Archive for January, 2013

IDNT Blog #2

Monday, January 28th, 2013


I am a social studies endorsement candidate so I love my content. I want my students to enjoy the content but I also realize that it is my job to teach them other things as well. In reviewing the readings this week as well as the article I saw a major emphasis on problem solving and creating, things that I do not always associate with my content area. But I also saw a emphasis on interdisciplinary learning which I think can be extremely valuable in a social studies classroom. Greg Toppo writes, “While kids may enjoy working together on projects, for instance, the amount of knowledge they get often ends up being shallow. Furthermore, he says, research shows that many teachers find it difficult to actually teach children to think creatively or collaborate. In the end, they rarely get better at the very skills that P21 advocates”(Toppo, 2009). So is the answer to teach content or 21st century skills? Here are my thoughts regarding the websites.

Points of View

Each website that we encountered this week had a slightly different view. The website on the 21st century pedagogy as well as the site on the Framework for the 21st century skills focused on a very kinesthetic, problem solving type of learning. Whereas the common core website really wanted to make sure all of the areas of the curriculum were covered. The 21st century skills hold to the point of view that students must be able to compete in the global market for jobs and that with practical and creating knowledge they will be able to do that. On the other hand the common core takes a much more classical view of education in realizing that interdisciplinary studies are necessary for students to see the whole picture. The 21st century does maintain that interdisciplinary studies are important but probably not as much so as the core curriculum site does.

My Subject Area: Social Studies

As a social studies content area teacher I had difficulties pointing out my subject area on a few of the websites, especially the one on the framework for 21st century learning. It would not be as difficult to insert it into the pedagogy for 21st century learning, but at the same time the 21st century learning tends to be more focused on problem solving, creating knowledge, etc. For Social Studies to hold its ground in the 21st century pedagogy social studies teachers must make social studies accessible to our students by giving them real world examples and parallels. It is not only important for us to teach history and government but to prepare and give our students the necessary tools to become well-informed citizens. Some of the areas of the 21st century pedagogy are media literacy, team skills, and interdisciplinary studies; it is in these categories that social studies classes can take a stand and help prepare students with these skills.

How can I teach my subject better?

The core curriculum website was probably the one that I was the most impressed with since I am partial to a very interdisciplinary method of teaching. I also liked their focus on content since as a social studies endorsement candidate I have so much content that I must get across. This website helped with making the content more accessible by relating it to other subjects. The 21st century pedagogy website challenged me to think of skills that my students will need to learn to be successful citizens. By coming up with a skill set and teaching it to my students that will create a schema by which they can learn my content and apply it to their lives. Finally, the 21st century framework website makes emphasis on the learning environment which challenges me as an educator to make sure that the environment in which my students are learning is not distracting but conducive to learning and problem solving.


In my opinion the core curriculum and the 21st century skills must go hand in hand, especially because I am a social studies teacher. I want to make sure that my students know content, but I also want to make sure they can apply that content and that they are not just learning it for rote memorization’s sake. Through effective use of current technologies students in my class will use project based learning and team skills to work through the content that will shape their views as citizens.

Toppo, G. (2009, March 05). What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st-century skills’?. . Retrieved from

EDCI 506 Module 1 Blog

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

In reviewing the various standards and certifications for teachers it has become apparent to me that it seems like there is an unlimited amount of resources for teacher professional development. I do not want my education to end when I walk across the stage to receive my Master’s degree. As a teacher, education must be ongoing; it must be a lifelong goal and aspiration. Learning must be something that as educators we instill a desire for in our students, but it needs to be something we desire for ourselves. To be a good teacher, we must first be a good student. Pursuing a variety of professional development courses will aid us in becoming better educators.

My first goal beyond getting a job would be to become eligible for the National board. I think that this would affirm me as a good teacher, but I also think that being a part of the National Board would provide networking and further educational opportunities. I do not want to just be an average teacher, and I think that becoming a member of the National Board would help me in accomplishing that goal.

I also would like to attend a variety of different workshops as are outlined on the National Social Studies website. One that is of great interest to me is the one offered through the Library of Congress on using Primary Sources. I actually had a friend who took this course last summer and had incredible reviews about the content and the methods by which the course were taught. This course would help me in using different documents and sources to make social studies more accessible for my students.

Finally something that I would like to accomplish during my first five to ten years of teaching is to start pursuing my Ed.D. or Ph.D. in Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. This would further help me become an excellent teacher in the area of Social Studies as well as key part of any social studies department. I do not want to settle for just being mediocre in the classroom, I want to be challenged as well as challenge my students. With the INTASC standards in mind I want to make sure I am not just doing the bare minimum but making sure that I am creating the best environment possible for my students to learn in.

IDNT 501 Blog #1

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Over the past two decades technology has made huge leaps forward and teachers have had to incorporate more and more into their classrooms. It is necessary for us as future educators to learn how to use these technology so that not only are we prepared but so that we can prepare our students to succeed. The matrix explains in great detail how to engage students at different levels of technology and breaks down not only different teaching pedagogies but how different technologies allow students to interact with the technology and each other. By using technology in the classroom students are given the tools necessary to complete assignments and are given a boost in furthering their education beyond one’s classroom.

Throughout my two practicums last semester I saw a variety of technologies in use in the classroom. The teachers wanted to make sure that their students were capable of using laptop computers and one of the teachers I was under used an ELMO often as well a smart board. With a huge emphasis on the Content Literacy Continuum teachers in Culpeper County have to use a variety of technologies to display the various CLC components.

The example of a technology that made me raise an eyebrow was the Animals at Riskpodcast. I think more so than the technology itself I was confused about the content of the podcast as being associated with a social studies classroom. I do think podcasts would be a good idea, but I also think that it could be difficult to record podcasts inside of a classroom due to the nature of recording devices, etc. As educators we cannot assume that our students have access to the technology they would need to perform this assignment at home so I think it would not be the most ideal use of technology in a social studies classroom.

The technology example that I was impressed with was the Dollars for Darfur example. I liked this example for a couple of reasons as a social studies endorsement candidate. One of the main reasons that I liked this example was that the teacher took the holocaust and gave a modern day example to her students. Therefore she was making social studies applicable. I think that oftentimes students get bored of history because they do not see the practical application of it, but this teacher made sure that her students had a tangible real world example to work with. As social studies educators we need to not only teach students history, government, and geography but we are training our students to be citizens and survive as adults. Being a good citizen and productive member of society was the main reason that I thought that this use of technology in the classroom was the most appealing.

EDCI 506 Blog #1-Orientation Blog

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

This was my first time viewing this keynote speech by Dalton Sherman. I really enjoyed viewing the video because I think it heightened my excitement for this semester as well reminded me of why I am studying what I am studying. This video clears away the layers of apathy that I think some teachers gain after being in the classroom for sometime and gets to the heart of why so many people are called to and pursue a career in teaching. I want to go into my future classroom believing that I can really make a difference, believing that my students will succeed, and believing that I can help them be successful. Teaching is not for the faint of heart and I think oftentimes teaching gets underrated or comments like “oh you’re a teacher,” when in reality teaching should be celebrated and teachers should remember that they play an extremely important role in the training up the next generation of leaders in every field. I look forward to equipping my students to go beyond the classroom and pursue their interests, to help them achieve what they want to achieve. I believe in my students!