Educational Technology Context & Foundation

I absolutely love my Instructional Technology course I am taking this semester at ISU! Integrating technology into all aspects of the classroom to benefit both student and teacher is extremely important to me. Part of the requirement of this class will be to create a Philosophy of our own in regards to placing tecnhlogy into the classroom. In order for us to complete this, through the course we are finding professional resources and material within our textbook to expand and define our current technology ideals.

Here is my takeaways from our readings this week:

     In Chapter 1 of our textbook, Roblyer states,

For the processes, or instructional procedures for applying tools, we look to … applications of technology that help prepare students for future jobs by teaching them skills in using current tools, as well as skills in ‘learning to learn’ about tools of the future that have not yet been invented – or even imagined (p. 5).

     I find the idea of “learning to learn about tools of the future” to be an extremely important guide in today’s teaching of technology and preparing our students for the future. This changes the focus of learning technology, we need to learn enough to complete the tasks we are to complete; however, its not about having lessons on the particular technology that we know it deeply as software, hardware, etc changes so rapidly. Yet we should direct lessons on the ability of learning to learn. Being able to take the basic knowledge and apply it to any program that comes our way. I read once that computer programmers, computer design students, and the like graduate with a degree with most of the information they have learned is outdated. Similar to our students, It is important for them to know how to learn and adapt to the rapidly changing technology in our world. 

     In Chapter 1 of our textbook research completed by Devaney in 2010 teaches us, 

Schools with one-to- one computing programs had fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and higher rates of college attendance (p. 22).

     I am not surprised by such research results. As a future teacher, I would love to adapt or be apart of a school in which is involved within a 1:1. Eliminating factors of students not having the technology accessible in and outside of the classroom. This research on technology in education tells us that there are many more benefits to the use than what we originally thought. My thought that the fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and higher rates of college attendance is in the idea that students are engaged, lessons are adaptable to many learning styles, and they feel better prepared to go on to higher education because of their experience!

     In Chapter 2 of our textbook, Roblyer states, 

Teachers will always use some directed instruction as the most efficient means of teaching required skills; teachers will always need motivating, cooperative learning activities to ensure that students want to learn and that they can transfer what they learn to problems they encounter. Proficient technology-orientated teachers must learn to combine directed instruction and constructivist approaches and to select technology resources and integration methods that are best suited to their specific needs (p. 49).

     I tend to lean toward the constructivist methods, ideologies, and epistemologies in the modern day classroom. It is innovative, collective; it is about movement and collaboration. It is appealing to me as a teacher to make the classroom appealing to today’s student. Yet there is an importance in the ideals and methods of directed instruction. As a future teacher and as I go about creating my integrating technology philosophy is in important to develop a balance between the two.

Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson             Education, Inc. 

My Ends as an Educator

imagesJohn Dewey said,

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Education is defined as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction (Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, 2003). My ends as an educator are to give my students instruction toward their intellectual, social, economical, and political knowledge.

What I mean by intellectual knowledge is developing important skills and becoming a life-long learner. This is valuable because a typical person will only spend 13 to 18 years of their life receiving systematic instruction through an institution. There is an abundance of truth to the words written in the book, I Can Read with my Eyes Shut, in which Dr. Seuss (1978) says,

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

A person who fluently reads and writes enjoys learning new things; the possibilities for them are endless. I want my students to have the ability to acquire and apply both knowledge and skills.

What I mean by social knowledge is enriching personal growth and developing community responsibility. This is valuable because many people find confusion in the process of figuring out who they are and how they can be a part of their community. Inspiration and guidance can be given to assist students toward understanding social responsibilities and the impact of the choices they make. I want my students to have the ability to participate well in society and organizations.

What I mean by economical knowledge is preparing for employment and understanding their role as a consumer. This is valuable because we do not know what the future holds for us. Schools today; educate the employees of tomorrow. Yet, we are unaware of what tomorrow includes. Basic employer skills and the understanding of one’s role in our economy, I believe are beneficial now and to the unknown. I want my students to have the ability to give significance toward their career and be sensible in relation to money, time, and effort.

What I mean by political knowledge is embracing democracy and acquiring citizenship skills. This is valuable because it is important to prepare our students for their active role as responsible, informed citizens in a democracy. It is advantageous that our students are given a voice, and then empowered to use it. Franklin D. Roosevelt said,

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

I want my students to have the ability to take interest and knowledgeably contribute in the government and public affairs of this country.

In conclusion, my ends as an educator are giving my students instruction toward their intellectual, social, economical, and political knowledge. Not in preparation for life, but for life itself.


What I Wore: Observation

As an Education major we have several opportunities to visit the classsroom. Today, I am completing an abservation for my SPED 3350 class. The goal is to seek how the partnership between the general education teacher and the special education teacher works. It is so important for their to be open communication to better assist these students with special needs. 

Informed Belief Statement with Vision

My beliefs.

book-i-am-reading-a-book-and-a-hundred-more-none-of-them-speak-of-my-xt4j8e-clipartA student is not a blank book waiting to be filled from cover to cover when he or she enters a classroom. A student entering a new classroom is merely beginning a new chapter or a new page within his or her book; whereas, an experienced student will be making some necessary revisions. A student arrives at the classroom with pages and chapters filled with stories, ideas, understandings, and experiences. What is already written within the pages of the student’s book is the foundation for the new knowledge that will be inscribed. The teacher prompts and facilitates the new words upon these pages, by asking questions that will lead them to write additional chapters within their book. This analogy of a book describes my beliefs about learning, teaching, learners, and the role of a teacher.

My philosophy.
My teaching philosophy relates to the established philosophy of education, pragmatism. In the article, Philosophical Perspectives in Education, Cohen (1999) describes pragmatism beliefs as, “reality is constantly changing and that we learn best through applying our experiences and thoughts to problems, as they arise… thought must produce action, rather than linger in the mind and lead to indecisiveness” (para. 7).

My teaching methods.

My teaching methods are inclusive to the constructivism theory. In the article, Constructivist Teaching and Learning, Gray (n.d.) describes constructivism as,

a view of learning based on the belief that knowledge isn’t a thing that can be simply given by the teacher at the front of the room to students in their desks. Rather, knowledge is constructed by learners through an active, mental process of development; learners are the builders and creators of meaning and knowledge (para. 11).

In my classroom, the constructivism theory is put into action through a number of different teaching methods: such as inquiry- based learning, collaboration, critical exploration, reciprocal learning, and procedural facilitations for writing.

My classroom environment.

My classroom environment is home-like and comfortable; yet, invigorating and vibrant. You see bookshelves, lamps, floor-rugs, a reading area, walls decorated with student work, and curtains hung on the windows giving a sense of belonging. You also see a word wall, an objective bulletin, a large activity calendar, individual student mailboxes, and a homework station giving a sense of focus toward working. You hear the voices of students working together on their literacy project, incorporating what they just read in their book clubs.  You smell the aroma of a pumpkin spice wickless candle on my desk, that freshens the room just so. My classroom could be described by a student, as a place where they want to be. My classroom could be described by a visitor, as an environment conducive to the learning process.


Developing my Classroom, One Task at a Time

champsMy EDUC 3302 class has us thinking about our future classrooms! Through tasks laid out in the book, Champs: A Proactive & Positive Approach to Classroom Management, I will be putting together my Classroom Management Plan. This is so very exciting, finally being able to put down on paper what I have dreamed about since I was a little girl.

The first chapter was about vision; defining goals, placing expectations and guidelines of how we “see” our classrooms of the future. Each idea is presented as a task, there are seven of them:

Task 1, Understand How to Shape Behavior

Task 2, Understand Motivation

Task 3, Identify Long-Range Classroom Goals

Task 4, Develop Guidelines for Success

Task 5, Maintain Positive Expectations

Task 6, Implement Effective Instructional Practices

Task 7, Initiate and Maintain Family Contacts

The discussion board assignment asked us to share thoughts on two of the seven tasks with the class. I opted Task 4 and Task 7:

Question for Task 4, Develop Guidelines for Success: Develop your own “Guidelines for Success” acronym that you could utilize in your future classroom. Make sure to develop it for the appropriate grade range, and note which level it would be for. Explain your process of developing that acronym.

Middle School English/ Language Arts Classroom – Guidelines for Success

READ (this would be on a poster that looked like an open book)

R – Respect Yourself, Respect Your Peers, and Respect Your Teacher

E – Everyday is a new day!

A – Always Try

D – Do not judge a book by its cover

In an English classroom one would expect the acronym to be related to reading and writing. These guidelines for success are mini social lessons that apply to the classroom, real- world situations, and when reading books. Respect makes the world go around, Every day is a new day to experience new things, a fresh page to start a new story, always try you never know what you will learn in the subject/lesson/book, and Do not judge a book by its cover it is what is on the inside that counts.

Question for Task 7, Initiate and Maintain Family Contacts: Share your intended strategy for making initial contact with families. Discuss the advantages of contacting all students’ families before the school year begins, and the feasibility of your plan.

Personal story, my kindergarten teacher sent me a letter the summer before school started (thirty-four years ago). My mom still has it and I can still see the big red schoolhouse picture on the left side of the page. The letter was addressed to me from my first teacher. The letter introduced the teacher in appropriate language for me to understand on the front and information for my mom and dad on the back. The message was clear, Mrs. Ellison was excited to have me in her class and my parents knew that I would be in good hands. She cared.

As a middle-school teacher I understand the need for both still exists even when the child is older. A child still wants to know that their teacher is excited to have them in their class and a parent always wants to know that their child is important. This can be a difficult task with possible 150 + I will see in one day. Time limitations as class lists are not made available until the first week of August (or later) and late registrations keep student lists growing and changing. Even with the unpredictability of the list, I would love to start the year off with a positive note. A message conveying that I care. Giving parents and students a little bit of certainty in all the uncertainty of the beginning of the school year. An introduction of their teacher, an expectation of the English class, and an invitation to keep the communication going (a reply card letting me know how to reach them, what are their expectations, what communication type do they prefer, any additional information that they want me to know).

What do you think? Is there anything that you would like to add? Please let me know in the comments!


NSO & Fall Semester Prep

This week has been bittersweet as I begin to prepare for my first semester towards my Bachelors Degree at Idaho State University 🐯 And coming to terms that my summer vacation is coming to an end ☀️

One of the swag items received at NSO-TF.

Tuesday evening I participated in Twin Falls- ISU New Student Orientation and College of Education Orientation. After two and a half hours of information that overloaded my spoiled summer brain, we enjoyed fellowship, the sun and a BBQ. A few participated in the Ropes Course, I prefered to stay on the ground 😱. Besides I wore white khakis and pink flats! You cannot participate in the zip line wearing those 😇 (all excuses)

It appears as though I am attentively listening, with my coffee of course!

The rest of this week has been dedicated to getting my planner set up, finalizing my Fall Semester schedule, and purchasing my books. I really like to be prepared, it helps me know that I have a great start to a successful semester and my syllabus week is not so stressful. 

I am loving all this room I have for each day!

I even created a wallpaper for my iPad lock screen with my schedule. I find this will make it easier during the first few weeks while I am learning the location of all my classes.

In just a week and a half, I will continue my journey of what I have wanted to do since 1989! It is so very exciting. Here are the classes I will be participating in, I absolutely love that all the courses will be very beneficial to my future as a middle school English teacher and most importantly does not involve Math! 

I am going to try to enjoy a few more days of summer until then!

☕️ Lesson video requirement for the Teacher Education Program College Admission Interview

Today I will share with you a copy of my lesson video (blurred faces to protect the littles).
Jeanie Cullip Teacher Education Interview Video

In this PE Methods of Elementary Teachers Lesson I am bringing movement into mathematics. I am teaching the common core standard for kindergarteners: Counting and Cardinality (#6). Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.

I begin the lesson with a fun activity to warm up the brain and the body; counting to 100 with movement. Then I provide a teaching moment regarding greater than and less than, while getting a feel for what the students know. These kindergartner a did great, so I knew it was time for them to show me what they know through a game. My mentor teacher said it was so nice to watch her students show us what they know in this concept, while having a good time! (Assessments can be fun too!)

Please provide any constructive feedback as I am here to learn!

☕️ Gifted, talented, and bored! … (oh my) enhancing the learning opportunities for these students

interviewI have read that five to ten percent of students meet the criteria for being gifted. So how do we teach these students within the general classroom level? Differentiate the lesson plans. Differentiating the lessons, so that it meets the needs by the rate at which the student is learning, the depth at which they are able to go into the material, and at the pace they are completing the work. The key is to provide a challenge for the student, so that they remain engaged with the material that is presented in the classroom.

In addition to differentiating lesson plans, I found a fabulous resource of information regarding the gifted student (as well as others) on the Scholastic website. Joseph Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut and co-founder of Renzulli Learning provides a list of strategies to help provide opportunities for all students to continue growing and learning in the areas where they have the greatest strengths.

1. Provide open-ended assignments
The more you can offer open-ended learning opportunities in reading, social studies, and science, the better. While this allows high-achieving students to take their work to a deeper level, it is incredibly beneficial for all students. Projects that draw on a broad range of higher-level thinking and provide opportunities for real-life learning experiences lead to more enjoyment in learning for all students. And I believe that should always be our first goal.

2.Create opportunities for collaboration
Consider cluster-grouping high-achieving and gifted students for more in-depth group assignments. This will enable you to more easily provide different assignments and content. If there are not enough students in your classroom to create a group, work cooperatively with other teachers in your grade level to try to accommodate the needs of your most advanced students. It makes more sense for one teacher to spend the time looking for advanced options for four or five students than it does for four or five teachers to do this level of work for one student in each classroom.

3. Use tiered assignments
All your students will benefit from tiered assignments with shared content and themes. It gives all students a chance to share knowledge and ideas yet, at the same time, work at a level that is both academically challenging and comfortable. It also gives you the chance to teach more flexibly and to engage students’ interests as well as meet their needs. For example, you may let students choose the way they present their learning: writing a traditional report, making a movie, giving a speech, or doing original research. One size does not fit all.

4. Let them pursue independent projects
Give interested students the chance to pursue independent study or project work. One way to keep them engaged is to pose a few questions and let them choose one to solve. To add even more value to the project, consider ways that their work might help the school or the wider community. A student could, for instance, organize a food drive or look for ways to improve cafeteria recycling.

5. Find the right books
Look for beyond-grade-level content for your advanced learners. Allow them to read appropriately challenging fiction and nonfiction books that relate to their interests. Your most advanced students should have the chance to encounter words and ideas that are new to them. Collaborate with your librarian or teachers in higher grades to help you find the right books.

6. Consider an accelerated program
Certain extremely advanced students may need or prefer an accelerated program. There are many forms of acceleration such as grade skipping or content acceleration to challenge your gifted and talented students. Research on acceleration suggests that it benefits gifted and talented students in many ways)

7. Aim for school-wide enrichment
The same learning opportunities that engage and motivate advanced students work with all students. We all want authentic learning experiences that are exciting and challenging. Work with administrators and other teachers to implement regular options for deep enrichment school-wide.

How do you provide a challenging environment for the gifted student? Please share in the comments below!


☕️ Getting parents involved in the classroom

interviewParent involvement is extremely important. Great things happen when a family comes alongside their children in and outside of the classroom. Parent’s that take the time to become involved, tend to have successful students.
At the middle school level, it is important for parents to do the following: discuss school activities, monitor out-of-school activities, contact school staff, volunteer, attend parent-teacher conferences, and participate in other school events. Both communication and providing a variety of opportunities to help are factors to attaining assistance from parents.
Communication is the number one factor to attaining assistance from parents. Beginning day one (or as soon as you receive a class list), I will send a letter (or e-mail) home to them. This letter will introduce myself and include the best ways to contact me. This letter will also have a portion that will need to be returned to me; giving the family to let me know a little about them and the best way to contact them. Attached to this letter will be a handout that will provide them with opportunities they can assist their students at home; as well as, at school. Communication does not end here, a classroom newsletter will be sent home often communicating the needs of the classroom; as well as, tips that parents can use to assist their student at home with what we are learning in the classroom. (I also love the idea of home journals; students write a letter to their family letting them know what they learned that week, then over the weekend the parent can reply. When the notebook returns to school, I can check for completion; as well as, anything that may need to be addressed).
A variety of opportunities is the next factor in attaining assistance from parents. Families are extremely busy with work and home during school hours. Evenings are filled with after-school activities, running errands, dinner, and homework. As a teacher I need to understand that family members cannot all be available to complete the same things, I also understand that not everybody is comfortable in being in a classroom setting. The opportunity sheet I will provide families will give them a plethora of ideas of how to be involved; as well as, a place they can make me aware of what their talents are.
Let’s take a look at communication and opportunities working together – Mr. Johan’s works all day and is a single father of three boys. Mr. Johan’s may not have time to assist in the classroom during school hours, and may not have the time to help in the evenings either. I notice that he stated on his opportunity sheet that he is an artist, so he may be able to make some posters for the Harry Potter Unit that we will be completing in October. I know that e-mailing him is the best way to contact him (it says it on the communication sheet), and I ask him for this favor in the beginning of September (allowing time for him to complete this task). Mr. Johan’s replies with the ability to assist in the opportunity, and his son is excited that his Dad is going to be a part of the upcoming unit (causing parent and student efficacy to increase; relationships have deepened between parent, student and teacher).

How do you increase parent involvement in the classroom? Please let me know in the comments below!


☕️ My thoughts on discipline in the classroom

interviewWhen I tell people that I would like to teach kindergartners or middle-schoolers; I am often told that managing one of those classrooms are similar to having to herd cats or catch squirrels. These comments remind me of something my Dad told me when I was young, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink.”
The statement is correct, you cannot force a horse to drink; if you take it by the straps, and sit it down at a bucket of water; however, there is a role that we have in regards to getting the horse to drink the water. We can run the horse until is hot and tired, or we can even offer the horse a salt lick. Either one could bring you one step closer to getting the horse to drink. If these do not work; time will.
My thoughts on classroom discipline is similar to my response to getting a horse to drink water. As teachers, we cannot force our students to behave (no mater how authoritarian we are). This behavior is a choice, similar to a horse choosing to drink the water or not. As teachers, we must act on this choice. A few keys to assisting students with the correct choice are: relationship, routine, engagement, and clear expectation.
Relationship is the most effective key toward gaining correct behavior in the classroom. James Comer said, “no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” George Washington Carver said, “all learning is understanding relationships.” In Rita Pierson’s Ted Talk, Every Kid Needs a Champion (a must watch, seriously… go watch it now! I will wait) she speaks of the power teachers have through relationships with their students. When a student knows you are genuinely interested in who they are, and they are able to achieve success in your classroom; I believe they are capable of doing whatever it takes to do it, including following the classroom rules.
In addition to relationship, clear expectation and routine are keys in gaining students to making the correct choice in classroom discipline. I paired these together as they go together like coffee and cream. If a student has in front of them clear expectations of what you want, and you provide them with a routine of these expectations; there will be less behavior issues in the classroom. We are all creatures of habit. As teachers we can assist in forming positive habits in our students through consistent (an extremely important factor to these keys) expectations and routines in the classroom.
The last but not the least key to actively assisting students toward choosing correct behavior in the classroom is engagement. An involved student is a well behaved student. Short attention spans, distractions, and unable to concentrate on material are problems that are evident in the modern day classroom. Understanding how the brain works helps solve these known problems. Our brain is stimulated by its environment, and it will pay attention to whatever it is stimulated by. As a teacher we need to provide the stimulation for our student’s brain, or the brain will find something else to focus on (to think that the clock on the wall ticking second by second can be more stimulating to some lectures). Do you disagree? I recommend that you watch a child play a video game… then let’s talk about not being able to get through to students due to a student’s short attention span, distraction, and unable to concentrate. When engaged, these students are able to sustain activity for as long as they are allowed. I suggest: breaking up material in smaller portions, offering brain breaks, and making the lessons come alive to your students.
Relationship, routine, clear expectation, and engagement are effective keys to classroom discipline. Used together these tools can be powerful actions towards getting students to choose the correct behaviors; creating an environment for growth and learning.