Here is a poster I made motivating students. The main question is: Why do you go to school?
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
In this reflection I will talk about a strategy we are using with my mother to help my niece and nephew; this taking into account what we saw in class about behavior management techniques, positive discipline, assertive discipline, circles, and restorative practices. What I have learned in the specialization; strategies, systems, approaches, among many others, have given me tools that can be used in different circumstances and opportunities. My role as uncle has some responsibilities that I have assumed and the use of these tools will help me become more effective in giving them the skills I believe they need to have a successful life.
My mother and I, that have worked with them always the values and principles, observed something about two of my nephews (a boy that is 4 years old and a girl that is 5 years old). What we observed is that we needed to reinforce some positive behaviors, with the girl especially regarding honesty and with the boy empathy. That’s why my mother had the idea to, once a week, give them a short class on principles and values, so they can continue forming their own moral code. This is an idea we are beginning to implement, and I thought it would be great to use what I’ve learn about teaching so that this experience becomes more meaningful for them.
The first thing I thought about was the importance of their involvement in the process, so they can see they have power to decide about their own learning, also their ideas will help us guide them. This will be carried out by giving them choices about the activities we’re going to use, their ideas are very important and will be taken into account. Another part of their involvement would be in the building of the rules and consequences, where they will be able to give their opinion. A great way to do this is through the use of the circles, where we discuss and arrive to the list of rules (5 to 7) and consequences, which we will post on the wall.
Then I thought about how to reinforce those positive behaviors, and teach them principles and values; with my mother we decided we will use different strategies for this. It will be through the use of the four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Some examples of these strategies are the role plays, hands-on activities, reading, teaching through the proper use of technology, among others. We must also understand that we have to work first on those skills (which we have been doing since long ago); which means we are working on being good role models, being consistent, being calm and brief, prioritize, having reasonable expectations and sharing them with the kids, praising, and reminding them we love them.
This experience will be very relevant for the kids and for us, and will help me a lot with my teaching experience. All this will help me in my personal growth, I know I will continue improving and finding more tools that will help me be more efficient in teaching my nieces and nephews, and my students, the skills they will need in their lives.
In this reflection I will talk about one of the purposes of the educational process, guidance; this taking into account what we saw in class about Marzano’s guidelines, golden moments, the reading on wisdom and ethics, and the presentations on Stephen Covey. It’s important for teachers to understand that their role in the educational process of students, besides teaching them knowledge, is to guide them and provide the necessary tools for a successful life; if we achieve this goal the students will in turn become guides also.
The world today requires other types of skills from teachers different to those needed in the past. In the era of information in which we are now teachers should assume the role of guides and that way, through the example and the tools given to the students, they will learn what they need to guide others also. One characteristic of a teacher as a guide is the understanding that we should not give the answers to our students; we should guide them so they can find their own answers. This is harder than it sounds, because our students will need to learn to think and make decisions on their own, regarding for example sources of information and who to trust.
Another characteristic of a teacher as a guide comes from the relationships we build with our students; through this process, that involves the teaching of rules and consequences, routines, procedures, among others, they will find out that we can be trusted to be their guides. This is related to feeling safe in our classroom, something that they can apply in their own life as adults, for example with their own children.
The role of guide of the teacher also means we will teach them the social and emotional skills they will need in their life. To achieve this we should first work on ourselves and then transmit that wisdom to our students, helping them build their own moral code, also helping them choose from the skills we taught them the ones they will use in their daily life. Golden moments are also very important in this process, because we open to them and show them we are human, we have feelings, and also show them how we work out our problems.
The educational process lasts our entire life, but with what students learn from our teachings at school, they will be able to become guides also. They will need those skills when they become parents, in their profession, in their life as a couple, and even more if they want to become teachers like us. This is where the successful adults of the future will come from, adults with emotional intelligence, capable of having meaningful relationships and trustworthy.
In this reflection I will talk about a strategy that will help teachers with classroom management by teaching rules of moral behavior; this taking into account what we saw in class about routines, and rules and limits and how to set them. One of the most important things to take into account in classroom management is the setting of rules, something that has to be done together with your students; however, there are other types or rules that can help our classes, the precepts, which are quotes and mottos that can motivate and guide our students when they have to make decisions.
The use of precepts can be a very useful strategy when teaching about behavior rules and it can help guide your students when they have to make moral decisions, it is also important for classroom management if you turn this into a class routine; here is a way you can do it. At the beginning of each month you can write on the board two (or three) precepts you have chosen based on the topic you’re seeing in class (specially in social studies) or based on something that occurs in that month (mother’s day, Valentine’s day, or other). Then with your students you plan activities where they get to choose one of the precepts. That precept will be taught in different ways to the students throughout the month, it’s very important to include different activities that incorporate the four language skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking.
An example of how to do it can be the following: the first class you have in the month of May you write your three precepts with reference to mothers, then you use a type of voting method so your students will choose one of them, for example the Condorcet method (change each month of voting method). When the precept has been chosen you can plan activities (it’s important that your students contribute with the planning) during the month to teach them the precept, for example you read a poem that relates to it, show them a video, plan an activity where they have to act a moral situation, and finally they can write a short story which includes a reflection about the precept. Then, the next month you plan with them for new precepts and new activities.
The precept routine can be a very important part of your class, it will help you in your classroom management and it will guide your students in their daily lives, help them become conscientious persons. It has also the ingredient of novelty in different stages; for example when they see the precepts at the beginning of the month, in the way they choose them, and the activities regarding how they will learn them. One example of a great precept is “The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday”.
In this reflection I will talk about a way in which you can achieve the four items of a successful classroom: relationships, magic, whatever it takes, and dreams; this taking into account what we saw in class about the teacher of the year and what she said about the key elements in her class, and the readings and presentations about them. Showing you care is very important for the students and for you as a teacher in your classroom, this is a big step to have a successful classroom. It is something that requires a lot of effort and different characteristics from you; e.g. being constant, honest, and resourceful, among others. To show you care you have to observe your students and get to know them, but also they need to get to know themselves.
The strategy to build relationships where you get to know your students at the beginning of the school year through questions is very important, but with other ingredients it will not only give truthful information about them, but it can give them information about themselves. Relationships are built with time, so it’s a misconception to think the students will give you all the information you need in the first day, week, or month; you as teacher need to do more. The reasons may vary, for example they don’t know themselves well enough yet, they don’t trust you from the beginning, and/or simply they are not ready to share information about themselves. This is why some of the information about your students can be gathered from the first day and some other you have to work harder to obtain it (advice: choose your questions carefully).
A good way to gather this information could be through the self-discovery process they will live through your class. If you apply strategies in which they collect information about themselves you will also be able to observe them and get deeper and better details that will help you create and manage a successful classroom. One example of a self-discovery strategy is to show them progress in their educational process, use your lessons to help them have opinions and make decisions for themselves. You can begin your lesson with a question about the topic that involves decision making before you give them the new information, the lesson will be the way to guide them and help them arrive to their own well-founded answer of the question with which you began the lesson. Then it’s important that they can see, through for example progress maps, how they have progressed in their answer, not necessarily because they changed it, but because it’s better structured, founded, and based on what they realized about themselves through your lesson (using the GANAG+SIOP will make this easier).
Later on the year you can repeat the questions you gave them at the beginning of the school year and let them compare their answers with the first ones they gave. They will see some answers that are the same, but they will find that others changed because they know more about themselves, they trust you more, and they are willing to share more now. With this information and the one you have been collecting as a teacher it will be easier to create honest and lasting relationships, bring magic to your classes through their real interests, do whatever it takes to help your students now that you know them better, and use their real dreams as inspiration, given that this dreams are more accurate regarding what they really want.
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
In this reflection I will talk about how teachers should work in the why and how of a lesson when planning, and making things understandable for students is a bridge that could help; this taking into account my lesson plan and its implementation and the one of my classmates. A teacher should understand the deep meaning of the topic they are presenting and how students can they use it in their lives (the why), and use all of the tools they deem necessary to make this topic and its meaning understandable for the students (the how); the tools include multimedia, activities, acting, among many others.
Sometimes the teacher get distracted on how to implement a lesson plan and forget why they are carrying out that plan, or concentrates on the why but neglects the how; this is why it is very important to achieve a balance between the why and the how. In my lesson plan I used many of the tools learned in the Bilingual Education class, and took into account the SIOP model features and many of the activities proposed for each SIOP item (the how). The plan was based on the comprehensible input topic we saw in the class, where I wanted, through different activities, to make abstract and controversial, but very important concepts, clear for them (the why). Also, the students would learn to make founded decisions based on understanding instead of judging; to achieve this they would carry out different activities following a sequence that would lead them there. I wanted to show them their progress, letting them know they can understand and have opinions about many topics, with the necessary tools.
From the why to the how there is a huge gap, we could see it as a cliff and as we saw in this class there are ways to build bridges that help us get from one side to the other, as the bridges we help them build by planning for their language needs. The bridges from the why to the how can be built by using the different SIOP features in the planning; the content and language objectives, and the comprehensible input item, are examples of bridges that if you use correctly will help us connect the why and how of your lesson. In my lesson, I had difficulties between the why and the how that were worked throughout the lesson, where the comprehensible input was the bridge that I used to achieve the connection. Another very important thing is the planning of time, which in my case was something that made difficult that connection. However, with practice and the use of all the tools learned we can be able to carry out lessons that have the mentioned balance.
Watching the lessons of my classmates and taking into account mine, we can see very different methods and styles of teaching; each of them can be successful if they balance the why and how using what we learned in the Bilingual Education class, particularly on the SIOP model. These SIOP tools that we use we can also teach them to our students along with self-knowledge for them to use in their daily lives; for example, by teaching them to connect concepts with their background experiences, or if they learn about the importance of practice and application. I learned a lot from this Bilingual Education class, and with continued practice I will be able to apply it to my teaching career.