Jul 21

Goals for my Students

Stream table exploring how streams flow and landforms form.

Stream table exploring how streams flow and landforms form.

After July 20th’s #edchat on the Goal of Education (see archive here) I got to thinking about my goals for the children I help educate. It helped me, with my thinking, to read “Backwards Design and Integrating New Technology” because I integrate technology whenever I can. I need to continually ask myself if what I do with students is aligned with my goals and in line with what they need for their education. A lot of great ideas were brought up during the hour long #edchat but I remained fixated on three words that I took away: Communicate, Connect, Collaborate, and Create (need to add Critical Thinking to those things I want my students to be doing and I’ve seen more and more teachers add Curating to the list of C’s). Those words pretty much summarize a lot of what I have my students do. I kept bringing up the idea that as teachers we should help our students find their passions. By encouraging our students to be critical thinkers and to be independent learners and to explore and keep their curiosity and joy of learning we can facilitate discovering of passions. This could take some kids until high school or beyond while some kids know what they want from a very young age. Our job is to NOT stifle our kids love of learning and discovering. We should foster their passions even if their passions change. That’s what it means to be a child.

I have been teaching Science for a while now. I have my students learn by reading, researching and doing labs. Hands on, minds on learning makes sense. My students also discuss and work in small groups to complete projects that can take weeks to complete. Why? In learning a Science concept I’d much rather spend more time on one or two concepts than rush through many concepts. Yeah, a mile deep and inch wide is my modus operandi. Besides, by using multiple methods, labs, reading, listening, observing, creating, and collaborating students stand a chance of getting it (whatever “it” is). I don’t know which method will work with which student. I had 150 students last year! But I stand a chance to helping more of my students learn if we spend time on concepts and learn those concepts in different ways.

With technology my students get to create, connect and collaborate. That doesn’t mean we use technology all the time. We don’t need to. Now I am guilty of trying anything new. If it works I will keep it, if it doesn’t work I drop it. How do I know if it works? I ask my students. If they like something and tell me it helps them learn, I’ll do it again. That happened last year when I set up a Moodle chat to have class discussions. I had a lot of students participate where before I’d be leading a whole class discussion interacting with one student at a time. I will do more of that and next year I will incorporate twitter because I will have enough machines for 1:1 access.

Here are some examples of what students can create with technology. By blogging or sharing their work via a blog or a wiki students connect with other students around the world. So why do I have my students use technology? To create, connect and collaborate so they will think further and hopefully deeply and meaningfully about our topics so they can form their own understandings. I’d much rather have my students creating, connecting and collaborating than sitting listening to me.

Stream table exploration to see how to save homes.

Stream table exploration to see how to save homes.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2010/07/21/goals-for-my-students/

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  1. I think carefully articulating and reflecting on our goals for students is an extremely important aspect of improving our teaching. I put together my own list a while back here: http://educatech.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/goals-for-students/

    I like your willingness to “trying anything new”. I am much the same way, but sometimes struggle with when to stop tinkering and just give something up. I’ll be interested in what you do with twitter. I had my students using it last year. We did some brainstorming, asking questions and test review. A lot of times I would have students discuss with a partner, then together post something to twitter and comment on what others were saying. After a few minutes we would come together as a class to discuss “inside” the classroom. I found that having kids discuss their ideas with a partner first helped them find clarity in their thinking. Then when they shared on twitter they could see what others were saying in different groups. The whole time I could walk around the room listening while watching my twitter stream on my phone to monitor student thinking. Once class discussion started I used twitter as a way to generate new directions in our discussion. Perhaps most beneficial is how twitter provided a voice to students who were unwilling to verbally participate in class discussion.

    • Mr. G on July 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Hey Jerrid,

    I give up tinkering if it flops with the kids. Basically I let kids try new Web 2.0 tools that I find. The ones that get used are the ones I continue to share with kids and use with kids. Thanks for the ideas for using Twitter in the class. I was thinking of using it along the same lines you used it. I am very excited about giving voice to those students who rarely participate in class discussions. I did try using a Moodle chat with two of my classes last year for discussing our new topic, but with only ten computers students had to work in teams of two and three so there were still some who took a back seat. Fewer were taking back seats but still there were some so I’m excited for having a more access next year.

  2. It’s so nice to see blogs inspired by #edchat discussions. Those 3 C’s are so important. Thanks for the reminder. We’ve just shared this post on our Facebook page. See you on twitter!

  1. […]  Below is a quick description of one way I used twitter.  This is from a comment I left for Mr. Gonzalez on his post about his goals for students: I like your willingness to “trying anything new”.  I am much the same way, but […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alfonso Gonzalez, Alfonso Gonzalez. Alfonso Gonzalez said: Goals for my Students http://bit.ly/bIMNuK My reflections after The Goal of Education #edchat […]

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