Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time flies when you're having fun

As I'm sitting here writing this post I can't believe it's already March 31 and next year I will be a junior in college. While it's exciting to know I will soon be delving deeper into my future, I can't deny the tinge of anxiety that exists whenever I think about finishing yet another four years of education. In my early years of high school I remember always saying that I couldn't wait to be a senior. I'm assuming I had some particular reason for this at the time, but now I can hardly remember it. Yet when my last year of high school approached way too fast I told myself to not wish it away because before I knew it I would be leaving and starting a new chapter of my life. As expected, the year went by unbelievably quick and now only the most treasured fragments remain. This year is almost over and once again I am shocked at how fast it went. While I try to always live my life day by day and to the fullest, the months are passing me by at a blinding rate and it's hard to keep up. I only have two more years of my college experience which like my last year of high school, will merely seem like months. So today is the first day of the rest of my life. I vow to work hard and play harder, learn from both my classes and situations in which I am placed and not rush to get out of school once again. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

20 shot video

In a few hours at our scheduled class time, my group members and I are meeting to work on the 20 shot video assignment. Thus far, I have enjoyed this assignment and feel it is a really great way to get students to collaborate with one another. One of the biggest values I think this has in a classroom, particularly a high school environment, is that it show cases the students' imaginations and how there is no right or wrong interpretation. I'm excited to see how the filming process plays out as well as viewing the finished products of the video created by my group as well as everyone else's.

More writing (and reading) in the classroom

After reading a fellow classmate's blog it got me thinking about how little writing actually occurs within the classroom these days. As we learned, writing is not only a part of the English classroom but can also exist within classes such as history, math or science. Writing is an essential skill one should have whether he or she is planning on becoming a professional writer or a business owner. How is an individual supposed to write an impressive resume if they lack proper writing skills? Additionally, I feel the way we write effects the way we read and vice versa. Even just this year I have noticed a huge difference in my writing due to the large amounts of reading I have had to do. The more I read, the easier writing becomes. Although a lot of students don't enjoy writing, in my opinion it can't continuously be put on the back burner. Students need to have good writing skills instilled in them as early as possible so that they can build upon what they know and improve their writing little by little. The best way to do that is by, well...writing. Like many things, practice makes perfect (or atleast close to it)!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stop sugar coating

“Life, I've learned, is never fair. If they teach anything in schools, that should be it.”-Nicholas Sparks

Okay, so I'm obsessed with quotes like...spending hours browsing through page after page of quotes, obsessed. While looking on one of my favorite websites, GoodReads, I came across this quote from Nicholas Sparks. I'm not a huge fan of his books, however, I've seemed to pick out a few great quotes from some of his work. This one stuck out to me. In today's society I can't believe how much fluff and cushioning some kids receive in their lives. My parents as well as my teachers hardly sugarcoated anything and I'm so thankful for that. They let me know that life wasn't going to be easy, but for that reason I have been able to handle everything that I have been faced with in my short lifetime. Yet so many kids these days are so sheltered and ignorant to some parts of reality. In high school, I had to work and I mean work hard to get an A in one of my classes. So much so that my freshman year of college was a whole lot easier than my years in high school. I am so thankful to have been so well prepared for my future. One of my concerns with teaching is that I'll be placed in a school, while it may be great, where I am surrounded by snobby students who come from rich families or who never been faced with real struggle. While I'd like to believe every family has their own problems, I have encountered some individuals who truly feel they are perfect and the whole world revolves around them. In my opinion, a lot of this mentality stems from the home lives of those students though I feel teachers can often give into it, as well. The classroom is a place where not only lessons in a particular subject are gained, but where individuals are molded and values in which they will take for the rest of their lives are instilled. As a teacher, I'm not going to make everything easy for my students. I am going to make them work so they can see just how far they can go and how much they can achieve so when they are faced with a hard time, not necessarily educationally based, they can persevere and get through it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Some thoughts

     Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as I sit in our Writing for Non-Print Media class I can't help but think how thankful I am that I got the opportunity to take the class as a sophomore. While listening to all of the existing concerns about field and student teaching definitely prove to be stressful, I'm so happy I get to really see into what I will be doing in no time at all. All of the factors that go into becoming a teacher such as fulfilling all of the requirements and applying to teacher candidacy can often be confusing due to the fact that I always hear different things from people almost every day. It's nice and convenient to be surrounded by other students who have actually gone through it already. In a way, it solidifies any information I may have gained and makes me aware of what is to come in my future and how and when I should prepare for it. For example, I now know that I'll need to fill out a form a year in advance to student teaching...phew!

Friday, March 2, 2012

On your mark, get set...grow!

"Kids need confidence in order to engage, and they have to engage in order to grow."
     In Kajder's book, (I believe it was in chapter 3 but as I'm writing I don't have the text handy) I read this quote and quickly highlighted it. What a true statement. Confidence--having belief in oneself and his or her abilities. Confidence in life and in the classroom is crucial. Though it may take some time to build up, confidence can be the factor that makes or breaks an individual's ability to grow as a learner as well as a person in general. Just a little bit of confidence can go a long way.
      Take this scenario for example. Just the other day in one of my classes my group and I were struggling with various problems we had been assigned. As students were instructed to write their answers on the board we all let out long whines and groans of "All of our answers are wrong..." the teacher responded with, "Have more confidence in yourselves!" It just so happened that we really should have had some confidence considering the answers the student wrote on the board had in fact been incorrect and ours were actually right.
     The half raised hand, adverted eye contact or the straight forward "my answer is wrong" are all classic cases of a student having little confidence in the classroom which in turn hinders the learning environment. Getting the students engaged and raising their level of confidence is somewhat cyclical--the roads of engagement lead back to how confident or not confident a student is and vice versa. Clearly, in the areas in which we feel strongest we have no problem participating and those areas in which we feel weak, we tend to hide behind others. As teachers, that is a challenge we must face. How do we get those who feel unconfident therefore uncomfortable, able to not worry whether or not their answer is wrong or if what they have to say doesn’t match another student’s interpretation?
      Basically, Kajder got me thinking about just one other important factor I as a teacher will need to bring to my classroom in order for my students to grow both academically and individually.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Flip it, flip it good!

In one of my other education classes I am doing a presentation with a group on how technology has impacted the K-12 education system. Browsing through journals and a number of articles, what is referred to as the "flipped classroom" was discovered. The flipped classroom is virtually an instructional video of a teacher which includes annotations and other helpful aspects. While it began as a tool to use to help those students in rural school systems which often racked up many absences due to their long trip to school, the flipped classroom transformed into an innovative way to connect the teachers with students and students with other students. The main aspect of the flipped classroom now is that students can watch the lesson before they come to class so they are ready to discuss and ask questions and precious class time isn't wasted. It fosters a number of benefits such as increasing student motivation, there are more opportunities for collaborative learning and as stated previously, better relationships are formed in the classroom. Additionally, teachers have more time to work with individual students and discussions in class can more easily be led by the students. More information can be found at