This week's reading explored how students' prior knowledge affects their learning and ability to understand and retain new information.  The authors suggest prior to lessons, making an assessment of which skills the students possess using techniques such as pre-assessments, talking to colleagues who taught the students the previous year, brainstorming with the students, observing patterns of error, etc. These are good suggestions, probably something that most experienced teachers are aware of but may not always put into practice.

As an instrumental music instructor, I can say we have the opportunity to review prior knowledge and skills every day during warmups and skill review.  Most directors will incorporate rhythms, scales, or tone production exercises within the warmup.  The students are reviewing basics on a daily basis which is not always possible in an academic classroom.  In addition, instrumental music students usually have the same team of directors for a number of years, so they know what prior knowledge the students have been taught. 

In setting up my Weebly website shell for this class, I found it to be extremely easy.  I first used Weebly in another class and I have found it to be one of the easiest website platforms I have used.  There are also great tutorials if you need help, and the topics of each are nice, short, and easy to understand.  There is even a live chat/tutorial option.  

Weebly's web design tools are, indeed, easy enough for young students to use in a class.  I think it could be a very engaging way for them to create a web-based portfolio for their work while learning technology skills that will be valuable to them later.

The only negative I found with Weebly is that there doesn't seem to be an easy  option for changing the font color in the templates.  This would be a nice feature for teachers with visually impaired students.  I plan to experiment with the HTML coding to make minor adjustments to both the text color and the standard templates.

Matt G.
9/12/2012 05:52:49 am

I like the looks of your website, you chose the same template as me. :)

Your blog post states some great points and personal examples. As I read the chapter, I tried to determine what ideas I had consciously done before, what things I had done but didn't realize it, and what ideas were new to me. As a former administrator I saw many examples of the ideas in chapter one put into practice by some of my staff, however if I had read this book then, I would have used this information to help those who needed assistance with working with kids to improve their learning. I look forward to more insight and examples from you in the future.

Sally Heuss
9/21/2012 04:33:18 am

Great insight into the learning process; I now know the reasoning behind my teachers’ and professors’ pre-assessment assignments. Also, as you mentioned, I can now look back and realize why my piano teacher included our routine warm-ups at the beginning of each lesson. Very insightful : )

I’m glad to learn more about Weebly’s user friendly setup. I’ve used a similar program (Wix) to make a website but might have to look into switching to Weebly!


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