When I was in the beginning years of my teaching the word pedagogy was a fancy word I heard mixed in with other popular educational words and jargon such as; rigor, differentiated instruction, explicit instruction, direct instruction, etc. Now as I gain experience and start expanding my practice I know exactly what pedagogy means and what it means to me. In an attempt to meet the requirements of a meta-reflection for the Standard of Pedagogy, I’m utilizing my ideas about Positive student behavior and how being able to nurture and implement this idea within my classroom in turn engages my students in academic tasks as well as promoting intellectual growth.
New Learning and Application of Practice
Teachers who form and preserve positive relationships with their students are helping to mold students into positive and emotionally-healthy people, while at the same time creating an environment that will cultivate student achievement. Educators that create and sustain a positive and safe learning atmosphere can foster positive student behavior along with maintaining student well-being, cultural competence among peers and academic achievement. In this paper I will be discussing models, strategies and curriculums that are evident in my own classroom and in my building that cater to positive student behavior.
At the beginning of each school year many teachers are busy preparing their classrooms and students. This involves setting behavior standards, and classroom rules and procedures, to help ensure that all students move about the classroom and building successfully. While this is an important step in preparing students for the academic year it is also important for teachers to begin making positive relationships with each of their students. When students feel they’re being validated or shown empathy by their teacher, on a daily or weekly basis, their behavior will most likely remain on an even and balanced foundation. Carl Rogers (1983), in his article, “Researching Person-Centered Issues in Education” studied the effects of positive teacher relationships with students, mainly students that were “educationally handicapped”. His statement, “in general, positive human relations are related to positive human behaviors” supports the notion that relationships can in turn affect behavior as well as achievement. Positive relationships and positive student behavior is better achieved in a safe and warm learning environment. “Students take risks and become more involved in classroom activities when they rate their learning environments as warm,” (McTigue, Washburn, & Liew, 2009, p.425). Teachers can use curriculums and programs to help set the tone for a healthy classroom. They can build a classroom environment that looks at “filling buckets” and campaigning against bullying.
Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph. D. developed and co-authored a book that turned into a school curriculum on Bucket-filling. How Full Is Your Bucket? is a book that can be used in businesses or schools, however the authors along with Mary Reckmeyer, Ph.D. wrote a children’s version to help develop the idea of bucket-filling. Bucket-filling is a curriculum that takes teachers and students on a journey to increase positive student behavior and relationships and decreases put-downs and bullying-like incidents. “So we face a choice every moment of every day: We can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them. It’s an important choice, one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health and happiness” (Rath & Clifton, 2009, p.5). Lessons in the curriculum involve teaching ideas of: bucket-fillers vs. bucket-dippers, what bucket-dipping does, how to use a lid, superheroes, etc. Participating in once-weekly lessons, K- 5, students begin to have an understanding of how to develop and keep positive relationships which in turn can help maintain positive behavior. Every Friday I have our class bucket that is filled with bucket-filling slips that students earn from me as well as other teachers and I choose two slips. The child whose name is on that slip gets to “borrow” one of two of my bucketfilling bracelets for the day to be able to share and show that they are in fact bucket-fillers.
Another way to help increase and keep positive student behavior is to teach and implement rules and strategies for dealing with bullies. Bullying has become a large issue within schools, especially with the amount of digital resources that students have to utilize. Schools have taken on approaches such as School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) to help decrease serious or minor discipline problems.
“School-Wide Positive Behavior Support schools aim to: create a positive school climate, establish and teach behavioral expectations schoolwide, and teach mastery and encourage demonstration of behavior schools that will alter the trajectory of at-risk children toward destructive outcomes and prevent the onset of risk behavior in typically developing children.”(Sprague & Walker, 2005, p. 58).
“When schools adopt an approach such as SWPBS it is assumed that all teachers are on board and will actively teach appropriate behaviors to all students as well as acknowledge and praise positive student behavior. When SWPBS is carried out effectively and responsibly the goals of academic success and positive social growth can be achieved. Teachers should be explicitly teaching positive behavior as well as establishing clear and concise rules about bullying, which will aid in decreasing direct and indirect bullying “(Olweus, 1993). Teachers can establish and encourage rules through literature, role playing or even strategies such as Cooperative Learning to support the notion of anti-bullying.
Cooperative Learning is an instructional strategy that places students into small homogeneous or heterogeneous groups where students complete a task or assignment while working on social skills. “Cooperative learning is an approach to instruction that provides both the opportunity and organization for balanced, successful, and satisfying group learning experiences”(Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007, p. 246). Marzano, Pickering and Pollock (2001) suggest that when utilizing this strategy it’s best to use it consistently, systematically and not allow it to be overused. Cooperative learning can only be executed correctly if students are taught how to cooperatively work on a task, what it looks like to work together, listen to one another and show respect throughout. These skills should be explicitly taught and modeled by the teacher prior to use of the strategy; teachers should not assume that students know how to work in small groups, especially in the primary grades. Also, the use of this strategy should be maintained throughout the school year, to allow students the opportunity to practice and gain experience working with others.
“Students who participate in cooperative groups are likely to be more accepting of and more positive toward one another, to be more helpful and supportive of one another, and to develop fewer prejudices toward group members of other races or nationalities than do other children.” (Olweus, 1993, p. 89).
Working in small groups also takes the pressure off of having to complete a task independently, which in turn can increase positive student behavior. When students know they’ll have more people working on an assignment together, students in general are excited and happy to have more people involved. I typically utilize cooperative learning groups during math when we have a special time at the beginning of the lesson, we have a problem of the day question and many times some sort of manipulative to assist them. Generally the groups are mixed so that I have benchmark, advanced, strategic, intensive and ELL students all mixed together discussing and coming up with answers to our problem. By having students participate in these groups they are getting feedback, vocabulary as well as new strategies that may help students be able to be set up for success even before the actual lesson has started. Within the cooperative learning strategies there are multiple methods to use with groups of students, one such approach is Jigsaw.
Jigsaw is a type of cooperative learning strategy that uses expert and home groups to deliver information; it helps with academic as well as social goals. (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007). A Jigsaw lesson requires that students work cooperatively in order for the information to be acquired and learned, therefore prior to using Jigsaw teachers should be sure that students have had ample practice with cooperative learning and working in small groups. Also, teachers should be sure to take sufficient time in preparing their first Jigsaw lesson with their class in order to ensure that students will be prepared and understand the process for the next Jigsaw lesson. Jigsaw lessons support social goals by, “Early research indicated that students involved in Jigsaw classrooms did learn to value the contributions of each member of their groups regardless of race or culture” (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007, p. 270). This helps aid and satisfies cultural competence within classrooms and schools. Jigsaw lessons also support cognitive and academic goals, “Jigsaw is used to facilitate content discovery, teachers can design tasks for expert and home groups that focus on specific critical thinking skills” (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007, p. 270). Teachers’ main goals is for student success and achievement on particular standards and concepts, anytime a strategy or method can assist in that goal, while at the same time fostering positive student behavior and interaction, it’s worth trying. Direct instruction has been on the forefront of practical and powerful teaching strategies.
According to Dell’Olio and Donk, Direct Instruction, “has been found to be particularly effective with elementary and secondary at-risk students academically; furthermore, it promotes self-esteem and positive social skills” (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007, p. 93). Due to the nature and design of direct instruction promotes student learning and well-being based on the elements that make up a lesson using this approach; focus activity, stating the objective, providing rational, modeling, checking for understanding, guided practice and independent practice.(Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007). I mainly use this instructional practice within my classroom during literacy and math, I may not use all elements in the exact order as described in our reading but I use many of the elements, especially in math. “Many studies found that this particular pattern of instructional practices resulted in significant student achievement in basic reading and math skills,” (Dell’Olio & Donk, 2007, p. 93).
A typical, daily math lesson for me would follow this order: I start with any necessary vocabulary by using the GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) organizer Content Cognitive Dictionary (CCD) in students’ math journals, we would then add our topic lesson to our table of contents and then set up our lesson page. Our lesson page is properly labeled with the lesson number, date and page number; we then add the learning target or objective at the top. I usually start with a PBIS (Problem Based Interactive Solving) activity that may incorporate some of the new vocabulary and content, we typically do this whole group or as discussed earlier sometimes I pose a problem to them in small cooperative groups. Afterwards we watch an interactive video and do discussions during it and sometimes we take “video notes” that are added to our interactive journals. When we first started using this math curriculum I was teaching third grade and we had a textbook we used, now that I’m teaching second grade we use these math magazines so my guided and independent practice time looks a little bit different, however only the materials changed, not the instructional strategy. After the video the students and I participate in guided practice. After guided practice my students complete a “quick check” which is an assessment that is multiple choice, sometimes I’ll have them use small whiteboards to provide their answers or I will have them write it in their journals. Based on how they do I will assign them their Independent practice task, some will get a longer assignment, some will have a benchmark task and for a select few some will meet Miss Botz at the round table to do a few more extra problems. My students and I discuss the importance of Independent practice time and how it’s “ok” for some kids to need a few extra problems with the teacher, this helps foster a safe and comfortable learning environment.
It has been my goal to explain in detail the models, strategies and curriculums that I use with in my classroom and building. These strategies and methods are available to teachers in order to foster and maintain positive student behavior. Through the use of these materials, teaching strategies and sustaining positive relationships teachers can increase positive student behavior, academic achievement, student well-being and cultural competence within their classrooms.
Clifton, D.O., & Rath, T. (2009). How full is your bucket?. New York, NY: Gallup Press
Dell’Olio, J. M., & Donk, T. (2007). Models of teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
McTigue, E.M., Washburn, E.K., & Liew, J. (2009). Academic Resilience and Reading: Building Successful Readers. The Reading Teacher, 62(5), pp. 422–432. DOI:10.1598/RT.62.5.5
Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing
Rogers, Carl. (1983). Freedom to Learn: Researching Person-Centered Issues in Education.
Sprague, J.R. & Walker, H.M. (2005). Safe and healthy schools. New York, NW: The Guilford Press
For our Skills Test 3 we were asked to make a screencast that we could potentially share and use with our students. I had a blast using this free tool to produce a screencast that would help my future students and their parents access our math program online. Having students watch this with me at school and then send the URL address to their parent’s home email address will ensure that both groups have the opportunity to watch how to access the math program online and at home. I’ve included in this blog my screencast, storyboard and ASSURE model lesson plan design. I thoroughly enjoyed using this tool and plan to use it again in the future to make short screencasts that I can use with my students to help save time and have active engagement from my kids. I did have to practice a few times before getting it right, however that was to be expected for my first time using Screenr and making a screencast, the tool was very user-friendly. I would love to see my students utilize this free tool to create their own short screencast, it’s only a matter of time and resources!
Module 4 had us looking at the trend of games and their educational advancement and effectiveness for students today as well as the cognitive theory of learning in media.
Clear: Educational games is part of what can make learning fun, especially when students can participate in them within the classroom learning environment. Take it to the next level with making the game digital and you’ve got a winner. My students have a number of educational games on our classroom computers that they can choose to play when they’re finished with their work. One of them known as FAST math is a math fluency program that has helped to increase students’ ability to recall their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. This use to be done via pencil and paper, however students now have the ability to practice, play games and move forward with memorizing their facts. For this game as well as many others the article by Gunter, Kenny & Vick explains that there’s careful consideration and planning that takes place during the process of making and designing games that are categorized as “educational”. They conclude by stating, “Considerable thought and planning is required at every stage of design and production to match media to the appropriate content, integrate and intertwine content closely with game play, and support learning through carefully crafted feedback and hints” (Gunter, Kenny & Vick, 2007, p. 534).
Unclear: The article Learning in High-Tech and Multimedia Environments by Roxana Moreno was quite a stretch for me to read. She uses many acronyms that were difficult to follow and remember throughout the article and I was also confused about the difference between media and method. During our screencast we touched briefly on the definitions of each and the application of each, however I still found it confusing. I appreciated the author’s table on the Ten Design Principles Derived From a Cognitive Theory of Learning With Media and Their Corresponding Theoretical Rationales, this helped me to understand the principles.
This week has been a culminating week for me and my classmates. We’re wrapping up finals, making last minute submissions all in order to “get the grade” we deserve. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading some of my colleagues’ papers and their great topics, including: Cooperative Learning, Inductive & Inquiry model, Multiple Intelligence & Non-Linguistic instruction, Character Education and Developmentally Appropriate Instruction in Kindergarten. I’ve had the opportunity to explore so many great ideas, excellent connections as well as wonderful use of quotes to support topics. I made sure to give credit and constructive feedback in order to ensure my peers that their papers were read and understood, just as I hope that they would do the same for me.
I feel that I’ve worked hard this quarter and put a lot of conscience effort, thought and reflection into most every module. I was eager about each topic study and made it a point to make connections from the readings to my personal experiences in the classroom as well as my beliefs. I feel this class has helped prepared me for to come in the future of education. I think we can expect to see buildings and districts making use of all the educational research and theory behind student learning and best practices, and having teachers utilize these in their classroom environments. Through the course of this quarter I’ve read, examined and applied many pedagogical styles as well as teaching and learning strategies through readings and studies. I’ve used my experiences as an educator to make connections to topics and answer questions that have caused me to analyze the structure of my classroom and the nature of my teaching styles. This course has emphasized what I do “right” as an educator but has also highlighted what I need to work on and modify in order to ensure my students’ well-being, help my students achieve success and cultural competence. We read brilliant works by authors in the past and great minds writing about today’s schools and classrooms, all which have made me reflective in my teaching. I made some very strong connections to the ideas of: Positive student behavior, Marzano’s Instructional strategies, Concept Attainment, Cooperative Learning and Direct Instruction. These identified study topics were the most influential to me during this course.I plan on carrying though the rest of this year and years thereafter utilizing them in my classroom and advocating for them in my building.
Cooperative Learning can be deemed as socially constructed knowledge at its finest, some would say, especially this week with our module’s readings about Jigsaws and John Dewey’s Pedagogical Creed. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t quite make the connection right away between our module’s readings and our discussion question which was “What is meant by the phrase ‘knowledge is socially constructed’?” It wasn’t until halfway between my initial post that I made the association between them, socially constructed knowledge and cooperative learning strategies such as Jigsaw. However, leave it up to many of my classmates to see the parallel between the two and provide some great discussions and ideas about the two. For example, Josh A. stated, “knowledge is a direct result of the social interactions and interpretations of the knowledge presented and processed by the students as a group. Very few people learn, or learn well, in solitude” (Blackboard discussion post, Feb. 13th, 2012). From John Dewey’s perspective children’s “unconscious education” starts at birth and is shaped throughout their lives by their experiences, their knowledge is socially constructed by their interactions and encounters with others. When students are introduced to a topic, skill or concept and then given a task to complete with a small group of learners they’re truly able to make meaning in their own language, their knowledge is socially constructed and extended by and with their peers. This is a very powerful interaction and can be fostered through the use of cooperative learning strategies such as Jigsaw.
Using a strategy such as Jigsaws fulfills five essential components of cooperative learning according to Johnson and Johnson (Dell’Olio and Donk, 2007) the five components are: positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual accountability, social skills development and group processing opportunities. Jigsaw also fulfills academic and social objectives for students. Jigsaw uses home groups as well as group “experts” to carry out a lesson, expert groups review and learn material then carry out instruction and teach the expert material to their home groups. The home group students participate in discussion and the lesson with the experts while learning the material. There’s time for group processing as well as individual accountability either through a quiz, journal entry or homework. The accountability piece is huge for all involved, it can serve as an assessment piece. Jigsaw can be a time constraint activity at first but after ample practice can serve as a great way to “socially construct” students’ knowledge.
Dell’Olio, J. M., & Donk, T. (2007). Models of teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Module three: Induction/Inquiry had us looking at readings about the Inductive thinking model as well as Inquiry -Based lessons and a look at Common Core standards. A heavy and popular topic for this week’s discussion was on the subject of pros and cons for inductive teaching strategies on student learning. I noted that many of my colleagues, as well as myself, noted similar pros and cons for this strategy, the pros seemed to highly benefit student learning while the cons fell on the teacher’s side.
Many of the pros included: collaborative learning, use of higher order thinking domains and a great introduction or culminating assessment. The Inductive model allows for students to be able to, “generate their own information, organize that information, make sense of what they have collected, and communicate their understanding to others” (pg. 146). By looking at Bloom’s Taxonomy, when students are able to participate in an Inductive model lesson they’re able to access and work within the categories of: Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. I read in other posts during this discussion that this strategy can aid student “critical thinking skills” and how many are wanting to exercise this type of opportunity more often. I also believe that this strategy will help foster and keep a “community-like” environment within a classroom, when students can come together with their “guide” and create organized lists of learned information it can really bring a group of kids, students, adults, people together. As mentioned earlier, the cons of this strategy I noticed fell upon the teacher more so than the students. The issues of time, conformity, organization, limited use of and participation seemed to circulate in some of the posts for this module. I would agree with my peers that time is precious and very much limited with the amount of information to be taught and pressure to get through. I also acknowledge some of the other barriers or obstacles that would make this strategy difficult to carry out in a classroom setting. I’m very much one for trying new things and experimenting with my teaching strategies and instructional methods, therefore I find myself excited at the thought of giving this a try in my own classroom setting.
Dell’Olio, J. M., & Donk, T. (2007). Models of teaching: connecting student learning with standards. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage Publications, Inc.
Module 2: Classroom Instruction that Works, had us reading the very popular Robert Marzano and colleagues and looking at nine research-based instructional strategies. The strategies included: Identifying Similarities and Differences, Summarizing and Note Taking, Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition, Homework and Practice, Nonlinguistic Representations, Cooperative Learning, Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback, Generating and Testing Hypotheses and finally, Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers. As educators we were asked to reflect on which strategies we noticed were being utilized in schools and classrooms and which were being under emphasized. After going back and reviewing my peers’ posts I can vaguely conclude that the majority of us felt that Homework and Practice was the most commonly used instructional strategy in classrooms with Summarizing and Note Taking close on it’s heels, followed by Cooperative Learning. Speaking in general terms, it seems to me that those who identified Homework and Practice as a popular strategy seemed to be in the Elementary-age bracket while those who went with Summarizing and Note Taking were in the middle and high school-age bracket. This would make sense since Summarizing and Note Taking is a popular and well used strategy to get important and large volume information to students. Cooperative Learning seemed to be a strategy that was emphasized across all grade levels, which I think is brilliant, since it’s an effective strategy for all-age students and as my colleague, Josh Auckland stated, “Companies are not just looking for individuals that have the aptitude for a job, but are also highly interested in finding workers that can work cohesively in a group and make decisions together.”
In the under emphasized category, Generating and Testing Hypotheses seemed to be the strategy that many of us felt was not as well utilized as some of the others. I believe that this strategy is under emphasized since it can generally be viewed as a scientific strategy, however as Marzano & co. state, “this basic cognitive skill applies to a variety of tasks that are applicable to many subject areas” (pg. 110). This strategy out of the others feels a little intimidating to me since it seems to rely on students having many experiences in order to procure a hypothesis. However, as defined in our reading, “By definition, the process of generating and testing hypotheses involves the application of knowledge…something we do quite naturally in many situations” (pg. 104). With the amount of PLC (Professional Learning Community) time that schools are dedicated to, this quite possibly could be a strategy focused on and incorporated into a research or study group. For some of my peers in this course, this action has already begun!
Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.