Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blog Post #11

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From These Teachers?

From watching the videos we were assigned, I learned a number of useful tips for teaching and about how students learn and how we, as future teachers, learn. 

Kids at work

The first video was titled Back To The Future by Brian Crosby from Agnes Risley Elementary School in Sparks, Nevada. This was a very interesting video and was inspiring to watch how Mr. Crosby taught groups of kids that were poverty stricken and most of who did not know English very well. He taught them through Project Based Learning and some of the projects he did with them are honestly, very awesome. I'm sure there is a better word for the projects but I can see why the kids enjoyed them so much and the kids really did learn from them. Through the projects that Mr. Crosby did with his kids, they are "empowering students to become learners." It is important for students that suffer from poverty and especially students who are learning English to be engaged when they are learning and to be active learners because those are the students that are at risk for falling behind. As teachers, we need to work with our students' weaknesses and strengthen them in a way that they actually WANT to learn. We need to get our students engaged and help them become and want to become active learners. 
By having students become active learners means that they are able to learn on there own. Mr. Crosby empowers his students to want to learn on their own by using collaboration, motivation, connecting them with people around the world, and helping them be active learners.
"We can't keep racing kids through school"- Mr. Crosby
Mr. Crosby had a little girl registered in his class that had Leukemia and he was told he would never see her. But instead of just sending her work and objectives, he included her in his classroom via video chat every day to include her so she could be a part of the classroom like everyone else. I think every teacher should look up to Mr. Crosby as a role model because of his teaching methods, his involvement with his students, and drive to make students more active learners. 

The next video was titled Blended Learning Cycle by Mr. Paul Anderson from Bozeman, Montana. In this video, Paul Anderson shared with us an acronym for how he teaches his class. His acronym is:
Question; or the "hook" in learning. Something that really gets the students' attention
Investigation/Inquiry; you want them to investigate 
Video; it frees him to do other things and keeps from just doing a generic lecture
Elaboration; you could give them reading on the subject, diagrams, details, the importance of it
Review; meet individually or with small groups to grasp their understanding
Summary quiz; after they meet with Mr. Anderson on the subject and he feels like the student really has an understanding of the subject, they can take the summary quiz a couple of times over to check for themselves to see what they know and still need help on. If they don't really get it, they have to go back. At the end they have a paper to pen test to show what they know. 
When he meets with his students individually, he asks probing questions to really make sure the students' understand the concepts of what they are learning and not just memorizing facts. The kids also are grading themselves for everything they are doing except for the actual quiz and test at the end. I think this method of teaching is really helpful for science because that is where the most investigation comes in. I also think that having the students self-reflect on what they are doing is a very positive thing for them to do because they have to be self-aware to know what they still need help on and to go back and learn. 

The next video was Making Thinking Visible. In this video, Mark Church is having his students come up with a news headline on what they know about the human origin based on what they learned from a video they watched in class. The video shows how the students collaborated in groups to figure out a headline and I think watching the students' voice their thought process on the whole thing is really intriguing to watch. You see that the students all have a different perspective on what the headline should be based on their ancestry. Once they made their headlines, they continued to work on that unit for a couple of weeks and he made them write out another headline to see how their perspectives have changed. I think that is a great example to show the kids how much they can learn in a short amount of time because I think everyone likes to see positive self-progression. 

The next video was Sam Pane 4th grade and it is a video about how to be a "Super Digital Citizen." He is basically teaching his students how to use the internet safely. He engages his students by allowing them to discuss questions with each other then calling on certain people to share their answer with everyone else, he asks open ended questions, and he opened his discussion with a quote from Spider Man. Mr. Pane discussed with his students some of the things you should not do on the internet (like sharing personal information, hacking, etc.) and told them to make a digital superhero to stop the problems happening on the internet. This gave the students time to be creative in making their Super Digital Citizen on a safe website. To bring in language and writing standards, they made a comic starring themselves making a not-so-safe move on the internet and the Super Digital Citizen saves the day and shows them how to make good internet choices. They then go on what is called a "Gallery Walk" where they went around the room and saw everyone's comic. One kid in the video even said some of the comics could inspire you to stop and think before you do something on the internet. If you think about 4th graders inspiring each other with comics they made in class, that should inspire all of us to be better teachers to get the students as engaged as these students were!
Some ELA Takeaways:
1. Write narrative to develop imagined experiences or events
2. Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to text
3. Ask and answer questions

inner superhero

The last video was about Project Based Learning. I learned that by using PBL, students are more engaged and have a deeper understanding. The video shows how three teachers approached their administration and showed them how beneficial it would be to combine English, History, and Literature to have more time with their students, do greater projects, and involve all three subjects. The way that these three teachers are combining their knowledge to teach the students helps the students' learn the curriculum and also learn things outside of the curriculum such as problems in their community, how to be better citizens, about volunteering, and about word problems that they never would have been able to learn in the normal 1 hour class. 


  1. Hey Tori, I also really enjoyedthe first video. It actually really touchedme because I would love to do something similar to what he did. This blog post was very interesting to read and very thoughtful.