Chapter 6 discusses the philosophies behind High Tech High, The Met, and Francis Parker Charter Essential School. If I could choose to teach at one of these schools, I would enjoy teaching at Francis Parker Charter Essential School. I especially admire their motto of “Less is More” and “Student as Worker, Teacher as Coach”. Francis Parker Charter Essential School believes that students would benefit from learning content more in depth rather than covering a lot of content briefly. I strongly agree and have seen this work at my current school site. Students are working on Investigations where they are covering content extremely in-depth and as a result have a stronger foundation, which in turn benefits them when they encounter new content. Francis Parker Charter Essential School has a philosophy that students should do the work and the teacher should facilitate. Similarly, I have seen this at work at my current school site because we implement plenty of group tasks where students work together while I facilitate the room and assess their understanding of the content by either listening in on conversations or asking clarifying questions. I personally believe that the same intellectual goals should apply to all students and that is exactly what Francis Parker Charter Essential School implements in their school. Francis Parker Charter Essential School does not track students and have “honors” classes and I have read plenty of research that tracking does not benefit students. Therefore, I believe that all students should be held accountable for the same intellectual goals. One aspect that I admire from Francis Parker Charter Essential School that my current school site does not have is personalization! We have so many students on campus that it is difficult for teachers to be familiar with all the students. Therefore, I make an effort to get to know as many students as I can by interacting with Math Club, Math Circles, and other sport related activities. The values that Francis Parker Charter Essential School stands for are values that are aligned with my teaching philosophy, especially democracy and equity.

In chapter 5, Wagner discusses how students learn and what motivates them. Much of the chapter is focused on how much time students spend on the Internet. He explains that students learn what they want to learn, most commonly without a teacher. Kids learn through Youtube videos and other online communities. Information is easy to access and satisfies their need for constant communication. Wagner states that, ““They want to turn the thing on, get in there, muck around, and see what works. Today’s kids get on the Web and link, lurk, and watch how other people are doing things, then try it for themselves.” He refers to this type of learning as “Learning as Discovery”. I agree that students prefer to learn by discovery. With smartphones in many of their back pockets, students know that pure facts are easily accessible to them. What they cannot practice simply by watching a Youtube video is how to think critically, how to communicate effectively, and how to solve problems using existing knowledge. Wagner argues that students “want learning to be active, not passive”. They do not want to sit in their desks and be told what to do. They want to be a part of the learning process. I agree that this is true when the learners are engaged. Students can easily learn how to play Minecraft by watching online videos because it is something that interests them and they want to learn. In schools, the key to unlocking this type of learning in a classroom is to first get students interested in what they are learning. Interest sparks curiosity and curiosity opens the doors to learn through discovery.
Chapter 6 discusses the philosophies behind High Tech High, The Met, and Francis Parker Charter Essential School. If I could choose to teach at one of these schools, I would enjoy teaching at Francis Parker Charter Essential School. I especially admire their motto of “Less is More” and “Student as Worker, Teacher as Coach”. Francis Parker Charter Essential School believes that students would benefit from learning content more in depth rather than covering a lot of content briefly. I strongly agree and have seen this work at my current school site. Students are working on Investigations where they are covering content extremely in-depth and as a result have a stronger foundation, which in turn benefits them when they encounter new content. Francis Parker Charter Essential School has a philosophy that students should do the work and the teacher should facilitate. Similarly, I have seen this at work at my current school site because we implement plenty of group tasks where students work together while I facilitate the room and assess their understanding of the content by either listening in on conversations or asking clarifying questions. I personally believe that the same intellectual goals should apply to all students and that is exactly what Francis Parker Charter Essential School implements in their school. Francis Parker Charter Essential School does not track students and have “honors” classes and I have read plenty of research that tracking does not benefit students. Therefore, I believe that all students should be held accountable for the same intellectual goals. One aspect that I admire from Francis Parker Charter Essential School that my current school site does not have is personalization! We have so many students on campus that it is difficult for teachers to be familiar with all the students. Therefore, I make an effort to get to know as many students as I can by interacting with Math Club, Math Circles, and other sport related activities. The values that Francis Parker Charter Essential School stands for are values that are aligned with my teaching philosophy, especially democracy and equity.
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In Thomas L. Friedman’s article, How to Get a Job at Google, he discusses an interview with Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google. Friedman shares some of Bock’s insight about what he looks for when considering hiring an employee at Google. Bock explains that an individual’s grades or college degrees are not the first thing he looks for. According to Bock, the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time”. The skills that Bock looks for include cognitive ability, the ability to be a member of a team who knows when to step up and when to step down, humility, and ownership. I try to facilitate activities in my classroom that allow students room to develop these skills. Therefore, I do feel that I am preparing my students to get a job at Google or one of the thousands of other jobs that require employees to work in teams. During group tasks, team members hold each other accountable. Teams work together to solve investigations and I often call on a student at random to share their groups’ ideas. Also, students frequently participate in student presentations. These presentations allow students to practice speaking in front of a large group. Also, presentations help students to practice “processing on the fly”, another skill mentioned in the article. After presentations, the rest of the class is expected to ask questions and the presenter(s) take charge of the activity by calling on their peers. I would say that Google’s philosophy is aligned very closely with mine. I want to help my students to become excellent communicators so that they can thrive in the job market. I want students to understand the value in their own opinion as well as the opinions of others. Also, I really want students to understand that it is okay to be wrong. They need to be able to fail without being defeated. Students will fail at tasks. What is important is that they understand that they can get back up!
Here is the link to the article I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! At my current school site, four out of the five school days in a week are block days. This means that students sit through three of their six classes for two hours each. I like the block schedule because it allows enough time for students to encounter the content, explore, and experiment before the bell rings. On the downside, I think my students might say that two hours feels like forever in some of their classrooms! In my class, students are up, out of their seats for at least one activity. Students often participate in presentations, rotate stations, and work with other groups. I hope that these types of activities break up some of the monotony in their days and do not leave them feeling drained after a day of school. In the article, Wiggins describes his experience shadowing a couple students. His three key takeways were the following: students sit all day and sitting is exhausting, high school students are sitting passively and listening during approximately 90% of their classes, and you feel a little bit like a nuisance all day long. I feel that many of the current reforms in education are making teachers rethink how they run their classrooms and I would hope that my students are not sitting passively 90% of the time in other classes. These takeaways accurately describe the way that I remember my high school experience. I, like the student in the article, did not think that it mattered if I was absent. I did not feel that my absence would affect the class in any way. My educational beliefs align well with the ideas presented in Wiggins’ article. I know that it is crucial for students to be engaged in order to learn and to get students engaged, we as teachers must do more than listen to ourselves speak. In my classroom, I am a facilitator. I facilitate group work, meaningful conversations, and an environment for learning.
Here is the link to the article I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I am going to learn how to refurbish a dining set. My plan is to purchase a dining table and four chairs (new or used). I would like to purchase fabric and reupholster the chairs myself. Also, if used, I will fix up the table and chairs however needed. If new, I may still end up staining the wood to get the color I want. I have never reupholstered anything and have little experience with refurbishing wood. I plan on learning how to complete this project through Pinterest. I will look for videos and/or blogs that provide step-by-step instructions as well as ideas. 10 Authentic Questions for Inquiry: 1. How many coats of stain will it take to make the chairs and table look as desired? 2. What will be the most efficient way to sand the wood? 3. Where can I find the best-priced fabric? 4. What tools will I need? 5. If I buy used furniture, what should I look out for? (Warning signs) 6. How many cans of stain will I need? 7. How many yards of fabric will I need? 8. What is the best type of fabric to use (cotton, wool, etc)? 9. Besides a stain and fabric, what other materials will be required? 10. Where can I find the best-priced dining set? A successful outcome will look like a table and four chairs that look like they were made by a professional. In other words, I do not want my guests to be able to look at the table and chairs and know that they were made by a furniture amateur. This project will allow me to play and make with my own two hands. Failure would look like me being unsatisfied with the results and selling the dining set on Craigslist rather than using them in my own home. Main tool for research: Pinterest Wish me luck! Chapter 3:
In this chapter, Tony Wagner discusses testing and its implications. He shows examples of real questions from standardized tests and picks apart the answers, showing how ambiguous some of the questions can be. Wagner explains that the High School Exit Exam in Massachusetts, called the MCAS is "increasing the dropout rate and a passing score is not a reliable indicator that a student has mastered the skills needed for college." He then asks a valid question "what purpose does the test serve?" I agree with Wagner's view of testing. He says, "in today's world, it's no longer how much you know that matters; it's what you can do with what you know.” I would like to see students being measured by what they are capable of, not what they memorize. I do not see much value in memorization. Students learn at a much deeper level when they derive their own ways of solving a problem. With the Common Core standards and the move towards inquiry-based learning students are being exposed to a style of learning that is not measurable by traditional standardized tests. When I was in elementary school and it came time for standardized tests, I was every teacher's worst nightmare. I either bubbled in patterns on my scantrons or tried to bubble in circles that would form a picture. Clearly, as a young student, I did not see any value in the tests I was taking and chose to rebel against them. Consequently, the results of these tests did not reflect my knowledge. I think that the only reason I took the CAHSEE seriously in high school was because I knew that I needed to pass it in order to graduate. Chapter 4: In this chapter, Tony Wagner describes the process he went through to become a teacher and the professional development he has experienced since. Wagner has been displeased with the majority of his teacher preparation as well as the evaluation process. Wagner states that, "very few teacher preparation programs focus on developing the skills needed to be an effective teacher, and they rarely give student teachers meaningful teaching experiences with knowledgeable and effective supervisors." I feel that the evaluations I have received so far in this program from my university supervisor have been extremely worthwhile. In addition, I have been receiving very helpful feedback from my cooperating teachers. I have had the opportunity to attend a few professional development days during my time as a teacher candidate. I have found most PD’s to be worthwhile. Specifically, one session I attended at the last PD provided a great discussion on “Notice and Wonders” and how they can be used in a math classroom. This strategy allows students to focus on what they can do rather than what they do not know. It allows them to feel that they are capable of noticing important information and that their ideas are unique. If I could change the structure of my current teacher Ed program I would make viewing and discussing videos a primary source of instruction for teacher candidates. I agree with Wagner when he says, “viewing and discussing videos of teaching and supervision is the single most effective strategy for improving instruction for all schools.” I would like to see teacher candidates spending a large chunk of time discussing effective and ineffective teaching strategies and classroom management strategies. I would like to see teacher candidates collaborating more often on real lessons that can be used in their current classrooms. Wagner also discussed what he calls the Three R’s for reinventing our schools: rigor, relevance, and relationships. I can see how important these three traits are for all educators. I would like to see a teacher Ed program that focuses on these traits and allows for reflection. I feel that the program needs to be more individualized. Just like our students, teacher candidates are extremely diverse and have different needs. There may be things that I really need to work on that others do not and vice versa. Students that were negatively affected by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) graduated high school unprepared for college level readings. Therefore, the Common Core Standards were produced in order to close that gap. Common Core has come up with 6 shifts which are:
1. Steeper staircase of text complexity – The level of text complexity increases faster starting at kindergarten all the way through high school so that students can successfully read and analyze college texts. 2. Stronger emphasis on non-fiction and informational texts – Students will read more informational text starting in kindergarten. In middle and high school 70% will be non-fiction and 30% will be fiction. 3. Increase emphasis on text-based questions – Students will be expected to more fully reference, investigate, think critically about text, and make inferences to answer questions. 4. Knowledge in discipline – Students will focus on this more in secondary grades. 5. Academic Vocabulary – Students will be expected to understand necessary vocabulary to be successful in certain disciplines. Students will have to use these vocabulary words in their writing. 6. Writing from sources – Writing is a rare mention in NCLB but writing is as equally important as reading in Common Core Standards. Students will be expected to argue from evidence in sources, write to inform, and covey complex information clearly. SwSN will be expected to achieve all the Common Core Standards in mainstream classes. In the video the authors of the Common Core Standards provide educators with recommendations on how we can assist SwSN to successfully achieve the Standards. The recommendations were the following: · Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – This is where educators provide differentiation in their classroom for all students, which in turn will benefit SwSN. · Instructional Accommodations – This is where educators provide specific differentiation in materials, procedures, and assignments to meet the specific need of the SwSN. · Assistive Technologies – This is where educators provide SwSN with technology that can assist their learning so that they do not fall behind We educators need to consider this because we are going to have SwSN and we need to make sure that they are successfully meeting the Common Core Standards. In this video Jo Boaler discusses that recent research shows that brains are plastic and changeable. This research is contrary to what people have believed about brains in the past. The research shows that when people learn something the structure of their brains changes quickly. Therefore, Boaler argues that anyone can succeed in any subject especially in mathematics. She argues that we need to stop the labels of smart and not-smart because research contradicts those myths. Boaler brings up a point that people fall into two categories: fixed mindset or growth mindset. People that have a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is fixed and cannot be changed and people that have a growth mindset believe that one can get smarter as long as they are learning. Boaler discusses that people can change from having a fixed mindset to have a growth mindset.
Therefore, we as educators need to consider that some of our students may have a fixed mindset and do not believe they are smart or ever will be. We need to teach those students to understand that they can indeed be as intelligent as any other person in this world. When we come up with our curriculum we need to consider that students may struggle, but that we have to help them persevere in order to develop that growth mindset. For some reason, it seems that individuals have a fixed mindset about math more than any other subject. I often hear people say, “I’m just not a math person.” Boaler’s philosophy is aligned with what I believe in education. I strive to teach my students to have a growth mindset so that they can all be successful individuals in whatever field they decide to pursue. The following are some ideas that I am considering for my 20% Project. Please let me know what you all think.
1. Learn Differential Equations. During my undergraduate I had the option to take Combinatorics and Number Theory or Combinatorics and Differential Equations. I decided to do the Combinatorics and Number Theory route because one of my favorite classes was Abstract Algebra, and Number Theory is a specific case of the generalization of group, ring and field theory. Therefore, I have decided to learn Differential Equations so that I can learn more about Laplace and Fourier Transformations. I will learn Differential Equations by buying a Differential Equations textbook and working through the book. 2. Learn Galois Theory. During my undergraduate I found Abstract Algebra, especially Field Theory, to be extremely interesting. Galois Theory is the study of field extensions of a given field. I will learn Galois Theory by buying a textbook that introduces Galois Theory and by working with my friends that are in a Masters program as well as with my old mathematics professors. 3. Learn to proficiently drive manual cars. I will learn this by borrowing my friend’s car and asking her to assist me. I may need to learn if I go to Ireland this August. I have always had automatic cars but have driven manual cars from time to time. I am leaning toward #2, hence the video. Thank you! In this talk Dan Meyer discusses five attributes that he argues our students have instilled in them. These are:
1. Lack of initiative 2. Lack of perseverance 3. Lack of retention 4. Aversion to word problems 5. Eagerness for formulas I agree with Dan Meyer because I have seen my own students express such characteristics. Education, especially math education, in the past has had a negative impact on our students. Dan Meyer argues that our students are exposed to media in which problems are easily solved, which in turn has led to the lack of perseverance and their quick desire for the "formula". The problems in our students’ textbooks provide unrealistic problems that one does not necessarily face in the real-world. Because of this Dan Meyer has come up with five strategies that we as math educators should implement in order to promote real-world situations in our classrooms. The five strategies are: 1. Use multimedia 2. Encourage student intuition 3. Ask the shortest question you can 4. Let students build the problem 5. Be less helpful One comment that stood out to me from this talk was that "the math serves the conversation; the conversation does not serve the math". All educators can replace math in this sentence with their respective subject area and all educators should strive to create such a working environment in their classrooms. |
## Edgar AyalaI love mathematics and how everything in mathematics can be proven going back to simple axioms. I am a mathematics educator at heart and I hope to make learning mathematics fun for all my students and hope to instill the value of education in all my students. ## Archives
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