Sunday, May 3, 2009

Online Assignment #3 - Juli Rangel

In my 2nd grade class, our current topic of study in science is “Forces and Motion.” We’ve learned that motion is the act of moving. When I think of a student-focused learning environment, I imagine a classroom full of children in motion.


• Actively participating when processing information:

o Recording responses (writing, drawing on white boards)
o Signaling (hand signals, response cards)
o Responding verbally (“tell your neighbor,” choral responses)
o Acting out (role play, movement, facial expressions)
o Responding mentally to prompts (“imagine, pretend, recall, remember, picture, think about”)

• Having opportunities to participate in partner work and cooperative learning projects
• Exploring numerous manipulatives and hands-on activities to aid in conceptual learning
• Demonstrating their skills and knowledge with higher-level thinking, questioning and learning tasks (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
• Using the learning environment respectfully and with ease and purpose (resource location, following rules and procedures)

A student-focused learning environment can be created when a teacher demonstrates competency with the following criteria:

1. Instructional Strategies – Students need to be aware of different learning approaches, and their learning tasks need to be varied, meaningful and related to curriculum standards.

2. Assessment Strategies – Students need to understand a variety of assessment tools and criteria, have opportunities to share their progress with parents and be involved in the decision-making of their progress.

3. Classroom Management Principles – Students need to feel ownership in the creation of classroom standards and rules. These standards and procedures need to be taught, modeled and practiced and continually reviewed, so all children can learn in a positive, safe, organized and inclusive learning environment.

4. Designing and/or Adapting Challenging Curriculum – Students need to understand the learning tasks and the steps required to reach them. They need to be engaged in a variety of high-level thinking skills and know and use resources to aid in their individual learning. Teachers need to address the diverse learning needs in their classroom by differentiating learning tasks whenever appropriate.

5. Demonstrate Cultural Sensitivity- Students need to be exposed to cultural diversity through learning materials and activities. They need to learn how to respect cultural diversity and have opportunities to share cultural traditions and customs that reflect varied backgrounds and experiences.

6. Technology Integration – Students need to use a variety of technologies and technology skills in a responsible and ethical way in order to enhance learning, productivity and self-expression.

7. Communication with Families and Community – Teachers need to form partnerships with families and communities in the educational process by engaging in two-way communication. Teachers need to share information about assessments, behavior, learning and community building opportunities and provide accessible ways for parent and community input.

Sustaining a student-focused learning environment requires a great deal of effort and experience! Teachers need to know the required learning targets and enduring understandings so they can create and/or gather lesson plans that contain sound instructional strategies that make learning meaningful. Teachers need to “know” their students by using baseline assessments, pre and post assessments, surveys and conferencing so they can know where to move ahead with each child. Teachers need to be prepared on a daily basis, prepared with lessons supplies and materials so valuable instructional minutes are not lost. Teachers need to continually take time to collaborate with others and for reflection and renewal regarding the effects of their teaching, as well as remain current in teaching practices, theories and research.

Wow! Teachers work hard!

1 comment:

rebeccabland said...

Hi Juli,

I had never thought about a student-centered learning environment focusing on motion - but you are absolutely correct! An environment where student's are at the heart of learning IS an environment where they move. Student's move to show understanding, share strategies and collaborate with others. Be it within a 2nd grade classroom or a college one, motion for students is a positive way to increase understanding. Thank you for your thoughts!