Monthly Archives: March 2010

Student Teaching Week 3

This week was a good mix of observing and teaching. I had the U.S. history classes for Monday and Tuesday and spent the rest of the week working on our unit for next week on World War I. It’s funny how some days you can be completely prepared to give a lecture (PowerPoint up & running, worksheets copied, etc.) and yet somehow feel so mentally unprepared for the day! However, Monday actually felt really good. I forgot a few things (like asking for one section to turn in their homework.) I gave students an assignment this week that I thought they would actually enjoy, but a lot of them didn’t get it turned in. This was kind of disappointing, but I know that spring sports started this week AND the students are all pretty distracted due to a party that a bunch of them got in trouble for going to…(oh, the drama.)

Other than that, it’s been nice getting to know some of the students better and I’m looking forward to starting this unit next week. I’ve created the PowerPoint and assessments (with the exception of a DBQ that I found in a book.) Part of my plan is to ask the students at the end of next week to give me some feedback on how they felt about it all.


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ISTE NETS Standard 5: joining the digital community

As all of the ISTE NETS standards have shown, it is important for teachers to keep up with changing technologies. There are a number of ways in which to do this, but it all comes down to the teacher understanding what is available and how it can be used. One of the most effective ways in which to keep with the times is to get involved in an online community where people can share their personal experiences. Standard five says that:

Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. Teachers participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning…

Online resources and community can be found in a myriad of places. Even popular social networking sites like Twitter can help teachers in their quest to become more knowledgeable in all things technology. Ferriter, in his article about Twitter, shared his personal experience: “I focused on finding middle school language arts and social studies teachers or teachers interested in technology, knowing that people with my interests were likely to point me toward resources I could use.”[1]

Of course, this community of sharing can benefit any teacher in any subject area. I personally look forward to using resources such as this to gain new insight on issues in social studies. Having access to thousands of perspectives and worldviews (as well as years of experience) will be just one way that I can expand my knowledge and the information that I pass along to my students.

One particularly helpful resource that I have come across is called Power to Learn. The website has all sorts of reviews, articles, and ideas for the classroom that involve the use of technology or helpful sites to create resources for the classroom. I am beginning to understand just how great the role of trial and error is in the classroom, but thankfully there are resources available, like this, that allow people to share their own experiences as we all experience developing technology.

[1] Ferriter, W. Why Teachers Should Try Twitter. Educational Leadership Feb 2010 Volume 67 Number 5

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Student Teaching Week 2: I’m a substitute?

My reflection for this week could be broken down by day; I’ll highlight my two days ALONE in the classroom though! I wrote out a much lengthier reflection but felt like it did not need to all be posted! On Tuesday I found out before school that I’d be on my own that day; Deb was sick! So she gave me the assignment and asked me to have the students work on their homework for the class period. I’ll be honest, I was really scared to be all alone, but after a week of observing, I felt like it would be okay.

In all of the classes I briefly introduced myself so I was more than the girl sitting in the back of the room watching them. I treated different classes slightly differently in that I allowed one period of U.S. history to sit wherever they wanted to in the room, but by the next period I realized that regardless of the grade level, expecting students to A) work quietly for 50 minutes on bookwork B) while sitting wherever they want to in the room C) and  being told that they may talk quietly all for a substitute may not go the way I had planned. All in all, the day was fine. I told the students that if they were talking too much I would assume that they had finished their work and I would assign them more for the weekend. Evil? Nah. Effective? Yes! There were some “disciplinary issues” (I think that’s the nice thing to call this…) I had been forewarned that certain students would try to “test” me, and this was certainly true. One student in particular would not sit in his seat, talked constantly (most of the comments were inappropriate and/or disruptive to my class and people outside—he was literally hanging out the window yelling at the elementary kids next door.) After going to the bathroom several times, I had him stay in the hallway (where I could see him.) However, I think he may have been even MORE of a disruption in the hallway! I wasn’t comfortable sending him to the office because I didn’t necessarily understand the procedures that went along with that (turns out there’s not much to it…) I made it through the period, but it was a bit of a challenge. All things considered, I felt like it went well for my very first time alone with the students asking them to sit quietly for 50 minutes to work on some textbook questions! (And this was only Tuesday!)
I knew that I was going to be alone with the kids again on Thursday, but this time I had to finish the lecture notes from Deb. Again, I felt really good about the end product of the day! I told the World history students that if we could get through the notes, we would watch the beginning of a movie. (“Yes, a real movie, not a documentary” – my response to the many questions that the students had!) As part of our unit on ancient China, I showed part of the movie “Hero” with Jet Li (how could that go wrong? The kids practically turned into zombies 30 seconds into the movie. It was amazing.) For the U.S. History class, they had enough notes and book work to keep them busy; they are also better at keeping themselves appropriately entertained enough that they choose to do other homework or talk quietly through the end of the class.

Having to take over the class for those two days made a HUGE difference in my comfort level in the classroom, meaning I’m starting to feel like a part of the class and it feels good!

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ISTE NETS Standard 4: Being a model digital citizen…

As I mentioned the other day, the internet has completely changed the way that students do school. With these changes brings the possibility for students to face ethical issues, more specifically with cheating. It’s much easier to copy & paste text from a website than rewrite a passage from the encyclopedia, and students have access to a lot more information than they have before.

This being the case, it’s really important for teachers to demonstrate honesty and correct use of technology in the classroom. ISTE NETS Standard 4 says that:

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers:

a) advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.

One interesting set of statistics that I found included information that “35% of students admitted to using their cell phones to cheat” and “52% admitted to some form of cheating involving the internet.”[1]

Aside from the fact that students are cheating by using technology, there is also the possibility that they are not being taught HOW to use it correctly. Teachers and other adults should be showing students the proper way to use technology as well as give credit in order to prevent plagiarism. “When students see adults using technologies inappropriately, they can assume it is the norm. This leads to inappropriate technology behavior on the part of students.”[2] In order for students to understand their “digital responsibility,” they need to be taught the right way.

I see this as a vital part of the social studies classroom. By the time students reach their high school career, they should be familiar with the concept of citing their references and giving credit for their work, but it’s also a time where they have an increased amount of schoolwork. If students see these ideas modeled by their teachers, it will make a difference. (Although it may not always seem that way, we can always hope that students will remember that their teachers stressed giving credit for work that they borrow!)

The attached document is a handout that talks about digital citizenship and cheating.

Digital Citizenship and Cheating

[1] Cheating Goes Hi-Tech. Retrieved from:

[2] Ribble, M., Bailey, G., & Ross, T. Digital Citizenship: Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior. Learning & Leading with Technology, 32(1), 6-11.

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Digital Citizenship and Cheating

A wealth of information is literally available at the fingertips of students everywhere. With the development of technologies like smart phones, students have access to the internet all of the time-including classtime. While the availabilty of such a wealth of information can be a blessing, it is worth talking about in order to clarify what constritutes “digital cheating.” Now more than ever, students need to understand the ethical use of the internet, including where they get information and how they give credit for it. It is increasingly important for both students and parents to understand that the Internet can provide us with an amazing amount of information, but we as “digital citizens” need to understand how and when to use it, as well as how to give proper credit to references. Students need to understand that plagiarism is a very real and troublesome problem and how technology has both helped and hurt us in this way.

The attached document, Digital Citizenship and Cheating, defines and gives examples of digial cheating and plagiarism and suggests how to avoid such misuses of responsibility.

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Student Teaching Week 1: it all starts here!

The beginning of student teaching…

I’m at Seattle Lutheran High School in West Seattle with Deb Hook. The classes I will be teaching are 2 sections of 9th grade World History and 2 sections of 11th grade U.S. History. Deb also has a period of AP English, which I do not teach; I plan on visiting some other classrooms during that time to see what the other Social Studies teachers are up to.

One of the things that really strikes me about her classes is the fact that she has clearly gone over classroom procedures and expectations and holds students accountable to them. Students do not have a seating chart, and that seems to work fairly well.

On days where the teacher is lecturing, students are expected to take notes. Several students with 504 plans are provided with an outline of notes where they fill in some blanks.

A good amount of the students choose to participate in class discussions. Most of this is done without raising hands; for several of the classes this works well. The world history classes have a lot more talking in them, and they have to be reminded to raise their hand when they sometimes talk too much.

Students are expected to be prepared when they arrive in class. They should have their textbooks with them. If a student comes to class and is missing their textbook (and they need their textbook for class) they may return to their locker, but they will be marked tardy if they are not back before the bell rings. This encourages them to be ready for class and responsible for their supplies.

All lessons include a “lesson objective” that students are read. (I found out that this is something that is done department-wide.)

This week I took the time to get familiar with the classroom and school policies as well as the layout of the building. (I guess I was already slightly families with the layout back from my middle school days of using the school’s gym for PE.) This was also a great chance to see the way that different students interact with one another; I think it gives me a valuable perspective for once I’m actually in front of the class teaching.

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