The Speech Team participated in something called the SLP Summit, where different online PD opportunities are offered for free, and SLPs can receive Continuing Education credits towards our state and national licensure. Based on these learning opportunities, the Speech Team created a google document so that they could all summarize their learning and reflections on the courses we chose. They each chose four courses to take and made sure that each of the eight courses offered were covered so that they could all benefit from each others' learning. Check out their learning log below!
Candace Schroeder, 5th grade teacher at Westview Elementary, took charge of her personalized flex day learning hours to complete Google Certified Educator Training Level one! She completed these trainings from December 2017 through January 2018. Using her new Google knowledge she created a website using the tools she learned from the Google Certified Educator Training. Her students are using the website to research a historical person and this website allowed them to spend their researching time in a productive way that guided them towards resources with helpful information. Check out the link to her Google Site below!
Flex Day 2018
This year for my Flex Day I went to the 2017 MOAHPERD (Missouri Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) at The Lodge of Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks with John Anderson, PE teacher at Lewis Elementary. A focus of one of the training opportunities I went to related brain activity to physical activity, in which studies showed that a student without any form of physical activity had very low brain activity, while after going for a 20-minute walk the same student had over 300% the brain activity than before. Also, while at this convention I had the privilege to collaborate with PE teachers from all around the state of Missouri. While here I decided to focus my main learning objective of integrated learning and creating a cross curricular learning environment for my students once I returned. The main point that all of these professionals kept driving home to me wasn’t to make my class revolve around the new changes coming in but instead to relate already proven lessons to what the students are doing outside of my class.
After getting back from the convention I have altered my approach to both identifying critical thinking in my classroom as well as how I will handle integrated units moving forward. I use to start my classes with the more critical thinking aspect of the lesson then move on to the physical activity for the rest of class. However, I now have very brief and broad thinking points that I introduce at the beginning of the lesson then as the kids are going through the activity and again at the end of the lesson after the physical activity I have the students revisit these points only know with a more detailed look. This has resulted in deeper thinking and better conversations to conclude the class with. When it comes to integrated units I have gone from trying to get my lessons to fit into the parameters of what the students are learning in the classroom, to allowing the students the opportunity to see how what they learn in the classroom can be utilized outside of their class. I have done this by following the advice given to me by my peers and sing proven lessons that I have used in the past and fitting different components of their classroom lessons into it.
Since college I have heard of Kagan structures and used some of them throughout my classroom, but had never been properly trained on these structures. I decided to attend to the Kagan 5 day workshop to help me learn how to correctly use strategies, engage all students, and become a stronger teacher.
The Special Education department consisting of Leslie Maddox, Faith Croisant, Debbie Grossl and Marty Marker, have met monthly since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year to discuss how we can better meet our students' needs by putting more focus on Academic Language. We have discussed how we are tracking data and what Academic Language words we are incorporating into our lessons. A few of the articles we have read are How Can Teachers Increase Classroom Use of Academic Vocabulary By: Lisa Larson, Temoca Dixon, and Dianna Townsend, 8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language By: Todd Finley, and Understanding Academic Language and its Connection to School Success By: Carlyn Friedberg, Alison Mitchell and Elizabeth Brooke (Lexia Learning). For students to be successful in the classroom, they need to be fluent in the language used in each subject throughout their day. Since students are often not exposed to advanced words or phrases outside of school, it is imperative that we expect proficiency of the academic language, especially since it is critical for reading comprehension. Elementary teachers should provide explicit instruction in word categories and relationships. We should foster a language rich classroom and teach word learning strategies for acquiring new vocabulary. We also need to teach and demonstrate self-monitoring of comprehension when encountering complex language and ideas. Although challenging, it's the language students must master in order to succeed in any content area. In our classrooms we have tried a few strategies such as repeated conversations about certain content vocabulary, using talking stems and modeling, as well as providing academic language cards for each student to use as a reference.
Kindergarten teacher Ashley Lohman attended the Growing Independent Learners Math Workshop with Debbie Diller last spring. The workshop discussed the environment of independent learning in the area of math. The workshop discussed how to set up your stations as well as what to do before and during to maximize student learning. Station ideas were discussed as well as ways to incorporate academic language into the work stations. Click the button below to find a guideline for implementing strategies into your work stations!
I chose to do my flex day on Project Construct because it is a curriculum I am extremely passionate about. Year after year, it never ceases to amaze me just how much children are able to learn when they are engaged and taught in an authentic, hands-on, matter.
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