A bit about me

I am an Elementary Education Student at the University of South Alabama. I plan to student teach and graduate in the fall of 2011. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over seventeen years and we have three wonderful children. I hope to be the kind of teacher I want for my own children and I am learning all I can to be my best.

My Teaching Philosophy

Respecting others is probably the most important value in an effective learning environment. Listening while others are speaking and consideration for others' feelings are skills practiced by myself and my students.
A variety of teaching tools, including art, songs, technology and games, are used. Each learning style is considered in lesson plan preparation so that the whole class has an equal opportunity to absorb information and develop skills.
Reading and math are the foundation for all education. Books are read to the class and students are encouraged to read from the class library and write their own stories or thoughts in journals. Math is learned and experienced in games and manipulatives.
Creativity is encouraged by allowing freedom in making classroom decorations, art representations for science or history, and even in assessments if possible. The act of producing a drawing, mask, or mind map representing subject matter is one way of learning and students are given freedom in their expression.
Students learn classroom procedures the first few days of schools and they know how and when to do everyday tasks such as sharpen pencils, keep desks orderly, and walk in the hall.
I expect every student to do well because every child is capable of learning.

Learning Styles

The way individuals learn is extremely interesting to me. Howard Gardner lists those ways as "Multiple Intelligences". According to Mr. Gardner, some of the ways people learn best are verbally, musically, kinesthetically, spatially, and naturalistically. I have only been introduced to Mr. Gardner's research, but I think additional study of his work could be very helpful for a teacher.
A classroom full of students who have different learning styles should be considered when a teacher is planning her lessons. More learning happens when each child is made aware of information in the a way he or she can best absorb it. Lecture style teaching is the most traditional, but school can be lots more fun, motivating and effective when learning styles are considered when lessons are taught.

Student Creativity

"Creativity is as important as literacy in education and we should treat it that way." Sir Ken Robinson

We are told that children are our future. They have so much imagination and they think of things in such different ways than adults. My own children have had wonderful teachers who have offered them the chance to create projects in any way they desired. The result of such freedom is always interesting.
I believe that encouraging creativity in as many areas of subject matter as possible fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivates students to try harder, do better, and look for more in subjects that interest them. When a child can take what they already feel confident about and use that talent to explore or express an assigned topic, the student will have a built-in motivation to learn.

Parental Involvement

I believe parental involvement directly affects student success. As a teacher, parents will be welcome to visit. I plan to ask parents to volunteer their talents and time to help with projects and events throughout the school year.
When a child sees his or her parent involved by reading a story, making copies, helping with a project, or even just visiting during lunch time, I believe it sends a message that the parent is interested in how the child spends his or her day at school. When education is important to parents, especially in the first few elementary years, the students are more motivated and happy to work and learn.

Technology In The Classroom

"...a good teacher who lacks the ability to use technology effectively is not as good as she/he could be using technology." Dr. John Strange

As the use of technology increases in our world, educators must model its uses in the classroom and expose all students to as many useful technological applications as possible. Students who learn and interact using computers will feel more comfortable and free to research, explore, and create electronically. Assignments, projects, and even communication are part of our daily business world and students who have experienced these in the classroom will be more prepared when they enter the job market.
The use of blogs in the classroom provides opportunities for students to connect with students all over the world. Communication with students from other countries and cultures is a very real way to learn about the diversity of people everywhere. The internet can facilitate a child's natural curiosity to expand beyond the four walls of the classroom. This curiosity could help the teacher identify the child's passions. Then the child's own interests become a teaching tool, allowing the teacher to instill the importance of learning, researching, and communicating conclusions. These skills are intrinsic to the education process, and having this kind of knowledge will serve our students well in our society.

Personal Learning Network (PLN)

The limitless sources on the internet can be overwhelming. I believe creating and using a personal learning network of educators will help me find the most efficient and effective tools a teacher can use in the classroom. Not only will I be pointed in the right direction, these educators share the best ways to use applications and I can email, tweet, or ask questions in their blogs to find additional information. I am looking forward to learning from their wealth of experience and taking it into my own classroom. I want to be a good teacher and I intend to use my PLN to gain as much knowledge of methods and tools as possible. As I learn in the education field, I am sure that my interests and needs will change. My PLN will probably change as well and reflect new interests and needs.