Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gaining Confidence in the classroom: Where do i start?

After reading through the National Educational Technology Standards for Students, I have come to the conclusion that there are more than two areas I need to work on to boast my confidence in the classroom.  Although there are more than two, just picking a couple to start with is going to be difficult.  Teaching technology has opened my eyes to many things.  I have figured out that most students do not know how to read a ruler, all they want to do is cut wood and getting them to sit in their seat for more than 10 minutes to go over a lesson or introduce a project is a challenge.  One of the most reoccurring themes is that students have no inspiration or creativity anymore.  I find that I have to keep hinting ideas to my students until then come up with something that will solve the problem but is not the most creative thing in the world.

The first part of my GAME plan is going to be in the section: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity under section (b) which states engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).  Determining goals to set, actions to take, how to monitor progress and how to evaluate the learning that is taking place will be the major challenge.  My goals are to create mini projects, which get the students to think outside the box.  I have many students who just got passed on because they did what they needed to.  Once they get to my design and drawing class, my projects require outside the box thinking to come up with solutions.  Most of my students struggle with this concept and come up with the first idea that comes to mind even if it does not work.  These mini projects would be ones, which relate to real world situations but take much less thinking to solve.  After doing several of this mini projects to get the students mind opened up, I would create some larger more challenging projects to test how well they have become accustomed to thinking for more than just one solution or idea.

My classes are basically based on wood shop and having the students come up with their own projects has become somewhat of a nightmare.  They need more guidance than just reviewing the project and letting them go.  My goals would be to create mini projects, which would help students to open there mind to creativity.  My actions would be to implement the projects and to make sure that students are understanding the concepts and presenting the results.  Monitoring and evaluating can take place once the project has been started.

The second part of my GAME plan is to dip into section number 5: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership concentrating on part (b) which states: exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).  .  Growing as a teacher is part of the job as far as I am concerned.  I have been teaching for 3 and a half years and I have been to at least one conference every year.  Growth is a very important aspect because not only are we growing as individuals but also we are working together to build a better school.  My goals for this section are to become a leader in getting more technology involved in my classroom and working closer with my colleagues to make sure that we are incorporating technology as much as possible.  Living in a digital society, technology is about as common with our students as peanut butter and jelly.  It is everywhere they turn.  Working in a low-income area, many of my students do not have access to the most high tech gadgets.  Another one of my goals is to make sure all of my students get introduced to a technology such as a computer to develop some basic skills which will be very important to them as they get closer to entering the work force.  Not only do my students need to develop their skills, I also need to develop my teaching skills and grow as a professional. Another goal of mine is to attend more conferences.  I have built quite a connection with many teachers around New York State, which allows me to trade information which them.  This is a very handy resource to have because it gives more variety to my students.

Over the past three years, I have been working closely with many of my colleagues trying to work cross-curricular.  I would like to try and built upon that relationship to incorporate more classes with mine.  For the past 3 years my students have built the props for the drama production.  Not only does this benefit the drama students with nice sets to work with, but the art class gets experience painting and my class gets experience working with tools, reading blueprints and hands-on construction. 

Part of my goal is to make better community connections and to make sure the community knows what we are doing in my classroom.  This can be very intimidating because sometimes change is not welcome in a system that has been operating without change for quite some time.  The community support is what keeps the school alive; tapping into this resource would be beneficial to all students, not just the ones in my classes.  It would also benefit me greatly because once those connections are made, we can begin to built long lasting relationships.

International Society for Technology in Education.  (2008).  Iste NETS-T, Advancing Digital Age Teaching.  Retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. Benjamin,

    I have the same problem when it comes to students reading rulers. I found a web site which makes it fun for the students: I require them to use the sixteenth increment level. I hope you find it helpful.

    I also have trouble with students truly being creative. My students are afraid of making a mistake, and therefore, do not attempt anything different. When brainstorming in the design process, they create one idea and want to develop it without thinking about other ways of solving problems. The first idea is not always the best. I like how you plan to start out with simple tasks to get them used to thinking in different ways. This scaffolds the creative thinking students by creating “baby steps”. Good idea!