Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inquiry Celebration

I found the celebration of inquiry much more meaningful my second year. I was looking for things I could implement in my intern year of teaching. Furthermore, I feel like I had a much greater appreciation for the work the interns put into their research compared to when I was viewing this research as a tutor. I now know that I'm one year away from presenting my own research. I found the three intern presentations I viewed on mathematics instruction to be particularly interesting. One of the presenters was an intern from my PDS. He talked about the use of tools and manipulatives for mathematics instruction. He was implementing these tools at an 8th grade level. His studies found that the vast majority of students enjoyed the use of these tools and found them helpful. I would definitely consider the use of tools for my mathematics instruction next semester. I hope to instill the same enthusiasm for math that I myself feel with my 5th graders. I really want to have engaging and meaningful mathematics instruction, especially because tomorrow's jobs will require this knowledge. Overall, I think I learned a lot. I'm looking forward to conduction my own research next semester. I would strongly consider doing something mathematics related myself. However, one of the interns presenting data on mathematics instructional techniques mentioned that math was a subject he wasn't comfortable in but he decided to conduct his research in that field anyways. I think next year could provide a good opportunity to reach out of my comfort zone with my research.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Characteristics of a Novice Teacher

Characteristic 2: Effective Communication To me, effective communication as a teacher has multiple components: effective communication with parents, effective communication with other teachers, and effective communication with students. In order to effectively communicate with parents, you can send home letters to parents. These letters should have appropriate professional language and should be informative and concise. It's important to keep parents posted on major happenings in the classroom, but to not overdo it to the point that they get in the habit of just immediately throwing up anything sent home with students. In order to communicate effectively with other teachers you should send emails and should also attend meetings with other teachers. I know that at my PDS, each grade has all of the teachers meet during planning time at least once a week to share ideas and give advice. To communicate effectively with students, you should conduct interviews to get any idea of prior knowledge and you should set time aside to get to know your students on a personal level. Characteristic 9: Human Diversity Understanding and respecting human diversity is an important characteristic of the novice teacher. Respecting diversity means to be culturally sensitive when teaching, culturally relevant, and understanding of student cultural differences. Respecting diversity can be modifying a lesson plan or means of assessment for an ELL student. I know that in my current classroom, we have an ELL student whom we read directions aloud for and pay special attention to to make sure he isn't lost or falling behind. You can also make an effort to recognize and highlight what makes your students different in your classroom. This is especially evident at a PDS at North, at which many students are first generation Americans. These students and their parents have a wealth of knowledge about their culture that you can ask them to share with the rest of the class. The diversity of a classroom should be made into a learning experience for all.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Characteristics of a Novice Teacher

Characteristic one: Lifelong Learning To me, a commitment to lifelong learning means always seeking out new information about teaching, new methods of teaching, and continuously revising and reforming your current teaching methods. In order for students to learn the most from your teaching, you need to constantly dedicate time to learn more about teaching as you progress through your career. One way to do this is to read academic journals and articles about education. These journals can serve as a primary source of information about the latest and newest trends in teaching. The reading of these articles allows a teacher to learn what techniques are deemed effective and ineffective according to research. A teacher could also search academic journals for information about a strategy they already use and see if there is a research-backed way for them to modify and improve upon their teaching. Lifelong learning means keeping up to date with the latest research on teaching and taking the lessons learned from said research to change classroom practice. Characteristic two: Reflective A good novice teacher is reflective. This means that they are constantly analyzing and reflecting upon their own teaching and the student learning that occurs as a result. A reflective teacher looks back a lessons and determines what worked and what could have gone better. This reflection allows for the teacher to make changes and avoid making the same mistakes twice. Reflection also allows a teacher to figure out what teaching strategies work for which students and how to better teach each individual student. A good way to be a reflective teacher is to keep a journal. In the Benedum program, we are required to keep a journal and write an entry for every day in our PDS. While at times this can seem tedious, it is a worthwhile investment of time because it allows us to learn more from our teaching experiences. Reflecting upon how our lessons go is of particular importance now because we are just learning how to teach. It is important to take a look back at the lessons after we have taught them so we can get a better idea of what worked and what we would/should do differently next time. Constantly reflecting upon past successes and failures allows us to accelerate our learning as novice teachers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Instructional Use of The Smart Board

Technology Reflection Assignment

In seminar we saw a SMART board in action. The SMART board essentially acts as a digital white board with a large interactive interface. It is hooked up to a computer and the image from the computer is projected on the SMART board where a pen can be used to interact with the screen. I learned that not only does the SMART board act as an alternative interface for the computer, but there are also special programs designed for the SMART board.


  • Learners: First grade students.
  • Learning outcomes: At the end of this activity, students will have a better understanding of how to add and subtract.
  • Assessment: Students will be assessed on whether or not they answer the problems correctly, and students who are in their seats will be assessed on sitting quietly and only speaking when prompted to.

The activity would start with reviewing the basic rules of addition and subtraction such as regrouping and borrowing. Once these rules have been refreshed, an initial math problem will be placed on the board. Students will raise hands for a chance to come up to the board and use the pen to write their answer. Once the answer has been written, the teacher will ask the class to raise their hand if they think the answer is right, and then to raise hands if they think the answer is wrong. If the consensus is the answer is wrong, a volunteer will be allowed to go up to the board and show the other student the correct way to solve the problem. The class will then be re-polled if they believe the new answer is correct. This continues until everybody has had a chance to come up to the board.



  • Primarily, this lesson uses drill and practice to teach basic math skills. Drill and practice is well suited for math, especially basic math that forms the foundation for all future math to come. The SMART board would provide a more active way for the students to participate in the typical math drill and practice exercises. Also, having the rest of the class vote on whether the answer is correct or not keeps them actively involved in the lesson.
  • Students may struggle with two main concepts. For addition, they may have difficulty with regrouping ones into tens. Subtraction provides a different problem. Subtraction can involve borrowing, which may need to be demonstrated to the students using base 10 pieces, as it can be difficult to grasp.

  • The SMART board would serve as an interactive interface for drill and practice activities. It works well for my lesson plan because the SMART board can turn a drill and practice exercise into cooperative learning. By doing the problems in front of the class on the board, it provides the rest of the class with an opportunity to jump in and help the student if they don’t get it. Conversely, it provides the rest of the class with an opportunity to learn from a fellow student who can do the math problems correctly.
  • I would need to use non-verbal cues to keep the class in line while a student is up at the board. It would be important to keep the class quiet and paying attention without calling out and interrupting the student who is up at the board.

--Technological Pedagogical Content:

  • The SMART board brings in a cooperative learning aspect that can help the students better learn how to add and subtract. Slower students can gain knowledge by watching students who are good at math complete the problems up at the board. And students who have a good understanding can further that understanding by finding out how to explain the addition or subtraction to their fellow students.
The lesson would not be as interactive without a SMART board. A normal white board could be substituted, but it would not feel as special for students who get called up to the board. Getting to go up and use the SMART board almost feels like a reward for students, when really they are just learning addition and subtraction through drill and practice activities.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Respinse to iPad

You pointed out a lot of things that I didn’t think about that I really like.  For instance, iPads can assist students in improving their fine motor skills.    In addition, I also agree that the iPad should be seen as a positive reinforcement to students who are well behaved and who have complied to instruction.  You also saw this as an opportunity to test students listening and allow “leader” students to participate in a little teaching as well. 

I feel as though the iPad enhances lessons and makes students more interested in reinforcing what they have learned.   I also really liked the Mathboard app and truly believe that students would respond favorably while learning. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Technology Reflection: Instructional Use of iPads

During our last seminar, we were introduced to the Apple Ipad. They Ipad is essentially a user-friendly tablet PC. It has a large touch screen interface that even young students with weaker motor skills can still use with relative ease. The Ipad download software known as applications or Apps. The apps can be anything from a virtual chalkboard on which to write math problems, to spelling games like hangman. With the thousands of Apps available for educators to download, the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to integrating Ipads into the classroom.
Learners: This lesson would be appropriate for 1st or 2nd grade students.

  • Learning outcomes: Students will complete simple addition problems using the numbers 0 to 20. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to complete basic addition problems including those that require carrying a one over.
  • Assessment: The App would be the one demonstrated for us in seminar, Mathboard, and it would keep track of the student responses along the side of the screen. Mathboard also denotes whether the response was correct or not. By viewing which problems the students got wrong, I can determine what kinds of addition problems they are struggling with.
  1. Assuming I have 3 Ipads for my class, I would first take 3 of my most well-behaved students and teach them how to use the Mathboard.
  2. I would then direct the students to a 20 question addition problem activity on Mathboard that they would be given 40 minutes to complete.
  3. Once the 40 minutes is up, I would check the students and see what they missed.
  4. Later that day during math class, I would use the results from Mathboard to work with students on the addition problems they struggled with 1 on 1.
  5. The next day, I would trust these well behaved students themselves to show the next group of 3 students how to use Mathboard.


The use of Mathboard will work well as a drill and practice program for simple addition. It will allow me to have 3 students practice there addition each day while I can work with other students. The Ipad does not serve as a second teacher, but it will allow me to strengthen and ensure knowledge of the content.

I think that the Ipad will enhance this lesson for the students. The level of interaction it provides will make the addition problems more engaging for the students. The Ipad also frees me up to work with other students while 3 students practice addition on the Ipad. After they have completed the 20 question activity, the feedback Mathboard gives me will allow me to target areas where the students are struggling .


Mathboard presents the math problems in a format that should be very familiar and intuitive for students. The screen simulates a chalkboard, the only difference being that the students use their fingers instead of chalk. The problems themselves are also presented as I teach them, so the students should be able to complete the activity after a short demonstration on how to use its various features.

I would have to keep in mind the possibility that students may have used Ipads before. In that case, I would have to vary my introduction to the Ipad based on how much prior Ipad experience the students have. I would also have to consider that some students may never have even used a computer before, let alone a touch screen tablet PC. However, I would think that the Ipad would be pretty intuitive even for somebody who has never used or seen one before.

  • The Ipad would be used to administer the addition problems activity and would also provide me with feedback on student performance.
  • The Ipad would enhance this activity because it would make the math problems more engaging for students. Mathboard provides students with distributed practice on their addition skills if I can manage to get students on the Ipad at least once a week.
  • Even though the Ipad allows me to give students an assignment and walk away, I will still need to check up on them as they complete the lesson. I could occasionally walk by and ask them how they are doing with the Ipad. I also would need to make sure they were actually using Mathboard and not some other App they do not have permission to use.
  • As previously stated, the Ipad makes simple activities more interesting. There is something about a virtual chalkboard that is just more magical and engaging than a real chalkboard. Not to mention there is less cleanup.
  • The Ipad would make the lesson more engaging and meaningful. Meaningful learning leads to longer retention of the information. This is especially important for addition skills, as the will form the foundation for their math skills.
  • Using the Mathboard app will be effective because it was designed with students in mind. It has a simple interface, and displays what questions the students got wrong for me to see.
  • The Ipad will allow me to drill the students faster and more often. It also makes the content more interesting for the students, hopefully causing them to learn more.
  • I would adjust my teaching strategies based on how the students perform on the Mathpad activity. If the students do well than I will continue teaching the way I teach, but if they struggle I will know to devote more time and effort to those content areas.