Reflection week 13

A valuable lesson I learned this week was how all that prattle in our articles throughout the years concerning communicating with classroom teachers is extremely important. I also learned how to better predict every minute detail students need and responses they might have. This past week, I taught a lesson to the kindergarten classes focusing on the idea of pattern. I had done research to get an idea of where most kindergarteners were at with their understanding of the concept.

The project was for students to draw loopy lines from the beginning of their strip of paper to the end of it with 12, 15, or 18 swirls, depending on how large they make them. Students were to alternate three chosen colors of crayon in a consistent pattern to color in the swirls that they had created on their strip of paper. After that, they were to draw on a pair of antennae on one end of the line, stick two sticker eyes onto the same end, mount their work on a piece of pre-cut construction paper and poof! A patterned caterpillar.

When the lesson began for the first class, I had expected that I would have to talk about pattern from the ground up. I was pleased when I a large number of the students knew exactly what I was talking about and even offered examples for AB and ABC patterns. As a result, I still reviewed examples of different ABC pattern types on the dry erase board and did an example caterpillar with them at the front of the class, but a more abridged version than what I was planning on. As a result, about a fourth of the student’s work did not turn out the way I expected. Some of the patterns were AB patterns, some were just scribbles. In the two consecutive classes, I spent more time with examples and instruction of ABC pattern. The confusion went down some, but not much.

What would have helped was for me to talk to their teachers specifically, not just research online. I could have asked how and at what level pattern was being taught in the classroom, how I could most successfully build off of that, and how I could introduce a more elaborate step in pattern making that would effectively lead into its further use in their classroom.

Reading Response for week 11

Surviving in the trenches: A narrative inquiry into queer teachers’ experiences and identity

-Recent polls suggesting that teaching is not an appropriate profession for the queer teachers. To instill heretonormative attributes?

Surviving in the trenches: A narrative inquiry into queer teachers’ experiences and identity

-Reconciling identities as both a teacher and as a member of the LGBTQ community.

-This is partly the result of the implicit expectation that the teacher be asexual (especially in the lower grades), or in the case of queer teachers, that they avoid “acting gay” at all costs so as to prevent oneself from being outed by a colleague, parent or administrator.

-Maintaining the connection between mind and body is more difficult for queer teachers because they are defined by their sexual difference.

Surviving in the trenches: A narrative inquiry into queer teachers’ experiences and identity

-Despite the struggle that teachers may have in coming to terms with disclosing their sexual identity in the classroom, teachers being open about their sexual identity will help students address their homophobia (and perhaps other biases). From a political point of view, teachers being openly out at school forces educational institutions to face the reality that there still exists a great deal of discrimination based on gender and sexuality.

-Perhaps an even greater fear is that of being accused of child abuse.

-More or less, this “hidden” sociopolitical policy influences how gay and lesbian teachers’ construct and maintain their identity in the school context. As John indicated, he is a devoted teacher who just happens to be gay. He avoids jeopardizing his profession by not disclosing who he is, in terms of his sexual orientation, at his school. Furthermore, his status of being a teacher for young children inflicts on him an excessive pressure to not divulge his homosexual identity.

-Although there may be a difference between a first grader’s perception of gender roles and that of a twelfth grader, these stereotypes influence how students perceive gender difference and gender roles in our society. Consequently, even young children are capable of recognizing the “uncommon” characteristics of their teachers, which they have deemed to diverge from the established gender stereotypes.

-”When I first started at my school, my name was written in the girls’ and boys’ restroom stating “Mr. XXX is gay.” There have been several incidents where students have spread rumors about me being gay. One student, who I had in 4th grade, came up to me when she was a fifth grader..She said that a couple of her friends had said I was gay. She was so upset they had been talking about me and saying I was gay. I was totally caught off guard. In retrospect, I should have asked her “Well, what about that makes you so upset?” and held a conversation with her about why this was such a terrible thing to her. But I didn’t, due to my shock.”

-I don’t want to out myself like I have said. Some students have even commented on my sexuality. I always have to tell them that I have a boyfriend to shut them up. I laugh now but really I think it is hard to always lie in a place where you care about the people. It is like I am a caricature of someone, but not me.

Surviving in the trenches: A narrative inquiry into queer teachers’ experiences and identity

-”I am not out, nor do I ever talk about my personal life at school with my students or my colleagues. But, I am not the typical man. My kids see me, the real me, when I am teaching. I make weird voices, dance sometimes, I sing at times, and generally can act pretty silly. Not that these behaviours are necessarily “gay”, but what I am trying to say is that I do not hold back natural personality within my classroom in order to fit some gender stereotypes. I use my own voice in my teaching and do no try to come across as more “masculine” to my kids. As an educator who cannot really discuss homosexual topics in class, I try and beat down the barriers of gender stereotyping within my classroom.”





Reflection week 12

A primary issue is clean up time. With my co-op, the students have a more established relationship and understand expectations more clearly. She allots five minutes for clean up. I tried this at first, wanting as much work time as possible, but for me the process became a bit hectic and it was difficult for me to calmly and clearly relay instructions for cleaning up with the older students. They have more energy and more elaborate projects and material lists and thus the cleaning up process is just as much of a process as actually making the work. I gave myself 7 minutes instead of 5 to clean up. It has given me the ability to introduce the clean up process as a step by step process, clearly identifying at which points students be quiet and back in their seats to listen to the next step. If the students have the same clean up process two or three days in a row, I’ll ask students to raise their hands and relay to me what the expectations are rather than just telling them again right out of the gate. This allows me the chance to assess whether or not I was clear, and allow them another mode of retaining and relaying information. 7 minutes has no gotten us to them being silent and ready in line by the time their teacher is at the door, and sometimes fairly well before hand. My goal is that by the time I am done with this group of students next week, we will be back down to five minutes.

I’d say my biggest struggle outside of classroom control and more so with individual students, is with the “tattling grenades”. These students are extremely energetic, loud, unproductive, and highly defensive when anyone else tells me that they are being a bother. Their tattling is often without merit and spurs from them provoking another student. As frustrating as this type of character may be, I can tell that they are usually reaching out. The two in particular who I am thinking of are some of those who most frequently come up to me with what they think to be a silly phrase or with nothing to really say at all. I don’t want to reward their disruptive behavior, but at the same time I don’t want to ignore their needs. The struggle is finding a window in which I can reward them working hard by conversing with them. And if that sort of interaction with them doesn’t necessarily need them to be quiet and behaved in order to happen, how do I do it in a way that makes them realize it isn’t because of their unruly behavior?

Reading response for week 11

How Climate Affects Motivation -Corwin

The quality of the atmosphere and its affect on student’s senses greatly affects the learning enviornment.

How Climate Affects Motivation

Teachers create that sense of safety by setting class norms that include a “no put-downs” policy and by calling everyone by their first name or “name of choice.”


How Climate Affects Motivation

Students want to know that the way you grade their papers today is the same way that you will grade them tomorrow.


How Climate Affects Motivation

Create routines in your classroom and then add novelty to the lessons for flavor.


How Climate Affects Motivation

Such resources include not only books, computers, and materials, but also time and adequate opportunities to practice the learning.


How Climate Affects Motivation

Recognize an emotion as it happens.

How Climate Affects Motivation

If you teach inner-city students whose lives on the street are surrounded by emotions—many of them negative—you will want to teach them some self-management skills.How Climate Affects Motivation

Control of impulsiveness is valued by our society and is often the way in which intelligence is measured.

How Climate Affects Motivation

In order for learning to be considered relevant, it must relate to something the learner already knows. It must activate a learner’s existing neural networks. The more relevance, the greater the meaning.

How Climate Affects Motivation

By making the learning relevant to the students first, the teacher has opened

the way for better understanding by the students. To begin a unit on estimation, a teacher might bring to class a jar of marbles, such as might be part of a contest to guess the number of marbles in the jar for a prize. Begin by asking the students for ideas about how to estimate the number in the jar. By doing this, the teacher has tapped into two very important emotions—curiosity and fun.

Part of the self-system concerns the extent to which a student believes that she or he has the resources or power to change a situation.

How Climate Affects Motivation

Provide opportunities for students to write their own ideas and feelings about the learning through journaling, learning logs, or discussions

Provide an agenda for the day or class so that students know what to expect and have predictability





Reading response for week 10

Signs of Change: Art Education in the Age of the iKid –Kathleen A. Unrath and Melissa A. Mudd


Psychologist and researcher Howard Gardner proposed five types of minds that people would need to develop “if they—we— are to survive in the world during the eras to come” (p. 1). These include the disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical minds, all of which we propose are developed through experiences in the arts.


Pink describes a seismic shift that will force people and businesses alike to capitalize on traditionally right-brained kinds of thinking in order to survive and flourish in the Conceptual Age. The distinctly human qualities of mind that will be essential in this new era cannot be outsourced, and include the senses of design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. “In short,” Pink states, “we’ve progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers.


In order to do so we must take a careful look at both the characteristics that define today’s learners, as well as the characteristics that the students in today’s classroom defy.


The iKids are…

  • Technologically driven
  • “What these young people are doing with electronic media is nothing less than astounding. They are using technologies with dazzling facility, and for a wide variety of purposes: social networking, information seeking, sharing, fun, commerce, self expression, peer teaching, self-directed learning, and social action.
  • Alternatively literate and increasingly multimodal
  • The dynamic technological sources of typography, text, textures, and images form an aesthetic tableau ripe for interpretation. Srikking incidental combinations of words and imagery mirror students’ ability and need to transmediate symbol .systems and process information multi-modally.
  • Media creators as well as participants
  • A bill- board is a dialogue instead of a monologue, much akin to the way students relate to their world today. Often facilitated by technology, learning and knowledge are acquired by doing. The host of techniques in which postings are expressed—from hand-rendered flyers to intricate sérigraphie masterpieces— may be compared to the variety of voices and lenses in which these students experience and interact with the world.
  • Synectic multi-taskers
  • Their fervent quest for new stimulation coupled with access to resources unseen prior to their generation has the potential for increasingly rich and meaningful connections as they engage with their world.
  • Outside of school, students frequently exercise their synectic abilities as they
    toggle back and forth through a variety of texts, imagery, and symbol systems, often combining information from a multitude
    of sources into something new.
  • Connected yet disconnected global citizens
  • Ironically, though the
  • iKids are technologically connected on an unprecedented scale, they are often isolated, and therefore disconnected from human interactions. By focusing on enduring human ideas and broader issues (whether it be on the local, national, or international front) the iKids are poised to become truly global citizens.
  • In need of alternatives to traditional classroom instruction from a high stakes testing environment
  • The arts are essential to balance the black- and-white systems of accountability prevalent in the world of high-stakes testing where the iKids have grown up. As Kohn (2004) points out, “Norm-referenced tests were never intended to measure the quality of learning or teaching” (p. 54). Instead, Kohn and others suggest cultivating opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning

in meaningful ways that do not necessarily include tests.


The arts require students to learn to think through a material in order to facilitate their under- standings and to create new meaning (Eisner, 2004). For example, visual artists explore the possibilities and limitations of a material through thoughtful media play.


We need to use the technology tools, learn the digital dialogue, and understand and better relate to our students.