Week Six – Revising My GAME Plan

I have learned that though sometimes bothersome, using the GAME (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009) plan pneumonic is a blessing. “A fair amount of focused practice” is necessary to master a skill says Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock (2001), and looking back at a lifetime of pursuits only those that were repeated many times stayed with me.  Because of practicing use of the GAME plan in my studies, I have learned to appreciate its simplicity and have decided to use it in the classroom. Using a graphic organizer and the computer to collaborate, we will work towards self-directed learning (Cennamo et al., 2009) through the GAME plan, and as practice shapes learning and understanding (Marzano et al., 2001), we will adjust the plan to any task.

At this point in my plan, new learning goals must wait until I prove to myself I have reached my first two goals. Thanks to technology, “promoting creativity” and “reflection using collaborative tools” (NETS-T 2.a. & 1.c.) can encompass many of the standards that I must teach my students. I look forward to focusing on transforming my classroom from teacher-centered to student-centered, and the transition will be smoother if I concentrate on just the two goals.

The learning approaches that I will try next time to improve my learning are to continue to discover, practice, and make available new technologies for my students. My eyes continue to be opened with every passing week. What is my latest revelation? After viewing Lefevre’s “Social Networking in Plain English,” I have adjusted my thinking regarding Twitter and decided that it just may improve communications with my busy children, who are grown and away from home. What a great learning experience: how to stay connected with the kids. Technology instructs outside of the classroom too.

Steph

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based

          approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Marzano, R., Pickering, D. & Pollock, J. (2001) Classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: McRel.

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Week Five Blog

Effectiveness this week stems from my developing a problem-based lesson plan. On “the other side” with what was for me a tough problem; I figured it out. And although the lesson may not be perfect yet, I have confidence now that I am on my way to an authentic, student-centered classroom (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).

I suspected and then learned from the reading that planning for problem-based learning would be difficult and “uncomfortable” (Ertmer & Simons, 2006). First hand, I agree. It was frustrating and time consuming, but having developed the plan I am ready for the next. I learned about many useful sites that will assist with PBL and now await my colleagues’ suggestions. I still need to learn the nuances between problem-based and project-based particularly how much assistance to offer and how much to leave out. In terms of scaffolding, my “helpfulness” seems appropriate. In terms of creating a definite student-centered atmosphere, am I being too helpful? I hope to learn the limits of this helpfulness so that I do not enable my students’ “learned helplessness” (Moore, 2001).

Yet to be finished, I must map out the curriculum for the entire semester of British literature. I plan on getting away for a few days, so the work must come along. No worry, I enjoy reading to learn (when the literature is exciting, which it is) more than I enjoy reading for fun. I will try to curb my enthusiasm and relax as much as possible. I do need that. When I make myself anxious, I cannot think. Call it test anxiety, type “A” personality; whatever you want. Adjusting my plan will come with fewer commitments and clear thinking; right now it is one day at a time; one assignment at a time.

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful classroom

            use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Moore, K. (2001). Classroom teaching skills.  New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Monitoring my GAME Plan

            Counting down until August 12th. Not much time to finish all that my GAME plan (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2007) entails. To “stop teaching and start guiding” (Dyer, 2010) is monumental for one brought up in the traditional classroom, but I am hard at work to ensure that my students are provided with learner-centered authentic projects and authentic and appropriate use of technology this fall. 

            Do I need to modify my plan? My original plan spoke of Stiggins (2007) division of knowledge and skills and Eagleton & Dobler’s (2007) QUEST. I have since found that the “horse” (resources) must come first, and the “cart” (lessons) will come along in a few weeks.

            The information and resources I need? So far at week three of my plan, “providing equitable access (not necessarily equal time) to appropriate digital tools and resources” (Cennamo et al., 2007, p. 171, 174) is my biggest concern and a challenge with the continuing “digital divide” or “troubling gap between those who use computers and the Internet and those who do not” (Mehra, Merkel, & Bishop, 2004). Computer access for upwards of thirty students with a supply of six classroom computers and an overwhelmed media center is tough, so I have contacted the technology department at the board of education and should have my projector with laptop and Internet both functioning and mounted (the plethora of wires stretch across the floor) before school begins. Too, as accessing any sites on the Net with images is nearly impossible due to the stringent district filter, useful sites with images must be identified and sent for approval ahead of time. I have compiled tentative lists for my first two units, and must finalize those and send for access. I have also requested authorization of my blog site for use as a conferencing tool, which “prompt[s] metacognitive reflection” (Cennamo et al., 2007, p. 71) in the classroom. I am unsure about specifics at this time, but prior knowledge, analysis, synthesis, and reflection can all be promoted through discussion and the ease and comfort of a blog (2007). Another activity I have begun is to evaluate the necessary websites for my British Literature class, including those with ancient British history and appropriate images for storytelling. These site will need submitted to be unblocked too.

            After compiling and assuring resources is to develop my long term curriculum using the county calendar and a teacher planning resource such as Internet4Classrooms (i4c) (Brooks, S. & Biles, B, 2010). The six British literature units will correspond with literary movements and align with state standards. They will include continuous formative assessments and weekly or biweekly project-based assessments sometimes including performance. All units will include both traditional and authentic instruction to provide scaffolding (traditional) and creative thinking skills (authentic). Incorporating the UDL (Universal Design for Learning) will also allow active learning and differentiation through choice and flexibility of “materials, methods, and assessments” (Cennamo et al., 2007).

            What have I learned so far and what questions have arisen? When I ponder the GAME plan pneumonic (2007), I find that the first two steps are a great impetus to planning, especially in the context of my studies. Yet when I ponder all that I have gained and questioned on this exciting educational journey, blogging does not allow for such depth and once again, time is of the essence. I will have to keep that to myself, in hopes that I do not frighten anyone away from reading my thoughts.

 

References:

Brooks, S. & Biles, B. (2010). Internet4Classrooms. http://www.internet4classrooms.com/index.htm

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Mehra, B., Merkel, C., & Bishop, A. (2004). The Internet for empowerment of            

      minority and marginalized users. New Media and Society 6: 781–802.

      Retrieved July 21, 2010, fromhttp://nms.sagepub.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

      content/6/6/781.full.pdf+html            

Stiggins, R. J. (2007). Student-involved assessment for learning. New York:

      Prentice Hall, p. 72.

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Carrying Out my GAME Plan

On my July 8th post, I determined to relieve my students’ learned-helplessness and my own learned-helpfulness through a GAME plan or goals, actions, monitoring, and evaluation (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009). What have I done in the past week to achieve that plan?

            First I have perused the British Lit teacher’s edition to revisit the literary movements, the six units, and the standards that apply to them. I have already reworked the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval period, unit one, to review reading strategies, elements of a narrative, and structural elements of poetry. My lesson revisions include authentic projects that allow differentiation to struggling readers, English learners, and talented and gifted students. Luckily our year-old textbooks include audio CD’s for less-proficient readers, “best-practices” tool kits for differentiation of any sort, and many ideas for advanced learners. The fact that I will use student-centered learning projects with designated goals and a choice of activities along with specific checkpoints to monitor and evaluate gives me confidence that I am teaching my students to critically think or learn to learn.

            Next steps include planning a time line; developing specific lessons, rubrics, and projects for each of the six units; designating appropriate web sites and available technology; contacting the technology department to assure online access to sites; and signing up for the media center to “provide equitable access” (2009, p. 171) to all my students.

            My plan is to monitor myself and give myself scores of 1-5 during the year for poor to great lessons. This week I am giving my own learning a four as I am quickly (at least in thinking, planning, and reflecting) moving from thinking about how to teach to thinking about how to teach learning.

            I am looking forward to implementing my GAME plan this August and having more time to focus on implementation post graduation this December.

Steph  

 

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful classroom

            use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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My Personal GAME Plan

            I had a student ask me a question one day, an irrelevant, “obvious answer” question. The situation happened day after day and on this particular day the answer was so apparent she looked at me and said, “I guess there are stupid questions!” The entire class erupted in laughter, and I often recall the experience when asked to evaluate my practice. The latest phrase describing non-creative students is “learned helplessness.” Unfortunately, my professional education has instilled in me just the opposite: an “I’ll do it myself,” traditional way of thinking, so my background leads me to instinctively “help” find the answer. Indeed this is a quandary. If my students have “learned-helplessness,” and I have learned-helpfulness, someone has to change. Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer (2009) recommend teaching students how to learn as opposed to skills. My GAME (2009) plan will help me do just that.

            What is my GAME plan (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009)? My specific ISTE indicators are promoting “student learning and creativity” and “reflection using collaborative tools (NETS-T 2.a. & 1.c.), yet I simply long for authenticity, engagement, and a learner-centered classroom (Cennamo et al., 2009). I wish to stop teaching and start guiding. Affording them opportunities for the kind of thinking that takes effort, decisions, and drive can only improve their lives. Critical thinkers become critical workers; therefore, for everyone’s sake, I must learn “a more constructivist approach” (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007).

            What action will I take to ensure this difficult change? As I think back over our learning experience, I like Stiggins (2007) division of knowledge and skills and Eagleton and Dobler’s (2007) QUEST strategy for lesson development. Happily, Cennamo et al. present a wonderful chart (p. 31) to guide me in teaching self-direction through inquiry using an awareness of knowledge and skills. Before the school year begins, I will map out and develop weekly projects that include inquiry, authenticity, and technology according to the Maryland essential course of study (McDougal Littell, 2008) for English IV or British Literature. During the school year, I will monitor my plan weekly using a scale of 1-5 for lesson evaluation. A score of five will be a successful lesson in which students were challenged, creative, and self-directed. Any lessons or parts of lessons that fall below a score of five will be evaluated and modified.

            Most of my evaluation and extension takes place during summer break when I not only get a chance to “clear my head” and decrease my stress level, my desire and time for life-long learning is restored. I spend much of my time in a refreshing mind-stretch, reading and pushing my abilities as close to the level of great teacher as I can. Post-masters I look forward to perusing, rereading, and rediscovering the excellent resources I have compiled over the past year.  Future leisure to reflect and restore will certainly benefit my self and my practice.  

Steph

 

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful classroom

            use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Stiggins, R. J. (2007). Student-involved assessment for learning. New York: Prentice Hall, p. 72.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 2010. Nets for teachers 2008.

                     Eugene, OR: Author. Retrieved July 8, 2010 from http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/

                     NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_for_Teachers_2008.htm

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Reflection – Supporting Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom

            Supporting Information Literacy and On-line Inquiry—I remember thinking how boring that sounded and that the last thing I wanted to do was learn about researching on the Internet and information literacy? How many kinds of literacy can possibly be? As it turns out I learned that my thinking was quite narrow, and instead of boredom or frustration with yet one more literacy, I added strengths to my teacher “trick bag” and am ready to address my students’ literacy weaknesses. It is exciting!

            The biggest surprise for me is how pertinent, propitious, and painless the “QUEST” or “model of Internet inquiry” (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007) turned out to be. And although my students do research using both traditional and technological means, this semester my seniors will complete a “QUEST” instead of the usual “dry” research paper using an assigned question. I am thrilled to have developed the understanding needed to bring my students’ research into the 21st century. Along with determining my own information literacy weaknesses, I have found that my students know much less than I previously thought and that using the Internet for research is not only appropriate, it is essential. In a school where many of the staff are unaware or literally afraid of technology, a senior project using the Internet, critical questioning; understanding, identifying, and evaluating sources; and the difficult process of synthesis will be appropriate and authentic.

            The knowledge and experience I have gained in this course and preceding courses is already palpable in my classroom reasoning and demeanor. Upon congratulating my students the other day about their intelligence one of them returned the compliment. As I thanked him I realized I had just received a compliment even better than the same from a colleague. Some days I feel like the “old woman in the shoe” and that every student is mine and my responsibility.           I have already begun using my favorite new research strategy which I think is appropriately named “notemaking” and the “CHoMP” strategy (2007, pp. 238-243). The illumination I see in my students’ faces when I explain that they must not “take” others’ words and doing so is no less than stealing. In the future I will continue to utilize the steps and strategies I have learned not only for inquiry but for traditional literacies. Questioning is a vital and life skill. I agree with Hartman (Laureate, 2007) when he says that new literacy questioning is not only growing in sophistication, it is “backwards from book culture.” I will continue to use my new awareness regarding “good” questions to improve my own queries and lessons. Understanding and evaluating resources I feel has been presented by Eagleton & Dobler in reader, user, and teacher-friendly form. I can seriously say that I enjoyed every chapter of Reading the Web and in the future, I plan to return again and again to the book and its strategies and recommendations. I particularly like the many handouts including checklists, flowcharts, assessments, rubrics, scavenger hunts, surveys, journals, and lessons. There are so many useful strategies I find it almost difficult to decide which not to use.

            How will I use this course to develop professionally? I will create a plan to develop new literacy awareness among coworkers and other educators. I want to teach that fluency in 21st century skills is a necessity for students, educators, and society. I strongly believe that our futures depend on it.

Stephanie Dyer

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Understanding the Impact of Technology – What I Have Learned

I hit the water hard, and down I shot. Deep and black it was. Funny, that I am not sure whether I remember more the plunge or the waving arms and muffled shouts of my friend Betty and her family as I popped back to the surface. A tender middle “schooler,” I had jumped into ninety-foot-plus water and had forgotten my life preserver. And, I was allowed to vacation only if I promised to always wear a life belt. My plunge into education of technological skills was no less frightening. The familiar is easier, comfortable, and the drop into 21st century skills learning feels dark and deep, yet every day I succeed is exhilarating and empowering. An older worker confounded? Not me (Tapscott & Williams, 2007). I have learned that as technologies transform the world, I have new strength and stick-to-itiveness to transform my classroom.

            The first memory of a change in perspective is while sitting on my porch reading the preface to Will Richardson’s Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts.. . .   My attitude of “let’s get this over with” quickly turned to allure, and my poor husband had to listen as I called through the window every fact and fascinating morsel. The teaching and learning process, I have always believed should be student-centered, yet that is not to say I have always practiced. Truthfully, I have probably spent more time wondering how to involve students in their own learning than actually doing it. Now the knowledge that teachers should embrace the millennials’ ways instead of being afraid of them is the best kind of knowledge: empowering. Through this course, the tools of technology have been “demystified” for me, and I am now practicing with “better tools” (Thornburg, 2008) and allowing my “Digital Natives” (Prensky, 2001) to use their natural attributes. I am also empowered with my new “smarts,” one of Kottler, Zehm, and Kottler’s (2005) attributes of a great teacher, which is needed to gain today’s students’ respect and attention.

            My new knowledge and skills have already enabled me to create a yearbook wiki, which promotes communication, collaboration, staff-sufficiency, and excitement, so my first long-term goal is to also create and employ the use of blog, reader, and podcast sites to “set the stage,” research, and minimize lectures in my classroom respectively.   

            My second long-term goal is to educate colleagues, administration, and possibly the district regarding the need for education about appropriate and skilled use of the Internet. After just one successful week using our yearbook wiki, the county Internet filter blocked its use. The students were disappointed, frustrated, and slightly angry that such a simple and comfortable way to communicate and facilitate ad sales would be deemed inappropriate. I thought of Richardson’s blog: “Don’t, Don’t, Don’t vs. Do, Do, Do” where he remarks how “stiff policies [speak] volumes” about what educators do not “teach” in terms of the Internet (2009). We label movies and television for appropriateness and then “bury our heads” when it comes to appropriate use of the Internet. I feel confused. Student-centered learning in the 21st century involves “online reading comprehension and learning skills” says Miners & Pascopella (Oct. 2007), and I, like Prensky (2001), believe that unless we want to let the “Digital Natives” teach themselves, “we had better confront the issue.” And confront the issue I will, I have begun with my students, will work through colleagues, administration, and follow with elected board officials if necessary. I have long been wondering what is wrong in our classrooms, and now that I know and understand 21st century skills, I plan to “do something different” (Thornburg, 2008).

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