Group activity

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 6
      Abria, You have done a very thorough and thoughtful job with this final reflection.  A couple of things you said here really jumped out at me: Being trustworthy to the middle school students allows an instructor to support their...
      • Abria Doctor
        Abria Doctor published a blog post Excursion 6
        Essential Questions: 1. What does it mean to be a middle school professional? Being a middle school professional not only means providing your students with high-quality instruction through various techniques to ensure they all reach the...
          • Gerald Ardito
            Gerald Ardito

            Abria,

            You have done a very thorough and thoughtful job with this final reflection. 

            A couple of things you said here really jumped out at me:

            Being trustworthy to the middle school students allows an instructor to support their students' emotional and social well-being in the classroom.

            Interestingly, many of you in the course have raised this point, and I wholeheartedly agree. I found have that students respond positively to a teacher's professional integrity, and that this is a large part of where the trust comes from.

            An important way starts with the instructor creating a safe, creative, collaborative classroom environment. 

            I couldn't agree more. In fact, I spend much more of my time as an instructor (and educational researcher) focusing on the development of the learning environment. I have come to believe that the type of environment shapes the possible outcomes available within it.

            I do not remember doing too many engaging activities, especially in math. Currently, I read about and listen to many stories about middle school math classrooms incorporating games and tangibles to support student learning. 

            Sadly, I have heard this too many times over the years that I have been teaching (and even before). I hope that you will continue to find ways to engage your students in math through strategies like experiential learning, and the other ones we studied this semester. We are all counting on you.

          • Gerald Ardito
            Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 6
            Anna, You have done a very, very solid job with this reflection.  This, in particular, jumped out at me: This means that a middle school professional needs to be a trusted adult to them.  I couldn't agree more and have seen...
            • Anna Skirianos
              Anna Skirianos published a blog post Excursion 6
              1. What does it mean to be a middle school professional? Being a middle school professional means using your students personal social-emotional needs to guide the path of curriculum in your classroom.They need to feel supported during this...
                • Gerald Ardito
                  Gerald Ardito

                  Anna,

                  You have done a very, very solid job with this reflection. 

                  This, in particular, jumped out at me:

                  This means that a middle school professional needs to be a trusted adult to them. 

                  I couldn't agree more and have seen many occasions when a very knowledgeable teacher just could not connect powerfully with students because the students did not trust him or her. I am sure that this is the case at all age levels, but it is particularly true, at least in my experience, with middle school aged children. I believe that this is related to their developmental need to differentiate themselves from their parents (and family). In order to make that leap, they need to feel safe. Trust in their teachers (or even 1 teacher) provides that crucial safety net.

                   

                • Gerald Ardito
                  Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Heidi Anthony #excursion6
                  Heidi, I really enjoyed reading your final reflection, and was glad to hear that you found this course valuable.  This really resonated with me: Coming from a Childhood background, everything in this course was different for...
                  • Heidi Anthony
                    Heidi Anthony published a blog post Heidi Anthony #excursion6
                    #Excursion6 Heidi Anthony
                      • Gerald Ardito
                        Gerald Ardito

                        Heidi,

                        I really enjoyed reading your final reflection, and was glad to hear that you found this course valuable. 

                        This really resonated with me:

                        Coming from a Childhood background, everything in this course was different for me.

                        I have taught this course about 8 times over the past few years, and find this to be true each time. It seems less of a challenge for secondary folks to think down, so to speak. I have come to believe that much of this disconnect comes from the typically very teacher centered organization of most elementary schools, which I have found to be a function of the maturity and developmental levels of little dudes.

                        This also stuck out for me:

                        Students should be able to make connections with what is being taught in school and what they are experiencing in life. 

                        I am glad that you made this connection for yourself, and you applied it well in your project.

                        It was good to work with you this semester and I wish you the best going forward.

                      • Gerald Ardito
                        Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 6
                        Rachel, I really enjoyed reading this post. What struck me the most about it was the ease and confidence you demonstrated in understanding and being able to have the mindset to work with middle school aged children.  Thanks for the...
                        • Gerald Ardito
                          Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 6: Reflection
                          Stephanie, I really, really enjoyed reading your post. You have been both thoughtful and thorough, and you have included some insights that are very powerful. I have listed some below. Classrooms and schools should be open and inclusive...
                          • Rachel Aspenleiter
                            Rachel Aspenleiter published a blog post Excursion 6
                            1. What does it mean to be a middle school professional? Being a middle school professional means many things, it means to be a leader, someone the students can trust and relate to, and also someone who can teach students by using a various...
                              • Gerald Ardito
                                Gerald Ardito

                                Rachel,

                                I really enjoyed reading this post.

                                What struck me the most about it was the ease and confidence you demonstrated in understanding and being able to have the mindset to work with middle school aged children. 

                                Thanks for the great work.

                              • Stephanie Schwartzberg
                                Stephanie Schwartzberg published a blog post Excursion 6: Reflection
                                  Excursion 6: What does it mean to be a middle school professional? As an educator in a middle school, the students going through their adolescent stage must be seen as individuals in their own progression and development....
                                  • Gerald Ardito
                                    Gerald Ardito

                                    Stephanie,

                                    I really, really enjoyed reading your post. You have been both thoughtful and thorough, and you have included some insights that are very powerful. I have listed some below.

                                    Classrooms and schools should be open and inclusive environments to welcome students of all social and academic levels. As academic challenges increase, students can begin to feel stresses and anxieties that they may fail to be able to understand. As an educator of students in such a delicate phase, these students will be guided by empathy and compassion for their growing pains.

                                    There is a big disconnect between the type of learning a student should be exposed to and how these state assessments enable them to show what they learned, or the skill sets that they have acquired. It is difficult to encourage students to do their absolute best when they feel defeated by the structure or the questions of the tests create by these testing companies and state departments. 

                                    Curriculum designs should adapt to the new methods, technologies, standards that evolve with time. Curriculum needs to continually modernize and engage itself to the students and in the new ways those students learn.

                                     

                                    If this reflection accurately captures your learning in this course, as I believe it does, you have done great work indeed. I am grateful we had the chance to work together this semester.

                                  • Gerald Ardito
                                    Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 5 Reflection
                                    Abria, I really enjoyed reading this reflection. It is consistent with the high quality work you and Jamie did with your unit and individual lessons. This, in particular, jumped out at me: Through this interdisciplinary unit plan, I...
                                    • Abria Doctor
                                      Abria Doctor published a blog post Excursion 5 Reflection
                                      6. Reflection. Once you have completed this project, each student will write a substantive reflection on this entire process. You will submit your reflection as a blog post on Pace Commons. Through the completion of this...
                                        • Gerald Ardito
                                          Gerald Ardito

                                          Abria,

                                          I really enjoyed reading this reflection. It is consistent with the high quality work you and Jamie did with your unit and individual lessons.

                                          This, in particular, jumped out at me:

                                          Through this interdisciplinary unit plan, I recognize how beneficial this is not only to students but to teachers as well. Collaborating in this form is a great way to engage students through multiple content areas with the same unit objectives and big ideas being implemented in both series of lessons.

                                          One of the main satisfactions I had when I was a middle school teacher was collaborating with my team mates, especially my social studies colleague. We designed some really cool projects for our students and we found that our collaborating was really meaningful to our students, beyond the content stuff.

                                        • Gerald Ardito
                                          Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 6: Reflection
                                          Steven, I really enjoyed reading this reflection, and was particularly glad to read this: This course as a whole promoted the idea of becoming a more well rounded educator.  You have done a very good job internalizing the key...
                                          • Steven Demartis
                                            Steven Demartis published a blog post Excursion 6: Reflection
                                            This course as a whole promoted the idea of becoming a more well rounded educator. Working as a Middle School professional can be a very daunting task. This is a period of immense change students as they not only physically develop and...
                                              • Gerald Ardito
                                                Gerald Ardito

                                                Steven,

                                                I really enjoyed reading this reflection, and was particularly glad to read this:

                                                This course as a whole promoted the idea of becoming a more well rounded educator. 

                                                You have done a very good job internalizing the key concepts and objectives of this course (and its predecessor). It is obvious that you have developed a clear understanding of and empathy for the mindspace (and growth space) of middle schoolers

                                                This, in particular, stuck out for me:

                                                Having them apply the learned information and form personal/real-world connections can be a tell tale sign of students grasping a concept. When designing lesson for Middle School age students, collaboration is key. Not only in interdisciplinary planning among teachers a crucial component to designing an engaging and rich curriculum but also contacting parents, administrators, and any other professionals who work directly with the students is crucial. 

                                                I appreciate what you are saying here about the need to develop a learning environment that involves the students, their teacher(s), and other adults involved in their learning and development. I hope you continue to deepen your ability to translate this into your own teaching practice.

                                                 

                                              • Gerald Ardito
                                                Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 4
                                                Abria, I really enjoyed reading your work for this assignment. Your descriptions are clear and vivid, as it your role as a middle school educator. Several things that you described really struck me. In the younger elementary age groups, I...
                                                • Abria Doctor
                                                  Abria Doctor published a blog post Excursion 4
                                                  a. Start by describing the context of the learning. What School district and school? What subject(s)? What was the goal of this/these lesson(s)? The lesson I observed was at the Mount Pleasant Cottage School in Pleasantville, NY. This is a public...
                                                    • Gerald Ardito
                                                      Gerald Ardito

                                                      Abria,

                                                      I really enjoyed reading your work for this assignment. Your descriptions are clear and vivid, as it your role as a middle school educator.

                                                      Several things that you described really struck me.

                                                      In the younger elementary age groups, I often observed the teachers implementing engaging activities (e.g. learning games) during lessons. In high school and middle school this summer I did not observe any engaging activities in the classroom. 

                                                      What astounded me about this observation is that I guess I would have expected something different in a unique setting as yours. Sadly, this trend is all too common in most typical schools as well. When I interview teachers about this (as I did both when I was a middle school science teacher and now as a teacher educator), secondary teachers always report that this strategy is essential in order to cover the content required by their corresponding standards. While I remain unconvinced by this argument, I am sympathetic to their concerns.

                                                      The use of correcting a partner’s work instead of your own also creates a sense of responsibility to the students. When I say responsibility, I mean the students feel it is more important to pay attention to the teacher because they wouldn’t be letting themselves down if they miss a correct response to mark on their paper, they will be letting down someone else instead.

                                                      I have seen this strategy used and have used it myself. I was interested in your understanding of this strategy promoting student responsibility. Did you have the experience (and I understand that this was one lesson only) that this strategy was effective in that way? Also, did you have any thoughts about it being effective in terms of enhancing student understanding of the content?

                                                      When the students joined with their peer learning partners, they seemed to be happy. I believe the students enjoy partner work in this class and it is very beneficial that the teacher implements this into her lessons. 

                                                      As you have seen from the readings for this course, collaborative learning strategies are often encouraged -- and implemented -- for middle school students. Usually, they are discussed in terms of promoting student learning, which they can do powerfully in many instances. However, what struck me was your use of the work "happy" here. In discussions about fostering social/emotional supportive settings, we usually focus on the needs of a given student (and we should do that, but you are indicating that it is possible for teaching strategies themselves can have a productive purpose beyond the cognitive. Cool. 

                                                      Overall, this lesson was interesting. I have never worked with this teacher before so I am unsure if she normally just works with the lower level students while the rest of the class is up to the teacher aides to monitor and engage.

                                                      As you move forward, I hope you get more opportunities to do this type of observation.

                                                       

                                                       

                                                       

                                                    • Gerald Ardito
                                                      Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Excursion 4
                                                      Miranda, I appreciate your thoughtful responses to the questions I raised. I also want to be clear that sometimes, as teachers, you just get a tough group. It's hard to say just what the X factor is, but I have seen it happen. That being...
                                                      • Miranda Barbara
                                                        Miranda Barbara commented on the blog Excursion 4
                                                        Hello Dr. Ardito! I wasn’t really that clear in my post about the behavior. The behavior was occurring in her math class, as well as other classes that I followed them to, specifically in their science class with another teacher. The...
                                                        • Gerald Ardito
                                                          Gerald Ardito commented on the blog Classroom Design
                                                          Well said. I would still ask you to reconsider what might be possible in constructivist teaching methods, especially with middle schoolers.
                                                          • Syed Mohsin
                                                            Syed Mohsin commented on the blog Classroom Design
                                                            Hello Professor, I think that a combination of the two methods (direct and collaboration ) is better than just one method. You never know who will benefit from either of the methods. When it is a totally new concept for the kids, direct...
                                                          ED 524 Spring 2020

                                                          ED 524 Spring 2020

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