Friday, December 21, 2012

Writing scholarly articles



http://sinistralscribblings.com/category/humor/


It takes a while to get a hang of things when you are doing a Master's course. APA style formatting....brrr the very words send a shiver down my spine. But really. It is not that hard. when you get your knuckles rapped a zillion times by a professor who insists on being called doctor. ( I've even stopped writing " it's" for fear of a disapproving frown from someone.

For the past 7 weeks, I had been submitting my assignments to a a very particular professor who evaluated and analyzed each word I wrote. I kept getting my marks shorn off form every corner possible and was at my wits end...

...until the 6th and 7th week, when I finally made it!

Her comments:


  • Exemplary planning of instruction based on knowledge of classrooms school and community culture
  • Exemplary instruction on appropriate stages of development, learning styles and needs Extremely clear and well organized and logical flow.


·         You established clear and appropriate goals for student learning,

·         You provide  a detailed and accurate understanding of subject-specific pedagogical skills

for teaching 

·         You provide detailed and relevant reflection on the results of the instructional planning and adaptations made in order to improve planning skills and teaching effectiveness


and then finally... :)



Naini, this is THE best paper you have written.  You have a logical argument, writing is clear, and ideas are supported by research. Moreover, you have provide your interpretation and related it the behaviors and their triggers.  I am so proud of you.

Well, I 'd like to share both papers with my readers incase you are interested in getting the hang of things while doing your Masters.




Classroom Management Through Engaging Instructions

         Engaging students in the classroom is an ongoing task. What works for some students may not work for others. What works in the morning, may not work in the afternoon. As teachers, we have to constantly assess the mood of our students and use appropriate classroom management strategies which help create a conducive learning atmosphere.

One of the first questions my students ask me upon entering the class is “What are we going to do now?”This tells me two things: they are eager to know what is in store for them, and they are more at ease knowing what they will be doing, as opposed to not knowing, Writing the learning objectives on the board will help my students understand what they are learning and why they are learning it. As Doyle, W. (1983) stresses, making the objective clear from the outset will help students remain engaged in their tasks. (p.250).

Making students understand the learning process is a powerful strategy. It is powerful because it focuses on empowering students. Information can be vast and extremely complex. According to Jones & Jones, ‘students lack skills for effectively learning new information.” (p.254). Their recommendation is to equip students with good study skills; they also need to know how to study and set goals for themselves. Some great strategies identified by Jones & Jones are the usage of graphic organizers: central and hierarchical, directional, and comparative. These enable students to create mental constructs which help them organize and make sense of information. Using Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence is also a recommended practice. Students need to understand what type of learners they are. Knowing their proclivities will help students understand that they all have ‘different strengths and limitations.’ (p.252). Finally, equipping students with certain study skills, such as skimming and scanning, highlighting relevant information, summarizing, and using mnemonics will help them become better learners. (pp 252-256).

 Low achievers can be successful in their learning if they are able to connect what they learn in their classrooms to their own lives.(Davidson, 1999). In order to engage all students in the learning process, teachers must take into account their interests and choices. A few effective strategies recommended by Teel, Debruin-Parecki, and Covington (1998) are: grading based on student effort, multiple-performance opportunities, giving students more responsibility and choice, and acknowledging their cultural heritage. According to them, these strategies help unmotivated students become more productive members of the classroom. (p.260).

One great strategy to motivate students is to ensure they experience success in the classroom. No one, claims Jones & Jones, enjoys failure. Differentiated instruction is a great way to ensure that all the students’ needs are met. By modifying instructions and assessments, students will feel more engaged with the learning process. According to Tomlinson (2005), differentiation “provides different avenues to acquiring content, to processing…to developing products so that each student can learn effectively.” (p.1). She goes on to add that incorporating different tools of assessment, such as portfolios, journals, and interviews can provides students many ways to show their learning.

Self-evaluation of learning is a powerful strategy as it helps students take onus of their learning. Data makes their learning more comprehensible. Displaying student performance on charts can help them set their own goals.

Finally, a strategy which will benefit students is providing them with a safe and structured environment. Some strategies recommended by Jones & Jones are: speaking clearly and slowly; repeating instructions in a different way; familiarize students with unit vocabulary prior to teaching the unit; frequently check whether students have understood the concept. Students, especially ESL students will benefit from these strategies as many of them address their language needs.

The strategy I used this week was trying to engage students in the learning process by allowing students to create their own learning goals based on their preferences. I was specially focusing on a bright group of students who very often appeared lethargic and sleepy in class. Even though I try and prepare lessons which hopeful are fun and engaging and incorporate a lot of movement, there were times when this lot of students, were simply not as involved as I would have liked them to be.

I chose this strategy as it gave them the choice to decide how they wanted to learn. For the past month I had been incorporating drama every Friday. Most of the students enjoy role play and were very disappointed when I said it was time to focus on a different visual arts strand. Keeping in mind the strategy I was using for the week, I asked them whether they could make a convincing argument as to how drama could help them understand the central or big idea which their unit was based around. All of my students, especially the group that I was focusing on, seemed alert, motivated, and engaged as they set about creating a framework for a future drama lesson.

In another incident, we  looking at art as a form of expression, and thinking about how to integrate it with or unit. I showed them pictures of Eric Carle’s artwork. The students started investigating the effect different colored crepe paper has on each other. They decided to create a scene from a fruit and vegetable market. They noted how new colors were forming. One child ran out of the class to see how their work looked from outside; he then came back and suggested that they looked much better if turned the other way around in order to let the light filter through the tissues. Finally, as I was uploading their work on Google Plus, a student suggested I put it on the class blog for their parents to see. I asked her to take the responsibility of doing the same. Empowering my students in small ways and letting go of structured lesson plans seemed to be working as I was taking into account their needs and interests. The students appeared motivated and wide awake.

In future, I will continue to be alert and think of different ways I could help the students make the curriculum their own without losing sight of the goals and standards. As I incorporate one strategy and become more familiar with it, I will slowly and consciously incorporate other standards and monitor the effect they are having on student engagement, I will also keep in mind the points I stressed in the introductory paragraph: I will monitor the different strategies and their effect on different students. I will also keep in mind the time of the day and the subject before I identify which strategy to use.


 Reference

Davidson, A. (1999). Negotiating social differences: Youths’ assessments of educators’ strategies. Urban Education, 34.

Jones, v & Jones L. (2007). Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of support and solving problems. Laureate Education Inc. Pearson.

Teel, K., Debruin-Parecki,A., & Covingston, M. (1998). Teaching strategies that honor and motivate innercity African American students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 145.

Tomlinson, C. (2005). How to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.



Responding Effectively To Disruptive Student Behavior

Naini Singh

Walden University




(Name of Professor)
Creating an Effective Classroom Learning Environment (EDUC - 6657H - 2)

December 9, 2012



Classroom Management Through Engaging Instructions

         Engaging students in the classroom is an ongoing task. What works for some students may not work for others. What works in the morning, may not work in the afternoon. As teachers, we have to constantly assess the mood of our students and use appropriate classroom management strategies which help create a good learning atmosphere.

One of the first questions my students ask me upon entering the class is “What are we going to do now?”This tells me two things: they are eager to know what is in store for them, and they are more at ease knowing what they will be doing, as opposed to not knowing, Writing the learning objectives on the board will help my students understand what they are learning and why they are learning it. As Doyle, W. (1983) stresses, making the objective clear from the outset will help students remain engaged in their tasks. (p.250).

Making students understand the learning process is a powerful strategy. It is powerful because it focuses on empowering students. Information can be vast and extremely complex. According to Jones & Jones, ‘students lack skills for effectively learning new information.” (p.254). Their recommendation is to equip students with good study skills; they also need to know how to study and set goals for themselves. Some great strategies identified by Jones & Jones are the usage of graphic organizers: central and hierarchical, directional, and comparative. These enable students to create mental constructs which help them organize and make sense of information. Using Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence is also a recommended practice. Students need to understand what type of learners they are. Knowing their proclivities will help students understand that they all have ‘different strengths and limitations.’ (p.252). Finally, equipping students with certain study skills, such as skimming and scanning, highlighting relevant information, summarizing, and using mnemonics will help them become better learners. (pp 252-256).

 Low achievers can be successful in their learning if they are able to connect what they learn in their classrooms to their own lives.(Davidson, 1999). In order to engage all students in the learning process, teachers must take into account their interests and choices. A few effective strategies recommended by Teel, Debruin-Parecki, and Covington (1998) are: grading based on student effort, multiple-performance opportunities, giving students more responsibility and choice, and acknowledging their cultural heritage. According to them, these strategies help unmotivated students become more productive members of the classroom. (p.260).

One great strategy to motivate students is to ensure they experience success in the classroom. No one, claims Jones & Jones, enjoys failure. Differentiated instruction is a great way to ensure that all the students’ needs are met. By modifying instructions and assessments, students will feel more engaged with the learning process. According to Tomlinson (2005), differentiation “provides different avenues to acquiring content, to processing…to developing products so that each student can learn effectively.” (p.1). She goes on to add that incorporating different tools of assessment, such as portfolios, journals, and interviews can provides students many ways to show their learning.

Self-evaluation of learning is a powerful strategy as it helps students take onus of their learning. Data makes their learning more comprehensible. Displaying student performance on charts can help them set their own goals.

Finally, a strategy which will benefit students is providing them with a safe and structured environment. Some strategies recommended by Jones & Jones are: speaking clearly and slowly; repeating instructions in a different way; familiarize students with unit vocabulary prior to teaching the unit; frequently check whether students have understood the concept. Students, especially ESL students will benefit from these strategies as many of them address their language needs.

The strategy I used this week was trying to engage students in the learning process by allowing students to create their own learning goals based on their preferences. I was specially focusing on a bright group of students who very often appeared lethargic and sleepy in class. Even though I try and prepare lessons which hopeful are fun and engaging and incorporate a lot of movement, there were times when this lot of students, were simply not as involved as I would have liked them to be.

I chose this strategy as it gave them the choice to decide how they wanted to learn. For the past month I had been incorporating drama every Friday. Most of the students enjoy role play and were very disappointed when I said it was time to focus on a different visual arts strand. Keeping in mind the strategy I was using for the week, I asked them whether they could make a convincing argument as to how drama could help them understand the central or big idea which their unit was based around. All of my students, especially the group that I was focusing on, seemed alert, motivated, and engaged as they set about creating a framework for a future drama lesson.

In another incident, we  looking at art as a form of expression, and thinking about how to integrate it with or unit. I showed them pictures of Eric Carle’s artwork. The students started investigating the effect different colored crepe paper has on each other. They decided to create a scene from a fruit and vegetable market. They noted how new colors were forming. One child ran out of the class to see how their work looked from outside; he then came back and suggested that they looked much better if turned the other way around in order to let the light filter through the tissues. Finally, as I was uploading their work on Google Plus, a student suggested I put it on the class blog for their parents to see. I asked her to take the responsibility of doing the same. Empowering my students in small ways and letting go of structured lesson plans seemed to be working as I was taking into account their needs and interests. The students appeared motivated and wide awake.

In future, I will continue to be alert and think of different ways I could help the students make the curriculum their own without losing sight of the goals and standards. As I incorporate one strategy and become more familiar with it, I will slowly and consciously incorporate other standards and monitor the effect they are having on student engagement, I will also keep in mind the points I stressed in the introductory paragraph: I will monitor the different strategies and their effect on different students. I will also keep in mind the time of the day and the subject before I identify which strategy to use.


  

Responding Effectively to Disruptive Student Behavior, Part One

Strategies
Desired Outcomes
How will this strategy help my
students learn to make responsible
choices about their behavior?
Scan class frequently
Students remain  focused on work
Hopefully, they will realize that I will not tolerate any misbehavior in class as I am always on the lookout. They will remain on task.
Respond appropriately, calmly
The peaceful climate of the classroom will not be affected. I will use the correct tone and address the students privately or quietly so that learning can take place for the other students.
As a model, I will have to always be in control. The students who have misbehaved will not feel unduly blamed for small things. The rest of the class will continue to remain focused on their task.
Positive reinforcement
Students’ good behavior will be appreciated. The other students will also want to be praised and will try and model good behavior.
This will reinforce positive values without focusing on the negative ones. Students will realize more importance is being given to good behavior and hopefully try and change their behavior.
Ladder of success
Provide students will skills to deal with different problems.
Students will hone their skills. By using the ladder and wheel (p.341), they will be able to use a variety of ways to tackle different problems. This will empower my students and make them more independent at solving their own problems.
Responding Effectively to Disruptive Student Behavior, Part two
Problem-Solving Steps
Desired Outcomes
How will this strategy help my
students learn to make responsible
choices about their behavior?
1 .Establish a personal relationship with the student.
2. Student describes their behavior. Ask student “What happened?”  in order to get their perspective. Another option will be to ask students to hear what I observed or if I was not present someone else. Or talk about the problem later if the student shows signs of discomfort.
3. Ask them if the behavior is helping them. Or make a value judgment on their behavior
4.  Develop a work plan to help student change behavior. I can help them by modeling how to develop a behavioral plan in the class.
5.  Both student and I will ensure that we both understand the plan and will make a commitment to work on it. A contract could be signed.
6. Follow up. Meet student and review how plan is working.
7. In case plan is not working, see what to change.
Student is aware that I care.
Student opens up and overcomes fear and is able to describe what happened; even justify irresponsible behavior. The desired outcome is to make them comfortable enough to talk.
By listing the advantages and disadvantages of a certain behavior, the student will be able to analyze the pros and cons and decide what is best for him/her.
Students will design their own plan as opposed to adults doing it for them.
There will be no room for miscommunication as the plan is undertaken.
Student is aware of the importance of plan because of the regular follow up.
Student should understand why plan did not work and find alternative solutions. Last measure if not working, could be punitive.
They will be more willing to listen to me; Respect me.
They will learn to be more reflective of their behavior.
The student will be able to clearly assess whether the behavior is helping or hindering him/her.
This will make it more meaningful for them due to the personal involvement and ownership of the plan.
Students will learn to follow through; be more committed.
Student behavior slowly starts to change.
Student needs to take the plan seriously. If not, punitive measures will be another way of responding in order to curb the target behavior.








Reflection

I am currently teaching 8 year old students. This term, I have been challenged by a few students who repeatedly forget to complete assignments in class and at home; two of my students have poor social skills and are frequently involved in skirmishes in and out of the classroom. One child in particular tends to sulk and throw temper tantrums. Beyond this, there has been no major cause for concern. However, in order to ensure optimum learning is taking place in my classroom, I have created a behavioral response plan which will guide me in the days to come.

Having studied this year group of children for over 8 years, I am aware that they are quite adept at figuring out whether a teacher follows through with classroom agreements. The moment

I let one incident pass, they are quick to note this and adjust their behavior accordingly. For instance, If I insist they make a line and enter the class quietly but forget to implement this on a particular day, they will take advantage and try and break the rule. The strategies I have chosen ensure that my students are aware that I am always aware of what they are up to in the classroom; I also intend to model good behavior and respond calmly in order to show them how to manage stress. This will also allow me to keep control over my classroom. I intend to address minor behavioral issues as quickly as possible without wasting too much of the child’s homeroom time.

I intend to use positive reinforcement as I am aware how much these children love being praised, especially by their teacher. I hope to highlight good behavior and ignore inappropriate behavior as much as possible.

Giving children the basic “language and schema for responding to feelings in school settings” (p.340), as stated by Jones & Jones (2007) will help them become independent problem solvers. The ladder of success diagram (p.341) is a great visual aid which will help the students think of different ways they can address issues.

Constant monitoring of student behavior will help me save a lot of time in the classroom as it will help me prevent unwanted behavior; however, most problems, as stated by Dr. Sugai,  occurs in the hallways, playground, and other unmonitored areas. Using the above strategies will give me some direction when it comes to dealing with behavioral issues. As I implement and monitor the plans, I hope to be able to adjust and build upon them in collaboration with my students.




Reference

Davidson, A. (1999). Negotiating social differences: Youths’ assessments of educators’ strategies. Urban Education, 34.

Jones, v & Jones L. (2007). Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of support and solving problems. Laureate Education Inc. Pearson.

Sugai, G.(n.d.). "Positive Behavioral Intervention Support.” Laureate Education, Inc.

Teel, K., Debruin-Parecki,A., & Covingston, M. (1998). Teaching strategies that honor and motivate innercity African American students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 145.

Tomlinson, C. (2005). How to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.




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