Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog #9

What Can Be Learned About Teaching and Learning From These Teachers? By Eric Merryman, Ronald Griffin and Cameron Hall

Brian Crosby

In the video Back to the Future Brian Crosby is doing a TEDtalks video about twenty-four fourth graders that are around the age of nine years old. Brian Crosby starts off his talk, speaking about how his students are in poverty and do not know questions about themselves, due to the students having such a narrowed curriculum since they were born. Brian Crosby teaches us that this shouldn’t stop teachers from teaching, but it should rather motivate us to teach smarter.

Brian Crosby comes up with an idea that sparks the motivation and imagination of the children’s minds after showing them mind blowing projects such as an aluminum can crushing itself in due to air pressure after getting dunked into cold water. Brian Crosby takes project based learning to another level by getting not only all of the students involved, but also the whole world involved. This project had students write to learn content, write to clarify and share, write to tell a story, get feedback from peers, articulate their project orally, connect globally, and have an authentic audience(not just the other students in the classroom).

We must learn from teachers like Brian Crosby to give project based learning to students not just to have them learn about a subject but to empower the students, to motivate them, to collaborate with others, to get active in learning. Active learning is important for students, we as teachers should not teach our students that learning is listening to lecture, if they want to comment or ask a question they must raise their hand and must wait for me to call on them. We as teachers must include our students into the learning experience, have them connect with the subject at hand.

Paul Anderson

Mr. Paul Anderson is a high school science teacher in Montana. Many things about teaching and learning can be obtained from Paul. The first thing is his website Bozemanscience. This website is a wonderful educational resource for both students and teachers. The website features ten different categories of scientific instructional videos. The videos were all done by Paul in a video podcast format. The videos can be a great reference for a multitude of scientific knowledge. The resourcefulness of this website is an important thing to learn from Paul. As a teacher, one could use this to help students all year long. Students could use the website for current information and even review of topical information.

In the video Blended Learning Cycle Paul talks about the approach he takes in his science classroom. The first point Paul makes is that he takes a “everything is a remix” approach to teaching. He constantly researches educational techniques and learns from them. Paul then integrates what he likes best about these ideas and applies them to his teaching style. This a great learning point from Paul. Wanting to learn as a teacher and having a thirst to gain more knowledge shows a true commitment to the art of teaching. Paul goes on to explain what exactly the blended learning cycle is. The blended learning cycle is a combination of blended learning and the learning cycle. Blended learning consists of classroom learning, mobile learning and online learning. The learning cycle is broken down into engage, explore, explain, expand and evaluate. Paul molds both of these templates into his own six stage masterpiece of learning.

In the first stage, Paul starts off with a question. The question needs to be able to draw the student in and capture their attention. If done properly then the student will have the right amount of motivation to continue on to the second step of investigation. During investigation, students will be able to make inquiries and experiment on the subject at hand. The next stage is video. This stage goes hand in hand with investigation because it can serve as foundational knowledge to the students, enhancing their ability to experiment and quenching their inquiry thirst. The videos are podcasts made by Paul. Elaboration is the next stage. This stage includes critical thinking and reading to elaborate on the subject. This can be accomplished from the videos and also from the textbook. The fifth stage is review. During this stage, Paul meets individually with students / small student groups to ask questions about the subject. This stage is critical in making sure the students have gained sufficient mastery over the subject. Until the groups show they have learned enough, Paul doesn’t clear them to proceed to the final step. Once cleared by Paul, the students can move on to the final stage; the summary quiz. The summary quiz tests the students on the knowledge they gained from the other five stages.

Ultimately, Paul represents many great points on teaching and learning. Learning is not just for students, it is also for the pure teachers who always want to create a better educational environment. Asking the right questions can lead to student motivation, which in turn will increase the level of learning for the student. Using resources like a website and podcasts can be informative but also free the teacher up in the classroom to dedicate more individualized time to the students. Meeting with the students individually / in small groups holds each student accountable for the information, and makes sure no one student is left behind. Integrating these ideas into one’s classroom will put them one step closer the their own “everything is a remix” style of education.

Mark Church

In the Making Thinking Visible video, Mark Church talks about documenting student work and making it visible in the classroom. He teaches us that in our curriculum we need to have our students connect with ideas and focus on how their ideas and thinking were extended. Our students need to think of the challenge, puzzle or driving question of the topic in order to expand their ideas and thinking. I think this causes them to relate the topic to the real world ideas they need. I think what Mark Church was saying was that students need deeper understanding to connect real world ideas to the topic they are discussing. How I would implement this in my classroom would be for English, relate the literature to a modern, real world situation they could comprehend and understand. I would let them get into groups as he did and maybe put a story we have read into their own words or create their own story using the same plot and situation, making it more modern. I definitely think the real world relativity gives students a better understanding and comprehension of the work that they are doing.

We all have something to learn with these three teachers, but the important thing isn’t just to learn what these teachers are saying, but also putting what they say to good use. Not putting what they say to good use is not actively learning. To actively learn is the main point all three teachers share, and to not actively learn would be folly.

teachers are learners too written on a blackboard with students around it


  1. Hello Ronald,

    Overall, as a group, I think you all did a great job collaborating on this and coming to one collective conclusion for each video. In the portion of Brian Crosby, it was said, "if they want to comment or ask a question they must raise their hand and must wait for me to call on them." If we are giving a focus on project based learning, wouldn't the students know that their would be time for questioning afterwards? I just do not understand this being in that sentence. It would be great to have some clarity on that, because I was slightly confused reading it. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this post, and I really loved the way you concluded the post. Good job.

  2. Hi Ronald,

    I think your group did a great job at summarizing the videos for your blog post. I like the last little paragraph you all inserted. It is really important to put what we learn to good use. I try to keep of record of things that I think I could use as an educator when I finish up with school! I also have to keep in mind that not everything works for every person. We will all find the stride that works for us! Good luck with school and great job!!

    Thanks Shanda