Friday, May 1, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
What this new technology did for me was provide a new source for making books. The program was VERY easy to use. Not only was I able to manipulate the layout, style, and appearance of the book, but photos be uploaded with a small click of my mouse. The most complicated aspect of the project was the transfer from BookSmart to Blurb. There are many steps when copyrighting a text, but the site provides scaffolding. Ultimately, the upload time due to graphics was just a matter of patience. In the future, I would definitely use Blurb. In fact, I would actually have the children use the program to publish the work that they had made. They could be the authors and illustrators of the book, which could be developed over a period of time during writer’s workshop times. The book could be published on the web, for their parents and family to see. This also gives them the choice to buy the book if they can afford it (but without feeling the pressure). I feel like this technology fits directly with ideal literacy instruction. The students work to develop a book. They could do research, peer revising, and write to a specific genre. They could present it to others. Essentially, it brings together multiple aspects of literacy: listening, writing, reading, speaking, and technology.
As for the literacy, I chose environmental. When researching the different literacies, I was drawn to environmental. The idea behind it makes so much sense. Environmental literacies consists of real life, environmental issues presented in a way that helps students develop opinions. I am not discrediting any of the other literacy choices. Instead, I found the idea of environmental literacy so natural. I found it very natural in the early childhood portion of education. Children are constantly trying to make sense of the environment. They are exploring and using their senses to discover and interpret the earth’s wonders. In this way, I believe the environmental literacy is imperative to help aid in this discovery.
At the start of the semester, I divided literacy into the following categories: reading, writing, listening, viewing, reading, speaking, and the incorporation of technology within all of them. Now, my interpretation is different. I now believe that literacy is this huge thing that really cannot be defined or categorized. It cannot be broken into a hierarchy, considering some parts more relevant than others. I am not sure if one could accurately define literacy in a 500-page book. If I claim that literacy is something, can someone else argue that my interpretation is wrong? I really do not believe that any of the books that we have read in class could/has provide a definition either, as none of the books is the end all of literacy knowledge.
I think that literacy is directed based on the student’s individual needs and interests. No two children have the same experiences, learning styles, and interest, so as a teacher we need to continue to modify our views on the topic. If we do not, we actually provide a disservice to our students.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
When she does a lesson on writing, she provides too much scaffolding. The CT will structure the entire paragraph on the poster paper on how she wants it written. The children have little/no room to expand their creativity because if the children try to go a different direction, she requires them to rewrite their paper.
The earliest writing that I remember is journaling in first grade. I wrote about myself: my favorite thing to eat, what I did on the weekend, and my best friend. The next thing I remember is DOL in fifth grade. In sixth grade we started writing workshops. We could make a rough draft in class and were expected to bring the final copy in the following day as homework. I would write the rough draft, not do the homework, and scramble a horrid rough draft or a couple sentences during the four minutes before class. In HS, we were taught the five power paragraph structure. My freshman year of college, I was told that everything I had previously learned was wrong and taught myself how to get by, in order to get through college.
After spending time in placement, the single most important element that I want to use in writing instruction is enjoyment. When my CT introduces a writing lesson, around ten student’s will automatically place their head in their arms and disengage from the classroom. To make the learning experience authentic and meaningful, the children need to have positive interactions with it. Although there are many things that I envision in my classroom regarding writing, I believe that writing (and learning in general) needs to be enjoyable.
Writing instruction in my class is as my mom would say, "slim-pickings". We occasionally do "writers workshop" but the lesson structure is very slim. The CT tends to read a short story, then says , "see, writing with more _____ words is better. Go ahead, and write." This structure seems to allow the students a lot of time to write, but not very much direct instruction. The students also tend to experience more of the drafting portion of the workshop and not much of the revising/editing aspect. Many of the students create final drafts that still contain spelling errors and grammatical errors ( such as capitalizing). There does not tend to be very much writing in other subject areas, even in math the students struggle with word problems.
I remember doing many of the same procedures for writing, writing many short stories in class. I thought this was enjoyable, but that was because I enjoyed writing. I also feel that writing was incorporated into many more of my subjects throughout the day than in my field placement. It seems that in my field placement we essentially do bellwork, some abstract lesson in the morning, silent reading after lunch, math, recess and then sometimes a spelling lesson. The day does not have much academic content. I also do not remember having much direct instruction, especially on grammar and grammatical skills, which I think is a negative aspect of schools.
In seeing that my CT's day does not have much academic content makes me worried about my classroom and the time I will have for academic content. I like the idea of having a classroom blog, which my CT has but uses sparatically. I also hope to use writing and reading in all of the subject areas in my classroom, and helping students connect to content areas through writing and journaling. I hope to teach more about grammatical skills, such as verb tenses, punctuation and capitalization. I also want to work on spelling, but in a way that is not so much as a spelling test but more of a 'real world application'. I hope to incorporate writing into much of my academic day.
I have come to understand that my knowledge of literacy has grown immensely. At the beginning of the semester, I viewed literacy as mere reading and writing. Reading happens from books and periodicals and that was it. But, as the semester has progressed, I have come to love the ideas of different subheadings of literacy (Cultural Literacy, Digital/Information/Media Literacy, Emotional Literacy, Environmental Literacy, Numeracy Print Literacy, Social Literacy, Visual Literacy).I feel that throughout this semester I have become more comfortable with using technology to present and teach literacy/language arts skills, and using technology as a medium for assessment of students. When I took the digital natives quiz, I found that I am not a native with as many digital tools as I had thought, but was introduced to many new tools.
In creating my digital books, I worked very hard to accommodate the student’s individual needs. I had originally created the books as movies that flowed through the pages as it read. But, as I played with the creation of this, I found that having the computer roll through the pages was a negative aspect because it determined how long the students could look at illustrations and text on the pages. As I created my webpage for storage of the digital books, I became enthralled with the creation and included lots of additional resources and even a page for me to blog not only on literacy but my education and classroom experience as a whole. As I developed this website and project for my class assignment and the digital books for my students, I found this to be very beneficial and useful for myself, and think I will continue working on my website, updating resources as my career continues.
I believe there are many possibilities of ways to incorporate technology into your classroom and literacy instruction, and I have found that out in a first person manner. In the classroom I am in now, there is not much of a student connection with the technology. The teacher presents power points and uses a smart board, but the students do not have much interaction with it. Also, the classroom has a “class blog” but is not updated regularly and appears to not be structured. Had the blog been set up like our blogs in this class where the students are grouped our have designated days to write, or blogging is a center, the blog could have been more authentic and useful for the students. There is also not much diversity in reading and writing instruction which I think turns the students off from reading and writing as a whole. IF the teacher would incorporate more of the new literacies that we had discussed in class, the students would have more of a connection with their instruction and their education.
· How has your conceptual understanding of literacy changed since beginning this class and how does the technology you explored inform your thinking? Describe your growth in what you understand to be literacy (or literacies) and how that growth has altered your conception of learning in English language arts. You may choose to offer a reflective commentary or a chronological account of "this is where I was when I started, here is where I am now, and these are the readings, events, or experiences from this course that got me there." Alternatively, you may decide to organize your discussion around themes, issues or other 'big ideas'.
· What does it mean to provide “effective literacy instruction” to diverse learners and how does the particular technology you explored inform your thinking? To help you think about these questions, review your Noteblog posted on September 10 providing your definition of literacy and the conditions for literacy learning. Also access the Grade Level Content Expectations you worked with to plan your language arts lesson. If students at that grade level were learning to use the technology you explored, what knowledge, capacities and commitments in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing would they need to develop in order to be successful? How could you incorporate that learning in your language arts curriculum and instruction?
Be sure to include:
- a clear description and/or introduction to the new technology, and explain what was “new” for you compared with using more traditional literacies
- examples of the knowledge, capacities and commitments you needed to develop in order to use the new technology to create your product.
- your thoughts on the knowledge, capacities and commitments required of K-8 students (as outlined in the GLCEs) to use the technology successfully for authentic purposes
- how learning to use a technology like this fits with (or not) your current conceptual understanding of literacy, and your ideas of effective literacy instruction
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
- Making mental images to remember the text
- Relating their prior knowledge to the text
- Asking questions, clarifying confusions within the text and making inferences (Thompkins pg 203)
Saturday, February 28, 2009
My CT has stood firmly that comprehension is important. However, I don’t see any of the strategies used in Thompkins to help aid in this. I have seen her test comprehension in a formal way, such as given a reading level test. But part of me worries that maybe she isn’t doing enough to teach the students strategies in comprehending text. As adults, it is kind of a difficult concept to gather: Not only do we have to teach children how read, but also how to understand what it is that they are reading. It comes so natural for us that it is probably something that most don’t even recognize the importance of.
On the other hand, within the duration of the school year, I have seen her lead brief discussions with the class as a whole, talking about text to text, text to self, and text to world connections. I feel as if this is a great example of practicing comprehension skills. My only concern is that maybe some aren’t capable of practicing the skills that they have yet to develop.
On the first day of class, Erin asked if we first remembered learning to read. I was not a person who remembered. But I always remember being very fluid and having good comprehension skills. This was never a problem for me. I consistently read a text as if I was watching it play out on a movie screen. When entering college, I was introduced to text of a different level. Things like poetry, theory, and some scholarly non-fiction never seemed to click when I read them. But after reading Thompkins, I realize that maybe I only learned how to comprehend a specific type of material. My strategy of playing out the movie in my head fails if there isn’t a movie when Carl Jung is talking about the collective unconscious.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
- Reading (text, books on tape, websites, closed captions...ect)
- Phonics (phonemic awareness, print concepts...ect)
- Strategies (identification of words, comprehension, and spelling as they learn to read and write)
- Vocabulary (understanding and expanding on their own orally and written)
- Comprehension (understanding, applying and predicting - based on material)
- Literature (reading a variety of books, chapter books, picture books, magazines)
- Content-Area Study (applying their understanding and knowledge of 'language arts' to their other subject areas in school - ex: social studies and science)
- Oral Language (Talking with peers, discussing ideas, expanding vocabulary)
- Writing (handwriting, spelling, conveying ideas... ect)
- Spelling (reflecting their phonics knowledge, and applying the rules of English language)
Monday, February 16, 2009
I can not create a webpage, but did figure out a blog. I still prefer to take notes with paper and pencil, and read articles from class in a paper format. I still do not quite understand what the Wiki is, although I am huge fan of wikipeida. I was unfamiliar with terms like Smart Mob, and modding and did not know what this was. I also agree with you Nicole in that using scaffolding is the best way to introduce myself and my students to digital literacy tools.
I really like the idea of the new literacies project as well because I love to experiment with new techniques to keep my students engaged and participating. In one of my special education ( my major) classes last semester, I made a digital book using power point. In using power point I was able to record my voice so the student only had to click on the icon and hear me read the text. In using power point the students were able to move from page to page with ease and at their own pace. I would like to create more of these books ( over summer break?) and compile them on a CD and have that available in my classroom. I showed the power point book to my 5-9 year old siblings and they loved it. Every time they see my laptop, they ask me to turn it on and play it for them. I am still thinking about the new literacies project because I want to create something that I will use again and again, especially in my first year teaching, so I have not decided which tool to use. any suggestions?
I think that as new professionals we should view digital literacies as an amazing tool that will help our students develop and be ready to join our ever so technologically savvy community.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
When I took the digital natives quiz, I was definitely a digital immigrant. I had knowledge of terms like Wiki and Blog, but beyond that, I didn't know too much. Tompkins talks frequently about Emergent Literacy in the readings. I believe that Tompkin's emergent literacy and my own digital emergent literacy are incredibly the same. On the most basic level of this similarity is the relationship they share to Vgotsky. The only way that children can pass through the stages of literacy development, is the same way that I will be able to pass through this digital emergent literacy: SCAFFOLDING. You can't expect a child to have knowledge of phonics, just as you can't expect for me to make my own Wiki-Site without any guidance.
I think that is why I like the idea of the New Literacies Project. With all the new technologies available, I can choose how far I want to go with it. But that isn't saying that I will never make a classroom Wiki-Site. First, I may fully understand what I'm doing on Blogger. Eventually, I will make an awesome Digital Story-Book. One day, I may be a full-on contributor to Wikipedia. If I need guidance, I can ask my classmates, Erin, or any of the ITECS. Just like the ITEC who visited us said, the project is really about exploring. First, find a technology. Second, play around with it. In the long run, all of these new opportunities are really more helping us provide different means of technology within our classroom.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In the Gibbon’s reading, I immediately thought of a child I had last semester. I will refer to him as S. S was a two year old child, whose parents moved from Pakistan years earlier. Although fluent in English, the parents speak Urdu in home. Unlike his classmates, S has not started using any English in the classroom yet. He hadn’t used any Urdu in home either. With S, when speaking, we had to accompany it with physical action. When S put his trash away after snack, I reflected, “You put trash away. That makes me happy (while pointing at my large smile).” At this point, he would smile back and nod. I had never dealt with an English Language Learner at such an early stage. The way we interacted with S was completely appropriate considering that he was so young. However, if interacted the same way with a fourth grader in the same situation, it would be inappropriate. Many of the strategies that Gibbons’ provided could be modified to be used in a developmentally appropriate way. Gibbons’ mentioned that you have to scaffold the English Language Learners understanding, following on Vgotsky’s theory. I feel like this is fairly obvious. All learners, regardless of age, ability, and prior knowledge, need information to be built up. You can’t hope that a house stands without a foundation. I wonder if it is problematic to make so many strategies up for ELL, perhaps making a distinction and setting a norm. I feel like many of the strategies used are similar to what we would do, just modified, similar to all instruction that we do.
As for the Tompkin’s reading, I have previously mentioned what I have done in my preschool placement for emergent literacy. For another paper, I argued the existence of a pre-emergent stage. This is the stage where I would see my younger children. At this point, it is mostly the adult’s responsibility to present a text-rich environment. There is no distinguishing characteristic between writing and drawing. Children are mostly getting experience developing their small motor skills, holding a pencil and making marks on paper. The foundation of the “pre-emergent stage” is EXPERIENCE with literacy. Unlike the younger children, the children in my TE placement class are all pretty much in the fluent stage of reading and writing. They are able to make their own paragraphs, while editing their spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. I feel like they are so knowledgeable, but understand that they have much farther to go. Therefore, I look forward to learning more about the fluent stage.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I did tell the CT that I need to focus on Language Arts and math this semester, so he has given me the whole language arts block twice a week to instruct the students in book clubs. I picked the books we will use, created the project packets, created the ideas for how the projects and instruction time will be used and how assignments will be graded. I also rearranged the student's desks so that they wil sit in their book club groups. Although I am happy that the CT let me take this over, I would have liked to have seen HIM complete some structured reading lessons and have some discussions with the students.
I hope that as the CT sees me working with the students and how the discussions I have planned for book clubs work, he will be more inclined to incorporate discussion with the groups.
I have thought about this long and hard, for many days, especially recently in light of this class and our discussions. To learn about the diversity within your class, you have to show a true interest in your students and the families that they come from. The teacher must be willing to share things about themselves that make them unique and embrace every student's uniqueness and treat it as a treasure to the class. To learn about the diversity in the classroom, teachers must be willing to let the students share what is on their minds, delve into readings and assignments on a personal level, and connect school to home life. If the techer makes the classroom monotone and one dimensional, the students feel less compelled to engage and interact with the classroom, teacher and academics.
I have noticed in my current field placement, that my students bring a lot of diversity to the classroom. I feel that the CT does not embrace and use the diversity in his classroom to his advantage, which frusterates me...ALOT. The CT determines how his class and students should be and he goes by that. For example, there are two students in our class from other countries ( Cuba and Pakistan). Instead of using the knowledge that these students hold to further our class discussions and understandings, he puts these students in the lowest reading groups and almost passes the children off. I wish that the CT would engage the information that the children bring to the classroom in a more positive way.
When I become a teacher, I hope to begin the school year with the students creating autobiographies, and investigating what/who makes up each student's family. I hope that in doing this we can read books about families and heritages to enhance our classroom environment. I hope that within the first week of school, the students realize that I value diversity and thus our classroom is a safe place. I am not worried about incorporating diversity in my classroom because it is something that is personally very valuable to me.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
AND HARRIET TUBMAN
by Lealonnie Blake
I am from get-togethers
K-Mart special and matching shoes.
Baseball bats and BB guns,
a violent family is where I'm from.
I am from "get it girl"
and "shake it to the ground."
From a strict dad named Lumb
sayin' "sit you' fass self down."
I am from the smell of soul food
cooking in Lelinna's kitchen.
From my Pampa's war stories
to my granny's cotton pickin'.
I am from Kunta Kinte's strength,
Harriet Tubman's escapes.
Phyllis Wheatley's poems,
and Sojourner Truth's faith.
If you did family research,
and dug deep into my genes.
You'll find Sylvester and Ora, Geneva and Doc,
My African Kings and Queens.
That's where I'm from.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
When I did my student teaching at the Child Development Laboratory, learning about the diversity within my classroom was one of the things I tried to do the most. Because my classroom was a 21 month class, I was left to learn about my students by my individual interaction with the child, the child's parents, the child's interaction with each other. When learning about diversity, I really used the parents as a resource. We went on homevisits, had the parents fill out informational forms, and used school led, family functions to further develop relationships. My classroom had twelve students. Two children were English Language Learners, a family from Pakistan and a family from India. We had a child who had been adopted less than a year earlier from Guatamala. In a previous class, we read a lot from Ladson-Billings. In these readings, they refer to an insider-outsider perspective. This perspective refers to who is credible to talk about a certain group of people. I feel like it is problematic, by setting a "norm," for all people in generall.But that wasn't the only diversity and if we limit it to an insider/outsider perspective, we are doing ourselves and the children a disadvantage. We had working mothers and stay at home fathers. A single mother was an emergency room physician. Families with pets to share, nannies from other countries, and newborn babies. I emphasized these individual differences and had parents involved in many of the things we did in the classroom, because they have experiences we may never have known.
Fast forward to now. The problem comes when I step out of the lab school and enter the real world. Without the opportunities for some of the teacher/parent interactions, it would be more difficult to realize those wonderful differences between everyone. In addition, although sad, can we always trust the parents as the ONLY resource? Our daily interactions expand our knowledge of the diversity of all children in our classroom.
Honestly, I am nervous about how this will turn out in my own classroom. I am very curious and interested to see how everyone else sees this happening. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's blog :)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
- First, we determined it meant being able to have a multicultural understanding of the world. The means being able to take into consideration other points of view from different cultures when making a decision.
- Next, we felt it was important to be an informed and participating citizen in society.
- Another portion to this definition is visual and audial reading and understanding. We feel that by including audial reading, this includes those with visual impairments or other cognitive impairments that limits them to only printed text.
- Comprehension and interpretation of a given subject matter is also vital for literacy. Not only is the 'traditional' idea of comprehension important, but being able to take in a given idea and make it into your own unique interpretation is also important in understanding.
- Oral communication – or visual communication is also an important part of being literate. Individuals need to share their ideas, and thoughts with their peers to help contribute to the future of literacy .
- Finally, in our ever developing world it is vital to understand and impliment use of the techonologies of our time.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I hope to make my classroom somewhat of a literacy haven. I want print to be everywhere. Everyhing should be labeled with a word and a picture to help with word recognition. Familiar words, such as the children’s name, can be placed in many locations and be used to daily activity. Books should be anti-bias, and feature children of different cultures, genders, race, and abilities. Writing materials should be placed around the classroom for the children to use. In pretend play, items like grocery lists can be used to help develop of genre knowledge. Interactive prompts should be placed around the classroom. For example, in the book area I would place a poster that said, “What is your favorite book?” Then the children could respond. The playing of words will be everywhere. By clapping out names, singing songs, and having interactive rhymes like “Willoughby Wallaby” the children are getting more phonemic awareness. Literacy is also important when referring to the skills of the adults interacting with the children. Depending on the age, providing verbal prompts for the children to be able to communicate their thoughts will help extend their vocabulary.
Just a side note, slightly unrelated to the blog subject:
Becca and I visited our school’s library with our children this past week. We wanted to get an idea of what kind of books were available for the children. I wanted to check out the critical literacy that was in our urban, city school. Our children usually go on Friday, but due to an in-service day, the children were going to the library with another class on Thursday. Our second grade students were going with the neighboring kindergarten class. The teachers in the class usually drop off the students while the librarian works with them. This time, the librarian put in a movie about jellyfish. She had to speak with a parent, so she placed Becca and I in charge. The children, especially the kindergarten students, spoke to each other about the movie. The librarian walked towards the children and told them in a stern voice to stay quiet. We didn’t see a problem with the children talking, if it was related to the movie. Then each class got to choose books from a select assortment placed on a nearby table. The other students were to watch the movie in silence. The child in our class who is diagnosed with a learning disability, was left to wander around the classroom. Becca noted that the lack of structure was very problematic for him. When the children started talking, the librarian yelled, “Be quiet or I will make you write sentences.” Nearby, a pile of papers sat on a table with the words: “I will be quiet in the library,” written multiply times.
I felt like EVERYTHING was wrong with this experience. I understand that it is difficult to find qualified, trained staff but how is this appropriate? The kindergarten students may not even have their fine motor skills developed to even write their names. Plus, how could you expect four and five year old children to sit still and just watch a movie without any structure? The second grade students had trouble with the task. I feel like this experience could interfere with these young children’s interest in literacy.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
As if that isn't enough, I am going to be a special education teacher and would like to develop a knowledge base of how to work with students in a general education setting with varying ability levels in both reading and writing. I also would like to develop a base of knowledge of materials and techniques to keep challenging students interested.
Basically, I hope to get a lot out of this class :) considering I am a special education major with language arts as my integrated major.
Monday, January 19, 2009