Adam Rich

Internet Tools in the Classroom

Task 1: Blog Post - Topic: ELL
I started coaching my first year in college and I remember trying to teach
some JV offensive lineman how to run the “trap” play. I kept running the play over
and over again and they couldn’t seem to get it right. I went to my head coach told
him that I have been working on this play all week and they still don’t understand.
He asked me: “What have you done different to help them learn it?” I started
thinking and I couldn’t answer him, I knew right away he was right and I need find
various ways to help the students pick up the play. So after that day I gave every
student a copy of the play and we discussed it, I showed them a video of the varsity
team running the play, I had them run them talk me through the play against
stationary dummies, I had them walk through the play and then I had them go
through it live. Next thing I know they got it, and they start running it to perfection.
From that point on in my coaching and in teaching I have always incorporated
multiple ways for the players and students to pick up the plays or lesson.
“Training students to respond in emotionally and socially appropriate ways
actually affects concrete brain circuits, particularly those in the prefrontal cortex. In
addition, SEL reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which is
beneficial for the body and the brain. When there is a high level of cortisol in the
brain due to anxiety, working memory is disrupted. If students can learn effective,
calming responses to negative emotions, they improve cognition. “ (Smith &
Throne, Differentiating Instruction with Technology in the Middle School Classroom)
After reading this fact it was clear to me that differentiating an assignment is
essential to having an effective classroom. It is clear to see that by working with
students with varying abilities it is imperative to mix the lessons to accommodate
each of your students learning abilities. In doing so you not only understand each
student in your classroom better, but you are preparing your students for success
for they are able to use the modality that works best for them.
“When time is held constant and a single form of instruction or instructional
material is used, it is impossible to make claims that all students will achieve high
standards. The historical lessons of the achievement gap have already taught us
this. The use of technology tools and cognitive supports represent essential and
underutilized interventions for enhancing the academic performance of struggling
students.” (Failure is not an Option, David Edyburn) Each teacher is stuck with the
same time frame to be prepared for the state test and to prove we have taught our
subject sufficiently enough to show improvement. However if we keep trying the
same method over and over again we only reach a small percentage of our
students. But if you use various methods of technology and lesson plans to help
find the best learning modality for each of your students. I know for each of my

units in class I try to use differing lessons to help bring home the point. I normally
start off with the students using to have the students create note cards
of the new vocabulary terms. Then we will use PowerPoint to present my lectures
but I will also print off the lectures for those that need to have it in person so they
can focus on listening. Then I will use YouTube videos to help the student visualize
the topic at hand. We will normally have an in class discussion which leads to a
blog discussion for the students that don’t like to talk and they have to provide
articles to support their views and causes them to read support material to help sink
the topic in. Many times I will supply the article for my students who have
difficulties reading using NewsELA so I can lower and raise the Lexile levels. Finally I
will normally have a group assignment in which the groups are varied by test
achievement so the upper level students can assist the lower level students. I find
this allows the students to really grasp and understand the topic.
One great thing about teaching Social Studies is the content is conducive
to learning and sharing cultures. One way I try to allow the students to share their
culture is through Edmodo in which I use their blog feature. I have found that
students who normally are quiet in class, tend to open up and share their thoughts.
This allows students to share their points of view and can be great when discussing
the many political debates that social studies lends itself to. I find Current Events to
be another great way to learn and understand various cultures of the areas around
us. I like to use NewsELA in order to control Lexile levels of what my students are
reading but also to allow my students to read and understand the topic and learn
about new cultures in world. We will then discuss similarities we have in the U.S.
and how we can relate to the topic. “Much of the Social Studies curriculum is based
around the idea of learning about the world around us and the myriad ways that
people across the globe function and live differently but effectively. With technology
we, as social studies teachers, have a chance to allow our students to explore and
experience the world in a new virtual way.” (Technology in Social Studies, Boughan
& Kerwin) This quote is 100% correct as I you google earth to show the area we are
talking about and have students explain how the region might impact wars,
economy, or socially. You can also take virtual tours of buildings or museums which
allow the students to have a firsthand experience as if they were on a field trip.
Blog posting is an extremely affective way for students to share their ideas
and get instant feedback. This allows students the chance to feel comfortable
about what they are saying and share in a non-threatening environment. Once the
communication opens up students start to share information and start to discuss
similar topics with students from various parts of the world. They begin to notice
differing stand points on similar issues with rationales they never would have
dreamed of. They also find resources that support these topics from various
countries that they never would have found had they only been working in their
school. Blogging not only allows for students to learn various cultures and concepts
from abroad but they can also learn details about local issues as well. A great
project that I have fun in my government class is writing a letter to our senator. We
start off by sending invitations to our classroom blog and we have a preset topics
for the guests to reply to. Normally it is referring to issues that we have locally that

we can impact. From there we have discussions about what we can do to resolve
the issues and I have my students provide resources of pros and cons of our
solutions we are coming up with. Once we have the issue and the most effective
way to solve the problem we write a letter to our senator explaining to them the
problem and methods we have deducted to solve the problem. By doing so we
have been able to solve community problems, while learning the governmental
process and communication skills.
Technology can bridge many gaps that a traditional classroom had never
been able to. Technology can introduce new cultures, it can make you aware of
your environment locally and globally, and it can help devise ways for each student
to pick up the classroom subject. Through the use of technology you can even the
playing field of education and also build a community of family through the sharing
of culture and heritage. With the ability to vary the depth of the topic and vary the
rigor of the topic, I can now help students on various educational levels work
together to share and gain knowledge at a higher rate with the use of technology.
Grace E. Smith & Stephanie Throne. (2009). In Differentiating Instruction
with Technology in Middle School Classrooms. Retrieved 3/16/2015, from
David L. Edyburn. (2006). In Failure is Not an Option. Retrieved 3/16/2015,
Kim Boughan and Matthew Kerwin . (2006). In technology in social
studies. Retrieved 3/16/2015, from
Lyn Hilt. (2011). In The Case for Cultivating Cultural Awareness.
Retrieved 3/16/2015, from