Scholar Blog Post

One topic that I found interesting that was talked about in class was creating a positive learning environment. I think that this is a very important thing to learn as a future teachers as it will help me teach the students without having that many disruptions. From the educational foundations blocks and my O&P experience, I have learned that positive environments and classroom management for that they are crucial if learning is to happen and they keep the day to day operations moving smoothly.

One thing that the textbook talks about when it comes to creating a positive environment is the need for organization, and that unpredictable and spontaneous events or actions will cause a breakdown to the learning (Woolfolk, 2014). I agree with this because I saw these things happen while at Beloit. One example of this is if a kid asked to leave the room and my cooperating teacher said no, as this would cause the student to ask more questions and prompt other students to start talking as well. These events would stop the learning from happening and it would take several minutes for the students to get focused again.

In the classroom, there are different ways to create an environment that is positive for learning. I think that its crucial to start at the beginning of the school year and set up the rules and procedures that the students are expected to follow. This will allow them to get into a routine when they come into class and will keep the class moving. Also, setting up a system of punishment for the students who break the rules will help as well. These will cut down on the unpredictable which disrupts learning in the classroom. Another way to accomplish this, is setting up the class in a way that promotes learning and not disruptions. My cooperating teacher put a lot of thought into the seating chart because it there were certain students that worked well together and not so well together, so she arranged the students in a way that allowed them to learn by listening and by working together.

Positive learning environments extend to beyond the classroom and go to the school as well. The time in between classes, lunch and recess all need to be organized and set up in a way the promotes good behavior and positivity. One article that I found that goes along with this talks about how a good learning environment correlates to good academic achievement (Ali, 2016). The author looked at different aspects such as a caring and motivating atmosphere, school pride, and closeness to parents in the community, and found that student achievement is higher is schools that exhibit these qualities more than schools that didn’t. I never really thought about how the culture and climate of a school could impact the academics of the students but after reading through this article, I agree that schools should promote a positive culture for the students.

One example of promoting a positive school culture is having a system in place to promote good behavior among the students. “The schoolwide student management program contains four critical and overlapping components: (1) proactive measures, (2) a consistent response to misbehavior, (3) remedial practices, and (4) individual plans for students with severe behavioral problems.” (MacGregor, 1997). Something like this was used in Beloit as certain students had point sheets to use for monitoring their behavior. I think this is a useful tool to use in school as it helps struggling students see what they need to do to succeed which in turn will help out the rest of the school since their behavior might have been disrupting the classes.

One article that I found helps create a positive learning environment by using “clickers” during the class. The author found that using the clickers allowed the students to monitor their learning and compare themselves to others in real time. Also, the students could further the discussions of the topic and promote understanding (Vital, 2011). The use of clickers is primarily used in the university setting but are making their way to the high school level. I think these are like kahoots in the way that they offer real time answers to students to assess where they are at, and that they are a good way to promote engagement and positivity in the classroom.

In conclusion, creating a positive learning environment is important to do when I am a teacher in the future because not only will it help make things easier for me, but it will make the students feel comfortable and organized while at school. Creating this will be hard at first but with as time goes on, I will be able to create a good learning environment so that all my students have the opportunity to succeed.

Ali, Z., & Siddiqui, M. (2016). School Climate: Learning Environment as a Predictor of Students Academic Achievement. Journal of Research & Reflections in Education (JRRE). 10(1). 104-105.

MacGregor, R. R., Nelson, J. R., & Wesch, D. (1997). Creating positive learning environments: The school-wide. Professional School Counseling, 1(2), 33.

Woolfolk, A. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston. Pearson.

Vital, F. (2012). Creating a Positive Learning Environment with the Use of Clickers in a High School Chemistry Classroom. Journal of Chemical Education. 89(4). 470-473.

Final Reflection

Over the course of the semester, I have learned how to become a good educator and what it takes to get the most out of students. I think that the most essential factor, is the ability to build relationships with my students. I believe that students will be engaged and motivated to do their work and succeed if they have a good relationship with the teacher. I have noticed during O&P that some students who are always complaining about the teacher, don’t put in the work to get a good grade in the class. I also learned that classroom management is vital if things are going to get done in class. Determining how to handle disruptions, disobedient students, etc. is one skill that comes with experience in the classroom.

This course has helped me understand how to achieve the standard of teaching a variety of lessons. I think the backward design activity was a good opportunity for me to come up with a lesson plan that I might teach in the future. I liked how I had to plan the whole unit, from activities, daily work, projects, and assessments because being prepared as teacher is vital to success. That is just one way to plan a lesson and there are many others that might work better for some subjects and worse for others.

Lastly keeping my online identity going is a good way to stay connected to what is current and is a place for my future employer to look at in the hiring process. I think that this blog was a good way to reflect on the topic covered in class but also think about how I will apply it in the classroom. Also, this course helped me learn how to incorporate technology into the classroom and keep it as an asset rather than a distraction. Overall this class has been very beneficial in my pursuit on becoming a teacher.

Module 5 Post

I think that motivation and engagement is one of the hardest things a teacher must overcome if they want their students to achieve. The students have no choice but to be at school so it is important to get them engaged and motivated to succeed. Obviously, one of the biggest motivators teachers use is assigning a grade to something so the students will put forth effort if they want a good grade. Woolfolk talks about the many ways to motivate a student such as providing reinforcers for good work, making it appeal to their goals to fulfill, and making a learning community to have the students motivate each other (Woolfolk, 2014. p. 479-80).

It is also important to assess your students in order to keep track of where they are at. For history, I think that exit slips and check your understandings are great ways to see if the students are understanding the material and its quick enough where I as the teacher can make changes to the lesson. I personally liked backward design because it allows me to figure out what needs to happen during a unit like what goals and key things the students will need to know by the end. I think that it is also a good way to stay on track and have the ability to change on the fly.

An article in the Wisconsin Education Association Council talks about the importance of backward design. The author highlights that students live test to test and that they don’t understand or retain the material once they are on to the next unit. He also goes on to say that backward design allows for teachers to teach the students the big picture about a topic and it helps them dig deeper into a unit and hope that they retain the information (Buehl, 2000). I agree with this because I always lived test to test and forgetting the information that I just learned. I think that backwards design focuses on the big picture rather than just important words or facts.


Buehl, Doug. (October 2000). “Backward Design; Forward Thinking”. Wisconsin Education Association Council. Retrieved from

Woolfolk, A. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston. Pearson



Unit Title: Interwar Period: Boom to Bust                                                                  


Established Goals: How did the interwar period foster prosperity but lead to collapse? Explain what led to depression not just in the US but the entire world. How did life in America change during the time of prosperity as well as during depression


Understandings: Students will understand that…

•        What goes up must come down

•        During the 20s, American culture and economics changed

•       Credit and Stocks are big reason for bust




Essential Questions:

•        Why was the US booming after WW1?

•        How was middle class life affected?

•        What led to depression?

•        How was life affected during depression?

•        How did the US get out of depression?



Students will know:

•        Important figures during this time

•        Key facts about the time period

•        Key vocab words


Students will be able to:

•        Use vocab words in context

•        Interpret important figures’ motivations and actions

•        Express findings orally and in writing




Performance Tasks:

•       Do a credit and stock fame & afterwards have students write about experience

•       Project about life in 20s compared to 30s



Other Evidence:

•       Have exit slips to check understanding

•       Have a test at end of unit

•       Have students present on their projects

Key Criteria:

•        Will student be able to identify different causes and consequences?

•        Explain how key figures impacted this period with explicit facts and evidence





Summary of Learning Activities:


•       Start out with end of WW1 and ask students to think about and write down what they think will happen in the coming years

•       Use primary and secondary sources to dive deeper into people, events, etc.

•       Watch short videos at start of class to review topics from previous day

•       Have mini debates/discussions to allow students to voice their opinions

•       Use worksheets to get students working together and thinking critically about the topic

•        Do stock/credit simulations


For my lesson plan I wanted to get the students to understand why the events during the interwar period occurred more than key facts. I think the essential questions allows the students to think critically and ask questions related to the topic. As I said above, exit slips and CYUs are a great way to see if the students understand the material and I have if they aren’t, I have an action plan to change that. I believe that history should be an active journey rather than through lecturing so I have activities where the students will be able to express their opinions and learn from one another rather than just from me. Overall I like using the backward design method because I could see the whole unit through and make it clear what I want the students to understand by the end of the unit.

Module 4 Post

One cool aspect of being a teacher is all the different kinds of people that I will meet when doing my job. Whether that is the students or the other teachers, there will be a mix of many cultures and beliefs that go through the halls. With this, it is important to understand the differences and be able to not have those be a problem. As a teacher, I think that having the students learn about different cultures, it will bridge the gap between them and develop a strong student body. This can be used for more than just cultural differences as well. One cultural difference that I might face in my future is a student might not be able to speak English all that well, and it is important to understand that the student is not less smart than the English-speaking students but it may seem that way because they might not be engaged in the material. For this student to succeed in the class, I will work together with the ELL teacher so that they can get the material translated as needed and complete the work.

According to Woolfolk, one aspect to develop culturally competent schools and teaching is being able to foster resilience. That the student should have a support system in place so that they can overcome their differences and succeed in the classroom. Along with this, the student should develop relationships to bridge the gap and work alongside other students (Woolfolk, 2014). I agree with this, because peer relationships are a good way to get more engaged and feel good about oneself and especially if there are cultural differences that normally get in the way of building good relationships.

An article in the Huffington Post talks about being culturally competent and how it is more crucial than ever before. The author Randy Miller explains that “Cultural competency for all teachers means recognizing and understanding the norms and tendencies of their student populations which are dictated mostly by societal, ethnic and socioeconomic influences” (Miller, 2010). This statement should be given to all future teachers because I think that it is essential to know this. That students are will learn differently depending on their culture as well and their beliefs is vital to get them to succeed. Miller also highlighted that it is important to develop relationships with students to get them engaged in the work and I can’t agree more.

Miller, Randy. (November 2010). “The importance of Culturally Competent Teachers” Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Woolfolk, A.E. (2014). Education Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston. Pearson.

Module 3 Post

There is a lot of differences between the behaviorist learning perspective and cognitive learning perspective because they are essentially opposites. The cognitive perspective was a reaction to the behaviorist way of thinking. Behaviorist’s believe that the mind is blank slate and that we respond to outside stimuli to form a behavior. These behaviors are then reinforced in some way to make us continue to do them or stop them in the future. On the other hand, per Woolfolk, the cognitive view of learning is an “active mental process of acquiring, remembering, and using knowledge (pg. 312). This is the opposite of behaviorism because people don’t just respond to stimuli but must be active and participate in learning. These two perspectives have their upsides and downsides which are key to utilize when teaching. For starting something new at a young age, it may be important to use reinforcement and punishment to get a child to do something but that might not be good for a teenager.

I think that as a future teacher, I will utilize both perspectives in order to reach all my students so that they get the most out of the class. I will have to lecture so that the kids take in the new information to make it relevant to themselves, and as the lesson goes on, I might reward the students who do well on homework assignments and quizzes so that behavior continues. I think it is important to be versatile as a teacher because each class will be filled with different students that learn differently. However, on page 468, which hold the outlines of all the views of learning, I would have to say that I agree with the constructivist approach the most. I think that learning happens best when people are collaborating and bouncing ideas of each other. I think that all are important but I tend to lean on constructivism more often.

To further expand on the constructivist style in classrooms, in an article by Martin Brooks, he goes on to talk about what it looks like in action. He talks about how this asks the students to be accountable for their work and learning to do well, but also calls on the educator to be active participant in the student’s ability to learn by giving them the right guidance. I agree with this because as a teacher, I can only do so much. I will try to reach all the students and get them to succeed but it is ultimately up to them if they learn or not.


Brooks, M. (November 1999). Educational Leadership. “The constructivist classroom”. Retrieved from

Woolfolk, A. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Module 2 Post

During the course of module 2, we have discussed development in people from birth to adulthood. From the module, it is clear to say that there is more than one way to define development and that is very evident by the many different people we studied as well. Piaget, Vygotsky, Erikson, and Bronfenbrenner are people had different ideas and models to structure a person’s development. Alone they are nice but using all four to look at someone is a great way to determine what is development.

Piaget and Vygotsky focused on constructing knowledge with development. Their models deal more with younger kids and that knowledge is very important at that age in order for a kid to develop fully. Piaget had his stages of development; sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. At each stage it was important to develop object permanence, a sense of egocentrism, conservation, and abstract and moral reasoning respectively. The strengths of this model are that it is consistent, coherent, and comprehensive but its weaknesses are its underestimation of abilities, that simplicity is not always good and his methods that he used. Vygotsky’s model main idea was the zone of proximal development. According to Woolfolk this is “the phase at which a child can master a task if given appropriate help and support” (p. 67), however in order to learn, the task must not be too easy or too hard because the person will get bored or frustrated. The strengths of his findings are that the environment plays an important role on the child, and its sensitivity to diversity. Its weaknesses are that it is too vague in that he doesn’t have any measurements or styles to define an individual, and that it lacks prototypical tasks.

Erikson and Bronfenbrenner focus on social and moral development rather than cognitive like the two above. Erikson had his eight stages of psychosocial development that help for a person’s identity throughout their life. These stages usually involve an outside force, whether that is another person or people but it is up to the individual to determine how they will react. Bronfenbrenner’s model was the bioecological model of human development and according to Woolfolk is the theory describing the social and cultural contexts that shape development in people (p. 86). This takes into account an environment the best as it looks at how every aspect of a person’s life and how it will impact them from a micro to macro level. These models work well in looking at an individual develops in the social world around them which is good because if you combine Piaget and Vygotsky’s ideas on cognitive development, it will help you understand how development occurs and at what stage in life. These concepts are important to take into teaching in the future because I will be dealing with kids going through the stages of development and being affected by all types of outside forces. It will help gauge where a person is at and what might be the best way to teach them the material that needs to be covered.

Another important aspect in development is how an individual’s peers impact and shape their lives. An article from Arizona State University outlines this very topic. Sharon Keeler talks about how peers can help a person learn assertiveness, conflict management, respect and control aggression, and discussing feelings (Keeler 2006). All these things are very important skills that need to be learned at school age in order for that person to thrive in the adult world in the future. Peers may come and go through a kid’s life but the lessons that they learn from every interaction will help them develop into a better person.


Keeler, Sharon (January 3, 2006). Not just child’s play: Children’s peer relationships have enormous influence on their lives. Arizona State University. Accessed from

Woolfolk, A. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston. Pearson.

Module 1 Post

Over the course of module 1, I have learned more and more about educational research. The aspects that make up the research, how its organized, and how to get it peer reviewed and out into journals or books. The one thing that I took away from it is how much teachers and educators are involved in the research that gets done. From talking in class and reading the article from NCTE, teachers and researchers have to be connected and involved in every aspect in order to get the most accurate results. According to the NCTE, research allows “teachers to make sound decisions about educational activities and experiences that will best serve students” (2005).

Also important is being information literate and how it is very important in becoming a better teacher. Being able to interpret information from research will help giving helpful feedback when looking to teach better. If a future teacher like me wasn’t literate, then how would I be able to become a better educator and I wouldn’t be doing my job very good if I wasn’t trying to evolve and further my abilities as a teacher. One source that I found talked about in today’s digital and social media age, there is a lot of information out there and all of it might not be the most reliable or accurate and being information literate is becoming more and more necessary when determining what to believe or not (Gardner 2016).

Another big part of module 1 was the topic of homework in school and if it is really helpful and can it change for the better of students. My personal thoughts on homework is that is it essential in order for students to continue to learn the material. However, I also believe that it should be engaging and more of a review from that day so the students can see the material again but on their own so it might help them. I found 4 articles that talk further about the topic of homework in the classroom. First is an article from Teaching Exceptional Children. In this article, the author stalks about being independent when doing homework and asking for help when you need it in order to maximize the learning from the homework. Also how developing a plan for homework will help in getting it done and on time (Hampshire, 2014). The next article talks about the time management aspect to homework and how kids put other things first. Also that relearning the main points is key to getting the students to learn more (Sallee, 2008). The next article highlights the reasons that students don’t do their homework and what they look to get out of the assignments in general (Wilson 2010). The fourth article I found talks about how getting a peer to review the homework assignment can be key in learning the skills from the topic (Zare 2017). I personally agree with these articles because although homework is essential to a student’s success, they also have many things outside of school that may obstruct their ability to complete it in a timely manner. That is why I think that teachers must be able to compromise and change what the homework is like in order to get the students to learn all the material.


Gardner, L. (2016, November). Teaching information literacy now. School library journal. Retrieved on February 6, 2017 from

Hampshire, P.K. (2014). Homework plans: a tool for promoting independence. Teaching Exceptional Children, 46(6), 158-168.

Sallee, B. (2008, November). Doing our homework on homework: how does homework help? Retrieved January 31, 2017 from

Wilson, J. (2010). Student perspectives on homework. Education, 131(2), 351-358.

Zare, R. (2017). Implementation of peer-reviewed homework assignments. Journal of college science teaching. Vol 46. 40-46.

Introductory Blog Post

Hi, I’m Bryce Winnen and I am looking forward to becoming a teacher. I want to teach secondary education so middle or high school but I learning towards high school. I specifically want to teach history or social studies as it has been a passion of mine for quite some time. I only recently wanted to become a teacher because of a teacher I had in high school. He was my history teacher and he taught the class in a way that made me learn the material in a better way and made history even more fun than it already was. After going through his class, I realized what I wanted to do in the field of history because I wanted to impact future students and get them motivated to learn about history as much as he motivated and impacted me.

When I become a teacher, I want to be a great teacher just like he was, but what makes a good teacher? From class, we talked about what makes a good teacher and there were many great answers. Things like being respectful, knowing the content, patience, organization, communication, etc. If a teacher has most of these qualities, the students will get the most out of the class and be better prepared for the future because of it. The video from Dead Poets Society is also a great example of what teachers should want to be. Making the content interesting and getting everyone involved is part of becoming a great teacher and my favorite teacher did just that. According to Woolfolk, she talks about what it takes to be an expert teacher and one of the first things it highlights is the knowledge of the subject. “The academic subjects they teach- their content knowledge is deep and interconnected” (p. 562). My favorite teacher was very knowledgeable about history and from that he was able to give the content to the students in many different ways which I think is important in order to reach all the students.

In an article called “Five Top Reasons People Become Teachers- and why they Quit” by Sarah Marsh, a writer for The Guardian. The reason why I want to become a teacher is in the top five. According to Marsh “37% of trainees were inspired from former teachers themselves” (Marsh 2015). There are many reasons people want to become teachers and I think that each reason a person has will motivate them to build on their past school experiences and continue to make an impact on students in the future.

Marsh, S. (2015, January 27).  Five Top Reasons People Become Teachers- and why they Quit. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Woolfolk, A. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.