Saturday, February 23, 2013

St. Mary's University-Spring Conference

This morning I registered for two of my five sessions to attend at the spring conference. Looking at the course catalog was very overwhelming. I chose two sessions that relate to fifth grade.

The first sessions I signed up for is about 4th grade students mastering their multiplication facts. I chose this session because I always hope my students come to 5th grade with these facts mastered, but there is always a handful of students who do not have multiplication fact fluency. I am hoping to get  a lot of new ideas to use as interventions with my students.

The second session I registered for is about incorporating movement into the classroom. The presenter has researched different activities and is incorporating brain based movements. I have started using Whole Brain Teaching strategies in my classroom and I think this session will help me improve my WBT in my classroom.

I get to register on Wednesday for the next three sessions. I am hoping to choose three more sessions to improve my teaching and inspire me to try something new in my classroom.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

21st Century Learning

 Today in class we were assigned 2 hours to create a video about 21st century learning.

What is 21st century learning?
 21st century learning is:
  • teaching students to be prepared for a changing world.
  • creating critical thinkers
  • inspiring creativity in many different mediums
  • students becoming problem solvers
  • the ability to collaborate effectively
  • teaching students skills for jobs that haven't been created yet

I think 21st century learning and getting technology in the hands of children is very important. Technology can allow students to dive deeper into their understanding of topics. I wish I was able to use technology in my classroom more often. I have a SmartBoard and a student computer in my room. My school has 2 Mac computer labs as well as a cart of iPads for the students to use at school. I have not been able to check out an iPad this year since some people at school decide to hog them, but hopefully I will be able to get the technology in the hands of ALL students. Technology is important, especially when students are constantly being exposed to bigger and better things. If resources were available, it would be well worth it to get technology in the hands of students. 

No matter what the age of a learner is, technology is always the new "cool" thing to "play" with. By switching the mindset of learners from playing to educating, a lot can happen with technology. Sure, I love Unblock Me as much as the next person, but using my iPad for work is even better! I think people who are still "18th century learners" need to see that technology is not scary, but a useful tool to enhance learning.

Comments or insights are welcome! :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Action Research Project-Math Journals and Right/Left Brain thinking

My next action research project for my Master's of Teaching and Learning is math journals and right/left brain thinking.

At the beginning of the year, I started to use Math Reference Notebooks with my students. When I taught them a new skill or concept, I would have them get out their math reference notebooks (composition notebook with a table of contents and the pages numbered). Students would basically copy what I had written on the board. After doing some research, I decided I wanted to extend their thinking. I follow a blog called Runde's Room and I really like the way she uses math journals in her classroom. I am using her work that I purchased from Teacher pay Teachers to help me extend their thinking. Your can find that here. It is well worth the $14.99!

I just started implementing the right page/left page thinking strategy. What this means is when the students have their notebooks open to 2 blank pages, they copy what I have on the board on the right side of the page. On the left side of the page, students need to re-write the learning goal, tell me what they already know about the concept, and after the lesson they write what they learned in math class today. They also need to show me proof of what they learned and make a creative way to remember what they learned. This creative way can be a comic strip, mnemonic device, a rap, or anything else that will help them remember what they learned. I cannot take credit for this amazing idea, but I am using it every time I have my students fill out a page in their reference notebooks.

I am going to continue to do research and see what else I can find to help my students in math class.