Welcome to Ms. Waugh's Class Blog

Welcome students, parents, and colleagues. Thank you for visiting my blog. This blog I have designed to introduce myself and inform you about what is going on in my classes. Currently, I teach ELD inclusion for grades 6.

Let's get ready to learn!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

21st Century Classrooms... 5 years later

Back in 2011, while pursuing my Master degree, I wrote a blog post titled The 21st Century Classroom” I recently stumbled upon a new article titled, “10 Signs You Really Are a 21st Century Teacher (And Might Not Know It)” which got me thinking about what being a 21st Century teacher means in 2016 and I figured I should craft update.
While we remain in the 21st century, what I thought was 21st century teaching in 2011, five years later looks somewhat different. In my previous post, I reference using my one laptop in my class with my students, connected to my smartboard and sometimes incorporating my iPad and iPod touch. I reference Bloom’s taxonomy and Gardner’s multiple intelligences and project-based learning. It’s interesting how education evolves and fads arise and fade, and what we think is going to change the world is discredited in future research studies.
Back in the 1990’s, I guess under the ideology of 20th century learning, Bill Clinton thought a $2 billion program of putting a computer in every classroom and a data link in every school would be the “great equalizer.” Supposedly this one computer would revolutionize the way children learn.
And in the past 20 years, my how plans have changed. Now the great equalizer is supposedly a 1 to 1 ratio of computer to student, at a budget of a minimum of $1 million dollars per district, or as much as $1 billion per district, like Los Angeles USD’s iPad program. How do districts afford these 21st century aspirations? Through budget cuts, often in the form of teacher lay-offs and I wonder if that’s really what 21st century learning is all about.
Numerous studies have shown that the most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher. Even so much as to say learning gains realized by students during a year in the classroom of an effective teacher were sustained over later years and were compounded by additional years with effective teachers.
So sorry, Bill Clinton, just having a computer in the classroom is not going to cut it. Neither is having a computer for every student a solution. Students can have unlimited access to unlimited resources, but if they are not taught how to use them, and how to use them correctly, those resources are nothing but knick-knacks.
When I wrote my original post in April of 2011, chromebooks hadn’t even been invented yet. Now kindergarteners have their own e-mail addresses and a laundry list of logins to IXL and Raz Kids and youtube. But with all this unlimited access, comes a dangerous level of unlimited power and that is where the 21st century learning comes in. These students in front of us are technology natives. They’ve had facebook accounts and hashtags since before they were even born. Teaching students how to use technology is no longer our job. It is our job as teachers to teach them to use it well.
This is where fushionyearbooks.com got it right: 21st century teachers use technology as a tool for suspending sterotypes, teaching empathy, fostering collaboration, advancing adaptivity and celebrating creativitiy. With the advent of technology, the world is at our fingertips and Google is our daily professor. But instant information gratification is as addicting as slot machines and what we need to teach is the responsibility of knowledge. What students really need to know is how to research, how to collaborate, how to present their findings, how to manage a dynamic team. Those are the skills the job market is looking for. Thomas L. Friedman wrote for the New York Times in 2004, right at the beginning of the 21st Century these telling words whose sentiment has only become more salient since then, "When I was growing up, my parents used to say to me: ''Finish your dinner -- people in China are starving.'' I, by contrast, find myself wanting to say to my daughters: ''Finish your homework -- people in China and India are starving for your job.''
The 21st century will continue to present to us new and innovative ways to share knowledge, demonstrate knowledge and acquire knowledge, and it is up to us as effective teachers to channel these opportunities and turn them into teachable moments for our students.

So bring on the chromebooks and the iPads and the Socratic Seminars, just don’t lose sight of the fact that the most valuable items in the classroom are the human beings, teaching and learning from each other.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Working with Els in the Classroom

For the slideshow presentation, please click here: Working with ELs in the Classroom

This past spring, my principal asked me to compose a short PD presentation to share with our teachers about how to support ELs in the classroom. This is by no means a comprehensive lesson, but more of a booster shot for teachers who have taken Retell (or comparable course-work about teaching ELs) but are struggling in the "here and now." Taking a 3-credit course on teaching ELs is completely necessary, but sometimes it leaves mainstream educators reeling, wondering what to do first when they have an actual EL in front of them. This slideshow is a good place to start! It also could be extremely helpful as teachers are looking over their rosters for the new fall semester.

Program Capacity Week June 2016 Pre and Post Reflections

Program Capacity Week June 2016 Pre and Post Reflections
Mae Waugh Barrios

Tuesday, June 14th
Book Fair with our favorite publishers & Equipment Refresher (document camera, LCD, etc)
Browse textbooks and get your questions answered by the experts! Get re-acquainted with the document camera and LCD projector.

Pre-Session Brainstorm Tuesday June 14th, 2016

As you probably know, I don’t really like books. As a teacher I often find them hindering. Hopefully someday I will write my own slew of textbooks that are up to my expectations, but right now my problem is that there is no perfect book. Usually, after six years of teaching, I feel like I am smarter and more competent at writing my own lessons and finding my own materials than anything I find in a text book. Especially for math. This makes finding a book unimaginably difficult. And it means I find myself searching for a textbook at the end of every single semester. In fact, I have used a new book for every semester I’ve ever taught at FAESL, and this fall will be my 9th semester. Wow! I just realized that…
To answer these questions more specifically, when I am looking for a textbook, I want to see something bright and vibrant and interesting. Since I teach HSE 1, many of my students are emerging readings, but I want to make sure their books don’t look childish. I know they are reading at a second or a third-grade level, but I don’t want them to feel demoralized for being at this stage in their educational journey. Additionally, I look for a book that has many features: readings, comprehension questions, vocabulary development, open-response questions and realistic, reasonable content matter. Last semester, I used a set of Laubach Reading for phonics as my anchor texts and while I really liked the way it wove together text and vocabulary and grammar. However, it was completely fictitious narrative and had no basis in content matter, like social studies or science. Also, a set of four books was way too many for my students to navigate.
For the upcoming semester, I’d like to find something with contextualized readings in the content for my ELA class and for math I’d like to find a text with more practice problems, more procedural support and more focused to my strand, the Real and Complex number system. I actually just learned from Janice on Monday night that we must provide our students with a book due to grant funding, so hopefully I can find something that catches my eye tonight!

Post-Session Reflection Wednesday June 15th, 2016
Book Fair with our Favorite Publisher

This evening it just happened to work out that I got a one-on-one session with the representative from McGraw Hill publishing. Nobody else from HSE was able to attend the workshop tonight, so I represented our HSE program and got a chance to look at all of the options from this publisher in particular. Unfortunately for me, all the material was at too high of a level for my class in particular, but it would be perfect for Tony and Molly. The representative was very kind and receptive and shared all of her display models with us (and I think it will ultimately prove to be lucrative for her because those texts look great and I think Tony and Molly will order them!)
I specifically was looking for texts we can use for our new math model, which is differentiated by strand and I think their small math booklets would really work for our classes. I’d really like us to get their entire set of these booklets because we could use them in every class and then we could have more streamlined math instruction because we will all be using similar-looking texts.
For ELA, the McGraw Hill representative shared with me lots of options, but none of which I loved. Her options for my level were more based on vocabulary development and while that is important, I want a textbook with longer text excerpts and more of a focus on comprehension skills and content reading. She did share with me two model texts that are science content-based, but as soon as I opened them my response was, “Where are the pictures?” I did consider using these texts and supplementing them with youtube videos of experiments or images on each topic, but I think the text is a little too dense for my level.
Ultimately for my ELA class next year, I would like to use the skinny science texts “Go Green” and “Our Living Planet” from Pro Lingua Associates. I think these will be perfect because it incorporates page-long text readings, vocabulary development and reading comprehension questions, all about science topics. Then I can supplement the text with newspaper articles or current events regarding these science topics, in order to differentiate for lexile level and interest.
Although I already integrate a lot of technology in my class, by projecting my lessons and getting my students using chromebooks for various activities, I’ve never used a document camera or projected my iPad in my HSE classes. So after Pat and June’s presentation, I might try out both of those. The document camera would actually really be helpful for projecting student work to collaborate with corrections and edits. This way we can work on editing and revising skills, and I could use it to project my new textbooks and annotate the text or fill in the blanks on the board.

Wednesday, June 15th
Spring Technology Update with Bob
We’ll cover a range of topics related to taking better advantage of laptops, tablets, and smartphones with our classes, including:
•Breakout sessions on using ChromeBooks in class, and teaching with your iPad
•New/improved favorite websites and apps
•Google Forms
•Leveraging students’ own mobile devices

Post-Session Reflection Wednesday June 15th, 2016
Spring Technology Update with Bob

Any time I think I just about know everything about technology, Bob always gives me a plethora of new ideas and options and link. And this program capacity week, he did not disappoint! Thank you, Bob, for putting all your great ideas in one place with links! (http://eslbob.weebly.com/) Some of these ideas I have heard about before and used in my classroom, like Kahoot, Pinterest, Readtheory and google, but now I have so many other ways in which to incorproate technology into my HSE classroom this fall.
The first thing I would like to try is a student self-assessment that gives them an approximate count of how many words they know in English. I’m thinking it would be a good way to start the semester with Testyourvocab.com and do it at the end of the semester, too. It is very subjective because the students don’t actually have to define the words, they just have to click if they know the definitions, but I think it would be effective enough to give them an approximate lexion tally that would really boost their morale and self-confidence. It is also an additional way to track student growth.
Another resource I’d like to incorporate in the next semester is to utilize TedEd. There is a feature called Ted Lessons, where you can create your own lessons around a youtube video, or use one of the ones they already have posted. I’ve used this for my middle school ELD class before, but it would be great in my HSE class because I already incorporate a lot of youtube videos for building background knowledge or for visual support for my HSE English learners.
Dreamreader.net also looks great because it has leveled academic English readings, coupled with multiple choice questions. While this is very similar to readtheory.org, the nice thing about this website is it has an audio component that reads the text aloud to the students. This would be good to try out with students who need practice with phonics or pronunciation. Also, it has a variety of social studies topics for the text selections, which would be a good supplement to my textbook for next semester which will focus on the sciences.