Sunday, January 15, 2012
Creating a glog seems really neat. I can see many possibilities for this technology in the classroom. It would be a great way to teach kids about technology while at the same time having them incorporate knowledge. It is today's equivalent of creating a poster presentation, but know the whole world can see your creation and not just your school. Unfortunately, to utilize all of the great things on the site you need to pay a membership but there is plenty that can be done with the free version. Here is a link to the glog I created: http://browna24.edu.glogster.com/blog-safety/
Monday, January 2, 2012
I think it would be a great ideal to use blogs in my history classroom. My school has a webpage for every teacher and this semester I think I will use it to summarize material. This will help the kids stay on task and allow their parents to get a view into what it is that we are learning about.
It would be neat if I could also have guest bloggers (students) for extra credit. I could allow the students to do a little research or expand on something we are discussing for extra classroom credit. For example, when we talk about westward expansion I could give a student the option of writing a paragraph about a family moving west and post it on the blog. Then the blog could be displayed during class to encourage participation from others and elaborate on information we are already covering.
My first year of teaching has been fabulous! All the time someone asks me how school is going I have to reply with "well it's going," because I know that if they really get me started on the subject I will talk them to death! This must be the most rewarding and frustrating job ever! I love seeing how excited a kid is when they realize that they just got a 100 on their test. At the same time it is hard to deal with the emotions that accompany dealing with these youngsters, especially when you see situations where these kids have been dealt a bad hand in life. One of my fellow teachers said something that struck me. This teacher had been a former youth minister but he said he liked teaching because this is where he felt he could really make a difference in the lives of young people. He felt that children who were in the church already had a support system that could help them, but some of the kids in schools did not have anything. Even though he was not able to give religious education he felt he was able to set an example and teach kids the way a man should act. I totally agreed with this, teaching is a profession where you can make a difference in someones life. Wether it is just teaching them to multiply or teaching them to have pride in themselves.
This experience was really rewarding. I learned many things that have helped me in my first year of teaching. Here are a few things that I took away from the training that I have found to be the most helpful.
1 PROCEDURES - Ohhh my. This is so important! After I read the book by Harry Wong, The First Days of School, it became apparent to me that this was a key in an effective classroom. I took a lot of time thinking about how I wanted the classroom to operate, where we would turn in papers, how I would grade, where they would sit, how class would begin, how it would end, the list goes on an on. Preparing this way was certainly crucial to smooth operation and ensuring that the kids can function and be prepared to learn. During my observation time I had the chance to look in on the classroom of another first year teacher, and not to be rude but she definitely needed to read that book!
2. The entire presentation from Sam Nix - The whole idea that if the kids are not understanding then you should reevaluate your instruction was terrific. I will have to admit that the first 6 weeks in class was bumpy. There were a few kids that just weren't getting it. So, one weekend I spent a lot of time in my classroom thinking of new ways to present the material. For me the solution was presenting the same material in multiple ways. I post the most important information on the board at the beginning of a chapter and everyday at the beginning of class we review what we already know but I try to ask the questions differently every day, then I preview what we will learn that day. It is a history class so this is effective for me, I don't reveal the answer on the board list I just write something like "George Washington", and everyday I ask what are we supposed to be remembering about him?
3. Legal Issues - This is ultra important, particularly when talking about special populations. I have referred to the book (the one given at the ECAP training) more than once for information regarding special education.
4. Parent Conferencing - The tips given about how to make a parent conference, or even phone conversation, productive and cooperative are invaluable.
The job search is nerve racking!!
The previous year I had worked as a teachers aide and I loved it but navigating my way into an actual teaching position was difficult. Best advice that can be given is just hang in there.
I really wanted to teach at the school I had been working at. My own child was going to start kindergarten there that year, plus I loved the school and especially all the other teachers there. Unfortunately with budget problems all over the state I was nervous about getting a position. The school I worked for was no different. Perviously the school had had a writing teacher position for each grade, but this year they took away the position for grades who would not take a writing assessment test. At the end of year meeting the superintendent said there would be no lay offs but they would try to save money by eliminating positions through attrition.
By the end of the summer I was getting ready to start another year as a teachers aide when I finally got the call for an interview. The position was science with coaching. I did not want to coach but would do anything for a teaching position at this school. I went in for the interview and it went well, but at the end the principle asked me if I would rather teach 7th grade science or 5th grade history. I couldn't believe it. I had planned and prepared to teach science, but 5th grade history would be without coaching. I had never expected a history position to open, so I had not even considered that option. In the end I went with history and I got the job! I am so glad I did. Teaching this year has been the most rewarding year of my adult life.
The acceptance process to ECAP was fairly easy. It has been a year now since I have done it, so I don't remember all the details. I just sent my transcripts with my application fee and in a few days the acceptance letter came in the mail. The only part of the process that was difficult was dealing with the VA. The GI Bill is great and awesome but navigating benefits can be tricky and somewhat convoluted. Now that I am here on the other side of the acceptance process things are great and I am so happy to be teaching!