Tuesday, April 23, 2013


3) You have now read several views about intelligence. What do you think about intelligence?
Is it one trait or many? more heavily influenced by nature or nurture? a fixed capacity or a
modifiable ability?

I think that intelligence is an extremely vague term to try to describe or define, per se. I think intelligence is the combination of multiple traits. I think it is influenced by both nature and nurture, but more heavily by nurture, in my opinion. I believe there are various pieces of research that show that intelligence is somewhat inherited; however, if you are not in an environment that supports and expands that intelligence, it can go undiscovered. For instance, I think that you are born with a certain capacity to fill, but you must actively be thinking and learning to attempt to fill this intelligence "void." We kind of see this idea with synaptic pruning - the synapses you do not use get severed. This particular concept, though, is complete around the age of adolescence. I believe that you can still expand your mind as an adult - it just may be more difficult to absorb information than as a young child. In short, I think everyone has an inherited capacity that is never fully met, but can be filled more greatly in certain environments and conditions. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Poverty and Class

This week, we read about at-risk students and how to utilize teaching methods to better cater to these students. In particular, I was assigned to class/poverty. My partner and I read 3 articles, as well as Ormrod's textbook pages about ways to assist students living in poverty. 
The first author, Jean Anyon, is a professor of social and educational policy, and the second author, R.W. Connell, is a sociologist. The third is written by Beth Lindsay Templeton. I believe all three authors of these articles/books were addressing anyone and everyone who would listen, but especially teachers and school staff. They seem to assume that these high-risk students who live in poverty are capable of being successful students with the proper support from their school and teachers. One specific example from Templeton's book states that, “Teachers who can appreciate the diversity in their students and help classmates be empathetic toward one another create environments that enhance and encourage learning by everyone, teachers and students alike.” R.W. Connell talks more about why students living in poverty do not achieve as much as other students, while the unknown author speaks about how we, as teachers, can assist these students and guide them to success.
            I agree that with the support provided by teachers and other school staff, high-risk students do have a better chance at being successful; however, I also believe that there are other influences in a child’s life. Even if you, as a teacher, do everything you can to help and support these students, they still may not be successful due to outside stimuli. I think that these authors are not saying that with support these children will always be successful, but they do present a compelling argument for providing them with the resources they need. A couple of examples from Templeton’s book excerpt were to arrange the beginning of the day so that if a student is late, they do not miss any crucial information/instruction. Another tip was to keep the students’ situations confidential, creating a trusting and safe environment for the students and parents.
            I thought these articles were different from Ormrod’s text because I felt that these were slightly more real and raw. I thought that Ormrod’s, for whatever reason, seemed more disconnected from reality. She mentioned circumstances these students might deal with and tips for teaching for success in high-risk students, but the overall tone didn’t feel that negative. I think, especially Templeton's excerpt, presented more real-life examples that made the situations of the students seem more “real” and it hit home a bit more that situations like those actually occur. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


Chapter 3
(3.1) Personal and social development can have a major influence on both individual student
learning and the learning environment as a whole. Identify a case from the CSEL guidelines*
that you would like to address in your paper. Then, examine the possible developmental
factors that could be influencing your target student(s) or classroom in the case study. Consider
all dimensions of personal and social development, including cognitive, language, social,
emotional, and moral development. *CSEL guidelines can be found under CSEL Artifact. Cases
are included at the end of the document. Choose the case that best suits your desired grade level.

Elementary Education:
You engage your third grade students in cooperative learning activities at least twice a day, changing heterogeneous group members once every four weeks. You have agreed upon routine procedures that your classroom community uses within their small groups, including the roles and responsibilities of group members. Lately you have noticed that one small group always seems to have difficulty grasping material and completing their project in an acceptable manner.  You observe this group carefully and find that Lisa seems to be the catalyst for their problems.  She gets angry with others if she does not get the job she wants and refuses to do her part in contributing to the group’s learning.  She constantly interrupts others in her group.  She does not pay attention when her group prepares for class presentations. 

Some issues in development that Lisa might be facing could be that her social development is not as developed as her peers. She might react to certain situations or comments made by her classmates in inappropriate ways because she just hasn't reached the same level of development as they have. Things like her perspective taking and information processing might not be up to par, resulting in aggressive behavior. She also might not be as cognitively developed as her peers. Her level of understanding of the assignment, etc. might not be there, so she may misunderstand and be confused, causing frustration and bad behavior. As for language development, Lisa may not have the capability to express everything that she wants to, resulting in miscommunications and frustration within her group. Lastly, Lisa's emotional and moral development  may not be at the same level as her peers. Due to this difference, Lisa may say things or act a certain way, which is not appropriate. She might realize this afterwards, though, causing Lisa to feel a sense of shame or guilt. All of these are possibilities for Lisa's misbehavior. The teacher would have to closely monitor Lisa and speak with her to figure out what the problem was. It would be a good idea to do a functional behavior assessment to try to pinpoint the triggers/causes of Lisa's behavior so you can more effectively reduce Lisa's poor behavior. 

(3.22) Check out tables 3.1 (p. 75), 3.2 (p. 83) and 3.3 (p. 91) with particular attention to the age
ranges you are interested in teaching. Identify your personal favorite ways that an educator can
promote a child’s sense of self, perspective taking, and moral reasoning skills.

For sense of self, I would like to "provide sufficient scaffolding to make success possible." For perspective taking, since I am a huge reading advocate, would like to "ask questions about thoughts, feelings, and motives during storybook readings; encourage students to share and compare diverse perspectives and inferences." This is a great way to make your activities cross-curricular, as well. You could read a science book, but tie these developmental ideas in, too. For moral reasoning skills, when student misbehave I would like to "give reasons that such behaviors are not acceptable, focusing on the harm and distress they have cause others." I think if you can guide a child to be sympathetic or even empathetic, they will have a greater sense of others and develop much better social skills.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Personal and Social Development - Song Discussion

"Timekeeper" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Time Keeper
I can't believe how long it's been
Time Keeper
I wish I could start over again
I'm too young
To be feeling this way
Yeah I'm wasted as I lie awake
There goes another day

Woah, Time keeper
Please wont you slow it down tonight
Time keeper
The day days are rolling by
Time keeper
Tell me I'm gonna be, alright

Time Keeper
I thought I'd have it right by now
Time Keeper
Everythings still spinning out
I'm undone

Breaking out of the cage
But before the beast can get away
There goes another day

Woah, Time keeper
Please wont you slow it down tonight
Time Keeper
The days are rolling by
Time Keeper
Tell me I'm gonna be, alright


So choke the dawn and damn the daylight
Time is just an invisible line
Time Keeper
I'm hoping you hear me, tonight

Oh Time Keeper
Please wont you slow it down tonight
Time Keeper
The days are rolling by
Time Keeper
Tell me I'm gonna be, alright

p.73 - Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development:
"Generativity vs. Stagnation"

The idea behind Erikson's generativity vs. stagnation is that, as adults, people must decide how (or if) they will contribute to society. Generativity would result from doing something that made someone feel like they had made a difference and had value in their lives. Stagnation would result from someone who had not done anything productive in society and felt a sense of discontentment in their lack of productivity. 

This particular song seems to represent a sense of stagnation, as seen in the highlighted lyrics. The stanza that reads, "I'm too young to be feeling this way, yeah I'm wasted as I lie awake. There goes another day" presents this fairly straightforwardly. It seems fair to say that this person feels that their life is not full of purpose (wasted). 

I might apply this knowledge of the theory in the classroom by making sure to incorporate all of my students in planned activities, as well as differentiating instruction. I don't want any of my students to feel left out and think that their life isn't as purposeful as another student's. I also don't want them to feel like they aren't good enough if they cannot complete the same work as another student, which is where differentiation would come into play. Overall, I want to make all of my students feel that they have a purpose in my class, and they are valued as a member. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cognitive and Language Development

Chapter 2
(2.1) One of the most cited theories of human development is that of Swiss biologist Jean Piaget. After reading about Piaget’s basic assumptions (p. 27-32) look with particular attention at the stage of child development you would like to teach. The other most cited theory of human development belongs to Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development leads us to expect greater diversity among our same-aged students than Piaget. Given these two influential theorists’ ideas on cognitive development, how might you accommodate students who are not yet working at the level of their peers? (2) Theories in educational psychology promote the idea that language plays a critical role in cognitive development. Examine Table 2.2 (p. 51), paying particular attention to the age range that you are interested in teaching. Consider how you might incorporate or adapt the strategies presented for use with your own students.

Piaget's Basic Assumptions (via Jeanne Ormrod, Educational Psychology: Development of Learners, 2011)
  • Children are active and motivated learners
  • Children construct rather than absorb knowledge
  • Children learn through a combination of assimilation and accommodation
  • Interaction with one's physical and social environments are essential for cognitive development 
  • The process of equilibration promotes progression toward increasingly complex thought 
  • In part as a result of maturational changes in the brain, children think in qualitatively different ways at different ages
    • Sensorimotor
    • Preoperational Egocentrism
    • Concrete Operational
    • Formal Operational
I think to assume that a child cannot reach a higher level of development is selling them short; however, I also think that there is a level to the amount of challenge that they can handle before becoming discouraged. Therefore, given these two theorists ideas about cognitive development, I would accommodate students who are not working at the same level in various ways. I would provide differentiated instruction by utilizing centers in my class. While other students might be working on a certain activity, I would have a group working with me on various topics. This would provide the scaffolding and Zone of Proximal Development made famous by Vygotsky. 

Some of the suggested strategies from Ormrod were to read age-appropriate storybooks, give corrective feedback when students seem to misunderstand something, work on listening skills, ask follow-up questions, and have students write narratives about recent events. I think incorporating all of these would be doable. You would have to carve time out of your day for an interactive read-aloud. As for listening skills, you would have to include good listening skills in your classroom rules and then enforce consequences, etc. for not listening when the students are supposed to. I would prefer to take a more constructivist approach to asking follow-up questions because you not only want to check for understanding, but you also want to expand their thinking and guide them towards higher level cognition (via Vygotsky's theory). You could have students write narratives about anything, so a recent event would be good reflection for them. My mentor teacher is going to take her students on a "bug walk" during their unit about insects, so after they do that, she could have them write about their experience.

This website is helpful in giving some basic tips for differentiating instruction: