The Motivated Student, Part 2

    In class I have been reading The Motivated Student by Bob Sullo. It is a very interesting book about how to be a quality teacher when trying to motivate and engage students effectively. One of the chapters that stuck out to me was chapter 13. Sullo stated that “deep learning requires time to progress new information so that students move beyond surface knowledge and develop the competence to apply what they have learned” (Sullo 144). I couldn’t agree with this more. From my own experience over the years as a student, there are often times when I was assigned numerous things at one time. It was hard to focus and put in my best effort when there simply wasn’t enough time to sit down and really think critically about it. This chapter teaches us to teach less and teach deeply. It is important as a teacher that the students become fully engaged in each lesson and really get something meaningful out of it.

          Over the weeks at where I’ve been observing, I noticed my host teacher struggling with this. She has recently started teaching a module. She likes the module and feels it has adequate materials and ideas, but she nearly races against the clock each day. The lessons that are planned out each day incorporate too many activities and concepts. Often times, my teacher has to cut out certain parts of the lesson just so she doesn’t start to fall behind. It’s difficult to teach when you constantly feel rushed, which results in the students being rushed to do their work. If the lessons were planned out in a way that gave them ample time to complete, more meaningful learning will occur. Students will have a better grasp at various concepts when they are given the time to actually do it in depth, rather than breezing over it.

          Sullo also stresses the use of objectives and how they help guide both the teacher and the student. He concludes that “it gives a common understanding of where we’re trying to go and what teachers want their students to know and be able to do at the conclusion of the lesson” (Sullo 109). I noticed that my host teacher uses objectives quite effectively. Every day she writes what she calls “learning targets” that works as objectives, stating what the class will be doing, why they are doing it, and what they will learn from it. Throughout the class, she will refer back to these targets that are written on the board  to show the relationship between them and the activities they partake it. I think it is helpful for students to fully grasp the reasoning behind what they are learning so they understand the importance of it.

The Motivated Student- Bob Sullo

          I have recently began reading Bob Sullo’s The Motivated Student-Unlocking the Enthusiasm for learning. The gist of the book reveals tips and guidelines in relation to being an effective motivator through teaching. Sullo says how it is important to not pick favorites between students and should make sure that everyone is treated equally. It is important to be fair and gain the respect you know you deserve in order by being authoritative at the same time. One example from the book was how two students were late to class and was immediately signed detention for that day. Even though they were considered good kids, rules are rules and each student must abide to them. When the kids were asked how they felt about it, they knew what they were getting themselves into and knew that there would be no way of changing his mind. They weren’t exactly mad, but knew what was expected and understood that the teacher wasn’t out to get him. In the 8th grade class that I’m currently observing, my teacher has a strict homework policy. If they don’t bring in their completed homework the day it is assigned, they are given the rest of the week to hand it in for half credit, and if they don’t, they are to stay for detention and complete it after school. She keeps track of who needs to hand in work by writing the student’s names on a chart located in front of the room. She isn’t doing it to embarrass any students in particular, but only to hold them accountable for their actions. It also works as a motivation for them to get the assignment completed because they know what the consequence will be and know that there is no way of getting around it. Sullo says that if you want students to success, you need to have a certain amount of expectations and stay by it. Teachers, well at least the good ones, are only hard because they want what’s best, rather than making your life miserable.

Scorched

types_of_plays    I’ll be honest when i say that I am not the first one to jump with joy when it comes to going to plays. I don’t know, it’s just one of those things I don’t have a great passion towards. So when we were told in class to go see the play Scorched, I was skeptical and had my doubts. Little did I know I would be pleasantly surprised. I didn’t have any knowledge as to what the play was even about and went into the auditorium with no expectations. Once the lights went down and the actors came out, I sat back and began to watch the show. I thought the acting was very good. They made it look so easy. Their emotion, articulation, and pose  was on point.  They were very professional and confident on stage. The story itself was also interesting and very entertaining. Even though the story was very tragic and dramatic, there was also some humor at some points.  I don’t want to spoil it for the one’s who are seeing it this week, but I did not see that ending coming at all. It was quite a shock. I can’t remember the last time I went to a play, but I am happy to say that I enjoyed this one and would recommend others to check it out as well.

Dream On

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” Albert Einstein.

In my education psychology class we are reading a novel called A Smile as Big as the Moon by Mike Kersjes. When I began reading, I couldn’t help but smile as I got further and further into the book. Let me give you a little sneak peak of what I’ve read so far. Mike Kersjes is a Special Education teacher and football coach at Forest Hills Northern High School in Michigan.  He works with all different types of students who struggle with various special needs and disorders such as down’s syndrome, dyslexia, tourette’s, anger issues, etc… These kids were often picked on in school, and didn’t feel a sense of belonging or purpose. Mike came up with this crazy idea to organize a week long field trip to a prestigious space camp in Alabama that consists of performing activities and missions similar to the ones that NASA astronauts do in training. This camp is usually geared for gifted and talented students, so when Mike made a pitch to get permission to send his kids, people thought he was out of his mind! I mean, it did sound pretty crazy considering the large amounts of technology equipment, advanced science analogies, and preparation that went into this event.

But mike was determined and felt passionately about his students. He felt that these kids were entitled to go out and experience exciting new things just like everyone else. Not only will they be learning about science, but also valuable life lessons of collaboration, working together, as well as having some fun in the process.  He didn’t let negative opinions get in the way of his vision and willingness of supporting these kids. “To me, teaching was, and is, all about rolling up your sleeves and connecting with your students on a human level, as well as an intellectual level…Sometimes you have to take chances.” (Kersjes 38) He was up for the challenge and ready to prove them wrong. With a lot of preparation and hard work, he finally succeeded in being granted permission to set up this trip.

Once Mike shared the good news to his students, from that day forward, the kids had something to look forward to. They had a better attitude about doing their work and started to come together as a team and working together, rather than putting others down. It was cool to see a transformation in all of the students as the novel progressed. This story is a refreshing read because it is truly inspiring and exciting to see how one can make a difference if you have your mind set on a goal and refuse to stop until that goal is met. I have not finished the book yet and don’t want to spoil major details, but I would definitely recommend this book for any teacher or aspiring teacher out there. I guarantee by the end of it, you too will be smiling as big as the moon.

Just Do It

Recently the new update for the IPhone came out and was the hot topic of campus at the time. Some people couldn’t rave enough about it and were quick to discuss its latest technological features. The layout got a whole new face lift, colors are different, and some of its use has been altered. From what I’ve heard, the updated software is way better and makes the phone more accessible with its changes.

So I have a confession to make. I too have an IPhone but have yet to update it. Mind you it’s been a few weeks now I have yet to make the switch. I suppose you wonder why, right? Well let me tell you.  It’s not that I’m a skeptic and challenge the technology, but its more along the lines of a comfort issue. Some people are excited to change. If I’m satisfied with something, why not just leave it alone? If something is not broken, there’s no point in messing around and changing it.

I might have spoken too soon because after some time, I noticed my phone starting to act slow and not responding well. It’s almost like my phone is trying to send me a message of telling me to suck it up and update already. It’s not like my phone is going to blow up once I make this adjustment…

When I think about this, it made me sit back and come to terms that change is needed in order to grow and experience life. Like teaching, teachers need to be able to change old habits and not be afraid to try something new, no matter how unknown it may be. It’s not easy to step out and take a risk, but it will be even harder when you’re left out and too far behind to catch up in time. Teachers need to be willing to spice up their curriculum’s from time to time rather than teaching the same exact topic the same exact way each and every year. In today’s age, especially with technology, there are plenty of strategies and modern twists that can come into play within the classroom by using media literacy. Smart boards, twitter, blogs, and many other sites are examples of this. The problem is that since technology is still rather new in some ways, people aren’t taking the initiative and time to learn it and would much rather take the easy way out and stick to what they know. Little do they know, they can be missing out on great experiences and a better way of reaching their students. I have learned a valuable lesson with my phone. I have now upgraded to the new software and can come to terms that it’s not as bad as I thought. After a little while I started to get used to it and will confess that some of its new features is worth taking a look at. So for all you skeptics out there, learn by my experience. It’s okay to go ahead and make a change. It’s not like your phone is going to blow up on you or anything. I promise!

English=Life

So yesterday was my first day of observations. It was refreshing to be in both a high school and middle school class.  It’s weird to be on the other side of the spectrum. I am no longer one of those little kids sitting at a desk, but now on the verge of being in charge and educating them. Where has the time gone? The first class I observed was a video production class. Very Interesting! Not the typical, traditional classroom setting. There were a few kids in the class in a small computer room. Their job is to record and produce the morning announcements for each day. It was cool to see how well developed they were technology wise. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed. It proved to be a good example of what I’ve been learning this semester in class about English. I noticed the language they were using and how they were communicating with one another. They had their own discourse and were using elements of literacy, even though they weren’t in a traditional English class. Based on the environment they were in, their form of language was altered and transformed. If one isn’t familiar with the technology they were using (like me for example) it would be difficult to follow along with what they were talking about because of the various terms they were using. This demonstrates how important English truly is. It was nice to see it in full effect and not just talking about it in class discussions. So for all the English haters out there, they must come to realization that English can be considered the most important subject out there because it is used all day every day even though it may not be obvious at times. It is more than just reading and writing, but using it during everyday life through language and social interaction.

Future Teachers

          In class, we are learning about becoming the best teachers we can possibly be. Easy enough right? I mean, we all went to school all these years and had plenty of teachers along the way, so we obviously have an idea of what its all about…Well, not exactly. I learned that us aspiring teachers need to hold back to what we think teaching is all about. Times are constantly changing and so should we. We can’t stick to what we are familiar with and what we are comfortable with.

          In The Complexity of Teaching, It states “since most educational workplaces are organized around traditional learning and teaching methods, the teachers who enter the schools, no matter how they were trained, quickly slide into acceptance of the dominant practice of the school.” This is referred to “wash out”. In addition, “many beginning teachers were exposed to traditional instruction methods for most of their student lives, so the traditional view becomes their default philosophy of teaching.” After reading this, I think I fall into this category one way or another. I think I know the formation of teaching, but in reality i don’t. I merely have an idea. I can name a few teachers who I’ve looked up to over the years and pictured myself following in their footsteps by wanting to teach just like them. But I am beginning to learn that there is more to it. What I perceived to be excellent at that time, may not be the absolute best. The new generation of teachers need to branch out and resist falling back to our past. This creates a new outlook on a career like this because we were exposed to teaching for so many years. It is one of those jobs in which people are quick to judge in many ways, because over time, people all had different experiences. In order for schools to be better, we must stand our ground and start a new trend for students as we endure this new growing experience. I don’t think we should forget our past by any means, just not let it dictate who we become in the future.