Ethical Decision #3

The third ethical decision that I am going to discuss does not really go with the other two posts, but I think it is pretty important, and that is the idea of technology enhancing teaching. I do not believe that technology should be used in lessons just so teachers can say that they used it. Rather, I think it should only be used if it is actually adding something to the lesson. This came into play several times throughout my General Methods partnership as I planned my lessons. Some of the games that my cooperating teacher suggested I have the students play did not actually help them learn. Instead, they would get stuck in a rut because if they answered incorrectly, they were just told to try again instead of being told how they were wrong or how to fix it. I looked for games on my own, and was able to find some that actually provide help to students when they get the wrong answer. I felt better about giving those games to my students because I knew that if they were working on them in the computer lab or at the public library or something in their free time, it would actually help them learn and benefit them.

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Ethical Decision #2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t feel like I was helping my students as much as I could be by not teaching them those basic computer programs and skills that they will most likely need to know in the future. Of course, the subject of Youtube came up, as I’m sure it does in every class during their computer time. The students had heard of it, and some had even used it before. My cooperating teacher didn’t want them to use it, but it was very obvious that the students were interested in it. Instead of ignoring this interest, which I believe actually ignites it even more, I asked my cooperating teacher if I could teach them about how to use it responsibly. I feel very strongly about this when it comes to many aspects of technology, such as Youtube and Facebook, because the truth of the matter is that these children are growing up in a time filled with technology, and they’re going to use it whether adults “want them to” or not. If they’re going to use it anyway, we might as well teach them the right way to do so. So, in addition to teaching the students about Microsoft and typing, I also talked to them about using the Internet safely. Since they are so young, I didn’t want to go too deep with this discussion, but I found an idea online from Cara Hagen about teaching students to be responsible digital citizens. I explained to the students what a responsible digital citizen looks like and does online. They were really engaged in the lesson because that title sounded “cool” to them, so it worked for the age. At the end of the lesson, they all became “Digital Citizens” by taking a quiz and earning a “certificate” that I had created for them.

Ethical Decision #1

My General Methods observations took place in a second grade classroom. The district and class I was placed in had very little technology, and actually very few resources in general. In fact, teachers in the district are not provided with any curriculum materials and must find/make their own. There are no textbooks, teacher’s manuals, etc. The school I was at had one computer lab for the entire school, which each class was able to use during one one-hour time slot each week. My cooperating teacher was nice enough to let me create lessons to teach during this time every Friday I was there. I immediately started planning all of these activities and lessons for the students to do using the computers, and was really excited about them. However, when I shared my ideas with my cooperating teacher, I quickly realized that while these activities were fun, they were not the best uses of my time. My class was made up of twenty seven/eight-year-olds who did not have much technology in their homes, and had not been taught how to use it at school. Sure, I could teach the children how to go to this website and watch a movie, or even how to go to that website and make a movie, but will that actually help them in school or in life? Probably not, because when they do have access to technology, it is going to be for a particular purpose. Instead of my original ideas, I started creating what I would call “Intro to Computers” lessons. I decided that if these students could potentially get to high school before they had access to computers every day, then the most important things I could teach them would be things that they would need to know to be successful in high school or college or even future jobs. This included knowing how to use programs such as Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, and knowing how to successfully complete a Google Search. So that’s what I used my time in the computer lab to do. I showed the students how holding their hands can help them type faster, and I showed them how to change the font on the computer for when they will be writing a paper. I showed them how to create slideshows on the computer for when they will need to give presentations. I showed them how adding a hyphen between two words will help narrow down the material presented during a Google search. I taught them the basics of computers and a couple different computer programs, and you know what? They actually enjoyed these things, as basic and boring as they may have seemed to me, because they were still having time with technology. I feel better knowing that I taught them skills they will use someday to help them be successful instead of just having them complete an activity on a website that may or may not still exist in a year.

2nd Grade, Day 36

Today I went back and visited Harmony again. It was a pretty easy day! I helped Ms. Balentine finish her running records before lunch. Then the students took their test over area and perimeter. Lastly they made their posters for their planets, then presented them. During plan I was able to help the team with class lists for next year. This was something I got to do last year as well, and I remember being surprised at how many people were involved (teachers, counselors, principals, specialists, paras, etc.) and this year was certainly no different. They focused alot more on personalities this year than on academic things, because the students had a lot of social issues so they wanted to separate certain people and put certain ones together and things like that.

2nd Grade, Day 35

Today I went back to visit Ms. Balentine’s class! The students all ran up and hugged me and seemed excited that I was there. Ms. Balentine was working on her running records when I got there, so I was able to assess the students also and compare my notes with hers like we did in the spring. Then we had a birthday celebration for a student, followed by lunch. During math the students worked on their area and perimeter packets, then we checked them together. For science they finished up their planet research. Then we had another student’s birthday celebration! At the end of the day, the students got to go outside and draw on the sidewalk with chalk for a little bit, because the balloon they popped this morning said that was their special activity. They really enjoyed that and it was fun to see how creative they were!

2nd Grade, Day 34

Today was my last official day with the class, even though I’ll be going back random days the next three weeks. I’ve gotten so attached to this class and I’ll miss them a lot. They all brought me cards and one boy even brought flowers! We started off by playing our new balloon game. Today’s balloon said “write with a pen” which was a lot of fun for the kids. We also did a Flat Stanley that had returned. For writing the students worked with friends to edit and revise their papers. During reading they read their story with a friend and then I did a mini-lesson over context clues where the students had to read a passage and come up with a definition for a given word, then say what helped them come up with that definition. For math I did a lesson over area, which will be their next unit. This was just a basic “count the squares” lesson. Instead of science we had a party. The students gave me a copy of “The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, which they had all signed, and they read the story to me. It was such a thoughtful gift and I absolutely love it. I think I will read it to my future classes on the last day of school each year because it has such a great message!

2nd Grade, Day 33

The schedule today was really messed up, because the 2nd grade team had a meeting in the morning so all of the classes had subs. The students took their math test then. I graded them this afternoon, and everyone did really well! During math time, they worked on their writing assessments. They also went over their reading minutes, which is when they figure out how many minutes they read this month, how many they read this year, and how many hours that is individually as well as as a class. This is where their reading incentives come from. During plan today I set up an activity that the students are going to be doing for the rest of the year. I blew up 23 balloons (one for each student) that have a different activity written on a paper inside them, for example free seating for the day or go outside to do bubbles for 30 minutes. Each morning, a different student will pick a balloon, pop it, then the class will do the activity. It looks really cute and I’m anxious to hear how it turns out!

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