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Saturday, February 28, 2009
I have seen signs of what has gone right. Last year I had a senior that was not doing well in his other classes. He loved being in my auto tech class and excelled in all areas and I selected him to be a class leader and mentor toward the end of the term last year. I selected him to be one of the CTAE Star Students. Other teachers came to me in amazement asking me why I had made this unusual choice. I stuck by him and his selection, his mentoring, his leadership, and his graduation. I saw him him this past week when he came back to Callaway High School in his proud Army uniform. The first place he visited was my room and I was so proud of him. The next room he visited was the ROTC room to speak as a mentor for their program. Now my boss wants me to start a school wide mentoring program. He thinks I sometimes work a few miracles in other areas beside teaching. I think my reward comes back to me when my former students take their time to thank me later, and I see their successes in life and work beyond high school.
The recruiting campaign was a success. I increased my numbers enough to have six full classes and then some. So I'm assuming that I should not lose my extended day and not have to make less dollars next year. What a blessing!
Well.. this week, my AP comes into my room to tell me that regardless of numbers there is no more extended day across the board for any teacher at the school. So all that hard work preparing marketing throughout the school, a thousand flyers to be handed out at parent/student events, and a recruiting video played on the closed circuit TV, did not produce the desired result. Bummer....
So how does all that tell me that I am progressing as a master teacher? Well numbers tell a great deal about how your students feel inside the environment you create each day. If the students are having a good time, they tell their friends, and those friends tell their friends... and the cycle begins. When I arrived, this program was only three classes of maybe 40 students at Etowah High, and then only 3 classes of maybe 40 students at Woodstock High. Having turned this program around a full 180 to a six period day at only one school tells me I am doing something right.
I know without a doubt that I am not a teacher who is lazy. My students are required to to produce much more work than with the previous instructor. However, I feel that I produce a positive, fun, relaxing environment where the students produce this work. This philosophy has changed the game...
Funny story here if you need a laugh.
“Jack of all Trades Master of None” thats how I see my teaching skills at this point. I have progressed and learned the ways of a new school this year. I can only hope that next year will be smoother, wow I said next year. I have been my own worst critic when it comes to this science we call teaching. I don’t know if I will ever place the master teacher label on myself, because we are always learning. Then again maybe thats a trait of a master teaching, to never stop learning.
Over the past two weeks we have been preparing for the county media festival. I am so exciting because my students have come so far. Some of the entrees are from students who had no idea what steps it took to production projects. Now I sit back and watch them come up with ideas that amaze me, I wish I thought of them. We brainstorm together and decide what approach they will take. Our next project is a nation wide contest through a website, http://www.bridges.com/video/. Bridges is asking ‘R U Rede?”, basically are students ready for the working world, they must demonstrate their skills and knowledge creatively through a 3 minute video. The students are excited about thinking outside of the box, not to mention first prize is $2,500. Its open to all student 13 and up, its a great opportunity for them to showcase their talent.
To sum it up they never cease to amaze me. When you think they have no drive they turn around and project such a calming energy and devotion to school projects. I think when they have a say in their projects basically ownership they take pride in the final delivery of the project.
Another area that I have made great strides in is my classroom management. This one area alone has made a huge difference in how my school day goes. I feel that my students like coming to my class and enjoy most of the lessons, but they seem to respect me also. I didn't feel this level of respect last year. I had ongoing battles with the same students. Oh to have them again, I know just what I would do! To wrap this up, I feel very fortunate to have a job at all, and blessed to have one that I love so much.
Friday, February 27, 2009
I have used some of Rick Lavoie strategies to help this student adjust to being in my classroom and to help him keep all his poker chips on a daily basis. My strategies appear to be effective because I have not witnessed any disruptive behavior or out bursts. In fact, this student has had problems in other classes and referred for discipline issues which resulted in in-school suspensions and sometimes out of school suspensions. Each time he returns to my class and ask for make-up work, which validates that he has bought into the idea that I constantly remind them of, and that is all students can learn and be successful. Four days ago he came in to my classroom during an interview with another student and asked if he could speak with me privately. We walked to a distance area of my large classroom and then he stated I won't be here for the next couple of days and gently unfolded a letter for me to read. It was a discipline letter of suspension. This morning he returned and asked for his make-up work.
Becoming a master teacher is certainly a goal I have set for myself, however I am not there yet.
I will continue to teach and meet each child where they are mentally, physically and socially.
In my classes I will continue to help students make the connection with the real world whether they have an interest in health care or aspirations of being a basketball player.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
So what, you ask yourself, does this have to do with my teaching mastery? I have continued to teach and teach, and increase my awareness of what I'm teaching, and really, what is coming across to my students. Once they found out I wouldn't be returning to Central next year, they asked me "Why bother teaching us, you'll be gone -- the whole program will be gone next year." Because I... DON'T... QUIT. I especially don't give up on students. If anything, I have upped the ante. I am assigning more complex projects, and sticking with it. I am on them everyday about their progress. I want to see them SUCCEED! And I'm doing everything I can to make that happen.
Nothing makes me happier -- or prouder -- than watching my students' final products... unless it totally reeks. But for the most part, I can see in their work the expertise I have taught them. And that, my friend, is my road to mastery.
Oh yeah, and I was asked to co-author the "common curriculum" for Broadcast Video Production for all of Forsyth County. Pretty cool, huh?
You may be asking yourself, how this relates to my development as a master teacher. I believe that my resolution to only have students doing projects, shows a maturity on my part. By understanding that my planning time is beneficial to my students and being willing to say "No", despite how other people feel about me, I believe I am moving in the right direction. Who knows? Maybe one day... I'll get to mastery level.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I will be taking 40+ middle schoolers on a retreat next week. I have 2 90 minute sessions to teach. Knowing what I have learned in NTI has helped me teach my team how to set up their sessions. I am much more confident now and don't worry so much about the time frame. In this I mean if we go over by 10-15 minutes in 1 area I shuffle the rest of the lesson around so it fits. Dr. Burns says I have great "in-flight thinking". Maybe my years as a ER nurse helped me develop this trait.
I am now handling disruption and chaos with an ease. I realize I can not change the school's schedule of events. For example, a fire drill at the end of a class period. I can only do my best to close up the lab and proceed to designated spot. I have learned to roll with the puches a little more gracefully.
I can only hope with each passing year that I am able to master a little more. I can see a huge difference from the first semester teaching till now.
Monday, February 23, 2009
More recently I had one of my students from last year that is a senior and returned for my second year classes stand up in front of a group of business leaders and managers, my advisory board, and express what my class meant to him. The advisory board meeting was held in the Industry Academy classroom with twenty five participants. My advanced class, second year, welcomed the visitors and introduced themselves and spoke briefly about the class. Later in the program we had an open discussion when one of my students approached me to see if he could speak. My answer was “Certainly”, without knowing what he was about to share. He began by telling the attendees how I had brought positive changes about in his life and outlook. He went on to explain the many aspects of our program and what we covered. The discussion that followed was very productive and beneficial going through lunch and into the third block class. It was definitely a high point for me for the rest of my teaching career.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Thought I wasn't going to be able to! PHEW!!!
Anyone having issues with the windowslive/gsu email- Windows live support never responded, but, GSU has a Help line that links to a 24 Help. They helped me with my email in about 10 minutes! It was great.
Call 404-413-HELP They were very prompt! (The phone message says that you have to leave a message, but I got a human on the phone to help me.)
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you all that I have completed the survey of my practicum observer for last semester. It was a wonderful opportunity to have my voice heard on the matter and I feel that we should all take a moment to be grateful for the guidance and direction that they offered. Amen... and may the force be with you.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I have been so excited about my teaching portfolio. Meeting every element gives evidence of my teaching experience. It also allows me to add to it, which adds to my professional development. The great thing about it is that it is electronic and will be easier to manage and add/delete information. I think the students would love this type of portfolio. Adding technology would probably be very exciting for them. I love knowing that I have information for all of the standards. I find that I want to include more than one artifact. However, I do understand that it does not take several artifacts to prove the standard has been learned and reflected in our classroom. In fact, you can prove it with just one artifact, but I find that I want to showcase the artifacts, just because I'm excited that I have them.
Actually completing a portfolio for myself will allow me to easily transfer this assignment in to my classroom. I can more easily teach students how to create a portfolio of their own to utilize in the business world. Also, I can use my portfolio as an example when trying to give students an idea of what the finished product might look like. This assignment will give our students advancements over others in the work force as it is a tool that many are not yet utilizing. It is a tool that can be used for years to come and can easily be updated as their education and work experiences advance. I think students will actually enjoy putting together their own e-portfolio together. It will give them the opportunity to use technology, which they love, and also lets them express their experiences and marketable traits in a fun and creative way. Did I mention what an important tool and useful tool this will be in the business world???? They will be sooooo thankful to have it! This is a teaching tool that I really look forward to taking back into my classroom and sharing with my students.
The portfolio stimulates ideas to use with my students as we complete various lessons in class. They can develop their own portfolios given certain guidelines that I provide. The skills they learn can be incorporated along with various projects they complete. Since most documents are completed electronically or can be scanned in, this would be a great ongoing project. I will need to work on the guidelines of the portfolio.
Portfolios are like work in continual progress. Whether for my self or my students, it is a task that should be continually evolving. For this class, I will incorporate those items that best represent the work I’ve done so far. But as time goes on and I improve my teaching techniques/lessons, I will also update the exhibits that I select for the portfolio.
As far as using portfolios with my own students, I am trying to incorporate as many elements of my college experience into my teaching as possible. One of the major projects I had was assembling a demo reel. The demo reel is a quick look at what you are capable of and it gives potential employers a good idea of the kind of worker they are considering.
I am all about trying to find an easier way to stay organized. The students liked that I could post pictures of them in the shop on it. I think if I had a portfolio for every class, teaching next year will be a lot easier. I would be able to electronically map out my year. I think that the more organized I am, the more receptive students are to doing book work. They are able to see online, that there will be "shop" days and "book" days. For some reason this is more effective if I show it to them on a computer, verses me just writing it on the board.
I am going to encourage my junior and senior students to create their own electronic portfolio. It would be excellent for their future job hunting and applications for post-secondary schools. It is so hard when students apply for their first jobs because of the lack of work experience. The portfolio could show what they have learned or been exposed to in an orderly manner.
I do have a major concern with security using this format. If I have scanned original documents to this file are they secure? If you have the answer please comment.
I have discovered this is a great way to keep students engaged and on task. This has also been a rewarding experience for me as well. Since this is only my second full year of teaching I am hoping to continue adding to my portfolio alone with assisting the future journalist of tomorrow. This is a great way to showcase the students’ work and to help them gain an advantage in their career choice. This has certainly been an exciting project for me.
Eportfolio connects to us to so many to other things in regard to the web. This tool will be very beneficial if you are looking to change jobs/schools to showcase your abilities as an educator. I am very excited about working with this program and looking forward to working with it much more.
The process seems to be conducive for thinking about my best practices and selecting artifacts that reflect a high standard of excellence. I have also found that in giving the rationale it brings into clearer focus my objectives for a particular lesson. Creating a portfolio is challenging me to look closer at what I am doing in the classroom and why. Currently I have 6 seniors in the internship program and part of the requirements of the course is to create a portfolio. My students from last year were very proud of their work and had plans to use them with potential employers’ right after graduation. These students were able to see what they had learned, their progress throughout the year, and how they could utilize what they had learned in the real world. Looking ahead to next year with a new curriculum pathway in medical services I was thinking that I might use portfolios with students selecting a particular healthcare career and having artifacts related to that career.
In addition to emailing and texting, eportfolio allows for the reduction of human error in handling paper products that could carry valuable information. This will be an added benefit for my students who find it hard to keep up with anything from their large textbooks to a jump drive; which is not necessary in this application. Just like My Space and Facebook, the eportfolio will allow you to introduce yourself to the world or to whomever you choose to invite but in a very clean, direct and professional manner. The students will be ale to adapt the portfolio to whatever discipline they choose to study further. I also believe that the eportfolio will allow those students who wouldn't normally be exposed to this type of technology an opportunity to be just as advanced as their counterparts.
Google Sites is a great learning opportunity for the students as well. Obviously you could teach them the benefits of career advancement with this resource. You can also use it to create a working site to compile certain assignments. For example, if you assign a differentiated project such as a Tic-Tac-Toe Activity where the student can select any three assignments/projects to achieve Tic-Tac-Toe, they could use Google Sites as a place to compile and showcase their finished projects. Assessments for this would be simple for the teacher to peruse each site, a benefit for the student to access it and work on it outside of the classroom, and economical because it is a paperless activity that won’t collect space in the teachers classroom.
This truly is a versatile resource with multiple opportunities for higher level learning.
In the Architecture Drawing & Design curriculum the portfolio is a vital part of our course. We utilize a portfolio assignment for our students in the area of drawings and community service accomplishments. I am looking forward to experimenting with the electronic version as to the paper format we generally use. I think the students will like more as well.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I will also use the Google sites to assist my fourth year students to develop an electronic portfolio. The students are always excited about learning new technology and this is just the right tool to teach the importance of developing employability skills and the value of working diligently to acquire and maintain quality evidence to validate who you are and your chosen profession.
Electronic portfolios are great! I am always in favor of reducing the paper work I have to handle on a day to day basis.
Since I have a fourth year class this semester (which is required to have a portfolio - coinsidence - I think not!), I had each of them set up a Google site like we did in class. Some of them already have a couple of sites established on Google, so they were ahead of the game. I had them created pages for group projects, individual projects and assessments. The rubrics that I use to grade their projects will be included in that last page. Of course, their final project of the year, a 10-minute documentary, will also be included. However, that 10 MB per upload just might get in the way.
For the past two years I have required my students to create a portfolio of their projects to satisfy their final exam/project. Now, since Jessie (and her awesome technological savvy) has introduced ePortfolios, I am converting to a digital portfolio this semester.
Etowah High School has a partnership with google, giving each student a professional email address (email@example.com) Each student has access to the google platform and can use this technology to create an ePortfolio through Google Sites. I am anxious to see what these project will look like when complete. This semester is my learning curve. I hope to start next year with a clear idea of how to facilitate this activity/project to get a masterful final product.
We'll see how it goes...
The students in reviewing will also be learning how to keep a record of their achievements and how to display their accomplishments for others to see. This will help to better prepare them for this electronic age we are living in. Also by maintaining the e-portfolio it could become an important site for the students that have completed the program and wish to reflect on their accomplishments while pursuing a career as well as provide a link for a reference. This provides a challenge helping to raise the bar for me and providing the opportunity to reflect and view those areas where improvement is needed in order to better benefit my students. There are a lot of great benefits to the e-Portfolio, Thank you NTI.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I am currently using the eportfolio method in my Applications classes. I am having my students create their own websites where they can start to build their educational and professional resumes. They have loved the idea of creating their own website, and they like the technology involved. They have a scetion for their clubs, achievements, philosophy, resumes and educational/community involvement. Several students have said they are going to use this as a link to view on some of their college applications. I have really enjoyed sharing this information and they really like that their instructor is also having to do one for school!
My students do something similar to our portfolio. Their portfolio s a paper based with pictures. The students begin working on this at the begining of the semester of Advanced Skin and Nail. The portfolio is turned into me one week before finals. I require 12-15 hair styles, a resume, reference sheet, questions for potential employer and a picture of the ideal outfit. Then the students will have a complete portfolio when they begin seeking a job. In this industry pictures say a thousand words.
files for future use and add to each standard. I noticed areas that I had few resources for such as Standard #3 Adapting Instruction for Individual Needs. I am glad to be critiquing my work and see that I have a lot of work to do.
I will also start earlier in the year in helping the students create their own portfolios. One area to help enrich the students is the building of their resumes. Once the framework is completed it is much easier to add to it throughout the year. As a nursing student we had some of the nurses who had already graduated come back and talk to us about their portfolios and let us look through them. I think the advanced students (3rd year) could do the same to the newer Intro students. A visual is always a great learning tool.
Monday, February 9, 2009
As far as different activities, I would try to have a scavenger hunt type game where students would be allowed (and encouraged) to search for information on the Internet. I mean, if we all have a computer in front of us, let's use it to the fullest. Finding images that convey a certain feeling, or a link to page that has useful information on assessments, and then pasting them onto the whiteboard, would be a valuable and more entertaining way to utilize the software.
That's just my opinion.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I would include activities that stimulate the visual and listening senses. I would develop interactive power points in which break out groups could answer questions. I would have students conduct activities together even though they are unable to see their partners. I would give them a topic to discuss and an outline to guide their conclusions and end product. .I would plan discussion groups and have students summarize information gathered. The one drawback I see to this form of learning is that students can’t physically role play or perform such interactions. Perhaps watching video clips of such behaviors could help accomplish this task. I would develop open email groups whereby the members could type in answers during group class discussions regarding different questions posed by the instructor. I thought of this as a spin off from racing our hands with the buttons and from the emails sent out that the entire could see. The possibilities of Elluminate Live learning are so varied because of the immeasurable resources to pull from with the internet at your fingertips.
Areas of instruction in my classes could include interactive power point presentations and quick quizzes with instant feedback and verbal comments. Safety videos and small group projects could easily be done on Elluminate. Group assessments could be done on Elluminate. Some students who are not hands on or do not like to get their hands dirty would love Elluminate.
If you design a course using Elluminate Live, you would need to consider the timeframe involved. The first few meetings with the class would need to be practice sessions. This would be necessary in order to get the class familiar with the technology. This would include controlling the mic and the volume to get started. The class would also need to practice accessing and writing on the whiteboard. Activities should include group breakout sessions that incorporate utilizing the technology. Lectures appear to be very useful for this type of work. The learner reviews the presentation up close and personal. Also, saving the presentation or handouts for future use by the student is a huge plus to this new technology.
Some things you have to consider is the state standards and to make sure that you are following the guidelines that are required by the state. This would include equipment, materials and more importantly the course that is been taught for that particular class. The course syllabus should outline other information that would detail how the class would be structured.
Before using this technology students will have several training sections where they learn how to navigate and troubleshoot existing problems. To make this a successful transition student will be given several handouts that will be covered doing the course. This will include PowerPoint and learning modules that will help students understand the assignments before classes start.
It may be difficult to use this method of teaching when trying to grade on observation. For instance, in my course, Public Safety, it would be difficult to determine if the learner successfully mastered the technique of handcuffing. Maybe using a web cam would help with this? Other than when visually observing a taught skill, I think tools such as elluminate will continue to be more frequently used as technology continues to advance.
Elluminate Live could be used to introduce individual subject areas at the very beginning of the lesson. In the case of construction safety, employability skills and communication skills, Elluminate Live could be used to present PowerPoint presentations discussing those subject matters versus having the students read from the book. But I have found in my subject area in particular, that once you have made the transition from lecture instruction to demonstration instruction, that it becomes difficult to settle the students back into a lecture mindset. Once I make that transition, I have chosen to use more of a cooperative learning approach in combination with the demonstration instruction to introduce another subject matter. I beleive Elluminate can best be used in my classroom at the very beginning of the school year.