I have been doing my observation hours at Woodbury Elementary. I am in a sixth grade math classroom with my cooperating teacher Mr. Harnish. This school is located in Shaker Heights. It is somewhat diverse in regards to race. The school is a public elementary school with grades kindergarten through sixth.
So, far I have really enjoyed my experience in this classroom. Overall, the students are well behaved and they respect Mr. Harnish in the classroom. This year Woodbury has conducted a new program called CSSI. Last year, they had a disrespectful group of students and it was difficult for all the teachers to deal with. They have introduced this program into the classroom in order to teach students about respect, communicating, and empathy. Each week the teachers switch off with starting of their class with a group activity. All the students sit in a circle and they introduce themselves and ask how their day is. They then focus on empathy and they have conversations with partners about different situations and how they would feel if they were put in a the particular situation. This was very interesting for me to observe and it seems to really help with communication skills.
As far as technology goes in this classroom, the students are each given a laptop. They have a program called Dream Box on the lap top that deals with games and math problems. Once they pass a level and move on to the next, Mr. Harnish awards them with a piece of candy from the treasure box. Mr. Harnish tends to leave an extra ten minutes at the end of class for students to work on these games and problems on their laptops. They also are supposed to be doing this for homework.
In the one period of math class, I have been working with a girl who does not speak any English. She only speaks French. When working with her in math, technology is a major importance. The only way I am able to communicate with her is through technology. We use google translate, and I speak into her laptop which translates my words into French so she is able to understand what I am saying. In order for her to learn and understand new material, she absolutely needs her laptop and google translate. If she did not have this technology she truly would not be able to learn in this particular classroom.
With these students being in only sixth grade, they are not into social media yet. Rather the technology they use is dealing with more things such as video games on iPads, iPods, xboxes, etc. I have been observing them and asking questions about the Dream Box program. They seem to really enjoy it and it helps them with basic math skills, that many students seem to be struggling and stuck on. In this classroom it is necessary for students to automatically know the basic skills in order to learn more complex math problems. For example, last Thursday the math lesson was taking an improper fraction and turning it into a mixed number by using long division. The student I was working with was not understanding how to do this because he was still stuck on the simple, basic math skills such as subtracting numbers, that it was affecting him when dividing. I could tell this is the clear reason for using the dream box program. This program will really help students finally come to a complete understanding of the basic math skills and finally they can keep up with the rest of the class when moving on to the complex math problems.
Dalton states in Multimodal Composition and the Common Core State Standards the following, “We live in a multimodal world where being an effective communicator involves composing with media” (336). This is the exact reason for teachers incorporating technology into the classroom. It really helps benefit a student’s learning in the long run. It also makes students more excited and passionate about learning since they have been growing up with technology such as iPads, iPods, etc. and they are used to all different forms of technology. In the long run it is easy to see how technology really benefits the learning and communication in this particular sixth grade math classroom.