Thursday, September 20, 2012

C4T #1

Stump the Teacher

Ruth Catchen- Reach for the Stars
For my first C4T assignment, I was asked to comment on Josh Stumpenhorst's blog, Stump the Teacher. The first post I commented on was called, "Is the System Broken?". In this post, Mr. Stumpenhorst takes a look at our education system. He addresses the question, "Is our education system so broken that it needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up?" His answer is no, our education system is not completely irreparable, it just has its issues. Like most everything else. Mr. Stumpenhorst writes that we need to stop complaining about the boxes we have been put in, and rather take a look at how restrictive the box really is. He believes that educators have more control in their classrooms, and the system than they want to admit. If the system is so broken, why does he have students who enter his classroom eager to learn? Children are growing up and doing amazing things with the education they have received. People tend to ignore the good and nitpick at every flaw. He writes that we need to focus on what is working in our education system. Educators should strive to make their classrooms the best they can be.

For this post, I introduced myself as a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. I found Josh Stumpenhorst's post to be a very interesting one. While I agree with everything he wrote, I also think that more can be done to improve our education system. Teachers can control how they teach in their classrooms, and how they can continue to improve their teaching methods. I commented that I look forward to becoming an educator because I want to make a difference in the lives of the children I will teach.

The second of Mr. Stumpenhorst's posts I commented on was called "Passion Projects." In this post Mr. Stumpenhorst shares an idea he has that will inspire his students with a different approach to learning. He calls this approach the Passion Projects. The whole idea of the Passion Projects is to inspire students to work on projects they are passionate about and want to learn more about. In his post is a long list of some of the ideas the students came up with. They include: writing, music, dinosaurs, cooking, marine biology, engineering, dance, building, and website design. Just to name a few. He gave few restrictions on the projects, only he did require the students to keep a journal to reflect on their learning experiences. The students would work on their projects one day (class period) out of the week. They could work individually or in groups. They had to fill out planning sheets that outlined what they would be learning about, what resources they needed, and lastly, the final product. Different working sections were set up based on topics, and there ended up being over 200! As students got more involved, they began helping out with other projects, and learning so much more in the process.

I thought Mr. Stumpenhorst's idea was genius. It is too bad students are not able to experience this type of learning all the time. When I left my comment on Mr. Stumpenhorst's post, I mentioned how I hope to include as many hands-on activities into my lesson plans as possible. I may have to follow state guidelines on what I teach, but I still have control on how I teach. Getting the students more involved in the learning process opens up so many doors and possibilities. Plus, if I can start something similar to Mr. Stumpenhorst's "Passion Projects" with my class, imagine what my students will learn!

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