Friday, April 24, 2015

Oh, the Places You'll Go...

Since I started at Miami, I have been placed in four different schools.

The first two schools that I did my service learning in during my freshman year were a mixture of suburban/rural. For my first experience, I was in a third grade math classroom, and for the second experience, I was in a fifth grade science classroom.

While neither of these experiences was in reading/language arts classroom, I was able to get a better feel for what grades I ultimately wanted to teach, especially since I started out as an Early Childhood Education major.

Also, I went to school in a very suburban environment, so having this mixture of rural was different and interesting to be exposed to.

In the fall, for my high school field experience, I was in a more urban environment, which was a stark contrast to the school I attended. I was glad to have this experience, because my coordinating teacher and the students I taught had a lot to teach me.

This semester, for my middle school field experience, I was in a rural school, which I learned a lot from as well.

On Monday of this week, I learned that I will be in a suburban high school for my student teaching experience in the fall. I didn’t request any school in particular for my placement, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have to say that I am certainly looking forward to meeting my cooperating teacher and learning more about what I will be teaching in the fall.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Middle School Grammar

Photo of posters that I made to help my coordinating
Throughout my experiences in classrooms and talking with different teachers, I have found that many schools have moved away from explicitly teaching grammar. However, in the school that I did my middle school field experience, my coordinating teacher was required to teach several different aspects of grammar.

In addition to parts of speech, my coordinating teacher was also teaching students about comma usage and sentence structure, both of which are skills that can help students in the world beyond school when they’re expected to write in Standard English.

Now, I also find this interesting when I approach it from a linguistic point of view. In my linguistics class, we are currently learning about how there is a notion of prestige when it comes to language, but that there really is no reason for this, as no one dialect is better than any other.

With all this in mind, I have given a lot of thought as to how I will support and teach my future students when it comes to grammar instruction. If I have students who speak in a dialect that is different from mine, how do I make them feel their language is valued in my classroom, while also trying to teach them Standard English?

While I don’t have one single solution to this very complex and delicate situation, I have come up with a way to let my students use their own voice in my future classroom.

I fully intend to use writer’s journals in my future classroom, and when students are writing in their journals, they will be free to write in their own dialect and use their own unique voice. Additionally, for certain assignments that students complete, I will let them use their own dialect.

Furthermore, when it comes to the instruction of Standard English, I will do everything in my power to learn as much as possible about my student’s dialect(s) so that I can cater my instruction to suit their needs and set them up for success on assignments in which Standard English should be used.

Certain dialects of English have different grammatical structures, so in order to teach a student a new grammatical structure, they first need to be aware of the grammatical structure of their dialect.

In several of my class this year we have talked about making students feel like their dialect is valued in the classroom, and I am hoping to discover more ways to go about this as I learn more throughout the rest of this semester and through my student teaching experience in the fall.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Key Assessments, Case Studies, and Creativity, Oh My!

Now that there’s only approximately a month left in the school year, my professors are assigning final papers and projects.

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to
awaken joy in creative expression
and knowledge."
-Albert Einstein
In almost all of my education classes at Miami, my classmates and I have had to complete several different key assessments. These assignments typically have longer rubrics and when we complete them, we upload them to an online portfolio for our professors to review and grade them.

This past week, I just completed a Learning Segment Assignment which is one of the key assessments in my EDT 428 class. For this assignment, I had to create 3-5 lessons in sequential order that centered on an essential question and provided students with opportunities to engage with a complex text.

I decided to create 5 lesson plans and I decided that I wanted my students to complete a “This I Believe” speech as this learning segment is the start of a new unit on public speaking. I used a variety of texts to show my students what makes an effective public speaker, but the complex text that my lesson focused on is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

For my ENG 304 class, I am currently working on a case study in which I need to explore how writing has played a part in the development of an individual. In order to complete my case study, I have to interview my participant, collect and analyze a variety of texts that my participant has written, and then I also need to directly observe and record my participant while they are writing.

I decided to use one of my friends in my cohort as my participant, and I’m interested to see what I will learn about her writing process and how writing plays a role in her life.

Beyond this, I have received my assignments for final papers and projects, and I am looking forward to a few of them.

Most notably, I am looking forward to my final paper for my linguistics class because I had the opportunity to pick any topic (as long as I could relate it to linguistics) and I have decided to write about the morphology of terms that Shakespeare coined.

In my EDT 423 class (Young Adult Literature), I have to create some sort of video/animation/anything that can play on its own, as long as it’s not a book trailer, about one or more young adult books that I have read this semester. This project will be challenging, but I am looking forward to the creative aspect…

Friday, April 3, 2015

Freewrite Friday

I’ve noticed that I am drawn to classrooms that start each class period in a predictable manner so that students know what to expect when they walk into class.

Throughout my time in the education system, I have seen a variety of ways in which this can be done, and I have developed different “theme days” that I think could work well in my future classroom. Below are my ideas:

                     Movie Quote Monday
I got this idea from my coordinating teacher last semester. I liked this because it often got students talking, and I think that there are quite a few writing activities that could be created from different movie quotes.

Tasteful Joke Tuesday
This was something that my 7th grade math teacher often did. It was a different way to start class, and I remember it broke up the monotony of the school day.

Wildcard Wednesday
Having a day built in as a “wildcard” I think could be useful in my future classroom because it will give me the opportunity to fit something in if needed.

Thoughtful Quote Thursday
This is a potential photo I could show my students and
ask them to write about.  (Photo I pulled over to take
while driving to my field placement this semester)
Similar to Movie Quote Monday, for Thursday’s, I will put up a quote on the board (from a historical figure, an author, an influential individual, etc.) and if there is time in my lesson, I will have students write about the quote.

Freewrite Friday
On Friday’s, I will give students the option of answering a few different writing prompts in their writer’s notebooks. These prompts will either be questions, or even photos, to get students thinking. This will give students a chance to gather their thoughts before class starts, and focus their attention on English class.

For each of the above ideas, I will do my best to make them fit in with the theme/topic of the day so that my lessons all tie together, but I also like these ideas because it lets students have fun with the learning process.