Meta-reflection for Standard 3: Curriculum

In this paper I analyze the Everyday Mathematics curriculum as well as the Strength in Number program so that I may be a more effective and purposeful instructor while developing each unique students’ mathematical processing and reasoning skills. This artifact satisfies standard 3: Curriculum: Provides knowledge and skills that bring academic subjects to life and are aligned with state content standards.

Mathematics in the Classroom

Below is a direct link to all artifacts that I feel have implications regarding curriculum.

Thoughts About the iSAFE Program

I found this curriculum to be educational and very informative as it cleared up confusions and misunderstandings I had about certain terms and concepts surrounding the web. The designers created engaging analogies to explain these concepts to every age student. Also, the people documenting iSAFE, in the videos, seemed knowledgeable and understanding of how children/teens operate. They have the knowledge that children are curious and so educate students on how to explore those curiosities in a safe and healthy manner with students their own age (guaranteed to be their own age via certified programs).

Some of the points that were most beneficial in my mind where; the education of parents, the 90, 180, 360 degrees of information visibility, cyber bullying, gaming safety (especially with the many students that play ‘Mature Audiences Only’ video games where they are exposed to adult interactions and conversations, the predator video (made by a student), and the mentor program! Having older students come into a younger student’s classroom is always engaging; students listen when their older peers are telling them it’s important. Also, the assembly ideas for concepts such as; computer security, predators, illegal downloading, intellectual property, etc.

I would have liked video footage on how this curriculum is integrated into a primary level classroom as all the videos seemed focused on 5 grade and up audiences.

Overall, I find this curriculum to be extremely relevant and essential for a 21st century classroom and home (the iSAFE parent program). If students are expected to use this technology it should be expected that they know the dangers and how to use the technology safely.

Below is a copy of my iSAFE certificate of completion.

Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration?

On the very first page of the article Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration? the statement, “computers serve as a ‘valuable and well-functioning instructional tool’ in schools and classrooms in which teachers: … (c)  have some freedom in the curriculum” (25). Perhaps that’s the first thing that needs to happen if there is to be a chance for technology integration; define curriculum and then make technology a part of the curriculum. As was discussed in my instructional strategies course as well as a curriculum course I took a few quarteres ago, the purpose of curriculum is to ensure that each child whether in Mrs. Q’s class or Mr. W’s class receives the same educational opportunities. Technology is in our state standards and so should be treated as such. Technology education is not merely a freedom of instructional artistry but an educational necessity.

Before reading the article I wrote two things that I would need to change my instructional practices -of any kind- and I came up with needing the necessary knowledge, modeled scaffolding and accountability of my practice. I found it difficult to read through the first part of the article do to the focus on teachers’ beliefs and how beliefs effects what and how we teach. First of all discussing beliefs of any kind is daunting and seems impossible to wade through as everyone has different experiences, and so, has different background knowledge surrounding everything. However, I was relieved and a bit excited when I got to the section titled Implications for Professional Development. Ertmer cited Guskey’s thoughts,  “Change in beliefs follows, rather than precedes practice, and that by helping teachers adopt new practices that are successful, the associated beliefs will also change” (32). Teachers, like students, need to experience empirically proven strategies (frankly, whether they like it our not) and be held accountable for practicing and implementing those newly learned strategies or else nothing will change. If there was a more efficient and effective medical procedure that would cure an ailment I would expect my doctor to learn, practice and implement that procedure.  Truthfully, who can argue with efficiency and effectiveness  when we are constantly given more to teach in less time.

Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4). 25-39.

Effective Vocabulary Instruction

Vocabulary is and must be taught in schools yet so many teachers don’t know how to effectively and efficiently integrate vocabulary instruction into their classrooms. Vocabulary instruction isn’t only necessary for English language learners but for the general education population as well. We, as teachers, have (or should have) a knowledge of prepositions, conjunctions, suffixes and prefixes, nouns and verbs but do we understand that there are certain words that will give us the most bang for our buck? Do we know what the best teaching practices are for promoting vocabulary growth in our children? I will highlight some of the teaching practices that I have found most beneficial including high frequency words and word utility, strategies to teach word relationships and awareness, and the importance of reading and conversation. To read more:

Effective Vocabulary Instruction

Growth Portfolio in Mathematics

Attached is a sampling of Kaitlin’s growth portfolio that shows her progress in backward number sense and numeral identification. The first table in this document is Kaitlin’s initial assessment of these skills and is followed by intervention assignments as well as follow-up assessments of both her backward number sense and numeral identification skills.  These artifacts illustrate her exceptional growth in these mathematical concepts.  Student Growth Portfolio

Mathematics in the Classroom

In this paper I analyze the Everyday Mathematics curriculum as well as the Strength in Number program so that I may be a more effective and purposeful instructor while developing each unique students’ mathematical processing and reasoning skills.  Mathematics in the Classroom

Launching Reading Workshop

I created this document, Launching Reading Workshop: The First Twenty Days of School, with my  first grade team  in June 2008. This document demonstrates my instructional planning competency by aligning specific objectives with Washington State Standards in reading and communication as well as providing lists of suggested read alouds and shared reading materials. We also placed each lesson into separate strands where each lesson would best be taught during a ‘balanced literacy’ program (i.e. Reading Workshop). Once our data was compiled I created the final product template. This artifact directly impacts student learning as it ensures that Washington State Standards are being addressed and has focused objectives and literature to support deep understandings of those particular standards and objectives. My school is transforming our literacy program from Success For All (SFA) to a Balanced Literacy approach. Creating this document aided our first grade team in better understanding the Balanced Literacy approach and ensuring that we have the tools necessary to teach our students effectively in the fall. This artifact demonstrates competency regarding standard 1, 3, and 6.    Launching Reading Workshop