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. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 8 QTC

Consider a lesson plan you might use. Which metacognitive skills/abilities are involved as students gain facility/knowledge in this domain? Think of an activity or lesson component that explicityly teaches one or more metacognitive and one or more problem solving skills.
   A lesson plan I have been developing is for a 6th grade Social Studies classroom. The goal of the lesson is to have my students research different cultures and create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two of their choice. It is important for these students to have the skill of comparing and contrasting, not just for Social Studies, but any subject. Also for part of this lesson, students will be in small groups discussing the main components of culture, and defining what culture means. Preparing for the activity will be done collaboratively, but students will work alone of the Venn Diagrams so they can use their individuality and creativty on it. A final part of the lesson will be having someone from a different culture come into the classroom and give a little presetnation on themselves and what their culture is about. This will give my students the opportunity to discover what other cultures may look like first hand.
   There are metacoginitive skills I expect to see from my students and their work. One skill is for them  use the knowledge they know about their culture, and apply it when thinking about what is important in another culture. For example, they already know what kind of clothes we wear, food we eat, our government structure, etc. Since they already know what the components of our culture are, they can apply what they know is "part" of a culture to research it in a different part of the world. In other words, they already know the background information, which they need to apply to gain new knowledge (the components of a different culture). Students will also gain knowledge from researching different parts of the world, and applying it to create their own Venn Diagram. They will be free to choose any cultures and express what they know about each one in the activity. Students will have to think about why cultures may be different. Why is the culture is Japan so different from that of India? Why are there so many different cultures? Where did it all start? I believe these types of questions will arise in many of my students and will make them want to research and discover more about what they still want to know.
   Another asect of Social Studies is learning about the different religions of the world. One activity I will have my students do is to create a project displaying the different religions. First, students will have to decide what method they want to use for the project. For example, will they create a powerpoint, a poster, a collage, etc. I want my students to be creative with this project, but also have to think about how they will present it to the class. Second, they must decide where they are going to get their information, and decide what is most important for the class to know about the religion they have been assigned. We will have previously discussed what they should know about a relgion in general, so I would hope that they could take the information I have presented and create something with that knowledge on their own. Although there will be more aspects to this project, these are what I believe to be the most important metacognitive and problem-solving skills they will gain from the activity.