Trades in the Classroom
Epiphany of Learning
During my time teaching Building Trades, I have struggled to incorporate technology into the classroom. I typically utilize hands-on activities to reinforce learning in the classroom. The pandemic and my master's courses have challenged me to re-think this. While I think that hands-on is still the best method for my students to learn, my eyes were opened to ways that technology can provide knowledge that students would not typically receive in my classroom in the past.
One way that I found technology to be beneficial in the classroom is by having students evaluate Youtube videos. Most of my students will most likely not pursue careers in the trades. If they choose to complete DIY home projects in the future, the easiest way for them to do this will be watching video tutorials. As part of my curriculum redesign, I incorporated a video evaluation activity so that students can practice looking over the details of the tutorial before actually using it to complete a project.
I feel this new project will add to the educational experience in my classroom. I have provided details for it in the post below.
Community Involvement in the Classroom
As an introverted person, I am not incredibly fond of having my classroom on display for outsiders to see. Even after 15 years of teaching, I dread observations and I'm incredibly uncomfortable on parent open house nights. Because of this, I was reluctant to take on the task of building a tiny shop to be used by small businesses start-ups in our community. I feared judgment if my students and I made mistakes. I worried that the students would not behave themselves and struggled to wrap my head around the amount of work and preparation that would be involved.
3 weeks ago, my classes completed their project. I can now say after a lot of work and stress, this project was WORTH IT! My students cannot stop talking about it! The project gave them real world experience, and a chance to receive recognition for all of their hard work. While we certainly made some small mistakes along the way, the community has been so positive!
I am very lucky to work in a district that supports and encourages these type of projects. To the left you can see some examples from our "Rock the Runway" show that our art and fashion class puts on yearly, my class in constructing Boardwalk shops, and our AP Environmental class working with elementary school kids to clean the school grounds. Each of these projects has a large amount of community involvement.
When school eventually goes back to normal, I think these type of projects will become incredibly important. Not only do they provide students with a unique experience, they also provide the community with a window to see what occurs in our classroom. Many communities have become frustrated with schools during the pandemic. Unfairly, this is often directed toward teachers. Community involvement is a great way to earn back the support of our parents and communities.
Social Media in the Classroom
I am not a person that uses social media to make personal posts very often. I have however, found it useful for promoting accomplishments of both my students and athletes. Social media has become a great way to keep families connected w/ what students are accomplishing inside and outside of the classroom.
During the past year, social media has become more valuable than ever. During the lockdown I was able to use social media to help keep kids engaged. We were able to create scavenger hunts on Instagram and Twitter, TikTok challenges and other activities using social media. Social media was also critical for keeping parents up to speed during athletic events in the fall. We were able to twitter to live stream and to keep parents informed.
While social media can be an awesome tool, I think it can often be something that becomes a burden if we are constantly trying to create new content or find new content to keep our kids engaged. One thing that is becoming more common in many districts is hiring a social media director. This is something that I have come to utilize for my classes. When we have a big even in class we will invite the social media director into our classroom. They will write up articles and take pictures of the students in action. They will post the article using district social media accounts. This not only increases the size of our audience online, it also allows for an easy retweet or post for my classroom social media accounts. I have embedded my building trades Twitter account to this site. On it you can find some examples of articles and posts written about our class projects.
If you have not been using social media in your classroom, I encourage you to try it. If you have been using it, please comment on the google form at the bottom of the page and share how you have been able to utilize it in the classroom.
Paradigm of Learning
Paradigm of Learning
I think that the process that the learning process has numerous similarities to building a house. Below I discuss in detail how some of the parts of a house are representative of different stages in the learning process. In both building a house and in learning, if one of these components is skipped or is not thoroughly addressed it can lead to problems as you move through the process. Appropriately, I think that this view of learning falls under the Constructivism model. I feel that students learn best when building knowledge through experiences and hands on activities.