Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELLs

An aspect that always comes to mind when thinking of ELLs is their sense of belonging due to their limited ability to communicate in the most commonly used language at their school. Language is the essence of culture, being able to share cultural elements with others through teaching a language is motivating for all students. As a plan to address that I will work on creating Language Clubs at the school, all students can join these clubs even if they don't know the language. Contests can be organized at the school to encourage students' participation. Students can research a certain language and make presentations about it's origin, different dialects, and it's cultural aspect. I believe this will put ELLs in a position where they are the source of information or the expert rather than feeling different, it will help build their confidence and help them develop a sense of belonging as they feel valued.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lesson Planning & Teenage Brain

Learning about how the brain works and how it controls our actions is fascinating. Adolescents go through a lot of brain development during school years, as teachers we have to plan our lessons to help shape their teenage brain. Creating enriching environments that foster critical thinking is very important, in addition a teacher should teach to multiple intelligence to reach every student. Repetition is a key factor to help the brain grow, "When a neuron receives a message repeatedly, the connection is strengthened". To help release good brain chemicals a teacher can motivate the students through various ways such as humor, kindness, giving students choices, and positive interaction with peers helps boost these good chemicals. To help students retain information, as a teacher I try to access their active working memory and their long term memory. Developing strategies to access these lanes of the brain is very important; a teacher can accomplish that through designing graphic organizers, encouraging peer collaboration, summarizing, repeating, and most importantly trying to make emotional connections with concepts. Emotional memory is "The most powerful memory. If it takes over, you lose logic". Playing music in the class is a teaching strategy that helps access emotional memory; moreover teacher enthusiasm and knowledge of students and their interests are very important.In my lesson plan I try to incorporate this knowledge and implement teaching strategies that support my students' growth and development. Engaging students in conversations and meaningful debates about concepts is a goal of mine when designing a Math lesson. Making connections with our surroundings through Mathematics is essential to access my students' brains and motivate them to learn. Repeating concepts, summarizing, using gestures, and creating a positive atmosphere through humor and kindness are my key factors when designing a lesson.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Management Plan

Classroom Management Plan
I believe all students are capable of learning and effective teachers can reach to any student. As a teacher I am working on improving my teaching strategies and management approaches regularly to create a harmonious classroom environment. My educational philosophies that most represent me are Essentialism and Reconstructionism. These philosophies will reflect on my classroom management strategies. I identified with various discipline approaches of classroom management; cooperative discipline, inner discipline, synergetic discipline, and positive classroom. I believe through implementing these approaches in my classroom misbehaviors will diminish and students will enjoy class and further cooperate to reach success.

Preventive Approach
Preventive management approaches set students up for success, as they are implemented to avoid misbehaviors and encourage better behaviors. My preventive strategies come from the cooperative and inner discipline approaches.
1-      Catch them being good (Albert, 1989-1996). Giving students complements and showing appreciation when they are doing something good is a great way to set them up for achievement. As a teacher I keep an open eye for good behaviors, I commend them for doing a good thing and show that I noticed their action. I believe through implementing these strategies, students will show more good behaviors and therefore I am leaving less room for misbehaviors.
2-      Teach them to ask for attention (e.g. "Notice Me, Please" cards) (Albert, 1989-1996). This strategy is very helpful as it steers students to ask for help without being a distraction or an interruption. Using “notice me cards” or “help flags” students will be able to get the attention they need without disrupting the flow of the lesson.
3-      Develop rules to guide the class (Coloroso, 1994). Developing basic rules that guide the students towards meeting expectations and making better decisions is essential. Students can also share their input and develop class rules themselves to create the classroom environment they want and expect.
4-      Hold class discussions on the rules, their implications, and their consequences (Coloroso, 1994). I believe this goes hand in hand with “Class meetings to address class activities and behaviors” (Kohn 1996) .Regular classroom meetings and discussions are crucial to maintain an ongoing flow of the lessons. Coming up with new rules or adjusting previous rules to fit current needs is very important. Reminding students of class rules and asking them on which rules they think works or doesn’t work is a very good approach. I believe this reflects my Reconstructive educational philosophy.
5-      Include students in decision-making & problem solving (Kohn, 1996). This reflects my previous point as to students developing their classroom rules as well as the teacher. Coming up with rules that fit everyone is vital for preventing misbehaviors and promoting ownership of the learning process.
6-      Creating spaces in the classroom where our students can feel comfortable (Jackson, 2010). Appreciating students’ different strength and skills and respecting their background and culture is very important, doing that will help students develop a sense of belonging to the class. Creating a classroom community where all students feel valued is a great approach to prevent any behavioral issues.

Supportive Approach
Supportive management approaches are very important to maintain a positive classroom environment. I have come to understand that supporting good behaviors through showing my appreciation and commending students for their actions is key.
1-      Classrooms with a sense of community are more likely to develop caring and responsible students (Kohn 1996). Through regular classroom meetings students can develop a sense of community where they feel responsible for their own learning. I will work on implementing this strategy by having classroom meetings weekly to discuss with students current problems and promote good behaviors.
2-      Establish classroom discipline upon a basis of dignity and hope (Mendler, 1983). Giving students hope that they can succeed even if they are experiencing struggles is very important. Supporting them and directing them towards facing these problems is very important, realizing that ignoring their struggles will lead to misbehaviors, and pushing them towards the right path while respecting them and acknowledging their effort is essential.
3-      Class meetings to address class activities and behaviors (Kohn 1996). Maintaining regular class meetings is very important. I plan on being consistent with these meeting to support and promote good behaviors.
4-      Give students opportunity to solve their problems. Ask them how they plan to do so (Coloroso, 1994). Allowing students to make their own decisions through evaluating their problems is very important. I can be the guide that direct them towards a good decision by asking them questions, yet is they come up with the decision themselves that would be best. Respecting them and giving them the time and opportunity to solve their problems will help them beyond academics.
5-      Teacher must immediately begin to emphasize a developing sense of family in the class (Charles, 2000). Developing a sense of family allows students to get a sense of belonging to the class. I can do so by having conversations with them regularly, getting to know them beyond academics, and gaining their trust.

Corrective Approach
When misbehavior occurs, a teacher is responsible for correcting it while maintaining good energy in the classroom. Corrective strategies that I identified with strongly demonstrate cooperative discipline and synergetic discipline. I believe the following approaches reflect my Essentialist philosophy as I do emphasize classroom rules and consequences, yet they also reflect my belief of Reconstructionism because I strongly identify in joint decisions between teacher and students.
1-      If a rule is broken, the teacher should concentrate immediately on the behavior and consequences (Coloroso, 1994). This also reflects reasonable consequences when teacher and student jointly agree on a set of reasonable logical consequences (Coloroso, 1994). Being consistent is the major component when correcting a behavior. Reminding students of the consequences and allowing them to correct the behavior is an essential step when misbehavior occurs. When students further misbehave, I follow the consequences and class rules that we all agree on.
2-      Give written notice (Albert, 1989-1996). Written notices are very important because it doesn’t suddenly put the student on the spot. It allows the student to notice his/her misbehavior and correct it accordingly. It is a great strategy and I will certainly implement it in my classroom.
3-      When misbehavior does occur teachers identify and deal with the cause, keeping an attitude of gentle helpfulness (Charles, 2000). Keeping a calm tone when correcting a student is vital, it is a focus of mine that I don’t disrupt the trust I have with that student. Explaining to the student that I am helping them is very important for student cooperation.
4-      Do the unexpected (Albert, 1989-1996). When misbehavior is a general theme where the entire class is being off task, turning off the light or playing a musical sound is a good approach to get their attention again.
5-      Target-Stop-Do (Albert, 1989-1996). This strategy is good when a student is consistently being disruptive. I call the student’s name and ask him to stop the current behavior and focus on the task given. This is in my opinion a good but risky approach because over using it will cause it to lose its power.

I believe that a cooperative approach allows students to develop a sense of belonging to the classroom and have ownership of their learning process. Including students in decision making reflects my Reconstructionist educational philosophy. Giving the students the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas is essential for the harmonious classroom environment that I am striving for. Listening is a big element of my teaching strategy; appreciating students’ input and respecting their decisions is my focus as a teacher. I believe the discipline strategies I listed will steer me towards achieving my educational goals.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Accurate (i + 1) Assessment for English learners

Maggie is an ELL level 2 (Early Intermediate). The assessment is i+1 "Intermediate level"

Intermediate ELD Level, Comprehension and Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication
Participate in social conversations with peers and adults on familiar topics by asking and answering questions and soliciting information.
Writing: 1ES: Recognize elements of characterization in a piece of writing and apply the same techniques when writing.
(Cognitive/ Affective/ Language)

A. Diagnostic/ Entry Level
During the first 5 minutes of the class, students will be asked questions about the topic to assess their level of understanding and their previous knowledge.
B. Formative/ Progress Monitoring
Teacher will monitor students’ discussions and encourage all students to participate and share their ideas.
C. Summative
Students will write the definitions on the graphic organizer, illustrate their understanding with drawings, and turn it in at the end of class.

Assessment Rubric for ELD
Definition of term

ELD Standard:
Uses basic vocabulary to describe the term
Uses some formal vocabulary words introduced in class
Writes correct definition with few spelling or grammatical errors.
Writes correct definitions with no spelling or grammatical

Visual representation
Draws a visual representation of few terms without labeling
Draws visual representation of all terms labeling some
Draws visual representation of all terms labeling all with few errors.
Draws visual representation of all terms labeling all coreectly.