Friday, December 9, 2016
Overall, i thoroughly enjoyed my field placement and the classroom I observed. The teacher taught me that when teaching young children they need diversity and fun activities to keep them thinking and focused. She also taught me that if kids are struggling with concentration that you should not scold them, but assist them in a way that can get them back on track. She also taught me that you can add in life experiences into lessons, which engages the kids along with teaching them the necessary content. I also observed the importance of constantly being enthusiastic with young children because they have a tendency to get bored and uninterested. I did question if being a private school makes it easier to have all of these important values. The teacher did have an assistant and any resources that she needed. The classrooms were also set up to have an interactive and experiential environment, but I know some schools are not given the resources to have the same interactive and experiential environment. Along with all of this, I observed that teachers are finding new styles and techniques to teach core classes, such as math. In the end, I do believe that having the resources and finances does allow for a more critical thinking environment where the kids can flourish more.
For my fourth and last visit, I got to watch the kids perform a science experiment. The experiment consisted of three containers: one with water and soap, one with hand sanitizer, and one with nothing in it. They were all sealed and the students had observed these containers for a week to see which container would grow the most bacteria. I observed on the last day of their observations, so they had to finish a packet on the experiment that consisted of all the scientific steps. The kids hypothesized, observed, and drew a conclusion. The students were very excited to see the mold that grew in each container and to conclude which one had the less mold. Along with writing their observations and conclusions out, the kids were required to also draw pictures. I felt as if drawing pictures was also important to the kids understanding because when some were confused about their conclusion, Mrs. Ferek told them to draw pictures with color which helped the confused students. After they finished this project, they read a poem and drew a picture about how they interpreted the poem. It was interesting to see how drawing pictures helped the students solve ideas that they were confused about. After the poem the kids had recess despite the snow, which again I feel is so crucial because kids lose concentration when they are cooped up all day long.
For my third visit, I observed the kids playing their morning game which was “20 questions.” This consisted of one kid thinking of either a person, place, or thing, and the other kids asking 20 questions trying to guess what the one kid was thinking about. I found this game to be very helpful in allowing the kids to think of thoughtful questions and make connections. After this game, the kids worked on and finished their family album project. For this project the kids had to make a title page of their whole family, then each page inside was dedicated to one person in their family. This kids wrote kind sentences about details of their family members and why they love their family members. It was amazing to read why some of the kids loved their family members. I feel as if this project is so crucial to helping the kids realize how important family is and how important it is to make sure your family knows why you appreciate them. This project takes an element of life and makes it educational by teaching the kids how to write complete sentences, or thought. After working on this project I got to watch the kids perform a musical concert. They were rehearsing for their concert that they will be performing next week in front of their families and teachers. The songs consisted of different languages such as spanish, french, english, and more. This was so unique to me because the kids understood what the foreign songs were saying. This type of musical experience was not only fun, but it taught the kids about other cultures and languages.
Again when I arrived to the classroom, the students were participating in their annual morning game. After their fun and energizing game the students sat on the carpet for show and tell. Each time one of the students finished presenting their item they asked if there was any "thoughtful questions or comments." This was interesting to watch because the studies truly embodied being thoughtful and respectful to each other. this activity also taught them to have respectful social skills which I believe is so crucial to learn at a young age. After these morning activities the kids moved to the tables to begin their core subject and started with math. They were learning number lines and how to use number lines to assist them in both addition and subtraction problems. This was interesting to me because when I learned subtraction and addition I remember being required to learn it by simply knowing how much to add, or subtract, and taking time tests on it. This showed me how education is constantly changing to find different and unique ways to teach the kids to learn most efficiently. After math was spelling, and for spelling the kids were split up with the other second grade classes based on their level of learning. Mrs. Ferek explained that they took a test in the beginning of the year to test their reading and spelling capacity. This shows how tests create an immediate label on the kids, but I do understand why there is a need for it. The group that was with Mrs. Ferek seemed to be the struggling group because most of the kids were off task and very confused about their spelling words. One kid in particular kept asking for “the ball” which was a small ball that Mrs. Ferek gave to him so he could play with it while working on the spelling words. This showed me how if a kid is struggling with concentration, there needs to be available accommodations for the child in order to help keep the child focused.
Monday, November 28, 2016
After taking this course, I have realized that there are a lot of factors that determine the type of teacher you can be. The environment of your classroom, type of relationship with your students, and the politics of education all affect how great of a teacher we can be. Setting up your classroom in a specific manner can portray your teaching style. I’ve learned that the average desks in rows is not necessarily the best environment for a classroom. As teachers, we should have open space where the kids can all have a place to interact, move, and possibly perform experiments. In terms of relationships with students, I’ve learned that genuine relationships create more successes in the classroom. Teachers should be enthusiastic, caring, while still containing a certain boundary with the students. Teachers should have a certain level of comfortability with their students, but not too comfortable where it can become inappropriate. Politics also play a major role with how successful a teacher can be in the classroom. The banking concept causes teacher to just give information out, and the students must memorize them to pass the standardized tests. Educational standards set in politics force teachers to become dull with the material, and not have much room to make the curriculum interesting. Overall, this course has opened my eyes and made me realize that there is a lot that goes on in the world of being a teacher. It is not as simple as i originally imagined it would be, but everything I’ve learned has made being a teacher more of a meaningful and interesting experience.
When imagining myself as a teacher, I imagine teaching curriculum that is meaningful and useful to the students I will be teaching to. I want to be able to teach kids about politics, history, our planet. I also want to teach the kids important communication skills and other crucial life skills such budgeting money. In reality though, our core curriculum keeps teachers from being able to spend time on all these useful skills. I believe that our core curriculum is more focused on students memorizing content that they will rarely remember later on in their lives. Core curriculum keeps the teachers from adding in lessons that they believe should be taught, due to the restricted focus on the core curriculum. There is too much focus on each student passing the core classes, instead of focusing on how the students are learning and applying what they’ve learned to their lives. Core curriculum should be more easily adjustable so that teachers can add in lessons that they believe are meaningful and useful. Students should be more interactive with their work instead of the core curriculum which causes the students to complete worksheets, quizzes, and tests. Students should be enthusiastic in the curriculum they are learning, instead of sitting and memorizing all of the core content that is thrown at them. There needs to be a change in the core curriculum if we want kids to succeed later in life and remember important content and skill that they should be taught in school.When trying to remember what I have learned in both elementary and middle school, I struggle to remember anything that has been useful to me. I find it sad that when my boss gives me a check, I do not know how to cash it in myself. I do not even know how to write check, or balance a checkbook. I feel as if there were so many life skills that I was never taught, and it is disappointing that I was taught numerous varieties of content to memorize and be tested on. This is the problem with our core curriculum, it leads to students retaining the information taught only until they take the test on the content. After the test the students usually forget what they learn and begin memorizing new content for the next test. I can specifically remember being a student and telling myself to remember all the information just for the test, and then forget about it after. Education is supposed to expand the minds of humans, and not just for a short period of time. We need to be teaching the children issues of our world that will affect them when they are grown up in the future. We need to be teaching them about social changes and skills that help them grow up and succeed later on when they are adults. The issue of core curriculum can be greatly connected with the banking concept we learned in class. The restrictions of the core cause teachers to begin habits of banking habit. The banking concept consists of teachers giving content for students to retain and memorize, without having much interaction and outside thoughts about the content. One big question I have in mind is: Does core curriculum detrimental to student’s learning? Another big question I have is: How do we change the core curriculum. I want to research who in our country deals with the issues of education and how many people need to join and agree on reform. I want to know the importance of politics and the role of politics that will influence and help change the core curriculum. I also want to research the finances and economics that play a role in changing/altering the core curriculum. I believe that the core includes a lot of important content, but not as much life skills as there should be. There should also be more room and time for teachers to discuss diverse topics. The core curriculum should be flexible and teachers should have more of a say for what they want to include in the curriculum. If teachers are being the ones teaching the content they should be allowed to include what they deem as useful to their students, especially since teachers are the ones who know their students the best. Teachers are with their students five days a week, several hours a day, so they know what will benefit their students best. The process teachers go through to become teachers should include courses where they can discuss the core curriculum and find ways to make it more meaningful and useful to the grade(s) they will be teaching. People need to understand that the core curriculum determines what we are teaching the children not only in the classroom, but also in life. There should be classes that teach the kids valuable life skills along with content that will be useful to their growing minds.
Monday, November 14, 2016
For my field placement, I attended Hawken Lower School. I observed a second grade class taught by Mrs. Emma Ferek. When first entering the classroom the students were playing all playing a game. Mrs. Ferek explained that every morning once every student has arrived, she has them play a game. This was interesting to me because when I was in second grade I remember coming to school everyday and working on "bellwork" which consisted of problems that everyone had to complete on their own in silence. This teacher took a different approach and allows her students to exert their energy and get them excited for the school day. After the game was finished, she had all the students sit on a carpet in front of her while she read a book. The book focused on family which is what their unit was on that they were covering. After she read the book she had them work on a project which consisted of them making posters of their families with descriptions of each person in their family. This was also fascinating to me because I do not ever remember having a lesson on the importance of family. It was amazing to see the kind descriptions each student wrote about the members of their family. It was also fascinating to observe their artistic abilities. After working on their project, the students went to recess and Mrs. Ferek told me that they get two recesses. I believe having a sufficient amount of time for recess is so important for young children. Being cooped up in a classroom for too long can cause students to lose interest or become ancy. After this first observation, I realized the importance of having fun within the classroom and allowing the kids to exert their energy, along with teaching them valuable lessons such as the value of family.
November 14, 2016
Fair, Jean. "The Comparative Effectiveness of a Core and a Conventional Curriculum in Developing Social Concern. I." The School Review 62.5 (1954): 274-82. Web. Nov. 2016.
This scholarly journal explains what core curriculum and core classes are and why we have them. It goes into further depth explaining the objectives and content of core curriculum. I am going to use this source to give background knowledge on core curriculum. This source also provides the importance of social conditions which I will utilize in my paper. This source gives me knowledge on the benefits of core classes, but also what core curriculum lacks in terms of social conditions. I will utilize this source to give a better understanding of what core curriculum consists of and why it exists.
Harap, Henry. "Improvement of the Core." The High School Journal 40.1 (1956): 32-37.
University of North Carolina Press. Web. Nov. 2016.
Henry Harap addresses the need to alter or change the core curriculum before it has detrimental effects on the student's learning abilities. He explains that the static nature of core curriculum does not allow the students to think for their own or address new questions. This source is based on observations of core classes in a variety of schools. This source will give my argument more of a backbone for why core curriculum needs to be adjustable and adaptive. I can utilize this source by explaining the negative effects that a static core curriculum has on students ability to learn more than what is provided by the core curriculum.
Mickelson, John M. "What Does Research Say about the Effectiveness of the Core Curriculum?" The School Review 65.2 (1957): 144-60. Web. Nov. 2016.
This source provides research and explanation on the effectiveness of core curriculum. This source defines what core is and explains the meaning and reason behind core classes. It also provides research on the extent that the core curriculum is used and what the students learn/gain from the core. I will use this source to explain the skills that the students gain from the core. I will also utilize this source to explain what the core lacks and what the students are missing in their education. This source also provides information on if the students gain the necessary social skills which I will address in my paper as a main concern for core curriculum.
Pittendrigh, Adele. "Reinventing the Core: Community, Dialogue, and Change." The Journal of
General Education 56.1 (2007): 34-56. Web. Nov. 2016.
This source directly explains why and how the core curriculum should be changed. It includes the importance of being able to be open to scrutiny and change in terms of the core curriculum. It provides the teachers perspectives on the core and offers ideas that can make the core more meaningful. These ideas include insisting more dialogue and a sense of community when teaching core content. I will use this source to explain options for how we can better the core curriculum to be more beneficial for the students. This source also provides specific proposals that have been made by scholars to change/reinvent the core curriculum.
Tibbetts, John W. "Crisis in the Core Curriculum." The Clearing House: A Journal of
Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas 33.6 (1959): 345-47. Web. Nov. 2016.
This scholarly journal refutes the idea of having core classes. John Tibbetts believes that the core has a lack of administration concern, preparation for qualified teachers, and static organization. I will use this source to explain more of the cons of our core curriculum. This source also provides insight on how core curriculum should be revised and open to scrutiny since education should be a learning experience. I will use this source to take a standpoint against having a static core curriculum. This source also provides information on how teachers are not prepared well enough to teach core curriculum, which I will address in my research paper.