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  1. Assignment 3: The “Check for Understanding” questions throughout the lecture are very helpful. They are helpful in summarizing the main points of each section and clarifying any misunderstanding. If I could change one thing about them, I would make it so you have to go back into the PowerPoint to find the right answer instead of being able to guess and check right away. This way, it forces the learner to go back and review the material on their own instead of being given the correct answer. However, I do like that you are able to have another chance if you miss it the first time.

  2. Assignment 2: I really enjoyed the PowerPoint lecture provided by Julia Thompson. She was easy to follow along and listen to. My favorite part of the lecture was when she talked about how teachers should take a proactive stance towards dealing with student learning differences and revolve their instruction around it. I agree when she states that too often teachers rush students through a unit because they are trying to cover curriculum and do not provide enough student practice. Students have more of a chance to succeed when instruction is differentiated to meet their individual needs.

  3. Assignment 1: Although I have been teaching for 8 years already, I really enjoyed “The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide” by Julia Thompson. While ready the designated section, it made me think about ways I could implement the material into my own classroom setting. Since I teach at an independent study charter, I was thinking of using different strategies on a more individual basis versus a whole-class setting. I am excited to use the sample worksheets throughout the book as well. It is always neat to get new material and ideas anytime, as we can always continue to grow with changing times.

  4. I thought the “checks for understanding” were really easy. I think a lot of it was common sense, although that may be a result of teaching for 20 years! I like the idea of allowing people unlimited tries because Julia Thompson advocates for students to be able to correct their papers for partial credit or write an explanation of their thinking process. Good modeling behaviors on Healthy Teaching’s part.

  5. I enjoyed the online presentation by Julia Thompson. One of my favorite sections was on incorporating appropriate competitive activities. I teach middle school math and find that students are often willing to do 50 math problems if there is a little friendly competition involved. She also gave some great ideas on competing against their own personal best, which I had never really thought about. I love the idea!

  6. While reading Julia Thompson’s “The First-Year Teacher’s Guide”, I was able to reflect on my current teaching practices and decide on what new strategies and ideas I would like to implement in the future. I think she has many fantastic ideas to share on a wide range of topics. I am especially interested in motivating my students and helping them understand the purpose and importance of their learning and assignments.

  7. Assignment #3
    During the video presentation, I listened and took notes. As I was listening to Julia Thompson share her strategies, I was thinking about how my students would respond to them. I was happily surprised to see how many strategies my students would absolutely love! I paused the video and decided to make a strategy book. As Julia stresses, all students have their own needs, interest, and abilities. My students display many different levels of each. These levels and knowing how to ‘do’ school often make it challenging. Taking these factors into consideration, I have listed many strategies that I am looking forward to implement in my classroom.

  8. Assignment #2: The video presentation was very clear and informative. I particularly appreciated how many strategies Julia Thompson shared. There were so many practical examples and I can’t wait to implement some of these in my classroom. Regarding the management of centers, the issue I have had has been how to keep all my students engaged in tasks. With the goal being self-regulation and accountability for learning, Thompson suggests that these skills have to be taught in order for the process to be effective. Obviously, being aware of curriculum expectations and student readiness are first key components of differentiation. However, I think the modeling and practice of ‘what it looks like’ to be working in centers is an integral part of the process.

  9. Assignment #1: The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide (Thompson, 2018),
    is focused on providing strategies to enable pedagogical knowledge, skills, and beliefs to ‘come alive’ in the classroom. It is written in a user-friendly manner from a teacher’s perspective. So far, I am finding the book very helpful and I am looking forward to using some of the fun strategies to cater to the needs, interests, and ability levels of the students in my classroom.

  10. Assignment 3: While I viewed the video presentation, I took notes constantly to study and review the information. I was worried about passing the quizzes, then realized that they provide unlimited tries. I liked this feature because I did not feel the pressure to score very well, I could focus more on learning the material. When I struggled with a question, I knew I needed to go back to the presentation and review the material more. This is definitely a teaching-learning moment. Why should I expect students to always get it right the first time!

  11. Assignment 2: The video presentation had a plethora of detailed information on differentiated instruction that I can easily implement in my classroom. I love how she shared over 100 different activities for all age groups. I have started my own ‘bank’ of activities that are key to my content area so I can be better prepared. Also, the ‘anchor activities’ discussion definitely hit home with me. In a differentiated classroom, it is absolutely necessary to have go to tasks ready and available for students. I realize that I implement many different kinds of these activities, I honestly did not even realize what they were!

    • I liked the anchor activities too, Annette. I didn’t know what they were either. Looking forward to using those my students too! 🙂

  12. Assignment 1: Thoughts on the book reading: I am excited to be introduced to Julia Thompson’s literature on teaching. She definitely seems to have found a way to share her educational experience in simple ways that are extremely effective. I know that I will be able to use this book going forward as a resource for planning, instruction and assessment. I am most interested in focusing on how to deliver engaging instruction based on my student’s interests.

  13. Reading the book, “The First-Year Teacher’s Guide,” has me thinking about how I want to change my lesson plans for next year to do a better job of meeting the needs of all my students. My first change is to always start with my state’s and district’s standard and then design my lessons around them. I also want to use a variety of activities in my instruction to help all students work towards mastery. I am excited about giving students choices and options to meet their individual learning styles.

  14. The check for understanding quizzes were a great reflection piece for me. I like how you had to get 100% correct before moving on. The quizzes were easy if you listened closely and took notes along the way. Knowing that I could take the quizzes over if I needed to made it less stressful and allowed me to work for mastery. This was a great reminder for me to let my students retake quizzes if needed and to allow them the opportunity to work towards mastery.

  15. I really enjoyed the online video presentation. The section that I found most useful was the one that shared and explained one hundred possible differentiation activities. I have saved these to my computer desktop to have readily available to me when I am planning my lessons. I need to improve my lessons by adding varied approaches to help my students master the material. I have also shared these activity ideas with my 5th grade PLC so that more students can benefit from differentiated instruction. As I prepare for next year, I am going to remember from the presentation to be both organized and flexible in my planning.

    • I also found the strategies really helpful. I took notes and now have paper copies. I think I will follow your lead and keep a copy on my laptop – ready to go! Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  16. My paper took me more like 10 hours to write, not just five. You’ll probably read it and wonder what took me so long? I will admit that I have not written a paper in a very long time! However, in writing the paper, I did review the course material. I was able to streamline my thoughts on how the course related to my classroom, and choose relevant material I wanted to use in my reading blocks. There is so many more ideas and activities that I can and will include that I did not put into my paper.

  17. I tried to post a blog about the quizzes, but it said the server was down? I’ll try again in case the blog didn’t go through.
    The quizzes were easy, if you watched the videos. The course presentation said you had to have 100% to move on, and that was easy to do. I got one question wrong on purpose, just to see what would happen. The course let you answer the question again. The quizzes in the course presentation make a valid point. Why not let students continue to take and retake a test until all of the material is learned and the standards for that lessons are met?

  18. The videos for the class were very helpful. I loved all the activity ideas she gave to implement in the classroom. While a lot of the activities pertain to older students, there are still many activities I am implementing in my kindergarten classroom. The start of the class came as we were revamping our reading groups across our grade, and her expertise helped me get organized and get started. I also found the definition of the learning styles helpful. I haven’t done a learning style inventory for a few years with my students, and it was definitely a reminder to not leave that out!

    • I also found the learning style inventory very helpful. Quite honestly, I haven’t thought to do this before. I think it is an effective tool to use to plan for all students needs. 🙂