Education is so important; without it we have no power. Every child should have the same opportunity as the next to learn and grow. I believe that all students grow and learn differently and because of this all students cannot be taught and tested the same way. We need teachers in our educational system that will give each student the proper attention they need in order to succeed. I am not talking success as receiving high test scores, anyone can train someone to put down the answer that they want, I am talking about success in the classroom as actually knowing, understanding, and applying the information in all aspects of their lives, building bridges.
With so much emphasis on test scores the children are not truly learning the information and the tests aren’t actually measuring their intelligence. Standardized tests are becoming more and more of an issue because of the fact that the test is not catered to the needs of the students. They are not one size fits all. For my this I believe paper I would like to write about how I believe that every student learns differently, standardized tests are not an accurate way to measure learning and that there are better ways to measure what really matters.
The problems of standardized tests is the primary problem I want to focus on in my paper. This topic holds much relevance in my life as I have struggled with testing throughout my previous years of schooling. I can remember taking these tests in grade school and just dreading them and seeing the results and noting that I was either average or below average, which wasn’t the case. These test are not an accurate measure. There has to be a better way to measure what actually matters. Students come from various different backgrounds and these tests do not acknowledge that. Also students learn in very different ways, some are visual learners, some learn better though reading, etc. The standardized test does not take that into account. The test makers are not in the classroom teaching the material, when the students see the material on the test odds are it will be presented in a different manor because of different teaching/ learning styles.
These tests do not measure potential either, they are very cut and dry. How can you be expected to learn and grow when that number says that you are below average? Why is so much emphasis placed on these test? It is honestly mind blowing to me that so much pressure is placed on testing when the only thing is it actually measuring is how good you are at taking a test and reciting information.
I hope that one day everyone realizes that students all learn in different ways and deserve the special attention they need in order to succeed. I really hope and really want to know if there are alterative ways out there to measure students and identify their strengths. I will discuss the problems of high stakes testing in my paper as well as research alternative ways that student can be measured actually.
Recently our class completed our last school visit to Gearity Elementary school. I was very excited for this visit because I want to teach early childhood. When we arrived I was assigned to the preschool to observe. After being in the preschool for a few hours and I can say that I do not want to teach it!! When we arrived at the classroom we were not very welcomed, the classroom assistant was not very pleasant towards us. I’m not sure if it was the preschool I didn’t like or if it was the school but I didn’t enjoy the school as much as the other two schools we visited. In the preschool, the children started their day off with circle time, going over what day it was and the weather etc. After viewing this I decided to base my observations off of the question, “What do teachers do to keep the attention of their students?” The teacher in the classroom I was in used a lot of songs and little jingles to keep the students engaged. One thing I observed about the preschool is that it is not very strutted. The students play a lot but their play time actually allows them to learn. They had different stations around the room that they could play at such as writing, art, listening, etc. I really liked the stations writing and listening because these skills are very good to start picking up at such a young age. They could listen to a story or practice writing some letters. After they were done Playing they went to the library for the first time, the librarian wasn’t there so the teacher just read a story. After the conclusion of this visit I can say that I would like to teach 2nd grade. Preschool was a little to young for me. As far as the school goes I wasn’t extremely impressed, it may have been the classroom I was in, I just didn’t feel very welcomed. Maybe it I was observing an older classroom it would be different!
On Thursday I had my last observation at Bryden Elementary School. I was very sad going in that this was my last one! I got very close to a few of the students and I really just loved the environment of Mr. Holmes classroom. When I arrived as usual the students were at their special for the day. They were in the tech lab practicing some online math activities and then they read a book. After their special they traveled back to the classroom for snack/reading time. It was very cute to see how excited they are to read and share their talent. One little girl, Miriam came over to me and was reading me poem out of the poem book she checked out. It was so cute to see how excited she was!! After snack time the students decorated turkeys and on the feather they wrote what they were thankful for. Mr. Holmes stressed the importance of writing down the important things down that they were thankful for. I thought this was very important to bring up because of how much our society values material items. While they were working on this activity Mr. Holmes showed me the assignment he was grading. He showed me the new way most schools teach spelling. Instead of just checking to see if he students can spell the word or not, they check for different this with the word. For example, if a student gets a word wrong but gets the consonant blend or the long vowel patter correct, they get credit for the answer. This way the teacher knows exactly what the student is struggling with and Mr. Holmes splits them up into groups based off of this. I think this is a better way in teaching spelling because you can track the students progress. As I was leaving Bryden the students gave me a card that said “We love Ms. Messina.” This was such a good experience and I am so happy I was placed at Bryden to do this. I am honestly so thankful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
What can I say? It was another amazing visit at Bryden Elementary School. Every day when I come the students are in their Thursday special. As I was observing their library class I thought to myself the importance of these specials and I based my observations off of the idea of the importance of specials. I think there is a great importance to learn about technology, art, gym, etc. In their library class on Thursday they were creating their own story and typing it out. I think that this is very impressive for students at the second grade level. What I found surprising is that the students all worked quietly and rarely got distracted. Light classical musical was also playing while they worked which probably was a factor is their concentration. I think that students need these specials because it gives them a break from the classroom and it gives them the opportunity to be creative. After we returned back to the classroom for a government lesson. Before Mr. Holmes started the lesson he had the students repeat an “I Can” statement, so the students know the direct objective of the class. After the lesson he gave them a hand on actively where they talk about the 3 main branches of government on a poster. In addition, I got to read them a few chapters of a book which I really enjoyed! I enjoy every visit and I am sad that I only have 1 remaining.
As I was reading through all my past blog posts, I am realizing how much I have grown as a student and how much I have learned about the field of education. This course and my course blogs have helped me to validate that this is the profession I want to be in. Overall I have realized a theme that was present many times in our Educational Foundations book. I have discovered that there is so much more to teaching that what it seems to look like on the surface. Teaching requires a vivid image of yourself in order to be able to instruct others. So many things go in to being a good teacher. Reading through the blogs which involved Bill Ayers book, To Teach the journey, in comics, one can really see what a good teacher looks like. This book outlined so many principal ideas in the world of teaching. Through this work and the blog posts I can see different ways of looking at education and different ways of addressing the classroom. I think an overall theme for the 9 posts is the plethora of diversity. By diversity I mean that everyone is different, we learn differently we see differently, and we all need different attention. The blog post about Ebonics and the people watching both stood out to me as blogs that entailed diversity. We all grew up from different background and what we see in the world in different. Diversity is seen in many schools and though this blog course project I was able to see it. As a teacher this is one issue that I will need to work with and this project has helped me to broaden my knowledge on the subject!
Last week I visited Bryden Elementary school for the 3rd time. Every visit making me more and more excited to become a teacher! I specifically enjoyed this visited because I actually got observe Mr. Holmes teach a lesson. The last few sessions were more activity bases and I didn’t get to see him teach as much. During my visit the students were learning about the three branches of government. Mr. Holmes started the lesson with a review of the last unit. A lot of the students were eager to answer his questions and participate. One thing I have observed is that the students feel safe in the environment and they are very encouraged to participate, and they really do! After the review, he showed a School House Rock video and they really enjoyed it! I think that using videos and visual aids is essential in learning because it captures their attention! The one thing that I observed about his teaching is that he tries to relate the information to real life situations. For example, he compared the president to the principal of Bryden and so on. I think this helped the students to picture what a government looks like while using something they know. I think that it is very important for students to learn about the government at such a young age so they can start becoming comfortable with the material and as they get older they can start forming their own opinions. After this visit I can see how Mr. Holmes builds bridges in his teaching and how they efficient they are. This was my favorite visit so far and can’t wait to go back!
Last week I did my second set of observations hours are Bryden Elementary school. This visit was a very good one as I got to interact directly with the students. When I first arrived, the students where in the tech lab learning how to use google documents. I was very surprised by this because in 2nd grade I was not using my email and creating documents! Boy have times changed! The teacher Mrs. Bennidict used a very creative technique to get the classes attention. She would clap her hands in a beat and they would reply with 2 claps. It was very interesting because not only did she receive their attention, but they got to participate. When we got back to the classroom the students had their tablets out (which I was definitely not using in second grade) and they were using an application called Kahoot. The students were preparing for a science test and Mr. Holmes would put a question on the projector and they would answer it directly on their laptops and the result would appear directly on the board. It was really cool to see how much information they knew became they mostly got every answer correct. This is a very interesting application because he can see who got the question wrong so he can reteach as necessary. I also go to be hands on with the students! I got to read them a book about Halloween. The one main thing I realized during this observation is the increased use of technology. It is crazy how much it is being incorporated into leaning! It was a very good second observation and I am excited to go back!
Recently the class visited Shaker Heights High School. Going into this field observation I was little nervous to be back to a high school as it feels as if I was just there. It was strange being around students my age as I want to teach early childhood. It was also a bit funny that the students thought I was new a new student at the school as I was asked what high school I transferred in fro! But the overall visit was very surprising and I’m not sure in the best way. This school was very different from my school as I went to a private Catholic all girl’s college preparatory school. We are always expected to be on our best behavior and to be promptly prepared actively participating in class. Little of such I saw during my observations. It may have been that I was just not used to the environment of public school but what I observed was not what I expected. The question I based my observations on was “How do the teachers engage the students in the lesson?” After my visit this question was not really answered. My first observation took place in a freshman English class. The students where going over a quiz when I arrived and then split off into groups to work on a project. During the lesson as the teacher was trying to go over the questions the students would all start talking and the room got very noisy. Also the students never raised their hands and just shouted out the answer, something I am not used to at all. One thing I wrote down was “teacher raises her voice several times in order to get attention of class.” When the students broke up into their group only 2 out of the 7 groups were working on their assignment. The teacher said that this was their time to work on the project but if they want to waste it, go ahead. I think that she should not have given them that option, they should be working on the project because then the students who were actually trying to work could not because of the noise level. The next class I attended was a junior and senior Spanish 4 class. The one thing I observed that was different that the freshman was the cell phone usage. The teacher had to remind the students to put away their phones several times. In my high school the policy was much different as if a phone was seen it would be taken and you would have to pay a fine before getting it back. In this classroom the teacher would catch a student with his phone, tell him to put it away and then 2 minutes later it would be out again. Also the teacher had much trouble getting the attention of the class, they would be talking to each other instead of listening to him. The teacher did not do much to get the attention of his student. Some students would raise their hands but most would just scream out. My question that I based my observation of of could not be answer because the classrooms I visited did not have much control over the students. I know I need to remind myself that I need to keep an open mind but after visiting I was just shocked by the negative attitudes by some of the student and their actions.
In Class we have been talking a lot about what it means to be a good teacher and how to connect with your students in order to reach them on a different level to become the best teacher you can be. I think the most important aspect in becoming a good teacher is connecting with your students. Trying to understand them fully and listen to what they have to say. I think building a relationship like this will help them want to learn from you. Being able to incorporate the concept of building bridges also makes a good teacher. When Bill Ayers talks about building bridges I believe he is referring to making connects from what is being learned in class to the real world and how to use it in your everyday life. I think this is extremely important because school is not only about learning the material and being a good student. It is about taking the information you have learned and applying it to the word. I think learning about life and the world should be more of a concentration in schools.
For my lesson I am going to be teaching students the different parts of plants and why they are important. First I would start out by reading them a book that has to do with flowers or trees or the environment. This will get them warmed up with the subject and start to open them up to the new concepts they will learn. To help them learn the different parts of plant I will have them construct and label a flower diagram out of construction paper. I will first draw the diagram on the board and explain each part of the flower. For example, when I am explaining the roots I would talk about how they are located under ground and they are necessary for the plant to soak up water. Before starting this activity, I will make sure I have all the supplies needed in order for the students to complete the activity successfully. I will have precut stencils of the flower ready to go so all the students have to do is glue it on in the correct place and label it. To build a bridge to another concept I could speak about trees and how they are structured and speak about why they are important. I would eventually tie it to recycling and why it is important is save paper and always recycle.