- Learning Situation - Students are learning spelling patterns and new vocabulary during weekly practices with classmates. Each week, my students take a pretest to determine their readiness to learn the pattern for the week. Students with high scores on the pretest are assigned a "challenge" list, while the remaining students get the normal list. The students then practice their word patterns throughout the week by playing games, using online software, and working with the teacher. At the end of the week, the students are tested on their assigned list, as well as a list of "mystery words" containing the pattern of focus for the week. (Social constructivist approach)
- Twist - Students learn their words in different ways by taking part in a variety of word study activities throughout the week. Students have the option of taking part in a variety of different methods of practicing their spelling words, providing different ways for students to learn the content. Some students choose games with partners, others choose Spellingcity.com, others prefer small group lessons with the teacher. At the beginning of the year, we play whole class games and go through the routine of our spelling activities as a class. Scaffolding takes place and controlled is gradually handed over to students so that the teacher becomes a faciliator and students can find activities that work best for them.
- Images - I frequently take pictures of my students taking part in classwork to post to our class website. Parents signed permission slips at the beginning of the year giving me the right to use pictures of their children online. I may supplement these images with images licensed with Creative Commons licenses.
Great project idea - the twist you have identified is a great way to explore the diverse way in which learning can take place. Nice connection of the material on the Wong article to your own design experience paying attention to the details in your project to elevate the quality of the finished product.
My Digital Story
- How does this article resonate with your ideas about "good" classroom teaching?
One idea from Wong's article that resonated with me was the idea of interest. I had never really put any thought into the actual idea of interest. Of course I have considered student interests when planning lessons, experiments, projects, and activities, just as any "good" teacher does, but the actual idea of where interest comes from was never a thought. In the article, Wong states that, "Another domain located, in part, in the realm beyond rationality and control is the study of learners’ interest." How true that statement is! While I may be able to guess what may interest a few of my students, the truth is that each child's individual interests are irrational and uncontrollable. So why are we trying to control something that can't be controlled and rationalize something irrational? Rather than focusing on what may or may not interest the students, perhaps we should shift focus to what is interesting to the person teaching the information. When I am interested, excited, and energetic about a topic, I teach better and find that my students are more interested as well. We need to model an interest and excitement for learning if we wish to have students that view learning as a valuable experience.
- How do "affect" and "aesthetic" components of learning relate to your experiences with the audio and digital storytelling projects?
Subconsciously, affect and aesthetic were of extreme importance to me throughout both projects. During these projects, I've been very conscious of what the end product would look and/or sound like. I wanted them to be pleasing to the eye and ear, if for no other reason than my own approval. The Norman quote used in the explanation of affect and cognition, "The surprise is that we now have evidence that pleasing things work better, are easier to learn, and produce a more harmonious result," seemed especially appropriate for my feelings towards the project, and my viewpoint on my work in all aspects of my life. I was careful to speak slowly and carefully in both projects, which is quite a feat for me as I tend to speak very quickly when nervous! I also tried to include interesting visual and audio elements in the projects. Background music and audio transitions in my audio project, as well as transitions, moving graphics, and introduction and closing music in my digital story, added to the emotion and visual/auditory appeal of each project.
Dupont. (Designer). (2011). HD Back to School Wallpaper 2 [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.dvd-ppt-slideshow.com/blog/hd-back-to-school-wallpapers-and-back-to-school-backgrounds-free-download/
Erickson, E. (Photographer) (2009-2013). Classroom photos[Print]. Available from http://stfran3.com
Royalty Free Music. (Producer) (n.d.). Variety hour[Web]. Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=song&ex=2
"Excellent project! I really liked the use of the text over the images to better provide context of the imagery with your voice over. You also do a great job of leading up to the “twist” of the project and how it was received. The content includes a clear statement of purpose or theme and is creative, compelling and clearly produced. A rich variety of supporting information in the story contributes to understanding the twist for student understanding and/or teaching strategies. The story includes motivating ideas that provide the audience with a sense of the main idea. Events and messages are presented in a logical order. The project is edited with only high quality audio and visual images remaining. Audio and/or visual narration moves smoothly from section to section and transitions are used to create a smooth flow from one section to the next. Digital effects are kept in balance and does not overpower the story's content. The visual imagery is clear and effectively assists in communicating the twist for the story. All video clips fit the storyline. Clips are just long enough to make each point clear. The flow captures audience attention. Finally, the quality of your voice over is excellent."