Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Project #16 Group Las Vegas ibook

Picture of "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign
This is group Las Vegas!
Our group members are Nancee Dehoff, Kelsey Bramlett, Angela Garrone and Kevin Reese. For our ibook theme we chose roller coasters because they represent the many ups, downs, twist and turns  throughout our EDM310 experience. In our ibook we have put together a collection of our favorite blog posts, "Our Sentence" videos, "Our Passion" videos, quick thoughts on various subjects that involve self-reflection, use of technology in schools, tech literacy and use of technology in the classroom. All of these along with a few of our projects that we created throughout the semester are included in our ibook. We hope that all who see our ibook will enjoy their visit through the pages of our time in EDM310!

picture of roller coaster

Sunday, April 27, 2014

C4T #4 Post #1 and #2

Picture of teacher Kathleen Morris

Post #1

The 2014 New School Year

For this month's post, my teacher is Kathleen Morris and her blog is called Primary Tech.  Mrs. Morris's latest post was dated January 25, 2014 and was written when she was out on maternity leave. Although she has been out on leave, she shares that she has been able to stay in touch by reading blogs, using twitter and other online sources. Kathleen has been teaching for ten years up to this point and has some useful information on her blog such as "starting a class blog in five steps10 tips on how to introduce blogging into your classroom and wondering how to involve parents? Check out A Guide to Involving Parents in Your Class Blog. This post includes the permission notes and guides I have sent home to parents". 
I commented to Kathleen that her blog post was short but full of useful information for current teachers and for future educators as well. I will definitely be adding Kathleen blog to my list of favorites as well as add her to my list of PLNs! If you would like to take a look at Kathleen Morris's blog then click here

Post #2

For this post, 

Blogging and the Literacy Curriculum

Kathleen Morris address blogging in the classroom and how it relates to literacy in the 21st century. Mrs. Morris writes about how she began using blogs in her classroom six years ago. When she began, she tried to squeeze it into small blocks of time in between other subjects, however, she soon realized that this was not the best way to "unleash the full benefits of blogging." Mrs. Morris has since learned that blogging can be so much more when used in the proper way and given the proper time that it deserves. She has since developed her students' blog into a tool used for literacy. She states that, "To realise the many educational benefits of blogging and ensure your program has an extended life-span, blogging needs to be prioritised and planned for. It should to be integrated into the curriculum; busy classrooms rarely have time for 'add ons'."  She also now spends between 10 to 20 minutes of her reading block on blogging. "Blogging is an authentic way to teach both traditional reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as multi-modal 21st century skills", she writes and she has proven her belief in this by making blogging a priority in her own classroom. 
I commented that I loved how she integrated her class blog with her reading block and that I think it is great way to teach a 21st century tool in a way that is interesting and relevant to her students!

Monday, April 21, 2014

C4K #3

Post #1

Picture of QuziyahMeet Quziyah! She is a year 8 student at Pt England school in NZ. For Quziyah's post, she did a bibliography about Rosa Parks. Quziyah was thorough with her post and even included a cute music video about the life of Rosa Parks for us to watch.
I commented that I really liked her post and that it is sad to think that people disrespected each other just because of the color or their skin and that civil rights has come a long way since those days. Below, I have included the link to the video that is on Quziyah's blog post for you to watch as well!
Check out video here!

Post #2

#Maihsh Tamaki College Crowns up 
From Elizabeth
For this week, I commented on Elizabeth's blog. Elizabeth is a student at Pt England School in Auckland, N.Z. In her post, Elizabeth writes that Tamaki College won! Elizabeth is obviously a huge Tamaki College fan and so is her family. From what I can tell from the post and a little bit on twitter and google, it looks like Tamaki College won some kind of radio contest. 
I commented that I could tell by reading her post that she was a very big Tamaki College fan and for that reason I am glad that they won! 

Post #3

picture of Anna
Meet Anna! Anna is a year 4 student at Pt England School in Auckland, N.Z. and her teacher's name is Miss. Nalder. Anna blog was entitled "Marvelous Math" which was a  series of math problems that she work out on her blog. When scrolling down her blog, I could see that she worked a lot of her school work on her blog. I really liked that her school work is accessible online for her family to be able to view anytime. This is another way for parents or caregivers to stay connected with what their students are doing at school.

I commented to Anna that I liked the idea of her doing some of her work online and that I would like to have my future students do that some day. Anna also had a guide posted to her blog that served as a reminder of what private information was versus personal information, complete with examples of each. I really like the idea of having a guide like that posted and accessible to the student every time they log online. I posted a picture below for you to view as well.

Personal and Private information guide

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Post 13 "What Did I Leave Out"

Elementary Education

Describe a challenge you might encounter in regard to PBL and, or using technology in the classroom and how you would address this challenge.

Picture of three adults around computer in classroomThroughout this semester in EDM310, our focus has been on using technology in the classroom and on PBL. I have been convinced more and more throughout this process that PBL is a very effective way to learn, and teaching children how to use technology properly in their pursuit of knowledge and information is not only the wave of the future, but is in large part, what is taking place in our world today. However, although the goal is to actually see more technology being used in productive ways in the classroom, the educational system is still in the developing stage in a lot of systems. Lack of funds means lack of technological tools. So, the question for us as future teachers is how do we help guide our classroom in PBL while at times not having sufficient tools for this style of teaching? The question is not really whether there will be challenges concerning having proper tools, but what will our challenges be? No matter the question, we need to be prepared as educators to be able to be flexible and creative in order to meet those challenges and move forward in spite of them.
Maybe there are not enough working computers in the classroom for small groups to each have one for their projects. Is there a computer lab available and can the class schedule be worked out to be able to utilize it to the extent needed for the projects? These are variables and unknowns that will have to be addressed at different levels and times throughout each of our teaching careers. So how do we address this kind of challenge? Always be well prepared and have a backup plan, be flexible and remember that these are all learning situations. Take away something useful in each of these situations and use the experience to build on and make us better. It is important not to allow these challenges to keep us from going forward but to allow every experience, both good and bad, to make us better!
Picture of teacher helping student on computer

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Post #12

What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher? Select a few and 
discuss how they may be useful to you.

To answer this question, I decided to write about some of the assistive technologies that we use in our local schools. The first of these technologies that I would like to address is called Redcat
Picture of woman wearing Redcat voice magnifier Redcat is an audio system that enables a child that is hearing impaired to be able to hear the teacher clearly no matter where they are located in the classroom. Redcat is a "all in one" completely contained system that is easily relocated to different classrooms depending on where the need for it is. How it works is, the teacher wears a device around her, (or his) neck and that device serves like a microphone that in turn projects the teacher's voice through speakers located throughout the classroom. This keeps the teacher from having the yell and the student from having to strain to hear what is being said.

MAGic® Screen Magnification Software with Speech is the brand name of a software program that is currently being used at our schools. Like the name says, this is a screen magnification software for the visually impaired. This software loads on any typical computer and allows the visually impaired student to adjust the strength of magnification to the level they need it to be in order to read what is being displayed on the computer's screen. In addition to this, another option that is available on this software is one that will also read the text that is on the computer screen audibly  if the student so chooses. These are all features that would be useful in the classroom to help aid a child that is visually impaired be able to participate in the same learning activities as the rest of the class.
Picture of SARA CE Scanning and reading device

A third and final device that I will cover is called the SARA CE - Scanning and Reading Appliance. This is a device that a visually impaired student uses to magnify worksheets in the classroom, onto their computer monitor. Once the student gets the worksheet from the teacher, they can just lay the paper on the reading appliance and it magnifies and projects the worksheet onto the computer monitor for the student to be able to read. This device is also able to scan and read the text in sixteen different languages. 
These are all devices that are available to teachers to help aid in the classroom and are currently being used in our classrooms here in my hometown. With devices like these, a student who would normally be unable to function in a traditional classroom, is now able to participate in the same type of learning environment as their peers. These type of assistive technologies work like a key to unlock the doors that would otherwise shut out children with visual or hearing impairments.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

C4T #3 post 1 and 2

Picture of Steven Anderson standing in front of "Learn. Teach. Lead" sign

Post #1

Steven Anderson is the name of my teacher for this weeks C4T. Mr. Anderson is the Director of Instructions Technology for the Winston/Salem Forsyth schools in Winston Salem NC. For this blog post, Mr. Anderson wrote about a recent conference that he attended in Los Angeles. For this conference, Mr Anderson talks about the method of delivery for the different sessions that he attended. He says that some of the sessions that they offered were still in lecture format while others were done in groups with hands-on activities. He goes on to make the comparison of these style of sessions with how some teach in the classroom by saying, "It’s no wonder we need a major redesign in the way we do school. Many educators are still comfortable with the idea they would rather be talked at than talked with. If they like the lecture style, surely kids do too." This is the same discussion that we have been having in our Edm310 class all semester. Making things more hands-on and interactive for the students. I commented that I agreed with his assessment about getting more interactive with the way we teach and that this was our goal as future educators, to change the way things are done by getting away from the lecture format and moving toward project based learning. Mr. Anderson seems very interesting and eager to use an effective teaching style even if it means doing things differently....sounds a little like our Edm310 instructor.

Post #2

Picture of Steven Anderson thinkingThe title of this weeks blog post from Steven Anderson is, "Things That Have Me Thinking". For this post, Steven list three different things that have him thinking and he goes on to explain what he thinks about each of them. The first thing that has him thinking is a book named "It's Complicated" by Danah Boyd. For this book, Boyd does some investigative research into teens social world online and to see "what really matters to them when it comes to living in this digital world" (Anderson). Anderson highly recommends this book to anyone who works with either teens or preteens. Next, Anderson addresses a conference called Edcamp USDOE which is an "independently organized day of professional development for teachers" (Anderson). Having been both a participant and a organizer of this event, Anderson really believes in what they are doing at Edcamp USDOE. At an upcoming Edcamp event, organizers will bring together teachers and policy makers to have "conversations about the direction we are going as a nation around education".
Finally, Anderson talks about "blogging as publishing". Anyone has the opportunity to publish their own personal "stories and ideas to the masses with a click of a publish button on our blogs." He states that "the power is not in the hands of the publishing house anymore", but is now in any persons hands that blogs.
I commented that I enjoyed reading his blog and that I particularly like reading about the book, "It's Complicated" by Boyd. I stated that in EDM310 we are learning about some of the tools that Boyd studies and our purpose is to use many of these tools in the classroom as learning tools, so being able to understand what really matters to our students in the digital world would help make our teaching and guidance using these tools very useful.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

C4K 2 post 1 and 2

Picture of Mata

C4K Post #1

This is Mata and I commented on her video blog this week. Mata is a little girl in Mrs. She's class in the first grade and she says in her video that she loves to swim. I commented to her that I am a student like her and that my little girl loves to swim also. Mrs. She has a cute class and is doing some creative things with technology in her room. I loved it! You can visit it their class blog too, just click the link below...
Little Voices, Little Scholars

Picture of Lani

C4K Post #2

For this week's C4K, I visited Lani's blog. Lani lives in NZ and for her post she created a pirate map. Her assignment was focused on directions such as North, South, East and West. I thought this was a very creative and fun way for children to learn how to give and follow directions. Lani is in the fifth grade and says that she loves to play at the beach. I commented to Lani that my little girl loves to play at the beach just like she does. I also commented that I loved her pirate map and that it looked like a fun project to make. I was once again impressed with the creativity of the teacher, Mrs. Lavakula making learning fun for the students! If you would like to visit their class blog you can click the link listed below. 
Mrs. Lavakula's class blog

Project #15 Project Based Learning Plan #3

Project #15 -- How Do Our Ears Hear?

Picture of child listening

Blog Post #10 Sir Ken Robinson

Picture of Ken RobinsonIn Ken Robinson's "Bring On The Learning Revolution" , Robinson challenges how we think about our education system. He states that he is not talking about an education reform, but an education revolution; for our way of educating to be completely transformed into something entirely different. Robinson also says that our education system is no longer meeting the needs of the people in our modern world. “Many of our ideas have been formed not to meet the ideas of this century but to meet the ideas of the previous century…” (Robinson). When I consider my own personal experience with the education system, I am able to see it much the same way as Robinson. We line our students up in rows and give each child the same generic mass produced assignments. Throughout our semester in EDM310, we have been challenged over and over again to reassess how we see the classroom as well as our role as future educators. We are encouraged to move away from the cookie cutter mentality, and begin to really get to know each child, know their passions, know their challenges and begin to teach to them as individuals. Doing this has a lot to do with what Robinson says is getting away from an industrialized education and, instead, like an agriculturalist, “create the right conditions under which a person can flourish.” Robinson also says that, “human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability.” Recreating the way a classroom functions into an environment that encourages individual and creative thinking, creates an environment in which students' talents are nourished, not suffocated.
Picture of Ken Robinson with caption saying, "Human Intelligence is richer and more dynamic than we have been led to believe by formal academic education."
We do indeed have what Robinson  calls a “crisis of human resources” and this lecture is definitely a call to all educators and anyone interested in the future of our students, to reevaluate what we do, why we do it that way and whether or not it is truly an effective system. Also, it is time to begin the process of change. This is not an easy, nor is it a quick fix. Any revolution takes time, direction, passion, and people willing to do what it takes to make the change happen. The change has begun. It is a slow movement but, it is moving!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Post #9: What Can I Learn From Mrs. Cassidy?

Picture of bee in flowers with text: Creative ClassroomMrs. Cassidy is very determined when it comes to using technology in the classroom. The reason I choose to use the word “determined” is because she has not done it without meeting challenges along the way. In order for Mrs. Cassidy to be able to incorporate the use of technology at the level and frequency that she does, (which is very frequently), she has been willing to take the time to do the research and also she has the creativity that it takes to overcome the many challenges on the technical side of things. When her technical journey began, Mrs. Cassidy tells about how they received five computers in their classroom that only had the ability to access the web. Using this as the only tool, she wanted to come up with ways to incorporate using these computers in her class as educational tools. She states that “five of anything in a first grade classroom is considered a center.” So with this in mind, Cassidy got to work doing the research and exploring ways to use these computers that would get her students excited about learning while also teaching them how to navigate the web. This is so much more than learning about technology and how to use it, it is about redefining how we teach and how students learn in the classroom. Some of the ways that her class is using these tech. tools is through skyping, blogging, wiki and at times the students bring their DS to school and play learning games on them.  Through skyping the class has been able to bring in various visitors that they otherwise would not have had access to and through blogging the students are able to write about what they have learned from their visitor as well as any of the other various things that they are learning in class. Mrs. Cassidy also uses the blog as an online portfolio that parents are able to access at their convenience to see firsthand what their children are learning. Blogging has also been a learning tool that helps improve the writing skills of the students, “My writing gets better every time I blog,” states one student.  Mrs. Cassidy states more than once that technology is not going away so we need to learn to use it for our advantage as well as teach the students to learn to use it and learn from it.

There are a few ideas that I feel that I could take and use from  the interview with Mrs. Cassidy but the one in particular that I was most excited about was a simple one. When one of Dr. Strange’s students ask how Mrs. Cassidy keeps the children in safe areas on the web, Mrs. Cassidy states that she uses her class web page as a hub for the students to use when accessing the web pages they will be using for their assignments. I love that idea. What a simple yet effective way to help the children navigate the areas they need to go that will be safe zones! There really is much to be learned about technology in the classroom from these interviews with Dr. John Strange and Mrs. Cassidy. I have made them available using the links below so that you too can access and watch them!

Interview with Mrs. Cassidy part 1
Interview with Mrs. Cassidy part 2
Interview with Mrs. Cassidy part 3

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blog Post #8

Find some 21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools? Tell us about them. Tell us where we can find them. Give a thorough review of at least one of them.
list of names of 21st century learning tools
Blogger is the first online tool that comes to my mind when I think of 21st century learning tools. Blogging is something that was completely new to me before I entered edm310 this semester. Since then, I have learned that blogging is about sharing thoughts, research, ideas, links to various webpages, and just about anything else that is on your mind. I have also learned that blogging is a useful tool for educators to use in their PLN's. Diigo, which is a site for social bookmarking; Twitter, a social networking tool but for educators it is also a way to create and be in contact with PLN's; Glogster which I have learned is basically a digital poster board. Glogster is a way to store and display different information about various topics that may be of interest to either the teacher or the students, (you can get up to 100 free student accounts). This is a great learning tool that involves projects on various subjects. The students can create a Glogster poster and display the information they learn about the subject on the digital poster board. The teacher has access to each students Glogster account and is given notifications as to when a student updates their student board. This is a great way for students to give presentations on a wide range of subjects that easy, interesting and exciting for the students. Great tool to incorporate into a project learning plan.

words: Khan AcademyPadlet, which is a way to create a virtual wall to post notes to. The idea is for students or teachers to be able to share thoughts or ideas or whatever with others in their group or school. Skype, which is a video conferencing site. Khan Academy is a global site for tutoring available to anyone anywhere. It covers subjects ranging from biology and chemistry to math and humanities. Khan is a fabulous resource for both educators and students alike.

Icurio is a safe search engine that enables students to do research for class projects in a safe environment that is rich in information. This is a site that also provides information and tools for teachers and is a great resources for the classroom.
As you can see, (and as I have learned), there is a long list of 21st century learning and communicating tools and I have not even covered them all here. These tools are designed to make our lives easier and to make us more efficient at what we do.
The information about most of these tools was provided by: Tools for the 21st Century Teacher by: Michael Zimmer

Project #9 Las Vegas Video Commentary

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch
picture of Randy pausch
What can we learn about teaching and learning?
This is the driving question of our career as future educators. In Randy Pausch's last lecture, he gives some answers to that very question. Randy begins by talking about achieving your dreams. Randy says that "when your screw up and no one is saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up on you." He says to let others critique you because this only makes you better. It is your critics that help propel you to reach your highest potential. It is in the project failures that we gain our experiences. This isn't the time to quit but to use the failure to help you reach your overall goal. "Brick walls are there to show how badly we want something, they only stop people who don’t want it badly."
Throughout Randy's lecture, he is very animated, he relates real life stories along with props and visual aids and it is a collection of all of these tools that make Randy's lecture come alive and create a power to connect to the audience. It is important as teachers that we engage the students and give them ways to connect with the lesson. It has to be more than words on a page and Randy masters that.

Randy goes on to tell about when he was a student at Carnegie Mellon and states that their instructors “gave them the reigns” and there were “no deans to report to", they had "license to break the mold, project-based curriculum, intense fun student experience, field trips” They called it “edutainment” because it was as much entertainment as it was education.They did things differently! (This is project based learning.)
Through many of his experiences, lessons were learned about how to achieve his dreams. Randy says that important people who helped him achieve his dreams were his parents, his teachers, mentors, friends and colleagues. We also have people in our life that will help us achieve our dreams and we in turn should help others achieve theirs.
Randy also adds that we can learn from our students and that it is important that we take our life experiences plus lessons taught in school and use the examples from the important people in our lives to create learning experiences. We are students of our environment as well as in the classroom. Learning is a life long experience,not something that ends once we get a degree. Randy's final lecture is rich with good advice taught by someone that has learned as much from failure as from success!
So, what can we learn about teaching and learning? First,both teaching and learning are cyclical, and perpetual. Second, learning is not only about the student learning from the teacher but the teacher learns from the students as well. Third, take time to listen and learn from the important people in your life and in turn help others, Fourth, always be a student of your environment (life is full of many lessons)and finally, be thankful and show gratitude.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

C4K 1

C4K #1
picture of smiling sharkThe student's blog that I left a comment for was Adam from Ms. Toal's class. Adam wrote about a skype that his class did with "Sharky Gilligan" and all of the new information that they learned about sharks. He told about the large number of sharks that are killed every year for reasons that are pointless. He also learned that sharks do not really like the taste of humans but love seals.
I commented to Adam that I had a nine year old boy that would love to learn all of those interesting things about sharks, (and skyping too). Adam did a great job with his blog and it was a fun read!

C4K #2
picture of computer games for kids
For this weeks post I comment on Micah's blog. Micah is in Mrs. Caddy's Class. Micah blogged about three reasons that he likes technology. He mainly likes to play games on them, which would be a pretty typical reason for a boy in the sixth grade.
I told Micah that I like technology but for different reasons and I also shared with him that I am just now learning how to blog. Micah's blog post was very short and to the point but really cute!

C4K #3
1st corinthians chapter 13 4 and 5
This week I read and commented on Dillon's blog. Dillon is in Mrs. Reuter's class and he wrote about love. For his blog he included his own definition of what love was along with the Bible's 1 Corinthians 13 verse about what love is. His post was both thoughtful and thorough and I enjoyed reading it. For my response I commented that I had a nephew named Dillon and that my nephew was a U.S. marine. I also commented that I liked his blog about love and that the bible was the perfect reference on that subject!

C4K #4

picture of the word believeFor this C4K blog I commented on a 16 year old girls blog. I did not see her name posted anywhere but it looks like a fairly new blog so I am assuming that she is still in the learning process. Her post was entitled "Just believe". She writes about how she is learning to believe in herself and she says that she believes that if you believe in yourself you can go far in life. She also talks about how she is learning who her true friends are and that it is her true friends that have helped her make it this far in life. She also said that parts of her life have been tough but she knows that God will never give us more than we can handle.
I commented that I have just started learning to blog so she is already ahead of me! I also agreed with her that God will never give us more than we can handle and that I have seen that to be true throughout my own life.

Project 13 Part 1

picture of hurricane

The Eye of the Storm

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blog Post #6 PLN's What Are They?

What is a PLN?
PLNs are both people and tools that I, or anyone, can use for the collaboration of information for projects, to help answer questions, research tools, and tools that can help collaborate with other teachers that may blog or tweet information that is of particular interest to you. PLNs are rich in networking tools and collaborative tools and are able to bring, (literally), a whole world of information and make it available at the click of a few buttons. It is overwhelming and exciting all at once to learn about all that is out there and available to anyone willing to access it.
How can PLNs help me as a teacher?
What comes to mind first is PLNs can help me establish a solid network in which to gather information about anything that might concern what we are learning in the classroom as well as the most effective ways to teach it. What teachers once had to learn through years of trial and error is now available to me as a new teacher to be able to benefit from. I feel as if I have just stuck my toe into the very tip of an ocean of information but it is a process that can benefit me from the very start. As a new teacher, I can see using these tools as a way to get insight from teachers who have been in the classroom for long periods of time.
How can I create a PLN?
When I first read this question without having visited the links attached, I was clueless as to who I would incorporate into my PLN and even how to create a PLN. After watching the video by Michael Fawcett , I realize that through browsing Twitter and connecting to other teachers and their blogs, I can find a network of teachers that interest me and that I feel that I can benefit from. It is really just a process of browsing different network sites and also blogs that fellow teachers subscribe to in order to be able to begin the building process of my own PLN.
Who will be the first additions to my PLN?
My first is my EDM310 instructor, Dr. John Strange
The second would be my assigned teacher in for C4T, Andrea Hernandez. Andrea is a very creative teacher that is not afraid to try new things. I feel that I could learn a lot from her.
These are just the beginning of a long list of PLN’s!
picture of boy surrounded by social websites

C4T #2

Post #1
picture of children sitting on piles of books while smiling and waving
My teacher for this week was Pernille Ripp and the name of his blog post is Reading is Bigger Than Us. For this post, Ripp wrote about reading and how it goes beyond just being able to tell about the book or even beyond writing book reports. Ripp believes that reading a book and then being able to discuss it help to develop thinking and conversation skills that students carry through into their adult years. Ripp states that "we ask questions about books because we must learn to ask questions of others. We must learn to adapt to any conversation thrust upon as adults. To engage and be engaging whenever needed". It is basically connecting with the book and developing thoughts to be able to analyze the work.
I commented that I liked her thoughts about how reading helps us to develop thoughts that go beyond the surface and help us to develop thinking skills. Reading has always given an advantage to students and now there seems to be another good reason to read!

Post #2
This teacher's post was titled "The Kid Who Walked Through My Door Last Night", by Pernille Ripp.
picture of two children embracing and an inscription that says, to make a difference in someones life you don't have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect. You just have to care enough to be there
This post was a touching story of a middle school child that came back to visit a teacher that they once had before and to ask for help with math. It doesn't take long for the teacher to realize that what this child is looking for is not help with math, but reassurance that everything is going to be okay. They aren't doing the best in their class, they are either tired or laughing out loud too much and at inappropriate times and making their teachers frustrated with them. This child remembers the kindness that their former teacher has shown and the feeling a acceptance that they always felt in that teachers class and this is why they have reached out to this teacher above any other.
I commented that to read a story like this is a reminder of why I have chosen this profession above any other. Teaching is about educating the next generations but it is also about giving the children a place to feel safe and accepted. It is a reminder that in many ways we will be more than educators but also role models and friends. I loved this blog post and it is one that I will visit and read again from time to time as a reminder of why I have chosen teaching as my profession.

Project #8 Book Trailer

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Sentence Videos

My Sentence Is...

My Passion Is...

Blog Post Assignment #5

For this blog assignment, we watched a series of video interviews that Dr. Strange facilitated where he interviewed Anthony Capps. Anthony Capps is a third grade teacher at Gulf Shores Elementary School and uses PBL in his classroom. The first conversation was about "Project Based Learning" or PBL. Anthony believes that PBL is a means in which to learn and also a means in which to show what you have learned. PBL is very much driven by content. Anthony creates a project that is directed at having the students learn the content that Anthony wants them to learn. Dr. Strange adds that PBL is not about being a consumer when it comes to learning but to be a participant and eventually a producer. With PBL, the students are at times even involved in the grading process.
Of course, like most of anything else, this is not a perfect system. Things do not always go well and it is at these times that Anthony uses these imperfections to challenge himself and his students to find real life solutions to these every day challenges. Even these seeming imperfections bring occasion to learn and be creative. Anthony encourages future teachers not limit our students but to allow them to explore within the boundaries of the assigned project and goes on to say that with this type of approach you will often times get more than you expect from the assignment.

The students have responded positively to this learning style but they do find the collaborative part a bit of a challenge. When using PBL, the students are allowed more freedom in their approach to learning the content and this, as you would expect, generates more excitement. PBL has not only earned high marks with the students but from the administrators and principal as well.

Another topic of discussion that was of particular interest to me was about icurio. As a mother and a future educator, I have been somewhat concerned about the safety of the web pages or video content that are often used when applying PBL. These concerns were put at ease when I learned of icurio. So, what is icurio? Icurio is a safe search engine that has web sites that have been carefully pooled for educational purposes. The searches include text, audio and video.

Dr. Strange and Anthony agree that to be a good teacher, is to be a good learner and PBL encourages the learning process which is essentially a lifelong process. A good teacher must also be flexible and prepared for unplanned situations. Take the time for reflection and self-evaluation because this will only make you a better educator.

These conversations were filled with information for teachers that is rich with day to day experience. What a better way to test PBL than in the classroom?
Interview with Anthony Capps part I
Interview with Anthony Capps part II
The learning pyramid

Sunday, February 9, 2014

C4T #1

picture of Andrea HernandezThis is Andrea Henandez

It does not take long when you read Andrea Hernandez's blog, the edtechworkshop, to see that she is full of fresh ideas and is a bit fearless when it comes to trying new things. On this particular post, Andrea shares about a "parent night" of sorts where the students were able to share about their 1:1 ipads and the learning apps with their parents, (or guardians). The students were placed in groups of 3 or 4 and each were assigned a station where the parents would go to learn about the particular app that the kids at that group were demonstrating. This allowed for the parents to see first hand how the apps were used and also generated excited among the students for the apps they were demonstrating. I commented that this was a creative idea. I liked that the kids were facilitating the demonstrations and the parents were given opportunity to witness first hand the use of the ipads and learning apps. Yay for Andrea and the other faculty for thinking outside of the box. This one was a definite home run!

The second post that Andrea Hernandez wrote was entitled "Authentic Literacy". This post is about the importance of reading but also it proposes a new strategy in getting children to read. To make the point of "out with the old and in with the new", Andrea uses a soup analogy. She compares canned soup with hand crafted soup saying "processed, canned food was all the rage and seemed like the answer to all the problems of feeding the people. However, it didn't take long to figure out that an authentic, hand-crafted soup was not only more delicious but was healthier and generally the better all-around option". Andrea is a strong proponent of doing what it takes to make learning its most effective, even when it means changing the way we teach things.
I commented that I loved Andrea's analogy to soup and I love her willingness to try new things in order to keep learning fresh and relevant for her students.

Blog Post Assignment #4

"What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher"?
In Ben Johnson's blog, Mr. Johnson challenges us the rethink why and how we, as teachers, are asking questions. In "The Right way to ask questions in the classroom" he goes on to make the point that when we throw a general question to a general audience such as, "does everyone understand", we are missing the real point in asking the question which would be to make sure that every student understands the concepts being taught. The point is made that some of the students that may have the most questions will be the most quite when the opportunity to answer questions occurs.
So, how do we ask the right questions in order to get "the most bang for the buck"? One approach Mr Johnson suggest is to ask a question, wait three seconds and then call on a child at random. With this approach, during the three second period, the student would then be thinking about the answer in anticipation of their name being called. "Asking Questions to Improve Learning" encourages the teacher to ask direct, clear and specific questions and "use a sequence of questions to build depth and complexity". The point of all of this is the same, making the most of your questions. Use this as a time to cause your students to analyze what is being taught and use their critical thinking skills in order to make the connection between the question being asked and the answer.
students raising their hands

Project # 3 Presentation

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blog Post #3

For this weeks blog assignment, we watched videos describing what it means to Peer Edit. We learned that editing is a combination of complementing, making suggestions and offering corrections where they may be needed. Also, it is very important that you stay positive throughout the process of editing your peers' blogs. Remember, someone has spent their time and thought in creating their blog and it is important that we respect that and use this as a time to help make their blog better, not rip them and their blog apart, (that could do more harm than good).
Some things to consider when making our suggestions to the writer are, "word choice, using details, organization- can you understand what the author is trying to say? Sentences- Are the sentences too long or too short? Topic- Does the author stick to the topic...?" (Tutorial Peer Editing). Also, it is important to check for mistakes in the work such as spelling, grammar, punctuation. All of these things are important in making sure that the work has an impact that is positive and sends the message that was intended. It is easy for a reader to become sidetracked with bad grammar or maybe to be confused with what the author is trying to say if the writing is not clear. When these steps are done correctly, peer editing can be a useful and positive experience.
What is Peer Editing?
Peer Edit with Perfection
Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes
Picture of three steps to peer editing

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blog Post Assignment #2

Professor Dancealot
By: Kari Johnson Mr. Dancealot
The central message of Professor Dancealot is that some subjects require physical involvement and lots of hands on practice. The teacher in this video presses this point by trying to teach dancing by lecturing the students with absolutely no opportunity for the student to physically get involved and practice the methods they are being taught. In the end, the students are totally lost and have learned almost nothing in the time they have spent in their class. This subject, (dancing), was one that required physical involvement from the students, yet they, (the students) were given no opportunity for this. I do agree with the conclusion of the message in the video that there are certain subjects that require not only lectures, but student involvement and interaction with methods. It is important that teachers give opportunities for their students to actually practice the skills being taught.
couple dancing

Title: What Does it Mean to Teach in the 21st Century
By: Kevin Roberts Teaching in the 21st Century

1. Introduction: In this video the argument is made that although some may believe that teaching is becoming more and more obsolete because of the huge amount of information now accessible, “whatever, whenever, wherever”, to anyone via the internet, teaching is in fact every bit as important as ever. The role as “teacher”, however, is changing.
A. Web information is limitless to even the greenest of internet users. Facebook, Twitter, Blogger; these are just a few of the most basic tools available for users. Learning to navigate these tools is essential to the success of the student.
B. “Teachers are no longer the main source of knowledge, we are the filter”. The point is made that a student may be able to use google to get the answers they need but “has anyone shown them how-to”? This is a skill that is taught by teachers, not necessarily acquired through repeated, random use.
2. With using something as powerful as the web, there is an equally large amount of responsibility that goes along with it.
A. “Validate information? synthesize information? Leverage information? Communicate information? Collaborate information? Problem solve with information?” How do we do these things and who will make sure that we are taught the proper methods for each of these if not through a teacher?
B. Plagiarism and the like—How do we cite our internet sources and information? These are answers that we look to a teacher to find. “Where do we expect them to learn about pirating, plagiarism, slander, copyright”.
3. Although the information is limitless, we still need a “guide” to help us determine what information is relevant and how reliable the source or sources is.
1. What is a relevant source? This is an important question and one that should not be overlooked. In our age of information overload, it is especially important that we know the correct way to obtain this information so that our information is up-to-date and accurate.
A. Who is a relevant author? This is an important question that cannot be overlooked. This also required a teacher’s guidance.
B. It is equally important that teacher stay relevant by staying up-to-date with information and technology in the 21st century.
A. The point in this video is well made. We are of a different age. One that might lead us to believe that teachers play less of a role in the learning process of the students based on the crazy amount of information available to us. However, Kevin Roberts goes on to make a strong point that it is the many changes that constitute even more of a need to have the guidance of a teacher.
B. There is also a message to teachers in this video and that we need to stay relevant to the modern student by staying in touch with progress and taking the risk when called for to dive into new technology. “ So what does this mean for the classroom? It means we need to rethink the tools we use and the types of problems we ask our students to solve”. “How could you talk about gathering reliable sources using google, delicious, wikipedia, blogs, podcast?” This is just one example given in the video as to ways teacher need to be rethinking what is being taught in the classroom and how it is being taught.

Title: The Networked Student
Author: Wendy Drexler The Networked Student"
The main argument of this video is that with the growth of technology and the accessibility of unlimited information to High school students, the role of textbooks, and of a traditional full-time teacher in the classroom is almost obsolete. The role of the teacher is now, "learning architect, modeler, learning concierge, connected learning incubator, network Sherpa, synthesizer, change agent”.
This video brings in some good thoughts. The 21st century high school has an impressive data base to offer their students and this together with the initiative of the student make for an impressive learning environment. Learning is done on an individual basis and with every technological tool available to them. It is through these seemingly endless technologies that the student is able to build portfolios and databases to ensure only the best of sources and information filter in. In the beginning of the video the role of the teacher in understated. At the end of the video, a very clear point is made that the teacher is not only useful, but needed.
I was not too impressed with the learning style presented here. My experience as a mother and in life in general, has shown me that some, but certainly not all students possess the drive that would be required for this type of environment. Is it an ideal environment in theory? Yes. Is it realistic and applicable to the real world, I think not. Ideally, this type of school would be amazing. The information and connections that would be available to the students would seem limitless. Who wouldn’t be impressed by this? I do think to bring this type of learning environment to the real world would reveal quite a few warts that would surprise even the most optimist if thinkers.

Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts
By: Vicki Davis Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
The thesis of this video is that Vicki, (the teacher), teaches the students how to access information on the web and through various social networks along with how to connect with other students through blogs and/or other technical means to generate the most information available to her students. Vicki teaches technology in a hands-on style and encourages her students to do research on their own in order to get information they need or answers to questions they may have. She believes that this is essential to functioning in our society. I agree with Vicki on all of these issues. I liked that the students were able to learn these skills under the watchful eye of Vicki, (their teacher), so that they stayed on task and were able to get the guidance they needed when they needed it.

Flipping the Classroom
Christine Munafo Flipping the Classroom
“Flipping the classroom” is definitely a new approach from anything that I have heard in the past. To be perfectly honest, when I first began listening to Ms. Munafo describe what “flipping the classroom” meant, I immediately became skeptical. I thought that this was something that would only add more work to an already busy evening with family. I have since understood it to mean that the teacher’s lecture that would be watched over the computer would actually take the place of homework time as we know it, and what we generally consider to be homework assignments would be done in the classroom but with the help of the teacher first hand. I think I could be sold on this concept. It makes me wonder if we are doing it backwards any other way than what she proposed. I do think this concept could be helpful if we could get the support of key personal to help make the transition happen.