school. Each teacher usually uses the same computer each time.
I need to research some information for a college course. The i-book I normally use is checked out so I use a different one.
As I am on the internet, I happen to click on the “history” button on the side of the screen. I notice there are a number of pornographic sites listed. I am unsure of how to delete these listings. I am concerned that a child could possibly click on one of these sites and view very questionable subject matter. I am also very concerned because this staff member is a close, personal friend.
My first step would be to take the computer to my friend. I would show them the “history” of their computer. I would give them the benefit of the doubt since it is always possible someone else could have visited the sites as well. My friend appears shocked when I show her. She denies it was her. We check the dates the web sites were accessed and are able to prove she did not check the computer out at that time. We would then take the computer to my principal so he could investigate further.
If it truly had been my friend, I would have discussed with her the ramifications of her actions. Since I am president of our local NEA chapter and my friend is a member, I would have her consult our uniserve district director for advice on how to handle the situation. I would also seek advice from the director for myself as well. I would document what happened. Since there is a strong possibility I would face losing my job or other consequences if it was discovered I knew all along and since we know it is unacceptable to be accessing these sites at school using school equipment, I would give the computer to my principal. I would tell him to check the internet history without offering any specific names of who I felt had accessed these sites. He would find out by looking at the check out schedule for that computer. It would be a tough decision to make, but one I would have to do.
McKinley Intermediate School implemented the use of the Scientific Spelling program during the 2002-2003 school year. This program was implemented at only the third grade level at our school. The third grade staff received one day of instructional method training of this curriculum.
The third grade staff has had to meet at least four times this year to create spelling lists for the program. The words had to be identified by specific patterns, regular or irregular patterns, rule words, and content area. This involved many hours of collaboration. The design of instruction also caused many changes in how words were presented, studied, tested, and sent home. These changes in instruction affected not only the teachers, but the students as well. It created a change in how words were studied and organized for learning. The program has required the students to take words apart and analyze the patterns instead of memorizing whole words. It has been a long period of adjustment for both groups.
Scientific Spelling was implemented to raise students’ awareness of relationships between letters and sounds by using phonics patterns and rules. It also was implemented to raise spelling scores on assessments and daily work. This has been done by focusing instructions on specific spelling patterns and rules in words. The program has a guideline to use to know what patterns or rules to teach and the order in which they should be taught.
The desired outcome of this implementation was a higher rate of spelling literacy among our students. This should be seen in higher spelling scores on assessments and improved spelling in daily writing. The staff also desired to see students use this new spelling in a more consistent manner.
The staff has worked together to create a cohesive program to use in each classroom to improve spelling. We all used the same words and taught them in the same manner. We focused on the patterns and rules setup in the guidelines. Now the data, acquired before and during the use of this program, must be analyzed to see if gains were made. It also must be analyzed to determine ways to improve the program.
Palincsar, Annemarie Sullivan; Collins, Kathleen M.; Marano, Nancy L. (2000)
Investigating the Engagement and Learning of Students with Learning Disabilities by Guided Inquiry Science Teaching. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, v.31 no. 3, pages 240-251 (ERIC Document Reproduction; Service No. BED100021958)
1. Introduction to the Problem
I feel the authors of this qualitative research stated the rationale for the research very clearly. They cited the reforms in education that require all students to use problem solving and reasoning in all aspects of their daily lives and throughout their lives. This includes students with learning disabilities. Educational reform also calls for science to be taught using an inquiry based method. Thus the need to find a way to help all students, especially the learning disabled, meet these reforms. The authors focused on the importance of collaboration among the educators involved with the learning disabled students in the inclusion classrooms.
The background information did show the need for a study of this kind. The authors stated there has been little research done on the effects of teaching inquiry based science. They also stated little of the research has been done in the classroom. There were five different references to primary sources used to explain how inquiry based science teaching can aid the learning disabled student or the difficulties of using such a method. There were many other sources listed throughout the article to provide additional information. These sources are up-to-date and relevant.
The problem was not clearly defined. The authors stated students with special needs in inclusion classrooms require the collaboration of their teachers to be successful. They also stated “the research described in this article has been designed for the purpose of exploring the possible nature of this collaboration.” Three questions were presented that were used to guide the research. The questions were directly related to who will be collaborating, what roles will they take to increase learning, and how will the processes and outcomes be evaluated. After the references to learning disabled students and the effects of inquiry based science teaching on those students were given, two new questions were given. These questions were about how guided-inquiry instruction can help self-concepts of learning disabled students and what the correct kind of guidance to give to these students is. These did not relate back to the collaboration questions. Once the collaboration began, the teachers in the study were allowed to add even more questions for the researchers. The teachers’ questions were not directly related to the collaboration aspect of the study either. By doing this, the authors did not clearly present one problem or outcome to be researched. I found this caused confusion during the rest of the reading of the research. The authors did restate the questions relating to collaboration right before the discussion section of the article. It did refocus the reader, but only after causing confusion to the reader. Yet, the authors’ abilities to be very flexible and allow their research to evolve as it progressed truly made this a qualitative research project.
2. Research Procedures
The research was conducted using teachers and students in fourth and fifth grade classrooms during the instruction of science. The teachers involved were general education teachers. They represented fourteen schools from six districts. The districts were one rural, two urban, and three suburban communities. There was not specific criteria given as to why these teachers were chosen. The participating teachers identified the students who had individualized educational plans. Most of the classes had at least three identified students. There were also two to three more students identified who were being referred for evaluation or the teacher was considering a referral. The race and gender of the teachers and students were not identified.
The teachers and students were observed over a 2-5 week period on a daily basis during science instruction. The lessons lasted from 45 minutes to two hours depending on the teachers and schedules. The teachers also met to collaborate with the researchers and other teachers of their identified students to discuss data and interventions. The whole study lasted three years.
The authors used pairs or small groups to investigate and document the data gathered. Whole class observation was also used. The methods used included videotaping, focused observations by observers taking field notes, discussions with the teachers after instruction, and structured interviews with the identified students. Sound systems were used to hear identified students. Teachers were wired with remote microphones so one researcher could focus on them while other researchers remained focused on the identified students. Researchers used interventions with the students to helped “reengage” the identified students when necessary. All interventions were documented. Other data was gathered from formal assessments that were pretest/posttest and “artifacts” created by identified students such as notebooks, posters, or other forms of writing.
The authors explained their rationale for how the data was gathered, how it was to be used, and why it was important to gather. They did not state what methods were used to create trustworthiness.
The data was then used to create case studies. “The researchers began by generating a set of claims about the opportunities and challenges that students with learning disabilities experienced” when using inquiry based science. Evidence to support each claim was made using the data collected. The claims were made and data used according to each individual child.
The discussion portion of this article was based on one case study. The authors relied upon field notes and student interviews to support their ideas. No mention was made of the videotapes, use of the sound systems, teacher interviews, or the discussions from the collaboration meetings.
The authors used the collaboration questions to help guide their discussion of the results. They used examples from the one case study to explain their conclusions. These conclusions were supported by the results, but the results were from only the one case study.
The authors did not discuss or compare their results or findings to any other previous studies or even any of the other case studies from their own research. No discussion was given on the limitations of this study. The tables supplied as examples were confusing. It appeared words were left out or mixed up.
The authors discussed the implications rather clearly. They focused on the need for education specialists to be available within the classroom for these students. These specialists would collaborate with the general education teachers to find appropriate ways to support learning and to identify goals and indicators of success within the specific subject the identified student is being taught. These specialists would also aid the students in identifying strategies to help the student to be more successful with classwork, peers, and classroom participation.
The authors did not make any recommendations for further research.
Humans communicate with each other in many ways. Speech has evolved, but writing
was invented. There are many different writing systems in different parts of
the world. There are writings, like the Chinese writing system, in which a single
symbol represents a whole word. These writing systems are called logography.
In logography, students memorize a whole symbol for each word in their vocabulary.
In some writing systems, word parts are represented with symbols rather than
representing whole words with symbols. In the American Cherokee writing system
a unique symbol represents each syllable, which in combination with other syllables
makes up the whole word. The majority of the languages of the world such as
German, Spanish, English, Bulgarian, French, etc., consist of more than 65 unique
syllables, which do not follow a regular vowel-consonant pattern (strengths
consists of one vowel). English has thousands of unique symbols, but contains
between 39 and 47 phonemes. These languages are called alphabetic languages,
because each phoneme is represented by a symbol. (Sebastian Wren)
Alphabetic languages are easy to learn but some of them present challenges and are complex. In the Bulgarian language, for example, the correspondence between the letters and phonemes are one-to-one. A word is spelled the way it sounds. English does not have one-to-one correspondence between letters and phonemes, and consists of many “irregular” or “exception” words. Sebastian Wren points to the two letters in English that represent the same sound: the letter /v/ always represents the sound /v/ and the letter /q/ always represents the sound /k/. The reverse is not true – the sound /k/ can be represented by the letters K, Q, and C. English consists of many polyphonic words – same words are pronounced in different ways (“If you turn your boat across the WIND, you will WIND up swimming ashore”). Also there are many words that are spelled differently, but sound the same (“It is a RITE of passage for children to learn to WRITE RIGHT”). (Sebastian Wren)
Priscilla Griffith argues that spelling is a reflection of children's increasing understanding of English orthography. Spelling is not memorizing and irrelevant drill and practice. “Children use their knowledge of English orthography to “invent” spellings for words they do not know how to spell. These spellings provide a window into children’s growing comprehension of written language’s organizational principles”. (Griffith)
Rebecca Sitton also supports invented spelling, but she states the final goal needs to be spelling literacy. This can be accomplished by focusing on the teaching of high frequency words. She has compiled specific lists for each grade level. These words are introduced according to their frequency of use. All spelling instruction takes place around these core words. Sitton says “very few spelling rules, or generalizations, are productive to teach.” (Sitton, 1998, p. 60) She discusses the importance of word patterns and how they can help increase spelling skills and vocabulary, but she specifically states word lists should not be organized by patterns because students forget the words even more quickly than they learn them.
Patrick Groff contends that when students master the phonics rules they are very likely to spell correctly. “To master a phonics rule, a student must become consciously aware of the speech sounds in spoken words, and then understand that these sounds are predictably represented in writing by certain letters.” (Groff) He is in favor of teaching students to spell speech sounds, which will help them to develop mastery of phonics rules. It is important to identify the order and separate the speech sounds, and “to remember the predictable ways letters are used to spell these sounds.”
There is a consistency between the letters and the sounds. This consistency is limited. The challenges of spelling often occur when figuring out an unusual spoken word, (“Oh, you mean B-R-E-A-K, not B-R-A-K-E”). These instances propose that processing speech can call upon spelling. Researchers report “listeners use orthographic representations of spoken words in a lexical decision task.” (Jakimik, 1985)
As we have shown, there are two divergent schools of thought relating to spelling instruction. The first includes those who believe students should be allowed to use inventive spelling in their writing. This same group tends to focus on groups of words students must learn to be successful writers. The second includes those who believe if students are taught using the phonics patterns and rules, the students will learn to spell more consistently and effectively. It is our belief phonics rules and patterns are the key to creating lifelong spellers. Our research has validated this belief. Scientific Spelling focuses its instruction on phonics patterns and rules relating to spelling. Our action research proposal will be implemented to determine if this method of spelling instruction has improved third grade students’ spelling at McKinley Intermediate School.
Groff, Patrick, Rebecca Sitton Spelling Program Contradicts Scientific Research
Retrieved April 4, 2003, from The National Right to Read Foundation http://www.nrrf.org/essay_Sitton_104.html
Jakimki, J., Cole, R., and Rudnicky, A. Sound and Spelling in Spoken Word Recognition
Journal of Memory and Language 24, 165-178 (1985)
Priscilla L. Griffith, Judy A. Leavell. (1995) There isn't much to say about spelling .... or is there?
Childhood Education Winter 1995 v72 n2 p84 (7)
Retrieved from Kansas State University Libraries Expanded Academic ASAP
Sitton, R. (1998) Increading student spelling achievement. Bellevue, WA: Egger Publishing, Inc.
Wren, Sebastian, (1999) Phonics Rules
The Southwest Educational Developmental Laboratory
Retrieved April 4, 2003 from http://www.sedl.org/pubs/catalog/items/read07.html
There are many ways Action Research and the School Improvement
Plan process are similar. First and foremost, they both are ways to improve
the education of students. Both can be used to benefit students academically.
Both collect and use data. This data is then analyzed to identify the needs
of the students. Goals are then set to improve the education of the students.
Current research is then used to identify ways to meet these goals. Support
from colleagues is important to both. All teachers using the research must understand
and believe the identified processes will benefit the education of the students.
There are many ways Action Research and the School Improvement Plan process are different. One of the main ways is the School Improvement Plan is created to benefit the education of a whole school or district. Action Research is usually done to benefit one classroom or even just a few students within that one classroom. The School Improvement Plan is more academic oriented. Goals are set to improve reading or math scores. Action Research can be academic or behavior oriented. Goals may be set to improve spelling scores or to improve the behavior of one student in a group setting. Action Research uses data from assessments, daily work, student/parent surveys, anecdotal records, or interviews. The School Improvement Plan tends to rely on assessment scores. Action Research also requires parental permission to be gotten since particular student work or information will be shared with others outside of the classroom setting. The School Improvement Plan does not require any form of permission. The data is used only within the school district itself. Research done during part of an Action Research project can become part of a School Improvement Plan. The school or district may recognize the benefit of the research and decide to implement it within the school or district.
Both Action Research and the School Improvement Plan are important components to improving the education of students. Action Research is used to benefit smaller groups of students while the School Improvement Plan is done for the benefit of the school or district as a whole.
Action Research Proposal
Question: How has the use of Scientific Spelling improved the accuracy at which students spell in daily writing and on spelling assessments?
Rationale: Many children struggle with spelling. Their ability to
communicate in a clear and concise way, using writing, is
greatly affected. This problem will plague them throughout
life if not dealt with at an early age. McKinley Intermediate
School had no standardized method for teaching spelling
during the 2001-2002 school year. During 2002-2003, the third
grade adopted Scientific Spelling as the core spelling program.
“Scientific Spelling is a system by which students can learn to
spell words they do not know by using the reliable patterns
and rules of the English language.” (Carreker, 1992, p. i) By using Scientific Spelling, the third grade teachers have taught
patterns, rules, and irregular spellings to provide students with
the basic knowledge to correctly spell many words. “Students
can benefit from learning patterns among words. Pattern
study can begin in the primary grades, but should continue
as a powerful spelling aid into more sophisticated letter
patterns.” (Sitton, 1998, p. 19) This study will aid our staff in
evaluating the success of this program and what changes, if
any, should be made.
Work Plan: I propose to prove Scientific Spelling has improved students’
spelling in daily writing and on spelling assessments. I believe
the teaching of regular patterns and rules has enabled the
third grade students to become better spellers and analyzers
of our language. I will design a survey for the students to
complete. The survey will allow the students to rate their
attitudes towards spelling in second grade and spelling in
third grade. The survey will also allow them to compare their
personal views of their spelling success in both grades. I will design a survey for the third grade teachers which will have them rate their attitudes and views of Scientific Spelling. I will compare the spelling data of the same students from second and third grade. I will compare the spelling data of the same students from second and third grade. The use of my class
scores will benefit the study since they have received spelling
instruction from the same teacher the last two years. The only
true changes have been in the method of instruction and
program used. I will compare the spelling data of the same students from second and third grade.Time Line: April - June 2003
completion of student survey (May 16)
completion of teacher survey (May 30)
compilation of data from 2001-2002 (June 6)
compilation of data from 2002-2003 (June 13)
Carreker, S. (1992) Scientific spelling teacher’s
manual. Houston, TX: Neuhaus Education Center.
Sitton, Rebecca. (1998) Increasing student spelling
achievement. Bellevue, WA: Egger Publishing Inc.
2001-2002 district spelling assessments
2002-2003 district spelling assessments
2001-2002 weekly spelling test scores
2002-2003 weekly spelling test scores
2001-2002 Weekend News spelling scores
2002-2003 Weekend News spelling scores
2002-2003 weekly spelling dictation scoresDocumentation and Evaluation:
2001-2002, 2002-2003 District spelling assessment scores will
be tabulated and averaged.
2001-2002, 2002-2003 Weekly spelling test scores will be
tabulated and averaged.
2001-2002, 2002-2003 Weekend News spelling scores will be
tabulated and averaged.
Each of these sets of averages will be presented using a bar
graph to show increases or decreases in scores. This will
allow for a comparison of scores from a year without Scientific
Spelling instruction and a year with the instruction to determine
if a change took place.
2002-2003 Weekly spelling tests scores will be tabulated and averaged for each nine weeks.
2002-3003 Spelling dictation scores will be tabulated and
averaged for each nine weeks.
2002-2003 Weekend News spelling scores will be tabulated
and averaged for each nine weeks.
The averages of each of these sources will be plotted on its
own individual line graph to detect any growth in scores
during the year Scientific Spelling was formally taught.
Teacher surveys will include a list of questions relating to the
teaching of Scientific Spelling, formulating spelling lists, and
improvement in spelling scores. Teachers will rate each
question on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to a 5 (strongly
agree). Their answers will be averaged and shown on a
graph to determine the positive and negative aspects, as viewed by the teachers, of Scientific Spelling.
Student surveys will include questions about attitudes toward
spelling in second and third grade, their views of their own
spelling success during each of the years, and enjoyment of
spelling instruction each year. Students will rate each
question on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to a 5 (strongly
agree). Their answers will be averaged and shown on a
graph to determine the positive and negative aspects, as
viewed by the students, of Scientific Spelling.
The data shown on these survey graphs will aid in the determination of changes to be made in the program to increase scores and teacher/student satisfaction with the program.
Reflection: Have any other changes been made in my overall teaching
that could also have caused changes in spelling scores?
Did teachers working together to create spelling word lists
enable a more thorough teaching of Scientific Spelling? Has
the desired outcome truly happened? If not, what changes
can be made to make it happen? How can I make my teaching
of Scientific Spelling improve so student spelling scores will
continue to improve? Which strategies will I focus more or
Scaffolding Students’ Comprehension of Text
By Kathleen F. Graves & Michael F. Graves
Presented by Kristine Barrett
Scaffolding is instruction that provides the students with enough instruction
and guidance as long as necessary. The instruction and guidance continually
changes as the students develop their own skills and strategies.
Forms of Scaffolding Instruction
1. Moment-to-moment scaffolding
o Use of a variety of questioning techniques
To help students explain their answers in-depth
o Knowledge of how to ask questions without giving answers
o Give meaning and purpose to questions
o Must remain very aware of students’ abilities
2. Instructional Frameworks
o Questioning the Author (Beck, McKeown, Worthy, Sandora, and Kucan)
Use for reading individual texts
Used to understand, interpret, and elaborate on author’s meaning
Open-ended questioning techniques instead of story element questions
A variety of responses is desired from questions
o Scaffolding Reading Response (M.F. Graves & B.B. Graves) 2 phases
Planning Phase in which the teacher must consider:
- The students who are reading
- The reading selection
- The purpose for reading
- Pre-reading activities
- During-reading activities
-These activities are designed to guide the students to meet the purposes set in the planning phase.
3. Instructional procedures
o Direct Explanation of Comprehension Strategies
- Clearly explains strategy
-How it is to be used
-When it is to be used
-Models the strategy
- Provides opportunities for student modeling
o Reciprocal Teaching
Teaches four comprehension strategies:
o The strategies are directly taught and modeled.
The strategies are designed to teach understanding of the purposes of reading, activating prior knowledge, focusing attention on important content, critically evaluating text, monitoring comprehension, and drawing & testing inferences.
Teaching and Learning Models
Scaffolding Students’ Comprehension of Text
By Kathleen F. Clark and Michael F. Graves
The focus of this article is the use of scaffolding to teach students the skills and strategies necessary for comprehension. The article shares many different forms of scaffolding and the roles teachers take by presenting real-life examples from a variety of grade levels.
Scaffolding is defined within the article by quotes from a variety of sources. The most appealing definition is quoted from Pressley (2002).
The scaffolding of a building under construction provides support when the new building cannot stand on its own. As the new structure is completed and becomes freestanding, the scaffolding is removed. So it is with scaffolded adult-child academic interactions. The adult carefully monitors when enough instructional input has been provided to permit the child to make progress toward an academic goal, and thus the adult provides support only when the child needs it. If the child catches on quickly, the adult’s responsive instruction will be less detailed than if the child experiences difficulties with the task. (pp.97-98)
This definition is appealing because it creates a metaphor which is easily understood. The teacher is to provide the students with enough instruction and guidance as long as necessary. That instruction and guidance will continually change as the students develop their own skills and strategies, which will enable them to become independent learners and thinkers. This is an inductive form of instruction since it teaches students how to find and organize information, create and test hypotheses that describe relationships among data sets (Joyce & Weil, 1986, p. 26).
The authors base their justification for using scaffolding to teach reading comprehension on two concepts. The first concept is based on Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development which is “the area between what a child can do independently and what they can do with assistance” (Clark & Graves, 2005, p.571). Children will learn to internalize these skills over time and then begin to use them alone or in new ways. The second concept is the gradual release of responsibility model from Pearson and Fielding. This is explained as the progress of learning in which the teacher has most of the responsibility for the successful completion of a task, to learning where the student begins to take the responsibility for the tasks, to the time when students have the full responsibility of the task on their own. During this time, the teacher continues to scaffold the learning so the student does not become too frustrated or overwhelmed by the tasks (Clark & Graves, 2005, p. 571).
The authors provide various forms of scaffolding instruction to use in reading comprehension instruction. The first is called moment-to-moment verbal scaffolding. This form involves the teacher using a variety of questioning techniques to prompt, ask probing questions, and help students to explain their answers more in-depth (Clark & Graves, 2005, p. 572). Teachers must be very aware of their students’ abilities while using this form. They must know how to ask questions instead of just giving answers. Teachers must be able to give meaning and purpose to their questions.
The second form is made up of two different types of instructional frameworks. These are for use during the reading of individual texts. The first framework is referred to as Questioning the Author, or QtA, as designed by I.L. Beck, M.G. McKeown, J. Worthy, C.A. Sandora, and L. Kucan. The students are to use this framework to “understand, interpret, and elaborate on the author’s meaning as they read the text” (Clark & Graves, 2005, p. 574). Teachers use questioning in this framework also, but the questions are open-ended instead of the typical story element questions. These questions are designed to elicit a variety of responses from students. The second framework is from M.F. Graves & B.B. Graves. It is called the Scaffolded Reading Experience, or SRE. It is made up of two phases. The first phase is the planning phase. During this phase, the teacher must consider the students who are reading, the reading selection, and the purpose for reading. The second phase is the implementation phase. This phase has the teacher implementing pre-reading, during-reading, and post-reading activities to guide the students to meet the purposes set during the planning phase (Clark & Graves, 2005, p. 575). As with any scaffolding activity, teachers must only provide the necessary support to each student for them to successfully complete their tasks without failure or undue frustration.
The third form is made up of two different instructional procedures for teaching reading comprehension strategies. These allow the teacher to teach specific strategies “that foster reading independence, engages students in supported practice with multiple texts, and gradually transfers responsibility for strategy use as students become increasingly able” (Clark & Graves, 2005, p. 576). Direct Explanation of Comprehension Strategies is one of these instructional procedures. The teacher teaches the strategies by clearly explaining the strategy, how it is to be used, and when it is to be used. The teacher then models the strategy for the students while also providing chances for the students to model it. The other instruction procedure is Reciprocal Teaching from A.S. Palincsar and A.L. Brown. Reciprocal Teaching teaches four comprehension strategies, which are questioning, summarizing, clarifying, and predicting. Teachers directly teach each of these strategies and then model them. The strategies are designed to teach “understanding of the purposes of reading, activating prior knowledge, focusing attention on important content, critically evaluating text, monitoring comprehension, and drawing and testing inferences” (Clark & Graves, 2005, p 578). As the students progress with their use of the strategies, the teacher adjusts the level of instruction to fit the needs of the students.
This article is very well written and provides many useful insights into reading instruction. The language is clear-cut and concise. The authors explain scaffolding in ways that are easy to understand. Background information is provided as to why scaffolding is an important tool for teaching reading comprehension. The key point made in this article is the teacher must constantly evaluate their students’ abilities and learning to change the amount of instruction necessary. This can vary from student-to-student.
The authors use many of the desired elements of constructivist teaching that Joyce & Weil discuss such as, scaffolding, zone of proximal development, Reciprocal Teaching, and the gradual release of responsibility model. I have struggled with ways to introduce the constructivist approach in my classroom and I feel I have finally found a way. The article gives me definite instructions on how to use each form while allowing my students to grow into creative thinkers who are able to take their learning into their own hands. I feel each form builds on the other ones so that students will continually use them in comprehending any type of reading, whether in science, social studies, or even math. Students will begin to see the connections to all subject areas instead of thinking they can only use their comprehension strategies during “reading instruction time“.
Joyce & Weil state that models of teaching “depend on teaching the students to improve their capacity both to generate knowledge and to work together with their peers to create productive social and intellectual relationships – constructing knowledge in the academic, social, and personal domains simultaneously” (p. 12). The scaffolding examples given by the authors, while teaching reading comprehension, demonstrate this concept. Each form requires the students to think for themselves. The student is able to observe the teacher modeling the strategies. The students are then given many opportunities to use the strategies themselves with teacher support. Collaboration between students is also endorsed.
The key to the success of this article is its use of examples from the variety of levels of education. The authors quote directly from classroom discussions so that the reader can truly “see” the form at work. This is a real-world article. I could take the knowledge gained from this article and begin using it immediately within my own classroom. I already use many of these forms, just not in the focused way of the authors.
The most pertinent concept I gained from this article was that teachers must continually grow and change with their instruction as the students grow and change with their learning. It is a never-ending process. The strategies do not change, but the amount of instruction does. The authors sum it up best with this quote. Scaffolding “is a highly flexible and adaptable model of instruction that supports students as they acquire basic skills and higher order thinking processes, allows for explicit instruction within authentic contexts of reading and writing, and enables teachers to differentiate instruction for students of diverse needs” (Clark & Graves, 2005, p. 579).
Learning and Teaching Models
Learning and Teaching Models has been a course that has required me to reflect upon my own teaching methods and modes of instruction. At times, it has required me to step out of my comfort zone to analyze whether my efforts are truly helping my students become lifelong learners or are just methods that suit my own personal needs. Through the use of classroom discussion and readings, I have gained useful knowledge and techniques that will enable me to grow as a teacher.
The most difficult part of the class, for me, was the philosophy readings and discussions. I do not like to analyze myself too in-depth, but Dr. Kim made me realize how important it is to do just that. I must analyze my beliefs and values to create my personal philosophy. By doing this, I gain a stronger sense of my purposes for teaching. I will then become a stronger teacher who will better educate my students for life in the twenty-first century.
Our discussion of Banking Education was when I really began to think about my teaching. During our discussion, I began to see myself in a lot of the areas. Classroom management has become such an area of concern with the behavior issues we now have in class. I realized through our class discussion that some of the ways I have chosen to deal with these issues has begun to create the negative type of classroom that Banking Education explained. I thought I was doing it to help my students, but I now realize it may have created more behavior issues because of the way it made the students feel about learning. It is unfair to punish all of the students because a few of them do not have the necessary skills to control themselves within the classroom. I also have to remind myself that those children will not learn the necessary skills to control themselves if they are not given a chance to practice how to behave. I am trying harder to allow my students to share their learning with each other through more activities so that they are not at their desks so much. I am doing more peer tutoring within my classroom so students can learn from each other. By using these strategies, I am now giving my students more control of their learning.
The constructivist model of teaching has influenced the basis of my revised approach to teaching. This has been a hard role for me to assume. I do not like to admit it, but I do not like to relinquish my control of the classroom. I like structure and concrete ways of teaching and learning. I like boundaries and guidelines. I like to always know what is expected of me as a teacher and learner. Constructivism has these aspects, but in a more relaxed and open-ended way, which will allow me to follow my new motto: Be flexible enough to meet the needs of the curriculum and meet the needs of the students.
At my grade level, it is often difficult to have students guide their learning as much as our text discussed. Second and third graders can play a larger role in their learning than I have let them do before. One area I find it easier to follow the constructivist approach is in science. This month I am beginning a magnets unit. Instead of demonstrating to the students what magnets do or walking them through experiments, I am using a discovery center to teach magnets. The students will be able to discover the properties of magnets by using the tools I have provided. They will write or illustrate the properties about magnets they discover. They will be predicting, analyzing, and creating their own experiments. Performance will definitely be emphasized. Their work with their center partners will require the students to discuss their learning. By doing this, I am sure I will have some students discover concepts or create experiments that I would not have even considered.
Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development was a new concept to me, but as we discussed it, I realized I use it daily. I am constantly analyzing who is going to need more assistance during a lesson, who is going to be working at the correct level, and who is going to need me to take them to a higher level of learning. I try to use peer tutors as often as I can in my classroom. While I am busy with reading groups, I often use peer tutors with the students who are not in their ZPD. I believe this is beneficial to everyone. Obviously, it helps me while I am busy with other students and it helps the student who is having trouble. The student who is giving the help is also learning through this process. They are able to imitate the teacher’s behavior and analyze their own learning. I have done this with my students for years, but I did not know it had names like scaffolding or reciprocal teaching.
Scaffolding is another model I found interesting. The article I chose to read for the class offered many ideas for me to use in my reading groups and specific ways to use them. Many of the ways, I am already using in my classroom. I have begun using the Questioning the Author, or QtA, with my class. I like how this questioning requires the students to not only analyze the content, but why the author wrote what he or she did. The article was one that I will keep and refer to throughout my years of teaching.
Concept attainment is an interesting model for me and I believe students find it interesting also. It is very much like a game, but challenges students to think at higher levels especially when they are to decide on their own categories or attributes. Concept attainment is a model I use in all areas. I have used it in language arts to teach nouns and verbs. I have also used it in math with numbers, attribute blocks, money, and place value. The class on concept attainment was also enjoyable because of the lessons we each taught. The variety of topics taught was truly wide-range. Concept attainment has infinite possibilities. It is only limited by the leaders ability to choose categories or attributes.
Picture-Word Inductive Model, or PWIM, is another model that would be useful in my second grade classroom. We now have many students coming from homes where English is not the primary language. Many children also come from families who do not take their children to places like museums and zoos, which would increase their child’s knowledge and vocabulary. I am just now beginning a unit in which I will use PWIM. I am teaching a social studies unit on the Plains Indians. We will be reading many different levels of books in our reading groups also about the Plains Indians. By using this model, I will be helping the students develop the vocabulary necessary for reading the books in reading group. They will be able to apply this new vocabulary to other books we read, discussions we have in other curricular areas, and life in general. We can use the vocabulary in our daily phonics lessons by deciding what rules or patterns apply to each word. This model will also help me when the students are writing about their learning. They will be more confident writers because they will not be struggling with the spelling of words. They will better apply their knowledge and the new vocabulary because they will be comfortable with it.
The most influential part of the class for me has been the chapter on Nondirective Teaching. This chapter justifies my beliefs about what is the most important part of teaching. When my students leave my class, whether it is at the end of the day or the end of the year, I want them to know I care about them. I want them to know they are important to me. If children do not feel cared about or loved, they will have no reason to learn.
I have used a form of this model for years. When problems on the playground come up, I often start with a leading question. I also like to have the students tell me what they did and not what the other person did. This really requires the student to think about and address his or her own issues with the situation. The child is taking the lead with the consequences of their own actions. I also like how this model does not have the teacher telling the student “they understand how they feel”. No one believes this when someone says it. It is much better to empathize with the student by restating what the child has said. I really use Nondirective Counseling instead of the Nondirective Teaching. My students are too young to apply it.
One model that is not really appropriate at my grade level is synetics. This model uses metaphors, which seven and eight year olds often struggle with understanding. Children, at this age, are very literal. They also tend to agree with whatever their friends or their teacher is saying without even trying to understand both sides of an issue. I know students at other ages are this way also, yet they are beginning to voice their own opinions and explain them. I have very few students who are capable of doing this yet. I find it hard to see where or how I would use this entire model. I do believe my students are eager to learn and use metaphors as evidenced by their ability to explain how the character Aslan in C.S. Lewis’ book The Magician’s Nephew is like God. They really do surprise me with their observations of the world! This shows me they may be ready for direct analogies.
Jurisprudential role-playing would be another model I would struggle with using in my classroom. It is not age appropriate. My students would not be able to truly research a topic to debate both sides. Debating is a hard issue anyway because all of us tend to take it personally. My students would not be able to deal with that aspect.
My most difficult aspect with some of the models and even with teaching is all of the testing we are being required to do. I believe testing is important, but there is a limit. No Child Left Behind has resulted in the use of constructivism to not be conducive to use in the classroom. NCLB has made our curriculum so precise there is no room for variety. School districts are choosing materials that are not based on any of the current best teaching practices. I believe it is important to have our standards defined in all curriculum areas. This ensures all students will be taught the same information, but it does not need to be taught in the same manner by every teacher in every classroom.
This class was very interesting. I have never really had such a diverse group of learners in a class before. It was so eye opening to listen to others share how the educational systems in their countries worked. It also provided opportunities to hear how others viewed our readings. I enjoyed the many class debates we had. All of us had different ways of viewing the same material. I believe we were respectful of our differing opinions. I often felt like I monopolized the discussions and I am hoping the others are forgiving of me. I thoroughly enjoy class discussions and use them as an integral part of my teaching. Dr. Kim did an amazing job of drawing all of us into the discussions. She is so respectful of everyone’s opinions and allowed us to continue worthwhile discussions even when they may not have been about our assigned readings, but related to our personal issues with education and teaching. I always felt that my opinions were respected and deemed worthwhile. We were treated like the adult learners we are and I greatly appreciate that! This class will be one that I will refer back to often. The knowledge I have gained will be useful throughout the rest of my career.
Due: April 4, 2005
Analysis of Student Work
Description of Student
The student I chose for this project is Henry. Henry is a third grader. He has struggled with reading during the last two years he has been in my class. He often replaces words in a story with other words that begin with the same letter even if they don’t make sense. He is doing better at going back to correct words that do not make sense, but obviously this affects his comprehension. Sometimes he focuses so much on the words he is reading that he loses the concepts of the story. His confidence with reading is low. One area we have worked on with his reading is to actually read the whole book and not just parts of it. He relies on picture clues, which can affect his comprehension. Reading is not done a lot at his home. He does not see his father reading a lot so he does not find importance in reading. He is a very strong math student. Once he learns a math concept, he has it forever. He is one of the students in my class who has completed the most sets of Marcy Cook Math Tiles. He is also the farthest in Rocket Math. He is a responsible student and very helpful.Interpretation of Student Work Sample
The assignment of Henry’s I chose to interpret was a practice story retelling. The story retelling is one of our district outcomes. I chose this piece because Henry has struggled with this assessment the two years I have had him in my class. I am hoping to find Henry has bettered his understanding of the parts of a story through his improved reading skills and confidence.
Over the last two years, we have practiced this assessment many times. I have incorporated it into our guided reading groups as part of a comprehension activity. In the weeks prior to this activity, we discussed the parts of a story with the books we have been using in our guided reading groups. In February, Henry’s reading group and I read a book together and discussed it. The members of his group completed a retelling, which we graded together as a group. The day of this assignment, I gave each child a book from our guided reading series from the level they are reading. We read the questions from the retelling together as a class. Each child then read the story and completed the retelling form on their own.
Henry completed the retelling on time. He answered the title and author questions correctly. His answers for the setting were clear and complete. He correctly stated the names of the two main characters. Henry’s answers for the beginning, middle, and end of the story were correct. They were written in Henry’s own words and contained the necessary information. His answer for the problem of the story was also correct, but did not include who was having the problem. His answer to the solution solved his answer to the problem, but did not state who was having the problem. His prediction was clear and correct. The picture Henry drew was complete, colored, and correctly showed an action from the story.
This sample of Henry’s work tells me that Henry read the book thoroughly. He understands the main parts of a story and can clearly answer questions related to them. From this example, I would expect Henry to be able to correctly fill out the retelling form for any book assigned to him. The major gap I find in Henry’s work is he needs to clearly state the names of the characters for which the problem and solution of the story are affecting. This would make his answers be more clear and concise. I can also tell that Henry’s confidence in reading is improving because he completed the reading and retelling in a timely manner without having to be reminded to read the whole story or concentrate on what he was doing. He also completed it without having to ask for help.
I feel this piece of work shows that I have had my students practice the retelling often enough and in an appropriate manner. We discuss the parts of a story every time we read a book in our guided reading groups even if we are not filling out a retelling form. We do this through discussion, games, and the use of other graphic organizers. I do notice a need for me to include more instruction on how to write more detailed answers. I need to require the use of character names in the problem and solution so the answers will be more acceptable.
This student has benefited from the amount of practice we have done. I also believe he has benefited by having the same teacher for two years so that there has been a continuance of instruction related directly to his needs without someone having to spend the first few weeks of school trying to figure out those needs.
As stated earlier, his parents are not people who find enjoyment in reading. This has affected Henry because he does not view reading as an important part of daily life. His father did not graduate from high school so Henry has stated that many of the things we do he won’t really need to know since his dad has done fine without it. His parents have expressed to him the importance of learning and graduating so Henry’s attitude has changed some during the last two years. He enjoys excelling in math so I am hoping his improved reading scores will also make him want to excel in reading.
My next step will be to review the retellings with each reading group. We will discuss their answers and why or why not they are correct. We will then do the district retelling assessment this month for the final retelling score of this year.
I am a participant this semester in a course, “Teacher As Researcher”, offered through Kansas State University. One of the primary goals of this course is to enable teachers to gain a deeper understanding of children, teaching, and learning in order to improve the effective ness of their curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessment techniques. As a member of this course, I may wish to videotape or audiotape my teaching, collect samples of my students’ work, or ask students to respond to verbal or written questions regarding my teaching practice. Although these efforts to document my teaching will involve students, the primary focus is on improving my teaching. In the course of taping my teaching, your child may appear on the videotape or be heard on an audiotape. I may collect and reproduce samples of your child’s work or ask your child to respond to verbal or written questions as I assess the effectiveness of different teaching strategies.
No student’s names will appear on any materials that are submitted to my instructor. All materials will be kept confidential within the discussions of our class. The form below will be used to document your permission for these activities.
Kristine Barrett (teacher), McKinley Intermediate School, 112 N. Rogers, Abilene, Kansas 67410
For more information, contact: email@example.com,ks,us Or Dr. Diane McGrath, Associate Professor,
Kansas State University firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Name: _______________________________________________
I am the parent/legal guardian of the child named above. I have received and read your letter regarding your participation in the KSU Teacher as Researcher course and understand that my child may withdraw from participating in the research project at any time for any reason with no penalty. I agree to the following:
I do give my permission to you to audiotape or videotape my child, to reproduce materials that my child may produce as part of classroom activities, and to ask my child to respond to verbal or written questions regarding your teaching as he or she participates in your class at McKinley by Kristine Barrett.
I do give my permission to you to reproduce materials that my child may produce as part of classroom activities, and to ask my child to respond to verbal or written questions regarding your teaching as he or she participates in your class at McKinley by Kristine Barrett. However, I do not give my permission to videotape my child.
I do not give my permission to you to audiotape or videotape my child, to reproduce materials that my child may produce as part of classroom activities, and to ask my child to respond to verbal or written questions regarding your teaching as he or she participates in your class at McKinley by Kristine Barrett.
Signature of Parent or Guardian: Date:
Question: Are the students in the classroom you observed motivated to learn?
Research Process: I spent 15 minutes in Kathy Horan’s second grade class. The students were completing their independent work while Mrs. Horan was meeting with reading groups. The students were also having their snack time. I specifically observed four students during this period of time. Three of the students I observed were boys. The boys were working at their desks completing work while the girl was working on a center with a friend. While observing the students, I used a table to record their behaviors during 5 three-minute periods. The behaviors I recorded were talking not related to task assigned, doodling/daydreaming, out of seat, bothering others, and working at other tasks. I also observed for any teacher-redirection of student behaviors during this time.
Data Analysis: Student #1 is a boy. He was at his desk during the time I was observing him. During the first and second three-minute observations, he was completely on task and did not exhibit any of the behaviors I was observing him for. During the third three-minute period, he then stopped working to talk to another student. He did this two times during this period. He also stopped working to watch other students who were working on centers. The fourth period was when he was observed staring into space for a short amount of time. During the fifth period, he stopped working once to stare into space for a period of time again.
Student #2 is also a boy. He was also at his desk working while I was observing him. During the five three-minute periods I observed him, it was not until the last period that he stopped working to watch other classmates who were moving between centers. He did this only once.
Student #3 is a girl. She was sitting on the floor at the front of the room working on a center with one friend. During the first time period, she was on task and did not exhibit any of the behaviors I was looking for. During the second period, she was talking to another student (not the one she was working with) who was at another center. She bothered another student who was working at his desk when she was walking around the room passing out papers from her center. This happened during the third period. She was on-task during the fourth period. The fifth period was when she was standing by a student who was working at his desk while talking to another student.
Student #4 is a boy. He was working at his desk during the observation period. During the first time period, he spent most of his work time eating and drinking. The second three-minute period, he was eating and drinking during this time also instead of working. One time I observed him watching others instead of working. The third period was when he got out of his seat to put his snack away. I observed him watching others one time. His teacher redirected him once while he was watching others. I observed him talking to another student during this period also. The fourth period was when I observed him working at other tasks instead of his class work. He was observed daydreaming at this time also. I observed him daydreaming again during the fifth period. Once he was observed talking to another student.
Conclusions: Student #1 is motivated to learn as evidenced by his ability to spend half of his work time completely on task. It appears the distractions of other students moving around impeded his ability to work since he his most observable off-task behavior was watching others. Even with these distractions, he was still able to complete his tasks. This student might benefit from placing his desk in an area of less traffic.
Student #2 is the student who exhibited the most motivation to learn by his on-task behavior. He would require the least amount of teacher redirection to complete his tasks. He is accountable for his learning, which is shown, through his work ethic.
Student #3 is motivated to learn as shown by her ability to finish her work in a timely manner since she was the only student I was observing who was doing centers. She completed her center work even though she did talk to others about non-center information during her work time. She had minimal off-task behaviors.
Student #4 is the student who exhibited the least motivation for learning by his amount of off-task behavior. He would require the most teacher redirection to complete his tasks. He was off-task more than he was on-task. He appears to be easily distracted because of the number of times he spent watching others. It would be interesting to do more research on this student to discover whether this behavior is related to lack of motivation or inability to focus on his task at hand. This student would benefit from preferential seating. Distractions from other students could be limited by placing this student in an area away from centers, other students who have distracting behaviors, and closer to the reading table so the teacher can keep him better focused.
Circle the answer that best fits how you feel about using your Stress Relief Object (S.R.O.) during school.
Most of the time...
My Stress Relief Object (S.R.O.) helped me make fewer noises. Yes No
My S.R.O. helped me feel calmer. Yes No
My S.R.O. helped me stay more focused on my work. Yes No
I used my S.R.O. at least once a day. Yes No
My S.R.O. helped my body stay in control. Yes NoPick one.
I used my S.R.O. the most during....
E. social studies
The Effect of Using Stress Relief Objects with Third Graders
at McKinley Intermediate School
McKinley Intermediate School is a grade level attendance center for second and third graders in Abilene, Kansas. There are 108 third graders in the building. McKinley consists of 50% lower Socioeconomic students, 1% Black, 6% Hispanic, and 5% Multi-Ethnic. The students in this study are in their second year of a 2nd/3rd grade loop. There are 11 girls and 11 boys in this classroom.
This is my 16th year of teaching, all of them in the Abilene school district. I taught third grade for eight years before I began looping from 2nd to 3rd grade with my students. I have been looping for eight years. I teach in a self-contained classroom. I am responsible for all local and state assessments administered to my students. This research project is being done as a requirement for my “Teachers as Researchers” master’s level course from Kansas State University. This project has been developed to help my students deal with stress, noise-making, and excessive fidgeting. I believe students need to develop more internal control instead of continually relying on external forms of control for their behavior.
I have tried many different ways to help my students deal with noise-making and excessive fidgeting. I have become frustrated myself because many of these ways did not help. In fact, they caused more problems. These other ways were still external forms of control. Rewards work for the short term, but they also require the teacher to focus on the behaviors of the select group of students needing the help while the other students do not get their fair share of attention. The rewards must also increase or the students lose interest. Pulling tickets, names on the chalkboard, or other forms of negative reinforcement also have their drawbacks. Again, the teacher must focus on the select group of students and provide the external control of the behaviors.
Stress is another issue with students. I have not really found any way for me to help these types of students focus less on their nervousness or frustration. Some of these students will react to situations that should not be stressful, but became major stressors to them. It is much easier to help them deal with the stress when I understand why it is stressful, than those other situations when I don’t understand why it is so stressful.
In many different conferences I have attended and in some books I have read, the idea of using a stress relief object to help the students deal with their emotions and needs has been shared. I am very interested on the impact these objects will have with all of my students, but especially with those who have issues with stress, noise-making, and fidgeting.
Thus my question is: by incorporating stress relief objects (S.R.O.) into the daily routine of my classroom, will my students be able to internalize their need for self-control and focus on their work or will I still need to use the external controls as often as I did before we incorporated the stress relief objects?
Research Process – Literature Review:
After attending a conference and hearing the speaker talk about the success she had with her students while using the stress relief objects, I became very interested. I have heard other people speak of using them, but it has been difficult to locate many sources that actually discuss the use of the objects in detail. I did locate some sources I found interesting and felt provided a catalyst for my research.
In the book Teaching with the Brain in Mind by Eric Jensen, he discussed the effects of stress on learning. Jensen described the physical changes in our body that happen when we are stressed and how these changes can “lead to the death of brain cells in the hippocampus” which is where memory is formed. Students with stress problems also have trouble deciding what is important and what is not. Short-term memory is affected while formation of long-term memory is repressed. People who deal with stress for long periods of time are also more susceptible to illnesses. His suggestions for how to deal with these issues are to make the student more aware of what is triggering the stress and stress management techniques.
Positive Interventions and Effective Strategies by Laura A. Riffel, PhD is an online book found at www.pbsga.org. This book offered many interesting and powerful tools for dealing with students in many different situations. She included the use of sensory objects to help change the environment to suit the needs of the children. Her suggestions included balloons filled with different objects, beanbags, Pilates balls, surgery scrub brushes, and other objects. She stated that we should alter a student’s environment to help them deal with their behaviors. She also mentioned an occupational therapist named Patricia Wilbarger who coined the phrase “sensory diet”. This “diet” helps provide the sensory input a person needs to stay focused during the day.
The online manual “Management of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents” by Priority Health published in February 2002, which can be found at www.priority-health.com stated the use of an object could help students with ADHD. It stated that for behavior that is restless, fidgety, or distracting to others to provide the child with a “squish ‘stress’ ball”.
Research Process – Descriptive Account:
After reading the research and listening to another speaker mention the use of and positive results gained from using the stress relief objects, I decided to implement their use into my classroom. For each student, I made a stress relief object that was like a beanbag. I used very soft material for one side and material with different textures on the other side. The stress relief objects were filled with dried split peas, popcorn kernels, rice, and a smooth rock.
The students received their stress relief object (which I will refer to as an S.R.O.) at the beginning of April. I decided to use the whole month, or four weeks, for the length of my project.
When the objects were handed out, I explained to the class why I was giving the S.R.O.s to them. I explained how I had noticed some of them seemed to be stressed during different activities we were doing. I also discussed with them the fact that we were pulling more tickets (a discipline strategy) than we had been earlier in the year for behaviors like making noises and distracting others with excessive movement. I told the class I wanted to help them begin to internalize their own control of these behaviors and a strategy I had read about was using the stress relief objects. The students were excited to receive their S.R.O. We also discussed the appropriate use of their S.R.O. I asked the class to choose ways not to use them. The students decided they were not to be tossed, thrown, ripped, or banged on their desks. I told the students they could keep their S.R.O. on their desks at all times or put it away and only use it when they felt it was needed.
I started the students off with one week of use before I began observing who was using their S.R.O and when they were using it. I decided to do this so they would have time to adjust to having it and truly begin to use it in an appropriate manner. I randomly chose different times of the day to record the use of the S.R.O. Since the students were putting their object away when not in use, I considered the S.R.O. as being used if it was out on the student’s desk.
During the second week of use, I observed each day. Seventeen students were recorded using their S.R.O. some time during that week. Twelve of those students used it at least two times during the week. One student actually was observed using it five different times. Nine of the students using the object were girls while eight were boys. It was used the most when the students were working on their Marcy Cook math tiles. Another time it was used a lot was during their work time at the beginning of the day when the students are working on corrections and morning math papers.
I observed the use of the S.R.O. three days during the third week. Thirteen students used it during this week. The numbers of boys using their object was seven as was the number of girls. Ten of the students used their S.R.O. more than 2 times during the week. One girl and one boy used their objects six times during documentation. Again, the most use was observed during reading center time with eleven students recorded as using it. Tile time was another time when a lot of students were observed using their S.R.O. I observed seven students using their object then.
During the last week, I also observed on three different days. Ten students were observed using their S.R.O. Four of the students were girls while six were boys. Seven students were observed using their S.R.O. during math and corrections time throughout the week. This was the most recorded. Five were observed using it during reading time. One girl was observed with her S.R.O. every time I was recording.
Throughout the entire length of the project there were only two students who were not observed using their S.R.O. Both students are male. Four more students were not observed using their S.R.O. during the last two weeks. Two of these students were girls.
Most teachers, including myself, in my school use a discipline strategy where students pull tickets if their behavior is not appropriate. Each child has a pocket on a poster with four tickets in their pocket. Each ticket has a consequence if it is pulled. I had observed quite a few my students were pulling tickets more often for inappropriate behaviors during the month of March than previously during the school year. I chose to document how many students pulled tickets during this time to see if the number decreased as we used our S.R.O.s.
During the three weeks I recorded my observations, there were only three days when students were documented pulling tickets. The first day was when one student pulled a ticket during art. This was a time when the students were not allowed to use their S.R.O. since they were printing and painting. The second time I recorded three students pulling tickets. The tickets were pulled because of a recess problem that was continued during class time so the S.R.O.s could not have helped at this time. On the third day, five students pulled tickets. The tickets were pulled for different reasons. Only one child pulled two tickets while the other four pulled one each.
I used anecdotal records to record specific behaviors, uses, responses, and actions of the students that directly related to their use of their S.R.O. The most anecdotal records were written during the first week of use.
The third day the students had their objects I decided to take an informal survey of the students. All students were at school that day. I asked the students to raise their hand if they had been using their S.R.O. during the school day at anytime. All twenty-two of my students raised their hands. I then asked the class if they felt their object was helping. Seventeen of the students raised their hands. I also asked the students when they were using it the most. The majority responded by saying they used it the most during math and corrections.
On the fourth day during tile time, many of the students had their S.R.O.s on their desks. One student was feeling very frustrated with his tile card. One of my parent helpers told the child to hit himself in the head with their S.R.O. She then told four more students to do the same thing. After the parents left, the class and I again had a discussion about the proper use of our S.R.O.s. This was not a problem during any other time of my research.
Another record was taken on the fifth day of research when I noticed one of my students who had been having a hard time dealing with their frustrations without crying, did not cry once during the week even during their normal times of frustration. I was not documenting their use yet, but I did observe them using their object throughout the week. Throughout the research period, they had only one episode of extreme frustration when they began to cry again. I asked the student to use their S.R.O. to calm down. The student did and was able to continue working on their assignment without tears.
During the third week, I recorded a discussion with my principal involving S.R.O.s. I had sent a student who was having some serious behavior issues to talk with the principal. The principal asked the child why they were behaving in that manner. The student told the principal they had ripped their S.R.O. so they couldn’t use it and so was feeling more stressed without it. The principal then gave the child a stress ball from his desk to use. The student used it while he continued talking to the principal about his behavior. (I did give this student another S.R.O. to use in class.)
The last week also provided another interesting response for me to record. Our school counselor was in my classroom doing his lesson with the class. He was talking to the students about times they felt stressed or upset. After that discussion, he then asked the students how they could deal with those times when they were stressed or upset. The first child he called on told the counselor to use an S.R.O. The counselor did not know what that was so the student showed him and explained to him all the different ways it helped that student deal with their stress. The student said the rock and other objects inside helped calm him. The student also said just rubbing the soft material on his face helped him too.
On the last day of my research, I gave the students a survey to fill out. The responses were overwhelmingly positive for the use of the S.R.O. in the classroom. The majority of the students answered that the S.R.O. helped them to control their behavior.
From my research, I believe the stress relief objects used by my students had a positive effect on the behaviors in my classroom. We had fewer behavior problems and less evident frustration exhibited by the students. I originally wanted to do this project with only the students who were exhibiting the behaviors that were concerning me. I decided to do the project with the whole class so no one would focused on as having behavior problems by the other students. I am glad I did this with everyone. I noticed students using their S.R.O. a lot that I did not realize might need them. Students who I thought really needed them sometimes rarely used them, but still had positive behavior changes.
I will continue to use the S.R.O.s with this class for the rest of this school year. Then I plan to give the objects to the students’ fourth grade teachers to help them with the move to a new school and a new teacher. I am hoping this will help ease the stress of the change.
I am planning on implementing S.R.O.s with my new group of students in the fall. I am hoping that by starting our two years together with the objects, we will be able to help ease the stress on these students since they will also be starting at a new school with a new teacher. I believe the benefits for the new students will be even more positive than for this class I have now.
I do agree with you there should be a more rigorous process for impact points since so many points can possibly be earned. I do not think all parts of the Action Research Project apply. I am also worried that other staff members who have not been involved in this class or a class like it would struggle with this type of form unless they were given a lot of help. I also worry that the amount of work it would take to write a complete Action Research Project would make most people stay away from using the forms. I know I have used many things from classes and workshops I have been to, but often don’t fill out the paperwork because of lack of time and too much other paperwork.
There are parts of the Action Research Project format I think would work. One is the research process – descriptive account. This section should be written very clearly so there is no question as to what was done. This would also be a good place to describe how this is different than what is usually done. The research process – literature review could be made in to a section where the learning from the workshop or class is explained. The action plan section would also be great as the reflection area for what would be changed or left the same the next time the teacher taught it.
The data and data analysis sections would have to be done differently. I think it would really help the staff if they were told what data the committee would like to see or offer suggestions for how to do it. I do think the teacher, to help them reflect on the success of their project, should analyze the results.This was a HARD reflection to do!!!!
Quest: Activity 1 – Part 3
Implementing a Collaborative, Web-Based Project with Sixth-Grade Math Students
by John Pitonyak http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/WCE/archives/pitonyak.htm
The author of this article is a sixth-grade math teacher. Each spring he spends two months with his students researching this simple question: How much would it cost to build an Egyptian pyramid today?
He begins this project by making sure that his students are familiar with the Internet, e-mail, browsers and search engines. He believes that by basing this project on the Internet, it removes him from the role as teacher. He lets the students know that his role during this project is that of an advisor or coach and that they will work on collaborative teams to accomplish their tasks.
Teams consist of four members: project manager, accountant, engineer and secretary. The teams decide among themselves, after reading the job descriptions, which job works best for each member and assigns the jobs accordingly. The job descriptions also insure that everyone is doing their own work and contributing to the project. At the beginning of the project, students spend 1-1.5 hours working on the project, but eventually students build momentum and the entire class period is used toward the end of the two months. The students are excited and self-motivated and use time outside of class as well.
Students complete research, build a scale model, scale drawing, calculate costs and materials needed and create a bid for the job of building an Egyptian pyramid. Each group holds a “press conference” ( which is videotaped) to present their bid. During the presentation others may ask questions. Individual interviews are held with each student. The students view their “press conference”, discuss each task of the project and assess their own performance during the project.
The author states that one of his main jobs is to help students with difficulty in group interactions. When problems arise he helps the students to brainstorm possible solutions, formulate a plan and see it through to the end. Although these problems do occur the process of this project helps the students to grow from being perplexed and naïve to independent and empowered all while learning important math, technology and life skills. They “come to understand that the responsibility of learning is theirs alone.”
As John Pitonyak has seen first hand collaboration has many benefits. Setting up a collaborative project in the manner that Pitonyak does help students to feel a part of a team. Each student contributes according to his or her own talents. Students come together to construct new meaning for themselves and one another. Collaboration allows students to grow in their own self confidence while contributing to the group. It also fosters compromise instead of competition.
Subject Area: Social Studies and Computers
Grade Level: 5th – 6th Grade
Goal: Student will apply knowledge of research and web design to create a website containing information about a certain American president including facts about childhood, presidency and fun facts.
Students will work individually to:
- Learn to use Netscape Composer
- Research and locate information about a president of their choice
- Design internet web pages with text, images and links
**Students will work in individuals because they are expected to show their own understanding of how to create a wed page on a president of their choice.
Time Requirements: up to 12 class periods
Software Program: Netscape Composer
- Computer for each student
- Netscape Composer software
- Internet Access
- Digital Camera (optional)
- Clip Art files (optional)
Students need to already have had the basics of the computer and have had internet experience of using search engines.
Day 1: Show students the teacher created web page on Dwight D. Eisenhower. Tell the students that this is an example of what you want them to do. Explain to them that they will be required to choose a President and research to find information about them. Each student is required to have a different one than others in the class. The information should fall into the categories of their childhood, accomplishments as president, and fun facts. They will be required to have text, images and links to other pages.
Day 2: Allow students to browse the internet for a president that interests them. When they decide on someone they need to begin finding information that fits into the three categories (childhood, accomplishments as president, and fun facts) and recording that information down in their notebooks. They will want to write down helpful sites so they can go back.
Day 3 & 4: Allow for students to search the internet or any other sources that have found. As they are gathering information they need to create an outline for the site. This will help them visualize what it will look like.
Day 5: Demonstrate how to open Netscape Composer and start a new page. Show them how to choose a background color, how to edit text, how to create a link and how to insert an image. The teacher should go through this while each student is also going through the demonstration. These creations can be stored or just deleted since they were for practice.
Day 6: Remind students of the prior lesson and get them started with a new page. Tell them the three requirements and review the teacher created website again. Demonstrate how to capture, edit and save images in the correct format.
Day 7 & 8: Allow students to create and capture images, edit those images and save them and then add them to their web page along with their text.
Day 9 & 10: Require students to create links after the text has been added. Demonstrate by showing the teacher created website and how to choose key words to make links to. Help any students that are having difficulty and have them show you their final work. Have students open their work on a different computer to show that all their images and links are there. Have them proofread their page.
Day 11: The teacher uploads the student’s web pages to the web server.
Day 12: Have students show their page to the class and evaluate them according to the rubric.
Our expected outcomes include the objectives set in our lesson plan:
- Students will learn to use Netscape Composer
- Students will research and locate information about a president of their choice
-Students will design internet web pages with text, images and links
The first outcome that we expect is that students will learn more information about an American president of their choice. The four information categories are: political history, childhood, accomplishments, and any fun facts about their chosen president. Students should increase their ability to research internet sources as well as books. The second outcome that we expect is for students to learn how to compose a web page using Netscape Composer. Using the information found from research, students will create a website for their president that will include all four information categories. The website must have text, images and links to other informative sites about their chosen president. Hopefully, students will find that creating a website using information that they have located will be more interesting than just writing a report. We hope that students will retain the information that they learned from creating their own project and also from viewing others.
Students will be evaluated on the following criteria:
-Web site must have a functional index.
- Introduction with picture of President and basic information such as years in office and party affiliation.
- Website must have a childhood section, which includes biographical information with at least one image and one link.
- Website must have accomplishments section, which will include a bulleted list with complete sentences, one image, and one link.
- Website must have fun facts section, which will include a bulleted list with complete sentences, one image, and one link.
- Website must have a references section, which includes a list of all utilized resources with links to web sites in the list.
- Website must show that the student has put time, effort, and creativity into the project.
- All sources used from the internet must be credible.
- Website must be easy to read and use. Avoid distracting colors, animations, etc.
Students will be graded on how well they follow the above evaluation criteria. We have set the link and image criteria at the minimum level. Teachers are able to adjust the criteria to suit their own purposes. It depends on how much time you are able to give the students to work and how ‘big’ you want your students’ websites to be. Some students can get really creative and if a teacher has limited space that they can use on the server they might thing about setting some maximum limits for images and links. It’s also important for students to report resources that they used on their site for teachers and other students to access. Teacher might also think about if they want a specific number of resources. Also, they might think about requiring that a certain number of their resources be from the internet and a certain number come from books. This keeps student from just using all internet resources or vise versa. Our evaluation criteria is very specific so students will know exactly what we are looking for and it will also make it easier for us when it comes time to grade them. The evaluation criteria allows us to see if students know how to create a website that includes links and images with information that they have gathered.
The only resource that our group used for assessment was to develop our rubric. We looked at the sample rubrics that were posted on the class website and used those as a basis of our criteria.
Presidential Website Rubric
Rating Scale: 1 = Needs Improvement 3 = Average 5 = Exceptional
Functional index allows easy movement 1 2 3 4 5
Good use of graphics and color 1 2 3 4 5
Text is easy to read 1 2 3 4 5
Has president introduction with picture
and basic information 1 2 3 4 5
Has childhood section with at least one
image and link 1 2 3 4 5
Has accomplishments section with bulleted
section and at least one image and link 1 2 3 4 5
Has fun facts section with bulleted section
and at least one image and link 1 2 3 4 5
Links and images used are of quality and
are relevant to topic 1 2 3 4 5
All parts of the website are functional
(links, pictures, index, etc.) 1 2 3 4 5
All resources are documented on website
and are credible 1 2 3 4 5Total Points
Enhancing the Changing Roles of Teachers Through the Use
of Multimedia Projects
Classroom teachers who have taught for any number of years have seen many new and improved ideas come into the educational field during their teaching careers. Often times we sit back and wait for others to try these new ideas so we can see whether it would be useful in our classrooms. The new ideas come and go so quickly sometimes that it hardly seems worthwhile to adapt our teaching to try these ideas in our own rooms. Technology has been one of the “new ideas” for many teachers. They are nervous about using it in their own classrooms for many reasons. Some teachers also do not see the benefits of using technology in their classrooms because of the struggles they might have had in the past with it. Using technology in our classrooms requires us to teach in different ways. This means many of us will have to shift our paradigms and learn to teach in new ways because technology is such a vital part of society today. This paper will discuss the theory behind the need to change the roles of teachers, how the changes should take place in the classroom, and how multimedia projects can play a vital role in that change.
Why should teachers have to change their way of teaching? Constructivism is a learning theory that is helping many teachers find the guidance and understanding for why it is important for teachers to change the way they teach. Grabe (2001) explains that constructivism helps learners build personal understanding through appropriate learning activities and an environment that fosters learning. They also explain that learning must be an active process and must relate to the learner’s own life. Constructivism requires teachers to step back and let students take more control over their learning. The learner should be able to build their own understanding of the learning through the activities instead of just memorizing facts or listening to the teacher lecture. The following is a list of principles the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory uses to comprise the theory of constructivism.
1. Teachers must recognize that each learner brings their own life experiences and knowledge into their learning. These experiences and knowledge affect how they learn and understand.
2. The learner in how they use the knowledge or process it controls the learning.
3. Learning takes place in different ways and by using a variety of instructional tools.
4. Learners use their experiences and existing understanding to decide if new learning matches it. If it does, the knowledge is gained quickly. If it does not, the learner must make a new understanding or reject the information.
5. Learners must be provided with experiences in which to use the new knowledge and the opportunity to reflect upon those experiences.
6. Learning is often enhanced when it takes place in a group. This provides students with the chance to discuss ideas, reflect with others, and work together in meaningful ways. Students also have to learn how to come to consensus within a group by listening to each other and working together.
Constructivism offers valuable reasons for changing the way instruction is done in classrooms.
Once teachers have decided the constructivist theory offers valuable reasons for changing their teaching, they must focus on finding appropriate ways of making the necessary changes. The website “Funderstanding” offers an explanation of what teachers need to do so they can better instruct their students using this theory. “Instructors tailor their teaching strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict information. Teachers also rely heavily on open-ended questions and promote extensive dialogue among students” (Funderstanding, p. 2) Teachers must continuously monitor the learning of their students. By doing this, they will be better able to guide students through their use of questioning. They will also be able to adapt activities to better fit the needs of the students in their classroom. Another component to add to the changing classroom is cooperative learning. Cooperative learning is vital because it allows the students to share their ideas and knowledge. The students are able to use each other’s knowledge while being actively involved in a learning activity. They are also better able to reflect upon their learning when they can share their ideas with others.
Teachers must be good planners no matter how they instruct their classes, but when a teacher is relinquishing part of their control in the classroom, they must plan even more carefully. Teachers must decide what decisions are to be made by themselves and what decisions the students are to be able to make on their own. Teachers should consider what subject is being taught, the age of their students, the standards and curriculum, and the experiences of their students when planning (Simkins, 2002). This will help the teacher keep control of the class and the learning while still allowing the students to become the leaders of their learning.
Another part of the changing role is the teacher becomes the class instructional leader. This leader structures the tasks and environment so students can learn better. The teacher does not give answers or take control of all the content. (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, p. 3) The teacher is no longer the main way of getting information or knowledge. The students must rely upon themselves to learn. The teacher still guides or directs the learning through the activities taking place in the classroom. The teacher must design activities where problem solving takes place. Lessons or units should be planned where the concepts to be learned are presented to the students in the form of a problem or question to solve. (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, p. 4) By providing these questions or problems, the students are challenged to solve them in new ways. These problems or questions often require the teacher to be able to integrate many different areas of the curriculum. This helps make learning seem more real world. “Instead of focusing solely on increasing the acquisition of facts related to specific subject areas, teams of students are collaboratively engaged in solving complex, authentic problems that cross disciplinary boundaries. Instead of dispensing knowledge, teachers set up projects, arrange for access to appropriate resources, and create the organizational structure and support that can help students succeed” (O Murchu, p. 1) Students understand they are solving real problems instead of just memorizing facts or listening to lectures.
Multimedia projects are an excellent way of making these changes in the classroom. One of the major reasons multimedia projects are important to change the way we teach is because they can be designed to fit the important components of constructivism. These projects are designed to allow students to work together. The students are able to use their own knowledge and experiences to solve problems. Projects allow for many different tools and resources to be used. Students are given the opportunity to use their new knowledge in activities that reflect the learning that has taken place. These projects are also usually interdisciplinary in nature so teachers are able to design them to meet many different standards. Multimedia projects are very conducive to a classroom that is instructed using constructivism.
There are other important reasons multimedia projects should be a part of the changing roles of teachers. Ray McGhee and Robert Kozma offer some valid conclusions of the effects of using projects in the classroom. Projects allow for active learning. Teachers, students, and parents are able to share information and communicate online. Students are engaged in collaborative learning using complex and real world type problems. Learning can be customized to meet the needs of students. Students can search, organize, analyze, communicate, and share their ideas in many different media forms. Teachers and students can assess themselves and each other. (McGhee, p. 3) Another important factor of multimedia projects is motivation. Students are always motivated to use technology. They also become more involved in the learning process when they see a reason for themselves to learn. Using multimedia projects, teachers can design learning activities that are conducive to changing how the teacher instructs his or her own class.
The issue of changing how teachers teach is one I have been struggling with for the last couple of years. I have wanted to integrate more projects into my teaching, but have not done so because I thought they were more for fun instead of actual learning. The projects I did use really were not interdisciplinary so they did not seem very real world to my students or myself. Many of my college classes have discussed and used constructivism. I began to understand how using multimedia projects is actually a very worthwhile educational tool and uses the components of constructivism. Through this research, I have been able to find many valid reasons for using these projects. This research will help me to better explain the importance of using multimedia projects in my classroom to administrators and parents. It has also helped me to gain a better understanding of constructivism. I plan on implementing multimedia projects into my classroom more throughout the next few years. I will do more advanced planning so I can create interdisciplinary projects that meet the standards at my grade levels.
Grabe, Mark Grabe, Cindy. (2001). Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning. 3rd edition. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Learning as a Personal Event. Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (1999). Retrieved July 2, 2004 from http://www.sedl.org/pubs/tec26/nonflash/intro2c.html
Constructivism. Funderstanding (1998-2001). Retrieved July 22, 2004 from http://www.funderstanding.com/constructvism.cfm
Simkins, Michael, Cole, Karen, Tavalin, Fern, & Means, Barbara (2002). Increasing Student Learning Through Multimedia Projects. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
O Murchu, Dr. Daithi. (2002). New Teacher and Student Roles in the Technology-Supported, Language Classroom. Retrieved July 22, 2004 from http://www.gaelscoil.com/site2002/papers/paper10.htm
McGhee, Ray & Kozma, Robert (n.d.). New Teacher and Student Roles in the Technology-Supported Classroom. Retrieved July 22, 2004 from http://education.umn.edu/carei/Reports/NewRolesTechnology.rtf
Standard five-year K-9 elementary certificate
original issued June 8, 1989
renewal date June 8, 2008
Kristine Elizabeth Barrett
515 Charles Road
Abilene, Kansas 67410
OBJECTIVE: To continue as an elementary teacher who will strive to grow both educationally and personally.
Maintains a standard five-year teaching certificate to teach kindergarten through
Designated a highly qualified teacher in accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act
Mentored three student teachers who are currently employed in Kansas schools
Integral part of USD 435 science team who constructed outcomes and assessments for the K-5 science curriculum
Served as K-12 Science Co-Chairman for the USD 435 Curriculum and Instruction Committee since 2004
Member of the BYTE Team (Bringing Youth Technology Through Education) whose responsibility it is to provide assistance to other staff members with technology
Served as president of local National Education Association from 2000-2005
National Education Association since 1989
Kansas Education Association since 1989
Abilene Education Association since 1989, serving as President for five years, Building Representative for three years, served as local representative to state assembly for six years, Calendar Committee for two years, currently serving on Press Relations Committee and Fringe Benefits/Salary Schedule Committee
Nominated for Abilene Teacher of the Year four times
Nominated for Disney Teacher of the Year two times
1986-1987 Attended Cloud County Community College, Concordia, KS
1987-1989 Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education: Emporia State University, Emporia, KS
2003-2006 Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction: Educational Computing, Design, and Online Learning: Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
1989-1997 Third Grade Teacher at McKinley Intermediate School, Abilene, Kansas
1997-Present Second/Third Grade Looping Teacher at McKinley Intermediate School, Abilene, Kansas
Dr. Marlin Berry, USD 435 Superintendent, (785)263-2630
Denise Guy, USD 435 Director of Learning, (785)263-2630
Thomas Schwartz, McKinley Intermediate School Principal, (785)263-2311
Kathy Horan, McKinley Intermediate School Second/Third Grade Looping Teacher, (785)263-2311
Pictures for this webpage were taken by Kristine Barrett in her classroom.
Graphics for this webpage were downloaded from flamingtext.com, animationfactory.com, and brainybetty.com.