Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog Post #1

If I Built A School

Photo of Krissy Venosdale
In Krissy Venosdale's If I Built A School, she describes a school that can be summed up in one word... AMAZING! Every aspect of this school would encourage learning and creativity. In her vision, school doesn't seem like such an ugly word. It seems more like a place where children would go to grow, be themselves, and enjoy. I love the idea of a treehouse in the library. Children have more fun reading when they can get cozy inside their favorite chair or nook and just relax. They can watch the movie playing out inside their heads due to what they are reading. The idea that the lunchroom would feel more like a cafe rather than a regular lunchroom would inspire more creative thought. The best part of Krissy's vision is that every child would have access to technology all day rather than it just being an "event during the week." I love that she wants the children to want to do their homework. I mean, I have two boys and I have only witnessed their excitement for homework a handful of occasions. Imagine them wanting to bring home work everyday. It would just prove that learning is taking place and that is an exciting thought.

Picture of Sugata Mitra
Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education. In the video Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud, he says that "It is not about making teaching happen. It is about letting it happen." He has created the learning concept called SOLE which stands for Self Organized Learning Environment. It is meant to combine broadband, collaboration, and encouragement to allow children to learn as they will. He thinks teachers should be able to set the wheels in motion and stand back and watch what happens. He has such innovative ideas about how the learning environment should be. I feel that at first it would seem a strange way of doing things. However, after we saw how much learning the children were actually achieving, it would prove that learning and fun are one in the same.

What Do I Want My Children To Know?  I would love for my secondary students to know that science is everywhere and should be fun. I want them to know that curiosity will be rewarded with knowledge. I want them to feel encouraged to have wonder over possibilities not yet discovered. I want them to know that I will be there to walk with them along their journey, yet asking all the right questions to allow them to lead themselves. I want them to have all of the resources at their fingertips or at the very least access to them. Most of all, I want students to know that giving up should never be an option.

What do I Want My Students To Be Able To Do?  I want my students to be able to think for themselves. I want them to be able to use technology in a way that feeds them all of the answers they had been looking for. I want them to be able look around the world and constantly be asking "Why?" There are so many questions we know not the answer. For example, the cure for cancer has been one of science's biggest mysteries. Students can begin by asking what is cancer? What causes cancer? What can we do to prevent cancer? What can we do to cure cancer? After all, the cure will be discovered one day. Will it be one of my students that discovers it? Will it be one of yours? Will we have given them the greatest gift we could have given them; the ability to ask "Why?"

Kids playing learning and growing together
What Will Be My Primary Way Of Teaching My Students What I Want Them To Know And To Do?  I want to invoke a lot of class discussion as opposed to a lot of lecture. There will be a lot of general information that my students will have to know, but I want them to be able to teach me things as well as me teach them. I want to incorporate a lot of experimentation with my students as well. I will come up with ways to conduct experiments but I want my students to be able to create experiments for the class as well. Performing science is an excellent way to connect with it. I would love to assign projects that deal with class content/concepts and let them use their imaginations as to create a working model rather than issue tests on the material alone. I would love to have weekly field trips where the students can go outside of the school find something that intrigues them. They then could use the scientific method to make obwervations and inferences. Later, they could come inside and research the "why" and find their own answer.

What tools will you use in your classroom?  I will encourage students to bring their own netbook, laptop, iPad, Kindle, etc. Computers will be set up throughout the classroom so that students who do not own one to use. Students will be able to go online to find provided websites dealing with the topics of the day. They then can navigate other subject matter websites to explore even more material. I want my classroom to be a little less about paper, pencils, and notes and more about thinking, discussion, and action.

What Role Will Students Play In My Classroom?  I want students to play a very active role in my classroom. I want them to be able to think of themselves as co-teachers. I want honest thought and questions expressed in the classroom and I want responses to come from not only me but from their peers as well. I want free thought and ideas to be encouraged and rewarded by all in my classroom.


  1. This is Blog Assignment #1. It is important that you change your title to reflect this.

    " I would love for each class to be able to come into the technology room at least once a week " Why shouldn't they have the technology with them at all times. That will be the case in Baldwin County by next fall. For all students!

    "There are a number of math assignments that you could demonstrate." Yes. So?

    "Teachers should have designated lectures..." What about BANNING lectures?

    "The school that I would build would have more of an emphasis on what could be provided for the students as opposed to what the actual building looked like. " Look back at what you have written. What is the balance in your comments between setting/atmosphere and methods/tools/learning objectives?

    Who is Krissy Venosdale? Sugata Mitra? What is a 3D station?


  2. Hey Danya, I enjoyed reading your post!! The first thing that stuck out to me was your stance on students' curiosity being rewarded with knowledge. I am a huge advocate of this. If one is truly curious about something than they will seek out the answer and in the process acquire knowledge. I think being an affective teacher entails the abilities to inspire both curiosity in students, and also being able to prepare students in a way that they will be able to ask the right questions (as you mentioned) in the process of research.
    Another thing that caught my eye about your post was your thoughts on your primary way of teaching. I believe having a discussion atmosphere is a great classroom technique. I think the beginning part of this process in the classroom is a very important. The critical component is setting the right discussion atmosphere in the class. By making it very clear to all students that everyone's voice will be respected this can be accomplished. Even though not all answers given by students will be correct, if other students (teachers also) respect their effort it will create a more welcoming atmosphere for discussion. I always contributed more to a discussion in the classroom if I felt like my voice was going to be respected and I have noticed the same from other students as well.

  3. Thank you for sharing that with me. It just reinforces to me that we are all on the right track for change in the classroom. I hope we can all steer away from the old ways of teaching and allow more involvement from the ones that we are going into the profession in the first place.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.