Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog #5 - Part B

Quote by Alfred Adler

My first Blog Post #5 was about my personal learning network or PLN, and the building of it. I had great ideas, found a few websites that were suggested by Dr. Strange that I was going to use, and I was all riled up about it. Sadly the more time that went on, the less I used. I have found that for me personally I benefit more from Twitter, Blogger, and Facebook. I am not as crazy about Symbaloo as I once was, mainly because it is not as inspiring to me now and doesn't fit into what I use on a daily basis. I am a very simple person when it comes to the websites and applications I use.
As far as extending my PLN, I have added numerous elementary teachers from across the globe to my Twitter feed, as well as different websites. A few of my favorites are @edutopia, @TeachHUB, and @Education Nation. With Facebook, I check it several times a day and being able to "like" education pages and connect with all my friends who are elementary teachers as well, make it a perfect tool for me. And Blogger, well, that is all thanks to Dr. Strange's assignments in general! I have commented on teachers that I was truly inspired by and am going to continue following through my career.
So, I guess what the entire assignment was really about was to let us become familiar with all the different types of websites and ways we could use to expand our PLN's. Then to let our daily lives and what interested us weed out the ways that we didn't want to use or felt more comfortable with using. This was a great assignment, because now I know what works best for me, how I will continue to connect with other teachers, and how I will keep myself in the know with other technology savvy people!

C4T #4

Teacher:Sharon Davison
Blog: Kindergarten Life

The first post I decided to comment on was from May 2014, titled "Reflections Inside And Outside of Kindergarten". I skimmed through a few of the more recent posts, but this one caught my eye. It had a picture of a few students standing outside with their iPad, looking up at the trees and it made my imagination go wild. Mrs. Davison says that the students were collaborating about videoing a bird in its nest that was hard to see. She talks about how impressed she was with their conversations.
She then reflects on a student during a writers and readers workshop who wanted to write a book about penguins. She continued to do so, complete with labels and visual models. She also used Google to find the answer to a question that Mrs. Davison could not answer. Mrs. Davison states that she is helping her students through guidance on how to become safe and responsible digital citizens also. Another of her students wrote about Twitter and how it helps people communicate and share. She goes on to talk about how as an educator she can see the difference in her students learning through technology and how it is also helping the parents of those students as well. Mrs. Davison was also invited to speak at a convention regarding technology in the classroom and she brought a few of her students along to demonstrate and give their opinion. She says she was stunned at how well technology has improved the lives and learning experiences of her students.

My Comment:
Hi Ms. Davison. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM 310. I am majoring in elementary education and secretly hoping I got to teach kindergarten in the future. Reading your post and your reflections has truly been inspiring. Not only is it great to hear first hand how technology is improving the learning experiences of the students, but to see the different ways you are using the technology takes my imagination to a whole different level for my future classroom. I will be linking your blog to my EDM 310 blog and I will be also commenting on your blog again soon. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and good luck!

Mrs. Davison replied to my comment on November 16, 2014:
Hi Sabina, Thanks so very much for reading and sharing your perspective. Technology is really a wonderful way to engage, enrich and connect learning globally inside and outside of your classroom. I hope you also find ways to use technology to enrich and connect learning for your students and parents of the future!

The second post I commented on was from November 14, 2014, titled "A Celebration of Learning: Engaging Families Inside and Out!". I loved this post! It was all about how she uses technology to connect with her students and to connect the students with their families. Being that she is a kindergarten teacher, her students and families are going through a change in their daily lives with the starting of school. Mrs. Davison states that it is so important for families to feel a part of their child's daily learning and in return it helps strengthen not only their bond, but it helps that students learning experience. She talks about a breakfast that she set up for her students and their families to show them how/what the students were learning in the classroom. There was one student whose parents were unable to attend, so instead they FaceTimed the parent and the student was able to present all her work to her family. Mrs. Davison says that it we as teachers need to think outside the box with technology to bring learning to life in these students lives.
My Comment:
Hi Mrs. Davison, This is my last post I will be making on your blog for class, but I will continue to follow you for sure. Your posts are extremely insightful and useful for those of us getting ready to be teachers ourselves. You have a great way of looking outside the box and making learning fun. Thank you for having the time to blog about your daily learning/teaching experiences! As far as this blog goes, I agree with you 100%. Children need to have their parents involved in their learning so that it is an all around experience and not just an at school one. I love the way you used Face Time with your one student also! What a great idea to keep that student from feeling left out!

Quote from Einstein

Sunday, November 23, 2014

C4K Summary for November

Jacob K
Mr. Akerson's 5th Grade Class
St. Louis, Missouri

The post I commented on was from October 26th, 2014. It was titled: "Break Up Note - Dress Code". As the name implies, it is his version of a break up letter to the dress code. What a wonderful project! Jacob writes about how "it's you not me" and how he believes he should be able to freely express himself. He even ends the letter with "If you would sign comment below yes or no". I really enjoyed reading his post, very creative!
My Comment: JacobK, I really enjoyed your break up note! Very creative! I can tell you really liked writing this post as well. The only words of advice I can give is to proof read, you got so into writing you have a few grammar, punctuation mistakes. (I do the same thing :) )

Sofia S
Mrs. Mena's 5th Grade Class
Chula Vista, CA

The post I commented on was from November 6th, 2014. It was titled: "Game Talk 1". The post is about a game called "Five Nights At Freddy's" and it sounds really creepy! The post was about the legends and myths she has heard about the game. One was about one of the animatronics biting off the forehead of a child, another was one of the animatronics taking its head off. Pretty gruesome stuff!
My Comment:
Wow Sofia S, I have never heard of this game, but it sounds a little creepy! I had a little bit of a hard time reading your post though, make sure you proofread before posting. It makes things easier, but have fun playing!

Elijah M.
Mrs. Mena's 5th Grade Class
Camarena Elementary School Chula Vista, CA
The post I commented on was from November 21st, 2014. It was titled: "Almost the end of banana man part 7". It was a story about a superhero character named Banana Man. It was a cute story, but very hard to read considering Elijah did not use periods and misspelled quite a few words.
My Comment:
Hi Elijah M., Your story was pretty cool and I liked the names of your hero! But I had a hard time reading it, because you forgot your punctuations and you misspelled a lot of words. Try to take your time writing next time around and your readers will see how much you rock and storytelling! Good Luck!! :)

 Dr. Suess quote about learning

Blog # 14

Teaching our children can be a profession: Column
By: Joel Klein

This article is a short read, but packed with great ideas. Mr. Klein gives 3 problems he sees with the teaching profession and then gives the solutions he thinks would be the best. While I agree with most of them, here are his points:

Problem #1: We do not choose from the best teaching candidates.
Solution: A.) We need better academic training for prospective teachers. B.) We need a new approach for recruiting teachers, basically picking from the top one-third of the graduates. C.) We need to change how we reward teachers.

Problem #2: We've become distracted by seniority and not the effectiveness of a teacher.
Solution: A.) Institute a "National Teacher Examination" akin to those given to doctors and lawyers, to test teachers on pedagogy and mastery of content knowledge. B.) Have supervised internships for 1-3 years on prospective teachers, or new graduates.

Problem #3: We need to make a radical change in the profession of teachers.
Solution: A.) Teachers should establish their own board that polices the profession with merit-based career ladders and promotions based on specialty exams. B.) We need to stop giving mandatory school assignments to teachers and let them choose from the "greatest possible choice among public schools".

So, working off of problem #1, Mr. Klein's first suggested solution is that we need better academic training for our prospective teachers. He mentions an article he read that states "23 states cannot boast a single (teacher education) program that provides solid math preparation resembling the practices of high-performing nations." I read the article, NCTQ Teacher Prep Review 2014 Executive Summary, and it does show that writing, grammar, and composition is the main focus in the programs. The other subjects get slighted in the programs and they go into saying there has been an increase in the focus of raising the bar on the quality of teachers schools are producing. So I agree with this solution.
Mr. Klein's next solution is finding a new approach on recruiting teachers. He states we need to be picking from the top one-third of our graduates. While I see the appeal to this, because we all know there are people who pursue teaching because they believe it is the easiest, there are those of us who have test anxiety and focus issues who never make it in the top one-third and we would make great teachers. People like me would be over-looked even though teaching is my passion. So in my opinion this might appeal to be a great idea, but it has its downside.
The third solution proposed is the change in how we reward teachers. I am in complete agreement with Mr. Klein on this proposition. I firmly believe that we, as teachers, should be rewarded on effectiveness and not seniority. When a school or business is downsizing and having to perform lay-offs, unfortunately they target the newest hires instead of the least productive. This is a scary thought to someone like me who will be new to the profession instead of the person who teaches to the point of making money and not for the children. If there was a way that schools could run a survey or test to decipher the good teachers from the bad, this would be a great weight off the shoulders of the ones who bust their behinds for the kids.

Looking into problem #2, Mr. Klein says that schools have become more distracted by seniority than the effectiveness of a teacher. As I stated before, I am in complete agreement. He proposes that there should be a "National teacher Examination" that is akin to those that doctors and lawyers take. This test would measure the level of mastery on pedagogy and content. This view comes from Albert Shanker's publication The Making Of a Profession. While I was not able to read this publication, the solutions proposed by Albert Shanker were not too far out of grasp for our schools and is no less than doctors and lawyers go through. Until teachers are held to the same standards, we will not be able to move further up the ladder economically and earn the respect teachers deserve. If it were not for teachers, these doctors and lawyers would not be who they are, but it is not given the dues it deserves. Teachers are over-looked even though we are one of the most important workers there are.
Another solution suggested was that we as teachers, go through a supervised internship for 1-3 years. Granted this might not appeal to most newly graduated teachers, to me it does. Personally I am excited about that first year of teaching, but also I am completely terrified. Knowing that I would have a supervisor that I could go to who is going to be looking at everything I would be doing and measuring my ability would drive me to be a better teacher, but also it would take a weight off my shoulders. Honestly, I am all for this change.

Problem #3 is that we need to make a radical change in the profession of teaching. To me this is more of a statement or a challenge than a problem. But Mr. Klein suggests that we as teachers should establish a board to police our profession with merit-based career ladders and promotions based on specialty exams. I would go more into this, but I have stated this twice now in my writing and I completely agree with it. His second suggestion is that the mandatory school assignments be banned and let the teachers choose their schools. My problem with this is that when teachers cannot have the schools they have chosen, they get assigned to another that they might not even want to consider. This is going to cause the students more problems than the teacher. Then it is going to cause the teacher to not put forth that effort, and if we implement a way to class a teacher's effectiveness, this teacher will be the first to go during a layoff because they are not motivated. So, in my opinion we should leave the system the way it is. I am not against being placed in a school who needs teachers, instead of giving me the choice and letting my hopes get the best of me.

So after looking further into Mr. Joel Klein's article and exploring my own opinions, I completely believe we do need to make teaching a profession, especially making it a more respectable profession. Just from my own experiences, I can tell you it is not as appealing to a single mom to go into teaching. In that situation, you tend to look for a stable job opportunity and higher pay even if it is not your passion or dream job. I was pressed to make other decisions, but thanks to my husband I am able to pursue the job I have always dreamed of, even if it doesn't pay as much as another. If teaching could be held to a higher standard, then maybe would could improve the quality of our teachers and teaching programs.

teaching quote

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Post #13

How will you teach your students about being safe and responsible digital citizens?
Review the links below and post your ideas in your blog.

1. Teaching Digital Citizenship In The Elementary Classroom by Mary Beth Hertz
K-8 Technology Teach in Philadelphia, PA.

2. Safe Digital Citizenship by Sandra A. Trach, Principal

3. What Is Digital Citizenship (5:18)

4. Digital Citizenship: Teaching Students About the Safe and Responsible Use of Technology (3:10)

5. Adapting Digital Citizenship to Elementary ESL Students (5:20)

digital citizen poster

As the world turns and technology takes over, it is spilling into the classrooms earlier and earlier in a students learning career. Kindergarteners are learning how to use the internet and social media websites a lot faster than you or I did and they use them on a daily basis. Elementary students are blogging, using Twitter and making their very own cyber footprints. It is truly amazing to watch, but as a teacher we need to guide these children through their internet usage safely. We need to teach them to be good digital citizens. Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use. It is our responsibilities as teachers and parents to teach our children how to be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen!

Teaching Digital Citizenship In The Elementary Classroom
Mary Beth Hertz, a K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, says that she spends an entire month covering digital citizenship in her classroom at the beginning of the year. She has different methods for different grades as to how she goes about this. Her K-4 grades she uses Storybird, which is a website for writing stories online and allows you to comment on the productions. She monitors the commenting being done and this gives the students a chance to practice their commenting techniques before moving onto a public blog. This website looks fascinating in itself and will be a useful tool in my future classroom. For her 5-8th graders she uses Schoology. It is an all-in-one tool for teachers. You can set up discussions and blogs to keep the commenting monitored and connect with students. Hertz said she has had issues in the past with these grade and the cyber-bullying and "mean girl" commenting and used this as a teaching tool to correct the students and have them make virtual amends while deleting their comments. I love her approach to this and I will incorporate this into my classroom lesson plan on digital citizenship.

Safe Digital Citizenship
This article was written by Sandra Trach, a school principal, in Nov/Dec 2013. Her very first statement in the article is, "Online safety requires ongoing professional learning for staff and continuing education for parents." I completely agree with this statement and as a parent know it to be true. She goes on to list some responsibilities of all involved in the process.
Teachers Should:
-Partner with parents regarding the types of devices and digital curriculum their children will use throughout the school year;
-Review the district’s Acceptable Use Policy with parents and students;
-Have students sign a safety pledge that supports device care and digital citizenship expectations;
-Directly teach students how to take proper care of their devices;
-Pre-assess student knowledge and experience with devices and the Web in order to plan instruction;
-Directly teach specific Web skills and applications that you expect students to know and be able to use;
-Engage students in technology as an authentic means toward learning; and
-Pursue professional learning opportunities to strengthen curricular and digital skills.

Students Should:
-Be respectful, kind, and honest;
-Talk to your teacher and parent as soon as you see, feel, or experience something that is not right on the Internet;
-Use strong passwords;
-Make sure teachers and parents have all of your passwords;
-Remember that not everyone is who they say they are on the Internet; and
-Use primary sources.

Students Should Not:
-Share personal information online;
-Open unexpected messages or unfamiliar attachments;
-Agree to meet people who approach you online; or
-Plagiarize or cheat.

Educators and Parents Should:
-Become digitally literate;
-Keep computers and devices visible for your attention;
-Set limits and guidelines;
-Use system controls for devices and websites;
-Understand social networking and photo sharing; and
-Preview websites in advance.

I think these are amazing guidelines and teacher should post the "Do & Don't" list somewhere very visible for the students in the classroom. It should also be sent home in a guidelines letter along with the parental suggestions for the parents to keep at their homes. These will also be incorporated into my classroom and into my lesson!

What Is Digital Citizenship

This video is a great explanation as to what it means to be a digital citizen from a teachers point of view to a parent. It compares digital citizenship to getting a drivers license. We need to prepare them for both. This would be a great homework assignment for the parents. I know, I know, most parents would probably think this is crazy, but I firmly believe we need to take a little more time as parents to be involved in our childrens school and what they are learning. This would be a great start to the year. It gives the parents the idea to know what the students might be doing in the class and out.

Digital Citizenship: Teaching Students About the Safe and Responsible Use of Technology

This video is from the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education Research by Professor Robin Bright. She teaches students to really think about the fact that they are not just consumers of the internet, but they are also creators of knowledge. She uses the phrase "Think before you click" and that is a great slogan for any classroom and digital citizenship. Prof. Bright says that 50% of children between the ages of 9 to 16 don't know how to change the privacy settings on the social media sites that they are already on. This is why we as teachers need to educate our students and make the parents more aware of what they are getting involved in. This way we can help protect them and help them protect themselves.

Adapting Digital Citizenship to Elementary ESL Students

This video is really great! It stars Ms. Laura Rossi, who is a K-8 Technology teacher for Trevista ECE-8 in Denver, CO. She breaks down the lessons on digital media and digital citizenship for ESL students on a level that is truly genius. What she does is uses one vocabulary word at a time till the students understand exactly what it means, then she incorporates another word. She also tries to bring the lesson into the students hands. Like email, she brings in real mail so that the students can physically see who the sender and recipient is, then she moves it onto the actual email so the students can compare the two. I am not sure if I will ever have to deal with an entire class of ESL students, but if so I have some great ideas thanks to Ms. Rossi!

Project 12 - Part B