Sunday, April 27, 2014

Differentiation

Shouldn't the process of differentiation already be a staple in our classrooms now? I believe that it should be a focal point and a technique that every teacher uses and should learn to use very quickly. "Differentiation requires a shift from teaching the subject to each child." This quote from Joanne Walsh is the perfect quote to sum up differentiation. Why should learning be focus around the material? Obviously the material is a large part of school but isn't school for the child sitting in the seat? Who are teachers doing justice just teaching the material? It isn't the student that's for sure. With differentiation we now created "student-centered learning". We want to create a place where the child becomes more important that the teacher. I believe that with differentiation that is what you are getting. The child's needs coming first. As a teacher you should want to work harder to have differentiation so the student won't have to work as hard to understand the material and it will come easier and more naturally to them. I believe this is what scares many teachers away from the idea of differentiation. The extra work that it might take to write up separate lessons plans for kids within their class is too daunting for some teachers and causes them to jump into the one size fits all model. The thing is sometimes creating the differentiation only takes a few minutes to come ups with. My practicum teacher does a very good job of creating separate but still applicable activities for some kids who may be a bit behind in motor skills. It only takes a few minutes to come up with an activity for the kid who is extremely good and the kid who greatly struggles. Then your base lesson plan can cover most of the kids who fall into the middle. 
The one thing that you do need for the strategy to work though is a positive classroom. "The best place to start on the road to differentiation is building a positive and inclusive learning environment which fosters mutual respect for all learners where students encourage and support each other." Walsh once again nails it because the learning environment must be one that in conducive to learning. If a child feels judged or scared they many shy away from doing alternative activities that may help them greatly. This means the it has to be a respectful and learning centered environment. You also must know your students. In our practicum class we often talk about knowing who your students are. This is key from differentiation. By knowing how your students learn you are able to make things for them where they can succeed in the classroom. You can form lessons and things for them to be able to maximize their time in the classroom. Isn't the classroom all about maximizing potential of students? So if you know them and can change things for them you can maximize time and potential. 
I believe that myself as a Physical Educator need to have many techniques to go to, to be able to help my students learn and achieve better physical fitness. I would start with kids at the bottom. What can I do to help them better understand why physical fitness is important? They perhaps don't have as good of a grasp on why it is important to their lives as some one who is extremely fit. So right there I could differentiate some of the material for them to maximize their understanding on its importance. I could also have some physical activities that they could see success in thus getting them more excited about the physical activity. Then for the kids who may be way far ahead I could challenge them greatly with things like heart monitors that Jen Neubauer showed us in Technology Lab. I would have them try to be in their target heart rate zone for so long during class. I could also help their understanding with more of the nutritional aspects of health. This would give me many activities and learning points to go over with my classes. Obviously the main goal would be movement in the gym but I believe there is much to gain learning wise in the gym as well. So if there are things to learn you must differentiate that for you different students. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guests Speakers

Over our time in Tech Lab I think these speakers have been one of the best things we could have as new teachers. Not only did they give good insight into the technology world but also into the teaching world. I think they were able to give us a good idea of how it would be to use technology in the classroom. They are people who for the most part are using it everyday in their own. They all had one common theme in their talks as well. Don't be afraid to try new things! Mr. Fenstermaker talked about not being afraid to fail. That was such a broad theme a crossed the board with them all. They weren't afraid to fail in the classroom. I think if there is one thing that I am most nervous about is failing on a lesson. I am sure that once I fail and fail again in the classroom I will get over that pretty quick. You have to be versatile as a teacher and try new things to be able to get your kids to respond. Never make anything the exact same thing over and over. You can modify at all times! Each year is a new year to try new things. Your class will change so you must see what will best fit them. Don't be afraid to try out new things on them and try to help them succeed.
The one thing I liked from Mr. Rystrom was his take from outside the teaching view. He had the ability to talk a lot more about the relationship side with kids. As an administrator you don't have as close of a relationship with a small group of kids but a you now have one with each kid. I loved how passionate he was for kids in his school. He always talked about the trust that was there and that needed to be there for the kid to ever succeed. He kind of reinforced why I want to do this. It is all about kids and never giving up on any of them.
Jen was definitely up my allay as a PE teacher! I absolutely loved her talk on the technology she was using in classrooms. It was kind of a crash course of Tech Lab for PE students that could have been made into a whole semester. She is just such a wealth of knowledge for the profession and a great example for the profession. I really took away from her talk that everyone thinks that there is nothing to learn in PE when in fact each day a kid should take something new away. Even if it is something so small they need to be learning too. She had such great tools that I would see myself using. I think kids should be wearing heart monitors at all times in PE. There is absolutely no reason not to. If you have the money to they should be on the kids. That way you can easily see who is getting a good work out and who isn't. She had so many great tools that I could really see myself getting into.
My questions would mostly be for Jen. I want to ask how we could cut down time on the QR codes? I think that is the one drawback to them is how long it takes to scan then see the movement then do it. Is it really worth it? Next I want to see how that big machine works. That one I could see myself testing kids and using more as an assessment. The last thing would be how do you assess kids in your PE classroom?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Twitter Chat


First off I would like to use Twitter for my own personal benefit in these chats. You can find millions of ideas to bounce off people and get responses to. People are there to help you with whatever you may need in education. I got into a conversation with a guy on Twitter during the chats about his link to Youtube. I like Youtube and just asked how we could use it more in a Physical Education setting. He instantly responded with a link to Coach's Eye which is an app we used for our lesson plan. He then continued with the idea of them demonstrating and then putting it on Youtube to be able to show to our classes and maybe even with other schools. I like this because we could get a district wide video for different games. We could make a district wide Youtube account. With Twitter I could see myself using it in a classroom with a higher grade level. I would like to see myself perhaps sending out questions that could be answered on Twitter. Then you will know that kids will respond to your questions. It could be a good professional way to communicate with your kids while they are at home. It is a tough line to tow though with how much you want to be in their personal business. But I view Twitter as something I can use in these chats and for my own personal benefit!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Video That Inspires Me

Hands down a video that anyone going into teaching should watch. I have shown this to my own mom who at times struggles with why she teaches at times. This inspires teachers everyday. So often we see people who put down education. They say we aren't doing it right or it isn't good enough yet they don't step up to the plate. No where else in the world do they try to educate every kid. This will make you want to tell anyone who puts you to buzz off. Teachers make a difference. I want to make a difference.

Comics




This could easily be used to give a little humor to the beginning of my classes at the beginning of the year. This would show them that it is not going to be some cake walk through the class! I could also see myself using comics to be able to introduce a topic and demonstrate. It would be a fun way for the kids to be able to see something or an activity in a different light.

QR Code to Site

https://sites.google.com/a/coe.edu/mark-atwater-s-site/



This clearly gives you the ability to cut down on talking time and explaining things over and over again. It is a beneficial tool because they can rest about how to do it and then QR videos or other examples. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014