Teaching Philosophy EDCI 506

January 26, 2014

My teaching philosophy is not unique and has been evolving over the past year. As I evolve and learn more and experience more in the classroom, my philosophy is developing and morphing into what I feel is a progressive attitude in education. One of my first thoughts is that your students should know what to expect from you and by this I mean that you have to be honest and reliable. Students need to know that they can count on you, they need to know the boundaries of the classroom environment, and they need to know that they can trust you and believe in you. I have secondary level students and at this point I expect them to be reliable and honest and it is only fair that I return that expectation. This is expected of them in the real world, according to Dewey (1938/1997) the objective is to prepare students for the real world and their responsibilities (p.18). Building on this expectation I try and bring them real world information to enhance that of the SOL standards and bring the information together so they are tied together and have a practical application. Since “teachers are the agents through which knowledge and skills are communicated” (p.18) it is our responsibility to develop and encourage a stronger and more developed learning environment for our students. I tend to treat my students as my children and I want the best for them and high expectations for them. I realize that they are not all on the same level and encourage them according to their abilities. I also encourage some of the higher functioning students to take the lower levels students under their wing and help them flourish.

While this is only a portion of my philosophy I want to focus on the reading from Experience and Education. You would think that after years and years of research, practice, and development; education is not any better off than it was fifty years ago. I think that we have developed some amazing practices, delivery methods that are interactive, great evidence based practices, and new methods and practices for dealing with behavioral issues. Why do we find it so difficult to pull all of the wonderful things that are developing in education and implement them in schools and turn around the declining trends? I think we should be able to put our personal interest aside and get together and build a strong solid foundation for implementing functional and effective educational practices and standards for our students and stop thinking that all students are meant to be scholars and provide students with the education that functions best for them and the many levels of students that are in our schools.

I will finish by saying that the main goal of my philosophy is to provide my students with a solid foundation of knowledge to help prepare them for their individual future and I feel that while not all students will attend college I think that we should provide them the opportunity to excel and prosper in their career choice.


Dewey, J. (1997). Experience & Education. New York, NY. Simon & Schuster. (Original work published 1938).

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Why Teaching?

January 19, 2014

I am in the process of getting my initial teaching license, and have done a lot of substitute teaching along the way. Can I just say it has been an interesting journey. I decided to go an alternative path and took classes that I felt would be beneficial to me and my students. It is important to first educate teachers if we want to offer students a better education. Education in the United States can be improved, but we must first start with the key element of education, teachers.

The Holmes Group published Tomorrow’s Teachers, which recommends these steps:

  1. To make the education of teachers intellectually more solid.
  2. To recognize differences is teachers’ knowledge, skill, and commitment, in their education, certification, and work.
  3. To create standards of entry to the profession examinations and educational requirements that are professionally relevant and intellectually defensible.
  4. To connect our own institutions to schools (members of this education panel).
  5. To make schools better places for teachers to work, and to learn.

While this list pre-dates NCLB, it still offers starting points or building blocks for a solid teaching foundation. I feel that this article puts a lot of emphases on teacher responsibility, while teachers are responsible for a tremendous amount these days I think responsibility should be equally distributed among all elements of education. Schools and administration also have a major responsibility to provide tools, proper learning environments, and offer support for teachers. I also feel that parents and students need to accept a certain amount of responsibility for their child’s education. That being said, I think that the Holmes Group were correct in saying that they had a responsibility in offering their students a better education, so students could become better educators.

I think that there are many areas of improvement in education, and you could spend countless hours debating the topic and making lists, suggestions, and brain storming. Until we come together and accept the challenge to actually improve education, things will continue to remain at a standstill. I know one thing to be true, one of the best things that happened to me in school were awesome teachers that made an impact on my life and influenced me to work harder and make something out of my life.

Soder, R. (1986). Tomorrow’s Teachers for Whom and for What? Missing Propositions in the Holmes Group Report. Journal of Teacher Education, 37(6), 2-5. doi: 10.1177/002248718603700601


Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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EDCI 500 02: Blog Reflection 7 Formative and Summative

April 28, 2013

Formative assessment is a helpful tool for teachers. Formative assessment is used before or during instruction to determine what students prior knowledge is, to determine if they are retaining information that is being given during instruction, identify areas of weakness and to determine if teaching methods are effective for the lesson.  Using formative assessments can help a teacher determine if the lesson plan or teaching methods need to be altered for a unit or if the lesson in place is an effective plan for the unit.


Summative assessment occurs at the end of instruction and can be used to determine what the student knows, the students level of accomplishment and whether the lesson plan in place is effective. Both formative and summative assessments are valuable tools for the classroom, while the assessments are testing different information they both provide valuable feed back for teachers. The information gained by using the assessments gives the teacher guidance on whether they need to come up with a better lesson plan and different approach for teaching the unit or if they can keep the lesson plan in place. It also identifies specific areas of weakness that the students are having so the teacher is able to review this information with them and expand upon the lesson.


As a future special education teacher I think that formative and summative tests are incredibly valuable to me. I think that formative assessments should be used at the being of every school year to establish where my students are. So much information is lost over the summer and some special education students have extreme difficulty with memory. It will help guide me on how much information we need to review, how far the students are ahead or behind other classes. It would also tell me if a student is further ahead of his or her classmates and could be used to help students who are struggling with information. I can also see the added benefit of using formative assessment throughout the school year to make sure that my teaching methods are working and students are progressing with the information.

Categories: Educational Psychology.

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EDCI 500: Blog Reflection 6 Ambiguity and Constructivism

April 14, 2013

I must start off by saying that I was so happy to graduate high school and be done with school that I never wanted to step foot into another classroom again. I only took a few classes at the local community college at a co-workers urging, and I discovered an adventure that was one of the most rewarding things that I have done in my life. Yes, it did prevent me from going back to school, but it gave me a sense of purpose and satisfied my needs for the next ten years. I constantly took classes and trained, but it was something that encouraged me to help others and extrinsically motivated me.


I have found that over time my needs and motivation have changed, having children does that. As some of you know I have a child who is in a Special Education program and was treated horribly on a daily basis. Through all of the parent conferences and meetings to iron out an IEP, I struggled to understand how we got to this point. I came to the realization that many of these teachers had no clue what they were doing not only to my child, but also to many of the students in their classes. I found myself thinking that I could be a better teacher and do a better job. So I made the decision to go back to school to be a Special Education teacher. I knew that I could make school a better place for students. I did not like school; I just didn’t fit the mold until I went back to college.


So here is a break down of my motivation and how my needs are meet:

My Goal

Needs Being Meet


Earn my M.Ed. in Special Education Self-actualization, intellectual achievement, esteem, belonging Intrinsic and extrinsic
Make my classroom a safe place for students Esteem, being, self-actualization, safety, belonging Intrinsic and extrinsic
Fulfill my dream of being a teacher Self-actualization, being, esteem Intrinsic and extrinsic
Find a teaching job Esteem, self-actualization, being, physiological Extrinsic and intrinsic
Show my children that education is essential and following your dreams is mandatory Esteem, self-actualization, being, belonging, intellectual achievement Intrinsic and extrinsic
Help students succeed and find their path in life Being, self-actualization, belonging, esteem, intellectual achievement Intrinsic
To make good grades and earn achievements Esteem, intellectual achievement, self-actualization, belonging Intrinsic and extrinsic

I think that by recognizing what motivates us as teachers and thinking about how I got to this point in my life it helps me understand how my students might be feeling and help motivate them. Through Maslow’s theory Woolfolk suggests that it gives “us a way of looking at the whole student whose physical, emotional, and intellectual needs are all interrelated” (Woolfolk, 2013, p.435).


By having a constructivist classroom including ambiguous projects and tasks you allow your students who are poor risk takers and have fear of failure to work on overcoming their reservations of these projects. Teaching them to embrace freedom to develop their own project and have artist license for a lack of better word will help them develop their abilities over the length of their education. You build their self-confidence, intellectual achievement, self-actualization, belonging and sense of safety with in themselves. According to Woolfolk students are able to make plans, set goals and are motivated to succeed (2013). In life there is not always someone to tell you how to solve your problems and which way to go, students have to learn how to take information and build upon it. You are not only teaching students how to complete a project on their own you are building life lessons into your class.

Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.


Categories: Educational Psychology.

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EDCI 500 Blog Reflection 5: Teaching for Reflection

March 30, 2013

I have always felt that when I was able to put my hands on something and just work through the problem or see how something fits together I was able to walk away with more information and a better understanding of the concept of how and why something works. The teacher was able to hold my attention, because I knew that if I was good and paid attention that I would be able to explore and apply what I was learning.


I have loved all of the science classes that I have ever taken and I think that it was because I knew that eventually we would actually get to do something, there was always some experiment or exercise that we got to complete.


I feel that Ms. Baveja is building on students’ prior knowledge and using the tactile methods for her students. Inductive learning builds upon inference and evidence finding skills. Ms. Baveja is giving the students’ more and more difficult plants to identify and they have to build upon the information they have and categorizes plants into new categories and element the other ones previously identified. By doing this she is teaching the students’ about concepts. Woolfolk defines concepts as “defining attributes, or distinctive features” (Woolfolk, 2013, 299). The students’ gain the knowledge of the identifying the plants based upon prediction by examining one part of the plant you can predict what the other part of the plant is going to be like. For example, if you look at the leaves of a plant, can you tell if the plant has a deep root base or a shallow root base?


The students from Ms. Baveja’s group also were able to identify plants because they had actual memories of seeing and identifying plants; this is referred to as exemplars. Exemplars are something that people do naturally according to Woolfolk (2013).


For myself I think that I would prefer teaching in a more tactile method for the inductive learners. More special education students are visual or tactile learners. Teaching the inductive process is more beneficial I feel for more students.

Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology. Boston: Pearson.

Miller, K. (Producer). (2010). Inductive Learning [Motion picture on Internet].

Categories: Educational Psychology.

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Week 11 INDT 501: New Technologies

March 30, 2013

Waging the war for New Technologies


It is absurd to think that we as teachers are going to be able to win the battle of no cell phones in school. There is not a day that goes by that students are not texting, listening to music, playing games or just looking for something on their phones browsers. As teachers we should embrace the fact that students are adept in the use of such a powerful and helpful tool (their phone). There are so many options for teachers on the internet, cell phones, iPads, iPods and other devices that we, as teachers are the ones who are uneducated if we don’t use them.  Why not embrace all that is available to us and utilize it to the best of our abilities. I believe that students will be far more responsive to us if we utilize their devices and show them how they can benefit from using new technology, apps and other features. Coffman suggests that when students are able to link their own interest in with the lesson or application of the lesson they benefit from the lesson and are able to build upon what they already know and understand (2013).


If you were teaching a fourth grade class on Virginia studies you could use iPods or iPads in your classroom. There are several free apps of the Virginia battlefields with virtual tours (one is even developed by a professor at UMW). Students from all over the state, who are unable to take field trips to this area would benefit from seeing how the battle took place and how the land aided in the battle. Students could use apps that quiz them on information they have learned. It would help student gain a better understanding the battles and information. You could use Voki and have Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address to your class. The possibilities are endless for the classroom. We live in a time when we have the amazing opportunity to bring the world into the classroom and lay it at the feet of the students, for them to take the steps necessary to learn of the world in which we live.


While I think I need a little more experience with the virtual world, I think it is a valuable tool for the classroom. Some research from Solomon and Schrum suggests that students are making gains in learning in a virtual classroom (2010). While I am not a digital native, I think that I have been able to gain a larger understanding of the application of technology from this class and I believe that my students and I will benefit from all of the knowledge that I have gained.

Civil War Interactive iPad App Review – DailyAppShow. (2012, December 19).YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9miyGD8Bf-c

Coffman, T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0 how-to for educators (1st ed.). Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Categories: Technology in Education.

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Week 10: Mini Projects Week II

March 24, 2013

I must say that mini-projects are awesome; I have completely enjoyed doing the projects and investigating all of the options that were placed before us. I think that all of the project ideas have a valuable place in education and I look forward to finding a home for each one of them. I decided to do the timeline project for one of my mini-projects. Capzules was by far the most appealing for visual purposes, but I think that some kids will have a greater difficulty following it. I think it would be better utilized for upper grade levels. I think that timetoast would be better for my purposes as a special education teacher. I think that timetoast is a much better program for students to visualize events and put them in greater perspective and presents information in a much clearer format.


The next one I was interested in was Lit trip on google earth. This would be an excellent tool as an English teacher. I found it to be a very useful application and look forward to using it in the classroom. The final one I decided on was Google Trek with Google Maps. I really enjoyed this application, I did find some problems with the application, but for the most part I found it to be a really helpful tool. Again, I think that Google Trek would be really useful to demonstrate to students where things are, how close they are to things. I find it very exciting to have all of these tools to bring to the classroom with me. I feel like I am better prepared as a pre-service teacher to enter the classroom and be able to present information in a much clearer format to the students so they are able to come away with useful information.

Categories: Technology in Education.

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EDCI 500-02 Blog Reflection 4: Prior Knowledge

March 16, 2013

Initial Hypothesis: Like the Calvaria major tree, its seeds have a long life. The trees are over 300 hundred years old. The seeds take an extended period (possibly decades) of time to wear down and begin the germination process. We will find that the seeds are being disturbed and are being prevented from beginning germination and we need to secure the area around the trees to help encourage growth and regeneration of the tree.


As a scientist investigation is the first step to any problem or project. As a part of the team each one of us would do our respective investigation into information to the Calvaria major tree. As a nature lover it breaks my heart when anything or species is on the road to extinction. We must first discover certain information about the tree in order to make sure that we have all of the information necessary to help solve the problem that is preventing the seeds from sprouting and forming new trees.


Some questions would be:

  • What is the environment like?
  • Is pollution a concern?
  • What do we know factually about Calvaria major?
  • What do we know about other extinct species from this environment?
  • Why are these species extinct?
  • What is the relationship between the tree and these species?
  • What is the life cycle of the tree? Is it in our lifetime?
  • What is the germination period of the tree?
  • Did the acidity of the soil change?


By delving into extinction of the Calvaria major tree we are practicing “enactive learning or learning by doing” (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 272). Enactive learning is a useful tool, a lot of times scientists are tactile in nature, and learn valuable lessons through investigation or enactive learning. Scientist execute numerous experiments before they reach the desired outcome, conducting experiments is a necessary step in proving a hypothesis.


Initial investigation: Some background information that I discovered in the initial phase of my investigation suggests that the germination is indeed being interrupted, “exotic weeks whose dense undergrowth prevents the regeneration of the timber trees” (Hill, 1941). Further evidence presents as “monkeys, also exotic, who destroy the fruits” (Hill, 1941). This information offers some supportive information to our initial hypothesis, but much more investigation must be completed in order to validate or disprove the hypothesis.


While my hypothesis is laughable at best it is a hypothesis and still needs to be investigated and experiments should be conducted to determine the validity. I had some prior knowledge of this tree, but my knowledge was limited and I had already determined that one extinct bird could not possibly hold the fate of a tree. I am probably 95% wrong in my assumption, but with my limited knowledge I had formed this opinion and decided that I knew what I was talking about. Like me kids come into the classroom with some prior knowledge “some of these preconceptions are right, some are part right, and some are wrong” (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 356). What we do with this prior knowledge is what sets us apart from others, will kids come into the classroom and build on their knowledge and store more information to carry them forward or do they fail to make connections?

Building on prior knowledge is important and for certain students teachers need to build a clear relationship between the students’ prior knowledge and new information that is being introduced. Building this bridge to the information is essential, it is also essential to build metacognition skills. Metacognition skills for students are helpful in getting students to “’learn how to learn’” (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 321). Forgetting takes place in people through interference or decay. The new information that students take in interferes with the old information or prior knowledge that they brought into the classroom. Some forgetting is necessary for students, their working memory would be overwhelmed if forgetting did not take place (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 294).

Hill, A. W. (1941). The genus Calvaria, with an account of the stony endocarp and germination of the seed and description of a new species. Annals of BotanyV(20), 587-606.

How Does Students’ Prior Knowledge Affect Their Learning. (2011, January 15).YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKVFoljm3As

Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology. Boston: Pearson.


Categories: Educational Psychology.

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INDT 501-01Mini Projects 1

March 16, 2013

Technology is a wonderful thing. Kids today are growing in a wonderful time when the world is literally at their fingertips. I love the idea that as a teacher I can teach a flipped class, use podcasts, digital story telling, comics, and tools like Wordle. I love the idea of using a variety of tools in the classroom. I think that kids are much more receptive to using technology based instruction in place of a boring lecture. This week I enjoyed investigating the digital storytelling, I even found two free apps for my iPad, which I am excited to use. I think that I could use the digital story telling on all levels, especially since I will be teaching special education. I think it would help struggling readers’ gain an interest in books. I also believe that any kid could use it, if some have difficulty it could be a collaborative assignment.

Using Comic Life would be very useful in reaching students as well. A large amount of students read comics, or anime, and by using this to my advantage I could create a comic strip to entice kids who would otherwise show no interest in a lesson. I think I am the most excited about Voki. I love the idea of using podcasts, I think podcasts are a great resource for teachers. Our textbook says that “educators have discovered endless uses for education, too, and podcasting has become one of the most frequently used Web 2.0 tools” (Solomon, Schrum, 2010, 49).  I really enjoyed creating my avator with Voki, and think that the enhanced version for teachers would be great. It would be very useful for addressing history topics and I think even math. While substituting the other day in a Geometry class the other inclusion teacher used story telling to gain the students interest, I think that it would have been better received through a podcast or digital storytelling, but that is just my opinion. Since being exposed to this digital class  I have a ton of ideas to change the class around, I look forward to implementing these new ideas.

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0 how-to for educators (1st ed.). Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Digital Storytelling in the Elementary Classroom. (2011, June 13). YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUZXBc6yRhU

Categories: Technology in Education.

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INDT 501-01: Shared Sticky Notes

March 2, 2013

I guess not have to share my sticky notes if I used Padlet, which is a good thing because I tend to hoard all of the sticky notes! Where would the world be without sticky notes? I’m truly happy that I don’t have to find out! They are an essential tool for me when I write, I jot down ideas all the time, notes for future writing projects, I am constantly writing in my head and I have to make little notes for myself. Padlet is going to be a wonderful way to separate and organize my ideas. By demonstrating this process to my students it may help them with their struggles in organization and brainstorming.


Leading by example I think is important. If you can show your students what works for you and show them that sometimes it takes a little bit of searching and sorting to get ideas that work together and build off of each other. Students can then use the program to post ideas, read others ideas, and then hopefully build off of a combination of ideas to come up with successful projects. By doing this you are allowing them to collaborate without disrupting the classroom and it also does not use up valuable class time if it is a homework assignment. It also works toward a flipped classroom, by adding the assignment to postings. According to Solomon and Schrum, “these tools have also afforded educators a way in which to promote and encourage collaboration authentically in the development of projects and papers” (2010, 69). “There is also evidence that students become engaged when they share their work with other students” (73).


Collaboration also builds social skills, which many special education students lack, so you are building a teamwork atmosphere and developing social skills. I look forward to use as many of the tools we have learned in class with my students.

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On my Padlet board so far I have only posted a couple of ideas about sticky notes. Maybe I will use it for a paper I am working on in another class, just to see how it works for me.

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0 how-to for educators (1st ed.). Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Categories: Technology in Education.

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