Final Reflection

This course allowed me to assess my own instruction and some areas in which I felt that I coudl improve involving technology.  My GAME plan was to incorporate more varied assessment tools in my classroom and teaching my students to research.  I think these are great goals for myself and my teammates as well.  As a third grade team we have been trying to incorporate more types of assessments in our instruction.  We were used to primarily multiple choice tests as a means to prepare our students for the CRCT at the end of the year.  We recently had students create a timeline to assess their understanding of timelines as well as sequencing skills.  We have made a conscious effort to try to incorporate a project based assessment or assessment incorporating technology during each unit in place of or in addition to a multiple choice type assessment. 

After my experience with this course,  I have also decided that I would like to look into utilizing digital storytelling in my classroom more as well.   My school system has implemented math workshop as a means of math instruction.  The only drawback with this program is that students complete their math work in a math journal that stays at school.  Many parents have stated that they do not understand how students are learning math now.  I think utilizing a digital story would be a great way to show the various strategies for each operation.  This would be helpful for struggling students, parents, and as a review before a test and/or before the CRCT.

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Monitoring GAME Plan Progress

My GAME plan involves the incorporation of more varied assessment tools in my classroom and teaching my students how to research.  This will allow them to utilize technology resources effectively.  I have been able to find many different assessment ideas and have even pulled bits and pieces from other teachers and website. Before I can teach my students how to conduct a research activity, we have to spend some time using our school laptops so that I know they are familiar with how to use them correctly and care for them.  This will take some practice for my students to get comforable and realize that the laptops are not just a toy but are an educational tool in our classroom. 

My questions are:

Does anyone have any ideas about where to start with the research process for elementary students?  I wanted to make an anchor chart with my students including some basic research practices but wanted to gather my ideas first so that I know where I want to go with it.  Also, how did you teach students if a resource was a good source or not?

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GAME Plan Resources

My GAME plan included a focus on varied assessments and utilizing digital tools for studnets to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information.  These goals are things that I am continuing to work on in my classroom each day.  In order to be successful with these goals there are some resources that I will need.  The first thing that I will need is a group of fellow third grade teachers to bounce ideas off of.  I will also need some simple materials such as pencils, glue, construction paper, printer paper, access to a computer, and printer.  My grade level team has typically done multiple choice assessments.  However, we are working on creating more varied assessment tools for our students.  I will also need access to the internet for my students to perform research. 

In order to be successful with these goals, I will need our school technologist to fix my student computers so that all four of them in my classroom are functioning properly.  My students will need to have a notebook in which they do their brainstorming and research as well as the remaining steps of the writing process. 

We are already working towards more varied assessments and utilizing rubrics in our instruction.  In our upcoming multiplication unit we created a performance task for students to complete in which they will show multiplication as repeated addition, an array, equal groups, and then explain how the problem uses multiples of ten.  This varied assessment is something that will require knowledge of the multiplication strategies and application of those strategies to a multiplication problem.  I would like to create some computer based assessments for our students as well.  The only issue we have currently is that our computer lab does not have all of the computers functioning properly.  Our school technologist is working on this issue currently.

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Game Plan for NETS-T

After reviewing the ISTE NETS-T, I found that there were several areas in which I could continue to improve.  Although I do work very hard to incorporate technology in my classroom, there are some areas that are stronger than others. 

The two areas that I found that I could really focus on were:

2d-Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching

 Goal: To provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching.

Action: To ensure that I am using varied assessments, I will incorporate a performance task into each unit of study.  I will couple this with my multiple choice assessments that mimic our state high stakes test.

Monitor:  I will monitor my progress and my students’ progress by keeping a list of types of assessments utilized in each unit.   My grade level team will be informed of my goal so that we can all utilize these varied assessments.  I will note the grades of each student the multiple choice assessments and the various performance tasks to see if students typically perform better on one than the other.

Evaluate/Extend: After several units I will evaluate if my strategy is working by discussing with my team the progress of us as educators and our students.  As a team we will make a plan to incorporate more performance tasks into the upcoming units and discuss if we want to do away with some of our multiple choice assessments from the past.

3d- Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

Goal: My goal is to model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

Action: I will begin teaching my students about research.  This will initially consist of me modeling research using my LCD projector for students to see.  I will then give them topics to reserach during our needs based instruction time.  I will give them topics based on our current standards to practice research.  By the end of the year my students should be able to research an American Hero and create a powerpoint on the American Hero they selected.

Monitor:  I will be monitoring my students research skills during our needs based instruction time segment.  Each week I will pick students to share their progress on their research topic and discuss areas that went well and area for improvement.

Evaluate/Extend: By checking on my students’ progress periodically I will be able to continuously evaluate how they are doing with utilizing technology in the classroom through research.  When I see that my students can utilize technology effectively for research then we will begin the extension assignment.  My students will be utilizing their research skills to research one of the American Heroes that we studied during the school year.  They will then create a powerpoint of their findings to share with the class.  This will be a great tool to prepare for our state high stakes test.  I will also post these documents on my class webpage for students and parents to review. 

As an educator, I assess my students frequently.  The only issue I have with assessment I that my team has tried to incorporate a large majority of multiple choice assessments that are similar to the format of our state high stakes test.  The problem with this is that it does not offer an opportunity for varied assessments as easily.  In order to ensure I am using varied assessments, I plan to incorporate a performance task during each unit of study starting with the area of math.  My goal is to utilize my Common Core Georgia Performance Standards Frameworks for guidance on quality frameworks to create assessment at the end of a subject and at the end of a unit.  My goal is to only use a multiple choice assessment, which currently is our primary form of assessment, one time during each nine week grading period.  I think utilizing more varied assessments will give me more valuable information about my students’ understanding of the skills being taught. 

Although I utilize technology in my classroom, I do not provide my students with a large amount of opportunity to use technology themselves.  My plan for this is to teach my students about research.  Then during various units, I will provide them with topics to research during our needs based instruction time segments each week.  I will check out the laptop carts so that I have enough computers for all of my students to participate.  The plan will be that we will research together by them going to the websites I am going to using my LCD projector for them to see.  The goal is that by the end of the year they can perform the steps to research one of our American Heroes and create a PowerPoint presentation to share with the class.  Not only will this research and presentation be helpful in using digital tools to locate information, but it will also be a great study tool in preparation for our high stakes test in the spring.

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Reflection BlogPost

Final Reflection Blog Post

 

This course has provided me with many opportunities to explore various technology tools and possible ways to incorporate these tools in my classroom instruction.  I feel as educators we often utilize many different instructional strategies to ensure effective instruction, but it was nice to revisit many of these strategies this semester. 

 

At the beginning of this course I felt that my personal theory of learning was most closely related to the constructivist approach.  I still feel that this learning theory goes hand in hand with my instruction in the classroom as I try to make sure the activities that my students are participating in are developmentally appropriate for them.  However, I feel this course has helped me to see that sometimes they also need project based learning a small amount above their developmental level in order to grow and mature them in their learning.  I feel this can often be accomplished through the use of technology tools and varied instructional strategies to create well rounded students. 

My learning during this course has required me to make some changes to my instructional practices in my classroom.  I often utilize technology in my instruction, but I want to make a conscious effort to incorporate technology as a learning tool instead of just an instructional tool.  Having students create and present information using various forms of technology will allow them to take their learning to a higher level and will provide feedback for students.  I would like to use a wiki with my students and incorporate Voice Threads as much as possible.  I feel both of these technology tools will enhance my students’ learning.  I feel that I have refreshed my memory and understandings of the many instructional strategies that I can continue to incorporate in my classroom. 

I would like to plan units that incorporate both cooperative learning opportunities and Voice Thread assignments for my students.  I feel this is a long term goal because I would like to find opportunities for both of these in all of the subject areas that I teach.  I would also like to create a class Wiki or even a Wiki for each subject area that I teach so that students can contribute ideas or questions as we are learning throughout the year.  I think this would be a great support tool for students but would also be a great thing to use to brag on how far they have come throughout the course of the year. 

            I am looking forward to continuing to incorporate technology in my classroom and even trying new forms of technology tools in my classroom and instruction.  I feel that my students will greatly benefit from my learning during this course.  My instructional strategies and the success of my students will certainly be influenced by the learning Walden has provided.

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Social Learning

Below you will find the link to my VoiceThread

https://voicethread.com/share/2908162/

This was an interesting activity for me, because I spent a large amount of time trying to overthink it.  A VoiceThread is something completely new to me, so I felt like it should be a project for my students.  After contemplating how to use this resource in my classroom, I decided that I would like it to be used as a spring board for ideas.  Social learning, which is feel is so close to what we as educators call cooperative learning, is something that we have strongly pushed this year in our school district.  We have started utilizing math workshop format instruction on a daily basis.  This allows students to utilize and be exposed to various strategies for solving math problems and then relating this information to their peers.  Each day students lead the closing in which they explain various strategies used and answer any questions their peers might have.  My voicethread includes pictures of some of the strategies to solve a multiplication problem.  I feel this would be a great project for my students as well.  I would love to be able to take a  picture of the work they write on the board for closing, or even make a copy of math journals and add these images to our voicethread.  This would be a great resource to review with struggling students, and also a great resource at home for parents.

I feel that social learning is learning through sharing which is when meaning is truly attained.  Students must be able to master the standards we present to them, and what better way to prove this mastery than by explaining these standards to their peers? 

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Constructivism in Practice

Just as our resources pointed out this week, students learn best by showing what they know.  This form of doing is a project based learning.  As a third grade teacher, I enjoy providing my students with performance task and projects to allow them a chance to develop a deeper understanding of the standards that we are currenlty addressing.  However, in the state of Georgia, third grade is considered a “critical year” in which students must pass certain portions of our state high stakes test in order to advance to fourth grade.  I strongly feel that students learn best by doing especially because doing helps to promote long term memory of skills and standards.   However, in my classroom I often find myself incorporate some form of testing that does not meet this mold simply because I feel that it is also my job to teach my students strategies to show what they know on a multiple choice test since they will have to be able to do this at the end of their third grade year.  Since research is currently proving, and has been proving for several years, that a project based approach is very effective in education, I feel that many states should revisit how they assess student performance and consider something more along the project based lines. 

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