Monday, December 5, 2016

Student Assessment

When I think of assessing a student the first thing that comes to my mind is a grade. Students go through school, most of the time trying to earn the best grade possible. However, just like not everyone learns the same way, I believe not everyone should be graded the same way. I know that isn't "fair" but the definition of fair doesn't mean giving every child the same thing it actually means giving the child what they need.

As a future special education teacher I have thought about some different ways of grading than grades. One way is to grade based on the progress of a students IEP goals. If you grade a student on what they are learning right now they might not understand if they are a slow leaner but grading based on IEP's helps the student to achieve a goal that will benefit them down the road.

Another way to grade is to make assignments worth more than tests. Some students get really bad test anxiety and fail the test even when they know the information. Some students have failed classes because of this, by making the assignments worth more than tests it allows students to show teachers what they really know without having all the pressure and anxiety that tests can provide.

Here are a few other ways to think about grading other than using grades!!

Another thing I have though about as a future special education teacher is the way things have been created. Most things have created for "normal" or "average" students. When testing who is average test showed the no one is average at everything, and only a very few are average at even a couple things. So when we create something for the average student, we are actually creating it for no one. That is where Universal Design for Learning comes into play. That is when you create something that everyone can use, not just the "average" There are three steps to Universal Design Learning:
Multiple means of representation
Multiple means of engagement
Multiple means of expression

I got this image from this website, it may be a good idea to go check it out since you probably can't read what it says.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Traditional Classroom VS. Constructivism

When you think about an elementary classroom what do you think about? There is a different between what we think of as the traditional classroom and a Constructivism classroom. When I was in elementary school it was more of a traditional classroom but what kind of classroom are the elementary students of today in?

A Traditional Classroom is one in which the majority of the time the students are working alone, there is an emphasis on their basic skills, and most of the work is done out of a textbook or workbook. Most students do okay working along but how much more could they understand something if they worked in a group. Basic skills are important but is that what we should be focusing on as teachers, making sure the student as skills to go onto the next grade? When teachers start relying on just the correct answer to validate a student lesson what is the child actually learning. I believe they are learning that to achieve in school and life the only thing that matters is earning a good grade and getting the right answer.

In a Constructivism classroom it isn't about always getting the good grade or right answer but learning is about making a meaning out of things. The students need to be able to fully understand something to get something out of it. In Constructivism classroom's students work on projects together. They are able to help teach each other what is going on, which means both students are continuing to learn. Students need to learn though experiencing things, not doing a worksheet and forgetting what they learned. True learning isn't just knowing something but it is knowing it well enough to teach it to someone else and that is what students get in a Constructivism classroom.

Constructivism can be a complicated topic with it becoming a newer thing. Here is a website that might help fully understand what Constructivism is.

The left side of this picture is what I think of when I hear traditional classroom, everyone working separately and quietly. The right side of this picture is what I think of when I hear constructivist classroom, everyone is working together and creating new ideas and ways to solve problems.

I got this image from