I am currently working towards a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at Houston Baptist University. I have been a 3rd grade classroom teacher for the past few years at Harmony Science Academy - West Houston. I am transitioning to an Elementary Gifted and Talented pull-out teacher.
The aspects of education that I like to emphasize in my own classroom are child-driven learning, hands-on manipulatives, varied learning sources, and the integration of the whole person.
Child-Driven Learning: I believe children want to learn and will find their intrinsic motivation for learning if they have responsibility and ownership of their learning. As teachers, we need to find out what excites and interests each student so that we can help tap into that interest and love for learning.
Hands-On Manipulatives: Especially in the elementary years, there are so many benefits to having concrete hands-on materials that can aid in the learning of abstract ideas and concepts. This type of learning also helps students that are more visual and/or kinesthetic learners.
Varied Learning Sources: We live in a world that has a vast amount of resources right at our fingertips. We are teaching a generation of students that are constantly plugged into all kinds of information nearly 24/7. This technology, in particular, gives us a wide range of resources that go far beyond traditional textbooks and we need to stay informed of all the possibilities to effectively reach and teach our students.
Integration of the Whole Person: Learning involves more that just the mind. When learning integrates mind, body, and soul and gets to the core of who we are as individuals, it is more effective. Combining service projects and field trips into the curriculum allows students to experience real life and learn more about their world than just information that is handed down to them. These experiences can speak to their emotions, as well as their mind, and bring about a deeper understanding of their world and their place and role in it.
I am always striving to have a classroom where I am guiding and facilitating – to come alongside students and help them find their interests, to group students that would complement each other and work well together, and to work outside the classroom walls as well as within. Students should learn core subjects but also go beyond that and incorporate real life experiences that allow them to grow as a whole person.
Texas Teaching Standards
Standard I. Instructional Planning and Delivery. Teachers demonstrate their understanding of instructional planning and delivery by providing standards-based, data-driven, differentiated instruction that engages students, makes appropriate use of technology, and makes learning relevant for today's learners.
Standard II. Knowledge of Students and Student Learning. Teachers work to ensure high levels of learning, social-emotional development, and achievement outcomes for all students, taking into consideration each student's educational and developmental backgrounds and focusing on each student's needs.
Standard III. Content Knowledge and Expertise. Teachers exhibit a comprehensive understanding of their content, discipline, and related pedagogy as demonstrated through the quality of the design and execution of lessons and their ability to match objectives and activities to relevant state standards.
Standard IV. Learning Environment. Teachers interact with students in respectful ways at all times, maintaining a physically and emotionally safe, supportive learning environment that is characterized by efficient and effective routines, clear expectations for student behavior, and organization that maximizes student learning.
Standard V. Data-Driven Practice. Teachers use formal and informal methods to assess student growth aligned to instructional goals and course objectives and regularly review and analyze multiple sources of data to measure student progress and adjust instructional strategies and content delivery as needed.
Working on all the various lessons made me more aware of all the different types of instruction we can offer to our students. It was refreshing to see many inquiry based models that will help students construct their own knowledge.
Creating a video of one of my lesson plans from my Models of Teaching portfolio helped me to focus on technology skills that I can use when preparing lessons.
The TEASe video is a great way to introduce a unit. It certainly will capture students attention and get them to think about how they can relate their prior knowledge to the topic.
This was actually my first experience with using an iPad and finding an app on there. Visua Musio is an app that combines elements of geometry, art, and music. It would give students the opportunity to use shapes to create a visual and aural masterpiece.
.Programs like Tagxedo and Wordle allow students to synthesize information visually. It was an excellent way to share introductory information about ourselves.
Glogster is another web tool that could enhance learning and synthesis of information for visual learners. I particularly enjoyed being able to use some of my own creativity along with giving the facts while making this graphic organizer
Creating subject samplers or treasure hunts is a creative and interesting way to bring a variety of online sources to students. Having them search or work their way through a subject sampler gives ownership of the topic
I have used Excel to make plenty of tables before, but I had never created a graph before. There is such a variety of options that could be used in a number of lessons with children and keeping my own data set records.
Using Delicious allows for a large amount of information to be saved and bookmarked all in one place. This is quite helpful when you are looking online for a variety of sources and ideas regarding a particular unit plan. The tagging within Delicious allows for easy organization and searching of topics that you have saved.