focus on the classroom#

The classroom that I am currently in has a great environment for active learning.  My teacher has his/her desk in the back left corner of the room.   He/she has it in that location so they can be observing them all the time while they are back there.  I am located in the front left of the room right night to one of the white boards.  I like my location because I can see the student’s faces and reactions throughout the day.  He has an interactive white board system in the front of the room.  It is in the center and is the focus point of most lessons.  He keeps his books and other supply cabinets in the room on the side by the door.  There is a TV which is so far on played during the morning announcements on that side too.  In the back there is a large map of the world.  In the beginning the students have to find ‘Waldo’ on the map and write down the coordinates of Waldo.  I really like this exercise because it is a good introduction routine and it is fun.  My teacher has the desks in 7 rows, all of which are facing the interactive white board.  That is the front of the class for the majority of time, but my teacher moves around as well.

My teacher is trying to have a structured relaxed environment.  Interesting combination of words I know.  My teacher expects my students to have a feel of a sense of cooperative learning in the classroom.  I think the arrangement of the class makes it easier for them to ask questions and interact with each other about certain content while understanding that they are there to learn and not fool around.  The students understand that it is the teacher room and rules, but that they are free to make comments about the material.

The classroom materials are pretty simple.  They have standard desk and chair for the class.  I have an average desk with an awesome wheelie chair.  She/he has a bigger desk and more comfortable chair in his/her area.  As I noted before there is an interactive white board as well as two old school white boards.  There are cabinets filled with books and other classroom supplies as well.  My teacher uses a laptop, as do I, and the kids have their own as well so there is WiFi that works half the time.

The main thing that I have learned so far is that every class is different.  Each one interacts with you differently, each other differently, and the content differently.  For the majority of my students their interests are peaked when they can relate somehow to the content.  The students asking questions and commenting on the material are good cues.  They are least interested when they are just being lectured and without being engaged.  That doesn’t happen much in this classroom though.

This classroom behavior is so good because of their lack of involving with each other unless it was suppose to happen.  The students will answer or comment on another’s question and they will work in groups, pairs, or helping each other do class work.  But, other than that, it’s the occasionally boy trying to be a goof as a minor distracting or a group of girls gossiping to each other quietly.     The students interact with their teacher when asking questions or commenting on the material.  I think my teacher does a good job fostering and engaging student involvement.  The kids know they have to be taking notes and being focused on the lesson.

The students are motivated by taking pride in successful work or trying to look ‘cool’ in front of each other.  Taking pride in successful work is pretty obvious because it make the student feel worthy and successful.  The students can look cool by answering a question correctly, getting a good grade on a test, or getting the compliment of the teacher.  I do see small social cliques in class but they seem not to be well formed yet.  They are freshman level high school students, so the upper tier section of secondary school is new to them.  I am not sure, but they could have attended different middle schools so they are still meeting each other since it’s the beginning of school.  You can tell who the smart kids are, the athletics, the in crowd and the out crowd in some situations.  The majority of students are nice to each and respectful.  I have not seen an outburst yet.

I think being a social studies student today is the same as a student of any subject.  If the student feels value towards the class then they will look forward somewhat to it.  The subject of social students will have a good amount of oral lessons and group activities, so students will have to be prepared for that.  They should be ready to interact with the lessons and learn corporative with each other.  When I was a student I looked forward to this subject, but I knew that I was going have to be ready to be engaged in the subject to learn it.  Overall this subject of social studies can draw interest to many different children due to the wide range of topics.

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#blog2-DH

Fair use means that information via web can be used in the classroom without any punishment. This could be one of the most important “laws” dealing with education. Being able to look at any youtube video, science webpage, religion webquest etc. will helping the learning process of the students while helping the teacher with the lesson plan.

Some key issues dealing in the digital age is being able to use the information on the internet for free and with any access. Also privacy is going to be a big issue in the future (facebook and google searches). Students need to understand that as well. They can’t use the internet inappropriately or in the future it might affect getting a job. Emerging issues is the facebook/google search and long standing issues have to be the fair use of information on the internet. To sum it up the biggest issue in the digital age is using the internet properly and not getting yourself into trouble.

Here are some websites to teach digital ethics:

http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/digitalethic.htm

http://www.champaignschools.org/jefferson/cybersafe/digitalcitizenship.htm

http://www.ciconline.org/resource/digital-ethics-section-3

http://digitalethics.org/2011/06/14/essay-digital-ethics-and-kids/

http://www.ciconline.org/resource/digital-ethics

https://sites.google.com/a/vsdb.k12.va.us/vsdb-technology/cyber-safety

All the above will give you information on digital ethics and other vocab, terms, issues, and policies dealing with it.

To help out my students, I would have a lesson or two to help them understand that the internet is not as “safe” as they think. You can get in trouble if you use it incorrectly. I would try to find videos and news articles dealing with people getting in trouble over it. The more that we teach them “manners” on the internet the better digital students they will be.

#community

The school that I am student interning at is outside Roanoke and is located in the suburbs.  According to Wikipedia the demographics are around 80 percent white, 7 percent Asian, 6 percent black, and 5 percent Hispanic.  There are around one thousand kids that go to the school.  It seems that they have good school spirit and have a strong following in extracurricular activities.  In 2009 there were named the number one school in Roanoke Valley.  Basically the school excels in many areas and it seems to be one of the better ones in the Roanoke area.  The teachers there seem like they enjoy their jobs and they stay there for a while.  They have just gotten a new administration so it will be interesting to see how they mold old tradition with new.  The students in the school can take regular classes, honor classes, AP classes, and dual enrollment classes.  So far my student interaction has been some what minimal.  I interact with my students when I have done powerpoint lessons and made a Webquest.  Also, I walk around when they are doing classwork.  They are all 9th graders so it is crazy to realize how young they are.  The students are so concerned with their social life compared to the school work.  So far, the students have been respectful to me when I teach or ask questions.  I think that is because my teacher has great classroom management and they are scared to make him mad.  The teachers in the school seem to replicate the same demographics as their students.  The community of this school seems to be supportive of the students, teachers, activities, and funds.  This high school seems to be mostly middle class so that will generally mean they will volunteer for the school and donate money towards it as well.  Compare to other schools, this community is strong.  They are concerned about what goes on there whereas other parents at lower class or poorer school do not.  Basically, this school is lucky to be in the location they are at and are lucky to have the parents they do.  I know sometimes having a community that care about the school can be a hassle, but overall it helps the school more then it hurts it.  I am interested to learn more about this in the coming months.

#firstdayblog

My image is symbolizing my first day in the student internship.  It reflects all the feelings and emotions that were running through my head during my first day.

My first day at my student internship was a successful one.  I really enjoyed working with my co op teacher, meeting my students, and meeting other faculty members.  The school is in Roanoke and it was a 45 minute drive to get there.  My teacher told me to get there at 7:50 am, but since I was nervous on my first day about traffic I got there at 7:20 am (there was no traffic).

I really like my co op teacher.  He is really easy going, insightful, and is willing to help me with anything I need.  It seems that his students like him as well due to his past students stopping in the say hi and he has past students as his TA.  During class he has a relax attitude but his students know that they are going to do work.  He is also the head baseball coach at the high school and I am interested to see how he balances work, baseball, and family into his schedule.

The school looks somewhat newish on the inside and it is smaller than my high school.  It seems that the majority of the students are middle class and there are hardly any minorities in the school.  The teachers seem happy to work there and the students seem somewhat interested in school.  I think the school has a good community following.

I can also hear students talking between classes and during class my teacher lets the students talk when he lectures but he makes sure it is not a distraction.  I really like how he does it, but it the students respects him so that why it works.

I really didn’t have a distinct smell for the day, which is a good thing.  That means the kids are showering and the school doesn’t have mold (a bad joke).

I really didn’t have a certain taste either.  Metaphorically, I left the school day with a good taste in my mouth in regards of how the day went.  I was ready to come back the next day and I liked my teacher and students.

When I started the day I had a mix feeling of nervousness and excitement.  When I met my teacher and my students the feelings started to settle down.  During the day, I felt great introducing myself to the students and having conversations with my teacher on a range of topics.  I also felt great when I walked around the class and asked them about the assignment they were doing in class.  When I left at the end of school I felt great because the first day went well and I knew I still wanted to be a teacher.

The day went somewhat as I expected.  I knew since it was my first day I wasn’t going to do a lot, but I’m glad a got to introduced myself to the students and try to start to form a bond with them.  I didn’t know what the school was going to look like and the type of kids I was going to have (what grade, AP, honors, etc.).  So when I realized the school was nice and the kids were regular and pre-AP ninth graders that filled the void.  Overall, everything that I imagined in the big picture came true, but all the little details about my teacher, my students, and my class settled in.

 

#blog1-Tech Tools

In this blog post I will be discussing the technology tools that my teacher uses in his daily class.  At the beginning of each class his students look at a huge map in the back of his class room to find a person.  The technology tool being used is the huge map.  When my teacher takes attendance he records it on a piece of paper and transfers that information to a site that the school uses to keep track of all the students.  When my teacher grades homework, he once again puts the information in his personal paper based grade book, but also loads up the score onto blackboard.  On a side note-every student knows their full grade on blackboard.  It is always updated, students AND parents can see how they are doing in the class.  This enhances communication about grades and lessens any issues about grade discrepancies.  My teacher uses PowerPoint to teach the class and it is projected by the same machine that we have in War Memorial (sorry I do not know the name of the item).  Lastly-and I think the most cool-the students take test online on blackboard.  It is designed just like our online tests and students can see their grade on it once they submitted it.  Parents can also see the grade ASAP.  All the tools my teacher uses helps him organize his class better, helps him communicate with parents on certain issues, and helps him manage his class so he can maximizes his teaching and his students learning.

#mydigitalsearch

When I googled my name, Paul Grinups, the first five things that pop up are wrestling links, a Mylife from Centreville site, a sigma chi link, a white pages article, an site about my dad, and two more wrestling links.  When you VTsearch me, the people search has me as a grad student (awesome) and when you VT web search me 2011 Spring graduates pop up.  On facebook, if you search me and you are not my friend, you will see a picture of me and my nanny, where a graduate from, my friends, my gender, and what I like.  Some examples of what I liked are The D.E.N.N.I.S system, USA wrestling, Ocean Alantic Rentals, Saki House, and Bud Foster.

If I didn’t know who I was and just looked at my digital footprint, I would think that I was a wreslter who graduated from VT, likes off color humor, OBX, sushi, and VT football.  I seem to others that I am mature, responsible, and can work with kids.  I seem really responsible and professional.

On a side note-I made my facebook page extremely private on purpose.  I knew what I was going to see on it, as a non friend, before I checked.  I know companies can find a way to hack on to your page viewing as a friend, so I hid all my pics from them as well.  When I am interviewing for a job I will delete my facebook until I have a job.

I really liked the footprint I found.  Since I want to coach the wrestling articles will help me get a job.  My facebook doesn’t show me drinking or doing anything dumb so I look mature and responsible.  My VTsearch shows me as a graduate student and me graduating last spring so that is great!  Overall I think my digital footprint will help me in the future and not hurt me (hopefully).