Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chapter 11 Elementary Education - Databases and Spreadsheets

As someone who is not an Elementary Education major, it was interesting to read this chapter in their book. (I do not have a correlating chapter in the English book) I found it interesting how the authors focused on the necessity of elementary students being introduced to databases and spreadsheets, even though they have long been thought of as too difficult. Most schools do not have the trained librarians that they once had to help teach the students how to use these resources, so the responsibility now relies with the teacher.

In addition to learning how to use databases and spreadsheets, it is also important for the students to be able to learn how to track, graph, and interpret their own information. The more that the new types of resources are practiced and used, the more comfortable the students will be with them once they reach a higher grade level. I never thought that there were so many ways for an elementary classroom to use these resources, but looking back to my own education I now remember using graphs on the computer and Microsoft Excel to help our classes with different information for science, especially. Having learned those skills at an early age certainly benefitted my understanding of the information we were learning about. The authors emphasize the importance of learning a wide range of information using databases and spreadsheets at the elementary level, and I couldn't agree more with them. I just wonder how I would be able to incorporate these resources into my classroom as a future high school English teacher.

Chapter 12 - Spreadsheets

Teaching students the definitions of mean, median and mode is important, and students should learn how to calculate each of these as well. Mrs. Remille, in Chapter 12, took the lesson on statistics and data calculations to a new level. Giving the students a hands on experience with seeing how statistics work, how a minor or major change can affect the outcome, and learning what the results signify was a great way to assure the students to understood statistics. Teaching formulas on how to find mean, median and mode is one thing, but giving the students the opportunity to analyze the data and sincerely understand statistics is a superb way for a teacher to allow the students to become familiar with the information.

Stastistics are used in everything, not only math. For a student to receive a good foundation of statistics at an early age can only help him or her. He or she can later calculate grades, understand what a newscaster is talking about when rattling off stastistics, and use stastics in a future career. Mrs. Remille went about teaching the students in a creative way, asking questions that only made them more eager to seek the answer. I find the biggest challenge at hand is just that: being creative and coming up with exciting ways to express ideas and teach the foundations of math that can be used every day.