Literacy, Elementary, and Early Education Archives
Byon July 23, 2014 4:05 PM
By Guest Author: Indy Luis
As a student getting started on the Multiple Subject Credential (Elementary School) CORE track at Sonoma State, you get to spend two days getting hands on experience as a future teacher. Although, with 5 on campus courses at SSU your focus is more on learning the fundamentals for creating lesson plans, being familiar with the theories behind what you are seeing in the classroom, content knowledge, etc.
But when you transition to your semester as a full time student teacher the focus is more on your time inside the classroom 4 1/2 days a week. You truly get to feel what it feels like to get to school early, prepare your classroom, and then spend the day teaching children. You will spend time getting to know your students, learning your classroom management style, your philosophies on teaching, procedures that work best in primary and upper grades, etc. The learning that can be accomplished in one day is endless, especially if you take advantage of every opportunity.
Mondays during your full time student teaching are the days where lots of caffeine is needed. You are inside the classroom from 8 to 12, business as usual. By 12 you're on the road heading towards SSU where you will attend two courses. These courses are re doable, and they are full of useful information, but having full concentration for 6 hours can be challenging.
Not only is the hands on experience at your school site challenging, but it is also extremely beneficial, and is the most important piece of this program in my opinion. I thoroughly feel like my work in the field was the most important part of my journey to being a credentialed teacher.
The most stressful time of your full time student teaching will be the works prior, during, and after you create, teach, film, and reflect on your PACT lessons. PACT stands for Performance Assessment for Credentialed Teachers, and fulfills a requirement from the State of California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing. To earn a credential, there is a series of skills that you must be able to show. You must design some sort of literacy lesson, film it, and submit all your work to be evaluated by the university. It is something that most all student teachers are able to accomplish and do a fantastic job, and from what I understand all the student teachers in my class did well and passed.
Overall the process during your full time student teaching will be hard, and it will test your strength. Even though it was the hardest thing I went through in relation of my education, I feel like it showed me that I was made to do this. As I was stressing about my PACT lessons, and nervous beyond belief teaching them, I was also nervous about the outcome in my classroom. I wanted my students to learn the literacy skill I was teaching them SO bad. This realization showed me how much I truly was made for educating the members of our future generation. I know that my passion for teaching and learning clearly showed through my work as well, because the entire class was able to succeed in my lessons.
I also feel fortunate to have made this journey through Sonoma State's program with a dedicated staff who were extremely understanding throughout the entire year, as well as a wonderful group of individuals who were also in this journey. Not only do I recommend getting to know your professors, but I also recommend depending on your fellow student teachers at your site and at SSU to get you through this. We should be in this together as a group of future teachers, and helping each other should be part of the deal. It sure was hard at various times during the year as I battled through this program, but anytime I didn't think I could do it, I knew I would have people behind me telling me I could.
Overall I feel that I have learned to become the best teacher I can be in Sonoma State's Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program. I almost gave up multiple times, and it was an extremely difficult process, but I am proud to say I made it. One thing you must remember about this program is that you can and you will get through it, just like many amazing student teachers before you who were also meant to be educators.
Byon June 30, 2014 11:55 AM
By Guest Author: Jessica Hernandez
Being a credential student at times can be challenging, especially if you are a mother and a wife as well. Being a credential student requires discipline and commitment. But, knowing you're making a difference in the lives of children validates everything.
For part-time student teachers in the Multiple Subject Program like me, you usually have two days at the university taking classes and two days at your placement site. In one of those site days you have a seminar class. On the other days you have an option to spend time substitute teaching during the day and in the afternoon doing homework if you want more experience. The following is a snap shot of a typical Tuesday in my life this semester.
On Tuesday, up at 6:00 a.m get ready and everything ready for my twins for Day Care. At 7:30 I head to my school site. It's a 30 minute to and from the site in Santa Rosa to my home in Cloverdale. Arrive at 8:00, sign in at the office and drop my reflection sheet for the week for the site supervisor to read. Class starts, for the first half hour students come to my desk for help. Teacher opens the class each morning allowing students to work on things that they may need to catch up on. After my mentor teacher starts the class. The full-time student teacher and I (the part-time student teacher) sit and correct papers for the teacher. From time to time I will stop and take notes on what I observe. Later I take a group of students to the library for reading. After reading we go back to class. The full-timer student teacher is doing a lesson. I help, in whatever she wants me to help her. During recess, our mentor teacher has study hall and the full-timer and I take turns going to the restroom since students cannot be left unsupervised.
From 12:00 -1:30 p.m we have our site seminar, this seminar will be different depending of which school site you are in. For us it was on Tuesday and typically between this time. In seminar we learned about different things we wanted to learn about teaching. At the beginning of the semester we brainstormed ideas and decided on the topics. Some seminar days were exclusively about PACT (Performance Assessment for California Teachers) for the full-timers, one was about CWS-1 (Candidate Work Sample) for the part-timers. But, most of the time the seminars were in teachers' classrooms where different teachers talked to us about topics like; classroom management, back to school night, Common Core Standards, etc. Most of the time, it was during upper grades' lunch, so we had to eat our lunches during that time as well.
After seminar, we went back to class, assisted our mentor in whatever she wanted us to do. Sometimes it was correcting, copying, taking down projects from the wall and displaying new projects on the wall. Sometimes, I would leave the class to observe other peers doing a lesson in different classrooms.as a part-timer you're required to do four peer observations After we would have a debrief session where we talked about what we observed about the lessons. Then I would return to my class and walk around helping students and observing. Then we head to the gym for P.E. before school ended. I always participate in the lesson. I believe it's important for students to see you as the teacher willing to do what you want them to do. Plus, it's fun to move around and play with your students. Class is dismissed at 2:54 p.m.
We went back to the classroom to plan for the next day and next week. Sometimes we would have auto duty in that case we would be doing that for at least 40 minutes. After school is your opportunity to ask questions about anything you saw or anything you have questions about. During this time I would plan with my mentor on anything she wanted to let me teach for the next day or what I could teach next week. Sometimes we would leave this planning for the next day. Usually I would stay at the site until 3:30. Headed to the university for a class from 4-6:40. Then head back home.
When I got home I attended to my parental duties. Once my twins were in bed. I finished doing homework. Work on my lesson plan for the next day or for the following week. Usually this was a two hour deal on a good day. Then off to sleep I went.
Byon May 21, 2014 10:00 AM
Sonoma State School of Education is pleased to be a co-host of the 2014 ieSonoma event on Monday, June 9, 8:30am-12:30pm at Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa. The event is focused the changing demands of the 21st century and how our community, and its schools, must respond to meet those demands. Two keynote speakers will be featured, Dr. Sugata Mitra and Nirvan Mullick. A discussion on "Design Thinking in Education" will include a panel of experts, including Greg Bamford, Kristen Swanson, and others to be announced.
Dr. Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England. His 30 years of research spans a wide range of disciplines, but he has earned the greatest recognition for his creative experiment known as the Hole in the Wall, which showed that children can teach themselves and each other when they're motivated by curiosity and peer interest. This work inspired the book and award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. Dr. Mitra received the 2013 TED Prize and was named one of the Top 10 Thinkers of 2013 by CNN.
Nirvan Mullick is a filmmaker, creative consultant, speaker, and entrepreneur. His animated short films have screened in festivals worldwide. In 2001, he began an ongoing collaborative experiment called The 1 Second Film, which was one of the first crowd-funded films. In 2012, he directed Caine's Arcade, an 11-minute film that became a viral phenomenon, receiving over 8 million views and sparking a global movement of "cardboard creativity." Mullick subsequently founded the non-profit Imagination Foundation to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children. He has received the Dan Eldon Creative Activist Award and Innovation in Action award.
Registration is free for teachers and students using the promotional code innovate14 on the registration form, but tickets are limited. General admission is $40 for non-teachers. To register, see this registration page
ieSonoma is a partnership of educational institutions and the larger community dedicated to exploring the research, theory, and practice of transforming education for the 21st century. The partnership was initiated by SCOE in collaboration with founding partners Sonoma Country Day School and Sonoma State University and is aligned to the Cradle to Career Sonoma County goal of ensuring that every child succeeds academically
Byon April 2, 2014 9:11 AM
The MAKER Movement has taken hold in many schools around Northern California. Over the last several years interest in the grass roots MAKER Movement has grown. MAKER Fairs around the world have attracted hundreds of thousands of people. Now MAKER is beginning to spill into schools and be used by innovative teachers seeking to provide engaging, hands-on, authentic learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics.You can find out what MAKER is all about the 1st annual MAKER Day on April 12 at the Marin County Office of Education.See how the future is being imagined,invented, designed, programmed, and manufactured by Marin County students.Meet the MAKERS and have fun with the hands-on exhibits. Everyone is welcome--teachers, kids, families and more-- and it's free! HERE to register.
GO Green and ride your bike to MAKER Day on April 12. Valet bike parking courtesy of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition!
The Marin County Office of Education
and partners Autodesk,
Microsoft, Edutopia, Intel Clubhouse, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Lego
Play-Well, Buck Institute for Education, and Bay Area Science Festival are hosting MAKER Day on April 12, from 10:00-4:00 at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue, San Rafael. Experience the excitement,
creativity, genius and the "do it yourself" ingenuity of our students.
More info at http://make.marinschools.org.
The School of Education encourages both pre-service and in-service teachers to take advantage of this opportunity to see how schools are incorporating the MAKER mindset in their classrooms.
Byon February 20, 2014 4:53 PM
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. 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! >>
Byon January 31, 2014 3:31 PM
The award recognizes the important connection between faculty professional development (scholarly creative activities) and enriched learning environments for students.
Dr. Kathy Morris received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies - Teacher Education from University of Michigan. Since joining the Sonoma State University faculty, Dr. Morris has authored or co-authored five peer reviewed publications, completed two book chapters and six other publications. In addition, she's participated in 38 conference presentations since 2003 alone.
Dr. Morris has been a Carnegie Fellow on two different projects; The Goldman-Carnegie Quest project related to elementary school mathematics teaching and the MSRI Carnegie Elementary Math Project. For the past five years Dr. Morris has been a Principal Investigator and Co-Director on grants totaling three and a half million dollars. This includes a current $500,000 State grant related to the California Common Core project.
This work has led to her current book project on effective strategies for implementing Math lessons. Dr. Morris was instrumental in the design of the MA in Mathematics Education through the School of Education. Graduates of this program are teachers who go on to take leadership roles in the K-12 education system.
Dr. Debora Hammond received her Ph.D. in History of Science from University of California, Berkeley. She is an international expert in the history of systems thinking; she has given plenary talks six times for the annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. She has over 20 publications on topics which range from systems thinking, to food, education, ecology and sustainability.
Her book, The Science of Synthesis; Exploring the Social Implications of General Systems Theory was published in 2003. She has also been an invited speaker, workshop organizer or participant in over 28 conferences and events. Her two recent publications in 2013 are "Reflections of Recursion and the Evolution of Learning" and "Systems Theory".
Dr. Hammond works with graduate students in the Hutchins Action for a Viable Future MA program, and as Coordinator of the MS in Organization Development. Dr. Hammond has the honor to be selected as an invited participant to the 2014 International Federation for Systems Research Conversation which will be held in Linz, Austria. This biennial event gathers a team of researchers together to work collaboratively for a week on a shared theoretical paper.
The vision of Bernie and Estelle Goldstein is definitely reflected in this year's "Goldstein Awards for Excellence in Scholarship" winners. Each recipient will receive $1,500 to support their ongoing scholarship efforts. Debora Hammond and Kathy Morris will be formally recognized at the annual Exposition of Faculty Research event that will be held later this spring.
Byon January 10, 2014 1:40 PM
The fee structure is $280 per unit through Open University.
Courses are offered one night per week, usually at 4-6:40 or 7-9:40 pm, or on Saturdays, and may have a hybrid model wherein some classes meet face-to-face and other sessions are constructed online through Moodle (or some other platform).
The spring 2014 course offerings are listed on our web page at http://www.sonoma.edu/education/graduate/electives.html. Not all courses are appropriate for students exploring the program as some have pre-requisites. But many of the courses will be useful for any teaching career and will apply to your MA degree if you apply and are accepted later on.
The process to enroll through Open University can be found at the Extended Education web page at http://www.sonoma.edu/exed/misc/open-university.html
Generally, the steps to follow are:
1. Look over the course offerings and determine if you wish to take any of the courses listed.
2. Get the REGISTRATION form in the Extended Ed office and secure the instructor approval and department chair approval to enroll in the class.
3. Pay the fee of $280 per unit, or $840 for a 3 unit class, $1,680 for two classes. (Note, this is significantly less expensive than the normal SSU graduate program course fee structure.)
4. Start attending classes the week of January 13.
While engaged in the course or courses, seek advising, review the programs we offer and, if appropriate, apply to that program in the spring for consideration of fall enrollment.
Note, attending courses as a "continuing education student" does not automatically allow you entry to that program--you must still go through the normal application process later if you decide to move forward with the advanced degree. No more than two courses taken through Open University can be applied toward your MA degree. The instructor must approve your enrollment.
To see what MA concentrations we offer and connect with one of our faculty advisors, see our Graduate Studies webpages for more detailed information.
Byon January 8, 2014 2:08 PM
Where can you play PacMan with a carrot controller, walk on the moon, and play a digital piano using Play-Doh, all in one evening? One month ago, educators and students gathered together for the Teacher Technology Showcase, and were able to do all three in this year's interactive Maker's Space.
The annual event, now in its third year, is an open house for creative thinking about how to effectively use technology in teaching. Thirty six presenters shared and demonstrated their ideas for lesson plans, tutorials, and tools, all designed to improve learning and student engagement. The event gathered over 200 attendees, including SSU credential and master's degree students, SSU faculty, staff, and alumni, and Bay Area educators.
Posters around the room encouraged participation and dialogue with phrases like "Choose to be Creative," "Create classroom activities that don't yet exist in the world!" and "Ask me how this meets the needs of all learners." One of the graduate students who attended said, "I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with the presenters about the benefits for students."
Watch the video slideshow:
This year the School of Education welcomed the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) as a partner for the event. Presenters from SCOE provided many of the hands-on Maker Space activities, and helped spread the word out about the Showcase to local schools. Technology Showcase supporters Edutopia and KQED also sent representatives to present and share information about the resources and tools they offer for the classroom.
Presentations covered a broad range of topics, and were aimed at various teaching levels, including elementary, secondary, and special education. Presenters shared their utilization of various websites including Prezi, Wix, Twig World, and Moodle, as well as a handful of useful iPad apps used for behavioral change, teaching science, and verbalizing emotions. In an attendance survey many participants said they appreciated the relevance and practicality of the presentations, as well as the broad range of topics and grade levels included.
One of the goals of this event is to help educators see creative and practical uses for a variety of applications for the classroom, and encourage them to try out some of these new ideas with their own students. To help them put the ideas into practice, each of the presenters created an online version of their presentation which is available online on the School of Education website. One elementary school principal left saying, "I have homework!" commenting on how there were so many things to learn at the showcase.
Byon November 15, 2013 10:40 AM
Technology has infused education, and teachers have at their fingertips an overwhelming array of choices in software, mobile apps and web-based resources for teaching and instruction. This year's SSU Teacher Technology Showcase provides the opportunity for both new and experienced teachers to share what technologies they are using and demonstrate how they are using applications to more fully engage students and impact student learning. This year the School of Education has partnered with the Sonoma County Office of Education to make this event, now in its third year, bigger and better than ever, with 40 presentations and interactive displays. The event will take place on Thursday, December 5 from 5:00-7:00 p.m in the SSU Cooperage and is free and open to the public (parking on campus is $5.00 per car)
Dr. Carlos Ayala, Dean of Education, says that the Showcase represents two very important movements that will have a broad impact in the North Bay education sphere: "First, it represents the collaborative nature of education agencies, non-profits, community agencies, and businesses working together to accomplish change," said Ayala. "Second, it represents the latest in educational technology innovation." The School of Education is reaching out to strengthen partnerships in our region, share ideas and leverage resources to innovate and meet the needs of our public schools. This year KQED, Edutopia and Google will participate in the fair.
The showcase has continued to grow each year both in attendance and presentation numbers. "Last year, there were 150 people in attendance and 26 presentations from both pre and in-service educators," said Assistant Professor Jessica Parker, who is the annual event coordinator. "This year, we expect 250 local educators, administrators, and campus community members to attend to experience 40 presentations from our teacher candidates and alumni of our program that are working in local schools."
Thanks to this year's partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education, this year's fair will also incorporate a unique and interactive "Digital Sandbox" and experiential Maker Space. The Maker Space will offer attendees hands-on opportunities to hack a laptop with MaKey MaKey, use play dough to conduct electricity via Squishy Circuits, and create Blinky bugs. "This is all part of the School of Education's effort to promote the Maker philosophy and learning," said Parker. "Additionally, local educators will demonstrate how they have integrated Maker culture into their classrooms."
"The goal of the Showcase is to highlight how educators are creating better learning environments for students through the integration of technology," said Ann Steckel, SSU's new Director of Educational Design & Curricular Innovation. "The School of Education is always excited to bring educators and community members together to support local teachers, administrators, and faculty to discuss their work." Since coming to SSU this semester, Steckel has been working to bring faculty on SSU's campus together to strengthen pedagogy and support one another for more collaboration and innovation in the realm of teaching. Helping faculty develop and share ideas for effective use of Moodle and other online tools is one part of that work. Although the Showcase centers on Preschool through 12th grade instruction, the event can help university faculty think about the way they incorporate technology into their college level courses as well.
California Reading Association Institute brings prominent language and literacy experts to SSU campus, Nov. 1 & 2
Byon November 1, 2013 12:38 PM
The Professional Development Institute offers over 60 sessions, focusing on the Common Core, the new California English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELD) Framework, reading comprehension, writing, early literacy, the new ELD standards and techniques for teaching English learners which are issues and challenges our schools and districts are currently facing.
The conference features literacy leaders, educational experts, and award-winning children's authors. These sessions will provide the latest researched based strategies for teachers, librarians and administrators, who are transitioning to the new Common Core State Standards as well as a forum to discuss literacy issues, provoke innovative thinking and network with colleagues from around the state.
Dr. Karen Grady, Professor in the Sonoma State Reading and Language Program in the School of Education noted that while "teacher educators have been working on the ideas associated with Common Core for some time--this is a unique time of transition which provides the opportunity for educators to re-imagine what we have been working on all along."
Dr. MaryAnn Nickel, Sonoma State Professor of Reading and Language emphasized this transition must be grounded in literacy research. Educators must "meet the needs of all learners, and as we move to interpret Common Core standards into practical applications, we need to stay true to sound literacy theory as both our anchor and our path forward." The CRA, with this professional development conference provides this anchor, and offers educators a hub for collaboration and communication on literacy education.
Speakers include internationally respected researchers, including:
Many SSU professors and School of Education graduate students from the Master of Arts in Education program will also be presenting sessions, and some SSU students will be volunteering to help at the conference. Speakers include Dr. Charles Elster, Dr. Karen Grady, Dr. MaryAnn Nickel and graduate student Diane Dalenberg. Professional development credit units for the conference will be available through Sonoma State University's School of Extended Education for professional educators who attend. For more information about the conference schedule and about the California Reading Association, see californiareads.org.