For Students Who Inspire Us

As educators going through our teacher preparation programs, we are not often given insight into all the “hats” we would eventually wear within the classroom. We speak about going beyond instruction and provide a variety of nurturing roles to engage our students. What sometimes is not discussed is how our students can often inspire and motivate us.

I have been a middle school teacher in this district for the past 14 years. I have worked at numerous schools throughout the district primarily in South Stockton. Throughout my tenure as a teacher, I have always thought of myself as a great motivator and encourager of our students, but it has not always been easy. To state simply, we work with a tough demographic and often times, coming to work and going above and beyond can be draining mentally, emotionally and physically. Even with the student challenges to overcome, we can always find diamonds within, if we are willing to find them.

Image of the class at the beachMy diamonds came to me over 6 years ago. I was going through a very difficult and emotional time in my personal life. I had just given birth to my third child, I was also going through a divorce and it was emotionally wearing me thin. At the time, I was teaching 8th grade and these students had looped with me from 7th grade. I remember how difficult it was for me to get up in front of the class and seamlessly go through my day as if all was well. Honestly, I was depressed and I just did not have the energy to motivate anyone. On most days, crying is all I wanted to do.

So everyday, I would muster the courage to teach the best that I could despite what I felt. Even through my pain, I realized a constant at school; the enthusiasm of my students to be around me. My students came, day in and day out with such momentum to learn.  With them around, everyday was filled with smiles and laughter. They were full of life and it was hard for me not to be lively with them during the day. These students loved and cared for me and they would show it through hugs and words of affirmation. Some of the girls would plan to bring me lunch or yummy snacks. These students had no clue of what I was going through, yet they were issuing me my daily medicine that contributed to my healing. This class by far holds a special place in my heart, they graduated from high school last school year and I was honored to be a guest at their graduations.

Being a teacher can be challenging, but within those challenges we often can reap multiple rewards as well. It is easy to develop a tunnel vision lens around the students who can sometimes suck the life out of us. Choose instead to focus on your diamonds; the students who come in and consistent behave well and work hard. Those students often keep us on our toes and inspire us to be better.  Learning is absolutely reciprocal, and there is much to learn and gain from our students. This class helped me to experience the compound effect of being a great educator when I needed it the most.

As we prepare for a new school year, remember to focus on your students who come with joy to school often times just to see you.  

Technology is only as good as _______________________.

Finish this sentence:

Technology is only as good as _______________________.

Maybe you said:

Technology is only as good as its user.

*You may have been thinking of a teacher that calls for help because her computer stopped working and when you get there you plug it back in, and Ta-Da it works again. It’s amazing how electricity works these days.

*Or maybe it’s the teacher who calls for help because a student rotated the screen on the Chromebook. The best part is they sent the student out of the room before telling the student to fix it. If he did it once he can do it again.

Technology is only as good as its server/internet.

*This sentence may apply when you’re at work and you absolutely know you saved that document on the server but still can’t find it.

*When the server is down no one knows what to do. You may find your colleagues suddenly feeling ill or needing to lay down. Some may want to Google “Things to do without internet”, only to find they are still without connection. Which in turn may cause even more panic.

Technology is only as good as its App creator.

*Apps are great. They can help you keep track of your diet and how many steps have you taken that day. There’s even an App that you pay $1.00 to just to see how many people have paid $1.00! What would we do without the Apps?

*Some Apps are for entertainment. Where would we be if we didn’t have that “game” on our phones. Maybe it goes back to the no internet/server…panic would set in if you didn’t have something to keep you entertained.

I joke half heartedly about not having the internet but I see it in our students. If a student can’t access Google because they didn’t turn in their permission slip or the privilege was taken away they act as if life will end.

During state testing all electronic devices must be turned off and not accessible to students. As I collected phones many of them would say I don’t have a phone just to try and keep it with them. Of course I would then say “So what’s that in your pocket”? To which they would reply “Oh, you mean I can’t have it with me even if it’s off”? (Just so all is clear, no phones were out or accessible to any student during any test session). Our students live in the age of technology from the time they wake up to the time they….well it’s on all the time. They go into withdraw when they can’t have it. It’s crazy to me that my own children text each other when they are in the same house! Just get up and walk over to where they are at. It won’t hurt. It’s less than 30 ft.

So now I have another question:

Conversation is only as good as ____________________.

You decide:

Conversation is only as good as its user.

Conversation is only as good a its connection.

Conversation is only as good as its creator.

 

Step Away: Getting Away from Technology through Trees

Sometimes, you just need to step away from technology.

Hi, I’m Tory and I’m a tech-o-holic.

Addiction is defined by Psychology today as “a condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences.”  And most of us have found that type of behavior with our technology. For instance, you pick up your phone to just check one message that just showed up, a notification that popped up on your screen, a Tweet or a Facebook message that peaks our interest.  We think “Oh, that’s OK, I’ll just check this one thing really quickly and then get back to whatever I was doing before.”

And that’s when it happens.  First, you check what you came for, and then maybe look at a little red notification dot and wonder what that is about, and then you find yourself clicking around on several different apps, or deep diving into another one.  What those apps are designed to do – especially social media apps – is give us a little reward of dopamine that makes us feel happy or spikes a little brain boost.

The problem is you can often find that when you are flipping around on your phone that, despite the little clock up in the corner of your phone, time will just simply fly by and you don’t realize that you have spent hours on your phone.

We have all seen the addiction in our classrooms, at the coffee shops, and sometimes even at our own dinner tables. The world is full of cell phones and technology.  But sometimes, we just need a break.

If you own an iPhone, Apple has recently tried to combat some of this addiction with their ScreenTime setting, where you can see how much time you spend on your phone and what you spend time doing.  You can also use this setting to limit the time you spend on certain apps, or even entire categories of apps such as Social Media. Once you meet your limit, the phone will block your access to those apps and websites that you are trying to avoid. Of course, if you know the passcode to get by that, it is often easy to bypass.  (I admit, giving myself more “time” when I don’t deserve it).

Forest app iconOne app that I have found particularly helpful, which brings joy to my little tree-hugger heart is called Forest, and it’s available in the AppStore or on Google Play.

Forest is an app where you plant a tree anywhere from ten to 120 minutes – and then you put down your phone.  If you move away from that app during any time that you have set that timer for, your tree will die! It forces you to step away from your phone and enjoy the life away from technology.  Through the app, you earn coins that help you buy other, cuter trees or, if you collect 2500 coins, you have earned a real tree that the app developers will donate through their partnership with Trees for the Future.

It might be a bit counter intuitive to use technology to avoid technology.  It is, after all, another app that we put on our phone and another thing that we click and swipe and press on.  However, I’ve used this app for a few months now. I set it in the morning for 30 minutes and I use that time to write. Knowing that I can’t pick up my phone to “quickly look up something” keeps me in the flow of writing, and has increased my productivity in writing, grading, lesson planning (and maybe catching up on Lucifer).  It is amazing to put down my phone and really just live life.

So, plant a tree and get things done… away from technology.  

 

Using TeacherVue to make attendance a breeze!

IMG_1356As an App, TeacherVue has saved me so much time.  You can find the app in the AppStore on an iPhone and in Google Play for Android.

At Stagg High School, one of our established “norms” is that teachers are required to greet students at the door.  This is an established norm for a number of reasons, but most importantly it helps students to feel welcomed into the classroom of the teacher, and establishes a positive learning environment. The problem, I’ve always found, is that I often will stand at the door, and then once I get in to my classroom, I find a classroom full of teenagers who have not yet transitioned to the classroom environment, despite knowing that there is a warm up on the board waiting for them to answer.  Often I have to get in to class to remind students to remind them to get Chromebooks, take out paper, and then I also have to take the time to take roll once they have settled in as well as make any announcements. However, with the TeacherVue App on my phone, I have found that at least one transition goes smoothly, and I don’t have to wait until my students have settled in to take attendance.

IMG_1333When you first download TeacherVue, you will look for the icon above, making sure that you put it somewhere on your phone.  Opening the app, you will find a login screen, which uses the same credentials that you use to log in to the Synergy program on the computers.  However, before you can fully log in, you have to set up the app. The gear in the left hand bottom corner of the login screen will bring you to the settings for the app.

unnamedThe settings for the app are very simple.  It is merely looking for the district URL to connect the app to our school district.  The correct URL for Stockton Unified Synergy is https://synergy.stocktonusd.net.  Make sure to hit the “test” button, and an alert will pop up that will show you that you have correctly entered the district URL.

IMG_1335Once you have established this connection, you can log in using your credentials  

unnamed (1)You will see a screen that has a list if your classes. For that semester, including where the class meets, the days that the class meets and how many students are enrolled in each class period.  

Each morning, I log into the app, check my students, and station myself outside my classroom door.  Then, I click on the class that I am taking attendance for.

 

IMG_1344What you will see on this screen is a list of your students enrolled in your class along with their ID number, grade and gender as well as a picture (just in case you’re just as bad as remembering names as I am!)

Your first step is to touch the TeacherVue icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen, which will send you to the classroom menu.

 

IMG_1343From this menu, you can easily access three options.  If you choose the “settings” option, it will let you choose how students are formatted in your class (I prefer First Last), and if you would like to see the student’s birthday, gender, grade, any notifications for the student (including notes that other teachers may have left) and student photos (again, helpful if you are bad with names!

Select your preferences and save them. The second button will let you select “take attendance”, which is the one that we are most interested in.  When you choose this button, you will be able to take roll with just the tap of your finger.

In my classes, I prefer to take attendance by first marking every student absent, and then as they pass by me and say good morning, I will remove their absence with two pushes of the red square that indicates that they are absent. (It will cycle through several different attendance marks, including UNV- Unverified, TDY- tardy, and 30T- 30 minutes tardy). Once the bell rings, and the attendance is taken, I will start my lesson, introduction, announcements, reminders, getting students settled and working towards the task at hand, and I don’t have to worry about sitting myself down at any point in order to take attendance, attendance is saved as soon as I hit the “save” button on my phone.  Attendance is done!

Once I have them settled and working, I will open up my phone, review attendance, check for any students who may have come in tardy (you would be surprised at how silently some students can just slip in), and then save the attendance again.

I have found that taking attendance in this way helps me to stay organized for the day, and makes sure that I have my attendance done in a timely manner in my classroom.

 

TIM Technology Integration Matrix (Part II)

Characteristics of the Learning Environment

Venn Diagram of TPAK

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

Last year, I discussed what TPaCK is and how it should affect our teaching. I delineated the acronym stands for Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge in my previous post. You can read the TPaCK blog post here. Earlier this year I wrote about the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) Part I and you can read that blog post here. As mentioned in my previous post, while examining SAMR, I discovered the Technology Integration Matrix or TIM! I like the simplicity of the SAMR acronym, but it is not as detailed as the Technology Integration Matrix. This two-part blog post will explain the Technology Integration Matrix. It is a five-by-five matrix, the columns comprising levels of technology integration and the rows comprising the characteristics of the learning environment. Since, we have already examined the Characteristics of the Learning Environment let’s explore the Five Levels of Technology Integration.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) was developed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT) at the University of Central Florida. It was established in 1982, working for over 30 years with educators in integrating technology into curriculum. The Florida Center for Instructional Technology developed the matrix as a guide for the convoluted task of evaluating technology integration within classrooms. The matrix affords common language for comprehensive pedagogical technology integration by all actors within the learning environment as well as their ancillaries. This theoretical framework is based on the constructivist theory of learning being an active, constructive and thereby continually evolving process, as well as an educator’s best practices.

Diagram of levels of technology integration.

As mentioned earlier it is a five-by-five matrix delineating the Levels of Technology Integration and the Characteristics of the Learning Environment. In this blog post I am going to focus on the Five Levels of Technology Integration. Each column of the TIM constitutes a level of technology integration. Every level of integration then ascends through increasing levels of technology integration. These five Levels of Technology Integration are: Entry, Adoption, Adaption, Infusion and Transformation. Let’s investigate each level in isolation.

Entry Level of Technology Integration begins when teachers use technology tools to deliver curriculum content to students (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). Each level of Tech Integration then elevates through the five Characteristics of the Learning Environment: Active Learning, Collaborative Learning, Constructive Learning, Authentic Learning and Goal-Directed Learning. In Entry Active Learning the setting is arranged for some direct instruction and individual seat work also known as “drill and practice activities.” Students may receive curriculum from the teacher and/or other sources. Therefore, students access to technology may or may not be limited, but more than likely is highly regulated.  Entry collaborative learning, is still arranged for direct instruction with individual seat work. However, students work alone utilizing technology, but may collaborate with peers without technology. During entry constructive learning, students receive information from teacher through technological means. Likewise, all students have access to the educator’s presentation. Moving on to entry authentic learning, resources available through technology are within the instructional setting such as textbooks and other supplemental materials. In other words, technology use is completely unrelated outside the instructional setting, Finally, entry goal-directed learning, occurs when directions, guidance and feedback all thru technology. This includes skill-building applications and the educators to track students progress across all levels.

Adoption Level of Tech Integration occurs when educators are directing students in the conventional as well as the procedural use of tech tools (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). At the adoption level the teacher makes decisions about what technology to utilize as well as when and how to use it. Individual student exposure to technology may be limited; however, some tasks may require procedural knowledge of the technology tool. The active adoption learning stage, is designed for direct instruction and individual seat work with students having limited, but regular access to technological resources. Collaborative Adoption demonstrates using technology tools in conventional ways albeit collaboratively. This may be within the classroom, school, district or other location. Likewise, the constructive adoption displays a guided conventional use of technology for building knowledge by students. Moving on to Authentic Adoption, occurs when students are engaged in guided activities with meaningful content. And finally, Goal-Directed Adoption in which students are using technology in a conventional and procedural manner to plan and/or monitor. While students are still using technology in conventional ways, local control is still with the educator.

The Adaptation Level is the next stage of technology integration (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). This is when the fun begins! Teacher facilitate students into exploring and independently using technology tools. Learning now becomes more student-centered instead of teacher-centered. One of my favorite sayings is, “guide on the side, not sage on the stage.” technology tools are now an integral of the lesson. While most technology decisions are left up to the instructor, students are guided in their independent use of technology. Students have a more familiarity with technology and a greater conceptual understanding of its uses. Therefore, students can work with less procedural instruction and explore different uses of technology tools.

The Adaptation Level consists of active adaptation, the conventional yet independent use of technology with some student exploration and choice (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). Tools are now being utilized collaboratively with a little student choice and exploration in collaborative adaptation. In constructive adaptation students are building knowledge independently, while in authentic adaptation activities are connected to students lives. Finally, in goal-directed adaptation students are using tools purposefully to plan and monitor progress. Interestingly, in all five characteristics of the learning environment for the adaptation level, there is some student choice and exploration.

In the Infusion Level of technology integration the educator provides the learning context and  the students choose the technology tools to achieve the desired outcome (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). What makes the infusion adaptation level so different is a wide array of technology tools are integrated seamlessly and flexibly into teaching and learning. Technology is in sufficient quantities to benefit all students in making informed decisions about when and how to utilize different technology tools. It is important to note that the instructional focus is NOT on the technology tool, but rather student learning.

First, in the active infusion level of integration, students have a choice of tools with regular, consistent self-directed use (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). Within the collaborative, constructive and authentic stages, students have their choice of tools for regular use in collaboration, building of knowledge and participation in meaningful activities. Last but not least, is the flexible and seamless use of tools in planning and monitoring progress in achieving the expected outcomes. Once again, it is important to note, students have regular, self-directed use of technology tools of their choosing.

Transformation is the last level of technology integration. This is where the real change takes place. In transformation the teacher encourages new and innovative uses for technology tools (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.). In transformation tech tools are utilized in a manner facilitating higher-order activities that more than likely would not have been possible without technology. Students now employ tools to acquire a specific learning outcome. This is achieved after receiving a conceptual understanding of the tools, paired with extensive practical knowledge about how their are used. Therefore, students apply their understanding and knowledge as well as extending their use of technology tools. Encouragement to use technology in unconventional ways by educators serving as guides and mentors is prevalent.

In the active transformation stage, students demonstrate extensive and unconventional use of tech tools (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2018). As with the infusion stage, in the collaborative, constructive and authentic levels of integration, students are collaborating, building knowledge and finding innovative uses for higher order learning not possible without the use of technology. Lastly, in goal-directed transformation, extensive and higher order use of technology to plan and monitor their progress towards achieving specific goals.

Each one of the five Levels of Technology Integration progresses through each Characteristic of the Learning Environment. As mentioned briefly earlier these are the Active, Collaborative, Constructive, Authentic and Goal-Directed Learning Environments. In Part I, I delineated each of the Characteristics and how they related to each of the Levels of Technology Integration. Below I have included a diagram of Technology Integration Matrix for your viewing. Last year I reviewed TPaCK and what it was, as well as SAMR. As you can now see TPaCK is a concept between Technology, Content and Pedagogy. SAMR is brief explanation of technology and how to go about integrating it. The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) provides a comprehensive and detailed perspective between the Levels of Technology Integration and the Characteristics of the Learning Environment. Hopefully, the information I have provided on TIM will assist you when integrating technology into your classroom.

All images and content used with the permission of the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida.

References

Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved from http://mytechmatrix.org/matrix

Learning Theories/Adult Learning Theories

Overview

Malcolm Knowles might well be considered the founding father of adult learning. He contrasted the “concept of andragogy, meaning “the art and science of helping adults learn,”…with pedagogy, the art and science of helping children learn” (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999, p. 272). Knowles’ original studies and writings arose from the assumption that there are significant, identifiable differences between adult learners and learners under the age of eighteen. Primarily, the differences, according to Knowles, relate to an adult learner being more self-directing, having a repertoire of experience, and being internally motivated to learn subject matter that can be applied immediately – learning that is especially “closely related to the developmental tasks of his or her social role” (p. 272).

Andragogy

Knowles (1968) popularized this European concept over thirty years ago. Andragogy, (andr – ‘man’), contrasted with pedagogy, means “the art and science of helping adults learn” (Knowles, 1980, p. 43). Knowles labeled andragogy as an emerging technology which facilitates the development and implementation of learning activities for adults. This emerging technology is based on five andragogical assumptions of the adult learner:

  1. Self-Concept: As a person matures, he or she moves from dependency to self-directness.
  2. Experience: Adults draw upon their experiences to aid their learning.
  3. Readiness: The learning readiness of adults is closely related to the assumption of new social roles.
  4. Orientation: As a person learns new knowledge, he or she wants to apply it immediately in problem solving.
  5. Motivation (Later added): As a person matures, he or she receives their motivation to learn from internal factors.

These five assumptions dovetail with the thoughts and theories of others. Merriam and Caffarella (1999) point to three keys to transformational learning: experience, critical reflection and development. The aspect of experience (the second assumption to andragogy) seems like an important consideration in creating an effective learning opportunity for adults. The learning opportunity needs to be relevant and applicable to a person’s set of experiences. Argote, McEvily, and Reagans (2003) point to experience as an important factor in one’s ability to create, retain and transfer knowledge.

Critical reflection is the second key to transformational learning and part of andragogy’s self-directed learning. Reflection/think time is yet another essential principle to creating an effective learning experience for adults. Garvin (1993) shares the importance of fostering an environment that is conducive to learning including time for reflection and analysis. Adult learners need time to contemplate the ramifications of the learning experience to their experience and responsibilities.

The third key to transformational learning is development (corresponding to the third assumption of andragogy). Merriam and Caffarella state that “the ability to think critically, which is mandatory to effecting a transformation, is itself developmental” (p. 330). If development is the outcome of transformational learning, then an effective adult learning opportunity needs to be created that will take personal development into consideration

Andragogy assumes the following about the design of learning:

  1. Adults have the need to know why they are learning something.
  2. Adults learn through doing.
  3. Adults are problem-solvers.
  4. Adults learn best when the subject is of immediate use.

According to Knowles ( 1984, Appendix D) an example used to apply the principles to personal computer training:

  1. Explain why certain skills are taught (functions, commands).
  2. Task oriented instead of memorizing. Tasks should be common tasks.
  3. Take diversity into play. Acknowledge different learning levels and experience.
  4. Allow adults to learn on their own and from their mistakes. ( M.Knowles)

Some would contend that Knowles only introduced a theory of teaching rather than a theory of adult learning. In commenting on this thought, Merriam and Caffarella (1999) referring to Hartree suggest, “that it is not clear whether Knowles had presented a theory of learning or a theory of teaching, whether adult learning was different from child learning, and whether there was a theory at all-perhaps these were just principles of good practice” (p. 273). It is further contended that Knowles did not establish a proven theory, rather he introduced a “set of well-grounded principles of good practice” (Brookfirle, 1986, p. 98).

“Within companies, instructional methods are designed for improving adult learners’ knowledge and skills. It is important to distinguish the unique attributes of adult learners so as to be better able to incorporate the principles of adult learning in the design of instruction” (Yi, 2005, p. 34). Within this context, adult learning is aimed at not only improving individual knowledge and skill, but ultimately it is the goal to improve the organizational performance by transfer of learning directly to work applications. Yi suggest three methods to foster learning in adult organizations: Problem-Based Learning which seeks to increase problem-solving and critical thinking skills; Cooperative Learning, which builds communication and interpersonal skills; and Situated Learning, which targets specific technical skills that can be directly related to the field of work (Yi, 2005). Each of these methods support the assumptions about how adults learn; specifically they are more self-directed, have a need for direct application to their work, and are able to contribute more to collaborative learning through their experience.

Experiential learning

Experiential Learning Theory emphasizes the role that true experiences play in the learning process. It is this emphasis that distinguishes itself from other learning theories. Cognitive learning theories emphasize cognition over affect and behavioral learning theories deny any role for subjective experience in the learning process.

Scholars in the field of education have two contrasting views when it comes to the concept of experiential learning. The first view defines experiential learning as a sort of learning which enables students to apply newly acquired knowledge in a relevant setting. The relevant setting can be a sponsored institution of learning with trainers, instructors, teachers, or professors to guide the lesson. The other school of thought defines experiential learning as “education that occurs as a direct participation in the events of life” (Houle, 1980, p. 221). Thus, learning is not achieved in a formal setting, but in the practice of reflection of daily experiences. Kolb furthers the second definition of experiential learning by developing a model which details learning process through experiences. Kolb and Fry’s (1975) experiential learning model is a continuous spiral process which consists of four basic elements:

  1. Concrete experience
  2. Observation and reflection
  3. Forming abstract concepts
  4. Testing in new situations

Immediate or concrete experiences are the basis for observation and reflections. These reflections are assimilated and distilled into abstract concepts from which new implications for action can be drawn (Kolb & Fry).

According to Kolb and Fry (1975), the adult learner can enter the process at any one of the elements. The adult learner moves to the next step once he or she processes their experience in the previous step.

Anxiety and the Adult Learner

An interview with psychologist Edgar Schein, Coutu suggests that more often than not, organizations fail at transformational learning. They rarely fundamentally change the behaviors within the organization. Schein dismisses the notion that learning is fun, especially for adults. He equates adult learning within organizations with that of the brainwashing techniques he observed while studying prisoners of the Korean War (Coutu, 2002). Organizations must find a method to deal with the anxiety adults experience when they are forced to “unlearn” what they know and learn something new (Coutu, 2002, p. 6). Schein discusses two kinds of anxiety: learning anxiety and survival anxiety. It is in this manner that he draws the parallel to brainwashing; that is “learning will only happen when survival anxiety is greater than learning anxiety” (Coutu, 2002, p. 6). Each of these anxieties could be managed, for example learning can be constructed in a “safe” environment where the consequences of failure are minimal. Survival anxiety can obviously be increased by threatening job loss, a lack of security, or recognizing competitive elements of the market.

Case studies & workplace examples

The adult learning experience presented itself in all of its glory and contradictions through a curriculum review taking place in a school setting. The objective was to examine the current school curriculum and evaluate it for strengths and weaknesses. The purpose for this review was to both align the curriculum with current practice and augment the curriculum to enhance student learning. Interestingly, the teachers involved in this process seemed to exhibit all the qualities of adult learners mentioned previously: learning through projects, applying self-direction to the process, challenging the process for purpose, and some approached the process with much anxiety. Engaging in the process illustrated that adult learning is individual and there were as many approaches to adult learning as there were people involved in the process.

Article Sources and Contributors

Learning Theories/Adult Learning Theories Source: http://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php?oldid=2060870 Contributors: Abigor, Fishpi, Hagindaz, Panic2k4, Rdunican, Recent Runes, Red4tribe, 29 anonymous edits

License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported http:/ / creativecommons. org/ licenses/ by-sa/ 3. 0/

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MRH3CoZFj2RFrAvDNHOFao11xd_tgyahca-QZbRwmww/copy

Spring Break Curriculum Training

Well, what can I say. I began the week thinking “why did I sign up up for these trainings?” Yes, I was excited but also exhausted from this last stretch of teaching.  After it was all said and done I am so thankful these trainings were offered. I can’t imagine myself showing up the week before the kiddos come back and saying to myself, “Yes, I got this. I can teach two brand new curriculums and use the online portions of these programs.” If you have not signed up for the trainings I strongly encourage you to do so.  

The trainings were fun and in depth on how and what we will be teaching.  In both trainings we learned how to use all of the materials, plan our day to day, how it aligns with the standards, differentiated teaching strategies and materials, center ideas galore and how to bring these kids to grade level and beyond.

Benchmark is our Brand new Language arts curriculum.  At first glance it can be a little frightening. There’s a ton of material and it’s really overwhelming looking at all of it. But after a two day training I’m eager to start using the materials and planning for next year.  Benchmark uses repeated exposure to skills and strategies, along with multiple opportunities to practice all standards. It has an equal balance of Whole Group (Model/Access Grade Level Complexity) and Small Group (Differentiated Practice/Application) Literacy Instruction. All units are aligned across the grade levels giving the school a central theme for learning. Benchmark includes Shared readings, Mentor Read Alouds, Decodable Readers, an online component for teachers and students, grammar and spelling, vocabulary, phonics, reading and writing, Big Books with complex texts, text close reads, center activities, and reader’s theater.  Every day students are exposed to at least three different text. You name it, this program probably has it. It’s a complete curriculum that spirals throughout the year so that if a student doesn’t fully understand a concept it will be visited several times throughout the year. And the best part of Benchmark for k-2 teachers: there is no more ripping out and stapling the decodable readers. They are printed, stapled, and sorted for the teachers. Also, weekly and unit assessments can be completed on paper but can also be taken online with immediate results for the teacher to collect that much needed data. Benchmark’s online portion is amazing!

The official growth assessments for the Language Arts test will be taken over by iReady. iReady is our new online assessment program for both Math and Language Arts giving us the traditional Map scores. It will be the online component that will do the data tracking portion very similar to map while also giving differentiated lessons to the students for the math program. This will be taking over ST Math. It will create a year long program specific to the student which will fill missing gaps and bring them up to grade level and beyond. If a student is more than a grade level or two behind it will either give them a one year path to proficiency or a stretch path that is a multi year plan to to bring students to proficiency. For an awesome website check out i-Ready Central. It’s basically the Pinterest of i-Ready; it’s free and filled with a ton of information.

Our new Math Curriculum is Ready Classroom. Not to be confused with i-Ready.  Ready classroom is a comprehensive curriculum that includes all daily lessons, enrichment activities, centers, tools and videos for instruction. As well as the prerequisite for instruction.  All materials can be found really easily using the online portal. This curriculum is not designed to be just a pen and paper curriculum, it is designed for exploration and discussion. Students will learn to do math through whole group and small group discussion. They will learn how to problem solve in multiple ways.  A lot of what we will be doing is discussion. The print outs will primarily be used as checking for understanding and independent work. As far as lesson planning, this is a teacher heavy lesson planning curriculum. This is not a curriculum that can be pulled out and used as a script. These need to be planned out and planned so that the students can receive the full benefit of this program.  

So if you have not signed up for the trainings I strongly recommend you do so. Yes, you get paid and no, it is not mandatory.  But if you want to have a strong understand for this curriculum you should get on Go sign me up and sign up for one of these awesome trainings.