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From the MEd Classroom: Teacher Shows Students Love for Reading

By Mary Clanahan November 16, 2011

In order to motivate, stimulate and challenge students, a teacher must be able to respond to unanticipated sources of input and adjust classroom lessons to meet student needs at any point. One way teachers can encourage students to stay motivated and challenged is by providing them with choice and independence in classroom activities, projects and assignments.

MEd program eases anxiety

In week five of my Master of Education course, EDCI 544: Teaching Environmental Education, I found the Google Earth Project to be very exciting. It allowed me to extend the knowledge that I had learned in the online classroom at Concordia University-Portland and share it in another in a collaborative manner. It also allowed me the opportunity to get out of my classroom and comfort zone, and challenged me to be creative again.

This is my 25th year teaching, but lately I have felt very overwhelmed. As I entered this new school year, I was faced with a number of new changes and requirements to the classroom, but the past two weeks in my MEd program have eased that anxiety.

Members of my cohort have been extremely supportive and encouraging. I have approached the new administration of my building with many of the ideas from this great MEd class and was excited to be granted permission to experiment in my classroom. The field project I have conducted with my students is a prime example.

Field project in the classroom

I teach students who have attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and are emotionally disabled. I have found that my students are working harder in regular education classrooms and are avoiding behavioral issues in order to have the quality time with me during resource time to work on the field project.

Their more-than-surprised teachers have been asking what I bribed them with. The students who didn’t enjoy reading before now read near the pond. These students have sparked a change at the school and we now see many more students quietly reading by the water throughout the day.

It is absolutely critical that a teacher be a flexible person who is capable of making quality decisions in the classroom that affect student motivation and learning in a positive way, but above all, open to new ideas themselves.

Mary Clanahan is an online MEd student at Concordia University-Portland.

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