Reflection on Classroom Climate

In order to teach effectively there must be diligent effort put forth into creating a positive climate within the classroom. There is an enormous amount of research dedicated on how to create this type of positive environment that revolves around the same reoccurring themes. In the book The Art and Science of Teaching by Robert Marzano, he refers to multiple actions, supported by many other academics, that will aid in this endeavour.

The most important action is “know your students”. This provides the solid foundation on which everything is dependent upon. In the article, Four Ways Teachers Can Show They Care by Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D., she touches upon this very same fact as Marzano. Knowing your students interests can be a very valuable asset when it comes to designating group project topics. Profiles are a great way of obtaining this type of information and getting them to do this digitally on a platform that all the students in the class can see will also benefit with class cohesion as well as aiding in your student familiarization. This is something the teacher should participate in as well; create your profile so your students become familiar with you as well. There are many programs out there that are perfect for this exercise such as glog, and piktochart.

You also need to show some type of affection for your students. This can be done in many ways. In the videos previously viewed for this activity we watched how certain strategies such as “peace keepers” and “allies” can be a valuable way to show that not only do we care as teachers but as a class as a whole. (Smart Hearts – Social & Emotional Learning Overview, Change Attitudes Toward Bullying: Be an Ally) The ally strategy included both teacher and students in resolving classroom disputes. It went as far as creating contracts and check-ups to see if the allies were behaving accordingly. This is a strategy I have not used but am very interested in implementing within my classroom. Communication is such an important element in this process and the time being spent with these resolutions will not only show that you do care but provide a basis to create the team/family environment.

Marzano also talks about how a teacher’s physical behaviour can help aid in a positive climate. When talking to a student it is important to show them that you care, and this can be achieved by looking them in the eye when you speak, being enthusiastic about what they are talking about, show you are interested, and show them you have emotion. He also talks about how humour can play a big role in adding to a positive climate. One tip, I found interesting for those days you are not feeling great, Marzano stated was to, “keep a book of jokes or cartoons handy and read something funny at the beginning of class.” (p. 158) This is a great way to start the class and have that positive energy right from the beginning. Also, don’t be afraid to become animated within the class, with lower grade levels this can be an extremely valuable technique in creating a positive atmosphere.

One of Marzano’s most unique points that he offered was how to be “emotionally objective” (p.159). This was something I really took to heart because we have to, as teachers, take into consideration what other circumstances might be at play that are causing a student to behave in the manner that they are. We don’t know what happened the night before and we should not judge their behaviour solely on the environment in the classroom. This is a great way to show students that you do in fact care. He also talked about maintaining a “cool exterior” (p. 160) and this is a situation where I believe it is most applicable. Take a moment to ask a student if everything is ok, try to find the root on why this student is acting the way he is. Always maintain a concerned and cool exterior to provide the student with a safe and stable person in which he can truthfully express himself.

These are some great ways to show concern and caring within the classroom. It is a matter of using these techniques and strategies on an everyday basis to increase your effectiveness as a teacher. No class will be the same and neither will any student.

 

Resources

The Art and Science of Teaching by Robert Marzano

Four Ways Teachers Can Show They Care by Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D

Smart Hearts – Social & Emotional Learning Overview

Change Attitudes Toward Bullying: Be an Ally

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Teacher Questionaire

 

 

Questionnaire

 

  1. In your teaching career, what are the different softwares you had to work with? Which one did you find more apt and for teaching and why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Do you encourage your students for computer based activities and how do you guide them through it? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Is the time spent on the tool worth it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. How does using the technology add to what the teacher or students can

do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Is access to supported technology available at your school?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Would you use professional development or instructional support to implement technology integration?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Are there incentives in place at your school to ensure teachers receive appropriate training?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What best describes your current practice of using technology in instruction?

 

 Please choose *only one* of the following:

a) seldom use technology to deliver instruction

b) almost exclusively use whole group presentation style either using an interactiveWhiteboard, PowerPoint or other instructional software to explain or demonstrate concepts or instruction

c) often use whole group presentation style, but sometimes facilitate students in their use of a variety of information resources and hands-on activities

d) almost exclusively facilitate student learning by encouraging students to use informationresources and hands-on activities.

 

 

  1. How can technology help us to meet goals, engage learners, and differentiate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.theconsultants-e.com/ourblog/blog/2012/Integrating_Technology_8_Key_Questions.aspx

http://sdexter.net/Vitae/papers/etips.pdf

http://www.wmich.edu/evalctr/archive_checklists/institutionalizationoftech.pdf

file:///C:/Users/%ED%83%9C%EA%B0%95/Downloads/Technology%20Instructional%20Practices%20Survey%20Questions%20Compliant.pdf

 

How to keep equal participation within a group project setting

 

Brief description of an engaging group project.

l  There will be a topic given with designated affirmative and negative teams. Each team will work in pairs that will be assigned by the group leader who will also be responsible for creating a list that will have each pair’s name along with corresponding point. Final product will be a presentation using prezi or ppt. (equal participation is a must when it comes to speaking time). Collaboration and feedback must also be used via the team group chat created on their mobile devices. Research may be done during class using set devices.

Techniques to ensure equal participation within a group project setting.

  • There must be suited roles for each student. This is the tough part; you must make the partners strengths equal within the group. This is where discussion and communication will be stressed at its highest point.
  •  Having the team work in pairs will make it more difficult for shirkers (unproductive students) to go unnoticed.  Small groups within the team help with equal participation.
  • Inform the team that shirkers will be up to the group to handle.
  • Have an internal check mechanism that allows the students to vote out shirkers. Once they have been voted out the must persuade the group to let them back in or find another group. If this does not work the will receive a failing grade.
  • Have an annonomys assessment on partner and team effort, and a regular peer assessment. These must be very carefully designed.

Some guidelines for effective assessment planning

  • Make sure that what is being assessed is solid and outcome-based. (e.g. timeliness of contribution, attendance at meetings, contributions were relevant and the student met their objectives)
  • It is not appropriate to assess things like how hard an individual worked.
  • Assessments should be guided by well thought out questions.
  • Assessments should include justification for the score given.

 

Having a well-designed rubric that emphasises equal participation is very important as well.

  • Proper care must also be taken in this area.

 

Resources

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC8QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pf.jcu.cz%2Fstru%2Fkatedry%2Faj%2Fimg%2Fmajz4%2Fmajz4-group_work.pps&ei=-qXLU7WJJ8_j8AXYtoHYAg&usg=AFQjCNEwT6hCjOG-XSfcNRZ9hElhw_sTmQ&sig2=4DC4pESmTRAfmYcLPElUag

 

http://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/taga/resources/ProjectManagementGroupWork.pdf

 

http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/html/icb.topic58474/wigintro.html

 

 

equalparticipation

Instructional Goals for Selecting Digital Tools

Instructional Goals for Selecting Digital Tools

 

Everybody knows how technology has exploded over the past few decades and how it has become a part of our everyday lives. Technology is everywhere and more importantly it has become an option for teachers to use in their classrooms. This must be done effectively; this is the key to the future of teaching as we know it.

To select proper digital tools for effective teaching methods we must understand what is to be learned in that specific class and to do this we must use instructional objectives. Instructional objectives have a few different call signs and they go as follows: performance objectives, behavior objectives, and just plain objectives. Instructional objectives are precise and they leave no questions to be asked about what is expected during the class. They are outcome based which means they rely on what the student can perform after the set class and they are measurable, either through seen, heard, or written assessments.

Having proper objectives will guide the class so guess work is left out of the equation. Proper objective selection will be the basis for what types of digital tools will work and what ones will not.

This is the key to using digital tools properly; we must not use tools that are not parallel with the objectives. We have to first take into consideration the students themselves, how old are they and how proficient are they with using current technologies. Good judgment in this area will only come with experience, we must fail to succeed. We also have to take into consideration the condition of the classroom; what are the limitations. Finally, we need to decide on what degree of accuracy we want the class to obtain; this has to be carefully considered.

Objectives are crucial for using technology in the classroom. First we must become fluent with objective selection and creation before we can even consider using technology as an aid. We then must become familiar with the technology we wish to implement. This will take practice and familiarity is a must, time is crucial during class and students do not respond well to instructors that cannot demonstrate properly.

This will take effort, but the effort will be paid back with interest. Time and money will be saved when tools are used effectively, and most importantly students will become familiar with technologies that will be used in their futures. The main goal of using digital tools is to bring fairness and equality to the classroom. There are objective designs out there that have made incredible leaps in this area and Khans is a great example of this. The future of teaching has become very exciting.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

 

http://tcubillosc.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/instructional-objectives-determine-selection-of-tools/

http://edtech2.tennessee.edu/projects/bobannon/objectives.html