Monday, April 18, 2011
Special Assignment Mr. McClung's World
After reviewing Mr. McClung's World, I was extremely impressed with his organization, forward thinking, teaching style and motivation. He seems to be willing to try educational techniques that are a little "outside the box" but I feel are effective in his classroom. I explored the tabs across the top, reading Mr. McClung's bio in which he seems to be a very interesting man. Both an exceptional educator and interesting person. It really appears that his students like him,enjoy his teaching style and are flourishing in this learning environment.
His rules are very explicit and straight forward. They are simple and easy to follow. Follow directions, stay in your seat, raise your hand for permission, make good choices and keep the teacher happy! I think as educators we sometimes think that things need to be complicated, that there needs to be long sets of instruction. But I think that what we will find, as Mr. McClung seems to have found, is that the simpler the better. Don't overwhelm them, just tell them what you expect! Children like boundaries so there needs to be guidelines but they have to have freedom to develop creativity and to learn.
Mr. McClung requires each of his students to have a day planner. I would assume that this is for them to learn organization skills that they will use not just in school but in real life. That is a lesson that we are never to young to learn and to use! If it is important write it down so that it doesn't get overlooked or forgotten. Being on time for assignments, meetings, projects, etc is extremely important and organization and time management contribute heavily to these. If the planner is used as it should be, and assignments are tracked, I am sure that they are done in a timely manner. His penalties for late homework are not unreasonable. They are similar to the penalties I incurred as a grade school and high school student. They do not seem too tough and the students in eighth grade are able to understand the consequences of bad decisions, including not doing work or assignments.
When reviewing Mr. McClung's World for the last assignment, I watched a video. I chose to look in April posts to find a post to review this time. I chose, Using Kagan Strategies – Circle the Sage post on 04/14. In this post he explains this technique of teaching. I think it is a good teaching strategy because it involves the students and lets them teach their peers. There is a video of the process in a future post as well on April 17. The students seem to have enjoyed it and it appeared to be a success. I think sometimes it is easier to learn something from a peer than it is to learn from the teacher. It somehow makes it more interesting and easier to remember when you hear it from someone else. I would be interested to see what Mr. McClung thought of the lesson and if he plans to continue using this style in his classroom.
Mr. McClung includes many useful links on his web page. The two I chose to explore wereDiscovery Education and The Scholastic Story Starter. Both are very educational and offer numerous resources for teachers, students and parents. I plan to list both on my personal PLN. They contain lesson plans, links to ideas for presenting subject matter, communication with other educators and great activities for the students. They are both applicable for all ages so which level you teach you will be able to find age appropriate material. The Scholastic site was highlighting the Story Teller page. It is a slot machine type game that gives suggestions for storytelling. It could be used to spark the imagination for individual stories or a collaborative group project. Either way, it would definitely ignite the creativity in the students to continue the story! I imagine these sites were included because of their usefulness and overall appeal to all involved in the education process. I know that I will use them when I have my classroom.
In regard to the host EduBlog, I did find the layout very useful. It seems to be well organized and easy to follow and find information. I really like the headers across the top. They help to navigate through the site more effectively. The only classroom blog that I have seen on Blogger is the EDM310 site and it seems to be just as easy to navigate. I have not found anything that would make me chose one over the other. They seem to be equal as far as I am concerned. In addition, I have not reviewed any other 8th grade blogs. Most that I have reviewed are of younger grades. So, Mr. McClung's blog is more advanced than some that I have reviewed but I suspect that is because his students are a little more advanced and warrant a more complex site. Overall, his site is one of the best that I have reviewed. He has so much information available through his posts, the student posts and the links. There isn't anything that he left out that I can see. I hope that when I have a classroom blog, it will be as comprehensive and as useful as his!