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.

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