Saturday, May 31, 2014

IQ Testing.. is it right for you?

IQ tests are a tool that is used to measure intelligence.  I took an IQ test on  Taking this test made me feel frustrated.  As I answered the questions I kept thinking why am I taking this!  I think IQ tests are popular because people can use them to see what their intelligence level is rated.  I do not find IQ tests such as the one I took online to be a valid representation of my intelligence.  I do not need to take a test like that to determine if I can think accurately.  I know that I can, being in graduate school is proof of that to me.  I did not have the patience to even finish the test as I did not feel it would be an accurate representation of either my intelligence, or my abilities as a student.  


So how do I feel about IQ tests being used with students.  Well, I think if a student wanted to take an IQ such as the one I took for fun, sure why not.  However, I do not think it is appropriate to use solely an IQ test to determine a person’s intelligence and ability to succeed in the classroom.  The IQ test that would be given to a child in elementary school would be vastly different than the test that I took online.  I think if an IQ test was to be used and administered by a qualified psychologist to determine if a child was having issues with learning, it would have to be used in addition to other testing, observations, discussions, and evaluations to make any sort of determination. 

Check out this video about IQ testing and is it an appropriate test to measure your intelligence. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Self Concept Struggles

It's hard to be a kid these days.  The media, newspapers, magazines, movies, and television are all portraying an image of society that is very hard to live by.  For instance, reading magazines or listening to the radio, I am constantly seeing and hearing advertisements for weight loss drugs or seeing pictures of extremely thin women.  Is this concept a reality?  Why do companies feel the need to advertise that "you can lose so much weight with one simple pill!"  I find the complete notion of this to be crazy and unrealistic.  We should be telling people to love who they are.  I have seen Dove commercials in which they do this very thing, empowering women by saying it's okay to be different, it's okay to be you.  I think that is the message society should be promoting.  I have complied a collage of pictures that I think the media portrays and is indirectly telling adolescents that this is the way to be, or not to be in some cases.  

When looking at these pictures, imagine just how hard it is for adolescents growing up in today's society.  The media and it's imagery can have a far ranging effect on the classroom.  Girls who are not focused on the task at hand, but rather how they look and how many calories they ate that day.  Or boy's who are thinking that if they could just be better at sports, or are focused on maintaining that "jock" or "bad boy" image.  When children are to focused on how they should be and making comparisons between that and who they are, they could be distracted, unmotivated, and off task. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Assessment In My Future Classroom

This is what a flyer that I would hang in my classroom to let students know that they will not only be tested by essays, multiple choice, and other traditional ways, but also in fun, creative, and exploratory ways!

Authentic Assessment

Hmmm.... So you may be thinking what is authentic assessment?  Well, authentic assessment is asking your students to apply skills and abilities as they would in real life.  Authentic assessment includes a task for students to complete and a rubric to evaluate their performance of the task.  After looking at the examples on Jonathan Mueller's website, I have a better understanding of what authentic assessment means and how to use it.  The objectives in these assessments seem to enable students to discover things for themselves.  Having students model, draw, and think creatively.  

After reading the Point/Counterpoint it seems there is some debate as to whether or not a child should be held back.  I think it is important to incorporate both authentic and traditional assessments in the classroom, and I will plan to use both of these forms of assessment in my future classroom.  I think its important to use traditional assessments because that is the most common.  When the student passes out of your grade and into the next, they will most likely see a form of traditional assessment during their educational career.  I think it's important for children to know what these tests look like, and how to take them.  However, I also think that using authentic assessments is important.  This gives you a way to test a student's understanding in a non traditional way.  Lets face it, there are plenty of nontraditional people in the world.  Just because a student has issues taking a traditional test does not mean that they don't know the content, they just may need to express themselves in a way that is composed of doing and creating, not fill in the blank or multiple choice.  Having options and using both forms of assessment I think will be a great way to allow your students to see both types and test their content knowledge in different ways.  

Assessment.. How will I assess my students?

One of the most concerning things that I think about when I become a teacher is grading homework and tests in an objective manner.  I was working as a substitute TA in a third grade classroom and the teacher asked me to grade some papers from a homework assignment the students handed in.  As I was grading the papers I had to continue to ask the teacher what was an acceptable answer.  Do I accept this answer even though the sentence structure and grammar in incorrect but the idea is right?  I'm sure these are thoughts that plague a lot of first and second year teachers.  After reading the cluster in the textbook about assessment I can say that I have a little bit of a better grasp on the different types of assessments that are available, and ways to assess students.  I really like some of the ideas for informal assessments such as back and forth journals and questioning.  One idea that I particularly liked is the idea of portfolios.  In a portfolio the child can display a collection of their work.  The portfolio will often include work in progress, revision, student self-analyses, and reflections on what the student has learned.  I think this is a great assessment tool to use.  Not only is it providing valuable information to the teacher about work the student has completed and showing their thinking process as they include their revision work, but, it is also a place for the student to show off what they have accomplished.  This will give the students a great sense of ownership with their work and help build their confidence.  

One of our assignments was to talk about a lesson plan that we could anticipate teaching.  The lesson plan I would like to discuss is from a math lesson the I created.  In this lesson, I would first introduce the lesson by discussing with the students what it means to write a mathematical sentence and what it means to write an explanation using mathematical vocabulary.  We would also review what drawing an array means and how to draw an array for both multiplication and division sentences.  This lesson would be geared for a third grade level.  For the lesson, I would provide students with "link sheets" in which they would have to create a mathematical number sentence from a story I gave them.  An example of this would be, Sally has 25 seashells and she puts 5 seashells into each bucket.  How many buckets does Sally have?  The students would have to create the number sentence, draw an array to represent the problem, and then write an explanation of their answer using mathematical vocabulary words.  After teaching this lesson, I would provide the students with a homework assignment incorporating what we learned in the lesson.  I have attached a rubric that I created using, which is an amazing website!  

 I think using a rubric such as this would be great!  It would make it easier and more structured when grading.  I would know exactly what criteria I am looking for and would be able to grade in an unbiased way.

Here is a video with someone interviewing a high school teacher about how they assess their students.

Social Bookmarking! Make it yours!

I am an avid internet user, and sometimes I forget and lose track of which sites I went to or what I thought was important in those sites or articles that I have read.  I have never heard of a social bookmarking tool, but Dr. Smirnova gave us a great bookmaking site to try out.  I must say, I love it!  I can bookmark articles that I found interesting, highlight information, bookmark the site to save for later, and share my findings with others.  This is a great networking took as well as you can have followers, and follow others who are also posting information about sites you may be interested in.  Check out the link to my social bookmarking site below!

Piaget and Vygotsky

In Cluster Two of the textbook we learned a lot about two different theories of developmental psychology and cognitive development.  We also learned a little bit about how the brain functions.  I am in the third semester of grad school, however, my undergraduate degree is in radiology and I do CT scans and X-ray at a hospital near where I live.  It was interesting to see a little bit of how the brain functions and to read some of how they're using functional MRI to study how blood flow in the brain when children and adults are performing cognitive tasks.  Learning about Piaget and Vygotsky I noticed there are some similarities and differences to their theories.  One similarity in the philosophies is the importance of social interactions in cognitive development, however, their thoughts on these social interactions varied.  To see a little bit more of the differences in Piaget and Vygotsky's theories, check out my webmap.

I have learned a little bit about these theorists before, but it was good to expand my knowledge and get to know them a little bit better!  I liked out classroom discussion about how we typically see more of Piaget's theory in classroom usage.  I think this is because Vygotsky really stressed the importance of social interactions.  When you're allowing the children in your class to interact with one another and allowing them to learn from one another, it is possible to loose a little bit of the control you have over the students.  Things may get noisier, more chaotic, and more hectic.  It also may be difficult to regroup the children after they participate in this learning task.  When I become a teacher, I will definitely incorporate more social interactions and allow for more social development in my classroom.  I really liked a lot of Vygotsky's ideas!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stop and Ponder - definitions on child developement

Sometimes when reading it's possible to get bogged down by definitions.  Looking at the text we have come up with a few key terms to consider when looking at child development. 

Cognitive Development- gradual orderly changes by which mental processes become more complex and sophisticated

Critical Periods- if learning doesn't happen during these periods it never will

Later Experiences- experiences that occur later in life, researches have found that influences over childhood events does not necessarily have a dominating effect over behavior throughout life

Continuity-(quantitative)- change that occurs smoothly over time- gradual, continuous change

Discontinuity-(qualitative)- going through a series of steps- there are level periods and then you go to the next step all at once.  Piaget’s theory is discontinuous

Nature- nature of an individual (heredity, genes, biological process, maturation, etc)

Nurture- nurture of environmental contexts (education, parenting, culture, social policies, etc)

Three examples of how the term nature can affect child development:

         1. the genes a person is born with
2. their biological process of development in utero
3. heredity

Monday, May 26, 2014

Educational Psychology and Types of Research and NCLB

In cluster one of Anita Woolfolk's texbook Educational Psychology, I learned a lot of information about various of types of research available to educators and how they could be implemented in the classroom.  In order to help break down the information that I read, I created a mind map of the types of research that I read about.  I found the mind mapping tool to be extremely useful.  It is a great way to take a lot of information and break it down to take out the important facts.

In this cluster we also learned a lot about the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  In the article "Teacher Research Informing Policy: An Analysis of Research on Highly Qualified Teaching and NCLB," Audrey Amrein-Beardsley (2006) discusses several characteristics of teachers that are important for improving student achievement.  Some important characteristics of being an effective teacher and improving student achievement in accordance with the NCLB Act are that a teacher must be certified according to traditional methods from an accredited institution, have experience, and have strong content knowledge in the subject area they are specializing in.  The only gray area here is the idea of experience.  A teacher fresh out of school may be just as effective, or even more so, than a teacher who has been teaching in the classroom for many years.  I think that some teachers who are just out of school may have more ideas and be willing to try different ways to engage and promote higher order thinking with their students.  Newer teachers may be more inclined to utilize new technology and internet tools in the classroom to help reach and engage all of their students.  With the NCLB Act it seems that good and effective teaching is evaluated by an increase in testing scores.  Although standardized testing scores on a whole do demonstrate the effectiveness of the teacher in the classroom, it cannot be the sole determinant for an effective teacher.  There are so many unknown variables that come into consideration on testing day.  I think that in order to evaluate a teacher on their effectiveness, standardized testing scores as well as observations made during classroom interactions, lesson plans, student engagement, and in class tests should be weighed more than standardized tests alone.  

To hear more about the No Child Left Behind Act listen to Anita Woolfolk's podcast. 


Amrein-Beardsley, A. (2006). Teacher Research Informing Policy: AN Analysis of Research on Highly Qualified Teaching and  NCLB. Essays in Education, 17(Summer).

Woolfolk, A. (2013). Educational Psychology. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Cluster One Pretest:


Date Taken: Thursday, May 22, 2014
Time Spent: 4min 7secs
# of Questions: 12
83.3 %
10 / 12 pts

Cluster One Posttest:


Date Taken: Thursday, May 22, 2014
Time Spent: 1min 23secs
# of Questions: 12
91.7 %
11 / 12 pts

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Differentiated Instruction

In the first cluster of Anita Woolfolk's textbook Educational Psychology I was very interested in the section on differentiated learning.  Essentially, differentiated learning is considering the needs, backgrounds, culture, and learning styles of each individual student.  Then, tailoring your lesson plans, curriculum, and instruction in order to teach to the individual.  As a student in the education program, or a beginning teacher, this may seem like a daunting and impossible idea implement.  The video below provides some great ideas on how to utilize differentiated instruction in the classroom.

This video shows ideas on how to use small groups, modeling, partner work, individual work, and organization (just to name a few) in the classroom to help differentiate instruction to the individual learner.  By using differentiated instruction you are empowering each individual  student and enabling them to feel comfortable, challenged, and engaged in their learning.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And so the adventure begins...

Today, the 21st of May, is my second class in child development during this intense and fast paced summer semester at the Mount, and already we are delving into the world of digital learning.    Dr. Smirnova is introducing us to the new generation of learners, and new ways to teach and enhance these learners education through technology.  She shared with us a video, as seen below, which I found to be extremely eye opening to the need to effectively implement technology in the classroom.

Another video that Dr. Smirnova suggested that we view is seen below.  

One of the projects that we have started since beginning the semester is an about me project.  To complete this project I chose to make a word cloud using Wordle.

source :