Comic Strip & Field Blog 3

At Chagrin Falls High School they have implemented a program called Tiger Time. When I attended the high school, Tiger Time took place on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 45 minutes in the morning. Now, it takes place on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. Tiger Time is a section of the day that is given to students to get the help they need. Whether that be going to see a teacher about the class or for students who don’t have a study hall, to be able to get work done during that time. In addition to these two things, Tiger Time also gives the opportunity for students with IEPs (Individual Education Plans) or students who struggling significantly to go to their assigned interventions.

Awhile ago, during my learning circle’s current connection, I shared the article, ““Students With Disabilities Deserve Inclusion. It’s Also the Best Way to Teach” by Hannah Grieco from Education Week (Published May 7, 2019). In this article, it focuses on students with disabilities whether that be physical, mental or learning disabilities. Tiger Time is great because it means that the school is recognizing that there are students who need the extra help. Although it may seem “inconvenient”because Tiger Time means that the rest of classes are shorter throughout the day, students are being included and getting the help that they need. In her article, Grieco states that, “It might be less convenient at first for teachers and students (and parents) to learn about and embrace the disabled student populations at their schools. But there is no inherent right to be free from inconvenience. Perhaps it’s time to look more closely at why we as educators and parents are demanding that to begin with.”

So during Tiger Time during my observation, a student came in named Katie. Katie had been in Mr. D’s geometry class during 2nd period. She studies diligently and participates consistently. She came in to his classroom, with tears almost forming in her eyes, I was extremely concerned. So I asked her what was going on, and she told me that she felt so overwhelmed and was afraid that she hadn’t studied enough for the test. She knew that even though Mr. D. is extremely fair and clear on his tests, that her mind would blank and not know what to do. I told her we could sit and talk and go over as many questions as she’d like. so she would feel prepared and confident for these upcoming assessments. She quickly began to look engaged; however, she told me that she thought that she was wasting my time. I remember feeling the exact same way when I was in high school. And for a lot of time, I didn’t advocate for myself or get. the help I needed because I was afraid that I was being a nuisance. But, now, from a teacher’s perspective, I realize how thankful I am for students like Katie.

I told Katie that she was not wasting my time. That teachers are here to help you, walk with you, encourage you, and make you feel confident. It can be hard to believe for awhile, but it’s so important that students understand that. When we talk about student’s needing to feel heard, that also means helped too. We, as educators, need to do much more than just letting a student be heard, we need to find ways to help that student. The biggest thing: building their confidence. We all know what it’s like to feel nervous for something, even if we thought it was silly. We all know what it feels like to be pushing yourself constantly, but still feeling like you never measure up. Kids feel the same way. Even the kids that feel the most confident, have moments where they feel like they’re nothing. We need to recognize this and help them. Mr. D. always had this phrase he would tell me before a test, and sometimes, would even write it on my tests. HUMBLE CONFIDENCE. Basically, this means that be confident in yourself where you know you can do it, but still humble. Know that you’re not better than anyone, but also know that you are capable.

This was a great experience.

Comic Strip & Field Blog #2

On the day of the team test, Mr. D and I were discussing the different scenarios we would see throughout the day. I remember discussing in class the pressures of testing on students and especially when it comes to second-guessing themselves. So I created a goal for myself, any students that were nervous or struggling, I would want to build confidence in them. I would want them to feel okay with the fact that they may be nervous, but instill in their minds that they are capable, hard-working students.

With team tests, this is the perfect opportunity to watch students build each other up. While these tests also prepare students for state testing, it’s really important that they can work together as a team. I remember one of Mr. D’s students, named Grace. She came up to me while her group was working on the test, and told me that they were having a really hard time finding an angle in the diagram. I walked over to her table and I saw that there were a lot of missing parts. I had talked to Mr. D earlier about what to do if a table or a student asks a question and he replied: challenge them. So I asked her questions about this question. I wanted to see what she knew so that she would realize that she knew this and that she could do this. I made her think about. the relationships between the angles she did have and the ones that were missing, as well as thinking about the vocabulary we learned about angle relationships. I noticed that given this, her and her group took off. They were able to think more clearly, which made them more calm, and in the end, helping them succeed.

By the end of the day, I had helped Mr. D grade all of the team tests. The. scores were very high, with the team’s lowest score at an 87% which I was very impressed by. However, it made me start to think about standardized testing and why schools do it general, especially with math. Math is one of the main subjects that states test on and it creates immense pressure for students and teachers. Individualized tests and team tests can work together to overcome those standardized tests. I believe that putting students in a system where they are compared to other students across the state is not fair. State testing does not keep in mind the difference in teachers, teachings, funding, how far they get into the curriculum, or students who struggle with disabilities. The New teacher Book addresses the thought that standardized testing isn’t the best option. In the chapter, Beyond the Test Scores by James Noonan, he notes, “At the classroom level, teacher-designed and curriculum embedded performance assessments offer teachers a more nuanced and authentic way to assess student learning, that could over time replace standardized testing” (Noonan 243).

Watching those students work together, work through each and every problem as a team, reminded me that there is so much to testing than just “testing for content”. It’s also about goals that you set for yourself or for your team. It means growth and watching a student progress and supporting them the entire way. It’s crucial that we teach that first. That students are more than just a grade, but that they are human, that they have purpose, goals, dreams, and that they are all different and that should be celebrated.

Current Connections Blog

The reading that our learning circle focused on was three sections at the end of chapter 3. These sections were, Inclusivity is Not a Guessing Game, “I Believe You,” and On Behalf of Their Name. All three of these sections had a main theme: Including students in the classroom. Let them be heard. Let them feel wanted. Let them feel cared for. Let them feel human. To being with, Inclusivity is Not a Guessing Game by Chelsea Vaught, explores the issue of inclusion in the classroom. Specifically, how teachers acknowledge or treat diverse students (whether that is from religion, disability, or race). Students need to feel acknowledged by their teachers, especially when it comes to their identity, traits that make them who they are. The article I chose that talks about inclusivity in the classroom was, “Students With Disabilities Deserve Inclusion. It’s Also the Best Way to Teach” by Hannah Grieco from Education Week (Published May 7, 2019). This article focused on the issue of how teachers meet the needs of their students with different learning disabilities as well as working with the other students in their classrooms. This is so crucial for any level of education. Teachers find themselves juggling giving the right amount of attention to ALL their students, including the ones that are struggling a little bit more than others. It can be difficult for many students, who have a difficult learning pace, to feel excluded or incredibly different from the rest of their peers. On the contrary, many parents get frustrated that their child isn’t getting all the attention they need because of students who are struggling. So where is the balance? The bottom line is this: every student deserves to have the. chance to succeed. Not meeting that need, is not being a true educator. A true educator will make sure that what some may call a “little convenience” is actually empathy and perseverance. We, as teachers, have to give more to our students than just our bare minimum. We need to pour ourselves into them, and make sure that they understand that they have value. Along with making students feel valued, students need to be trusted. The section, “I Believe You” is so important to the environment of the classroom and the relationship between students and teachers. Not only letting students feel heard, they need to feel like we believe them, that we believe in them. Install trust at a young age, even when it is difficult. Teach them that they can trust you and that you can trust them. Make them feel like they can come to you, as their teacher, and tell them when something is wrong. It might be hard in the beginning, to determine whether or not a student is telling the truth, but the best way to do this is let them talk. Let them share, and then help find the root of the issue, whatever it may be. Connecting this with the idea of inclusivity, this is why it is so important to hear everyone’s perspective, whether you think they are right or wrong. Lastly, the section, On Behalf of Their Name, allows students to be confident in their identity, and feel respected in the classroom. It is hard for students to learn in a hostile environment, especially harassment because of the pronouns that they use. High school is the time that students are trying to find where they belong. They need to feel that they have a safe place to be themselves. Tying all of this together, students will thrive when they feel heard, wanted, included, and respected.

Field Blog #1 (Thurs. 10/14)

When the opportunity came to complete ten field hours for this semester, I found myself struggling to figure out where I wanted to observe. As an early childhood education major, it is important that we see all the different subjects as we will most likely be teaching all subjects besides art, music, P.E., etc. However, I still would love to pursue teaching just math specifically someday. Because of that, I chose to observe my former algebra 1 and honors geometry teacher, Michael DiGeronimo, at Chagrin Falls High School. Mr. DiGeronimo graduated in 2014 from John Carroll University with a mathematics degree. After that, he taught for two years at Benedictine, and now five years at Chagrin Falls High School. He has taught algebra 1, geometry (both honors and regular), and probability and statistics here at Chagrin. This year, however, he currently only teaches honors and regular geometry. His class structure is heavily based on different learning methods to help grow his students academically.

Thursday:

  • Students work on end of chapter assignments called Closure Packets
  • Closure packets help student prepare for assessments (almost identical to the actual test)
  • The day before the test, students are given the entire class period to ask questions, do more practice problems, or what ever they need from the Closure Packet.
  • Students worked on different problems relating to the ones that would be on the assessment.
  • Students learned different ways to look at problems that may seem complicated.

As we have discussed in Education 100, the way we seat students is crucial to how they will perform in the classroom. Mr. D’s classroom is a very collaborative style. Students are put into groups of 3 or 4 and they work with that team for the entire chapter. Students work on different problems together during class and then prepare for a team test at the end of the chapter.

Most of the classes were pretty thorough, going through the closure packet and answering any question. His 6th period class was the class that had the most difficulties. Many of the students within that class have IEPs (Individual Education Plans). This required an intervention specialist and a special needs specialist (one of the students has a disability). It was hard to be patient going through each problem with every student, but we did it! We helped the students feel confident and prepar4ed for their upcoming tests!

Learning Experience (LC 1)

On Tuesday, September 28, my learning circle had the opportunity of leading an engaging discussion about this week’s reading. The reading was split into four sections: Uncovering the Lesson of Classroom Furniture, Getting Your Classroom Together, 12 Suggestions for New Teachers, and How I survived My First Year.

I believe that Uncovering the Lesson of Classroom Furniture and Getting Your Classroom Together are intertwined together as the overall environment. of the class. One key idea in both of these chapters was the importance of keeping in mind the students’ needs within a classroom atmosphere. This is such a crucial idea when putting together any kind of classroom. You want a classroom to be welcoming, which is why you are decorating in the first place, but at the same time, you want it to meet the needs of students emotionally and academically. At the lower levels, things like organized shelves and containers with art supplies help students access what they need efficiently. At the middle and adolescent levels, making sure students know where to turn in their work, find missing work, etc. is also crucial in helping the succeed academically. Then, at all levels there is the importance of seating. There is ineffective and effective seating. For example, rows and columns may be productive for individual work and testing, but ineffective for collaborating, and socializing. Clusters and pairs are great for collaborating in small groups. Horseshoes, or “U” shaped desk arrangements are great for discussions. Open space in the middle is great for the younger levels who may need to sit on the floor. These two chapters really come from the perspective of, “What is everything that I need to think about when creating an environment for my students?” They help you understand the deeper meaning behind just “decorating,” it’s meeting the needs of your students and you!

12 Suggestions for New Teachers and How I Survived My First Year seem to also be connected because some of the ways to survive the first year is by implementing the suggestions. The suggestions are as follows: mutual respect (give respect, get respect), focus on social justice, minimal rules (and be transparent, curriculum connection, reaching out, foster confidence, home language (work with all languages to the best of your ability), minimal lecture, engaging activities, beyond classroom connection, meaningful and applicable lessons, and lastly, a calm approach. All twelve of these suggestions for a. new teacher are crucial to surviving the difficulty of being an educator. The top three main ideas that were discussed in the class were respect, reaching out, and meaningful and applicable lessons. In How I Survived My First Year, it is strongly encouraged that new and old teachers build a community with one another, to create some sort of support system, which I believe is absolutely beneficial to a productive teaching career. Learning to love the job and the students can be difficult at times, but absolutely worth it.

Within in class we had one main activity and multiple discussions among small groups. The main activity happened right after I spoke a little bit about Getting Your Classroom Together. Basically, I asked students to each take out a piece of paper and create a general sketch of what their ideal classroom would like. I asked them to think about the seating, where the desks were faced, where the decorations would go, and if they had some sort of class pet or not. While walking around, I noticed a lot of cluster, pairs, and horseshoe desk arrangements. The mini discussions were revolved around these questions: What makes you most comfortable in a classroom, Why does it matter what your classroom looks like, How does staying organized help the environment of your classroom? Which of these 12 suggestions stands out most to you? Why is it important to under that things in your classroom will not always go according to plan? Overall, the class discussion was great and I loved seeing students be interactive and willing to share their thoughts.

I helped create the presentation and creating an overall engaging lesson without it becoming too much of a lecture. During the learning experience, my responsibility was to teach about Getting Your Classroom Ready, I thought I did a good job of engaging the students and having them discuss certain points. All of my references are from The New Teacher Book.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Om3xFoLP8yEl-WTKwqBIRZPI4HxDpoW5Lyt06fLihrs/edit?usp=sharing

Introduction Blog

Hi! My name is Alison (Ali) Brown (she/her/hers) and I am a middle childhood education major with a concentration in math and English; however, I might change to early childhood with the new licensure being P-5. I am really outgoing and I love discussing education and the impact educators have on their students.

I like talking about the difficult things and the struggles so many students face so that we learn how to help them more. I am an online tutor for students K-12, specifically in math subjects like pre-algebra, algebra 1, geometry and elementary math, as well as elementary reading & writing.

My favorite book is The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. The book follows to do men named Wes Moore. One is extremely successful and one is in prison for the majority of his life. Both grew up in a similar neighborhood, both had no fathers and both had no chance of success in anyone’s eyes. Yet, both are in two different places. Wes Moore, the author, states, “Failing doesn’t make us a failure. But not trying to do better, to be better, does make us fools.” It’s so important to realize that failure doesn’t define you, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying either. I learn best through talking and hearing other people’s opinions while maintaining my own and hearing all different and unique perspectives.

One of my favorite memories, as a student, would be in fourth grade and we had something called the Math Hall of Fame and it was super difficult to get into and no girls had ever gotten into it. Well, I worked really hard, and became the first girl to be in the Math Hall of Fame and that’s when I started to really love math.