Thank you for visiting my 21st Century Classroom! This page will tell you a little bit about me and how my dream of becoming a teacher has unfolded over my 39 years. It will also give you a glimpse into what kind of teacher I may become. We are all growing and changing, and this educational process is still evolving for me. Please take a few minutes to allow me to share what I believe about teaching...
Creating the above video was more than just a project for a college class - it is a virtual essay of where my passion for teaching began and how the path, once dark, has become illuminated and clear. Please click to read my Virtual Essay Reflection.
I believe that the arrangement of a classroom can greatly affect learning. As a secondary English teacher I would choose to arrange students in an environment where collaboration feels natural and authentic. Working in groups of three would promote this type of atmosphere. I believe that when students are interacting they are learning from one another. Although my desk would be at the front of the room, I would not put it “front and center”. I feel placing it to the side of the room correctly implies to the students that although I am an authority figure, the learning process does not revolve around me – in essence, we are in this “together”.
Placing round study tables where more students can work together will further promote communication between groups of students. I also like the idea of the square rugs with a plush couch which helps to create a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
RITUALS & ROUTINES
Research has shown that students learn best when in an environment in which they feel safe to express their ideas. When they are comfortable with the teacher and their peers they will be more likely to engage in discussions and actively be involved in the learning process. In order to create this type of atmosphere I would daily have them write a journal entry pertaining to the current subject matter. I would ask them to share their thoughts with a partner (or two) and then have each table share the highlights of what each of them wrote. This would promote collaboration and student centered learning.
I also feel that it is important for the students to regularly provide feedback about the class and what they’re thinking about the content, delivery and assignments. Teachers who are authentically seeking to provide students with the best possible learning environment, should be willing to make the adjustments necessary to meet the students where they’re at.
A typical lesson would look like the following:
* On this particular day I chose to use WebSiteToolBox as my discussion board
MY TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION
Technology is a very important tool to engage students in the learning process. The difference between simply being passive listeners and actively involved is the crucial step that leads them to think critically for themselves and become problem-solvers. To connect with others around the globe opens the doors of my classroom to embrace knowledge that goes beyond the scope of just my imagination.
I plan to use Skype in my classroom to connect with others outside my classroom simply for it's ease of use and great video performance - "Live Feed" doesn't get more interactive than this.
I also feel that Blogger is a great tool for students. It allows them creativity, a place to house their projects and a venue for student collaboration and peer review.
Another great site I found is FlashCardExchange - this is a tool that allows students (or the teacher) to create flashcards (i.e. vocabulary/spelling words) to be housed, shared or printed.
Google Docs is another great tool that I will incorporate into the classroom because it's a place where students can store their projects so they can be accessed anywhere.
As a teacher, I know that I will always be learning - because my scope of knowledge is limited. We have, at our fingertips, unlimited opportunities to learn and grow if we’re willing to seek them out. It’s never been easier to access information then it is today. My favorite tool to grow my Personal Learning Network is Twitter. This tool makes it incredibly easy to “follow” someone in the field of your choice. Millions of other Secondary English teachers are coming up with creative ways to make their classrooms better – to tap into this is simply working smarter, not harder J
You can reach me via email as well
"Collaborative Learning." Collaborative Learning. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://web.utah.edu/taresources/Collaborative.htm>.
"How to Change a Word Document to JPEG Format." WikiHow. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://www.wikihow.com/Change-a-Word-Document-to-JPEG-Format>.
"Create a Powerful Discussion Board in Seconds." Discussion Board Hosting. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://www.websitetoolbox.com/message_board/discussion_board.html?google_db>.
"Classroom Architect." Classroom Architect. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://classroom.4teachers.org/>.
"Free Skype Internet Calls and Cheap Calls to Phones Online - Skype." Skype. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/home>.
"A Better WayTo Study." Flashcards: The World's Largest Online Library of Printable Flash Cards. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://www.flashcardexchange.com/>.
"Hosted Services." Website Toolbox. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://www.websitetoolbox.com/>.
"Blogger." : Create Your Free Blog. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://www.blogger.com/home>.