Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blog Post #11

confused figure with question marks
1. Back to the Future - TED Talk by Brian Cosby

Brian Cosby is a teacher whose class is composed of mainly 2nd language learners. Not only that but they are at risk students. At the beginning of his speech he shows just how little these students are connected to their outside world by asking questions such as "what's your address?", "what country do you live in?", "what's your phone number?"...etc. The numbers that came back were low and shocking. Only three students out of the 24 he taught knew what country they lived in. He goes on to talk about the "schema" of the world and you can not create passion with creativity. His speech goes on for awhile about he got his students connected by technology. The projects he had them start had them engaged and interested because he created buzz around the project. He incorporated science and the language arts to pull a "head fake." They were learning all about science while at the same time they were improving their language skills. He had them writing stories based on what they saw which improved their writing skills. Not only that, their connections grew because of the projects and the blog posts that they created. People from all over the world saw their "High Hopes" project and sent their own "High Hopes" into Cosby's class. As a teacher, I think that is a great accomplishment. Cosby's students got to see how they can change the world. What I learned from Cosby was that there are no limitations to teaching or learning. He created a opportunity for his students to grow and become real learners. As a teacher, I want to make sure my students also have that opportunity to grow and reach other communities around them.

2. Blended Learning Cycle by Paul Andersen.
Paul Andersen is an AP Biology teacher. I have taken AP classes and I can personally tell you the workload in those classes is severe. Not only are students gearing up the take the AP exam at the end of the semester, but they are working with college level material. In Andersen's video, I was already intrigued by the spinning disk. The only thing I could think of during that video was "Wow, when is this disk going to stop spinning and why is it spinning for so long?" Already, Andersen's use of QUIVERS (his acronym that he created) was working. I hope to be able to incorporate QUIVERS (Question, Investigate, Video, Elaboration, Review, and Summary) into my lesson plans as a future educator. He talked about in the beginning of the video how he tried a new style of teaching, but as he thought about it, he realized he strayed away from what the original idea was. He acknowledged those who helped him remix his ideas and helped create what he was explaining in the video. This is a great example of what it is like to be a learner as a teacher. He went to other resources to help improve his skills as a teacher. It's okay to be uncertain about things. I shouldn't shy away from getting ideas or getting advice from other sources. We are all constantly learning and that should not stop once I become the head honcho in the classroom.

3. Making Thinking Visible by Mark Church
Mark Church had his students create a banner that, in a few short words, represented what they had learned already about human origins. He had them discuss and then put their banners on the board. This project was done near the beginning of their lesson. He then revealed that at the end of their lesson they would write another statement based on what they now know. This is a great technique showing students just how much they have learned over a time period. Would their slogan be different from what they wrote before? Why or Why not? What do you know now that you didn't know before? Questions like create a discussion and students can share their opinions and learn from their peers.

4. Building Comics by Sam Pane
This video was my favorite to watch. Sam Pane introduces safety on the internet by having his class create a "Digital Citizen Superhero." He incorporates language arts and the use of technology to teach his class how to be safe on the internet. His lesson is fun and keeps the students engaged. He has them walk around and peer edit students' comics. Is this a safety issue? Was it resolved correctly? As a teacher, I want to be able to incorporate various subjects into one lesson. This teaching style leads me into the last two videos and what I have learned about teaching and learning from these six videos.

5. Project Based Learning by Dean Shareski and Roosevelt Elementary PBL Program
One of the biggest advantages about Project Based Learning is that it takes away the need for segmented subjects. Why not teach science, language arts, and history all at the same time? A school in Canada decided to take on that challenge by combining history, english, and information processing. With the combining of these three subjects, the teachers found that students were able to learn more and understand more because they got the chance to expand their knowledge through several subjects. If this trend continues, could we see classrooms changing? Instead of going to another classroom and having "periods" or "blocks" will it just be an open classroom with different subjects all going on at once? In Roosevelt Elementary School, students were doing projects that involved other subjects as well. Don't we already write for science? We have to lab reports.

I feel as if I have veered from the original question, "What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?" However, I feel as if there is another question to be asked from these videos and it's something we have only addressed once. What is in store for the future of the classroom? With all these Project Based Learning ideas, are we going to find ourselves collaborating more often with teachers from different subject areas in higher grade levels? Do we need to take another look at the standards? Is the classroom size going to expand? In short, I found that after watching these six videos I felt as if I had watched the same six videos over again because I was looking for an answer I had given already in previous blog post.


  1. Hi Emily,

    I love your response at then end. I too felt like we keep searching for an answer that we are already getting the week before. I really enjoyed the comic book hero one myself because it felt like if I was child, I would enjoy that. Heck I'd probably enjoy it now. That's one thing for sure. We have to keep students engaged and excited. I really liked the idea of the blended learning cycle and the thoughts behind that video as well. Thanks for sharing.