Friday, May 16, 2014

Halfway Through

Now that finals are over, it’s hard to believe that I’m halfway through my college career. But now, I can start to look forward to next semester, when I’ll be in my cohort and I’ll have the opportunity to be in schools.

In addition to my cohort classes, I’m also taking ENG 301 (History of the English Langauge), which is a class that I’ve been trying to take since I started college. While the topic may sound unappealing to a lot of people, I can’t wait to learn more.
Collage I made of photos from my sophomore year.

As I look back on this semester, I realize that as much work as it was, it was one of the best semesters I’ve had thus far. I enjoyed all my classes, and the fact that they all pertained to my major and minor made it that much more exciting.

Over the course of the next 4 semesters that I have here, all of my classes,will directly relate to both my major/minor, which is something I look forward to.

While this may have been my best semester so far, I also realize that it was one of the most stressful. But from all the stress, I learned that I have a better work ethic than I thought. 

Even so, I can't believe how quickly my first two years in college have gone. It's crazy that I’m already done with my sophomore year. I really don’t know where the time went, as cliché as that may sound.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about college thus far, is the importance of being open to new experiences and embracing change. Some of the best memories I’ve made come from my ability to do both of those things.

I look forward to my next two years at Miami and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with my blog this year – I appreciate your support! Have a great summer!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Common Core

On Monday of this week, I presented a project with a group at a student conference for my EDL 318 (Teacher Leadership and School Organization) class.

This conference was a chance for my group, and other groups, to present our curriculum projects in front of other students and professors. After each of the presentations, there were question and answer sessions, which were beneficial in terms of feedback.
Photo I took of the program that was used at the Conference.

For our project, my group decided to tackle a rather difficult subject. We chose to base our curriculum around the Common Core, and we aimed our program at teachers. Our curriculum was titled “The Not-So Common Core.”

The Common Core, in short, is a set of standards that outline what students should graduate from high school knowing. As of right now, 44 states have implemented these standards, so they are something that nearly all teachers need to manage. One primary goal of the Common Core is to create consistency across state lines.

For our project, we decided to take a positive standpoint on the implementation of these standards and point out all the ways that these standards can be used to the advantage of both teachers and students.

In our research, we found that there are quite a few misconceptions circulating around the Common Core, and it was our goal to turn these misconceptions upside down and expose the truth about the Common Core.

When my group was discussing this project, we realized that the positive aspects of the Common Core are often overlooked. Going along with this, we believe that teachers around the United States need to start looking at these positives.

The Common Core is not a limitation to teachers, as it is more of a guide. The standards can be adapted for use in every classroom and should be used to fit the needs of the students. By utilizing the Common Core, teachers don’t lose control over their classrooms as the standards don’t state how teachers have to teach.

Furthermore, the standards are not intended to work alone. Teachers should combine multiple standards for a lesson. In a way, the standards are the learning objectives for a lesson and these can even be shared with students.

The most important aspect to remember when thinking about the implementation of the Common Core, is that it is not a restriction of teaching. Teachers still have the ability to be creative within the confines of the standards.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Pros and Cons of List Making

I’m a fairly organized person. And by fairly, I mean extremely. I have color coding systems for all my classes and I make every effort to be as organized as possible.

My planner, for example, is just one form of the many “To-Do Lists” that I create. In addition to my planner, I have a plethora of sticky notes (currently, I have in the upwards of 15) hanging off my desk that tell me what I need to do and what is due when.

Photo I took of the pens that I use to
color code my classes.
But, for someone like me, that’s just not enough. I also have the sticky note program on my computer, and right now, I have 9 virtual sticky notes on my desktop. And believe it or not, I have other places I create lists too.

So, what’s the benefit of all these lists? After all, with all the different lists I make, it's bound to be repetitive.

One would think that at a certain point, too many lists begin to be confusing. But not for me. Lists keep me focused and organized. After I make a list, I get a sense of satisfaction when it comes time to cross something off – even if it’s as simple as, “Charge phone” (which yes, sadly, this occasionally does make it onto my lists during really busy weeks).

If I didn’t make all these lists, I’m afraid I would lose track of my work and time. If I have a constant reminder of what is due, then I feel like I’m more likely to remember that I have it. Forgetting about an assignment is a huge fear of mine, and with seven papers, six projects, two exams, and a lot of reading between now and the end of the semester, I’m afraid to know where I’d be without all of these reminders.

Taking 18 credit hours is a lot, so organizational skills are essential, and I believe that I’ve mastered the art.

However, such organization does have its drawbacks, but what system doesn’t?

Making lists takes up time, sometimes too much. The time I waste making lists, I usually make up for with an abundance of productivity later on, so it's a trade off.

Sometimes, I get off track with my lists, because I do have so many, which usually makes me take a step back and rearrange them. Which again, takes up more time.

While my list making may be a little fanatical, I’m dedicated to it, as it is a system that I’ve found to be worth my time. So off I go to make yet another list…