Week two

Week #2: What tools might provide me insight into the learners in my classroom and how might I use this information?

In my short life as an educator, I have had several opportunities to attend Kagan Cooperative Learning Trainings. You are probably wondering in your brain, “What does this have to do with an online learning community since it was (gasp!) learning that happened in the presence of actual human beings?!?!” Fear not my friend, this all has relevance! When I attended last April, I chose to attend one on multiple intelligences and one on brain-friendly teaching. Both were different but went hand in hand. Little did I know that they would totally change some of the ways I was teaching my little first graders. I would like to think that I am a better teacher because of what I have learned.

From this training I received some tools that provide me insight into my learners. I also learned how to use these tools to not only teach to the different intelligences, but also to help students grow their weaker ones. Unfortunately, I cannot find these same resources online for the ones who peruse the internet for information. It doesn’t mean that they are not there, I just can’t find them. However, I did find information that supports what I learned and is a great substitute. For instance, in Pinterest I was able to find a sheet of paper that students can color in to show what interests them. It is closely related to what we had in my Kagan training to use for an interest survey. I have that one in my classroom, but this one is a great substitute for teachers who don’t have the Kagan one at their fingertips. I also found a great model that shows the different intelligences and gives a brief description. I pinterested it for those who either are unfamiliar with the different intelligences or just need a brief update. Now I have it in two places, at school in my book or on the internet. I am so technologically advanced!

I have also twittered several links about multiple intelligences for others to peruse. I decided to put them in the wikispaces because they might go nicely in our first collaborative effort due in several weeks. I am hoping that others may be able to read them if they wish. I have found that it is probably helpful to put a very small blurb about the article by the link. This way I can contribute to the learning of others by not swamping them with links that they have to click on to see if it will interest them, but give them a little tidbit. My PLN can then decide if it is something that might be useful. Here they are in case you missed them.

http://www.institute4learning.com/multiple_intelligences.php a short article on MI

http://www.edutopia.org/multiple-intelligences-immersion-enota a school that has MI apart of every aspect of their learning community

In closing, I have found that what I have learned this week is furthering my professional practice. Even though I am a staunch Kagan supporter, there are other resources that I can use that don’t diminish what I have learned from the Kagan conferences. These new resources have strengthened my resolve to make sure that I am touching on all the multiple intelligences in my classroom. They have also given me a great reminder of the importance of them and how I can incorporate it into my lesson plans. It leaves me with these questions that I will focus on this week.

  1. Am I allowing for all types of learning in this classroom?
  2. What area am I the weakest at allowing for and facilitating student growth? What am I doing to improve this area?

My final blog for week one

We are supposed to write about our attitude we need for a successful mooc so here goes. I warn you that I debated in my brain if I should write what I thought people wanted to hear. I could not do it, because it would be a lie. The following is my truth.

The two words that keep going through my mind are “resignation” and “hope”. These are the only two attitude words that I can think of right now for someone who feels the way that I do.

I think of resignation and hope because:

I am resigned to the fact that this class is just going to be very frustrating for me. I hope that I can make it through without always feeling like I want to scream every time I turn the computer on to do class work. I am resigned to the fact that this class is designed for one type of learner (someone who thrives/learns from being on a computer for hours) and, unfortunately, it is not mine. I hope that I can still balance my free time so that I am not working all day at school and then come home to sit in front of a computer. I hope that this class does not drain my energy so much that I cannot be the best teacher possible for the 29 sponges in my first grade classroom. I hope that I still have time to walk, play the violin, read “stale” (as one person described them) books, socialize with friends, sew, and just be outside instead of worrying about if I have posted, blogged, twittered, pinterested, googled, bookmarked, etc. enough and in all the correct places to get at least a B in the class. I am resigned to the fact that I am just going to have 50 to 100 new emails in my inbox every day. I hope that I have the time to read and delete them all.  I am resigned to the fact that this class is going to be confusing. I hope that the muddy, murky, debri-filled waters clear up soon so that instead of feeling like I am drowning a horrible online death all the time, I can start swimming, exploring interesting looking channels and coves, and fishing in promising looking holes.

I have attempted to contribute to the learning of others by: talking with a co-worker, who has this class as well, and trying to collaborate on what we are doing, copying and pasting links for other people, and sharing what very little info I know or someone gave me when I twittered the other night.