Thursday, August 21, 2008

Like deer in the headlights . . .

Well, today's first class went OK - but I know that students feel as though they have been drinking from a fire hose today. A few students viewed the class as "scattered" - and I guess in the beginning it seems that way but I want students to see how everything comes together - oh well, all in good time, I guess.

In retrospect, maybe I should deep-six the learning styles thing. I really like doing it, but students were bleary-eyed today as they left class. They don't expect a college class to take so much time outside of class, but if that is a problem for them then they are really in the wrong profession. If they think this semester is bad, just wait until student teaching when they have to arrive at school a the crack of dawn, work all day with few to no breaks and drag home with a stack of paper to grade that defies gravity.

Well, I need to think about this - and probably ask students in a few weeks about it; once they have their feet wet I can get more honest and realistic responses.

I was pleased with the class today, though. Students seemed eager for the semester to begin [if not the homework] and I can tell we will have a good time together.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Once again, its time to gear up for fall semester and undergraduate classes -- I'm trying to get the READ 498 syllabus ready before I take off for a few days, but haven't been able to spend the time I need to in thinking through the assignments. Every time I go into the office, I get way laid by some task or another. I'm trying to decide just what assignments we will have in the class. Although I like the Blog idea,  it's just too much to keep up with all those Blogs - and students who are not tech savy set up a new blog for every posting, or forget their passwords, or otherwise get caught up in the technology of the thing, and that's not what I'm after, really. I need to change the reflective thinking assignment to something students are more familiar with, and accommodate my wish to have the students in contact with other science and math pre-service teachers so they can think together about teaching science and math. The professor at Arizona State and I spoke today, and we talked about setting up a wiki so they can communicate outside of Blackboard - much easier that way. And I have a YouTube video that can help students understand what a wiki is and how it works -- more like a Discussion Board. 

So, the Blog will become a limited number of posts and responses -- probably 4 -- on the discussion board of a Wiki. The other two assignments will be the same: assess a class and teach a class. But I'm going to specify the assessment to be used. I now have really good examples of the Strategic Content Literacy Assessment in all content areas, and that will help. Otherwise, things are pretty much the same in terms of assignments.

I will need to post the piece I wrote for the revisions in chapter 1 of our new edition so students can have background reading for disciplinary literacy, and maybe the one for the vocabulary chapter. But perhaps students will be better off reading the articles [at least some of them] and coming up with their own summary of differences in disciplinary literacy among the content areas.

Well, I think I've made at least the decision about the reflective piece on the Internship - so maybe I can get this syllabus finished in the morning!