Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chapter 14 - Creating Assessment Strategies

This week we discussed assessment and the different ways we can assess our students, both formally and informally. While I've never been a huge fan of standardized tests as a student, I understand their importance now that I'm becoming a teacher. However, as an educator, I'd like to incorporate multiple forms of assessment so my students have many opportunities to excel in my classroom.

For example, if I was teaching a lesson about fairy tales to second graders, I would use many ways to test their knowledge. In this lesson, I would incorporate sequencing, differentiating between details and main ideas, comparing and contrasting, and writing narratives. With a lesson this broad, there are countless ways to assess my students.
Informal: Each student writes their own fairy tale (should include the main parts of a fairytale- characters, illustrations, plot, conflict, resolution, moral).
Informal: Students are put into groups and given the task of writing a fairy tale, creating a script, and performing their tale for the class.
Informal: Read a fairy tale aloud to the class and have a group discussion about key parts of the book and what makes it a fairy tale.
Formal: Read a fairy tale aloud to the class, discuss the major components of a fairy tale, and test the students on the material at a later date.

Norm-referenced assessments, which compares a students' performance to their peers, and criterion referenced assessments, which shows what students have/have not learned compared to standards, are a prevalent part of our education system. While these two types of assessments are very different, they both have positive and negative aspects to them. Norm-referenced assessments are a good way to see which students are understanding the material and which students are struggling. While these assessments don't show specifics, it can indicate problem areas in the classroom. Criterion referenced assessments are a fantastic way to see what exactly students are understanding within the material. Teachers can use these to see material that may need to be retaught.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chapter 13 - Learning Environment

How will you create a learning environment that is conducive to learning?
In my classroom, I will be sure to arrange my classroom in a way that allows a lot of room for movement so I can move the desks when necessary. I'd also like to arrange the desks in a way that promotes class discussion with one another. I'll probably end up putting the desks into small groups so it's conducive for group work. At the beginning of the school year my class and I will discuss possible rules for the class and make a poster of our rules to keep on the wall. I think my students will be more prone to following the rules that they help create rather than following rules that I made before getting to know them. As a teacher, I will always be monitoring what my students are doing by walking around the room, making myself available to answer questions and give clarification.

Now consider your CSEL case study.  Develop a full continuum of responses for dealing with the misbehavior of your case (ignoring through dealing with serious and repetitive infractions).
In my case study, my third graders are split into small cooperative groups, however, one group is struggling. The group that is lacking consists of a few students and Lisa, a student who refuses to participate unless she is given the role that she wants. Lisa constantly argues with and interrupts her group members, causing them to fall behind the rest of the class. One thing that I could do is ignore the issue altogether. Another thing I could do is  allow my students to give performance feedback on their group members. They will all be working toward a common goal so Lisa may be more likely to listen to her peers than me. I could remove Lisa from the group and make her responsible for all of the group work. This would show her that it's extremely beneficial to be in a group and hopefully make her change her mind about the group work.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chapter 11- Motivation

How might you enhance motivation and affect in your students using the theories of motivation?
As a future elementary school teacher, I agree most with the social cognitive theory. My students will be largely motivated by the consequences that follow their behaviors or the behaviors of their peers. Eventually, they will acquire self-efficacy and will then be able to set personal goals. One way I will enhance motivation in my students will be to include amusing classroom topics that relate to my students' interests, arousing their curiosity. Another way that I can increase their motivation is to give them opportunities to interact with their peers whether it be through role-playing activities, classroom debates, or group projects. Lastly, I want my students to focus more on improving themselves as learners rather than comparing their successes and failures to fellow students. This will not only increase their motivation but also help develop their self-efficacy.

Which theories of motivation are most helpful and instructive for you?
Personally, the behaviorist theory is the most helpful and instructive for me. As a child, I was given many positive/negative reinforcements and positive/negative consequences in order to illicit good behavior. As a child, these reinforcements and consequences motivated me to do well. As an adult, I've become intrinsically motivated rather than rely on outside factors.