February 2014 Archives

Darin DuVander

By Lina Raffaelli on February 24, 2014 4:05 PM

Area of Emphasis: Educational Technology
Darin DuVander with his project

Darin is a strong advocate for the "Maker" and "Tinkering" culture. This mindset applied to teaching and learning invites creativity, experimentation and accidental discovery into the learning process.  Tinkering, when folded into the curriculum, has the potential to form a bridge between school subjects and their applications.

For his CTL master's cognate project, Darin created a large interactive kinetic sculpture that was showcased in the Commence: Sculpture Projects 2013 at Sonoma State. The mechanical workings of his sculpture were kept visible and explorable, so that through hands-on investigation a person could experience the physics involved in making the mechanical parts move. Darin video documented throughout the construction process to demonstrate the "Maker" and "Tinkering" culture in action and its viability as a learning/teaching method.

Darin is currently a stay-at-home dad and someday hopes to bring tinkering-maker mentality into local schools or his own classroom. http://darin-duvander.blogspot.com/

Lisa Brown

By Lina Raffaelli on February 24, 2014 11:07 AM

Area of Emphasis: Educational Technology
Lisa Brown at desk

Lisa is a teacher at Alexander Valley School in Healdsburg, where she teaches 2nd grade. Her interest in educational technology was sparked in a Media and Information Literacy class, EDCT 559. She became interested in integrating Digital Citizenship into her classroom and felt it was lacking in her school's curriculum.

Her cognate project took the form of a parent information night on digital citizenship for elementary age students. Digital citizenship is teaching students how to use technology appropriately, ethically and effectively at school and at home.

Lisa shared with parents what she's been doing with her 2nd grade students and shared a variety of online resources to help them join the conversation about how to best prepare our students to be digital citizens. http://lbrownedtech.wordpress.com/
http://avscomputerlab.wordpress.com/

Kristen Sorensen

By Lina Raffaelli on February 24, 2014 10:40 AM

Area of Emphasis: Educational Technology
Kristen Sorensen

For her thesis, Kristen sought to understand students' processes when creating a pathogen Public Service Announcement using iMovie, and to examine the benefits and challenges for students when integrating media production into an 8th grade science class.

Based on the study findings she argued that video production, in addition to teaching students how to use and understand the new media they are immersed in during their everyday lives, enhanced their understanding of science concepts and developed real-world science skills and practices. https://sites.google.com/a/scds.org/kristen-sorensen/

Making Learning Fun! Sonoma State teams up with Sonoma Valley Unified School District

By Gabrielle Cordero on February 20, 2014 4:53 PM

Back in December of 2013, I was given the wonderful opportunity to work with El Verano Elementary School in Sonoma, Ca. I collaborated on a project with MaryAnn Nickel, Professor in the Department of Literacy Studies and Elementary Education for the School of Education. After she was asked to help instruct Mr. Madison's third grade class one day a week, she started to implement what is known as Reader's Theater into the classroom--an approach that aligns well with the new Common Core Standards for English Language Arts.

Reader's Theater brings together theater, literature and reading in the classroom. MaryAnn presented new literature to the third graders in effort to spark their interest in theater and to help students further develop their reading skills. Her hope is that teachers can creatively weave good quality literature and theatrical activities into their classrooms which will help increase engagement in reading lessons and initiate learning through student inquiry.

Students lined up preparing for their presentation In Mr. Madison's classroom, the process began by placing students into five groups. All students were assigned one month to rehearse their material from the script, Traveling to Tondo, an African Tale from a book by Verna Aardema.

Week by week, all students rehearsed their material in the classroom. Dr. Nickel and the classroom student teacher, Katie Johnstone, encouraged students to continue rehearsing assigned sections of the script at home. After one month of rehearsal, the students would perform their play in front of a video camcorder.

That's where I came in.

The first time I visited El Verano School, I filmed the students' "dress rehearsals" as part of the preparation for their final presentation. The main purpose of the first recording was for students to become familiar with the video recording process. After their "dress rehearsal," students were able to watch their recordings and engage in a conversation with Dr. Nickel to critique their own performances, as well as the performance of the group overall. The first recording was an important tool for students to view their work and critique themselves.

The class was given an additional week to practice their material before their final recordings. For their final performance, each group performed in front of the class. To increase student involvement and interest, students were encouraged to take part in all aspects of the Reader's Theater. I encouraged students who were not participating in the current scene to maintain their involvement by becoming a part of the production process. For each new scene, I asked a different student to assist with monitoring the camera, recording audio, and with directing. 

I asked students to help set up the cameras in order for them to develop understandings of the film production process. Students learned how to work with tri-pods, cameras, microphones and lights. While some students were performing, I had volunteers helping as directors by calling action or assisting their peers during their work.

Working with Dr. Nickel and Mr. Madison's third grade class was not only an experience for the students but it was a learning experience for me. Students exuded much enthusiasm and eagerness to prepare for their performances. It was inspiring to see how captivated the students were during the whole process - I was impressed that the third grade class took their performances very seriously.

Those who were typically limited in their classroom participation were more eager to maintain involvement in the play. There was an increased sense of confidence in the students that had not been showcased until this performance.

The introduction of Reader's Theater is one effective and exciting way Sonoma State's School of Education and Sonoma Valley School District are working together to help in the transition to the new Common Core Standards in the classroom. It is a great method to increase student's theatrical interests, develop self confidence and ability to communicate effectively, and improve reading skills for all students--from the confident reader to the struggling reader.

Watch the students' performance! >>

School of Education lobby displays work to highlight alumni and local schools

By Lina Raffaelli on February 6, 2014 2:24 PM

If you've recently visited the School of Education office, you may have stopped to admire the large, eye-catching mandalas decorating the walls and student credenza. These intricate pencil-drawn creations are part of a new program that incorporates student schoolwork into the lobby decor.

The goal of the new program is to showcase the lessons that our recent graduates prepare while working in local public schools. The current installment is from Novato High School, where Single Subject Alumna Roxanna Lieva teaches art to freshman and sophomore students.

"The idea is to include the lesson plans alongside the work itself, for a more in depth understanding of the assignment" said Pamela Van Halsema. "We also want to recognize how our new teachers are excelling in local schools."

Roxana Leiva assists students during her Art & Design class

Roxana Leiva assists students on a project during her Art & Design class at Novato High

Hanging Mandalas

The student credenza displaying the lesson and mandalas from Roxana's classroom


"Additionally we visit the classrooms and observe our teachers in action, so that our display reflects not only the lesson but also the students," added Van Halsema. "We want to shift the focus back on the children we serve."

The School of Ed plans to incorporate four exhibits per year. Keep an eye out in late February for the next installation, featuring work from Rohnert Park's Monte Vista Elementary School, home to several Multiple Subject alumni teachers.