Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Semester Reflection Period 2

What changes have you seen this semester in regards to your education? What role did technology play in that change? What role did the constructivist philosophy play in that change? (constructivist-students becoming producers of information, students in charge of their own learning. What suggestions for improvement do you have for me next year? What are some of the things you would suggest I do again?

Make sure to include specific examples and expand on each other's ideas. Your feedback- honest and reflective- is important!

27 comments:

BrianC said...

The biggest change I've seen in my education is learnign how to look things up. Before, I whould spend over half the time I spend on a project looking for a few examples but now, largely due to the AWNM project, I can go to Google and do one or two searches and find what I need. Technology has helped me in this in that using laptops everyday has given me the practice and experience I need to learn how to search. The constructivist philosophy forced me to look the topics for my paper up myself instead of asking someone else to help me with it. Even though I have improved on searching, I still need to improve on citing.

markg said...

My education has been changed very much so because of this class. Using laptops everyday makes my learning different and exciting everyday. I think that if our school district had enough money everyone should have laptops in class. Also, having kids teaching kids makes sense to me. Kids make the lessons, and kids learn the lessons. Its a crazy concept. If you have some old person teaching you stuff that you do not want to learn it does not stick in your head. However, if you have someone your age teaching the same stuff in their way, it will stick in your head so much better. Everything that Smith is doing i think is really good. I like her teaching style.

kristenw said...

This year has been such a new exerience for me and it has been awesome. I love feeling like I am doing something that other people don't get to do which is fun. But although I feel this way I still think that I hope that everyone gets to have the experience af having a laptop classroom. Having laptops and having alot of our curriculum on the computer makes this class different from all my other classes. I feel that I've learned to better use technology to make my learning more affective. Next year I definitely think that the student learning aspect should be used even more in your classroom. Like when you tell us to present our ideas but don't tell us how it's nice because we choose a way that'll personally help us learn better. Overall this year has been a majorly fun and new experience for me and I liked it.

amyw said...

This year and this semester, I've definitely become a more self-sufficient learner. Before this class, I just expected directions from the teacher, and then I would follow them and that was the end of that. Now, I'm able to go in my own direction on projects and I interpret it in my own way. I like this a lot more because it makes the projects more interesting (I'm doing them the way I want to do rather than the way the teacher wants me to do them).
Becoming a producer of information has also helped me with reading. Before, I would simply read words on a page and not really understand them; I would just read them to say that I'd read the assigned reading. Now I read more in depth and try to really process the info and help my classmates understand it as well. I think about what the author meant when they were writing it as well as the hidden meanings and symbolism.
What I love most about this class is that we weren't told what to think and we were allowed to think for ourselves. There wasn't any regurgitation of useless info. And the laptops were an amazing approach to English class!
One suggestion, however, is probably not basing some of the grading on creativity because some people aren't very creative and like to use assignments as more of a way to present info rather than to be creative.
I would definitely keep doing the blog discussions (Fishbowls) next year because they were awesome and a great way for us to share our thoughts without worrying about whether they'd sound stupid if we said them out loud.
Overall, this was an awesome class!!

meganu said...

I have seen a lot of changes in my education this year. I really enjoyed using constructivist learning and taking my education into my own hands. It has made me become more responsible and actually think about my education. When the teacher just told everyone what to do and how they were going to learn, I never liked it. Sure it was an easy A but I just took my education for granted. When I had to take responsibility for my own education, I didn't like it at first, but then I finally learned how to be more responsible. The technology helped me become more responsible too. I had to make sure I always had access to a computer and did my assignments. At first, I kind of failed at that...but I've become more responsible now. The technology was also a bigger freedom than I've ever had in a classroom. But with greater freedom comes greater responsibility. For next year, I think you should continue assigning big group projects that the students can create themselves. I really enjoyed doing that this year and I thought it was really effective.

josed said...

In regards to my education, I see it as much more technologically based. Which is good. But I also find I'm more detail oriented, and I'm even improving the big details. I Loved making my own information rather than regurgitating whatever the teacher said. Taking charge of my own learning and integrating things from outside of school, really made a difference in the way I see things. The only suggestion for this class is to keep everything the same. I enjoyed all of this class, despite the fact that it really challenged me and I had to work hard. I can honestly say this is one of the few classes where I was constantly motivated to do my best and impress the teacher.

clarao said...

I feel like my learning has progressed a lot this semester. We did a lot of independent thinking like last semester and took charge of our own leaning. I think that's really important, because in the future we will need to solve problems for ourselves and there might not always be people to ask for specific directions. I think it's good that we usually get very general directions for projects so we can make it the way we want. Technology has helped me learn in even more ways. Technology can mean more ways to show what we have learned by creating a project. It also works as a form of research becuause we can look things up online.I think that doing so many essays is something you should do again, because they have made me such a better writer and I can write essays a lot faster than I used to be able to.

Lukez said...

This semester I think that my learning has changed. I think that I can make connections to other things better, and I can really get a deeper meaning of the novels that I am reading. Technology has played a big role in this because using laptops and all of the programs (voice thread, power point, blogging, skype, and all of the other stuff) made the things we were doing seem more related to the real world. I thought that by producing our own information and coming to our own conclusions made it so that I will be remember the things for longer and I have a better understanding of the things. For the most part I don't think that there are many improvements that you need to make. The only thing that I would suggest is that you don't make the final for the second semester a project. I liked the essay we did last semester a lot more. I think that you should defiantly use laptops next year (obviously) and you should read all of the same books because I really thought that the books we read this year were interesting.

Louiseb said...

One of the main difference I have seen in my English class this year is the content. Before we focused mainly on where to put commas and colons. This year we really explored more of the elements to english by reading books and analyzing them so that we fully understood every aspect of them.
If I am in a class without laptops next year, I will be very disappointed. This year I have started to use the computer for everything, not only at school, but at home too. At this point if I have to hand write something, it seems like so much more work than if I have to type it. Also, I have learned to organize my thoughts on the computer rather than on a piece of paper. The only problem that I have with all of these changes is that my handwriting is getting progressivly worse.
I have become more independant this year as a learner. I came from a class where projects were spelled out on a piece of paper and there was almost no variation between them. Now I am in a class where the basic idea is given, and then you have to take it from there on your own. At first this was very difficult for me, but in the end it has helped me grow and change the way I learn.

SerenaL said...

My learning this year has changed a ton. My writing style is better, I’m more vocal about my ideas, and I have learned reliable resources and better learning skills. Learning with laptops makes a more comfortable environment for students. This generation is very reliant on technology because that is what we are raised with. Also, giving enough trust to have a personal laptop during class makes us feel respected and like the responsible adults we are. Well most of us anyways…
Being a constructivist student helps learn much more then we would learning just what the teacher said. The teacher needs to give us a topic and then give the students a chance to explore and research what personally interests them. Less time is spent on the topics the students already understand, so more material is learned and in greater depth.
Seminars and fishbowls are very helpful for learning. Hearing what other students have to say and the things they connect really helps me understand more. I also liked the blogging, because it is convenient for the less vocal people. I also like working in groups and having group quizzes. Group projects are fun, more interactive, and I get a bigger picture of the topic or book.
Overall this was a great class, great class mates, and of course, an amazing teacher.

aweber said...

This semester was a lot different than last semester. I was still a freshman, but I actually understood how to function in this school, especially in this class. I was able to write better this semester, I was able to understand better, and I had more fun this semester. I believe that the laptops had a lot, if not all, to do with it. They would help me research better (like in the fishbowls, if I wanted to look something up real quick then it was right there), they helped me pay attention better, and it was just awesome to be able to use a laptop each day in class. I also would say that the constructive philosophy was very important in the change this semester. I actually felt like I learned better this year than last year. I would say that for the final it should be an essay like last semester, instead of a project. I liked the fishbowls you did last year. I'm sure others would like it too. Overall, this semester in English was pretty much awesome.

nilec said...

My education and learning styles have changed greatly this semester and this year all together. As everyone esla has said, the laptops have changed my learning alot, they helped me find more resources, and itts more convenient to be able to have one window open wit information and be taking notes in another window. I also enjoyed the Romeo and Juliet section of this semester. Usually i am really sy in this class but for this unit i got up in front of the class and read some parts and it really helped me understand the story. I also think the idea of students teaching the class is helpful to students becoming independent and mature. This class has improved my education greatly.

lizc said...

This year took some getting used to at the beginning. Switching from paper and pencil to computer and electronic documents was a huge difference. I really enjoy it now though because if offers so many new doors for me to take. It I don’t have a computer next year it will once again be a huge change. Actually, I don’t think that I could survive with out a computer!
Some people don’t like letting kids take control of a class room and I admire Mrs. Smith for giving us this great opportunity. Taking charge of my learning gave me a sense of responsibility and made me think that if I was going to go anywhere with my education I should do a good job in this class.
This semester has been so jammed packed with all kinds of information. There were some activities that I really enjoyed and others that did not catch my attention in the best way possible. We started off the semester with A Whole New Mind. Okay, there is definitely a lot to say about this. It book started off with a lot of information. There were so many different things to take in during the introduction of the book alone! At first, I enjoyed finding out about what Daniel Pink thought but then I it started to all blur together. I think that having a week per chapter was a bit overwhelming. We could have done it in half the amount of time that we took on the book, and it might have held my interest a bit more than it did.
I also thought that we could have spent more time on Poetry. We spent about a week doing poetry. I felt like we didn’t get enough time to explore different kinds of poetry. I also feel that it isn’t fair for poetry to be included in the semester final since we hardly did anything with it!
Besides all of these ups and downs, 1984 and Romeo and Juliet were pretty fun to do. This class was just full of surprises and different experiences and I sure hope that I get another class like this next year!

amandah said...

In regards to my education many things have changed. For example, I have learned to relate things we do in class to my life and other events that are going on around the world. Technology allowed me to find new ways of learning and presenting information, having technology allowed me to find different information. I have become a producer of information over this past semester because I have learned to understand what we are learning and talking about in class and I am able to make connections and talk about it with other people. Next year hopefully all the kids in the class want to learn just to learn and not for the grade. Next year try not to give your students several projects during the same period time. I really liked being able to teach the class and scribing! Also the semester project was fun too.

nicolek said...

I feel that this year my learning has changed a lot. Not only have I seen myself participating more in class and really getting passionate about our discussions. I have also found that I am making deeper connections about the books we have been reading and actually applying them to my life. This year I have really enjoyed coming to my classes not only because I have to go but because I want to learn new things. Technology really helped to make this change. I have really enjoyed having laptops in this class because you can do so much more with a computer than just a simple pencil and paper. When there is something that I am interested in and want to know more about, I can just look it up and learn about it. This way, I am truely in charge of my own learning. I will be disappointed if I don't get laptops next year because I'm so used to having it but I'm sure the way I learn will not change. Some things I suggest you do again is that you do the wikipaper because I learned a lot about computers and technology that I didn't know before. Also, that was the first paper that we didn't really have much direction on and I think it helped prepare us for future classes we will be taking.

alyssas said...

I have noticed that throughout the course of this year, I have become more independent in my learning. Before I entered this class, and was presented with the oppurtunity to use a computer in class, I was pretty dependant on the teacher. If I, or someone else, didn't understand something, we would have to ask questions and it would consume a lot of class time. However, this year, I was able to access the information I needed when I didn't know or understand something, and I was able to teach myself a lot more. I was also able to teach myself in the way that works best for me. I am a very visual learner, so I while in class I could find pictures, videos, and articles that helped me understand the information in the best way.
My only suggestion for next year would be to keep experimenting with the different activies we do in class to find the ones that help students the most. The one thing I suggest you do again is for the final, you again allow the students to do a project because then we can use creativity to convey our opinions and messages.

KatherineM said...

This year has been so different from anything I have done in past English classes. I never even imagined that English class would be anything like this. I didn't care for A Whole New Mind, but I liked having the experience of working individually and doing things for myself. I really enjoyed reading Romeo and Juliet. That was probably my favorite piece of literature that we've read this year. I've loved having computers in class this year. I think that they have truly been helpful. I liked doing the blogging and other online writings. I feel like I have grown as a writer, a reader, and a critical thinker.

caitlina said...

Wow!
This semester has been quite different than my first semester English class. For first semester I was in just a regular English 9, so transfering to Honors was quite the opposite. The 'bar was raised' on creativity and expectations. I was thrust into a whirlwind, which took some time getting used to. I felt really shy at first when it came to blogging. Talking outloud in the inner circle felt rather imposing, I will admit. But once I was used to the whole situation, I began to feel more comfortable. To come into a project as large as the WRP for AWNM, I felt, well- swamped. It was rather overwhelming, but afterwards I knew it was all worth it.
I truly enjoyed the reading material this semester. AWNM and Romeo and Juliet both covered topics that I haven't done much thinking on, so it helped to expand my knowledge.
Grammar. Oh my. This was challenging. I have never really been one for grammar, so to learn more I know really benefited me.
If next year I cannot be in a laptop class, I know I will be disappointed. The laptops allows more access to expand creativity and have changed the meaning of a school project for me.
I hope that next year I will be able to be in a laptop class, since I really enjoyed the creativity level of the projects accomplished in this class.

alexd said...

My vision of the world and learning has broadened this semester due to the type of teaching and the technology that we use. The use of technology everyday allowed me to learn in a way that caters to the different styles of learning. Being in charge of my learning made me think how I could learn for myself, as opposed to learning just to pass a test. Hopefully in the future my classes will revolve around the constructivist philosophy, not to pass a test. I really liked the style of teaching that you did this semester especially. I don’t know much that you could improve upon but I think for me it was kind of difficult to do more than one project at a time. This was challenging for me to balance this in way that was efficient. But I really enjoyed reading all of the books we read. My favorite part was watching Romeo and Juliet.

stefo said...

My education has changed so much since the beginning of the semester. With A Whole New Mind I became more "Global" and I really got into using Wikified Research Paper. If you read A Whole New Mind next year (which I reccomend!)keep it as online as possible. It was so exciting to be able to talk with people around the world and to talk to Daniel Pink! It will be something I will never forget. It also made me feel like anything was possible. The only thing that I was disappointed about this year was the group teaching of 1984. That book has so many possibilities and I don't think our class always rose to occasion. I went from having the attitude of "just get the work done" to really trying to learn as much as I could and trying to apply it to life after high school. (I know, did I didn't even think that such a thing existed before:) Technology changed everything. I learned about what an incredible tool the internet and the possibilities that I could use it for. Constructivist philosophy was good for the poetry section and the A Whole New Mind section.

chelseas said...

Throughout this semester, there were many changes that took place in our learning. This was probably one of the hardest English classes that I have taken. It was hard because we had a lot of responsibility and were expected to go above and beyond. We were also expected to do a lot of assignments on our own, and we had to figure them out on our own. We were expected to be able to multitask, and stay on top of all of the assignments and projects.

Before this class, I had never taught the class for a full day’s lesson. I really enjoyed being able to prepare a lesson plan and an agenda for the day. It was also interesting to figure out how to create a quiz that would be understood by everyone. It is difficult to create a question that can be interpreted the same way by the whole class! I also learned how to really connect different ideas from various books, and put them all together into one specific idea. It was also interesting to pull the information from first semester and combine that to what we were learning/reading about this semester. For example, we were able to connect prior Shakespeare to Romeo and Juliet this semester. Another change in my learning resulted from AWNM. This was a great experience where we were able to talk to the author of a book. This was also a great opportunity to show everyone in the world what freshman think of the future, and it showed them what the future generations of America look like, and how they are able to comprehend and interpret information. Throughout this semester, we had a lot more freedom. We were able to create our own research papers, and teach the class. This helped add to the overall experience of what an honors class is all about.

Another aspect of this semester that I really liked was the fact that it was a laptop class. I really liked being able to type things in class, and it was nice to be able to start some of our homework. I think that the laptops also showed us what it will be like in the future. For example, I think that it was a good thing to learn how to type notes, because this is probably what it will be like in the future. With the laptops, we were also given a lot of responsibility and trust. We were trusted to stay on topic, and not go onto the internet looking up personal information. I liked the research project because we could take it in any direction that we wanted. It was cool to be able to embed links. I disliked the wiki, though, because it was hard to format, and was very temperamental at times!! I thought that AWNM got sort of boring at times, but I think that it was good to read a modern book.

Some improvements…well, you could maybe add a little more structure. I find that I sometimes have trouble getting creative with projects and such. Also, maybe you could have fewer projects. They sometimes got overwhelming, and it seemed like we were constantly doing projects. This was a great class, though, and I am going to miss it!!! I enjoyed being in period two English!!!

maddief said...

I have never had an educational experience like the one that I had in our english class this year. All my life I have had teachers holding my hand, telling me what to do and how to do it. Ms. Smith is the first teacher to give me a sense of independence when it comes to education. Using a laptop only increases my feeling of independence because I have to use it responsibly. Most adults think that if a student is given a laptop they will sit playing games on it, but we have all learned how to use them as mature young adults. I can definitely tell that my knowledge about technology increased this year, and with that knowledge I got a lot more out of our group discussions. On the blog, we could continue our conversations and learn even more about the books we were discussing. We spent a lot of time analyzing books, but I think that we should have spent more time writing. I felt like we spent too much time working on projects on the books we were reading than writing. Next year I think that more creative writing should be incorporated in the class. Something that should definitely be kept in the class is blogging. I learned so much from our blog discussions, and I think that incoming freshmen would learn a lot from it too. One thing is for sure, my education will never be the same because of this class.

MollyS said...

I have never been in an English class that had been as hard as this one. It was a class of firsts, my first time working until the early hours of the morning on a project, my first time with a laptop at my desk, my first class where the responsibility to perform well was completely on my shoulders, my first time having a video conference with the author of the literature we were reading in class. This class is all about opportunities, about taking them, about making them, and about recognizing them when they are knocking. We have the opportunity to use laptops everyday in this class, and this class wouldn’t be the same without them. They are the reason we got to learn in new ways this semester. Without our laptops we wouldn’t have been able to fishbowl with people around the world from the comfort of our classroom in C11. Without our fishbowls, we wouldn’t have been able to have video conferences with Daniel Pink, not only once, but TWICE. The literature in this class wouldn’t have had the same effect without the technology to aid in the development of or learning.
No matter all of the bad things people are bound to say about the A Whole New Mind experience, I don’t think the year would the same without it. There was a different feeling in the classroom those weeks. It was almost as if it actually mattered what we were doing. People care about us. They cared about what we were doing in our classroom, our learning had attention. I think that if there was ever a motivator to do well in school, it would be knowing that people all over the world are watching you do it.

Javonm said...

One of the biggest changes in my education I have seen in this class is it has given me the ability to look deeper into the books I read and my life alone because I want to find the real meaning behind things and not just the meaning that I see right in front of my eyes.

I have really grown in writing, understanding, and reading in this class. I really have enjoyed growing from this class and I have also really began to enjoy English it didnt used tyo be one of my favorite subjects but now it is because of the technology and all the stuff we have incorporated into this class.

johnb said...

First, the difference in education this semester is the students have access to laptops and the internet every class period. Of course, this has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages. For example, many of the students are rarely on topic and paying attention (everything is good in moderation). Second, there is much less of a 'teacher control' aspect to the class in the sense of having a teacher constantly telling the class what to do. Something else I have noticed at both Mullen and here that I have not experienced too often before is the occurrence of showing actual feature films in class.

I feel that the laptops, the projector, and the music consistently playing would be considered as things in which technology is involved. I suppose it has changed my learning in the sense that I have been blogging and taking notes on a word document. Something I could not adapt with the technology is the online text of Shakespeare. Every day I could, I picked up a book. It would seem that I have a preference for books for reading a text.

The constructivist policy definitely applies to the laptops in class concept. So, again there are advantages and disadvantages to the concept that I stated in the first paragraph. Also, it may be more or less inefficient because there are many distractions for students and students may not be as fond of paying attention to other students. Of course, it depends on the person, but I found it to be excruciatingly difficult to keep the class' attention during the 1984 teaching period.

Having said all this, there are some notable attributes that go along with your teaching style. You presentation shows you to be very confident in yourself, as well as the class and what you are teaching. You also encourage students to do their best, and give students a chance to express themselves.

I would suggest you include some vocabulary quizzes into your curriculum. Though, the students here possess a more expansive vocabulary than Mullen. It could be substantially better. Also, when students are publicly speaking, I would criticize them on their speech and organization of their ideas because it is not only their writing that is graded throughout life to communicate their message. If there was one thing I would do to change this class is for you to give more guidance. Again and again, you give very little explanation on what you expect for an assignment, which leads to communication. You expect the students to understand the relations you are making. You taught me not to expect so much and to reestablish and to further relate ideas in writing.

johnb said...

First, the difference in education this semester is the students have access to laptops and the internet every class period. Of course, this has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages. For example, many of the students are rarely on topic and paying attention (everything is good in moderation). Second, there is much less of a 'teacher control' aspect to the class in the sense of having a teacher constantly telling the class what to do. Something else I have noticed at both Mullen and here that I have not experienced too often before is the occurrence of showing actual feature films in class.

I feel that the laptops, the projector, and the music consistently playing would be considered as things in which technology is involved. I suppose it has changed my learning in the sense that I have been blogging and taking notes on a word document. Something I could not adapt with the technology is the online text of Shakespeare. Every day I could, I picked up a book. It would seem that I have a preference for books for reading a text.

The constructivist policy definitely applies to the laptops in class concept. So, again there are advantages and disadvantages to the concept that I stated in the first paragraph. Also, it may be more or less inefficient because there are many distractions for students and students may not be as fond of paying attention to other students. Of course, it depends on the person, but I found it to be excruciatingly difficult to keep the class' attention during the 1984 teaching period.

Having said all this, there are some notable attributes that go along with your teaching style. You presentation shows you to be very confident in yourself, as well as the class and what you are teaching. You also encourage students to do their best, and give students a chance to express themselves.

I would suggest you include some vocabulary quizzes into your curriculum. Though, the students here possess a more expansive vocabulary than Mullen. It could be substantially better. Also, when students are publicly speaking, I would criticize them on their speech and organization of their ideas because it is not only their writing that is graded throughout life to communicate their message. If there was one thing I would do to change this class is for you to give more guidance. Again and again, you give very little explanation on what you expect for an assignment, which leads to communication. You expect the students to understand the relations you are making. You taught me not to expect so much and to reestablish and to further relate ideas in writing.

Liap said...

Sorry my reflection didn't post yesterday. This semester has been really good education-wise. I feel like the constructivist philosophy really helped me to get more out of the class. I really liked how I got to decide what I got out of the books, insted of being told what to take out. I think it was very cool how we got to pick our own topics for the wikified research paper rather than write about a subject that was already chosen for me. I got so much more out of this class than I have gotten out of many previous classes.