Sunday, August 25, 2013

Practice Blog Post

My name is Colby Ronald Griffin. I was born in St. Louis, MO but grew up in Jackson, MI. From the time I was very young I loved playing and watching sports, and to this day I am still a sports nut. My senior year of high school my father took a job in Alabama and so I was uprooted and headed down south. There were good and bad things about the move, but by far the best thing thing was meeting my beautiful wife Kathleen. Kathleen and I have been happily married for a little over four years now. On the school front, I am a Secondary Education / Science Major at the University of South Alabama, with the intent of being a high school science teacher.

I want to enter the education field because I have had a passion for teaching for most of my life. The source of this passion came from two places, my father and sports. My father is a Pastor and was blessed with amazing leadership / teaching abilities. Being in church every Sunday and Wednesday afforded me with the chance to see him teach. I watched and learned from him and developed my own desire to teach. The second half of that desire came from sports, namely coaching. The more and more involved in sports I became the number of opportunities increased, and coaching became one of them. As soon as I started coaching I fell in love with using sports to have a positive impact on peoples lives. That concept translated into me wanting to devote my professional life to teaching. Wrapping things up, I will say that being from Michigan I love my Detroit sports; go Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and Wings!!!
Detroit city skyline with its sporting team logos

Blog Post #1

I think both Krissy Venosdale and Sugata Mitra had great outside the box school ideas. Krissy focused really well on the school atmosphere, putting the students in a learning comfort zone. Having a tree house in the library, celebrating an array of colors throughout the school, having comfortable furniture for students, and focusing on the student's ability levels are a few ways Krissy was able to put students in a learning atmosphere. Krissy's idea was once the students are in this atmosphere, their ability to succeed and be successful in the future will be high. I especially liked her idea of having experts in different fields come and have informal meetings with students. That is a great way to get information on a career, and possibly ignite a spark of interest for a student. Sugata's main argument was that the educational system is very old and was once good for the purpose of everyone worldwide knowing how to read, have good handwriting, and being able to do simple math. These skills would allow an educated person to go anywhere and be able to function. Sugata went on to state that purpose is no longer valid in todays society and the educational system needs reform. One of the main points Sugata made was for teachers to ask questions to students and then stand back and let them answer. He insisted that encouragement from teachers was the key and to let the students learn themselves and not be spoon fed everything.

tree of knowledge on top of globe
What I Want My Students to Know

I will be teaching high school science. I want my students to know that every time they step into my classroom the purpose is useful knowledge, not memorization skills for exams. I want my students to know I am there for them and not a paycheck. I also want my students to know about science. My students should know how to differentiate between science equipment in the classroom. I want them to have a baseline knowledge that will help them in the future, even if it's something as simple as using scientific methods to work through a life problem.

What I Want My Students to be able to do

I want my students to be able to use and have access to everything in the classroom. If the students can correctly use the science equipment (Bunsen burner, weight scales, different flasks and beakers etc..) then that means they already have the knowledge about them and are working towards a solid scientific base. I want my students to be able to do some work on their own, taking problems head on instead of giving up easily and heavily relying on me.

My Primary Way of Teaching Students What I Want Them to Know and Do

I think being honest and precise with students from the first day is a good approach to achieving this. Going over what is expected of them and reassuring them I am there for their success is a start. Setting up a comfortable learning atmosphere, similar to Krissy's idea, is also a good starting point. To set up a comfortable atmosphere, my classroom will be very open and full of real world science displays. For example, if I was teaching Chemistry then I would have the many uses of Chemistry in society and its importance in society. By doing this the students would see Chemistry isn't just elements and equations in a book, its an integral part of society. If students can grasp that concept they can be motivated to know more about science and with that knowledge they can do more scientific things in the classroom.

various beakers and flasks
What Tools Will be in My Classroom

Most of the tools in my classroom will be scientific equipment needed for experiments. Other tools such as computers for research would be great. I think having student made projects could also be great tools. Displaying excellence from other students can serve as motivation to their fellow students, and motivation leads to more knowledge.

Students Role in My Classroom

I think communication in teaching is extremely important. Since communication is a two way street the students role in my class is pivotal. I want all the students in my class to communicate with each other and myself. Doing lots of group work and discussion oriented work can accomplish this. As I am teaching I will walk around my class and involve everyone. In group work I will make sure everyone has a role and is contributing accordingly.