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

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Post #12

C4T #3

For this post, I am commenting on Mrs. Diane Dahl. She is a teacher in Texas and her blog is titled, For the Love of Teaching.

The first of Mrs. Dahl's posts I commented on was from November 3rd of 2013. I went back this far because I wanted to read this one a little more. I loved the posters she had pictures of and it intrigued me. It is titled, Thinking Across Content - Good Mathematicians Poster. The very first lines in her post are, "We all know that students who monitor their thinking while reading do better. Therefore it follows that students who monitor their thinking across ALL subject areas will do better in other subjects as well."
good reader poster
She goes on to state that the problems students face is not even knowing they can monitor their thinking in other subjects. I completely agree with her, seeing as I was one of those students and unfortunately my daughter as well. She says there is a language to learning and that the brain looks for patterns to know what knowledge to store. We as teachers need to use this language to help students make inferences, predictions, and determine importance.
Good Mathmetician Poster
Mrs. Dahl created these posters to help her students see the bridges between subject for her students. She uses the same vocabulary, but gears them towards each subject. These are amazing posters and I will definitely use these in my classroom. (Or maybe make a simpler version for the younger students) Mrs. Dahl is a very intelligent person and extremely creative when it comes to helping her students better themselves.
Good Scientist Poster
My Comment:
I commented that my daughter and I are those types of students that have trouble monitoring our thinking during other subject and that I found her post to be helpful. I also told her that I was going to save the links to her work for future use. I left a link to my blog and EDM 310 class blog as well.

The second post I commented on was from November 9th of 2013. It was titled "How To Plan And Schedule Guided Reading Groups". As the title suggests, it is her advice and instruction on how to develop reading groups according to the students reading levels. First you determine the reading level, then group them about 4 to a group determining from the previous year. Next you schedule the groups on a calendar, setting them into rotation from lowest levels to highest, planning around assemblies and such. Mrs. Dahl then plans her lessons around this schedule and keeps a great record for the future.

My Comment:
Mrs. Dahl, I have really enjoyed your blog and this one is most helpful for me also. I am still so nervous about making sure my schedules are well planned and organized. I am not the best at either of those and am working on them daily. I like that you plan from the previous year, but am curious how you arrange them as the yer progresses and the students with it. Do you change their groups or just leave them there throughout the year? Again, I have enjoyed reading your posts and as I mentioned before I will be referencing them in my class blog as well. Best Wishes and God Bless! Sabrina Stapleton

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Blog #11

Back To The Future
Brian Crosby - 4th Grade Teacher
Agnes Risley Elementary School
Sparks, Nevada

This man is a wonderfully motivated teacher! He gave his 4th graders a survey to see where they stood in understanding and learned that only a few even knew what town they lived in, what country and barely knew their addresses and phone numbers. Mr. Crosby came to the conclusion of, "Narrow Curriculum BAD - Active Learning GOOD!" Using the same procedures as PBL, he made a project he titled "High Hopes". The students had to build a helium balloon with a camera and send it into the world to travel and film. These children wrote about it, blogged about it, got hopes from others around the world to send with their balloon and even TAUGHT a class in New Zealand how to make a "High Hopes Balloon" of their own. It was amazing to see the results of this project with the level of teaching these students had been exposed to all their lives. Mr. Crosby also had a new student come to class, a little girl diagnosed with Leukemia who would never be able to come to school, so he decided to include her in everyday class by setting up Skype. I've learned from Mr. Crosby that learning should motivate the children to become learners, not learn how to be taught.

Blended Learning Cycle
Paul Anderson - High School AP Biology Teacher
Bozeman, Montana

Mr. Anderson's blended learning cycle is a really great approach to science. The cycle has 6 parts:
1. Question - Start with a driving question, something to "hook" the students (somewhat like PBL)
2. Investigation/ Inquiry - get a theory going
3. Video - Watch a video or podcast about the subject. (Mr. Anderson makes his own podcasts for class)
4. Elaboration - dive deeper into the subject with research. READ ABOUT IT!
5. Review - The teacher walks around the class asking for the students to teach him about their work. (Mr. Anderson says he believes you haven't learned something till you can effectively explain it to someone else)
6. Summary Quiz - kind of explains itself
I like this approach and I agree with Mr. Anderson. The way you know you have truly learned something is to be able to explain it to someone else and that starting with a question that excited to students or draws them in.

Mark Church - 6th Grade Teacher
Making Thinking Visible

This short video gives a glimpse into what Mr. Church means by making thinking visible. In the video he has the students get into groups and write a headline about their project before they actually start it. Then he has them posted on a bulletin board. After the project is finished, he has them re-write their headlines and see how it has changed. He uses this to make it visible to the students how their views and understanding has changed. Which also makes their learning visible to him also. I think this is a great motivation for the students. I will incorporate this into my classroom, I think it is important for the students to see their own progress through different subjects.

Super Digital Citizens
Sam Payne - 5th Grade Teacher
Wilson Focus School
Omaha, Nebraska

I enjoyed this video tremendously!!! Mr. Payne really gets how to excite students with their work. This video is about a lesson he gives about digital safety, but it also covers several language arts standards. He starts with the quote, "With great power, comes great responsibility" - Spiderman Movie. Then he has his students use an online website to create their own Digital Superhero and comic. The students have to use themselves as the main character and have their super hero save the day when they aren't safe online. Mr. Payne teaches about being safe, respectful and responsible online, which is a huge lesson students must learn in this day and age. I love how he incorporates this safety lesson into a language arts curriculum and the students really enjoy making their own comics! This will be a lesson I use in the future.

Project Based Learning
Dean Shareski

This video is about a school in Canada that has taken 3 different classes; History, English and Information Processing, and combined them into a single class. Using PBL they have turned their class into an environment that the students have engaged themselves in learning. While this is working for them and I am intrigued on how they make this work, I could not see myself ever doing this. So to be honest, I have not learned as much from this video except that I could not work this way.

Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program
Redwood City, California

I enjoyed watching this video and seeing the teachers and parents praise PBL. They state in the video that PBL teaches the students to think for themselves and to learn skills they will actually use in the real world. I completely agree with this. I also love the idea that PBL encompasses all the different learning styles into it with the freedom of student choice. It is a great teaching approach and will be the one that I hope to incorporate into my own classroom, because I truly agree that it is the best way to teach students.

prayer to be the best teacher possible

Friday, October 24, 2014

C4K Summary for October

My first student this month is Diana C. from Mrs. Rivera's 6th grade class in Florida. The post I commented on was posted September 21st titled "1000 reasons To Never Kiss A Boy". Basically, they were to read a story and answer the question, "Could this story have happened in real life? Why or why not?". Diana C. said yes and gave the reasons:
-It takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
-The protagonist works at a bagel store
-She has a boyfriend who cheated on her, two friends, and a mom
-Her dad and mom are divorced
-She has to create a float with her co-workers for a parade
-Her house is under renovation

I commented on her blog that she gave great answers and to keep up the good work!

My second student is Kenny from Mrs. Ripp's 7th grade class in Wisconsin. Mrs. Ripp is also the teacher whose blog I recently commented on, so I was excited about reading this students work. The post I commented on was posted October 9th and it was untitled. He writes about being a hero to someone. He thinks that to be a hero, you must be caring and he references Mrs. Ripp in this likeness. Which tells me a lot about this teacher.
I commented on him that he is right, to be a hero you have to care for people, but that anyone could be a hero, big or small. And that he should be careful in the future with proof reading, there were a few grammatical errors in his post.

The third student I was assigned to comment on was Jocelyn from Ms. Essenburg's 3rd grade class in Michigan. The post I commented on was from October 6th and titled All About Me. As the name states, it is all about Jocelyn herself! She sounds very much like my 7 year old little girl.
I commented:
Dear Jocelyn, I loved reading your introduction. You did a great job! I have a little girl who is 7 and LOVES Monster High also. Anyways, keep up the good work and keep an eye out for your grammar while writing. Making sure your punctuation is in the right places can help the person reading follow your train of thought better!

Student #4 assigned to me for commenting was Dartanian from Mr. Somerville's 6th grade in New Zealand. The post I commented on was from October 23rd and titled Welcome to Pt England. His post was all about being a good Pt Englander. He states you have to be cyber smart, respectful, polite and to "wear it with pride", which means to keep your clothes looking good. There were a few grammatical errors and it seemed that he never finished his last sentence, but overall it was a good post.
I commented: Hi Dartanian, great post! I like that you are all about being a good Pt Englander and from what you have written I can tell you know what that means. Keep up the good work and make sure you proof read before you post. :) I have to remind myself to do that, too.

Blog # 10

Mrs. Cassidy's First Grade

Personally, I was very impressed by Mrs. Cassidy and her approach to technology. She states in her interviews with Dr. Strange that "technology is here to stay" and I know she is absolutely right. She was basically thrown into the technology world with the few computers she was given in her classroom, but she took off with it in a short time. I love her idea of a classroom web page and having all the links the children need in one place. This is something I will probably use in the future to help the younger students (if that is what I end up teaching) to find their way around, because under 2nd grade they really don't know what to search for on the internet. Having everything in one spot is perfect for any age!

Mrs. Cassidy also has students write a blog and it blows my mind that these are 1st graders doing this. And that they are posting pictures of their work to their blog is just amazing! I think this is a wonderful idea, because everyone in their family with access to a computer can see their work and progress throughout the year and comment on it. It's a great way to keep the students motivated on doing their best when they are provided with an outside audience to view their finished products. As far as the students safety on the computer/internet goes, Mrs. Cassidy takes her time explaining to them how to be safe. She makes sure they always use their first names only, never using their last. They are also not allowed to post pictures of themselves in their blogs, which is a great idea! She does however post pictures and videos of the students work, but she never associates their names with the students faces. Another rule she gives them is to never use their birthdays, which is a good rule of thumb for most anyone. Mrs. Cassidy takes the time to explain about websites and not clicking the links on the sides. She said she hasn't had a problem with her students being exposed to inappropriate material, so hopefully if I implement these rules into my classroom too, I won't have as many problems either!

She also uses video in her classroom, which is a great tool for capturing a lesson product among other things and it is exciting for students when they get to be on video. I also love her use of Skype in the classroom. It's so hard sometimes to get experts and other people to visit a classroom and this way they can take about 15-20 minutes out of their day no matter where they are to just sit down and talk to the students. I can imagine this would be a great tool for me to use in the classroom when I get there. Especially if there are people I can get to talk that coincides with the lesson. Also, I think her use of the Nintendo DS in the classroom is brilliant. When you can pull a jedi mind trick on the students and have them learning without knowing it, it's a beautiful thing. All kids love playing with Nintendo DS's and to have learning games for them, it is so much fun and they learn not only what is on the game, but they learn to share also. I hope there is a way to incorporate something like this into my future classroom. Kind of like our smart boards we recently began using. I love the ideas of what you can bring into the classroom with just a swipe of your finger! EDM 310 has really gotten me excited about teaching (even though it has been a tough class).

teacher using technology in the classroom

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blog #9

What Can Teachers And Students Teach Us About Project Based-Learning?

Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning
By: John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller
This article is one that describes what a "meaningful project" is compared to what we as students used to think a project was in our school days. It states a meaningful project fills two criteria: Students must perceive the project as a meaningful task, one that matters and it must fill an educational purpose. The Buck Institute for Education researched to find there are 7 essentials to this PBL.
1. A Need to Know: As students, we always ask "Why do I need to know this? Will I ever use this after I leave school?". It's a struggle that teachers face everyday. A need to know means giving the students an example of where the information they are learning. The example they give in this article is about bacteria and showing a video about a beach that is closed due to contaminated water. The teacher starts a discussion about the experiences the students might have had and how pollution impacts them. This is called an "Entry Event".
2. A Driving Question: A good driving question captures the heart of the project in clear, compelling language, which gives students a sense of purpose and challenge. The example in the article is "How can we reduce the number of days Foster's Beach is closed because of poor water quality?". This is the thesis statement to the project basically.
3. Student Voice and Choice: Giving the students the choice of product they provide is key to help the project feel meaningful. A teacher can limit how much choice the student has by giving them a list of options to choose from or they can give them free range. This gives them the freedom to take charge in their education and what resources they will use and the creativity to make the project their own.
4. 21st Century Skills: This means that the project should give students the chance to build on their 21st century skills, such as skills with technology.
5. Inquiry and Innovation: Have students create a list of questions to answer in their projects. This article says that students find projects more meaningful if they can conduct real inquiry and answer questions after following a trail from their beginning questions.
6. Feedback and Revision: Students critique each others work and improve on their weaker areas to become stronger learners. They also learn to reflect on themselves to become better people if they can learn to self-assess. This can make the outcome or product better than before.
7. A Publicly Presented Product: When students present their work to a real audience, they care more about its quality.

Project Based-Learning for Teachers
By: Tony Vincent

This video is a great commercial in my opinion. While we are assigned to watch it, I really don't know what to report on it. It gives you the basic knowledge and overview on PBL, but there is no in depth learning about it. If it's purpose was to get you interested in Tony Vincent's workshops then it does a fine job.

High School Teachers Meet The Challenges of PBL Implementation
By: Edutopia
This video is about Sammamish High School in Washington and their integration of PBL school-wide. The one area that they are struggling with is math. The teacher says that there is not a PBl unit for each of their usual units, but instead they looked the year over and incorporated PBL where it fit. This video is very inspiring, especially at the end when it gives the percentages that show the improvement in the students progresses over the year. While they say there is no way to prove that these improvements are solely based on the PBL, but none the less they are impressive. I personally can see where math would be the hardest subject to incorporate PBl into. It seems to be the one area in my opinion that is easier to lecture about and work individually on. While group work can be used, how exactly do you incorporate projects into math?! I guess this is what their problem is also.

What Movtivates Students Today
By: Suzanne Ball
This video was really cute! Suzanne Ball interviews several students about what motivates them. Some of her answers were praise from a teacher, the future, college, career and being able to participate in sports. For me this seems like the typical answers for students (having been around enough of them in my lifetime). She then re-interviews them about what rewards work with them. One child talks about a chart his teacher has and incorporates "classroom money" into the chart that allows them to purchase things at a Friday Store or they can save up their money to have a pizza party. Another child talks about how her teacher uses each day to provide something new like Music Monday, Wacky Fact Wednesday and so forth. Both students in this teachers class talked about how much they loved this reward. But their usual answers were candy, food, brownie points and food.

Two students solve the case of the watery ketchup by designing a new cap
This video is proof about PBl and what it can accomplish in time. North Liberty High School seniors Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson decided their project would be about making a solution for the watery ketchup problem. Jonathan states "Wet bread is gross" so they decided to solve the problem by designing a cap that forces the ketchup up through a spout while leaving the watery parts below the spout every time. Jonathan designed the spout on a school computer program and Tyler printed the spout on a 3D printer at their school. They both stated that they loved that class and the freedom to take hold of their learning.

If these videos and articles are what we have to look forward to if we incorporate PBL in our classrooms, then it is a great idea. We could learn how to give the learning back to the students and the students can teach us about their capabilities. As teachers we expect to teach our students what they need to know, but it stands to reason that through PBL we could be taught a thing or two through the students and their views on the world. Much like Tyler and Jonathan, they could surpass all expectations when they are left to their own devices. While I may not see this kind of invention in elementary school, I am excited to see what brilliant minds my students have.

smart brain

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

A recent study by Zogby Analytics reports several interesting findings regarding young people aged 18 - 24:

1. 87% say their smartphone never leaves their side. 2. 80% say the very first thing they do in the morning is reach for their smartphone.
3. 78% say they spend 2 or more hours per day using their smartphone.
4. 68% say they would prefer to use their smartphone instead of their laptop or personal computer for personal use.
5. 91% say that having a camera on their smartphone is important (61% very important)
6. 87% say they use their smartphone camera at least weekly. 59% use their smartphone camera at least every other day. 44% use their smartphone camera for still or motion picture taking every day.

Cameras were added to smartphones starting in 2002. The first iPhone also had a camera. It became available in June 2007. Seven years later there are over 1.75 billion smartphones worldwide. (Source: emarketing) This means that 24.1% of the entire world population (7.263 billion as of 3:32 CDT 9/27/2014 - Source: World Population Clock) now has a smartphone. Your students will have lived all their life in a world with smartphones containing cameras.

Part A

The implications of this information for education, school, teachers, and learners is that information is more readily available than it ever has been. But not only that, there are more distractions than ever. Everyone has a smart phone these days and those smart phones bring things like Facebook, Candy Crush and Instagram to the palm of anyones hands. Which means the students will be trying to use their time for things other than learning. It's going to be one of the problems with using technology in the classroom in the future as kids get to the age where social sites are used more.

As I said before it is also a good thing and we should encourage the use of the readily available information in the hands of our students and teachers. While using a smart phone is class is usually forbidden, these days it can enhance the learning of a student. It can also help a teacher, especially when a student asks a question you can not answer. We can look it up quickly and gain a little information ourselves. I personally think this is a tool for learning, as long as we can keep an eye on the type of applications the students get on while using this tool in class.

Part B

As a teacher, knowing that just about every student in my class has a camera in the palm of their hand almost 24/7 as it is, I would use this to my advantage. I would set up picture scavenger hunts that goes along with the lesson or unit. They could find things in their community to go along with different projects. They could also use it for an art project. There are so many uses with a camera in all the hands of the students. As far as math goes, my worst subject, I would have a hard time coming up with a project with a camera. Unless we were working on geometric shapes or something. I'd love to use it with any type of nature unit, they could seek out the different types of plants and trees, or animals. There are so many different ways to use a camera to further education in our students lives and learning.

smartphone idea

Blog #8

This weeks assignment was to watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. Randy Pausch was a professor (and much more) at Carnegie Mellon University. He gave his last lecture on September 18, 2007. This was title his last lecture because he was literally given 3-6 months to live from about 10 tumors growing in his liver. He is an amazing speaker and seemed like he was an amazing professor and person.
This assignment was to think about what we can learn about teaching and learning from him. After watching this lecture, there are no words. It was over an hour long, but it kept me engaged the entire time. His teaching methods as a professor was almost purely Project Based Learning, fitting as his specialty was virtual worlds and building them. He gives so much great advice through out the video that I can not go into naming them all. The only advice I could possibly give to anyone is to take the time to watch this lecture. He speaks about achieving childhood dreams, not letting the brick walls stop you from what you want (they are there to stop those who don't really want the reward) and about his legacy he will be leaving behind. He throws a twist in at the end, but it was one of the most engaging hours and enlightening hours of my life. It's worth the butt numbness!

quote by Rand pausch

C4T #2

Pernille Ripp
Ms. Ripp is now a 7th grade reading teacher and is also the founder of the Global Read Aloud Project. She has written 2 books: First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press.

Post #1
The first post I commented on was from September 25, 2014 and was titled, So What Has Actually Been Working - 7th Grade Readers Workshop. It was a great read! She went through explaining things that have worked in her new experience as a 7th grade teacher and what she has had to tweek from her last year as a 5th grade teacher. She had several great ideas I plan to use for the future (according to what grade I end up teaching) and I also added her to my PLN. She has great insight into being a teacher and just great personal insight as well. I was very impressed my her writing and enthusiasm.

My Comment
Hi Ms. Ripp! My name is Sabrina and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in the EDM 310 class. I was assigned by my teacher, Dr. Strange, to read and comment on your blog. It’s part of gathering our PLN and also getting to see what real teachers are going through and learning from them. Your blog was the perfect one! I am studying to be an Elementary teacher, but I loved your ideas of choice and encouraging the 10 minutes of reading at the beginning of the class. That is something I feel would work great if I am teaching 4th grade and up. It’s a great way to get the class calm before digging in. I know as a student that always made me a little stressed out or wired when we just dove in.
I am assigned to comment next week also, so I am excited to dig deeper into your posts and see what awaits. I will also be commenting on it next week in my own blog, here. I am also going to start following you on Twitter, because I think you have some great insights and would be a valuable addition to my PLN. Again, thank you and I hope you have a blessed day!

Post #2
The second post I commented on was from October 11, 2014 and was titled, The Forms I Use, Readers Workshop In The Middle School Classroom. It was very interesting. She talks about the way she keeps track of her classroom and how she uses self-assessment with her 7th grade students. She uses a binder for each class, each student has their own tab and she keeps records on each one. (old test scores, what she has noticed about them daily and a checklist of how they are improving and their self-assessments) I really like this idea and will probably implement this in my own classroom.

My Comment
Hi Mrs. Ripp, this will be my last comment on your blog. I've really enjoyed reading the your posts and insights. I like the process you go through in this post about keeping up with your students progress. I think I am going to use this in my own classroom, when I finally get there. I love that they have their own tab and you give them self-assessments. I think that is important for them to begin so that later in their life they can continue to assess themselves and grow as people in their careers. Again, thank you for your insights and good luck in your future endeavours.

students looking into teachers lounge

Project 9 TT2 Group 10

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Blog #7

This blog assignment was to watch several videos from kindergarten and first grade teachers in Gulf Shores and Daphne on how they are using technology in their classrooms. It was absolutely amazing to see these students at work on their iPads researching, making virtual webs and boards and recording themselves reading. I am a firm believer that children are not given enough credit for their comprehension of the world of technology and learning. My daughter is my proof, but the resources these teachers were using are things I never learned about till I was twice these students ages!
One teacher, Mrs. Ginger Tuck was using the iPad in the reading center for her kindergarteners. They were recording themselves reading and playing it back to see if they made mistakes. Then she was using an app called Poplet to basically build a web on their iPads to save information and pictures on the unit they were learning about that week. Mrs. Tuck was also using the Alabama Virtual Library, which I never thought about having a special place/ page for elementary students, but it does. It is simplified, of course, for their use and shows them pictures, articles and videos. The best feature I think there is about this is that the page will read the introduction to the student so they won't have to ask what all the larger words are.

I love the ideas that these teachers have, if only I can be so lucky as to work for a school that has the ability to provide such things for my classroom. Which leads to the other parts of the assignment, listing my strengths and weaknesses of teaching technology and how I can get myself ready to do just that.
My strengths would have to be:
-I am a fast learner with new technology
-I love to learn new technology
-I am creative and can explain things easily
-I use technology daily and try to stay up to date with it
-I know that children are capable of so much more than we know

My weaknesses would have to be:
-I can get ahead of myself easily
-I am not very organized with things on my computer (though it is a work in progress)
-There are things about HTML that I still don't understand or remember
-I am the sticky note queen due to my memory
-I am a procrastinator, even with technology

Getting ready for the future of teaching through this technology is going to basically be a lifestyle change. I will have to make myself hold my work and learning to a higher standard so my students will get the best of me as their teacher. I know that many things will change in the next year and a half before I make it into the classroom, but I will have to stay on top of learning it all so that I am not teaching an old way of doing things. The last thing I want is my students looking at me and wondering if I even know what I am doing. I want them to be excited about learning, research and technology, since their futures will include more than my school career ever did.

Show and text

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Project #8 - Book Trailer

Blog #6

After watching the assigned conversations between Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps, we were asked the question "What did you learn?".
Personally I found the conversations interesting. Especially since we are hearing it from a third grade teacher who has been in the classroom a while and also remembers what it is like to be in our shoes as students in college. Anthony made some interesting discussions with Dr. Strange on the subject of Project Base Learning and I realize that even though I liked the idea at first (but shut it down), I don't understand it completely. He described it as if it wasn't as hard as I first thought. I was scared that it was way more work than the traditional teaching methods, even though I love projects.

Anthony also makes great points in the discussion about technology, he says "Don't teach technology, use it." Which I completely agree with. Children are much more capable than they are given credit for. I know this personally because I have a 7 year old daughter who can use an IPad and the computer just as well as I can. It is something that will only integrate itself further into the classroom as time moves on and we as teachers need to include it, in some shape or form, in our lessons. It is a great way to open the world up to our students.

The video conversation they had on the Anthony-Strange list for new teachers was a good insight for a teacher just starting out. These were the points I picked out over the video:
1. Be interested in being a learner
2. Let your work be fun
3. Be prepared for surprises in the classroom
4. Be flexible in lesson plans to achieve the end result
5. Aim for 100% student engagement (Even though you may not achieve that)
6. Use reflection in your lesson plan for the students

Anthony also adds in one last note regarding your lesson plan. He says start with your yearly plan. Make sure that your map encompasses the entire year and getting everything the students are supposed to learn into that map. Then move on to your unit sizes. Make sure each unit has a fair enough time, so that your yearly plan doesn't need much adjusting. After that comes the weekly plan, what you are going to teach each week in that unit. Which comes to the last part of the map, the daily plan. He says each piece is as important as the other, but to make sure that every piece is a stepping stone to the next and not a plateau or a leap. Which I think is great advice.

C4K Summary for September

My first assigned student to comment on was Ben. He lives in Pt. England, Aukland, New Zealand and is a year 8 student in Ms. Squires class. The blog post I commented on was posted on September 8, 2014 and was a paragraph written with inspiration from the short film La Luna. You can read it here. After reading Ben's paragraph, I let him know I was impressed with his descriptions and the way he basically captured attention. I commended him on making La Luna sound interesting enough to watch, so that I would have more understanding with his insight for the paragraph.

The second student was Sinokuhle. A student in South Africa, in Mrs. Bernhard's class. The blog post I read was from May 29, 2014 and was a descriptive paragraph titled "A day as a child living in a informal settlement". It was written in somewhat broken english, but I took that as to be part of the beauty of the story. The child described doesn't have the luxuries we do, and has had a hard life helping support their family. I commended Sinokuhle on the creativity of the post and how it felt like the child itself was telling the story. It was a very interesting post.

My third student was Savannah. She lives in Massachusetts, where she is in Mrs. Greer's 5th grade class. Her Week 4 blog post was a paragraph about a safari. She described seeing a crocodile and wanting to get a closer look with her partner. I let her know I loved her creativity and description. She added a short conversation between the characters in the concluding portion of the paragraph and brought the story to life.

I had a lot of fun reading these student's posts from all over the world, and hope to one day have a class blog of my own.

Children All Over The World

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Sentence Videos

This Is My Passion

This Is My Sentence

Introduction To The Parents

Introduction To The Students

Please excuse my CRAZY FACES!!! Didn't realize the way I stopped the camera!!

Project #3 Presentation

Blog Post #5

This blog is all about Personal Learning Networks or PLNs. These are networks of people and tools that you can go to when you need to consult someone on anything, especially in the field of teaching. These people and tools can be other teachers (locally and internationally) and websites that can range from a variety of subjects and information. Having these networks are great for the teacher. You can use Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and other social networking sites to collaborate with other teachers and people who have or are studying in certain fields that could be taught in the classroom. It's a great way to gather information, news, projects and even new ways to teach things from others who have experienced what you are about to go through.

I actually started my PLN today. Of course I started it on Twitter, since to me that seems the easiest to begin with. I added my ARTS in Elementary teacher, Dr. Paige Vitulli. She has made her Twitter a PLN and expresses the benefits of this in her class consistently. I also did a search for elementary education and found several resources for my future classroom and ideas. Although after this I found myself stuck. I honestly didn't know what else to look for and who else to look for. Even though one of the sites we were given to look into was a previous project by Dr. Strange on this very subject. He gave us different teachers Twitter names to look into and start following if we saw fit, but after looking into quite a few I decided I didn't want to follow any of them. I guess I prefer to search for my own connections and colleagues to be in my PLN.

I even signed up for the site Symbaloo. Its a website that basically puts all your other websites onto one page. It compiles all the sites you want to use and it places them all in front of you for easy access. I am still new at using it, but I like it so far. Instead of overloading my favorites with websites (which shows at the bottom of my Google status bar), I can add just the one website and have all my sites at my fingertips. It's very convenient.

learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can -there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did. A quote by Sarah Caldwell

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Project #4 C4T #1

This project is one I love. We are assigned a teacher who blogs and we comment on them. The teacher I was assigned is Mrs. Sara Allen, a 5th grade math teacher. I was supposed to have commented on her blog twice now, but I have had some complications with my pregnancy and was very sick, so I missed my first comment. I am sad that I did, because after reading her posts I find her very insightful and passionate about teaching. You can view her blog at this link.

Sara's post that I did comment on is pending approval at this moment, but it was about determination and not expecting each new class to learn the same as the others. She described this technique called Math Workshop that she uses to help students learn independently and together as groups. She said her first class using this took some time to tweek the process and a lot of feedback from the students, but the results were phenomenal. However, her class the next year seemed to be more frustrated with the way workshop was going that Sara admits the first half of the year was not spent focused on math. Her revelation is that no two classes will ever learn the same and she tweeked her process again and saw results in the end.

When I commented on her post, I commended her for her reflections on her year. I also let her know that I have been told before about the classes, but to hear it from someone who was going through it now (or 2013 when the post was made) makes it feel like a confirmation. She helped me learn to reflect on my teaching methods to construct them to each class and their way of learning. It is a learning process, even for the teacher. I wish her luck in her future teaching endeavours.


Search Engines - Project # 15

Our project this week is searching search engines. Sounds crazy, but it was actually enlightening. I didn't know there were so many types of search engines out there and most I actually knew, but didn't think of them as search engines. We were not allowed to use Google as one of our 8 findings, but a confession... I used Google to find them! Amazingly, there are tons of lists and "2014's Top Search Engines" or "Search Engines for Beginners" out there. So here is my list and reviews on each of the 8 I found.

#1. Free Book Search: This search engine was created for bookworms like myself. It is run off of Google Custom searches, but scours the internet for books, audio books, free PDF downloads of books and more. I played around with it and the book search was great. It had a lot of results and pulled from lots of sites for downloads and purchases in just seconds. For some reason I wasn't able to figure out the audiobook search, but don't let that stop you from using the book search!

#2. Zillow: I have used this site before looking for real estate and housing, but never thought of it as a search engine. It is easy to use and can find property all over the U.S. Whether you're looking to rent, own, or window shop, it is a great and reliable search engine for housing and property. It even has a button to start pre-approval on a mortgage!

#3. Pic Search: A great search engine for images. It searches over 3,000,000,000 pictures and gives you a similar layout to Google Images. When you are first on the screen to search, you will notice images in the background. They are the top searches over a certain period of time, as far as I can tell. You can scroll over these images and click on them for more related images. Once you've found the image you like and click on it, you are taken to the website with the image, but at the top of the page you can select to see the image by itself. Very similar to Google Images, but easier to use.

#4. Dogpile: Is similar to Google, but instead it literally "dogpiles" (hence the name) all the related searches from other major search engines. It has a cleaner page set up than Google and I find it user friendly. On the homepage you can also search for images, shopping, video, news, local listings and white pages. They also have an app for your phone.

#5. WebMD: Everyone knows this one, I'm sure! It is a source for all things medical from questions about symptoms to the latest news. You can find just about anything you need on this one search engine. You can check your BMI, you can plan your food and fitness, you an even find healthy recipes. It even has a symptom checker tool. But beware, self diagnosing can be hazardous to your health!!

#6. Map Quest: The GPS before there we could afford GPS. (And before it came equipped on our phones!) Who hasn't used this search engine before?! I mean really, my In-laws still use it to this day. But, they have added a few new features. You can now look up hotels, charging stations, restaurants, travel services, shopping, activities, and other local services. I find that even my Google maps on my phone gives me fits trying to find all those things and don't get me started on Siri! This search engine I think is still very useful, but has been pushed into second place by our smart phones. (when they work)

#7. Webopedia: This search engine is there for the people like me who get into a computer class and have no clue what some of the lingo is! You can search for terms and knowledge on computer technology with easy to understand answers. It also gives you the latest news on a variety of technology. Its a great search engine for students and beginners.

#8. Wolfram Alpha: Another great search engine for students. It is a computational knowledge engine that you can enter a math problem or subject and get an easy to understand report. For instance, I searched William Shakespeare and it gave me a long list of information and facts on him. Did you know he was 6'4"? I didn't! This is a search engine everyone should try when stuck on a math problem or doing research for any subject!

funny picture about working too hard

Blog Post #4

For this blog post, Dr. Strange posed the question, "What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?". Amazingly, I have never thought about how to ask questions in a classroom from a teachers prospective. This may be due to the fact that I am just starting on my journey and am not a teacher yet, but it is time to start thinking about this and other things. I always assumed (from a students point of view) that teachers "flew by the seat of their pants" when it came to questions. It seemed they just asked whatever question popped into their heads at the moment. Sometimes they made me think and other times I just stared blankly wondering if I should have known the answer.

After reading the material that Dr. Strange gave us to research, I find myself rethinking my original assumption. And yet, I still find that many of my previous teachers just pulled out the random question generator. Although after reading the article Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom by Maryellen Weimer, PhD., I like her idea of actually recording your questions in your lesson creation or at least writing them down. She also describes techniques such as asking the question at the beginning of the lesson and leaving it unanswered till later on or at the end, when students have had time to think about it and learn a little more information. I can remember a few previous teachers who would give us a question sheet at the beginning of a video or powerpoint and we had to answer the questions throughout the process. I thought at the time it was a cheap way of making sure we paid attention, but now I see that it was a way of keeping me engaged and actually picking up a few tidbits (because we all know we like to zone out on certain teaching techniques as students).

I also found the video Open Ended Questions by Andi Stix interesting. She talks about the way teachers ask questions and what type of questions we ask. Particularly open ended and closed ended questions. I for one know, from my daughter who is in 2nd grade, that we learn about these types of questions in or around the 2nd grade. Andi is right when she says the way we phrase a question can affect the type of responses we get. She has a website/blog that she gives a strategy on how to rephrase questions for students to get them thinking. Reading Open-Ended Questions that she posted on April 29, 2012, you're given a step by step process.
She encourages using the question starters:
For what reasons…
In what ways…
Describe in detail…
Explain specifically…
Generate a list…
Brainstorm as many reasons for…

I personally know I will be using these in my classroom when I finally do become a teacher! I want to be the teacher that not only makes learning fun, but I want to encourage my students to think for themselves in and out of the classroom. If this is the first step in that process, I am going to make sure it is done right.

never stop learning because life never stops teaching

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blog Post #2

So for the first question of this blog, we were supposed to watch the short video Mr. Dancealot. This video is about a dance teacher who attempts to teach a class by using only powerpoint and no involvement. When they get to the final exam, he expects them to dance. The poor students are so lost that they are just standing there reading notes. It is impossible to teach a hands on course without the students actually participating. The message behind this video is make sure your teaching objective and how you teach it is what's best for the students. You can't just "teach them so they don't have to learn" as Dr. Strange says. I completely agree with this message, because if the students do not participate then how do you expect them to learn!?

Our next assigned video comes from Mr. Kevin Robert's Teaching in the 21st Century. It is a video about how different the world is now with all the technology and informational resources our children have these days. Between Google, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and other sources, what is the job of a teacher these days? The argument Roberts makes is that it is the teacher's job to help the students learn to use these sites correctly and how to sounds halfway intelligent when they publish, post or comment. We are now the filter to the knowledge that students can obtain from the world wide web. He also states that these tools are not only used for entertainment, but they should be used for engaging the students in learning and getting them excited about learning. I agree with Roberts 100%, because the world we were brought up in has changed drastically. Students are using technology in every classroom, we have to help the students be safe online and to use it properly.

The third video is The Networked Student, a video whose name sums up the idea of the video. It sets a great example of how the internet can be used to help a student learn about their chosen profession or really any topic they choose. It is also a great way to get connected with potential colleagues, authors of papers/books and professors. During the video it asks the question, "So, why does the networked student even need a teacher?". They need us to show them how to set up this network, the correct way to connect with professionals and how to maintain the network to grow with them as they progress in their student and professional career. I think this video is a great watch for every potential teacher. It is a great insight into our roles as teachers in the 21st century.

In the video, Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts, Vicki Davis teachers her students to use the web to explore the world and open their minds to new experiences. She is also letting them teach the class, which gives them a change of pace and students will be proud of their accomplishments when they can look back on their work or day and say "I did that!". I love her ideas and the way she was involving the students completely in all her objectives and teachings.

Our fifth video we were assigned comes from our professor, Dr. Strange, and his visit to Gulf Shores Elementary School in Alabama. It's called, Who Is Ahead In The Learning Race?. It is absolutely amazing to see what these kindergarteners, first graders, second graders and third graders are accomplishing on their IPads and Mac Books. They are learning (and learning well), things that we as undergraduate students aren't even attempting yet. So to answer his questions, they are ahead by a landslide! These children are going to be fluent in the technology game by the time they reach 18 years of age. Which is a feat they should be proud of and will no doubt get them far in life considering how much technology has weaseled its way into every field. I am truly amazed at their accomplishments and commend them.

Last, but not least, is a new technique called "Flipping The Classroom". This technique is about the teacher recording a video lesson that the student watches the night before as homework and discusses the next morning in class. This is completely new to me and honestly I disagree with it. It has its advantages, but it also has its downsides. Advantages would be the students teaching themselves and hopefully retaining the lesson, and maybe even the time abundance in class the next day. But on the other hand, when the student has to teach themselves without proper instruction at that age, how can you be sure they are learning the proper technique and what about the children who get frustrated during their practice problems and give up. You aren't there to help them and build their confidence on that subject. Maybe they video lessons aren't that bad, but maybe it can be a precursor to the actual lesson so they can have some background knowledge before the lesson. But personally I will not be using this technique in my classroom unless the school I work for absolutely requires it.

a quote by Bill Gates

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blog Post 1

So far, EDM 310 is unlike any other class I have taken, high school or college level. It has already required me to step outside of my little box I have been in and try something different. I have never been required to keep a blog, neither have I ever had an interest to. (It's harder than I expected!) I've never really had a class that requires so much hands on and time, either. Whether it is in the classroom or sitting here at the computer. I'm not complaining by no means, I love learning about computers and technology. I also love trying new things, hence my excitement for this course. It is not one that you sit at a desk and listen to a teacher drone on and on and on (and on...) for hours about a particular subject then hope you were paying attention enough to remember the lecture and complete the homework. Luckily it is a hands on class (which I learn the best at anyways) and I am doing it all myself, so I will remember it later. I honestly couldn't stand my earlier computer courses, the ones that "introduce" you to the Microsoft applications. It was such a tedious course! So as I mentioned before, I am excited about being in this class!

Although I haven't heard many rumors about EDM 310 and Dr. Strange, I have been told it is a bit more difficult than any other teaching course I will have to go through. I've heard it takes a fair amount of time and concentration to complete this course with a good grade. I personally have always been a bit of a procrastinator (I say this as I am sitting here 6 hours before the due date of this assignment), but I am working on it! I plan on getting a little bit of my assignments done daily and maybe even more. I tend to get wrapped up in anything to do with the computer and writing. I love to write. My biggest fear about this course is that I will procrastinate enough that I am always rushed in my projects. (As in years before) Hopefully I will practice what I preach and just do it! So far Dr. Strange has explained himself, our objectives and what he expects from us as students fairly clearly, so thankfully I am not left with a ton of questions as in courses before. So I am crossing my fingers and toes that I keep up and pass this course with a good grade. Not to mention, I am looking forward to learning as much as I can since technology is booming in the teaching field!

hands with their fingers crossed

Practice Post


A. All about me
B. All about my life
C. Why I want to be a teacher
D. What I see as the teachers role in the 21st century
E. My passions
F. Interesting facts about me.

Hi!! My name is Sabrina, I just turned 28 on August 8th. I grew up in Mobile,AL and lived here till I was 17 and joined the Air Force. I traveled to Texas, California, Colorado and Mississippi. I was never deployed, although I applied several times, but it was for the best. I was a Aeromedical Technician, meaning I was the medic who worked on the planes. Because of this, I worked in the medical field for over 10 years. I have a 7 year old little girl named Keely, who is my world and is my mini me with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Last year I got married to my first high school crush, took 10 years for us to reconnect from high school. He is a foreman for Koch Specialty Plant Services and works out of town approximately 7-9 months a year. We are expecting our first child together in February 2015. He is the main reason I am attending South now. I was attending Faulkner State Community College for several years pursuing my RN, but last year I confessed to my husband that I always secretly wanted to be an Elementary teacher. So we decided I would quit my job and go to school full time. I started last August and finished my prerequisites at Faulkner and this is my first semester at South. I am really excited about the prospect of being in the classroom. I love children and have a passion for them some would say.

I love teaching children and seeing their faces light up when they learn something new. I took a break from the medical field for about 2 years and taught preschool during that break. It was the best two years of my life. I loved getting to know each individual child and learning from them how to teach them best. They are all different and therefore learn differently. Some where more hands on where others could just listen. I think the most important job in the world is being an Elementary Teacher, because they are the ones who install the love learning in a child at an early age. A good teacher can make an enormous impact on a little ones mind.

Having that impact on little ones mind is a huge responsibility and it changes over time to keep up with the change in the world. The 21st century is one of the most diverse centuries yet. Now the children need to learn how to use computers confidently and competently just to make it in life. Even for the nursing fields! So it is the teachers responsibility to learn electronics and expand those children's mind to the world of computers and media. And while expanding those minds, they have to teach all the traditional subjects too. It makes it easier if the teacher loves learning, this shows the children how fun it can be, especially since they have a long learning career ahead of them.

I have a few passions, teaching being one of them. But I am also an avid reader (when I am not in school, otherwise I feel really guilty) and I use to go snowboarding every weekend when I was stationed in California. I also LOVE to sing, but haven't done it in front of people in a very long time. My absolute passion though, that tops it all is my family (My husband and Keely). I love being a mother and a wife more than anything in this world. There is nothing that can bring a smile to my face and warm my heart faster than hearing them tell me they love me. And there is no greater feeling than seeing my little girls smiling face after school, running up to give me a big hug and being excited to see me. It can turn even the worst days into the best!
my little family

I guess I could finish up with a few interesting facts about me. Well, you already know about the singing and snowboarding, but I have also jumped out of a plane during the Air Force training. I will never do that again though! I have never been to Disney World (weird I know), but I am planning on going because I LOVE anything Disney! I read a lot, but only the weird stuff as my husband says. I read all the Twilight books, all the Mortal Instruments(the City of Bones movie was the first book), things of that nature. I am in love with all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jack Sparrow is hilarious!! My husband says I am such a nerd, but I hide it well until I am around people I'm comfortable with. A nerd in disguise I guess! And that's all me...