Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Power of Connection

The Internet provides an opportunity for educators passionate about teaching to get connected, exchange ideas and collaborate. I received a message today from the Community Outreach Specialist of the Fusion Yearbooks Team, Danny Rabara Jr. in regards with my blog post about Project-based learning.
I was excited to find out that my blog is visited and read not only by my students and learners from the technology workshops I run regularly for teachers and educators but a wider audience. Here is an article and the resources that Danny shared with me
I am a big fan and passionate about project-based learning. All my methods courses have projects and creative tasks that help students connect, collaborate and express themselves creatively.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Happy International Women's Day

Today, 8th of March, is  the International Women's Day! A nice beginning of the day  - flowers from my husband and a poem from Ayka, our international student! I always share this tradition, the celebration of women on March 8th, in Russia with all my classes. It is a National holiday in Russia and is very loved by all. Women are showered with flowers, presents, surprises, and love. Mothers, sisters, girl-friends, grand-mothers - all are celebrated and worshiped. Teachers are probably the most. Because most teachers at schools are women. I remember the days when I was dean of the school of Foreign languages. The door to my office could not be closed for hours, days, almost a month. Students, faculty, parents, fiends were coming to wish Happy Women's Day! 
The International Women's Day was followed by my birthday that here, in the U.S., I usually spend in my favorite place Mohonk Mountain House.  The birthday cake below is from the chef of the Mohonk exquisite kitchen!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

I am Ready! I Love Challenges!

Tomorrow a new semester begins. I will be teaching four courses: methods of teaching science and social studies for elementary school children. I am always anxious to know what teacher candidates will be in my new classes: adventurous, curious, creative, open to new ideas and ways of teaching, or those who just want to slide through the course and get a grade. I am inspired by those who want to learn to teach and go above and beyond in exploring the are of teaching.

I have just found out that one of my best students, Lindsay Roe, who I wrote a recommendations, was accepted to Vanderbitt University with a merit scholarship. She thanked me in her Thank you card for helping her achieve her goal and "setting her on the path of looking for different opportunities and she called me "a guiding light." Such moments make my sleepless nights, hard work on the courses' design and improvements, worthwhile.

It is always challenging to start teaching a new course. Science attracts me, I am excited to learn new and revisit topics I studied long ago, but at the same time, I understand, science is not my field of expertise! I have already spent and will probably do more on exploring the science concepts and ways of teaching them in order to feel comfortable to share my insights with the learners in my classes.
I am ready! I love challenges!

I will be taking notes of my experience this semester to keep record of my discoveries and things I would not use again in the future.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Training Teacher for edTPA, a New Certification for Teachers

A new system of certification for teachers edTPA caused a lot of controversy and debates. The debate is never ending but the training of teachers needs to be adjusted to this new professional demand.

I have been always video-taping teacher candidates and since my first years of designing and teaching education courses I required students to keep blogs for developing their reflective thinking and create their professional e-folios to learn how to add the content to their professional portfolios and make their personal professional story. Now it is a nation wide requirement!

Last year I was asked to design a professional web mix of the resources about and of edTPA and I was awarded some grant money for that!

Student teachers like the resource. This year I have been supervising student teachers and noticed that some are afraid of using other lesson plan formats than just a direct instruction lesson plan framework. I requested to make a workshop for student teachers and called it "Implementing edTPA: From Teacher-Centered to Student-Centered Continuum" and explained to them how important it s to use a variety of pedagogical methods in teaching diverse learners. It is always safe and effective to start introducing new content, concepts and skills with the direct instruction and follow all its steps and then after reaching the mastery of the content encourage students' critical thinking skills, inquiry and exploration via problem-solving and inquiry-based approach and engage learners eventually in cooperative learning projects to show the results of the learned and mastered concepts and skills. MY presentation was a success. I created and shared the google folder with the three types of lesson plan formats and illustrated the continuum with the examples from the field. One of my current student teachers shared her experience with the lesson plans' design and implementation and how rewarding it was for her to see the educational effects of this approach to teaching and planning.  Almost every day I am getting now messages from student teachers to look over their lesson plans and give them advice on how to improve their lessons and teaching.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Learning from Others

I came across with this CCP Interactive's Blog that promotes interaction in today's classrooms and integration of technology in teaching. I have to remember to add it to my eClass (Moodle) courses to share with the teacher candidates when discussing effective ways of teaching social studies and other content areas.

Classroom Architect: Imagine Your Own Classroom

I am  about to start teaching a course "Child Development and Psychology of Learning." One of the assignments will be creating an ideal classroom. This Classroom Architect website will allow teacher candidates to design  their classrooms using drag and place items in the space.  I predict a lot of engagement and creativity with this task. There are other websites that allow doing the same. Scholastic classroom set up has the tools that  a teacher can play with and imagine what his or her classroom will look like.