Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chapter 9- Behaviorist Views of Learning

How would you define successful mastery of your lesson objectives from a behavioral view of learning?
In my own words, successful mastery of my lesson objectives would be my students understanding the taught material to my standards. For example, if my lesson objective was that my students would learn how to find the area of a square, mastery would be attained if my students could find the area of 9 out of 10 given squares. From a behaviorist point of view, mastery would be attained due to the students' environment. For example, the students would learn and understand how to find the area of a square due to my aural explanation, examples on the board, their graphic organizer containing how to find the area of different shapes that they could refer to, and the peers around them that they were able to work with. So essentially, the difference between my definition and a behaviorist's would be they attribute it to solely environmental factors while I would attribute students' mastery to other things as well like the social aspect of my classroom and the children's' self-efficacy.

Consider your CSEL intervention case study. Are there tools from a behaviorist view for either encouraging productive behaviors or discouraging undesirable behaviors that you could apply to the case? What are they?
The elementary case study involves Lisa, a student who is causing problems in her small group during cooperative learning activities. She gets angry with her group members when she doesn't get the job she wants and then refuses to contribute to the group's learning. She constantly interrupts others and doesn't pay attention when her group is preparing for class presentations. One behaviorist element that I could apply to Lisa is negative punishment. For example, when I notice that Lisa refuses to participate, I could remove her from the group and have her work on the assignment alone. I could also try cueing when students should be preparing for presentations so Lisa is reminded of what she should be working on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chapter 8- Complex Cognitive Processes

Consider a lesson plan you might use. Which metacognitive skills/abilities are involved as students gain facility/knowledge in this domain?
One lesson plan that I have in mind could be a third grade science lesson about matter. If my students were doing an experiment determining how different conditions affect different types of matter, I would start the experiment with my students making their own individual hypotheses. After the experiment, I would have my students reflect on whether or not their hypotheses were correct. If they were correct, I'd have them explain why they came to that conclusion. If they were incorrect, I'd want them to identify why their hypothesis wasn't accurate. This would cause my students to think about their learning and help them understand why they came to the conclusion that they did.

Think of an activity or lesson component that explicitly teaches one or more metacognitive and one or more problem solving skills.
Any elementary math lesson can teach metacognitive and problem solving skills. Students are not only encouraged to understand and learn the math skill but also recall and explain how they came to their answer. Oftentimes students are given a math equation and asked to provide an answer and explanation. This causes students to think more about the step-by-step process of solving the problem as well as thinking about their thinking. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chapter 7- Knowledge Construction

Make a list of the sequence skills necessary for ultimate mastery of the content of your lesson through a constructivist approach?
When teaching a 3rd grade language arts lesson about punctuation and capitalization within a letter, I could definitely use a constructivist approach. We've discussed a lot about authentic activities and their importance in the classroom. After direct instruction and days of practicing punctuation and capitalization in addresses and letters, I would have my students write, address, and mail their own letter. Having my students write this letter will show the importance of the grammar lesson and how it can be applied to the world around my students.  A sequence of skills would be: learning which words need to be capitalized (names, street names, greetings, salutations), learning where punctuation is necessary (comma after the greeting, comma after the city), and lastly writing a letter which is grammatically correct.

Which of these learning activities/skills lend themselves to student's individual or group construction? How might you structure learning activities that lead students to discover these skills/these principles?
The skill of correctly addressing and writing a letter is what contributes to student's individual construction the most because it is a useful skill that will be used for the rest of their life. Because this is an authentic task, it will be more interesting for my students to learn and will be easier to remember. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chapter 6- Learning and Cognitive Processes

What are the essential skills and/or learning outcomes you want your students to know and be able to do that relate to cognitive learning?
One skill that I want my students to walk away from my class with is the ability to pay attention. This cognitive learning chapter talked a lot about memory and how paying attention is key to remembering things. However, paying attention isn't as easy as it seems. The book gives the example of reading a book. While your eyes may be looking at the words on the pages and reading each word, unless your mind is focused on the novel and not daydreaming about what happened earlier in the day, the information cannot be stored. I want my students to be able to know when they are paying attention and when they are not. A big part of the elementary years is teaching students to re-read the parts that confuse them or that they accidentally skimmed so learning how to pay attention and focus at the task at hand is important. Another skill I want my students to practice and learn is mnemonics. Mnemonics area great way to help students remember classroom material that they may have no prior knowledge of. Throughout my 16+ year career as a student I've used mnemonics to help me so I know that they can help my students. In the second grade I learned My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas to remember the order of the planets from the sun (back when Pluto was a planet.) Since then, I've always utilized mnemonics to help with tricky concepts.

Example of how one teacher teaches the metric staircase

How might your knowledge of the memory processes guide your instructional decisions?
Something that really stood out to me in the teacher project from this week was Matt's explanation of how students only pay attention to what interests them. The example was that when teaching a social studies lesson, boys will be more inclined to listen to the war aspect of the lesson and ignore the rest. This really resonated with me because I used to be one of those students! When we would read books as a class, I could only relate to the girl characters and completely ignore the boy characters. During a social studies lesson I was intrigued by the people and places and didn't listen to a thing about the dates. As a teacher I must keep this in mind so the material caters to all students. I'll also be sure to emphasize details and materials that I know my students aren't as interested in.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chapter 15- Summarizing Students' Achievement and Abilities

Turn to p. 559 in Ormrod’s text.  Now, imagine that you are meeting with Ingrid’s grandmother today to explain her scores on the recent standardized achievement test pictured at the bottom of p. 559.  What will you tell her about Ingrid’s performance? her strengths? her weaknesses? 

When explaining Ingrid's scores to her grandmother, I would begin with elaborating on the areas in which she excelled and the areas that she needs to work on. According to the percentiles, I would express that Ingrid is doing very well in reading comprehension, science, and social studies. On the other hand, she needs to work on spelling, math computation, and math concepts. 

If grandmother asks you what she could be doing at home to help strengthen Ingrid’s skills, what will you suggest?

One thing that I would suggest Ingrid's grandmother to do is practice her spelling words with her each week. One doesn't become a good speller unless they practice and learn from their mistakes. I would also ask that Ingrid's grandmother help her with her math homework. I'd explain that the math can sometimes be difficult so she should send a note to school with Ingrid if she has any questions about the methods being taught in class.