Monday, March 26, 2012

Child Participation and Interest

I recently resonated with two educational videos that seemed to confirm my belief on having the student’s interest and participation drive a lesson. Being in classrooms as a teacher and a student I believe that students learn best if they can resonate with what is being taught. Two ways for the students to not only resonate with but remember the lesson of the activity is for them to participate and have an interest in the topic. Participation requires the students to use more than one sense. Taking part in a discussion, acting out a part, or creating a visual representation of something provides muscle memory as well and intellectual memory. I feel doing something that is accompanied with listening will provide a more memorable situation. That is the same with providing an interest. It is easy for something to “go in one ear and out the other” if the lesson is not engaging. Teachers should try to have their lessons be not only something that they need but want as well. For example in one video a teacher recently came back from maternity leave and they decided to use that opportunity to read about babies. The 1st graders were listening fully to the book and wanting to ask questions and tell stories relating to the story. This provided a memorable lesson for all.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Five Basic Questions: The Importance of a Teacher’s Role in a Child’s Literacy Choice

 What? The teacher should have an idea on what interests the students in the classroom, provide suggestions of readings that might interest them, and support their choices by expressing a genuine interest in what they have and giving suggestions when students show they can use the suggestions.

Why? As teachers we want to provide the necessary tools to students that will eventually help them be successful in the “real world”. However, for a person to find a balance of success and happiness, she has to know who she is and what makes her happy.  We can’t choose a student’s interest but we can help him or her add to it.

When? We should always try to provide and observe in the classroom. However, when time is available having an open eye for possible interests for the students outside the classroom. Keeping our ear open too is just as important.

Who? Our main priority is to help our own students. However (time and energy permitting) pointing out interests to other students or past students in our community is a good way to spread some happiness.
How? Keep our eyes, ears, and heart open. Talk with the students. Observe where their interests are focused. Try to have a vast knowledge of books and resources. Great ideas come from many places and I feel other teachers have them.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thinking About a Dilemma

How does a teachers do what they believe is best for their students and meet their school’s literacy standards? 
This dilemma was a big focus of the article “Dilemmas and Discourses of Learning to Write: Assessment as a Contested Site” by Karen E. Wohlwend. Reading this article really had me thinking because it is something that I worry about sometimes. Not all of a teacher’s “hows” and “whats” will be the same as the state standards. Personally I can see it being hard because whether it is a heavy course load or a lack of time, there will be restrictions on what and how a teacher wants to teach. So what is the answer to that dilemma and is there one?  I do not think there is. There are only suggestions and tips. Teachers could try to teach it all. They could find time to research different ways and methods. I do agree with Karen Wohlwend’s suggestion, which is to help to policy makers and other teachers “recognize a wider range of early literacy activity as valid participation?” What I take from that quote is to open the policy maker’s eyes and ears to good suggestions from teachers and find a way to incorporate those suggestions into the standards. I feel a teacher’s passion and ideas can cause change and help make this dilemma less daunting. We just need ideas to be given. I know I would be willing to listen.