Sunday, June 22, 2008

Student Assessment

Assessment in my class is an ongoing process. The teacher engages students in the assessment process periodically because of the need to know their progress.

The teacher uses assessment to find out if it meets the Student Learning Expectations, to improve his/her teaching strategies, and to meet the goals of the subject area that the students are being tested on.

Through assessments, the teacher strives to bring out the potential of the students to the maximum. It provides us insights into what teaching strategies will work best with our students.

The teacher provides the students a lot of work and activities in which they can show whether they have understood the knowledge and skills taught. The written work are gathered and submitted to the students’ parents for an update of their progress in their studies. Some of them are given some place in the classroom to recognize the student’s effort.

The teacher uses varied form of assessments. These are the: teacher’s made tests, publishers’ made tests, performance assessment, student self assessment, oral presentation, written work, questioning (oral discussion), creative hands-on projects, and standard assessments. These methods of assessments are:

. Teacher- created tests geared toward various learning styles. This method is more specific to the actual material being taught. The teacher can be more selective in emphasizing what was highlighted in the lessons.

. Publicized tests are utilized but it is limited in what is covered, so the teacher- created tests can be more challenging.

. Publisher- produced test- These tests encourage high order thinking. For some subjects, pretests are offered. By using these tests, the teacher is assured that the material covered will be tested in order to evaluate mastery of the material. If mastery is not achieved, then reteaching materials are available. These test results are used to evaluate the capabilities of the children.

. Oral Presentation- These can include speeches and skits. An advantage to these is immediate evaluation. It also allows and encourages creativity. Through this method there is a greater development of oral skills.

. Written Work- This provides the teacher opportunities to evaluate writing skills across the curriculum. It also provides the students for critical thinking. This method encourages creativity. Through written work, the students are encouraged to organize their thoughts.

. Questioning or oral discussions – This method checks for listening skills and attention span. An advantage of this method is that feedback is immediate.

. Creative hand-on projects, including science experiments, models, dioramas, and collections. These projects encourage creativity.

. Standardized test scores are evaluated and utilized in the following ways:

to evaluate the class’ strengths and weaknesses.

to share with parents, class’ progress and individual student’s progress during parent-teacher conferences as another facet of student learning.

to identify students who are achieving.

to identify students who need remediation.

to teach test-taking strategies.

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How Students Learn

Students learn through:

. teacher-directed activities that build understanding of concepts through the use of concrete materials and models- textbooks, workbooks, hands-on materials, etc.

. class discussions to illicit different levels of thinking skills i.e., students are encouraged to reason and to draw conclusions

. written work such as creative writing , journal writing, essays, and summaries which that provide opportunities for students to express themselves creatively

. oral presentation that provide opportunities for strengthening verbal skills

. the use of our textbooks and workbooks that challenge the children’s critical thinking

. listening activities to follow directions

. games and manipulative

. peer teaching or partner learning

. oral reports

. cooperative learning groups

. creative writing including poetry, stories, prayers, essays, and letters

. blackboard drills and exercises to reinforce skills gained

. art activities that include drawing, painting, illustration, and dioramas

. homework including daily reading logs

. identifying, describing, and comparing given facts and situations

. activities that require exploration, investigation, and discovery

. interacting with classmates to enhance understanding through verbalizing and visualizing

. classifying and sorting that develop the ability to think independently

. collecting, organizing, and interpreting information in a variety of settings

. experiences with manipulative

. role playing, dramatizing

. puppet and dolls playing

. completing workbook exercises and hands-on materials

. team work and group activities

. activities that require originality and creative thinking

. Oral and written reports

. Guest speakers

. demonstration, exhibits of work, sharing of work with the class

. activities that emphasizes critical thinking and scientific problem solving

. devising their own methods for exploring problems

. relating to life situation

. writing letters

. writing essays or paragraphs

. researching

. interviewing

. summarizing

. forming conclusions

. perform experiments (science)

. using charts to organize information and solve simple logic problems

. hands-on activities that for social interaction among the students

. predicting, performing and recording results

. field trips that enhance learning and encourage life situations

. complete projects that put into application of concepts learned

. holding team contests

. drill and review activities

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celebrating Summer in the Classroom

What exactly can you do when the scorching heat of the sun finally invades your classroom? How do you make your children enjoy summer without making them cringe from the heat it brings? These are a few of the questions that challenge even the best of teachers when summer starts to lurk around the corner. Well, teachers need not hurry to search for some good creative activities to alleviate the feeling that summers only can bring. Here are some ways you may want to look into that may encourage enthusiasm among your children toward summer.

Choose what is appropriate for your class level and interest: First of all, have a change of decors in the classroom. Make the sun as the center of interest. You could decorate your bulletin boards with a big sun with sunglasses on. Make it friendly looking with a nice funny caption such as: Here Comes Sunny! Summer is Fun! Be Cool! Summer Is Here!

Have some sunflowers around, a drawing of sailboats, the beach with big umbrellas and beach balls, and anything that may suggest summer is fun!Have a discussion about what are the best things that happen in summer: baseball games, surfing, beach ball game, swimming, camping, barbecue parties, parties in the park, sailing, fishing, beach volley ball, skate boarding, etc.

Look for stories about summer appropriate for the age of your students. Read them the stories such as the, The Sun and the Wind. Have the children dramatize this story, illustrate, and write a short summary of it. Put up their stories in the bulletin board. Have the children draw their favorite summer activities (for the lower grades) and let them talk about it. Ask them to share the summer activities : what do they do with their families? A family cruise, a beach party, family camping, etc.

Teach them art about summer. Show them how to build a kite that they can fly on the beach. Buy the girls colorful fabrics, and let them make short bandanas. Have the children decorate hats with flowers, and or teach them flower arrangements. Teach them how to make their own kaleidoscopes and glass paintings.

There are many art projects there that you may want your children to engage in such as water color blowing, finger painting, and sand painting that will suggest summer.Have the children gather rocks and sea shells and let them start their own collection. Have them classify their rocks and let them talk about them, where they found them and what do they know about them.

Have the children research what brings about the season of summer. Discuss about the revolution of the earth around the sun and its tilting on its axis. Talk about the sun and its features, what is it made of, its size, its distance from the earth. Talk about solar energy. Have a discussion of the uses of solar energy. Have the children construct solar ovens, and have them bring them outside the classroom and actually let them cook potatoes in them. Teach them the scientific method of experiment, so they learn to observe what is happening to the potatoes that they are cooking, and or let them explain how their solar ovens work.

Set up a contest in the class about the group that can come up with the best art about summer, the best pair that can come up with the best essay about summer, or the person with best poem about summer. Let them write essays about summer. First, make a list of main ideas about summer, and later on they can work in groups to give details for their main ideas about summer.Teach them poems about summer or better still encourage them to compose poems about the summer and award the children who can come up with the best work with sun shades, caps, scarves.

Put up their work on the bulletin board with their own illustrations of their work. Have a Beach Day in school! Allow the students to bring their shades, hats, umbrellas, beach towels, and beach balls. Let them play with water with very close supervision. Have the sprinklers on. Serve the children some popcicles, ice cream, fruit juices, and cotton candies. Let them play tossing of balloons filled up with water, tag war, and relays, etc. Later on, have them write essays what was the best in the Beach Day in School.

Have a volleyball tournament between students and teachers, and serve the children who cheer for their fellow students or their teachers be served with drinks, ice cream, popcicles, fruit juices, etc. Let them put on their sun shades, big buri hats, caps, etc. Show them a few dance steps to celebrate summer such as square dancing, limbo rock, and rock and roll.

Have the children bring ingredients for making lemonade and come up with different ways to make good lemonade. Serve it with side dish of cookies, mini brownies, and plates of sliced fruit. Show some videos of the most amazing sand castles ever made and amazing summer adventures- deep sea fishing, sail boating across the oceans, mountain climbing, etc.

Don't forget to provide the children with a list of good books to catch up on with their reading during the summer. Have a great summer! Don't let the heat dampen your spirit of adventure and creativity, fun in your classroom.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

How to be an effective teacher in the 21st century

Teachers have a profound and a positive influence on their student's achievement. They should cherish their profession and consider it a great privilege. They are looked upon as the leaders of their community. So much so that teachers must work with great dedication in the execution of their work for their students. An adage that speaks well of the big responsibility of teachers -"Teachers plant seeds that bloom over a lifetime."
I have here fourteen ways that I keep in mind in the years that I have been teaching to give me the sanity, the necessary balance that I need to be an effective teacher in this century, and I wish to share them with you:

Live and enjoy life. We know that "teaching is caught not taught." Children learn more from the way you behave and your passions about things; your points of views about anything matters to them more than what they read or what they hear from other people. Model your life to them. You should have a very positive but realistic outlook on life. Teach them the balance in life by how you treat your life. Have time to enjoy the fineness of life. Cultivate a lot of interest. Develop love of the arts and music and literature for their profound effect on our soul. Have a life other than the life you have at school. It is very difficult to do things for yourself because most of your time is taken by your teaching, but it is necessary to maintain a healthy personal life if you want to be an effective teacher. Teachers should be very good at balancing life between teaching and their own personal life and the joy in life.

Read extensively and research a lot. Be a "walking encyclopedia" especially in your areas of teaching. Your students expect you to know everything. There is no way of explaining why you don't know what you are teaching or how to handle your student's questions and their yearning to learn. Therefore, be interested in a wide area of subjects not only about the subject matters that you teach. Cultivate interests in other areas of learning. Pursue higher education. Attend seminars, in- services; get into continuous education programs to improve your teaching. All these will contribute in enhancing your teaching and impact the learning of your children. Constantly update your curriculum with better methods, approaches, and resources in the execution of your lessons.

Be technology adept, since technology is the world of children nowadays. You have to learn how to work with computers; know how to do e-mail, use Microsoft work, do the children's grades using Microsoft programs, know how to browse and research the internet, and make the most of your researches from the Internet. Have your children work on Microsoft software programs in completing their homework and class work. Create your own blogspot and use that to share your rich thoughts about education. Stay up to date with new technology, especially technology that will assist students with disabilities,

Develop love for fine arts and other extra-curricular activities: music, poetry, dance, sports. You must be well rounded if you expect the children under your care to be well rounded, too. Know the current events - watch the news, read the newspapers every day; travel if you have the chance. Experience first hand what you read to make what you teach to the children more authentic.

Know the community where you teach or where you live. Take an active role in promoting your community. Reach out to your community. Know the environment where your students are coming from, so you can serve them better. Show leadership in your community, because that is where you would like your students to be one day- the leaders of their community, making a difference in the place where they live and to the world at large. Have a passion for service to others aside from teaching children. Have a very good public relationship with your community. Reach out to the people with influence in your community for help for your school. Find out what is available for support in terms of resources and expertise in your community. There are many resources out there that would become handy to enrich your curriculum and would help your school in its function, whether social or educational. Work with community agencies and other educational programs in the community.

Involve your parents in the teaching of their children. Solicit their help and make them "partners in education with their children." Parents will be of the greatest help as speakers, coaches, remedial helpers for students, etc. Tap their talents and resources to help you with your teaching and in helping their own child to learn.

Be an idealist always! Do not be contented with a mediocre amount of learning happening in your classroom. Always set a high goal with your teaching and what you want your children to accomplish. Don't put a limit to your children's potential and in your potential to do more.

Develop an attitude of tolerance and care for different people and interest in their culture, traditions and diversity. Learn different languages. Save money for travel to get better insights of other people from other places and how they live. This will make a difference in your attitude toward the diversified status of your students and the zeal and the empathy for them to succeed.

Do not isolate yourself or put yourself above others, however accomplished you are. Always see yourself in need of improvement; don't be complacent with what you have been doing every year as the "best and right thing" even if nobody ever bothered to complain about your methods and your approaches to the implementation of your curriculum. Always have an open mind about changes; embrace changes as part of growth and welcome any suggestions and criticisms about your teaching from your superiors and colleagues if they will help you better your teachings. Invite colleagues to critique your work and/or come and observe your teachings. There should always be room for improvement with you and in your task of educating your students.

Invite yourself to work or collaborate with your colleagues on some projects. It is always productive to work in groups or in collaboration with other teachers. They are there to give you feedbacks and support in your undertakings.

You must have a good and healthy working relationship with your superiors. Always give them the respect as your superior. Give them the benefit of the doubt when conflict between you arises. You must have in mind that they are there to guide and support you. They have been trained professionally on how to do their job with you so you become an effective teacher to the children that you serve.

Continue with your wonderment of things around you and make it very contagious to the children under your charge, so they can identify themselves with you and feel that they can attune their feelings with you. This will make you understand them better. Continue the desire to learn about beauty, the uniqueness about things, and how magnificently things in nature survive and continue to unfold their mysteries and in things that are man- made; the childlike quality of wonderment will endear you to them.

When planning your lessons, focus on the needs of the children. Your curriculum should be "child centered." Plan lessons where your students' intellectual, social, motor, emotional, and physical capacities will be developed and challenged. You must be creative and very challenging in your teaching approaches. Challenge as well as respect your students' capabilities. Give all the help you are capable of in helping your children achieve their best, Always have in mind that what you do today with your children, however minute it is, brings tomorrow's success to them..

Most importantly, maintain and keep on burning your love of teaching, of education and of the children's well being and future. Have a grateful attitude that you belong to one of if not the most noble profession in the world and everyday in your life as you go to school to take care of the children under your charge, you can still have that feeling like it is always your first day of teaching and you have that excitement and idealistic attitude to be the best teacher that the children have ever had!

All these may seem to be a monumental task to attain and to do, but with grace and hard work, with the right attitude, focus, discipline, a cultivated professionalism, with the help of the right people around you, your love for children and their future, successful teaching is not a dream but within your reach!

My students have taught me a lot as I go through my years of teaching. They are my inspiration to work harder. They make my day! If you want to succeed in your teaching, learn from your children. Listen to them. Be sensitive to their needs. They can teach you a lot of what you need to do.

I know that teachers of the 21st century are working with the greatest mission on earth though the results may not be immediate but take heart, ultimately like the seeds that you have planted if you continue and patiently tend to them, nourished them with your tender care, they will become sturdy plants that will yield abundant fruits for the benefit of mankind.

21st Century Teachers, I salute you for your commitment to the education of our young ones!

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