Cooperative Learning and Media Circles with Pam Goble
On the morning of Sunday, April 5, 2009 Pam Goble presented on building historical
background knowledge using film specifically looking at cooperative learning and media
circles. During the presentation Pam discussed the enhancement that media can provide
for a classroom specifically in regards to History and English instruction. Pam sited
that by presenting lessons that incorporated media, students would have a more extensive concept of the subject that the class was studying.
Pam simulated the experience that media can provide to a lesson by introducing the film
Kit Kittredge: an American Girl.
Pam organized the room into groups and then permitted
everyone to select a role in which to focus their attention on. The roles included
positions such as the connector, economist, etymologist, fashion critic, questioner,
recorder/ spokesperson, scene master, sociologist, technology specialist, and visualizer. Pam called for collaboration amongst individuals within their assigned group as well as with individuals who has selected similar roles. Pam played the film and afterwards and permitted conversations within the groups. Additionally Pam provided an opportunity for group members to evaluate the contributions of each of their team members.
(Movie Trailer of the Film)
As a literacy specialist student I was thrilled at the obvious connection between the
roles that Pam had created and the Reading strategies that are instructed on during
Readers? Workshop. Reading is an invisible process, however the strategies were
highlighted during this presentation. Reading strategies such as envisioning,
connecting, synthesizing, and interpreting were all interwoven into this lesson in.
Media provided a familiar yet engaging mode in which students could both acquire and
expand on their knowledge of a topic as well as their use of literary skills.
I should at this time confess that I had begun the Think Teach and Play conference with many reservations. I am completing my fourth year of teaching and I have spent the majority of my career in high poverty schools. I am embarrassed to admit that unfortunately I have become a little jaded over the years. In fact on the first day of the conference I was skeptical about how I could make the information presented work for me. I thought to myself, could I even use this? I have an extensive background of experience working in schools with good intentions, yet which are not the least bit progressive. What is the saying for every two steps forward you must take one step back? Well that has been my experience thus far in the inner city schools. As a student here at Teacher College I find it extremely frustrating that I am receiving valuable information on best practice yet at times feel that I have nowhere to practice this work.
Let me rewind for a moment and elaborate as to how I became this jilted educator. Once upon a time at a school called Miami University in Ohio, I resolved then that I wanted to teach in the inner city schools. My rational at the time, was that highly qualified teachers will forever go to the affluent schools, but so few talented educators wake up and say, “I’m going to devote my career to the South Bronx!” Upon a graduation I did not follow this trajectory when I graduated from college I did what I said I would never do …I taught in the suburbs!!! I was a sellout at least by my standards. Now let me stop myself by explaining that I in no way frown upon this type of community or position and I believe that many fine educators teach there. I just could not believe that as soon as I was asked live up to my word, I did the opposite. The following year I regained my vision and gave up my position at a highly ranked school in an upper middle class suburban community to work on the west side of Chicago. With the echo of warnings from friends and family I did in fact find that I loved it! I felt like I was accomplishing what I had set out to do; provide the best education I could to students who I had determined needed it most. Even though I would hear periodically gunshots outside of my classroom, I thought I had THE job. In that time I learned that literacy education has a huge impact on the success of a child and of the school as an institution. I resolved that year that I needed more education in regards to teaching literacy. Several months later I was accepted into Columbia’s Teachers College, which has brought me to the South Bronx.
As I continue to work towards my career goals, I have become very conscious of the backlash that I have experienced when trying to incorporate multiple literacies into my classroom. It is has been stated many times by the administration at my school that videos (yes multiple literacy has been simplified at the school to only include videos) are to be reserved until the end of the school year specifically the last week in June. I am only permitted to view them for the remaining thirty minutes of the school day and they must be approved. Being the teacher that is constantly pushing back and challenging old pedagogy instituted at the school, I started to retreat on this issue. Even my colleagues were advising me to back off of this particular battle since I had my hand in so many projects at the school. So I did. With the pressure of making two years of progress in one year with my students I rationalized that I would abandon this battle and help my students make up this educational gap, putting my own reservations on hold.
I decided that I would have to keep my teaching life private at Teachers College and resolved to politely smile and nod for the duration of the course. I have to admit that I was secretly planning on filing my notes away from the class until Pam presented. Since then, I was so inspired that I even scheduled an appointment to share with the administration at my school using the handouts from the presentation. I provided my principal information for the rational behind this practice, which I had researched on the Internet. I expanded on the activities that Pam had explained and found other educators that had created additional classroom resources. These resources can be found below.
As educators we must not ignore the value that technology can bring to our classroom… to our students. This conference has provided numerous ways that technology can be
placed within my students? fingertips. Pam Goble along with the other presenters
through out the conference have all argued the significance in incorporating media into
the classroom. The truth as Alan T. states is that in order, “to stay relevant in the
21st century, education institutions need to keep pace with the rapid changes introduced by the digital media.” I could not agree more with his call to action.
Viewing Ideas for the Classroom
Not everyone has an administration that is as responsive to new curriculum as we as educators would like. Listed below are some websites with research that supports this work.
Rational for Administration