Friday, February 26, 2010

EDUC 6714 Reflection

This course has helped me to better understand the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Differentiated Instruction (DI). The group I worked with in this course provided valuable resources and information to help me better incorporate the ideals and the practical methods of both UDL and DI in my classroom. From the resources we have shared, I have found valuable tools to help me better assess the interests, learning styles, and readiness of my students. I would like to use student reflection and surveys more frequently to provide formative assessments and feedback on work we are doing in class. I want to be able to provide information to students in multiple ways and give them choices of ways to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities. I have realized the importance of allowing students freedom within the context of the classroom so they have an investment in their own learning. They need to take ownership of their own learning.

There are several things I would like to do right away to help incorporate DI and technology into my classroom. First of all, I want to become more familiar with podcasting so that I am able to save important information for students and they can review it as needed. Podcasting also allows students multiple ways to digest information, providing both visual and audio of the information. I also want to have students begin an online portfolio using Google so they can retain the writings and projects they create. This will allow them to see the progression in their work. Finally, for me professionally, I would like to continue to explore these ideas by following blogs and other resources to continually learn ways to help my students.

I am excited by the ideas presented in this class and hope to continue growing in order to benefit my students and help shape them into lifelong learners.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tithing by Douglas LeBlanc

When I picked up the book "Tithing" by Douglas LeBlanc, I expected to read another book that tried to convince me that it was my responsibility as a Christian to tithe 10% of my income to the church. I expected biblical support to demonstrate why tithing was a must-do for everyone who followed God. However, as I read this book, I experienced neither of these things.
Instead, this book told me stories. Each chapter was dedicated to individuals who believed in tithing, but that information was secondary. The narratives focused on the lives of the individuals involved and how they came to be the people they are. The stories reminded me that each of makes daily choices in our lives that affect others and we need to decide what type of influence we want to have. This book discusses tithing as an attitude toward life and our resources, rather than an obligation.
I enjoyed the stories and found the individuals inspiring, yet I was disappointed that the tithe did not seem to be the main theme of the book. Yes, each story talked about the role of tithing in each person's life, but that was not the focus. This book seemed to me to be more of a collection of short narratives of people living in faith and depending on God to direct their lives. And tithing is part of that to be sure, but due to the title of the book, I expected more emphasis on the practice of tithing itself.
Overall, the book reminds readers that our lives should be lived in response to God and what we do with our time, resources, money and talents reflects our beliefs about God and stewardship. The stories are inspirational and cause readers to examine their priorities and values in a consumer-driven society. However, if you are looking for a manual on tithing or an explanation of its history and current practices, you will need to look somewhere other than this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”