Saturday, November 3, 2012
Blog Post #10
John T. Spencer's Cartoon
The first thing I thought of when I saw this cartoon by John T. Spencer, was Macs versus PC's. I think this cartoon is comparing a Papermate pen to a PC and a Ticonderoga pen to a Mac. PC's, like Papermate pens, are the cheaper option when it comes to buying a computer. However, often times people end up having many problems with PC's such as viruses. Macs are obviously an expensive option when buying computers, but many people, including myself, think they are worth it. Macs tend to get less viruses and have less problems in general. Basically, I think this cartoon is saying that you get what you pay for.
Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?
In this post, Mr. Spencer wrote a dialog between himself and the principal at his school. In this dialog they are discussing the teaching methods of Mr. Spencer. He has been using a game to teach and the principal does not approve of it. He says that students should be taught through rote memorization skills. He says that using a game to teach is a stretch. They argue back and forth for a while about this until the end when Mr. Spencer states his solution for the problem. He says, "I'll create an algorithm factory and integrate it into our Conflict-Oriented Reading and Writing Project (a.k.a. The Factory Game)."
In this post I think Mr. Spencer is saying that there are ways to get around strict standards. Teachers can adapt standards into engaging lessons that do not only involve rote memorization. Basically, according to the principal, as long as students can pass their rote memorization tests, they are learning, and the teacher is doing his job. This is not enough for Mr. Spencer though. He wants his students to not only memorize facts, but really be engaged and learn the material. I hope to promote this philosophy in my classroom as well.
The second post I read, Show and Tell, Mr. Spencer talks about how show and tell can be an effective learning strategy for students of all ages. He tells about how he created an assignment for his older students involving show and tell for an item that has special meaning to them. None of the students wanted to present first, so he began with his own item, a rock from the western frontier, and tells his story about the significance of the rock to his life. The lesson ignites from there, and many of the students present their own items and stories. After seeing all of them, Mr. Spencer wonders why more lessons in school can't be this personal for students. Through show and tell the students related their knowledge about the world to an item, and that takes critical thinking skills.
I think show and tell for older students is a great idea. As I mentioned earlier, it promotes critical thinking skills about what they are learning. You could take a history lesson and tell the students to bring in an item that relates the period of time to something in their own lives. To me, this sounds like a lot more fun and engaging than just memorizing dates and other facts. In fact, in my public speaking class we had to do an assignment similar to the one Mr. Spencer describes. We had to bring in an object and give a short speech about how the object relates to us and describes us. It was one of my favorite assignments in that class, and I really learned a lot about my classmates.
Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff Please
In this post, Scott McLeod wrote a sarcastic poem about children's use of the internet. He sarcastically tells parents, teachers, administrators, and board members to not let kids anywhere near the internet. They will end going down the wrong path such as viewing pornography and cyberbullying. Since there are so many evil things out there, children need to be banned from using the internet at all costs. Although he says he will allow his own children to use the internet, and take his chances on how they turn out.
I found this poem really humorous to read and all too true. Children need to experience what the internet has to offer. There are so many powerful learning tools available on it. Yes, there are also negative parts of the internet, but that fact of the matter is that kids are going to experience the internet at some point no matter what. Don't we want our students to know how to use it properly to find relevant information and make connections? In my opinion, the internet is all too powerful of a tool to brush aside because of a fear of the negative sides of it. The truth is there is potential for inappropriate content no matter what the chosen material for a lesson is. Bullying happens outside of technology just as easily as online. So are we going to ban children from all social interactions in school period? No recess, silent lunches, no group activities, the whole nine yards? As you can see, it is impossible to shield students from all negative happenings. We need to expose them to the internet and teach them what is good about it and bad.