Emily Bonnemort EDUC 614 Reflection Point 2 My course work and readings in EDUC 614 emphasized that teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning (ASTL program learning outcome). The class content caused me to reflect on myself as a designer of curriculum and assessment. I have also carefully considered how I incorporate technology into my teaching practice. EDUC 614 reminded me of the importance of lesson design. Over the years I have become less diligent about planning and writing lesson plans. Consequently, many of my lessons are missing crucial elements. The EDUC 614 class periods we spent learning lesson design and critiquing lesson plans, caused me to be more thoughtful about my lesson planning. I am linking learning, clearly stating the objective, and including closure, formative assessment, and summative assessment. I have especially considered my use of formative assessments. I am striving to use my observations and anecdotal notes as checkpoints to guide instruction. I have found that listening to student discussion is an extremely informative indicator of student learning. EDUC 614 introduced me to new types of lesson design but also reminded me of some I haven’t used for years. Before this course I was extremely focused on lesson planning for language arts and I wasn’t as thoughtful about my content instruction. I consistently prepared reading and writing lessons using my students’ zone of proximal development and assessment to guide my instruction. I am more aware that I need to focus the same amount of attention on social studies and science. Now, instead of using a nonfiction read-aloud accompanied with a project or assignment, I am trying to design new lessons to incorporate what I learned about backwards design, inquiry, and cooperative learning. For example, the WIKI readings and You Tube videos about inquiry learning convinced me to design some inquiry lessons in science and social studies. Marzano’s research based strategies, mentioned in the WIKI, caused me to reflect on setting objectives and providing corrective feedback. Effective learning results from students providing their own feedback using established criteria. Unfortunately, I don’t always establish explicit criteria for content area assignments. I give instructions and set the students to work. Consequently, their work is often rushed and not a reflection of their ability. When I ask my students to correct or improve their work, they often don’t know what I am asking. Recently I have been making an effort to provide specific guidelines, criteria, and exemplary examples so my students can meet or exceed the expectation. I also realized I do not effectively set objectives. In first grade, I continually consider where the students are, and think about where they need to be. I analyze data to set goals for my students and plan instruction. Although this is important, I realized I am not including the students enough in this process. Lately I have been trying to improve student learning by discussing objectives with my students and by having goal- setting conferences in guided reading and writing workshop. The video analysis was a powerful reflection tool. Watching and taking note of my teaching style, interactions with the students, and student engagement has been eye-opening. Since analyzing my videos, I have been more conscious of basic practices like pacing, wait-time, withidness, and physical environment. I also have worked to improve strategies that I thought were under control, that clearly were not. For example, I thought I had trained my students to discuss ideas and content by “turning and talking.” Video footage of student discussions made me realize I needed to revisit its basic rules. The video analysis also helped me realize that I need to work on questioning. I tend to naturally be able to formulate higher-level thinking questions for fictional real-alouds, but have difficulty formulating powerful questions for nonfiction read-alouds. I often stop to ask the students what information they just learned, but I need to design questions that require higherlevel thinking. I want to learn more about applying Bloom’s Taxonomy to my lessons, especially to improve my questioning strategies. The article “Baby Steps: a Beginner’s Guide” by Kari Sue Wehrmann caused me to closely examine differentiation in my classroom. I want to be more conscious about it for my content subjects. I have worked hard over the last few years to differentiate language arts, but I haven’t yet incorporated differentiation into social studies or science. I am attempting to differentiate my content in baby steps and am starting by differentiating products. Instead of having all students show what they learned the same way, I am trying to include options that incorporate multiple intelligences. For my next science unit on animals, I am making a menu of product options that includes music, drama, writing, drawing, etc. EDUC 614 has made me aware of the use of technology in my classroom. Entering this course I felt confident in my own use of technology to improve student learning. I effectively incorporated the SmartBoard and SmartCam into instruction. Therefore, I wanted to focus on finding ways to improve students’ use of technology. Before this course I convinced myself that my first graders were learning valuable skills simply by playing on computers during independent work time. I figured they were learning basic operation skills such as scrolling, typing, using the mouse, navigating menus, etc... Now I realize I was justifying the lack of effort I was putting into teaching my students how to use technology. Currently, I am trying to make students’ independent time on the computer (during literacy centers) more useful. I recently launched a blog on blackboard as a way for my students to respond to literature. I am beginning by teaching them the procedure of logging on and responding to simple prompts. In the future, I envision our blog as a forum for book reviews. Reading about language arts and technology, in Stephanie Throne’s “Differentiating Instruction with Technology in K-5 Classrooms”, prompted me to incorporate technology in writing workshop. I recently incorporated the use of Pixie, a paint program with text options, clip art, and voice recording, into our nonfiction writing unit. As a class we created a virtual animal book based on their personal research. Each student composed one page of the project by painting an animal, typing text, and adding their voice recording. The students were extremely engaged in this project. We posted it on Blackboard so they were able to share it with an audience at home. I have learned that even in first grade, I need to be more conscientious of how I am using technology to enhance student learning.