Field notes appendix 2

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1. The Incorporation of ICTs into Task-Based Language Learning Appendix 4 -Filed notes19th October 2010 – VISIT TO AN ART INTEGRATED SCHOOLA small community schoolThe…
  • 1. The Incorporation of ICTs into Task-Based Language Learning Appendix 4 -Filed notes19th October 2010 – VISIT TO AN ART INTEGRATED SCHOOLA small community schoolThe school is called Baden Elementary Schooland is in a rural area mainly attended by childrenof farmers and people who have moved to thisarea looking for the peace and tranquility thatnature offers. Stacy, our PDS Coordinatorpicked us up at 8.00 and by 9.00 we werealready at the entrance of the school just whenthe school buses were starting to flood theparking area.At the main door we met the school principal, a very young woman who wasstanding greeting each of the kids who was came by name. It is a small schoolof 250 students which courses from pre-kindergarten (4 years old) through 6thGrade.Art makes a difference There are several features that i could state make the difference at Baden Elementary School. One of them and maybe the most important is that the school integrates ART: dance, music, visual arts and theater to the different curricular areas in a cross-curricularproposal, i.e. all the contents that the state curricula states as compulsory arereviewed from the point of view of art. Every 15 days the school receives thevisit of art teacher who works collaboratively sharing planning meetings with allteams of school teachers where exchange ideas on how to bring art into thesciences, mathematics, geography etc. As result, touring along the schoolhallways and rooms is like walking through an art gallery, where you can 1
  • 2. appreciate posters, sketches, collages, graphs created with different materialand techniques.Big gym ballsSpecial features if any? I tell you this: theolder kids sit on big gym rubber balls. Thedirector told us that students are keptswaying gently, without disturbing othersdownloading some energy but also helpsto focus on the task.Collaborative planningThe school also has collaborative planning proposal and were present in one ofin these meetings. Every Wednesday in the module free of teachers, teachersmeet to plan for different areas-Social Science, Natural Sciences, Mathematics,Language and Reading, to try to build projects that allow unified design lessfragmented, taking into account the recommendations and contributions thatmade the expert in arts education. In the staff room there are giant balls todecide to take advantage and do a little exercise while correcting and plansThe little onesI watched 4 kindergarten classes in the computer room, a delight! Once theteachers log into the sites, the children work directly from the web: and They were handed inheadphones which they keep in a zip lock bag labeled with their names andthey connected them on they own and proceeded playing, listening to stories,repeating the letters of the alphabet and some rhymes etc. They looked quiteconfident with the keyboard and mouse As the activities were not directed by 2
  • 3. teachers, the young students moved along the three or four activities as theywished and once they had their headphones on, I could see they submergedcompletely in their own world.18th October 2010 – FIRST VISIT TO BLAIR HIGH SCHOOLExpectations After getting to know about an EnglishLanguage and Arts teacher at Blair who mightbe using a blog with her students came to myears, I didn´t stop asking for connections so asto be able to meet her.Stacy is the PDS coordinator who drives theScience people in the group to Blair everyMonday and Wednesday, and she was theperson I contacted to make the necessaryarrangement.We arrived to school at 6,30, signed in as visitor and met the Englishdepartment coordinator who assigned me four visits to different groups fromwhich I could later choose one to stick to for the rest of the semester or continuewatching diverse classes as well.Ms Conley´s classI started with Ms Coney English class with 9th year. She has a small class of 15students siting in a semicircular arrangement some individually and some in pairs, but always facing the front of the classroom. The teacher starts her day greeting students after a week of absence and explains all the agenda to them. They start working individually on the edition of a paragraph she gives them in paper and after some minutes, she corrects in white board (Promethean). Students come to the front, in turns, and circle or underline the mistakes and corrects them. After thethird student has come to the board, the teacher continues with the correctionsherself until the end of the paragraph. In the second moment of the class students work with a printed word buildinggraphs, and work simultaneously in the interactive board completing a diagramwith: the meaning of the word, part of speech, synonyms, related words andfinally they build a sentence with the new words which had been taken from thestory they are reading: “Of Mice and Men”. 3
  • 4. In the third moment of the class, the teacher reminds students they had stoppedreading in chapter three so they’ll keep on watching the moving from that scene.In the same smart board they had been working, she projects the film, whichmost students follow silently and showing great interest. Once the scenesprojection finished, teacher announced that they had 20 minutes left to move tothe computer lab and make a journal entry on the topic she had posted in herblog.The forth and last moment of the class period was very interesting indeed; weall moved to the computer lab where students hurriedly sat in differentcomputers which a placed in groups of 6 in round tables, Ms Coney told them tolog in their blogs if they remembered their Google account, or to type in wordand print them if they didn´t. She later explained to me that they had onlyopened the goggle a month ago so some of the students’ don´t remember theirusernames or passwords.While students were typing their postings, she explained to me her objective inhaving students open their blogs, was to give them an opportunity to express ina more informal context their opinion or feelings towards the novel they werereading. She also assigned each student two other classmates’ blogs to followand made comments on them. I haven´t yet thought of incorporating blogs intomy classes with this use, but I find the idea extremely viable and interesting. Ms Conley has also created her own blog, where she posts the assignments, announcement to the class, questions to be answered later by students in their own blogs. In her blog she also has the links to all her 40students, so from there she can see how studentsare dealing with their postings.When the class was over students were already finishing the work, weexchanged emails with Ms Conley and she even talked about the idea ofstarting an online exchange project of some kind when I come back toArgentina.Ms Edwards ‘classI moved into Ms Edwards classroom, who showed great interest when Imentioned the Fulbright program and I promised to send her the information forthis year’s application. She told me she had been is Spain last year and thatshe had written a traveler´s blog in that occasion and she had though it would 4
  • 5. be a good idea to start training her students in the journal style, encouragingthem to write for the pleasure of doing it, fostering the enjoyment of expressingfeelings, discussing and commenting in writing.She seems to have a respectful but friendly relationship with students and jokesand share funny comments with them, as well. The atmosphere in theclassroom in not very similar to what I have seen during my previous schoolvisits, there is a welcoming, casual learning atmosphere around and studentsrespond likewise to teachers questions. She plays background music while herstudents are working and if they guess title, singer or nationality, they get aprice! As the topic of the reading they are doing is slave she has chosen, for herdifferent classes, music from countries related to the theme, today it wasNigerian music for example.The moment I had been waiting for eventually came and students started withtheir blog´s presentations. Ms Edwards has assigned three students who areshowing their blogs to the whole class and justifying, explaining or supportingthe arguments they had stated in their blogs entries. The three of them soundedvery confident and secure in their positions and had established deeprelationships between the storyline, the characters and the topic etc. I hope tocontinue learning from these two enthusiastic young teachers who havedecided to take a step forward and get on blogging adventure with theirstudents.Spirit of the schoolAs soon as I entered the school Icould feel the Blair High School hasa spirit. Students walk around thelibrary, the hallways and thecafeteria, talking gently, having funand talking to friends. They feel athome, you can see it in theirattitude and actions. There arearound 3,000 students in thisschool, which has the design of asmall village with a Boulevard,three main streets in each floor and several Drives or Roads leading across theclassrooms. The walls are painted in bright colors and everything is clean and ingood condition. As the school hasn´t got a dress code, like most schools, teenswearing what they want give the view a colorful touch. Very serious work isdone in a friendly atmosphere, and that combination is definitely one that fostersa good relationship between learning and enjoying. 5
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