Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Learning Journal Entry B

 There is so much we can glean from studying the history of education. The major chronological theme was accessibility. The first struggle was in allowing people from all economic backgrounds access to education. Initially, education was only for the wealthy.  The Land Ordinance of 1785 specified that lands were to be divided up into townships for schools. Soon after, in 1789, Massachusetts passed the first law which allowed taxes to be used for building schools, hiring teachers and educating all the people of its districts. School  became mandatory for children of a certain age  in 1852 and this changed the entire educational dynamic in America.

     Women became the next to receive equal consideration in education. Normal schools opened first in Massachusetts and allowed both young men and women admittance. High schools became public and all were allowed an equal shot at education, well, almost everyone. It took a long time for blacks to finally be allowed to integrate in the public high schools. Jim Crow laws and the "separate but equal" doctrine was finally killed in the Brown v. Board of Education case. This eliminated segregation in public schools. Many urban areas continue to struggle against district discrimination in schools with a majority of black or Hispanic populations.

     Another area where accessibility was addressed was of disabled students. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of persons with handicaps in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Section 504 protects the rights not only of individuals with visible disabilities but also those with disabilities that may not be apparent. This has allowed children with less physical or mental advantages as others to receive equity in their education. Access to education has come extremely far throughout the history of American schools.

    The other areas of significant advancement such as technology and cognitive studies, have made huge contributions in how education is taught. The availability of learning resources and materials has come remarkably far in the last hundred years. The internet has been the most significant advancement in this regard. Psychological studies conducted as to how we learn and how our learning thrives have changed the faces of classrooms throughout the years as we become more and more focused on teaching to each student. It gives me hope that in my own lifetime and in my own classroom, the technology, methods, and advancements will continue to improve.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Learning Journal Entry A

     This last week's assignment of teaching our own class on a subject of our choosing using a ELA Standard seemed really daunting at first. The first challenge, was narrowing down to a topic that fit with the standard I chose. I elected to give a lesson on figurative language for a 5th grade class. Poetic language is something that many children that age may struggle with. With the oncoming novels and classic literature assigned, it is vital that students grasp metaphorical language in writing and how they can use it to strengthen their own work.

     This lesson taught me that I needed to be better prepared with my materials and visual aids. It was difficult to do "hand outs" in an online forum, but in the classroom I feel it would be much easier to prepare. I also noticed other students in the class struggling with this. Being an effective teacher means being able to think on your feet when obstacles like this happen and adapting the lesson and materials as needed.

     I thought most of our lessons all went really well. The teachers that had selected lessons for younger grades were great about incorporating student input, visuals, and hands-on activities. In a student-centered classroom, each grade would have that same dynamic tailored to the age level. Reflecting over my own lesson, I would have liked to include some metaphors, similies and personification exercises where I would call out certain sayings like "I'm as hungry as a horse!" and have students identify which type of figurative language it was using cue cards.

     This was a more challenging experience than I had thought it would be. The speaking part is less daunting for me than just having the overall lesson ready. I found some of the other presentations harder to follow when they did not have visual aids. I can tell this is a really important tool in teaching as I, myself, am a very visual learner. The part that most impressed me was how each teacher checked for understanding throughout their lessons. The smallest assessments can help teachers so much in checking to make sure our students are keeping up.

     It was a really insightful view for some of our experiences to come. I think this will help me to be better prepared beforehand and have more questions for assessment prepared as well as visual aids for students like me!