Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Have Faith in Learning

I recently watched an episode of Code Black the other day and it involved having faith. The character in the show Emmanuel says, 

You're human. And humans want answers. The answers you need don't come with photographic evidence. They require that you believe in something you can't see. After all, that's why we call it faith, isn't it? Otherwise we'd call it proof.”
That really struck a chord in me because I feel the same way with learning.
I believe that everyone can learn.
I believe that everyone learns in their own way.
I believe that we never should give up.
Sometimes we may have to change our goals but that is okay and doesn’t diminish our effort.
Sometimes we feel so frustrated and the urge to give up is very strong. It is at this time that we need to be even stronger and believe that we can make a change in our own lives.
I can’t show proof of this to my students but when I begin teaching them, I’m asking them to have faith in me and my beliefs. By asking them to have faith, I’m asking that they put in time and effort into something that I can’t prove.
This faith in learning is hard for my students. Over time, many people have let them down and they might have even let themselves down. This leap of faith involves trust which not something my students give easily.
But I need to keep trying to get my students to believe. They need to believe in their teachers and in the system. They need to believe in themselves. This belief will help them be successful in their lives.
How do you get your students to have faith in learning? Please share.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Nature of Learning Disabilities Class

Last week I started teaching a class called Nature of Learning Disabilities. It is a combined class meaning it is an undergraduate class (EDU222) and a graduate class (EDEX622).  This class meets one night a week for 16 weeks and consists of 9 students. Undergraduates have to do a  field experience/case study and the graduates have to do the case study. Everyone has to do 2 article abstracts. The graduates will be doing a term project on a learning strategy and present it to the class. Plus they will have a midterm and a final exam.

The biggest challenge for me is that I want to make this meaningful for all of my students. I don’t want the undergraduates to be intimidated by the graduate students who are all teachers. I don’t want the graduate students to think that I’m watering this down because they are in the class with undergraduate students. I want a good balance of informational material but I want the activities to meet their ability levels.

In order to do this I put my students in groups of threes. One group is the graduate students and when they do their activities, they will be able to apply their experience and knowledge to their work. Another group is the seniors who may have a some experience with children. The other group consists of the juniors who have a little less experience than everyone else.

I plan on spending every class period going over the informational things (from the textbook and personal stories). They will also do some group activities covering the main topic for the class.

The last part of class is going to be simulations. I want them to apply what they have learned in class and what they have read in their textbook to a class simulation. Each group will be given a roster of 3 children. I will give them some information about previous class struggles and some testing information I have on each child. Each week they will apply the activity to their group of students. This will include preassessments, behavior plans, instructional activities, post assessments, and writing an IEP. I hope by doing this application of knowledge, they will find what they learn in my class to be meaningful.

I also hope that the graduate students learn some things that they can use in their own classrooms. Maybe the undergraduates will learn strategies that will help them in their own learning.

I hope you can tell that I’m excited about this class! I just hope the students feel the same way and at the end of the class, we all can feel that we accomplished something.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Back of the Book Blurb #43 Challenge

From Sioux's PageSioux offers this challenge.

She posts a picture and you need to imagine it as a graphic for a book. You choose the genre and book title, and then write a blurb that might appear on the back of the book.

The blurb should be 150 words or less (not including the title).
The genre is wide-open.
Each blogger should include their blurb on their own blog, and link back to this post.
Have fun with it. Go to the other posts and comment on the other blurbs. 
You can do fancy techy things with the photo.

(Join in if you dare...! It sounds like fun! I think this would be a lot of fun to do with students especially since they would be expected to write 150 words or less!)

The Craft Witch

Samantha loved owning this craft store. Whenever she came up with new ideas, she just bought the materials and was able to buy them at wholesale prices. New ideas brought in new customers. But no one knew that she had powers like Samantha on the Bewitched TV show. That wasn’t make believe! That show was all about her. All she had to do was twitch her nose, and new things popped up. No one knew that she didn’t make all these craft projects by hand! She only hoped that no one would ask her to demonstrate how she made something. But one day, she got a note through her mail slot. All it said was, “I know all about you!” Who was this from? How much did they know? What was she going to do? Read on to find out about Samantha’s dilemma and how she solves the problem. (149 words)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/13/17

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels:  E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Canva Photo Editor – free; simple drag and drop photo editor (L:G; SA:A)

Analyze My Writing – “Analyze My Writing is an online text content and readability analyzer. Copy and paste a text into the homepage and gain a wealth of information about your text including word and character counts, word and sentence lengths, the readability of your text, and other analyses. There is no registration and analysis of your text is completely free. You may analyze as many texts as you like, and the texts you analyze can be as long as your browser and system can handle.” (L:T; SA:A)
Hemingway App – “The app highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red. You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one. Mouse over it for hints. Adverbs are helpfully shown in blue. Get rid of them and pick verbs with force instead. Phrases in green have been marked to show passive voice. You can format your text with the toolbar. Paste in something you're working on and edit away. Or, click the Write button to compose something new.” (L:G; SA:A)
CSPAN Class Deliberations – “C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations provides teachers and students with a carefully selected set of video clips and newspaper articles that concisely present the leading positions related to current issues before Congress.” (L:H; SA:SS)

Quick Rubric – free; easy to make your own rubrics

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Putting Your Best Face Forward

In Spend A Day In Someone's Shoes with Social Media from Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator, Lisa Nielsen talks about social media and asks,

What is your profile saying about you? Who do you want the world to see?”

I think it is important for my students to look at their friends on social media and describe them. Maybe put them in categories such as positive, negative, complains a lot, inappropriate, funny etc. This will let them see what kinds of groups they are hanging around with.

It seems like so many people I know are connecting through social media and I learn so much about them from this. I don’t know whether all that I’m learning is true or not but I can make logical assumptions from the information I’ve seen.

I have one friend who is very depressed and shares when she is depressed with everyone. She seems to need everyone encouraging her to help her make it through the day.

I have several friends who love to travel and I look forward to seeing their travel pictures that they share. Of course, I love to travel too so either the pictures bring back happy memories or I see places that I want to see.

I have friends who love to hike and they share many of their hiking and nature pictures on social media. These are always fun to look at.

I have many friends who love their families and like to share a lot of family activities that they do together. This tells me that family is important to them.

There are some friends who love to share jokes or amusing stories. I look forward to these posts because they make me smile. When people are very positive and uplifting, I’m glad to have them as my friends on social media.

I have some friends who just like to complain. They complain about things that happen in their daily life or events that are happening in the world. They seem to love to complain. These people are not close friends to me and if they get too negative, I usually disconnect from our friendship. I don’t like to voluntarily bring negativity into my life.

After noticing this about my friends, I took a look at myself. I try to be positive every morning and others notice this because they have commented about it when I see them that they look forward to this. Apparently they like it because it has made a positive impact on them. I try not to talk negative about anyone or anything because I was brought up that “if I have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.”

Now if I do have a problem with a company or complaint, I don’t have a problem sharing it in hopes that the company will see it and resolve the problem. I also don’t make a habit of this so if I do post something like this, my friends know that I’m pretty upset.

I like to share educational posts that I write or find because many of the people I connect with are educators. Some non-educators appreciate the links to these posts also. Some people see me as a resource for information.

I like to share some funny posts that I get because I think everyone likes to smile. I won’t share anything that is rude, obscene or uses profanity but usually generally funny.
I try to remember that I don’t really know who my audience is. Yes, I have friends who are connected but I don’t know who they might show my posts to so I don’t write anything that would make me feel embarrassed if my parents or my employers saw them. This usually is a good rule of thumb to follow and students should start with this rule too.

Now that many colleges and employers are looking at social media, it is important to put our best face forward. This should start as soon as a person begins to interact on social media.

How do you think your profile reflects yourself? How do you teach your students to look at this and put their best face forward?