Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post #16

My Final Reflection

Woman holding a sign
I look back at the If I Built A School blog post and think, "How naive you were." Honestly, it is humorous to me because I remember thinking that I had it figured out. I knew what I wanted to do and I was going to be great at it, or so I thought. I had answered the question, "What Do I Want My Children To Know?" with an answer that merely stated that I wanted them to love learning. However, I never told exactly what that was nor how I was going to get them to do it. Well, I think I am now prepared to state what I would want for them to know in more clearer terms. There is really only one thing that I want my students to learn from me. I want them to know that they have the power to be their own teachers. If I can show them how to find the answers to their own questions, then there is nothing they won't be able to accomplish once they set their minds to it. For example, I like to imagine certain areas of the brain getting stimulated every time they are required to think independently and creatively. I imagine those areas fire off other areas of the brain until the whole brain is alight with creative function. I want for my students to have creative function and freedom to want more knowledge and know where to go to get it.

There are a number of tools that I have learned about this semester that will be great in my future science classroom. The first and most important tools that I will incorporate are computers, iPads, and tablets. I think they are extremely important because they allow students a faster, more efficient medium for learning than the typical classroom textbooks which tend to be boring anyway. I want to have prepared lesson plans on a Google site just as we have learned in EDM310. Students can check on the site so that they can immediately get started on what is expected for the day. I love the idea of making group podcasts using information that is gathered by the students. It is a good way to teach them technology as well as subject content. Another tool I have been pondering is Twitter. I have thought about it being a neat way to get students to answer questions during classroom discussions. Imagine the involvement I would receive when I said, "Okay class. Now, get out your cell phones or tablets and Tweet me your thoughts." I bet that would be the day I would have 100% participation from the class. They might even want to come back the next day too. iMovie and the use of Podcasts is a fun way to get students involved and engaged in their own learning process too. It feels like playing a video game, but teaches better than a lecture. All in all, I say they are winners.

My methods of teaching have changed quite a bit since the writing of the first blog post. I no longer agree with my need to lecture for part of the instructional period. I now realize that there is another method of teaching that can reach people of any intelligence and Project Based Learning is that method. I will create assignments based on student interest in order to ensure proper engagement. I will also include community based assignments such as water quality testing which will make learning both relevant and empowering. If it is found unclean, then students will learn how to take proper steps in getting that water up to EPA standards. They will learn who to contact and what to do to make their voices are heard. It will empower them by teaching them that they can make a difference in the community around them. My plan is to stop testing students in the classroom because I don't feel this is an accurate means to identify knowledge gained. I want to allow them time to research topics, run experiments, create presentations, and then present those presentations to the class as well as others when possible. Then, I should be able to ask questions and give scenarios that they can apply their new information to so that I may properly gauge the knowledge that they gained.

I can't believe that I am about to say this, but I am going to miss this class. I have learned more in this class than I have in most others combined. I think it is because I had to take a proactive step in my own education which has always proven successful to me. One of my favorite assignments was the Randy Pausch Last Lecture assignment. In it, he recommends that we teach our students something difficult by incorporating it into something fun so that they never notice that it is difficult or even that they learned it. I asked Dr. Strange about whether or not he includes a "head fake" in his semester assignments and he said, "of course." Well, I believe I have figured out his head fake, but I wonder... did you?

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