Week 1: Reflection

This week’s focus on student engagement was a great start to our class.  Engagement is a key part of keeping students involved and desiring to learn.  Ali had brought up that she is teaching her students to create their own digital citizenship PSAs.  I was impressed, I too had included a YouTube video in my post that was a digital citizenship PSA from a school in Birmingham.  I thought that it was very impressive to actually have the students create their own, whether it be the entire class, in small groups or individually.  The creative juices would flow and they would be forced to learn what it is that we want them to know on being a digital citizen.  Theresa also had a video that demonstrated how to create a Learning Menu.  I thought that this was a brilliant idea.  Having the students use options that are given on the menu to set their own pace on creating graphic organizers that eventually can be turned into a brochure can really get the students involved in their own learning.  They take ownership of their work and are given the freedom and leeway to do it at their pace using their own choices.  I even liked the incorporation of the graphic organizer being in a website format, incorporating what they see when they are online.

Knowing your students well can also be a helping factor since they all come with differing backgrounds and baggage.  Using brain-based education, as Cindy had pointed out this week, or opening their minds to new ideas, as Tyler reminded us can be a way to help us as educators set up our lessons to best suit our students.  Tyler even quoted Burgess, “If you haven’t failed in the classroom lately, you aren’t pushing the envelope far enough.”  I have found that I have been pushing that envelope more and more this last year and a half due to these courses I have been taking through UAS.  I have been re-energized and find myself trying new things, attempting activities I was too afraid to in the past (such as one I shared in my post this week on doing the Syd Shuffle).  I too find that I have moved around starting as a librarian my first year of teaching, going to 5th grade for 3 years, moving to 3rd grade for 6 years, back to 5th grade for one year, then this being my 5th year as a PE teacher.  My brain needs to keep expanding its horizons as well.  Just like Genevieve doing ‘brain breaks” with her students by putting on Just Dance for them so they can dance in between their subjects, as teachers we need to energize our brains frequently to keep fresh, excited and happy in our professions.

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