Tuesday, December 8, 2015

FieldBlog: Millridge Elementary School: Observation 2

This observation at Millridge Elementary School was quite an interesting one. I saw more creative measures which aid in young student's learning process.

Lesson Plan: Independent Reading time
During the morning, students had reading time and had the freedom to scatter throughout the room. I saw an idea of independence given to students by the teacher in this lesson. Students picked what they read as well as where they read.

The teacher also had the student's participate in "Reading Centers." In this part of the day, students were assigned to do a certain activities. Once the timer of roughly 5-10 minutes went off, students rotated to their next assigned activity. I believe this plan allowed for students to stay on task and focused on each individual activity.

Later, the teacher led a class reading in which students sat on the ground in front of her. This allowed for group participation and allowed for student commentary to be heard. The teacher asked individuals questions about their thoughts on the reading. 

Innovative Measures
-Several classes at Millridge use an iPhone app called "Classroom Dojo"
-Recording device which allows educators to record student's positive and and negative behaviors 
-Parents can login to the app and see students' progress at school

My experiences at Millridge Elementary were one's that changed my views of elementary schools. Creative and innovative measures are taken in classrooms and teachers seem to truly care about their students. 

FieldBlog: Millridge Elementary School: Observation 1

For my first independent observation trip, I went to Millridge Elementary.  Millridge Elementary is located in the east suburbs of Cleveland. Millridge elementary is located in Highland Heights. This city is not very ethnically diverse. Economic backgrounds also vary within the school. The standard of living for the area is very high compared to other area schools I have visited. The estimated household income for Highland Heights is approximately $99,000. This suggests that teachers at Millridge might not have to struggle so much with diversity of economic backgrounds within their class.

Pre-Observation Questions I had

1. How does the teacher seem to care deeply about their students?
2. What activities does the teacher use?
3. How does this experience differ from the one at Gearity Elementary in Shaker Heights

Classroom: Kindergarten
Number of students: 20
Teacher: Over 20 years of experience of teaching this level

First, the teacher awaited the young students at her desk. She spoke with them about their personal lives and asked them questions. She clearly engaged with students and seemed to want to know how they were. She even consoled one of the students when he began to tell her sad news about his family life. This was a true example of what a teacher can be in a student's life. She is not a teacher that is there for the money, the hours or anything else. I was in the presence of a teacher, and a person, who deeply cared for the well being of her students.

As students greeted the teacher at her desk, they picked up their first activity of the day. This involved a coloring exercise, The teacher explained to me that these types of activities get the student's minds right and help shake off the "tiredness" they may be feeling when they first arrive to school. Often times, the students will start the day off with vocal exercises as well. This helps get their attitude and brain in the right mindset for all academic challenges they may have for that given day.

The classroom was one that appeared to be very brightly colored. It looked like a fun place to go every day. If I were a child, I would want to go to a class like that to learn. I believe that creating a welcoming and fun environment is important in schools. Especially, elementary schools due to the creativity and attention spans of young children. The experiences students have at a young age, ultimately shape who they will become when they are older. The environment they learn in arguably plays a big role in that process.

Answers to my Pre-Observation questions

1. How does the teacher seem to care deeply about their students?

Nurturing when needed and asking thoughtful questions proves to me that this teacher cared deeply about her students. If I were sending my child to her classroom, I would feel very comfortable with him or her being taught by this student

2. What activities does the teacher use?

Creative activities to keep the minds of young children constantly thinking and having fun are used in this teachers class. It appears to be a small taste of what was offered in the SummerHill video that our class watched a month or so back. Rules and lesson plans are in place but students are not bound to academic material and lectures all day long.

3. How does this experience differ from the one at Gearity Elementary in Shaker Heights?

Millridge Elementary seems to be a much more inviting place for students to learn. Although, Gearity Elementary school had more innovative technology such as iPad's, Millridge had an overall, more organized classroom setup in my opinion.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

FieldBogPost: Gearity Elementary

Gearity Elementary

Pre-observation questions

How do teaching methods of elementary school teachers differ from high school teachers that I have observed?

What is the attention span of the students?

How do
Reading Class
Classroom Observations
-2 teachers and 1 classroom assistant
-Students split into 2 groups
-10 total students and 3 total adults

While observing Group #1 (Writers workshop)
-Teacher asked students their thoughts about the subject at hand
-Students sat on the ground in a semi-circle around the teacher and classroom assistant
-Video was presented to the students
-Teacher read along with the video to ensure that the students could hear and understand what was being said in the video

While observing Group #2 (Drawing conclusions)
-Students sat at a table around the teacher
-Cut and Paste activity
-Students modeled their creation off of what the teacher's looked like
-Students were continually stressed to "Focus"
-Individualized Learning
-Students answered questions from the teacher about the activity
-Thought provoking questions were asked by the teacher

Innovative Measures
-iPads in the classroom (many high schools let alone elementary schools don't have iPads)
-Colorful posters and objects (created a welcoming environment)
-School and Personal goals taped on each students desk

Pre-observation questions

How do teaching methods of elementary school teachers differ from high school teachers that I have observed?

The teachers at Gearity used the method of splitting students up into 2 groups, with 2 teachers including a classroom assistant. This method is usually never done in high schools settings. I believe this is done to have the full attention of the young students.

What is the attention span of the students?

Due to the teacher's method of splitting up the class into two groups, I believe the attention span of the students was much greater.

Friday, November 13, 2015

BlogPost10: Summary


Over the course of the past 3 months or so, I have noticed many things about the field of education. To an educator, you must be able to adapt to your students, to new ideas, and being able to adapt as a person in whole. Ignorance and stubbornness in the field of education will lead to no good for educational environments and for students. Adapting in a learning environment as an educator includes that in the way they teach. This includes "Building Bridges" and "Stir and Serve" methods which can be enormously helpful in students' learning process and their abilities to take in information which is presented to them. Educator's must be able to adapt in innovative measures as well in school setting. A good example of this can be seen within one of my class observations. This past week, we visited a 'Professional Development' school, which can be seen as a more advanced version of a standard elementary school. A teacher at Gearity Elementary school in Cleveland Heights may not have studied ways of teaching with technology added when in school. However, when hired at Gearity, they now must be able to lesson plan and teach students while implementing IPads. Adapting in innovative ways is crucial to the success of student's learning. If an educator is not open to new ideas in teaching, whether suggested by peers or implemented by school core, then they cannot and will not be able to reach their full potential as educators.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

BlogPost9: Ideal School


Sunday, October 25, 2015

FieldBlog2: Shaker Heights High School

Shaker Heights High School

Location: Shaker Heights, OH

Faculty Members: 175

Enrollment: Approximatley 1,800

Demographics:  60% Caucasian 
                        34% African American 
                        6% Asian

Classroom Observation 1: Sociology

Teacher: Male 45-55 years old

Questions going into my Observations:

 Does the teacher seem to deeply care about his/her students learning process?

How do students react to the teacher's teaching style?

What seems to be the teacher's biggest strength?

Teacher Observations
-Playing team game of Jeopardy
-Explained things to class with passion and seemed to care that the students understood
-Noticed personal relationships with students 
-Talked directly to students
-Correlated course material to real-world examples
-Teacher did not seem to have control of the class
-When asking for silence, he had to wait for 30 seconds

Classroom Observations
-Students were often on their phones
-Many side conversations
-Often times chaotic
-Not a very diverse group of students

Was the teacher able to "Build Bridges"?
-I would say yes, even though the class was chaotic at times, the teacher was able to directly correlate course material to real world examples and keep the students for the most part interested in the lesson.

Did the teacher use a "Shake and Stir" method in the class?
- Yes, the teacher decided to change things up and play a group game of Jeopardy to review for a test the next day. Students seemed to be excited to play and engage in the lesson.

Classroom Observation 2: Psychology

Teacher: Female 30-40 years old

Teacher Observations
-Teacher seemed very focused that the students had a clear understanding of course material
-Asked students for their opinions and views on class subjects

Classroom Observations
-Students appeared focused and on task
-Students were quiet and respectful
-Class had a good flow of speaking points

Was the teacher able to "Build Bridges"?
- I believe that for the lesson planned for this class, building bridges was not necessary. The students viewpoints were often asked. I do believe however, that if building bridges was necessary, the teacher would have the ability to successfully do so.

Did the teacher use a "Shake and Stir" method in the class?
-Perhaps if the teacher did not usually ask for student's views or opinions. But if she had often done so, then I would say it was a standard class. Creative measures in learning did not seem to had been used. 

Questions going into my Observations:

 Does the teacher seem to deeply care about his/her students learning process?

- For both teachers, I believe they did deeply care about their students and their learning process. Mutual respect seemed to be in order between the teachers and their students. The teachers seemed engages in the lesson and were able to directly speak to their students in a manner in which appeared to be a passionate one.

How do students react to the teacher's teaching style?
-The students at Shaker Heights High School appeared to be very vocal in the learning process. It appeared that their voices were heard and that the teacher created an environment where students felt like their thoughts mattered.

What seems to be the teacher's biggest strength?
-The teacher's biggest strength seemed to be the relationships that he created with the students. The students seemed to be very comfortable in the class. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

BlogPost8: Building Bridges

My teaching and student learning experience that I hope to one day install within my classroom is that of connecting lessons that are taught within the class to real world examples in which the students are able to see the direct relationship between. This is only possible through Building Bridges, a term used  by Bill Ayers which refers to the linkage of course material to the students at hand. My opinion of Ayers' term, is that of getting information that is taught by a teacher, into the minds of a student in an understandable way through various teaching techniques. This allows students to understand what is being presented to them in school in a much broader and inner understanding sense. Techniques used in Building Bridges would vary based on the teacher, the material and the students. Let's say I would teach the topic of American Government. My job for the day would be to help students understand levels of government. First, I would build a bridge and use examples of government which they would be familiar. Perhaps I would talk about their student council president and his or her duties. I would then ask students who the mayor of their city is and ask what his or her responsibilities are. These examples, young students would understand and relate to. Then as an educator, I would work up to higher levels of government as students slowly understand roles in which they play. It would make no sense for me to just start rattling off facts and responsibilities of members of congress. Students should be slowly integrated into new ideas and concepts through real world examples in which they can first understand. 

The below methods would be those in which I would place most emphasis on when teaching

Teaching Guide
1.) Care deeply about my students-DiGiulio
2.) Allow for the students to teach me, the teacher- Freire
3.) Self criticize myself to better my teaching skills- Ayers
4.) Incorporate Stir and Serve lessons into my daily schedule- Ohanian

1.) I as a teacher need to care not only about my students as people, but their learning experience as a whole. It is my sole responsibility to make sure that their full academic potential is reached. If it is, a students full potential as a person can be reached as well. This also must entail mutual respect between and educator and his or her student.

2.) As a teacher, my ups and downs in my ability to teach must in fact teach me. I must learn from success and failures in the classroom just as the students must. A teacher cannot be closed minded in the belief that their teaching style is the best and that they themselves cannot adapt within the learning/teaching environment.

3.) Teachers must be just as hard on themselves as they are on their students. If a teacher is satisfied with any negative results within a classroom in the regards of grades or the environment for students, then they themselves are not doing their job and reaching their full potential as educators.

4.) Stir and Serve is an idea created by Susan Ohanian. This idea is one in which teachers are constantly striving to find more efficient ways to teach and create bridges between course material and the students. This idea is one in which creativity in the classroom is vital in. A class will only go as far as the creativity which is provided to the students.