Leslie Gale's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Standard 2 Meta Reflection: Learning Environment August 24, 2013

Upon first glance, effective learning environments may be viewed simply as classrooms that are conducive to receiving instruction. Perhaps this means good lighting, little distracting noise, supplies at the ready, etc.  In reality, learning environments encompass much more than the physical surroundings in a classroom. Learning environments impact the social, emotional, physical and academic well-being of students. Schools are now realizing that “the elements that make up school climate—including peer relationships, students’ sense of safety and security, and the disciplinary policies and practices they confront each day—play a crucial part in laying the groundwork for academic success.” (Editorial, 2013).

Three types of learning environments are student centered, assessment centered, and knowledge centered. (National Research Council, 2000) A student focused learning environment accounts for the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs that students bring with them to the classroom.  Such environments foster respect, feelings of safety, and positive rapport among class members. (p. 133-136) In this artifact I have described three students who will serve as focus students and will be featured in lesson descriptions that illustrate aspects of the learning environment described in this Meta-Reflection. This entire series can be found through this link on WordPress. The student description blog referenced previously demonstrates a student centered environment as each child’s learning style and personality is considered. Further, the classroom dialogue recorded throughout this series of blogs  reflects positive interactions and a safe environment. A safe environment is particularly important for one student, Kelsey (pseudonym), who tends to stay back and not take educational risks. To further illustrate a student centered environment, this blog features the use of a KWL chart prior to a visit to a pumpkin farm. Through this activity I was able to promote student centered learning as we gathered information that students brought with them to the activity.

An environment that provides for open ended dialogue encourages students to become more articulate and further develops their language. Student thoughts and voices should be honored in the classroom. One way this can be encouraged is through an online discussion forum. Catlin Tucker in Education Week (2012) suggests that online forums can empower students who would otherwise not speak out to participate and allow their voices to be heard. Student voices should also be heard and valued outside of the immediate classroom. Stu Silberman (2012) considers this notion when he suggests that student opinions be heard in regards to teacher evaluations.

A knowledge centered environment fosters student learning that stretches their knowledge base and promotes transfer of learning to new contexts. (National Research Council, 2000, p. 136) In this artifact students engage in a lesson on patterns and must transfer past learning to a new situation. Students also engage in a knowledge centered environment as they work through an unfamiliar and challenging math problem using higher order thinking skills in this artifact. Here students received minimal guidance and had access to manipulatives to guide their own learning.

Different learning environments serve different purposes and the effectiveness of each environment is dependent upon the characteristics of the learner as well as the content. I have become much more aware of the importance of considering the environment in which students receive new knowledge and am inspired to do all I can to create fertile ground so their knowledge can take root.


Editorial: “Schools aim to craft environment for learning” [Editorial]. (January 4, 2013). Education Week, Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/10/16execsum.h32.html?qs=learning+environment

National Research Council. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind experience and school (expanded ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Silverman, S. (2012, October 9). The importance of student voices. In Education Week. Retrieved August 24, 2013, from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/engagement_and_reform/2012/10/_the_importance_of_student_voices.html?qs=student+voices

Tucker, C. (2012, September 25). Giving every student a voice through online discussion. In Education Week. Retrieved August 24, 2013, from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2012/09/25/fp_tucker_voice.html?qs=student+communication


Standard 8 Meta Reflection: Exceptionality August 23, 2013

Students with unique needs can display a wide variety of behaviors in a learning situation and educators must become familiar with the specific difficulties and challenges associated with their particular situation. Often times, it is the general education teacher who first brings the needs of exceptional students to the attention of a referral team. Identifying and serving students with such needs will require special considerations and purposeful modifications on the part of the educator. Teachers also must familiarize themselves with the legal requirements associated with serving students who are exceptional.

There are several categories of disabilities, each with their own challenges as well as overlapping characteristics. Each category also requires a different set of general modifications, accommodations and instructional strategies.

Students with learning disabilities are usually of average or higher intelligence but are challenged when it comes to information processing. They don’t typically have physical, health or emotional disturbances. Such students might exhibit reading difficulties, high activity levels, short attention spans, poor organizational skills and often fail to recognize subtle communication cues such as body language and facial expressions (Lewis & Doorlag, 2011, pp. 52-54). Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can display “inappropriate attention skills, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity.” (p.58) Classroom modifications for this category primarily are related to instructional strategies that involve remediation and compensation.(p. 193)

Students with intellectual disabilities exhibit a slower rate of learning and often have developmental delays in several areas such as language, social and vocational skills. Such students may experience learning difficulties with specific types of learning. For example, reading comprehension will be more challenging than reading recognition or math problem solving will be more difficult than math computation. Instruction is geared primarily towards habilitation in an effort to prepare students for the skills necessary for successful adulthood. (Lewis & Doorlag, 2011 p. 210)

Behavioral disorders can affect classroom behaviors, social skills, and academic instruction. It is characterized according to three indicators: “1. If it deviates from the range of behaviors for the child’s age and sex which significant adults perceive as normal: 2. If it occurs very frequently or too intensely; or 3. If it occurs over an extended period of time.” (Lewis & Doorlag, 2011, p. 232) Program modifications often are necessary in the areas of classroom behavior, social skills, and academic instruction. This can involve detailed data collection followed by a customized intervention program that seeks to either increase or decrease a behavior or teach a new behavior.

     Communication disorders affect student interactions and are some of the most common disorders. Some common difficulties are mispronunciations, dysfluency, and unusual voice quality which interferes with communication.(p. 250)  The main accommodations teachers need to focus on here speech and language impairments are opportunities to practice what the speech-language pathologist has implemented.

Autism Spectrum Disorder can exhibit a range of characteristics from severe delays to giftedness and can affect verbal communication, non-verbal communication, and social interaction. In most instances, teachers work with the special educator to decide on modifications in the classroom. Motivational systems can be helpful to modify certain behaviors. Additionally, the classroom may need to be physically arranged in order to support the student’s social interactions, maximize participation and decrease problem behaviors. (Lewis & Doorlag, 2011, p. 264) For example, a student who calms him/herself with pacing can be positioned near an area with clear space along a wall.

In her book, Ellen Notbohm writes from the perspective of a child with autism. One quote reads, “Because I think differently, my autism requires that you teach differently.” (2006, p. xxv) While this is true for many students with disabilities, I believe it is especially true for students with autism. Notbohm suggests the  instruction that is visual/spatial, repetitive, and presented in whole chunks is most effective for students with autism (p. 29-30).

Students with physical and health impairments have a wide variety of conditions such as cerebral palsy, asthma, diabetes or allergies. Some of these conditions require no modifications while others might require extensive services. The Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for this student will address the goals pertaining to a student’s specific needs.  This may include modification of the physical environment, schedule format, and/or the structure of instructional activities and assignments.

Regular progress monitoring is an important component to consider when providing accommodations for students with special needs. Frequent data collection and recording will help inform educators of whether or not students are making progress towards goals, what are areas in need of improvement, and what goals need to be revised. Frequent progress monitoring also allows educators to provide timely feedback to the student, family, and care team.

Finally, it is imperative that a positive and collaborative relationship be fostered with the families of students with special needs. Seligman (2000) references numerous publications that support the notion that school environments that are rich with strong parent-educator partnerships are more likely to foster accelerated academic progress. Current literature also reflects that parents of children with special needs can provide information that is vital to the planning and implementation of their child’s educational program (McCloskey, 2010).  Numerous resources offer strategies and ideas that foster the building of bridges between school and home. Beth Perce (2013) offers several suggestions that educations can follow to enhance communication such as parent surveys, home visits, and weekly communication. Further, student guardians and caretakers are likely fearful for their children as they maneuver through the education system and simply need a compassionate and informed advocate who can offer support and reliable information. I am providing links below to two papers that address this very issue:

Collaboration with Parents of Exceptional Children: The Role of the Educator

Parental Positioning in Special Education

These artifacts illustrate the legal and ethical side of collaborating with parents of children with special needs. They also provide a perspective from the parents’ side that can help promote an atmosphere of empathy and cooperation.



Lewis, R. B. & Doorlag, D. H.(2011). Teaching students with special needs in general education classrooms. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

McCloskey, E. (2010). What Do I Know? Parental positioning in special education.

            International Journal of Special Education, v25 n1 p 162-170 .

Notbohm, E. (2006). Ten things your student with autism wishes you knew. Arlilngton, TX: Future Horizons, Inc.

Perce, B. (2013, May 21). Teaching Secrets: Learning From Parents. In Education Week. Retrieved August 23, 2013, from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/05/21/tln_perce_parents.html?qs=IEP

Seligman, M. (2000). Conducting effective conferences with parents of children with disabilities.

 New York, New York: The Guilford Press


Standard 11 Meta Reflection: Inquiry/Research

Filed under: Standard 11. Inquiry/Research — lkgale @ 2:39 am
Tags: ,

Taking two courses pertaining to educational research, while a bit daunting, was instrumental in supplying me with the skills I need to understand the role of research in education as well as apply the concepts, procedures and vocabulary to my educational practice. The appropriate use of educational research enables educators collect and analyze data to make make sound instructional decisions, evaluate research findings for validity and effectively communicate research findings to others.

Research methods can be either quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative studies are objective and seek to bring forth unambiguous findings. Such research emphasizes numbers and measurements. Qualitative research involves the interpretation of verbal narratives and observations rather than numbers. Historically, educational research was primarily quantitative but today it is common to find useful qualitative studies or mixed-method designs. (McMillan, 2012)

Researchers must also decide whether the question or hypothesis requires an experimental or non-experimental design (McMillan, 2012) . An experimental design is necessary if the investigator wishes to directly manipulate a variable and establish cause and effect. For example, experimental design would be appropriate if a researcher wanted to determine which group of students achieved higher fluency scores, those that practiced with a parent volunteer or those who practiced with an older buddy student. An investigator who does not plan to manipulate a variable will employ a non-experimental research design. This would be appropriate if there was a desire to investigate whether or not there is a correlation between teacher attitudes towards a particular math curriculum and student achievement. Observations would be made and data collected but no variable would be manipulated.

Action research is another research design that is used to solve specific problems at one site such as a classroom or school. There are three types of action research which are individual teacher research, collaborative action research, and school wide action research.  Veteran teacher Wendi Pillars conducted an individual action research study to address the problem of minimal reading growth in her ELL third graders. Although she did not find the all-inclusive answer to her question, she found that “AR can be a way to practice what I preach, take my own learning deeper, and improve my effectiveness as a teacher “(Pillar, 2012).

Having an understanding of the processing and analysis of research data allows one to organize data in a meaningful way as well as critically review and interpret the research of others. Researchers are able to summarize and compare scores and values by understanding the nature of percentages, measures of central tendency, the normal curve and probability.

The ability to determine the validity of a research study is valuable both for the researcher and the consumer. Validity can be external or internal. External validity addresses how well the study results can be generalized to different subjects within the same defined population parameters. Internal validity refers to “the extent to which the intervention, and not extraneous or confounding variables, produced the observed effect” (McMillan, 2012). In order for research studies to be considered credible consumers and researchers alike must evaluate factors that contribute to or detract from validity. As an illustration, validity is questioned in a study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) which concluded that there is steady progress in student achievement level in charter schools. In a letter to the editor of Education Week (Center for Education Reform…, August  2013), the writer claims that randomized control trials were not used to measure progress. The writer also stated that CREDO employed “statistical gymnastics to compare student achievement in charter schools across state lines while adjusting data to ensure that all students start at the same level” (Center for Education Reform…, 2013). Such factors would threaten the external validity of the study.

The value of sound educational research cannot be understated. Equally important is being an informed consumer of research so that decision making and problem solving can be based on the reliable and accurate interpretation of data. It is true that data shown through statistics can be intentionally misleading. As Sprinthall states (2012), “To the uninitiated, liars can figure plausibly.” I am thankful for the tools and knowledge I received in EDU 6975 and 6976 that have enabled and inspired me to be initiated.

I am including a link to a description of a research hypothesis and outline I prepared here:  Instructional Grouping Strategies that Affect Reading Fluency in Kindergarten  that includes notes regarding the subject relevancy, related literature references, sampling procedures, a description of variables and measures, possible threats to validity with plans for correction, and operational definitions.


Center for Education Reform ‘Skeptical’ of Charter Study. (2013, August 5). In Education Week. Retrieved August 23, 2013, from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/08/07/37letter-3.h32.html?qs=research+validity+in+education

McMillan, J. H. (2012). Educational Research: Fundamentals for the Consumer (6th ed.).             Boston, MA: Pearson.

Pillars, W. (2012, September 5). What Teachers Need to Know About Action Research. In Education Week. Retrieved August 23, 2013, from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2012/09/05/tln_pillars_actionresearch.html?qs=action+research

Sprinthall, R. C. (2012). Statistical Analysis (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.


Standard 12: Professional Citizenship August 22, 2013

One of the most fascinating and useful connections I have made as I engaged in EDU 6120 – American Education: Past and Present is the strong link that can be found between historical developments in education and current educational issues. As a professional in the field of education I have found that it is not only necessary but it is my duty to research and be informed on current issues pertaining to educational policy and practice. Conversations amongst practitioners in the field, policy makers, and the public in general are critical in order to move education and those it serves forward. As Nancy Flanagan writes, “Unlike other nations… we have never had a structured, purposeful national conversation about gutting and reorganizing the system around the kind of education we want for all children.” (Flanagan, 2013) I am better equipped now to engage in these conversations as an informed educator and an advocate for children.

Investigating the original purposes set forth for common schooling provides a standard against which we can measure the educational reforms of today. Thomas Jefferson’s bill of 1779 titled “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge” was one of the first forums in which the concept of common schooling was articulated. The system recommended in this bill was designed to systematically ensure that the population was adequately equipped and informed in order to defend the rights and liberties of its members (Fraser, 2010, pp. 20-23). He also writes, “The general objects to this law are to provide an education adapted to the years, to the capacity and the condition of every one…” (Fraser, 2010, p. 24). Benjamin Franklin believed that a major purpose of schools was to prepare all citizens for a vocation while they are young and that schools should be more useful than ornamental (Urban & Wagner, 2009, p. 62). Horace Mann advocated for schools that promoted national unity as well as reached citizens that were young and could be “molded.” (Fraser, 2010, pp. 45)

Common schooling was also intended to benefit members of society regardless of, gender, race or socioeconomic status. There are many historical leaders and programs that spoke to this issue throughout history. Benjamin Rush supported this notion when he advocated for the education of women in his 1787 speech to the Board of Visitors of the young Ladies’ Academy at Pennsylvania (Fraser, 2010, pp. 26-29). Racial equality in education was reinforced through Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These gentlemen served as leaders in empowering blacks to become educated, participate fully in society, and become leaders themselves (Urban & Wagoner, 2009, pp. 173-177). The effects of poverty on the notion of common schooling were addressed under the administration of Lyndon Johnson in 1965 through his “War on Poverty”. It was at this time that Head Start was founded. Head Start provided educational, medical, and nutritional services to low income children and their families.

Two current educational issues that can find roots in educational history are the newly unveiled Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the quest for equal educational opportunities for those in poverty. Both of these issues relate to the original notion of common schooling for all. The CCSS pertains to the common aspect of this philosophy in that it provides a consistent set of learning standards across the country. Reforms pertaining to the education of those in poverty pertains to the for all aspect of common schooling. There is no doubt that there are fears and concerns that fuel controversy related to these reforms. To name just two, CCSS can be viewed as a “top down” organization in which there is a centralized system of standards with a “one size fits all” methodology that does not fit all students (Brown, 2013). Also, not everyone believes that directing public funds towards the education of students from low income families is wise or that the distributions are fair during this time of economic uncertainty (Casey, 2012). However, I believe that if we view these endeavors against the backdrop of our nation’s historical quest for equal education for everyone, these and other reforms will be put in proper perspective.

To elaborate on these two educational issues and how they relate to our country’s educational history I have included the following links to two inquiry papers written by me:

Early Childhood Education: Are We Heading in the Right Direction?

Common Core State Standards- Considering the Benefits and Concerns

It is my hope that those who practice the humble art of teaching or are otherwise dedicated to the advancement of education for all are able to look through the lens of our past and gain insights into what is good for children now as well as forge an informed path to future educational reforms.


Brown, M. (Producer). (2013, May 28). Concern over new ‘common core’ standards in education. [News series episode]. In America live with Megyn Kelly. Retrieved June 6, 2013, from http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/america-live

Casey, D. (2012, August 20). Report: Nevada rural districts receiving too much money. In Education Week. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek

Flanagan, N. (2013, July 23). Is public education on its death bed? Should it be?. In Education Week. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers

Fraser, J. W. (2010). The School in the United States: A Documentary History. New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Urban, W.J. & Wagoner, J. L. (2009). American education: A History. New York, NY: Routledge.


Standard 9 Meta-Reflection: Cultural Sensitivity August 21, 2013

Cultural sensitivity in education encompasses much more than being aware of the various cultures and ethnicities that are represented in a classroom. It also involves reflecting on one’s own personal perceptions of cultural identity and understanding what multicultural education looks like in the classroom.

The learning I have obtained through EDUC 6525- Culturally Responsive Teaching has enabled me to map out the progression of my own cultural awareness. I can now use this insight to improve my own professional practice. Some of my earlier perceptions of culture stemmed from a limited exposure to non-white cultures. I can see how this often resulted in misunderstandings and discomfort when interacting in multicultural situations. According to J. Helms’ stage theory of racial development (as discussed in Mvududu’s lecture, 2013), if left unchecked, this perception can lead to discriminatory practices in the classroom. In relation to Banks’ five types of knowledge (Banks, 1996, pp. 11-21), students receiving instruction from teachers with limited cultural knowledge (school knowledge) are also impacted by the information received from the media (popular knowledge). On top of this, students are likely taking in information that is traditional Westerncentric in nature (mainstream academic knowledge). Such knowledge sources will likely conflict with students’ own personal/cultural knowledge if they represent a non-white ethnic group. One way to counter this conflict, at least to some degree, is to broaden my own cultural knowledge as a teacher as well as present transformative academic knowledge. Transformative academic knowledge is information that challenges the mainstream academic knowledge. This, in turn, enables students to better understand how knowledge is constructed and that it often reflects the social context of where it was developed (Banks, 1996).

Currently, I would equate my level of cultural awareness with Helms’ stage IV, pseudo-independence (as described in Mvududu, 2013). As an educator I am purposeful about recognizing the needs of the diverse population in my classroom and will seek out accurate information pertaining to the cultures represented. I strive to foster a classroom that promotes harmony and equality in which students from various cultures recognize that they can both contribute to and benefit from such a society. George Sanchez stated this philosophy well as he referred to the Spanish-speaking culture when he said “…the degree to which two million or more Spanish-speaking people, and their increment, are permitted to develop is the extent to which a nation should expect returns from that section of its public.” (Murillo, 1996, p. 137) It is to the benefit of society as a whole when educators strive to incur change through the educational system.

In my classroom and in my school I will strive to impart transformative knowledge that effectively challenges the basic assumptions of mainstream academic knowledge. I support the notion that knowledge is both objective and subjective and is built by the person who is acquiring the knowledge (Barnett, 1996). I believe that transformative knowledge that is fueled by the experiences and knowledge of diverse cultures as well as by the efforts of a transformative educator can and will weave its way outside of the classroom and into the school, community, and society as a whole. The Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History declares that, “[They dream] of the day when the sharing and contributing of all Americans will be so appreciated, accepted and understood that there will no longer be a need for any ethnic group to call attention to its contributions.” (Roche, 1996) I do not believe this could be any better stated.

In conclusion, I would like to share a yearlong multicultural unit that a colleague and I created which attempts to incorporate the power of transformative teaching. This unit, titled Dimensions of Multicultural Education,  aims to bring to the table the knowledge and experiences necessary to foster mutual respect and acceptance that transcends the here and now. I look forward to expanding my professional development in order to continue pursuing such a worthy goal.


Banks, J. A. (1996). Multicultural education: Transformative knowledge & Action. New York: Teachers College Press.

Barnett, E. F. (1996). Mary McLeod Bethune: Feminist, educator, and activist. In J. A. Banks (Ed.). Multicultural education, transformative knowledge & action (p. 218). New York: Teachers College Press.

Murillo, N. (1996). George I. Sanchez and mexican american educational practices. In J. A. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education, transformative knowledge & action (pp.129-140). New York: Teachers College Press.

 Mvududu, N. (2013, January 9). Personalizing Cultural Diversity [lecture]. In Connect.SPU. Retrieved January 9, 2013

Roche, A. M. (1996). Carter G. Woodson and the development of transformative scholarship. In J. A. Banks (Ed.), Multicultural education, transformative knowledge & action (p. 100) New York: Teachers College Press.


Standard 4 Meta Reflection: Pedagogy August 12, 2013

It is probably safe to say that most teachers desire to bring each of their students up to standard and effectively prepare them to advance to their next grade level or graduate ready to succeed in college or the work place. We are given a nice and neat list of learning standards, aligned assessments and a curriculum that ideally supports all of the above. We are armed with school and district systems that will address the needs of exceptional students at both ends of the learning spectrum. While these educational components are valuable, we can probably agree that they do not fully equip teachers to reach all learners. Further, they can even provide a false sense of security leading teachers to believe that all bases are covered. While most students might reach standard, it is not likely that all students are reaching their full learning potential. For this to happen, teachers must account for the different learning styles of their students. They must also understand the nature of specific content and how it lends itself (or does not lend itself) to certain instructional strategies. Through this class, I have come to understand that there are a variety of instructional strategies from which educators can pull in order to ensure that students are learning to their full potential.

One such strategy that I consider to be extremely useful is the Inductive Model. This strategy encourages students to generate ideas, analyze and make connections between the ideas, and describe the observed relationships. It is the process of reasoning from the particular to the general (Williams, 2013). Macauley (2004) states that “The mind of the child is made to search out connections in life and learning.” Since inductive reasoning is “the process of reasoning from the particular to the general” (Williams, 2013), Macauley’s remarks pertaining to a child’s mind align well to inductive teaching. A child will naturally seek to make connections between different bits of information (“particular”) and assimilate these connections to reach a broader understanding (“general”). The teacher’s job is to guide this assimilation and make the necessary tools available.

Concept Attainment is an instructional strategy that fosters inductive thinking wherein students observe and analyze exemplars (or examples) of objects or ideas that go together in some way. The goal is to have students create, test, and affirm hypotheses that state the possible category that is relevant to the exemplars. (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007, p.112) I was eager to use this strategy to teach a Social Studies lesson on needs and wants to a sample group of first graders. I have included links below to a description regarding how I will implement this strategy, notes regarding its actual implementation, as well as a lesson plan and video snapshot of Concept Attainment in action:

Description:  https://lkgale.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/427/

Implementation: https://lkgale.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/implementation-entry-1-concept-attainment/

Lesson Plan/Video: https://lkgale.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/concept-attainment-wants-and-needs-1st-grade/

As I consider using this strategy in the future I will be cognizant of scaffolding student discussion so that it does not wander to areas that do not support the learning target. Additionally, I will focus use of this strategy on content that is more specialized and allows for a clearer distinction between “yes” and “no” exemplars.

The Jigsaw strategy is another instructional model that is a favorite of mine. It falls within the realm of the cooperative learning approach and fosters social interaction amongst the students.  Gerlach 1994 and Vygotsky, 1978 have shown that learning can be maximized through well designed, intentional social interaction with others. (as cited in Dean et al., 2012, p. 37). This artifact, Strategy Entry 2, illustrates how Jigsaw could be incorporated into a third grade lesson on Scarcity. This strategy is also well supported through research as indicated in the Research Elements section of the above artifact.  Further, Jigsaw lends itself well to the learning styles of many different students as it enables the teacher to strategically compose small groups that best fit the needs of the group members.

Going from learning about the various instructional strategies to actually trying some of them out in this class has moved me to a far greater understanding of how it is possible to reach all learners. I have also gained much insight into how valuable it is to reflect on the use of different instructional strategies, make note of my reflections, and interact with colleagues in order to get the full benefit of this professional development. Dell’Olio and Donk  reflect this teacher’s frame of  mind aptly when they write “Continuing reflection about your students’ learning and your own commitments as a teacher will help you analyze life in your classroom in greater depth and to your greater satisfaction.” (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007, p.43)

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, E. R., Pitler, H., Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Denver, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning

Dell’Olio, J. M., Donk, T. (2007). Models of Teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Macauley, S. (2004). When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy for Today. Retrieved July 6, 2013

Williams, T. (2013, July). Induction models of instruction. Survey of instructional strategies. Lecture conducted from Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA


Standard 10 Meta-Reflection: Technology March 16, 2013

Becoming more familiar with the National Educational Technology Standards has probably been the most relevant piece of technology information I have learned in our EDTC 6433 class. The ISTE NETS for teachers (NETS-T) and students (NETS-S) provide a defined framework through which I can effectively address the necessary technology standards for myself and my students. Consideration of these standards as well as developing goals for both my students and myself is becoming an integral part of my curriculum planning.

One of our first tasks in EDTC 6433 was to complete a survey evaluating technology integration as it is currently practiced in our classrooms. Through this survey I was able to recognize that I was fairly strong in the NETS-T #4, Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility. Specifically, I am confident that I can address the diverse needs of my kindergarten students by “using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources” (ISTE NETS Survey for Students and Teachers, 2011). Students routinely access a variety of digital tools on a rotating basis to engage in and accomplish tasks such as calendar time, MimioSprout™ Early Reading Individualized Instruction, LWSD technology use student survey, and guided technology exploration with their buddy class.

The technology integration survey also indicated to me that I could do more to strengthen my skills in NETS-T #2, Develop and Design Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments. My technology goal was related to NETS-T #2-a,” …promote student motivation, learning and creativity through relevant learning experiences using digital tools and other technology” (ISTE NETS Survey for Students and Teachers, 2011). I decided that I would like to design more authentic learning experiences that provide motivation for students as they use technology to create and present evidence of their learning. I would also like for them to be responsible for and take ownership of the management of their projects. These goals align with NETS-T #2 (referenced above) and NETS-S #1, “My students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology”. I wanted students to be able to log on to their student accounts with little or no assistance as well as create, save, and later retrieve word documents that show some creativity and familiarity with sight words using font size, style, and/or color variations. In the Artifacts section below I have included links to a written description as well as a PowerPoint presentation that outlines how I integrated this technology in my classroom.

As I continue to critically examine technology integration in my classroom, I feel better equipped to identify areas where I can improve my practice and more effectively provide students with technology experiences that will enhance their learning. I am also more aware of ways that I can use technology to further develop methods of communication to students, families, colleagues and the community at large. Along these lines, I am thinking that my next venture into improving technology integration in my classroom will involve providing a variety of communication forums to students and parents such as Haiku discussion pages and a comprehensive class webpage. I also plan to expand students’ exposure to and use of technology tools that allow them to present their learning in a variety of ways, such as PowerPoint, as well as tools that enhance my own instructional presentations such as Glogster and the use of Voicethread.  So much technology and so little time!

Finally, as a result of this class I am better equipped to search for and evaluate curriculum that supports the technology NETS. One such find is a technology curriculum by Kali Delamagente (2011) that provides a comprehensive scope and sequence for kindergarten technology as well as links each learning experience to one or more relevant NETS. Another useful resource is Jacqui Murray’s article and lesson for kindergartners titled “How to Teach Digital Citizenship in Kindergarten” (2012). This blog entry contains a lesson and links that support NETS-t number 4: “Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility:  Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.” (ISTE, 2012) Effectively crafting and evaluating technology curriculum is a particularly useful skills for educators as it perpetually enhances learning, teaching, and collaboration within the educational community.


Tech Integration Write-Up

Tech Integration PPT


Delamagente, Kali. “Kindergarten Technology: 32 Lessons Every Kindergartner Can Accomplish.” Scribd. Structured Learning, 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/16535675/Kindergarten-Technology-32-Lessons-Every-Kindergartner-Can-Accomplish&gt;.

ISTE NETS Survey for Students and Teachers. (2011, September 22). In Haiku Class Overview and Documents. Retrieved January 7, 2013, from https://lms.lwsd.org/rsnyder/edtc6433/cms_file/show/6949138.docx?t=1357161828

The International Society for Technology in Education . (2012). NETS. In ISTE. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from https://www.iste.org/standards

Murray, J. (2012, October 4). How to teach digital citizenship in kindergarten. In Ask a teacher anything. Retrieved June 30, 2013, from http://askatechteacher.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/how-to-teach-digital-citizenship-in-kindergarten/