Five Things

Hang out on Wednesday with classmates was very enlightening. Each time we get together we learn each other.I have been searching a topic in my class for "urban education" class and not sure what topic to write on as of yet.My daughter made the top ten at her college.I made a short "meme" ...

Are we helping or interfering?

As I have mentioned, I work as a one on one. The student is very high functioning and in a regular general education setting. I have been with this student for 2 years now and have a great relationship with him and I love my job. The student has been up for an IEP renewal. This caused him to miss class time and be behind on pretty much everything and he was not completing homework at home so he ended up working through recesses and our what I need periods to catch up. He struggles and gets frustrated with so much material to catch up as would most people (a day in upper elementary school is like a weeks worth of work, lol) and will act out more and need more prompts to follow directions. He becomes whinny and tired which are not typical behaviors for him. These behaviors also then set off whispers and glares from other students. I also feel that all the pulling out has increased the discrimination he gets from other students in the class. More and more students now moan or have negative body language if they are picked to work with him. I feel like for someone we want to help build social skills and build relationships we do a lot to hinder his progress. I think the saddest day I had at work was last year when he said to me, “Ms. Weidman why am I the only kid that has someone follow me around all day? I like you but I want to be like everyone else.” My response was “Buddy I am here to learn from you not follow you around all day and I really like you too.” He smiled and seemed to accept my answer but I know me being there is just another way that makes him feel different. I wonder how we can bring more equity into the field of special education not just for building peer relationships but for learning opportunities as well. What general adaptations can we make to make students feel more accepted.  

Five Things Friday

This week I learned about Presi which is a software that looks very nice for presentation.I also learned a lot about my classmates in ED677 based on their learning maps.I seen how easy it was for my professor to copy and paste other classmates work within the chat-room, while me still being able to view the hangout.In my other education class, I was about to view my classmates thoughts of what they think about the education process.

Making

This week I am trying to find ways to keep my students interested in math. They kind of were out of hand today and once I broke down what to expect in the real-world- They were instantly silenced. I told them that most jobs require you to take a test, even Target and Giant. I also explained to them my personal experiences and how I worked at a job for three years, and I had to train my supervisor, and when I asked why I couldn't get the position, I was told because I didn't have a college degree. After I shared my story and real life situations after high school, they were all ready to work!!! And I had their attention.(After class, the hall aid pulled me aside and commended me for being real with my students-You never know whose listening). Though we don't have laptops I promised them that I would find ways for them to connect online. So my focus right now is to find ways for my students to learned connectively. So I think I will have them create a blog on how to solve a specific math problem.

A complex relationship…

The relationship between participation, community, investment and is complex, and I created a flow chart in attempt to organize my thoughts.  I think I’m going to have to submit that in a separate post because I’m having some difficulty.  Hopefully, I can get that posted immediately following this.  

Anyway, I have several thoughts about participation, community, and investment:

1.  It could point us toward some potential trouble-shooting ideas.  Have a participation issue in the classroom?  Try to boost student investment by incorporating subject matter that’s important to students.  Don’t have a community of learners?  Get students involved.  Collaboration and team activities can begin to build community.  It can also be helpful to take a couple minutes every day to play fun games to help students get used to participating.  Even if the games aren’t “academic,” it’s a worthwhile investment in the health of your community.  Have low participant investment?  Bolster the community (here’s something for science and math teachers and those who work with the big kids).

2.  It reminds me of your post, Kelly.  Welcome to group fitness!  It all starts with that first session.  It only took one time for you to feel the pull of your Zumba community, and it sounds like you’re already developing a sense of investment.  You’ll go back next week, the week after that, and the cycle will become more entrenched as depth of participation, community, and investment increases.  The same thing happened to me with Pump, Combat, and a few others.  Within months, my fitness routine (which started out light and with no knowledge of form or function) became a part of me.  Now, a few years in, I am living the cycle in that chart; all three factors influence me and propel me to continue.  I don’t always love everything I do in class, but I keep going because of the depth and strength of community, investment, and participation. 

This morning, as I rode my bike in cycling class, I thought about the beginning of your journey and how it sounds so similar to mine.  I was that new person, but now I’m the veteran helping new people and considering becoming certified to teach.  We all have the capacity to grow within our roles as participants, and really, we’re never the same participant.  Because when you go back on Tuesday, you know what to expect.  You’ve seen the moves and met the people.  It will be easier.  And when I go back on Sunday, I have a few areas where I need to challenge myself more.  All participants undergo a continual, fluid transformation. 

3.  It also reminds me of your post, Lizzy.  I completely relate to your experience with field hockey.  I have a very similar situation with soccer (all through high school, my mom brought fruit and post-game snacks for the team, too…such a great memory!).  I love your point about being on a team.  Although I find group fitness super motivating and supportive, there’s something special about adding that extra layer of competing towards a shared goal because teammates have a high level of interdependence.  When I belong to a team, I don’t simply participate.  Rather, I want to have a tangible, positive effect on my team.  I want to score, assist, tackle – basically anything that helps my team towards a win. 

Teams create a special kind of investment because it hurts to not participate meaningfully.  That happened to me Wednesday night.  I stubbornly insisted on completing my regular Wednesday night workout prior to my soccer game, and when I got on the field, I had nothing in the tank.  I felt like I was running around wasting space, and that bothered me to no end.  It ate at me to not positively affect the game.  I felt a sense of personal responsibility and the feeling like I was letting others down, people who depended on me.  I am itching for my next game, my chance at redemption.  Perhaps classroom competitions and maybe even “gamifying” the classroom can foster a similar sense of interdependence, collaboration, and motivation among participants.