Posted byon July 23, 2014 4:05 PM
By Guest Author: Indy Luis
As a student getting started on the Multiple Subject Credential (Elementary School) CORE track at Sonoma State, you get to spend two days getting hands on experience as a future teacher. Although, with 5 on campus courses at SSU your focus is more on learning the fundamentals for creating lesson plans, being familiar with the theories behind what you are seeing in the classroom, content knowledge, etc.
But when you transition to your semester as a full time student teacher the focus is more on your time inside the classroom 4 1/2 days a week. You truly get to feel what it feels like to get to school early, prepare your classroom, and then spend the day teaching children. You will spend time getting to know your students, learning your classroom management style, your philosophies on teaching, procedures that work best in primary and upper grades, etc. The learning that can be accomplished in one day is endless, especially if you take advantage of every opportunity.
Mondays during your full time student teaching are the days where lots of caffeine is needed. You are inside the classroom from 8 to 12, business as usual. By 12 you're on the road heading towards SSU where you will attend two courses. These courses are re doable, and they are full of useful information, but having full concentration for 6 hours can be challenging.
Not only is the hands on experience at your school site challenging, but it is also extremely beneficial, and is the most important piece of this program in my opinion. I thoroughly feel like my work in the field was the most important part of my journey to being a credentialed teacher.
The most stressful time of your full time student teaching will be the works prior, during, and after you create, teach, film, and reflect on your PACT lessons. PACT stands for Performance Assessment for Credentialed Teachers, and fulfills a requirement from the State of California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing. To earn a credential, there is a series of skills that you must be able to show. You must design some sort of literacy lesson, film it, and submit all your work to be evaluated by the university. It is something that most all student teachers are able to accomplish and do a fantastic job, and from what I understand all the student teachers in my class did well and passed.
Overall the process during your full time student teaching will be hard, and it will test your strength. Even though it was the hardest thing I went through in relation of my education, I feel like it showed me that I was made to do this. As I was stressing about my PACT lessons, and nervous beyond belief teaching them, I was also nervous about the outcome in my classroom. I wanted my students to learn the literacy skill I was teaching them SO bad. This realization showed me how much I truly was made for educating the members of our future generation. I know that my passion for teaching and learning clearly showed through my work as well, because the entire class was able to succeed in my lessons.
I also feel fortunate to have made this journey through Sonoma State's program with a dedicated staff who were extremely understanding throughout the entire year, as well as a wonderful group of individuals who were also in this journey. Not only do I recommend getting to know your professors, but I also recommend depending on your fellow student teachers at your site and at SSU to get you through this. We should be in this together as a group of future teachers, and helping each other should be part of the deal. It sure was hard at various times during the year as I battled through this program, but anytime I didn't think I could do it, I knew I would have people behind me telling me I could.
Overall I feel that I have learned to become the best teacher I can be in Sonoma State's Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program. I almost gave up multiple times, and it was an extremely difficult process, but I am proud to say I made it. One thing you must remember about this program is that you can and you will get through it, just like many amazing student teachers before you who were also meant to be educators.
Posted byon June 30, 2014 11:55 AM
By Guest Author: Jessica Hernandez
Being a credential student at times can be challenging, especially if you are a mother and a wife as well. Being a credential student requires discipline and commitment. But, knowing you're making a difference in the lives of children validates everything.
For part-time student teachers in the Multiple Subject Program like me, you usually have two days at the university taking classes and two days at your placement site. In one of those site days you have a seminar class. On the other days you have an option to spend time substitute teaching during the day and in the afternoon doing homework if you want more experience. The following is a snap shot of a typical Tuesday in my life this semester.
On Tuesday, up at 6:00 a.m get ready and everything ready for my twins for Day Care. At 7:30 I head to my school site. It's a 30 minute to and from the site in Santa Rosa to my home in Cloverdale. Arrive at 8:00, sign in at the office and drop my reflection sheet for the week for the site supervisor to read. Class starts, for the first half hour students come to my desk for help. Teacher opens the class each morning allowing students to work on things that they may need to catch up on. After my mentor teacher starts the class. The full-time student teacher and I (the part-time student teacher) sit and correct papers for the teacher. From time to time I will stop and take notes on what I observe. Later I take a group of students to the library for reading. After reading we go back to class. The full-timer student teacher is doing a lesson. I help, in whatever she wants me to help her. During recess, our mentor teacher has study hall and the full-timer and I take turns going to the restroom since students cannot be left unsupervised.
From 12:00 -1:30 p.m we have our site seminar, this seminar will be different depending of which school site you are in. For us it was on Tuesday and typically between this time. In seminar we learned about different things we wanted to learn about teaching. At the beginning of the semester we brainstormed ideas and decided on the topics. Some seminar days were exclusively about PACT (Performance Assessment for California Teachers) for the full-timers, one was about CWS-1 (Candidate Work Sample) for the part-timers. But, most of the time the seminars were in teachers' classrooms where different teachers talked to us about topics like; classroom management, back to school night, Common Core Standards, etc. Most of the time, it was during upper grades' lunch, so we had to eat our lunches during that time as well.
After seminar, we went back to class, assisted our mentor in whatever she wanted us to do. Sometimes it was correcting, copying, taking down projects from the wall and displaying new projects on the wall. Sometimes, I would leave the class to observe other peers doing a lesson in different classrooms.as a part-timer you're required to do four peer observations After we would have a debrief session where we talked about what we observed about the lessons. Then I would return to my class and walk around helping students and observing. Then we head to the gym for P.E. before school ended. I always participate in the lesson. I believe it's important for students to see you as the teacher willing to do what you want them to do. Plus, it's fun to move around and play with your students. Class is dismissed at 2:54 p.m.
We went back to the classroom to plan for the next day and next week. Sometimes we would have auto duty in that case we would be doing that for at least 40 minutes. After school is your opportunity to ask questions about anything you saw or anything you have questions about. During this time I would plan with my mentor on anything she wanted to let me teach for the next day or what I could teach next week. Sometimes we would leave this planning for the next day. Usually I would stay at the site until 3:30. Headed to the university for a class from 4-6:40. Then head back home.
When I got home I attended to my parental duties. Once my twins were in bed. I finished doing homework. Work on my lesson plan for the next day or for the following week. Usually this was a two hour deal on a good day. Then off to sleep I went.
Posted byon June 20, 2014 3:15 PM
As education is rapidly running to catch up with today's digital advances, institutions have begun to acknowledge and reward educators who are helping pave the way through useful and creative classroom strategies.
PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program is a year-long professional development program designed to foster and grow a community of ed-tech leaders. Each year PBS hand-selects 100 digitally-savvy K-12 educators who are effectively using digital media and technology in their schools to further student engagement and achievement.
School of Education Alumna Kaki McLachlan, graduate of the Single Subject Credential Program and Master's in Education in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, has been selected for this honor for the 2014-2015 school year.
"When students use technology in the classroom it allows them to take ownership of what they are learning," said McLachlan. "It is also an engaging way for students to gather up-to-date information in a variety of ways and share what they have learned in more exciting ways then ever before!"
She acknowledges that all the new technology can be confusing for teachers. "New amazing resources are available each and every day for teachers. At times, it can be overwhelming, but it's not necessary to know it all!" Trying a new technology with students can be a risk, and doesn't always work perfectly. She notes, "It's important to remember, as a teacher, that not every lesson is going to be a success. This is especially important to remember when you begin to implement new projects with technology in the classroom. It is okay to fail! We are students too."
McLachlan teaches science and technology to 6th-8th graders at White Hill Middle School in Fairfax. In addition to teaching life science, this year she took on two brand new technology elective courses focusing on digital citizenship and media.
Throughout the year McLachlan will participate in various virtual trainings in educational technology. As a Digital Innovator, she is expected to lead several professional development activities in the 2014-2015 school year to share her innovations with other educators within her school and district
The PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators Summit was held in June, hosted at the PBS headquarters in Washington D.C. You can learn more about Digital Innovators by following the event on Twitter at #pbsdigitalinnovator and #pbsdisummit.
Posted byon June 20, 2014 10:47 AM
The mantra of the 3-day session was "Ask, Play, Learn, Share!" This idea was developed in hopes of creating a stress-free environment for experimentation.
The Summer Institute combined lectures, hands-on workshops and discussions all based around educational technology. Attendees were introduced to a variety of tools and platforms to try. Presentations included using Twitter to build a "professional learning network," ways to increase engagement using Moodle, and group participation using the Padlet web application. Faculty were also introduced to Google Drive and the opportunities for collaborative work, hybrid course development, and introductions to iMovie.
Presentations and workshops were led both by School of Education faculty as well as outside sources. Speakers included Sarah Fountain, principal of Monte Vista Elementary School, Shira Katz from Common Sense Media, and Robin Mencher from KQED Education.
Professor Michael Lesch said he was appreciative of the light-hearted approach to the workshop. Appreciative of both the structure and atmosphere at the institute, he noted "Jessica [Parker] was sensitive to our fears about technology." Other participants expressed similar sentiments. "For children today technology is just an extension of their identities," said Parker. "But for those of us who haven't grown up with it we need to adopt and share this mindset to help lessen anxiety," she said about the mantra. "We can't do it as separate individuals, it must be collaborative," she added.
During the debrief on the final day attendees broke into discussion groups to consider the practical applications of the tech tools they'd learned. Anthropology professor Karin Jaffee put many of the ideas to use right away in her summer class. "I used a Google Doc to have students 'build' our first lecture by filling in a table with terms and answering questions I would normally answer in a PowerPoint presentation. I also used Padlet to get students to answer questions that I would also normally address with a PowerPoint. Both assignments resulted in much conversation among the students, who were divided into groups, and also allowed me to have a class discussion to highlight good answers and address problematic ones. And I've already received feedback from the students indicating that they like the increased in-class participation! I'm thrilled with what I learned at SOESTI and so glad I've been able to implement ideas so quickly and successfully!"
Faculty member Erma Jean-Sims said she saw the potential for Padlet in her classes. "I like that it's instantaneous. Students are seeing and responding in real time," she said. "It could be especially helpful for getting more introverted students to participate, those who wouldn't normally raise their hands."
The general consensus was that educational technology needs to be used in practical, purposeful and usable ways. It's important to strike a delicate balance between engagement and distraction for students. Robin Mencher of KQED summed up this idea by saying "technology is the vehicle, but not the driver," said Robin Mencher of KQED. Educators must be the facilitators to help guide their classes.
Click here to view list of Summer Tech resources
Posted byon June 13, 2014 11:38 AM
Educators + Entrepreneurialism = Edupreneurialism
"Edupreneurialism?" Just another term or something meaningful? As an instructor in this course The Entrepreneurial Educator, of course, I lean towards the term having great meaning. For too many years educators have avoided any ties to business, and business has criticized education's graduates. This artificial separation has led to neither side being able to benefit from the depth and wisdom of the other. Every business must see itself as a learning organization. Every school and student must see themselves as a bit more like a business.
If we are to truly move to 21st century learning and embrace the concepts of the Common Core, our students (and teachers) must begin to think of themselves not as passive recipients of knowledge but as finders and shapers of their own future. In the course we explore the concept of every student and teacher seeing themselves as an "economic unit of one," not in just a financial sense, but with the belief that each student must, early in their education, begin to see themselves as responsible for developing themselves, for marketing themselves, for discovering their passions and for aligning these passions and interests with the realities of today's world. This is not a task for a career project as a senior in High School, but a way of thinking that needs to be nurtured at an early age.
Come and join us in exploring this concept. Begin looking at yourself as an entrepreneurial educator. Our course begins on June 23 and is hosted on Canvas.net. Enrollment is free.