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