Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chapter 5 QTC

You have now read several views about intelligence. What do you think about intelligence?
Is it one trait or many? more heavily influenced by nature or nurture? a fixed capacity or a
modifiable ability? Articulate your views in a paragraph of 6-8 sentences.

I agree with Ormrod and many theorists that intelligence can be modified through experience and learning. Every person has a different level of intelligence depending on specific criteria such as what task, concept, or social habits. Intelligence is especially important in the evolutionary exchanges between men and women; men and women perform at different levels at each of these specific criteria and search to find equilibrium through each other. Intelligence is influenced by both nature and nurture, but more heavily by nurture. It depends of the practice of skills, and behaviors you associate with what intellect you are trying to increase. Someone may develop new abilities based off of prior knowledge and personal experiences that they can relate to. 

Field Trip: Live Blogging

"Dear utk, autism is my prism, not my prison." - Such strong, meaningful words.

   I was watching the assistant place her hand on the back of Barb and push on it when she needed to type the letter and guide her around the keyboard. It makes me tense watching her do that because I know that Bard had to be so frustrated trying to type. We watched a movie, "Autism Speaks" in Special Ed, that was very similar to Barb's situation. The woman in the documentary was in front of an audience as well wanting to tell her story. It took a very long time to type what she wanted to say; all the most important to maintain patience. Barb, like the woman in the documentary  was passionate about history and allowed them to be external and discuss with others about their interests. It is so neat to be able to see it first hand. I know that how she thinks inside explains her intelligence. It is amazing to me that she has written an entire book of her brilliant view of life, and yet cannot yet relay it through verbal words. It is apparent that it is crucial to be patient with Barb and try to understand how outbursts. I wonder if Barb feels trapped on the outside....she know on the inside that she is intelligent and not trapped by her autism, but sometimes can't relay that information physically. 

1. Be the best you can be
2. Persevere
3. Remember we are all the same
4. Understand (let him or her live inside their autism)
5. Keep an open-mind, 
6. Empower (should have choices and decision making power). 

These describe how she truly feels and wants to be portrayed. We as teachers can use these ideas for all of our students to recognize and be patient with their differences.  

   There is NO standard brain. This hit me hard during the presentation. Just like any culture, person, race, etc. is different, so is the brain. No judgement or comparisons. There are structural and functional differences. They relate better to objects rather than people. We must be able to recognize their needs that the brain wants them to have. Stimulation, thrill-seeking, exploration...There are some of the most intelligent people and can be significant entrepreneurs. Everyone has their place, their strengths and weaknesses. Barb has found her purpose and peace which allows her to have a happy and full life. Autistic people have BENEFITS- they are not hopeless or helpless. We must help find who our students are, and be that purpose. We have to connect and be where they are. We will understand what makes them happy and possible expressive language.I would enjoy reading her book in order to understand her thoughts and see life through her perspective.  

We are all diverse and important to this world.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Group Differences

I read the article "Gay-Straight Alliances and school experiences of Sexual Minority Youth." The article was about sexual minority's three experiences they have in school: victimization, isolation, and campus climate. These students are often neglected and abused physically or emotionally by family members, or even their peers at school. They also feel isolated because they don't have anyone to go to for support and have trouble creating new relationships. Finally, they campus climate highly affects their academics and personal lives.They experience a "hostile" environment which increases the likelihood of skipping classes. All of these experiences make school seem like an unsafe place and also are associated with sexual minority youth's plans to not continue their education after high school. One way to make schools more welcoming for sexual minority youth is to adopt "Gay-Straight Alliances." These are student led clubs open to youth of all sexual orientations with the purpose of supporting sexual minority students and their heterosexual allies and also reducing prejudice, discrimination, and harassment within the school. GSA's can be found in both high school and colleges. A survey found that GSA's in schools: provide information about topics such as coming out, connecting with supportive faculty and staff, finding staff mentors, or assisting youth to develop coping strategies for living in a frequently hostile world. GSA's also increased a sense of identification for sexual minority students in their schools. The students felt much safer at school, had support for sexual minority staff, and were more interested in attending school and coursework. 

Overall, I didn't find this article to be too surprising. Although I did not know that there were such things as GSA's, it would seem that any club or organization for minorities would make school seem like a safer and more welcoming environment. These are fairly new clubs, and as the article questioned, I also wonder how open students are to their membership in the club. I feel like it would take a while for students to get comfortable within the club, before coming out or admitting to being in a sexual minority group. I think these types of organizations are a great resource for students who are struggling in school. I hope to be a source of support for all of my students, and hope that I could make an positive impact on these students as well. 

Some things I did find interesting: In a sample of sexual minority students, 74% of participants believed that their school campus was "homophobic." In another group, students in their first year of college believed that their colleges would be better off if only heterosexuals attended them. It is important to make every student feel accepted at school. Some students get involved with Greek life, others with SGA or religious groups, but these students also need a safe place to go, such as GSA's. Hopefully word spreads about this club and more college campuses can adopt them. On the other hand, EVERY student must take initiative on how they are involved and perceived. If they want to make a change, they take initiative and be a an active part of that change. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chapter 3

Chapter 3
(3.1) Personal and social development can have a major influence on both individual student learning and the learning environment as a whole. Identify a case from the CSEL guidelines that you would like to address in your paper. Then, examine the possible developmental factors that could be influencing your target student(s) or classroom in the case study. Consider all dimensions of personal and social development, including cognitive, language,social,emotional, and moral development. 

Case study: 
You are particularly frustrated with a seventh grade group of students that appears to engage less and less with learning and more and more with one of your highly amusing leaders of the class. Cherie is really funny, but does not show good judgment in choosing appropriate times and ways to be funny. Yesterday she tripped Carmen as she passed her desk on the way to get a chair for a guest in our class. The day before, Cherie made rude noises throughout small group presentations. Today Cherie jumped up while Tommy was reading a poem about a battle, a poem that appeared engaging to the majority of the students; she started pretending she was shooting a gun at other students. Several joined in the pretend battle and disrupted the class to the point that Tommy could not finish reading the poem.  

   According to Erikson’s statges of psychologic developemnt, students at the adolescent age become curious about who they will be as an adult. This can be a confusing and awkward time period for middle school students. Many are struggling to find their sense of place, personalities, and where they fit in (Ormrod pg. 71). Students who are acting out in the classroom may be doing so in order to gain attention from myself and other students Cherie may have realized that her peers may have mixed feelings about her, and is therefore acting out in order to gain acceptance from them and make herself look better socially. Cherie may be struggling with discovering her sense of self. According to Ormrod, “adolescents tend to behave in ways that mirror their beliefs about themselves” (Ormrod pg. 68). These beliefs and feelings are largely self-constructed at the middle school age. In relation to Ormrod’s text, Cherie may have a negative self-perception and will be less likely to succeed academically, socially, and phsycially (Ormrod pg. 68). She may not see herself as a good student and therefore may pay less attention, cause problems, and avoid following directions. Also during the middle school age, students are beginning to think logically. Cherie clearly understands the behavior and the reactions she expects to receive from her peers based on that behavior. 

(3.2) Check out tables 3.1 (p. 75), 3.2 (p. 83) and 3.3 (p. 91) with particular attention to the age ranges you are interested in teaching. Identify your personal favorite ways that an educator can promote a child’s sense of self, perspective taking, and moral reasoning skills.

   One strategy that I liked from table 3.3 was "involve students in group projects that will benefit their school or community" (pg 91). I think this is important for many reasons. First, I want to emphasize group work in my classroom so that students have the opportunity to build knowledge off of their peers and also learn from a different perspective. School is also a place to promote and teach social skills to students at this age. It is important that students learn to socially interact with others, as it is an important life skill. They must be able to work and communicate with others throughout their academic careers, and also in their future careers. It would also be an opportunity for students to do something for the community and learn to give back to others. It would be a great way to create well-rounded students. 

   Another strategy that I would implement in my classroom would be to provide them with a supportive and optimistic community that focuses on their potential and success as stated in table 3.1 (pg. 75). The first day of class would be an opportunity for me to get to know each of my students individuality  I would like to know what their goals are, what drives them, what are their strengths and weaknesses, etc. Based on what I learn from my students, I would try to include things that students like in my lessons, and be sure to praise students for their strengths. Helping them build up their weaknesses would also be a part of my role as a teacher in order to maximize student success. I want to be sure to be as positive and encouraging as I can, because those were the type of teachers at my middle school that truly impacted my life in a positive way. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chapter 2

(2.1) One of the most cited theories of human development is that of Swiss biologist Jean Piaget. After reading about Piaget’s basic assumptions (p. 27-32) look with particular attention at the stage of child development you would like to teach. The other most cited theory of human development belongs to Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development leads us to expect greater diversity among our same-aged students than Piaget. Given these two influential theorists’ ideas on cognitive development, how might you accommodate students who are not yet working at the level of their peers?

   From a standpoint of a future middle school teacher, I would expect that each student in my classroom is learning through their own creativity and gaining knowledge on different levels than their peers. On one hand, Piaget's assumptions are that children are active and motivated learners, construct knowledge rather than absorb it, learn through accommodation  and interact with their environmental  In general, "children think in qualitatively different ways at different ages" (pg 29).  Vygotsky theory states that children develop increasingly advanced and integrated schemes through assimilation and accommodation (35). One way to accommodate students who are at different working and knowledge levels based on these theories combined, is to let the students class-wide peer tutor. Students can pair up and work with one another. This will also give them the opportunity to use their strong skills to help those who may be lacking in that subject, or vice versa. They can also learn to construct knowledge from one another by learning from different perspectives and using those ideas to build on their own experiences. It is necessary to encourage peer-tutoring, because in an ideal classroom, students are at a variety of levels of learning. 
   Students may also work on class projects in order to get hands on experiences. They may have a choice to create it the way they would like (as long as it would fit directions) and construct it with their individuality  This way, I could see where each student stands academically, and at the same time, hold them accountable to create something that would meet their maximum ability. For example, students could create a "cell" cake, poem, movie, etc. in a middle school science classroom. This would hopefully give students the opportunity to be able to learn in their own way and create something based on their background and interests, but still learn the material needed to master the lesson. They would have the opportunity to walk and talk themselves through a task to construct new knowledge. It would be better to allow lee-way for those students who are not yet on the same levels as their peers. 

(2) Theories in educational psychology promote the idea that language plays a critical role in cognitive development. Examine Table 2.2 (p. 51), paying particular attention to the age range that you are interested in teaching. Consider how you might incorporate or adapt the strategies presented for use with your own students.

   Strategies suggested for middle school students include: assign reading materials that introduce new vocabulary, introduce some of the terminology used by experts in various academic disciplines, conducted structured debates to explore controversial issues, ask students to consider the underlying meanings of common proverbs, and explore the nature of words and language as entities in and of themselves. I will be teaching in a middle school science or social studies classroom. I think it would be very beneficial to have my students do research or hands on projects that require them to use the professional language used in the unit. I also think it could be very fun and interactive if I used a debate type scenario in order for my students to learn. For example, a debate on the topic of evolution. Students could research the arguments for and against evolution and create their own debate teams to perform with in class. Not only would this require students to research and learn terms, but they would also be discussing and breaking down a theory. This could be helpful later on in their academic careers when they must explore new theories in their other classes. It will also be beneficial in that students will have to explore controversial issues, use professional language, and use their thinking skills on the spot. I believe these would be useful tools and strategies to incorporate in my classroom because they not only focus on science or social studies, but will also incorporate reading and writing skills as well. Students that are able to take skills from one class and apply it to another subject are likely to have greater success in their academic careers. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chapter 10

Which of the learning activities/skills can you think of that lend themselves to learning through modeling?
   We as teachers can model behaviors we want to see from our students. For example, if we get frustrated as teachers, we should model good behavior by calming ourselves, keeping a positive attitude, and using kind words. This type of situation could occur when we make a mistake for example. We do not want to over exaggerate our behaviors in front of our students. If we make a mistake, we pick right back up. This models to our students that even their teachers fail, and it's okay for them to do as well, as long as they can keep themselves composed about it. Another way we can model self-regulation to our students is by keeping the classroom organized and having a positive environment. We can allow students to have more freedom in the classroom, if we first model good behaviors and class rules. Once students know what is acceptable behavior, there will be a more likelihood that they will compose themselves in the classroom and stay on task. A final skill that students could inherit from modeling would be how to work and communicate with peers. As teachers, if we can model professional relationships with other staff members and administration, our students may pick up on how we communicate effectively and use those skills inside or outside the classroom. Modeling professionalism, organization, and a positive attitude will be beneficial for our students as they progress through school and life. 
How might self-efficacy and self-regulation contribute to the intervention plans you use in your case study?
   I think it is very healthy and necessary to implement self-regulation strategies in my classroom. It prepares students for the lesson, keeps them on task, and gives them the feeling of empowerment when they are in control of their own success or even failures. As for the middle school case study, I could use self-regulation to keep the entire class on task, and also allow Cherie to self-regulate her behavior on the side. Her disruptions not only stem from her behavior, but it also creates chaos for the whole class. I could discuss with Cherie that if she feels like her behavior is going to cause a disruption, or she feels obligated to act out, that she can self-regulate. At times like these, she can take a "time-out" from the lesson and either write out her feelings and thoughts in a journal, take deep breaths and count to 20, or even keep a stress ball with her. Hopefully these would be ideas that would keep Cherie from acting out against other students, and take her boredom,  anger, or jokes out on something other than her peers. This will help me too because there will be less class distractions, and more on-task behavior. Cherie and I can sit down and develop a self-regulation plan if these ideas don't work. I can discover what makes Cherie happy and calm, and we can implement these together. If Cherie does a good job handling self-regulation, I will be sure to reinforce her for implementing and following the plan. We may also even have the chance to discuss how effective the plan is. For example, what skills does Cherie want to learn or obtain? Are there changes in her performance and attitudes? These are important aspects to consider when evaluating self-regulation. As a class, we could begin every day with a "question of the day," class discussion by passing around a ball, or even just taking a few minutes to get out materials and prepare for the lesson. Hopefully these strategies will have all my students in the mindset to learn and stay on task.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chapter 9 QTC

How would you define successful mastery of your lesson objectives from a behavioral view of learning?
The behavioral view of learning can include people's behaviors being the result of their experiences with the environment, a change in their behavior, and forming associations among stimuli and responses (Ormrod 286). In general, behavior occurs from past experiences and how students react to those experiences. This is also when someone wants to achieve or avoid something, and it is followed by a punishment or reward. 
If my student's skills on a task improve, I will see how their performance of the task might improve if they remember how they did it before, or what they did wrong. I might also be able to tell if there has been successful mastery of lesson objectives if my students are able to stay on task and there aren't as many classroom distractions. I would be able to assume they have learned because they would not feel the need to "master" it anymore. They have also learned because they might act as if they do not need as much help from me, or their behavior changes so that they are not working with or relying on their peers as much. 
This image really helped me understand and remember what behaviorism means. What I take from this image is that people, or even animals will perform certain behaviors to achieve their intended objective. The mouse would climb on top of a lever to ring a buzzer, which would in turn provide him with food.  

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?
In my middle school case study, Cherie is the "behavior problem" in my classroom. Cherie does things like trip other students, makes rude noises, and interrupts other students while they are talking. This is undesirable behavior in my classroom, and there are important steps I would have to take to discourage her behavior. First, I would have the point the behavior out to Cherie and her parents. We would then have to come up with a solution about how we are going to resolve the problem. It is obvious that Cherie is not engaged in the lessons, nor does she want to learn. She knows that if she misbehaves, she will in turn have other classmate's attention which will then interrupt my lesson. Cherie knows I will have to stop my lesson in order to acknowledge her behavior. To discourage Cherie's behavior, one step that I could take would be to separate her from her classmates and put her by my desk. This is taking away her opportunity to collaborate and learn with other peers, and also know that I will always have an eye on her work and behavior. A way I could encourage productive behavior is to give those students who are paying attention and working a reward. This could come in the form of food, free time, sending nice notes home, etc.The other students who are joining in class interruption with laughter may not be inclined to do so if they know they will be rewarded for staying on task. Also,  if Cherie noticed her classmates receiving these awards for their good behavior, that may be an incentive for her to behave the same way.