At first I thought, how is a Personal Learning Network going to help me teach? But was I totally surprised! A PLN is a vital tool that I will have in my classroom. I have already connected with educators I don't even know through Twitter and blogs. I have a Twitter account and am following several educators on there from around the globe. I also maintain my class blog Blogspot.com at Blogger.com. I have learned so much from the research and entering my posts each week, as well as from reading the blogs of my classmates. I am also working on my professional blog Angie Daughdrill's Teaching Tools on Blogger.com. What is so awesome is that when you leave one comment on someone's blog, it basically leaves your personal "fingerprint", so that other people can read that comment, then read your blog, and even contact you if they wish. Therefore, the communicating/learning process goes on and on!
This will enable me to teach my students the importance of using these technological tools daily in their learning process. I have also subscribed to some RSS feeds and am beginning to understand what that is all about. I now realize that I will be able to utilize the tools of Twitter and Blogger.com, to name a few, to benefit my students in the classroom.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
To enhance the aspect of working as a team, as well as facilitate their learning experience, I will divide my students into small groups, which will help them in Learning to Work Together. They will work on a history project of their choice. Working in groups allows the students to collaborate with their fellow students, as well as gives them a sense of independence.
Group projects also encourage independent thinking, which is important to ensure the students can come up with their own ideas and learn to think "outside the box". They will have a sense of individual accomplishment that they will be proud of when they contribute to their group project. This builds confidence and self motivation for students in the classroom and will be a great benefit to them in their academic future.
My students will create a class blog and will be required to submit a weekly post. They may choose the historical topic, as long as it is within the chapter we are covering at that particular time. By participating in a class blog, I believe it will enhance their creative writing skills. Also by reading their classmates' blogs, they will be able to become critical thinkers and readers, as well.
The students will not just come to class, sit at their desk, and listen to me lecture. They will be involved with their own learning process. This will give them a feeling of academic independence and self worth, and at the same time promote self-regulation learning skills.
Encouraging independent thoughts and opinions through student discussions and debates will be a large part of my classroom curriculum. For example, I will ask for different viewpoints from my students about a particular person or event in history. I want to avoid "straight lecturing", which is when a teacher simply stands at the lecturn and talks throughout the entire class period. This type of teaching is extremely boring for students and increases the chances for disinterest and failure. Student discussions also create a more relaxed environment which is conducive for the students. It teaches them to voice their opinion in a constructive way, and at times respectfully disagreeing with a classmate.
After graduation, I plan to use the latest technology in my classroom when teaching history to middle school students. But most importantly, I want to be an "approachable" teacher. As an "approachable" teacher, I will not avoid answering a question, just because I may not know the answer. I feel that if you readily admit to the class that you do not know the answer, it opens the door for your students, and yourself, to find the answer. It also allows them see that as a teacher you are not perfect, and therefore, do not expect them to be either.
Also, being an "approachable" teacher also means making yourself available for your students to come and talk with you about anything. Middle school students in particular are at a critical period in their lives. They are going through puberty, face daily peer pressure, and the stress can be overwhelming at times. Teachers need to have an open-door policy in their classroom. Those are the teachers that I have never forgotten. It shows that you really listen, and more importantly, that you really CARE.