Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thoughts on standardized testing 1/29

- thinking that brings together information focussed on solving a problem (especially solving problems that have a single correct solution)

divergent thinking - (Psychology) Psychol thinking in an unusual and unstereotyped way, e.g. to generate several possible solutions to a problem 

In my opinion, standardized testing only tests a students ability to think convergently. After reading the above definitions, does this seem like the way we want out future students to think? Convergent thinking and standardized testing alike, leave no room for students to think "outside of the box". Thinking outside of the box is important for all aspects of education and life (again, in my opinion). I don't feel like standardized tests are a fair way to judge students knowledge base. Here are some fun facts generated by 
  1. Following the passage of NCLB on Jan. 8, 2002, annual state spending on standardized tests rose from $423 million to almost $1.1 billion in 2008 (a 160% increase compared to a 19.22% increase in inflation over the same period), according to the Pew Center on the States. [42]
  2. 93% of studies have found student testing, including the use of large-scale and high-stakes standardized tests, to have a "positive effect" on student achievement, according to a peer-reviewed, 100-year analysis of testing research completed in 2011 by testing scholar Richard P. Phelps. [138]
  3. On Mar. 14, 2002, the Sacramento Bee reported that "test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it." [8]
  4. China, a country with a long tradition of standardized testing, topped all countries in the international rankings for reading, math, and science in 2009 when it debuted on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) charts.[150]
  5. The current use of No. 2 pencils on standardized tests is a holdover from the 1930s through the 1960s, when scanning machines scored answer sheets by detecting the electrical conductivity of graphite pencil marks. [73] [74]


The above facts give both pros and cons for standardized tests. I can see both arguments but I feel
like when my cons start to outweigh my pros, that cant be a good sign. 

This website has some really interesting pro and con arguments that might change your mind or simply backup your opinion. I highly recommend everyone check it out. Eye opener for me, for sure!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chapter 13 QtC

Based on our readings and class discussion, how will you create a learning environment that is conducive to learning?
           Part of being an art teacher is creating that escape for kids where they feel comfortable sharing and expressing their feelings. I think creating a conducive art environment is much different than creating any other learning environment. An art classroom needs to be peaceful and calm. The room needs to be inviting and diverse and accepting so that students will feel comfortable expressing themselves and will be open to new ideas and learning techniques. I will create a space that has stimulating imagery on the walls but nothing that is distracting or over stimulating. The age group that I will be teaching will create the guidelines and basis for how I fill the space. I like my students to sit in groups rather than alone because two heads are always better than one and art room needs to be filled with laughter and smiles at all times. I want my students to feel a reprieve when they step into my classroom. I like to play calming and silly music and I like to encourage the students to get up and walk around and complement each other and give helpful and positive feedback on each others work. I will encourage the students to hang their favorite artworks on the walls and I will hang work of artists that is relavent to what we are studying. In my highschool art classroom we had a corner filled with pillows and art books and was a quiet space where students could go to find motivation and recharge. I think this is important to a successful art classroom because I know how art it can be to find motivation sometimes.
       I want my students to walk into my classroom and recognize that it is a safe place where they can come anytime they need to. I dont want art to be a chore rather I want it to be a fun and emotionally recharging activity that students look forward to. Colorful, happy, peaceful, filled with music and creativity and inspiration.

Something like this would be nice : )

CSEL case study- consider a full continuum of responses for dealing with the misbehavior of your case.

Early Childhood Education Case Study
It has been one month since the school year began and most of your 25 kindergarten students know class procedures, such as the schedule of learning activities, where they are supposed to be for each learning activity, where they are supposed to keep their personal items, and how they are expected to move about the room and the school building in order to ensure a productive learning environment.  But then there is Willard.  He must ask 20 or more times a day, “Teacher, when can we go outside to play?”  In addition, he often does not stay where he should to work on a given learning activity.  Instead, you find him wandering around the room and getting into other children’s personal things.  Three times this past week you looked up just in time to see Willard walking out of the classroom without permission.  Some of the other children in your classroom community have started making fun of Willard.  Others are beginning to become less engaged in their learning. 

Willard obviously has behavioral issues and attention issues. With a child like this, one needs to approach him as if he can't help it and help him understand why. I was very similar to Willard as a child. I struggled to sit still and was never able to pay attention. It is obvious that he is not doing it for attention because he is quiet about it which makes me think it is not an issue of "acting out" rather behaving the only way he knows. In this situation I would certainly involve the parents. Willard potentially needs to see a behavioral specialist who deals with ADD or ADHD. He is obviously very distracted and restless. I would attempt a rewards system with Willard. I would talk privately with him about his behavior and discuss the reward system and how it works and offer praise when he is able to sit still and follow directions. I would also consider cueing. I wouldnt want to make it public because peers are already making fun of him and I wouldnt want to isolate him anymore than he already is.  I think in this situation the number one would be to involve parents and talk privately with them and then have a talk with Willard present. If his behavior can be pinpointed now, it will hopefully save him from further isolating himself from his peers and possible learning issues dow the road. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thoughts outside of class 1/22

         I watched some very interesting videos the other day under the "Extra Resources" category on Blackboard. All of the videos discussed the similar principle of sitting in a circle and hashing out problems. Sounds so simple, right? The magnitude to which this small and seemingly insignificant principle benefitted so many people was beyond belief.
         In one video, men in jail sat down and talked in a circle with both a minister and a victim of a crime similar to one that one or all of the men had committed. For these men, it took sitting down and listening to someone else's side of the story for them to feel repentance and want to make a change. The fact that they could all sit down peacefully and have such a difficult and painful conversation was both interesting and heartbreaking.
        In another video, a group of violent rival highschool girl sat in a circle and talked about the issues they had with one another. They talked about the fear they shared of being "jumped" when they would walk down the street because the rivalry between the girls was so intense. After spending some time talking peacefully, the girls hugged and chatted in a friendly manner and agreed to be friends again. The impact this circle talk had on these girls was pretty cool.
       Another video I watched was about a highly dangerous highschool in Philadelphia. The school instituted the circle talks and within a year their crime rate was down over 50 percent.
       The idea seems so trivial but the affects are huge. Sometimes all people need is to talk and have a chance to say what they are feeling. When you take them out of the hostile situation and setting and put them someplace quiet where they can talk, it seems they have no choice but to work it out. The videos were eye opening and I will certainly implement such talks when I'm a teacher.

Thoughts on class, 1/24

              Class today was beyond interesting. Listening to the mishaps and mistakes that teachers and peers have made in the past made my first year not so daunting. Some of the mistakes we talked about were humorous and others not so much. Knowing that I am not alone in fearing making a mistake or in actually making one is a comforting thought. One of the mishaps we talked about today was when my professor witnessed a very bloody and violent fight over a girlfriend. I have never had experience with older students and have always stuck with and felt comfortable around the little ones who don't seem to get into too many gruesome fights. The thought of me having to intervene in a situation like this has certainly come to mind but I have never thought farther than that. Knowing what I learned today, I think I am better prepared for dealing with a situation like this in the future, should that happen. We talked a lot about how to turn "garbage" to "gold" because every word out of the teachers mouth matters. The students will mirror the teachers behavior and if the teacher is acting disrespectfully, the students will too. Simply learning how to rephrase common sayings such as "Stop interrupting me! to "I'm going to finish talking, then you may have your turn." was a helpful guidance tool that I know I can already utilize.

             Often times as teachers, we make mistakes. It's scary for me to accept and admit that this will happen because I know that when it does, I'm not just responsible for myself but all of the students I am setting an example for. Discussions such as the one we had today make me feel more competent in the area of discipline and certainly more prepared for my future as a teacher.

Below is a little haiku about disciple :)

Respect and show love
To your teachers and your peers
And they'll do the same

Friday, January 18, 2013

Motivation and Humanism

How might you enhance motivation and affect in your students using the theories of motivation?
Which theories of motivation are most helpful and instructive for you?

A summation of the Humanism Theory: when students are offered a caring and supportive environment, learners will strive to understand themselves, enhance their abilities, and act in a manner that is beneficial to both themselves and their peers.

This theory seems to me to be the best fit for a classroom environment in which I would be teaching. Coming from the perspective of an art teacher, students are often shy and uncomfortable in opening up and sharing their artwork with their peers. As we are all aware, adolescence is a trying and stressful time, however fun it may seem in retrospect. Students struggle daily to find themselves and their niche in both school and at home. Art is an incredibly beneficial tool used to draw students out of themselves and allow them to express their emotions in a way that other outlets might not allow. Sharing their art, because of its very personal nature, is a hard and often emotional thing in and of itself. In a classroom environment filled with comfort and support, students will grow more comfortable sharing and potentially and hopefully utilize art to its fullest extent. Once students are comfortable sharing and comfortable making personal artworks, I'm confident they will be intrinsically motivated.

I think, aside from this theory, the best way for me to stimulate students personal motivation is to create self directed art projects that are, of course, guided, but also open ended. As an art major, I spent my first few years of undergrad making art with someone else's guidelines and outlines and do's and don'ts and restrictions and requirements. I hated it. I often felt burned out and utterly confused as to why I chose art as my major in the first place. I had no motivation and was constantly having to remind myself that this was my passion. Once I was able to start making my own pieces with absolutely no guidelines or outlines or restrictions, my motivation went up, thus increasing my work ethic and passion. Allowing students to make art that comes from the heart is the only way I look at it. Thats the entire driving force behind arts cathartic benefits. Simply making something because someone told you to doesn't make it fun or beneficial. Allowing the students leeway in what they chose to make will motivate them intrinsically and create a happy, healthy and comfortable learning environment for everyone.

Here is an article I found helpful in considering ways to create a good art environment :raising learners motivation

I think another key to a successful art classroom, filled with happy, motivated students, is to make it fun. Art needs to be a reprieve for them, not a chore. Music, chatter, collaboration, sharing... all aspects of a healthy art classroom environment.  When the students art having fun, they let go of stresses and bias and uncomfortableness and are far more open to sharing their works and ideas with their peers. 

Here is a sample of the music I like to play for students as they make art. Enjoy : )