Wednesday, June 3, 2015

End of the Year Blog



For my end of the year article, I chose one from the Spring 2015 neaToday, entitled, "Is Classroom Technology Overhyped? Maybe." written by Noel Enyedy.  Mr. Enyedy is an associate professor of education and information studies at UCLA.  He is certainly no technophobe, however he does recommend that perhaps districts should rethink their philosophies/strategies when seeking to adopt new technology.  In his own words, "the evidence that computer-based, personalized instruction produces improved student outcomes is at best minimal or even non existent."  What I'm thinking after reading and trying to process this article is that Enyedy certainly isn't against technology, but rather he's FOR creating a better relationship and support system between educators and the technology companies.  I also believe he's saying what we as teachers hear over and over, but must truly remember:  It's not the technology that's going to make your students better learners, but rather the delivery of instruction and the focus on student outcomes and learning. In other words, like Dana reminds us all of the time, don't just use technology for the sake of using it, but rather think about how it can support and magnify instruction.  I sure know I'm trying to remember that as I become more and more comfortable with the use of technology in my classroom, but it definitely is like walking a tightrope; just when you think you've got it balanced, you realize you don't and perhaps take a "fall".    I love how the Noel Enyedy goes on further to say, "School administrators must ensure that rigorous professional development accompany new investments in technology to build skills that have historically been in the teacher toolbox."  

Monday, April 13, 2015

January post

I just finished reading an article in Bloomberg Business titled, "The Case Against Cursive".  I found this article very interesting, and I was often shaking my head in agreement.  However, I'm not totally convinced, as the author is, that cursive serves NO place in today's classrooms.  Though I know it is not in the CCSS and many school districts do not teach it at all anymore, I also know that we here in Littleton were giving a bit of a choice to keep some form of cursive instruction.  Now, I can assure you that my teammates and I do not spend even 1/2 the time on cursive instruction as we once used to, but we have decided to "compromise" for lack of a better term.  We quickly cover the lowercase and capital letters in less than three weeks, giving 20 minute instruction in that time 3 times a week.  We give the kids the basics, have them practice a bit at home, and move on.

We realize that cursive might be somewhat of a "dinosaur" nowadays and some teachers are simply holding on to tradition rather than making better use of instruction time, but we don't completely see it that way...at least not quite yet.  First of all, the kids and most of their parents alike, are appreciative and excited about cursive instruction.  For many of our kids who really have fine motor issues, cursive seems to really help them out a bit.  We also seen how it can many times help with reversals.

I don't know...for now we've obviously streamlined our instruction, but you never know.  We do feel frustrated by the lack of time we have for the content that is so important, so maybe that will begin to weigh our future decisions even more so.


November post

I'm feeling so thrilled to find out that my cart of EEEs has now been replaced with new Chrome Books. Trust me, I was fine with the EEEs, but we were experiencing some issues with several of them, as they were the "hand me downs" from years past.  The students are always so excited if they get to use a Chrome Book over a EEE, so needless to say, they're over the moon!  The cart is wonderful too, and so much more user friendly with how it's laid out.  The kids can access each Chrome Book so much easier now, and the cords are so much better organized. With our enormous class sizes this year, it so helps to have kids on technology, sharing Google Docs, as it allows me to "conference" with kids, even though I might not be able to get to them as often as I'd like in the classroom.

October post

I just finished reading Robert J. Marzano's article entitled, "The Many Uses of Exit Slips".  Though I have used exit slip of some type in the past, this article encouraged me to explored more uses, and helped me better understand the different types of exit slips.  Marzano talks about four main types of exit slips: those used as formative assessment data, those that stimulate self-analysis, those that focus on instructional strategies, and finally those that serve as open communication.  I typically have used just the first type he mentions, which relies more on my students responding to a prompt I have generated.  Now I feel like I more aware of some of the others, and have begun to use these other types in my classroom.  Great article!

September

At the beginning of this school year, our principal shared with us the 2008 video of Dalton Sherman, a then ninth grader, who addressed almost 20,000 educators in Dallas, Texas.  This was such an amazing video to watch, though I had seen it once before.  This eloquent young man speaks of the power of teaching and learning, which was just so inspiring for us all as we entered a new year.  If you've never seen this video, I highly recommend you do!