Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Joplin Globe All-Area Academic Team

Last Thursday I had the honor of attending Joplin Globe's All-Area Academic Team Honor Banquet in Joplin. The night was replete with teachers and students explaining how their relationships helped the students succeed. It was especially wonderful for me to be there because my daughter, Teal, was one of the students selected. Here is a link to the Joplin Globe article.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mad Skillz

Macy went to Honduras and took some pictures while on a mission trip. I made an animoto video for her and then we created a voicethread. I am pleased that I can take something I have learned for use in my class and to help a student create something online.

I particularly like voicethread because it can be so personal and so shareable at the same time.

Reflections on My Student's Blogs Part 2

I have been having my students use their blogs to write fiction stories that coincide with the reading stories from our text. I have been very pleased with some; discouraged by others. I am afraid that once the newness wears off, the joy of writing on the blog will diminish. I have no reason to change this opinion, but I do know that one of my students actually seems to embrace writing on the web. Not only is his volume continuing to increase, but his quality gets better as well.

I keep telling myself, I only have to reach one. Maybe it is him.

Visual Learning

The faculty of our school have been going over the book Classroom Instruction that Works. When I read the chapter on nonlinguistic representation I thought that this would be something I would need to make an emphasis in my classroom. Basically, nonlinguistic representation means using graphic organizers, physical models, pictures, etc. when lecturing or note taking.

I assumed that this style of teaching would really impact the boys in my classroom. I assumed that the girls in my class would be more verbal learners and the boys more tactile or visual.

I decided that I would do a learning styles survey of my students to determine what their learning styles were. I had them take the Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire created for North Carolina State's incoming freshman. I had to explain several of the questions to my fifth graders so it took a couple periods to get each class through.

I was really surprised by one of the results that I got back. More than 80% of my students identified themselves in the visual learning style category. (I realize that this is just one test and that the students have to be willing to be honest and think critically before answering the questions, but this is still an overwhelming majority.)

Now I have to ask myself, what do I do with this information? I know that these students have a need that I need to address. I have come up with a few things I can do to help them. I can use more visuals (duh!). I can use colors with my words to separate different topics or ideas. I can create visuals that complement what I say or what they read. I can encourage them to create their own notes using graphic organizers instead of just formal notes.