Showcase Lesson Plan #3
Showcase Lesson #3 Reflection:
In this lesson, my high school Video Production class learned about Mini DV tapes and how to use them in our school’s camcorders. I applied Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) strategy of “Cues and Questions” by using the author’s examples of questions from “Classroom Instruction That Works”. The questions brought students into a discussion as I held up a Mini DV tape and asked, “What is it? What action does this thing usually perform? How is this thing usually used? What is this thing part of?” (p. 115). I went on to ask students further questions about the tape to get students to think about its purpose. The students seemed to really enjoy answering the cue questions, especially because they were able to draw from what they already inferred about tapes. The students talked about the different qualities of tapes and connected them to film and other media, while also bringing up their similarities and differences. The students also discussed how they thought tapes actually worked and had pretty accurate guesses. I followed Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) advice when they state, “Waiting briefly before accepting responses from students has the effect of increasing the depth of the students’ answers” (p. 114). This motivated students to rely on their own knowledge and critical thinking to answer the cues. It was difficult for me to just stare at the high school students until they started raising their hands and it did create a nice awkward silence. This is something that I should probably get used to because the wait was definitely worth the student’s discussion that followed.
I also applied Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) strategy of “Generating and Testing Hypotheses” (p. 104), and this worked but I think that it needs some polishing. In this activity I wanted to students to make guesses about what challenges they thought the Mini DV tapes would present. Many of the students understood what I was looking for them to do, but a large number of students were confused. In the future, I think that it might help to give students better instruction on what I am looking for and examples for them to follow when having the students create hypotheses. While exploring the use of “Generating and Testing Hypotheses”, I found that it was helpful to have the students explain their hypotheses to the class. This supported my reasoning for this activity as I took the idea from Marzano, Pickering and Pollock (2001) as they state, “…the process of explaining their thinking helps students deepen their understanding of the principles they are applying” (p.105).
In the following class where the students did the Mini DV camcorder activity, students did show that they had a good understanding of how to use the technology. After students digitized their footage, they did see the difference with shooting on tape, and even further understood the challenges that I was asking them to look for. The students were able to write these conclusions on their handouts, and I feel that the students now have a good grasp on how tapes have been used in the past and how we can still use them today.
Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria, VA: Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development.
This week I learned how to use a new technological teaching tool called Animoto. This tool allows teachers to create quick media presentations that look great and engage students in the subject matter. I used this tool to create a short intro presentation about troubleshooting technology, and I will use it to begin my visual art classes since technology glitches always come up.
The students in my Technology Information Literacy class are an interesting mix of high school freshmen and sophomores. This combination of learning levels creates a challenge especially since this is a technology class. In this class, students are given an in-depth look at computers and how to utilize important software programs. The programs that are covered in one semester are Office Word, Publisher, Excel, Powerpoint, and Adobe Photoshop. These programs use a lot of technical skills and are encompassed by a great deal of academic language. Often, the technical details create classroom obstacles because of the students’ different learning styles and grade levels.
Concerning academic language development, the students come into class with general language that they use with pieces of technology that they are familiar with through the social media, internet, and computers. This results in students knowing how to operate technology, but do not know proper names and basic truths. It was interesting to discover that many students understand how to use a flash drive but they do not know what it is called. With this in mind, I not only teach students how to use the software applications, but students also learn key terms in this area. The students are able understand the technical academic language once I teach them the meaning and usage of terms. New terms are constantly introduced in the curriculum’s objectives and most students follow along with ease as long as I give them adequate time to practice using the academic language. I have seen every student in my class comprehend technical language, but it does take certain students more time to do so. In order to assess this, I use formative assessment to track their growth. These students come from various backgrounds and are all developing at their own individual speed. They have been raised in a technical world and have learned how to communicate through social media. Thus, it is important for each student to engage in academic growth alongside personal growth so that they can reach their full potential as a student in my class.
My Junior High Technology class focuses on the following computer programs and technology: Office Word, Office Excel, Office Powerpoint, Adobe Photoshop, Videography and editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. Leading up to our unit in Photoshop, I had specifically focused a great deal of instruction on the elements of design. It was important that students knew that good graphic design demands good use of shape, texture, color, balance and theme. I felt that I gave a good effort in teaching the students about how to start thinking like a designer. After I had assessed the students’ growing understanding of the elements of design used in Photoshop, we moved forward to learning the tools in Photoshop. We started by learning how to cut a piece of an image out of a picture, and then how to blend it into another picture. After I felt that students had practiced using these tools correctly, I then gave them the assignment “A Play On Words” to assess their learning. This assignment not only assessed student understanding of the required tools, but it also forced them to think critically about language. This project required for students to choose a word or phrase that could be divided into two separate images that could be creatively blended together. Students had to wrap their minds around how to visually display language without using the actual written words.
Through this assessment, students were able to practice and then show competence in utilizing the following tools in Photoshop: The Magnetic Lasso, the Quick Selection Tool, the Move Tool, The Blur Tool, and The Eraser Tool. Through this assessment, I learned what went well and what should be changed next time around. In the future, I will provide extra credit projects for students who finish early so that the learning process can continue rather than being put on pause. I will give clearer lessons over the basics of how these tools work alongside a formative assessment to confirm student understanding before moving onto this project. Finally, I will provide clearer expectations for students to follow, as well as examples for them to better understand what low, medium, and high performance would look like. This Junior High Technology class is filled with different learning styles and levels of technical proficiency. My goal is to meet each student where they are and have them ask themselves, “What does my 100% effort look like?”
How can I integrate appropriate technology with instruction? This is an easier question for me because I teach technology classes, but I feel that the key word here is “appropriate”. As we go into a new age of growing technology, I see many teachers slap a ton of information onto a PowerPoint slide and then say that they have met their quota for instructional technology usage. With that said, I don’t believe that technology in the classroom should be something to simply check off your list. The use of technology in teaching should be answering the question, “Does this improve my students learning?”
I believe that technology can be a major asset to learning, especially with this next generation basically growing up with an iPhone in their cradle. Since these students are constantly being bombarded with new pieces of technology, I have been shocked to find that many students know specifics but not general truths about technology. For instance, students know how to download an app to their phone, but they do not know that the computer monitor is actually connected to their computer. In the first week of school, I had to teach my students how to correctly export a flash drive. After this realization of what students have skipped over in their learning of technology, I realized that they needed to know the universal truths that can be found throughout the technological world. Teachers shouldn’t just be finding ways to cram technology into the classroom, but should instead find where it is appropriate and then teach students how to correctly utilize it both in school and throughout society.
How do I know that I am making a difference in my student’s lives? This was a question that was a reply post on my bPortfolio and made me start to try and answer it. Some days I know that I am making a difference from the interactions that I have with my students, simply through the students exclaiming, “Oh, I get it!” Since teaching is an up and down battle, some days make me feel quite the opposite from my previous statement. However, the knowledge of a teacher’s positive effect in the classroom does not simply ride on daily interactions. We are coming up on the first quarter of school being finished and I can already see a big difference between my classes on the first day of school and where we stand today. The students have grown not only in their knowledge about technology, but also in critical thinking and social interaction with each other. There is a large amount of my students taking the technology projects and really putting their hearts into it. I not only see a change in many of my student’s attitudes, but also in the quality of their work. This comparison from the past to the present is very rewarding.
In both of my technology classes we started off the semester with students raising their hands every five seconds saying that they didn’t understand something that we were doing on the computer. Do I still have students who get lost sometimes? Yes, but I now have something that I did not have in the beginning: students who can problem solve for themselves and find the answer without giving up. This skill is crucial when using technology because there are honestly a lot of things that can go wrong. I have earnestly tried to teach my students this skill through instruction, practice and helpful reminders. It is truly exciting to see a student say that they have a technical problem, and by the time I get to answer their question the student replies, “I don’t have a problem anymore because I figured it out on my own.”
This week flew by! Teaching days are so fast paced and I can’t believe how quickly everything occurs. I have had a couple of challenges this week, both inside and outside of the classroom. First off, what should I do when students have really good reasons for turning work in late? We had our first big project due this week and I had them turn the Word document online into a teaching resource site called “Moodle”. In Moodle, I have created pages for each of my classes and the pages include an online of the units for each course and resources for students to utilize. It also has a feature that allows students to upload files online since all of the projects that are created in my classes are digitally stored anyway. The problem is that at the exact time and date the projects are due, little technology demons run around creating havoc as students try to turn the projects in. I had one student who had finished his entire project just in time for his mom to turn the computer off which deleted all of his work since he forgot to save. I had another student who tried finished her project at home and the computer broke just at the right moment. I know that these stories are true because I also got worried emails from parents. All that to say, I wanted to give grace in these situations because life sometimes just doesn’t go your way.
The other problem that I had this week was outside of the classroom. I burned myself out this week. Instead of relaxing at home, I found myself planning lessons and grading homework late into the night. I realize that teachers need to put in some overtime hours to get things done, but there still has to be balance. I threw balance out the window this week and felt the consequences. In the future, I want to better manage my time so that I can get work done as well as finding rest and restoration to be ready for the next week.