➨ Back To The Future
After watching Back To The Future, we were really impressed with Brian Crosby, and all the wonderful ways he enhanced his classroom. Mr. Brian Crosby is a Fourth Grade Elementary teacher at Agnes Risley Elementary School in Sparks, Nevada. In Mr. Crosby's classroom, there is tons of participation going on. Instead of sitting around listening to Mr. Crosby lecture, his class is up doing activities and projects. We learned from this video that participation plays a big role in students’ learning. The video shows that allowing students to participate in activities and projects keeps them more interested in learning versus sitting and listening to a lecture. We also learned a lot about different key elements to a more technology-based, productive classroom that would help with the student’s learning process. Every student in Mr. Crosby’s classroom has access to a computer at their desk. Also, instead of using a quiz or test to check understanding, Mr. Crosby has each student create a blog and post everything they have learned. Their blogs also contain pictures and videos that the students took themselves. We learned that his process is a excellent way to help students connect with others, improve their writing and reading skills, and improve their overall learning process.
The way Mr. Crosby teaches his class is completely outstanding. We learned from this video that it is better for the class to be actively learning, because this shows them that learning doesn't have to be boring. Having students get excited about learning is what we believe all teachers would want. Mr. Crosby’s students learn how to maintain blogs, put videos and pictures on their blogs, video chat with other students from around the world, and much more. All the projects that Mr. Crosby does in his classroom help connect, collaborate, and motivate his students. It is wonderful that his class is ready and eager to learn, and we hope that we can become teachers like Mr. Crosby.
➨ Blended Learning Cycle
We learned many things about teaching and learning from this video. One of the main things we learned is that it is important to try new things. In this video, Paul Anderson, who is a high school AP Biology teacher in Bozeman, Montana discusses blended learning and how he uses it in his classroom. Blended learning is almost a mixture of instructional based learning with project based learning. For example, one thing we learned about and we really liked was that instead of lecturing to introduce a topic, Mr. Anderson gives his students a video to watch of him discussing the topic. This way he can spend more class time doing other things such as projects. We found this really useful for teaching.
As for learning, we saw many different useful points from Mr. Anderson. One thing he discusses is how students have to be hooked into learning, so our driving question as the teacher must be something they want to respond to- something to spark their interest. Also, he discusses how he used shared spreadsheets so his students could enter in their own data and see the results. This helps the students see their responses and how their engagement creates results. This makes it much easier for the student, because instead of looking at a chart, they are a part of the chart. We would love to use this in our classroom, even to see percentages of how much students like a project or assignment or not. Mr. Anderson uses a quiz just for students to assess themselves, and they get multiple tries to take the quiz. We do like the idea of a quiz just for their self assessment, but we would rather use Mr. Crosby’s ideas of blogging to check understanding.
➨ Making Thinking Visible
Mark Church is a sixth grade teacher at the International School of Amsterdam. In the video, he shows the class a video, then divides students into small groups to discuss their ideas and opinions. Each group is then given a big sheet of paper and instructed to come up with a headline that encompasses what they are learning about.
This is a great example of project based learning in action. We really liked the way Church showed the students a video, then let them discuss their ideas in small groups. The students are so much more engaged and involved than they would be if they were sitting through a lecture. Having them come up with a headline encourages both creativity and critical thinking, which are staples of the project based learning method.
We were impressed by the ideas these students were coming up with! Church displays the headlines on bulletin boards, then at the end of the unit the class revisits the assignment to see whether or not their thinking about the topic has changed. This is a great way to show students that thoughts, perspectives and ideas are always changing and evolving. To us, that’s what the learning process is all about.