Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mock Job Interview

Today we had a mock interview.  I was an administrator and had to design questions based on the cooperative learning model.  I interviewed three different groups of my colleagues.  It was interesting to design the questions and then see what the responses of my colleagues was.  In some instances the answers were not what I had envisioned.  It was a great experience to design questions because I now feel that I have a better grasp on some of the questions that I will be asked in the future on my own interview.  A few things that I learned from this process and advice that I have for my colleagues.

1. Always dress professionally and wear appropriate length clothing.

2. Answer the whole part of the question.

3. Stay on topic.

4. Use hard stock paper to print your resume.

5. Use a firm handshake.

6. Study the school and their mission statement.

7. Come with thoughtful questions to ask the interviewers. 

Check out this video for more interviewing tips!


Sunday, April 26, 2015


As this semester finally comes to a close, I feel I am breathing a sigh of relief.  This semester was not only challenging and work intensive, but I also learned a lot about myself as a future teacher.  The fieldwork for this class provided me with so much valuable information that I will take with me into the future.  It was great to learn how to write direct instruction, guided inquiry, and cooperative learning lesson plans, as well as to teach these to an excited and enthusiastic group of students.  That is something that I will never forget, and really has helped me to become a better teacher.
In addition to fieldwork, I have also learned so much about teaching social studies, and teaching in general.  The five principles of powerful teaching and learning are something that can be applied to all content areas, not just social studies.  I have learned the importance of these elements and how to look for them to make sure they are in all of my lesson plans.  In my future classroom, I plan to incorporate fun and engaging activities that allow my students to gain a deeper understanding of all of the aspects of social studies.  I would like to create a classroom of students who are curious, kind, and always want to learn more.  I also would like to incorporate a lot of technology in the classroom.  This class has shown me some of the many great educational technologies that are available and I cannot wait to use them!  I do not think that there has been a single failure for me this semester.  I have worked hard, completed my assignments on time, and I feel that my hard work is reflected in the work that I produce.  

Overall, this has been a great semester and I have learned so much.  I feel that I am ready to begin student teaching in the fall and cannot wait to see how I do!  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Global Education Reflection

What else is considered social studies?  This question may leave a person struggling for an answer.  Throughout this semester, I have learned that social studies is so much more than just dates and facts.  Experts suggest that social studies also covers topics such as character and moral/value education, citizenship and civics education, student service projects, global education and humanities, and anti-violence education.  Incorporating these additional aspects of social studies into the curriculum will enable students to become better citizens in society and allow students to gain an understanding of different cultures, diversity, empathy, tolerance, and so much more.  For this project, Brittany and I chose to focus on global education and humanities.
            What exactly is global education?  The Global Teacher Project (n.d.) identifies that global education studies the many different cultures and countries in our world, the many issues that they face, and helps to develop a deeper understanding in our students about the impact that our actions have on these cultures and countries.  Incorporating global education and humanities into the social studies curriculum is imperative to fostering the growth of kind, tolerant, and empathetic students.  In global education, students will learn about the different countries and cultures of our world.  They will learn about the issues that they face—such as lack of running water, lack of education, starvation, poverty, etc.—and begin to understand how they can have an impact on these societies and become global citizens.  Prior to embarking upon this project, I had an understanding about what global education meant and why it is so important.  Different societies and cultures around the world is something that I am interested in and like to learn about.  However, one thing that I did not realize is that acceptance and understanding of different cultures is something that students need to be introduced to and learn about.  Additionally, they need to learn how to become global citizens and see how their actions can impact the global society.  Teaching global education is important because global education “develops skills and attitudes which enable people to take responsibility for their own lives and the world we live in and become active global citizens” (The Global Teacher Project, n.d.).
            To complete this project, Brittany and I looked at a lot of different websites and articles online.  We discovered so much valuable information it was almost difficult to include it all.  In addition to information, we also found a wealth of resources providing example lessons, ideas for lessons, and ways to incorporate technology in the classroom to expand student understanding of global issues.  Skype in the Classroom (2015) has a lesson on it called "Global Citizenship: Classroom Cultural Exchange” in which a school is reaching out to other schools in the nation, and worldwide, to connect via Skype for a cultural exchange.  This is such a great idea to allow students to meet other students on the other side of the globe through the use of technology and could be used with any grade level.  Another great resource for lessons to be used across any grade level is TeachUNICEF (2015).  TeachUNICEF (2015) has an abundance of resources that gives educators tools to infuse global citizenship education into their existing curriculum in meaningful ways.  This resource can be extremely valuable for teachers who are unsure how to begin teaching global education and citizenship which is an important part of social studies education.
            Now that we had gained a better understanding of why it is so important to teach global education and humanities, we wanted to find a way for educators to be sure that their students have a solid understanding of the topic.  Throughout our research we stumbled upon the Global Education Checklist (Czarra, 2001).  This checklist is a tool educators can use with both elementary and secondary students to ensure that these students are being exposed to global issues, global cultures, and global connections (Czarra, 2001).  Furthermore, global education connects directly to the New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies, specifically Standard 3 – Geography, which states that “students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live—local, national, and global—including the distribution of people, places, and environments over the Earth’s surface” (New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework, 2014).  In addition to the New York State Learning Standards, global education connects to the NYSED Curriculum and Instruction Standard 3 for Geography (NYSED, 2009).  Not only does global education connect directly to the NYS Standards, it also adheres to the five principles of powerful teaching and learning in that it is meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active (National Council for the Social Studies, n.d.).  Global education teaches students about the different countries in our world, their cultures, and the challenges that they face.  Global education is meaningful and value-based and fosters the growth of empathetic, caring, global citizens as students gain an understanding of how their actions impact the world around them.  Therefore, teaching global education is necessary to the educational development of both elementary and secondary students and fostering individual growth as global citizens.    


Boss, S. (2010, November 17). Around the World in Five Days: Lessons from the Global
Education Conference. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Bracey-Sutton, B. (2006, August 8). The Global Teenager Project: Promoting Worldwide
Education Through Technology. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Czarra, F. (2002, January 1). Global Education Checklist. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Global Citizenship. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Gray, L. (2015, January 1). Lucy Gray's Page. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Hicks, D. (n.d.). The Global Teacher Project. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Lindsay, J. (n.d.). Flat Classroom. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

National Council for the Social Studies. (n.d.) Principles of teaching and learning.  Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.  Retrieved March 20, 2015 from

New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework. (2014, November 1). Retrieved April 15, 2015,
from State Education Department

Parisi, L. (2011, March 1). Home. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Smith, M. (2015, February 24). Global Citizenship: Classroom Cultural Exchange. Retrieved

Social Studies Standards. (2009, October 5). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Tavangar, H. (2014, April 4). Make Earth Day a Global Learning Day. Retrieved April 15, 2015,

TeachUNICEF. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Weil, Z. (2014, June 10). How Do We Educate Global Problem Solvers? Retrieved April 15,
2015, from

What are Global and International Education? (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

What Else is Considered Social Studies

For the What Else is Considered Social Studies, Brittany and I chose to focus on Global Education and Humanities, and what it means to become a global citizen.

Check out our project on Glogester!

Listen to what it means to be a global citizen.

You can find some great lesson plans on TeachUNICEF.  Check them out in the video below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reflection on Cooperative Learning Lesson

Although it has been a while since our fieldwork teaching sessions, I am finally now reflecting on our cooperative learning lesson.  Our lesson had some great ideas, however, now that I know a little bit more about cooperative learning there are some things that I would change.  We used QR codes and had the students visit stations to use iPads and the QR codes to learn more about three important people in the Colonial Hudson Valley.  Where we went astray is that we used people that the students had not met before.  This made the time that they had to research the information and record notes in their graphic organizers crucial.  To top it off, there was not enough time or iPads to go around.  We ended up with three groups  of about five students each.  Unfortunately, with the way the room was set up it was just not a feasible execution.  We ended up running out of time before the students could even create their project for the lesson.  Dr. Smirnova gave us a lot of feedback about this lesson and now we know what we would need to change in order to have the best lesson we could.  The QR codes and guided notes were a great way to students to access and record information.  However, in the future I would select individuals that the students already had learned about and this lesson would expand upon their knowledge.  Additionally, I would have each group only research one person.  Then, they would share what they learned about that person with the rest of the class.  This would make this lesson a truer Jigsaw type lesson.  Overall, the students seemed to really enjoy using the QR codes and interacting with one another.  As I had stated before, fieldwork this semester has been a complete learning experience and I look forward to adapting this current lesson and making it the best it can be.   

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Cost-Benefit Analysis

When it comes to economics, the basic problem and the key to understanding all comes down to scarcity and decision making.  In economics, scarcity refers to limited resources such as land, labor, and capital (Investopedia, 2003).  When resources are scarce, people must make choices based upon the resources they have to satisfy their wants.  Since there is a scarce amount of resources that are available, consumers, businesses, and governments have to make choices about where to apply the scarce resources.  This could mean giving up something for the sake of using the resources elsewhere (Riley, 2011).  The whole idea of weighing the resources that are available against the needs and wants of a company, consumer, or government is called the cost-benefit analysis.  The cost-benefit analysis is an approach in which businesses weigh decisions.  In this approach, all of the benefits are put on one side of the balance and all of the costs are put on the other, whichever side weighs more wins (The Economist, 2009).  Scarcity and decision making is a key point to understanding the economic principle, therefore, it is important that students are taught this important concept which drives our economic society.  Teaching the cost-benefit analysis in the classroom would be fairly easy.  The students could be given a limited number of tangible items and a list of things that could be built with those items ranked from most important to least important.  They could weigh the benefit of allocating those resources to build only one of the important items or several of them.  Another option is to give students a certain amount of money and the prices of groceries and a video game that they want.  Have the students weight the benefit of buying the video game over the groceries and vice versa.         

The Economist - Cost-benefit analysis. (2009, September 15). Retrieved April 7, 2015, from

Riley, G. (2011, September 13). Study Note - The Basic Economic Problem: Scarcity and Choice. Retrieved April 7, 2015, from

Scarcity Definition | Investopedia. (2003, November 25). Retrieved April 7, 2015, from

Monday, April 6, 2015

More about my Artifact Bag

These are the artifacts that I used for my Artifact Bag

These are the books that I used for my Artifact Bag.

Here is the list of websites that I used.

History & Background. (2015). Retrieved April 5, 2015, from

Here you can find my PowerPoint Presentation.

Here is my lesson plan for using my project in a 3 - 5 grade classroom!

Artifact Bag

As one of my project for class, I created an artifact bag containing three items that have the appearance of being artifacts from a historical time period.  Fuhler, Farris, and Nelson (2006) indicate that “using artifacts, from primary source documents to items that can be held in one’s hand, is a motivational strategy that can tie readers to a variety of genres and bring a period of history to life in the process” (p. 646).  Using artifact bags is a successful way to entice children about a particular time period or aspect of social studies.  Additionally, using artifact bags allows children to make connections and discoveries about the past.  Our group for fieldwork focused on the colonial Hudson valley, specifically when the colony was owned by the Dutch and called New Netherland.  I was able to connect the artifact bag lesson to the New York State Common Core State Standards for ELA and Social Studies for grades three through five. 
            In order to prepare my artifact bag, I searched through thrift shops trying to find items that would resemble the historical time period the students we learning about – in my case, the historical Hudson Valley.  I was able to find a small stainless steel cup, a red leather bracelet, and I also purchased some tulip bulbs.  In addition to the artifacts, I also found two books from my local library and three websites that would provide the students with more information in which to make their conclusions about the artifacts.  I chose the stainless steel cup because the people of New Netherland would have had such an item in their home, or used it to trade with.  The red leather bracelet resembles something a Native American might have worn or used to trade with.  I chose to use tulip bulbs because the Dutch brought tulips with them over from the Netherlands to New Netherland.  The two books that I chose to use with these items provide the students with images and information in which to look through.  The two books are Life in New Amsterdam by Laura Fischer and The New York Colony by Martin Hintz.  I also selected three websites to be used with the artifact bag.  Two are from the New Netherland Institute and one is about the Tulip Festival that takes place in Albany, New York and honors the Dutch heritage of this region.  I selected these particular books and websites because they are student friendly and
will provide the students with additional information to make conclusions about their artifacts.   
            In the lesson, the students will first be presented with the artifacts.  They will unwrap the artifacts and begin to discuss the artifacts in their group.  The students will be answering the 5Ws about each artifact and will write their summary and conclusions about all of the artifacts, as well as indicate what more they want to know.  After the students unwrap, examine, and analyze the artifacts for a few minutes, they will then unwrap the two books that are included in their artifact bag.  Finally, students will be able to access the websites provided to them to make their final conclusions and fill in their graphic organizers.    
Making the artifact bag was a very rewarding experience.  At first I was daunted by task of finding artifacts from the 1600s.  However, it did not take me long to realize that I could use objects found today that resemble items from the 1600s and incorporate those into my project.  Furthermore, I ordered countless books to be sent to my local library and searched through them until I found that ones that would work best with my artifacts.  This task showed me how easy it is to make authentic learning possible – taking only a little time, effort, and creativity.  The meaning and connections the students will make through exploring the artifacts, looking through the books and websites, and making conclusions about the artifacts is well worth it. 
Artifact bags not only allow children to hold and touch a historic object, but they also ingrate reading, writing, and searching for information into the process.  Through use of the artifact bag, I am using a project that ties together many aspects of the curriculum—such as reading, writing, and social studies—while allowing students to have an authentic and meaningful interaction with the topic they are learning about (Fuhler, Farris, & Nelson, 2006).  Not only does the artifact bag allow for authentic and meaningful learning across the curriculum, it also incorporates the five principles of powerful teaching and learning.   The National Council for the Social Studies indicates that social studies teaching and learning is powerful when it is meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active (National Council for the Social Studies).  In order to provide a powerful social studies experience to students, it is imperative that these principles be followed.  By providing students with a meaningful experience that is integrative, challenging, active, and based on value, students are able to make connections, activate their prior knowledge, and gain a deeper understanding of what they are learning.  The artifact bag project definitely adheres to these fives principles as students are able to have a meaningful, active, engaging, and challenging experience as they examine and analyze the artifacts, make conclusions, and summarize their findings.       

Fulher, C. J., Farris, P. J., & Nelson, P. A. (2006). Building literacy skills across      the curriculum: Foraging connections with the past through artifacts. The Reading Teacher, (59)7, 646-658.

National Council for the Social Studies. (n.d.) Principles of teaching and learning.  Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.  Retrieved March 20, 2015 from

What did they own? (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2015, from

Fort Orange. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2015, from

History & Background. (2015). Retrieved April 5, 2015, from

Fischer. L. (2003). Life in new amsterdam.  Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library.

Hintz, M. (2006). The new york colony. Mankao, MN: Capstone Press.

Monday, March 30, 2015

100 Ways of Teaching Geography

After view a slideshow about 100 different ways to teaching geography, I have selected the 10 ideas that I like best and would like to share them!

1. Google Earth- A students selects a piece of paper at random from a hat, bucket, etc.  The paper has a destination, location, landmark, or city on it.  The whole class "flies" there through Google Earth.

2. The 60 Second Film - Students summarize a concept in a 60 second short film.  This enables students to be creative and to convey the knowledge they have learned in a nontraditional way.

3. Newspaper Mapping - Students bring in newspaper articles about a geographical area that they are interested in.  The articles are displayed on a world map and later discussed.

4. Sing It- Have students change the lyrics of a nursery rhyme to fit an issue or the development of a physical feature. 

5. Montage a Google - Created by Grant Robinson, can be used to create a montage of Google images representing a topic, region, destination, ,etc.  This image can be used to introduce the lesson, activate prior knowledge, or sum up a lesson.

6. Warm Up Maps - Students draw lines to connect specific places to there location on a map.  Can be used as a warm up activity.

7. Dizzy Direction - Students have to turn to face the correct wall when the compass direction is called out by the teacher.  

8. Atlas Race - Students race to put their finger on the place that is called in their atlas.  

9. Throw a Globe - Students toss an inflatable globe to one another to answer questions that are asked.  The student who catches the globe answers the question.

10. GeoTube - Geography videos on YouTube.

To check out some of the other ideas click HERE!

Making History Fun and Exciting for Students

I have just been introduced to two totally awesome tools that can be used in the classroom to make learning history more exciting and engaging for students!  

The first tool is from the National Archives Docs Teach.  This website is fantastic!  It allows a teacher to use tons of primary source information in a creative, engaging, and thought provoking way!  You can browse through already created activities, or create your own using the primary source documents available through the National Archives.

Check out this video which explains what Docs Teach is!

Another tool is the QR Treasure Hunt.  A QR Treasure Hunt allows students to use smartphones or iPads to scan QR codes throughout the classroom, at home, around the school, or really wherever because they can be printed right onto paper!  The students scan the QR codes and immediately are taken to a website or document that you want them to view to find information to answer a question.  This is a great way to get students moving around the classroom and using technology in a creative way!

Check out this video that talks a little more about using QR codes!

The Five Themes of Geography

There are five different essential themes when teaching geography:

1. Location - location can be absolute or relative.  Absolute location means that there is a definite 
reference in which to locate a place, such as latitude and longitude or a street address.  Relative location is used to describe a place in relation to its environment and its connection to other places. 

2. Place - a place describes the human and physical characteristics of a location.  Physical characteristics are things such as mountains, rivers, beaches, etc.  The human characteristics are things like the religions, food, transportation, architecture, and other cultural features.

3. Human-Environment Interaction - how humans can adapt and change the environment in both positive and negative ways.

4. Movement - movement and migration across the planet for many reasons

5. Region - regions divide the world into smaller units for geographic study.  The units have similar characteristics that unify the area.  

Check out this video to learn more!

Rosenberg, M. (2015).  "The five themes of geography" on Retrieved from

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Celebration of Learning

Last night we had our celebration of learning for completing our fieldwork experience at Bishop Dunn Memorial School in Newburgh, New York.  It has been a great experience an one that I am thankful to have been able to participate in.  I have learned so much about the different types of lesson plans and have been given the opportunity to write various lesson plans and put them into action.  Although this has been a challenging experience, it has given me a real taste of what having my own classroom will be like.  

You can see a slide show of some of the projects we completed as a class in fieldwork and hear the reflections of myself and my colleagues.

What's it to you?

You can check out our presentation about incorporating current events into the classroom through the activity What's it to you?

Here are my thoughts about using current events in the classroom and the NewsELA site... enjoy!

This semester I was introduced to a website called NewsELA.  NewsELA contains nonfiction literacy and current event articles that can be accessed by students.  NewsELA contains articles that range from topics such as War and Peace, Kids, Sports, Health, etc.  The articles on NewsELA can be read in different levels which enable them to be used across a wide range of grade levels and student abilities.  Additionally, teachers can assign articles to be read at home or in school and can assign quizzes or writing assignments to be done right on the NewsELA website.
There are many reasons to teach current events in the classroom.  According to Wise Owl Kids (n.d.) teaching current events in the classroom is important because it enables students to become more conscious of the world around them and understand how world events impact them as citizens.  Additionally, providing students with information about current events allows them to become more active participants in their community.  Hopkins (2010) indicates that there is a large amount of research that supports using current events in the classroom.  He suggests that newspapers allow students to become better readers, increase their awareness and interest in current events, and develop and improve reading comprehension, vocabulary, and word recognition skills (Hopkins, 2010).  According to Hopkins (2010) another added benefit of teaching current events in the classroom and having students read the newspaper is that it increases the likelihood that students will continue to read the newspaper as adults.  Furthermore, DeRoche (1991) suggests that using newspapers and current event articles in the classroom will foster a positive attitude for reading non-fictional material and increase standardized test scores.  
There are many ways to incorporate current events activities into the classroom.  Wise Owl Kids (n.d.) suggests multiple activities that can be used in the classroom to incorporate current events.  Some of the activities suggested by Wise Owl Kids (n.d.) include identifying why a particular article is considered news, identifying the five W’s, identifying facts and opinions, and many more.  One great aspect of NewsELA over traditional newspapers is that the articles on NewsELA are student friendly, the difficulty of the article can be altered to meet each student’s ability, students can access the same article at home and at school, NewsELA incorporates technology in the classroom, and note taking and comments can be make directly on the article in NewsELA.  Furthermore, teaching current events in the classroom can be directly tied to the New York State Common Core State Standards for ELA and Social Studies. 
I will definitely incorporate current events into my future classroom through the use of sites like NewsELA, similar websites, or traditional newspaper and magazine articles.  Using current events is a great way to allow students to connect with what is happening within our community and the world as a whole while promoting literacy in the classroom.  NewsELA is a fantastic website because it allows an articles difficulty level to be changed so that all students may read the article on a level that is suitable for them.  It was helpful to use NewsELA and see all of the great opportunities the website has.  There is an abundance of different articles that can appeal to many interest levels and allow students to find articles that they are interested in without having to look in traditional newspapers that may or may not have information that is not sensitive enough for younger students to view.  I was very impressed with NewsELA and all that the site has to offer.  I am thankful to be able to have gotten the opportunity to access and utilize the site this semester.  However, I do feel that just reading the articles and taking a quiz or completing a short writing assignment is not enough to really utilize the article in the classroom.  I think that using the article in discussions or other activities as suggested on Wise Owl Kids is a better way to use the articles from NewsELA in a literary way in the classroom, as well as a great way to get students engaged in current events and what is happening in our society.
I am grateful that I have been exposed to NewsELA and the Wise Owl Kids website containing different activities and creative ways to incorporate current event articles in the classroom.  In regards to using NewsELA in future social studies methods classes, I would not use the quiz and writing option on the articles.  I feel that this is not the best way to allow us at graduate students to learn new strategies for incorporating current events into the classroom.  I am a strong proponent that only reading and answering questions is not the best way to promote higher order thinking and learning.  I did enjoy creating the PowerPoint presentation highlighting a way to utilize NewsELA with activities, however, only reading and answering questions online was not beneficial.  Therefore, I will be sure to adhere to the five principles of teaching and learning as identified by the National Council for the Social Studies which are essential to a social studies program.  These principles state that social studies teaching and learning are powerful when they are meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active (National Council for the Social Studies).  In order to provide a powerful social studies experience to students, it is imperative that these principles be followed.  By providing students with a meaningful experience that is integrative, challenging, active, and based on value, students are able to make connections, activate their prior knowledge, and gain a deeper understanding of what they are learning.  Therefore, I will be sure to incorporate these principles when designing my activities and lessons for current events.  After completing this process, I will definitely use current events and engaging activities to implement social studies learning in my future classroom.     

DeRoche, E. F. (1991).  The newspaper: A reference book for teachers and librarians.  Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio Inc.

Hopkins, G. (2010).  Why teach current events? Education World, Retrieved April 2, 2015 from

National Council for the Social Studies. (n.d.) Principles of teaching and learning.  Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.  Retrieved March 20, 2015 from

Newsela | Nonfiction Literacy and Current Events. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from

Wise Owl Kids. (n.d.) Current events. Retrieved April 2, 2015 from

Current Events in the Classroom

I recently completed a project in which a partner and myself had to create a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating how we would incorporate current events into our future social studies classroom.  We chose to use the "What's it to you?" activity from News Owl Kids.  In our graduate class, we were also given access to a website called NewsELA.  If you have not heard of NewsELA I highly suggest you check it out!  The videos below explains more about NewsELA and how it can be used.

Stay tuned to see our presentation and my reflection about my experiences with NewsELA and thoughts about using current events in the classroom!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Authentic Instruction

According to the Annenberg Learner, there are four elements of authentic instruction:

Higher order thinking which stimulates critical thinking.
Depth of knowledge which encourages comprehensive learning.
Real-world connections with teach application of concepts.
Social support which proves encouragement and inclusion.

For this assignment I viewed a video which showed four different teachers using authentic instruction.  I was able to view these teachers as they used questioning and discussion stimulate critical thinking.  Depth of knowledge as one teacher taught the abstract and complex idea of the Earth revolving around the sun to very young students using a demonstration and an activity in which students could participate in the demonstration.  Students helped their neighbor to understanding difficult concepts and worked in small groups in other video segments.  One teacher used real-world connections as he activated students' prior knowledge and made connections to what they were learning in class.  

Authentic instruction is an excellent teaching strategy to use.  It provides students with a more concrete understanding of the concepts and tasks are they are encouraged to use higher order thinking, deepen their knowledge and understanding, connect what they are learning to the real world, and have the support of their classmates in completing tasks.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Thoughts on My Fieldwork Experience

Now that my groups fieldwork teaching experience is finished, I would like to take a minute to think about all that we have accomplished and how that will affect my future as a teacher.  This fieldwork experience was extremely challenging and I feel that I am so much more prepared for my future career now.  First off, in my opinion this fieldwork was the most similar experience to teaching I have had during fieldwork thus far.  It was great getting to plan three different types of lessons and to put those lessons to the test, so to speak.  We had to work together as a team to come up with ideas and ways to introduce the material to the students in the after school program.  Some of our ideas were great, and others were not.  However, it was a learning experience and one that I am for the better for having completed.  I also was able to learn so much from watching other groups teach their lessons and was able to get so many more ideas to use in my future teaching.  I cannot wait to get out there and be a teacher!  I would like to thank Dr.Smirnova for pushing us to be our very best!

Formative Teaching and Instruction

I recently read an article and watched a video about using exit tickets for formative teaching and instruction.  The use of exit tickets is a great way for a teacher to gain an understanding about how the students are grasping the content from the lesson.  Exit tickets should not be something that students do as they are running out the door, but rather something that is used during class to assess student understanding.  The exit tickets will help teachers understand where the students are and will enable teacher's to adjust their lessons accordingly.  Additionally, students know that exit tickets are just checks for understanding for the teacher, and therefore, they are not high anxiety causing tests or report cards grades.  This allows the students to feel more relaxed about the exit tickets.  Formative teaching and instruction through the use of in class assessments with exit tickets is something that I will definitely use in my future classroom

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Democratic Classroom

You may be asking yourself what classroom democracy is and why is it necessary?  After reading "Young Citizens: Partners in Classroom Management" by Devon Metzger, I feel that I have a better understanding how to create a democratic classroom and why it is important to develop informed and responsible decision making students.  By having students become partners in classroom management, you can foster an ability in your students to assume control over their behavior.  In this way, students are taking responsibility for their own actions in the classroom.  By allowing students to be a part of determining the classroom rules and procedures, you are giving students the power to discuss what actions and behaviors they feel are necessary in order to have a positive and successful classroom environment.  According to Metzger, "citizenship education thus occurs when a teacher works with students as partners in developing a positive learning community (in contrast to imposing a system to control them)."

Check out this video which talks a little more about the importance of a democratic classroom. 



Metzger, Devon. “Young Citizens: Partners in Classroom Management.” National Council for the Social Studies. Used with permission. Retrieved from

How to Develop Deeper Understanding in Your Classroom

As a teacher, I will always strive to find ways to have my students develop a deeper understanding of what we are learning.  In order for students to develop a deeper understanding they have to move beyond knowledge of a topic.  When a student has knowledge of a topic they may be able to recall specific facts or demonstrate a specific skill.  However, when a student has a deeper understanding they can explain, find evidence, provide examples, generalize, apply, and represent information in a new way (Perkins & Blythe).  

Teachers can create learning activities that allow students to make connections, activate their schema,  and make new connections.  Teachers need to create activities in which students can demonstrate their understanding, and therefore, deepen their understanding and make generalizations.


Perkins, David and Tina Blythe. “Putting Understanding Up Front. Educational Leadership. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Used with permission. Retrieved from

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Go Noodle!!

Today I want to share with you this really great website that someone told me about.  It is called GoNoodle and you can find more information about them by clicking HERE.  This is a free website that has interactive games, activities, exercises and so much more.  You can use these activities on the SMARTboard in your classroom!  Definitely check them out!!

Learn more by watching the video below!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reflections on our Direct Instruction Lesson Plan

Direct Instruction Lesson Plan Reflection

  • Did the video, word cloud, and pictures activate the students’ prior knowledge and capture their attention?
    • Yes it did.  The students were able to look at the video, word cloud, and pictures and tell us what they already knew about these images and words.  The students were enthusiastic to share what they already knew.
  • Was a Prezi presentation the best way to present the material?
    • I think the Prezi presentation was a great choice to present the material.  The Prezi was more visual than a normal PowerPoint presentation and it was great that we were able to get the image of New York as the “home base” for the Prezi. 
  • Were students able to follow along and become engaged with the Prezi?
    • I think that students were able to follow along and be engaged with the Prezi.  Students participated in the Stop and Ponder sections to share what information they learned through the presentation.  Students were also able to record information on their graphic organizer.  One thing that I would change in the future is to stop and help students to learn when to record the information, or provide more clues on the slides—such as stars or bold print—for information that should be recorded on the graphic organizer.
  • Were the videos and pictures in the Prezi sufficient for student learning and understanding?
    • Yes.  The videos were straight forward and helped to expand upon what we were teaching in the lesson.  It was a great tool to use for those visual and auditory learners.  I think that all of the students enjoyed the videos.
Guided Practice
  • Did the vortex, picture, and video activity allow the students to practice what they just learned?
    • Yes.  The students loved the vortex activity and it was great because we were able to have all of the students come up to the SMARTboard at least once.  Due to the time, we were unable to do the summary at the end of the vortex and reiterate the important facts from the vortex activity.  The pictures were also good to sum up student learning.  In the future, I do not think that I would use the video again.  Since the video is primarily of the New York City area, I do not think all students were able to make a connection with the video.   
  • Was the student praise and/or consequence provided lacking, too much, or sufficient enough to contribute to student confidence and learning?
    • I think that student praise was sufficient throughout the lesson.  I do not recall us using any consequence.  When a student provided an incorrect or off-topic answer, we gave corrective feedback and then asked if anyone else had an idea to share.  We allowed students to share which I think was beneficial to their learning.  We also had students chorally answer questions which is a great way to allow even shy students to participate. 

  • Did student groups asking other student groups allow the teacher to assess who really understood the content and who did not?
    • Yes I think it did.  The students were very excited about this activity and were actively engaged.  Students created thoughtful and unique questions to test their peers.  Since students worked in groups for this activity, it was difficult to tell which individuals did not fully grasp the content.  However, on a group basis it was clear that the majority of students understood and grasped the content of the lesson. 
Independent Practice
  • Was the socrative quiz fun for the students, as well as provide practice for them?
    • Due to time constraints, we were unable to use the Socrative quiz.
·         Did the socrative quiz allow the teacher to summatively assess the student?
    • Due to time constraints, we were unable to use the Socrative quiz.