Thursday, April 24, 2014

C4K for April

Just for kids blog

For the first week of April, I was assigned to Zion in Mrs. Lagitupu's class. His blog post was a creepy story about a boy that dies in his house and haunts it. Then a man walks by and he gets possessed by demons and goes insane. It was an interesting story to say the least. It was apretty creepy story, especially for a 7 year old; but it did contain a lot of details which was good coming from a student of his age. His writing style was very great, even if the story was a little bit creepy.

On the second week of April, I commented on Paris's blog. This post was about a pikopiko fern, it can be eaten either raw or cooked. They have been reading about these plants in class. Paris also included a picture of a drawing of the plant in the post.

For the third week of April, I commented on Simon's Blog. He posted a chart about chromebook. In one column he would ask questions and then he would proceed to answer them in the second column. He said that he enjoyed using chromebook and it helped him learn. His areas that he needed help in were math, spelling, and reading. He also enjoyed doing math games and activities on math whizz. His biggest struggle was that the wireless kept going out. Chromebook seems like a very interesting learning tool.

C4T #4


In Cathy Jo Nelson's blog post, How can my students be productive using BYOD?, she discusses the pros and cons of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). It is a challenge to try to incorporate technology into the classroom this way without having the students get distracted. I am kind of on the fence when it comes to BYOD. Yes it can be useful to students to do their work on their own devices, but I feel it is more of a distraction than an aid. Devices have text messaging, music, games, and social media which can be a major distraction to students during school. On the other hand, BYOD gives the students a chance to research on a device they are comfortable with and it may make it easier to do their work. I like the idea of BYOD, but I'm not sure what can be done to avoid distractions.

In Cathy Jo Nelson's blog post, Unexpected Perks of Poetry Month, she talks about all the perks she encountered in the library while doing a spine poetry activity. Students go into the library and pick out books and stack them up to where the titles on the sides make a poem. This was very neat to read about. I have never heard of an activity like that before, but it looks like something I would want to try. Cathy mentioned that students found books in the library that they never knew were there. The students became really excited about this and began checking out more books. I think it is really great that this activity got the students more interested in reading and they probably will visit the library more often to check out more books.
Book Spine Poem

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Post #13

My area of specialty is elementary education. As we have learned this semester, project based learning is an important method to incorporate into the classroom. However, I keep wondering if there are other methods besides PBL and regular lecture type teaching. I did some research and I found Problem Based Learning and Inquiry Based Learning.

Blog Post:
Rather than teaching students facts and having them just memorize the information to pass the test, we should get them thinking and asking questions. That is what problem based learning and inquiry based learning help to do. These videos and websites introduce problem based learning and inquiry based learning; compares and contrasts these two with each and also with project based learning; and demonstrates ways to combine the three to create a better learning environment for our students.
Watch Inquiry and Problem Based Learning (2:29)
Watch Project/Problem based learning in elementary school (5:30)
Visit Project, Problem, and Inquiry-Based Learning and explore the links to learn more about Project, Problem and Inquiry based learning.
Write a quality blog post on it.

elementary students on laptop
As we have already learned, "project based learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge" (BIE). Project and Problem based learning are very similar; however, problem based learning focuses more on teaching through problems, and projects are just incorporated into the learning process. In project based learning, the teaching method is solely taught through the students doing projects, and problem solving is one of the types of ways to go about doing these projects. Problem based learning is an approach to learning focusing on the process of solving a problem and acquiring knowledge. Problem based learning is also inquiry-based when students are active in creating the problem. Inquiry based learning is a student-centered, active learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These three approaches used separately can help students better understand the information, rather than lecture learning. However, when these learning strategies are combined, the learning process becomes much better and it creates a greater learning environment for the students. They will walk out of the classroom at the end of each day knowing more than just how to memorize facts; they will truly learn and be engaged in their learning.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Post #12 - What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher?

what's assistive technology?

It is very important to meet every child's need, even the impaired children. There are many new types of technology that were created to assist impaired children to help them have a better learning experience. After watching these videos and doing my own research, I have found many interesting assistive technology devices that are great aids in the classroom. In The Mountbatten - Assistive Technology for the Blind, the mountbatten is demonstrated as a typing device for the blind. The student will type Braille into the typewriter-like machine and it produces a Braille copy onto a piece of paper, reads aloud what they are typing, and also sends the file to a computer for the teacher's use. I found this device to be very interesting because it enables the student to keep up with the rest of the class; it benefits both the student and the teacher because it produces a text in both Braille and regular typing. Another interesting device was the iPad with the voice over. In both iPad usage for the blind and Having a great time teaching mom what her deaf/blind child is learning on the iPad, it shows how blind people are able to use an iPad just as efficiently as a seeing person. The voice over application makes it where everything that is on the screen can be read out loud to the user to benefit those who are unable to see. Watching these videos on assistive technology tools got me really interested in learning more.

In my research, I found a device called Tactile Image Enhancer (or T.I.E). In Tactile Image Enhancer - Assistive Technology for the Blind, it demonstrates how this device works to create an image or representation where all the parts are able to be felt and identified. This video shows a teacher making a flower. First, she draws the flower onto special chemically treated cotton-woven paper with a China pencil. Then it was put through the machine and the heat of the machine caused the lines that were drawn to be raised up; the darker the lines, the more it rose. This enables a blind student to feel over the picture and identify the different parts and create their own image in their head. The Tactile Image Enhancer is great for making pictures, charts, graphs, and tables for tests.

These tools and many others are great and useful tools for impaired students. These students should get an equal opportunity to have the best learning environment possible; and these tools help make learning much better and easier for them.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blog Post #11 - What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

Jasmine Boykin
In Brian Crosby's Back to the Future video, he talks about his ESL class and shows a project that they did involving a balloon. This balloon project taught them the scientific side, pressure, and also helped the students further their knowledge for technology. Rather than it being a typical science class with homework and tests, they would have to write blog posts on the experiments that they performed in class and research information for experiments. One point I found very interesting was when he said that we shouldn't race kids through school, they should be excited about what they are learning rather than dread going to school everyday.

In Paul Anderson's video, the Blended Learning Cycle, he presents a way to combine blended learning (online, mobile, and classroom) and the learning cycle (engage, explore, explain, expand; which all four E's evolve around evaluation). His teaching method was "Quivers" : Question, Investigation, Video, Elaboration, Review, and Summary quiz. The question is what hooks the students and gets them interested in what he is teaching. The students investigate by experimenting and examining what is happening. The video is what the students watch on their own time to free up more class time for experimenting. Elaboration is when the students read about what they are doing. Then they review what they have learned before taking a summary quiz. This way of teaching ensures the students leave the classroom truly knowing what was taught.

In Sam Pane's video, Super Digital Citizen, he teaches his students about internet safety. They create comics about a digital superhero that they make. They create a situation that could happen on the internet that they could avoid by using correct internet safety. They include themselves in the comic and tell their story. This project not only teaches them internet safety, but it also lets them incorporate technology into their learning.

In Dean Shareski's video, Project Based Learning, three come together and combine their class as one. History, English, and information processing are combined to make a class that depends on project based learning for a unique learning experience. Project based learning is a very effective method of teaching which involves the students in the lesson more than regular lecture based learning. One interesting point I found in this video was that starting PBL at an early age can help students overcome the fear of public speaking. If we start students off early with presenting in front of their peers, then they most likely won't be afraid to stand in front of people and present later on in life. They would have already overcome that fear in elementary. school. Project based learning is very effective, even in the long run of life.

There are so many great points to Brian Crosby's Back to the Future Lecture. Not only is he showing a perfect example of project based learning, he is showing that students are capable of so much more than we give them credit for sometimes. Even though some of his students don't know their addresses and phone numbers, they excel at the balloon project. They are even excited about it. He is so right. We need to stop racing kids through school. Let them get excited and learn at the same time, and the results will be better.

In Paul Anderson's video,Blended Learning Cycle, he begins with getting back to the power of the question. I love the formula he uses for his lessons. It begins with a question. That question is followed up with an investigation done by the students. He has a video lesson that the students watch on their own time, and that frees him up to help them elaborate and review before they have a quiz. I really like the idea of the students having access to the lesson ahead of time. This goes back to flipping the classroom. This allows for more class time to be spent doing hands-on activities.

Paul Anderson and Brian Crosby are not the only teachers that are utilizing the project based learning method for teaching. In these videos there are a few more examples of how learning is changing.


Will Richardson
In Will Richardson's blog post Classrooms as “Shapeless and Unmoored”, he provides a link to a post that talks about how corporations put up a wall between now and the future. The future is an enemy because it is an idea that can't be thought and it is a risk that can't be managed. Richardson comments on this post saying that if you replace corporations with classrooms, it will make sense. The classroom doesn't need to treat the future as an enemy. Students should be creative and invent a future for themselves that will make them better students. He really gets his readers thinking about how classrooms need to break down the wall and work with the future to make a successful learning environment. What really stands out is the comparison of corporations and classrooms. Change needs to be made both in the classroom and in corporations. We can't keep living in the past and keep making the same mistakes. We need to invent a future that isn't the enemy; we need to combine the future and the classroom to make a better learning experience rather than living in the past.

In his blog post, One Mom’s Struggle With School and Tests, he shows a letter that he received from a mother that is thinking about opting her child out of testing because she feels that it does not help her daughter at all. She is not happy with the way the school system is teaching children and causing them to feel inadequate. I believe that not every child has the same way of learning. Some students may benefit from hands on activities while others learn better by reading. It should be a teacher's job to adapt to each child's needs and ensure they have the best learning experience possible. It is not right for a student to feel inadequate in their learning, they should feel confident in what they learn. Change needs to start in the school, not at home with the student.

C4K for March

Kids blogging
In Mrs. Lavakula's class, I read Martin's blog about mazes. He discussed why people use flags when walking through mazes and why the lifeguards stand on a platform. The lifeguards stand up high so that they can see the flags to help prevent people from getting lost. He says that mazes are built for people to have fun. He also included a picture of a maze in his post. The post was very good for his age level, he just needs to work on spacing, capitalization, and punctuation.

In Efa-Lata's blog, she talks about how her class does recess everyday. She explains what types of exercises they do in recess. Fitness is very important for your body. Her blog post was very unique; rather than a typical written post, it was a video blog post. It also included a picture that she had drawn on a computer. It was a very interesting post to watch, I enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blog Post #10 - What can we learn from Sir Ken Robinson?

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson's speech, Bring on the Learning Revolution, was very inspiring to me. He says that instead of education evolution, it should be a revolution. Changes need to be made in education and the way we teach our students. Educational systems are being reformed, where they are fixing broken models. Instead of fixing what is broken, it needs to be completely changed and improved. As teachers, we need to accommodate the needs of our students by recognizing their talents and passions. The school system needs to be moved from being standardized to being customized for each student's needs.

A successful teacher should not just be a teacher to have a job, it should be a job that they are passionate about. When you are passionate about a job, you love doing it. If you are constantly looking forward to the weekend, then you are not passionate about it. When a teacher absolutely loves their job, it becomes easier for them to teach and their teaching is more effective for the students.

This video by Sir Ken Robinson was very interesting to watch and inspiring. I learned a lot from watching it and I agree with many of his points that he brought up. Our education system needs to be changed to better improve how children learn. We need to nourish each student's need and passions to make learning more enjoyable for them so that they will be excited about becoming successful in whatever career they choose.

Project #15 - Project Based Learning Plan 3

Project 15 - Lesson Plan

Project #12 Part A - Smart Board Tools

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Post #9 - What Can We Learn From Mrs. Cassidy?

Technology in Education
Ms. Cassidy posted a video titled Little Kids...Big Potential, it showed how her first grade class used technology in their classroom. They used blogs, classroom webpages, wikis, video makers, Skype, and they even used their Nintendo DS's in the classroom to help them learn. She has had a classroom webpage for over 10 years and has incorporated technology into her classroom.

Ms. Cassidy feels that technology is very important and it is not going away. College students today that are studying to become teachers should realize how important technology is and how big of a role it plays in schools today. We need to learn how to use technology now because no matter what age we teach or where we teach, we will always be faced with modern technology and we will have to use it everyday. She also talks about how important it is to have a PLN (Personal Learning Network) and to use it to our benefit. Twitter is a great resource to find people to connect with and share ideas with.

Ms. Cassidy also talks about how she keeps her students safe when it comes to the internet. She tells her students to never put their last name on anything they post online, not to post pictures of themselves, and also to be positive when commenting on other students' work. She puts safe sources on the class webpage for the students to navigate to when they need to. She also teaches them what they should do when they come across something that they know they shouldn't see. It is all about education and teaching them what to do, even on the internet too.

I really enjoyed watching and listening to Ms. Cassidy talk about technology. I learned quite a bit about how it should be used correctly in the classroom and how to keep the students safe from the dangers of the internet. I learned that technology is very important in any classroom and it will always play a role in a student's learning from here on. Technology is always changing and always advancing, so as teachers we need to keep up with it to ensure our students get the best possible learning environment they can get.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blog Post #8 - 21st Century Learning an Communicating Tools

Teaching tools

With technology playing a bigger role in the classroom, teachers have began turning to online teaching tools to help teach, plan lessons, make assessments, and do many other classroom tasks. Online tools makes it easier to organize your work while saving paper and space at the same time. I have researched a few useful teaching tools that will help me when I become an elementary teacher.

The first tool I found was e-learning for kids. It is a global, nonprofit foundation dedicated to fun and free learning on the internet for children ages 5-12. It has courseware in math, science, reading and keyboarding. Students can do an interactive lesson to get more engaged in what they are learning.

Another useful tool I found was GoEd Online Elementary. The goal of this tool is to spread affordable digital content to classrooms around the world. It provides English, Science, Social Studies, and World Language teachers with more access to technology. The downside to this tool is that is costs money to download activities, ebooks, games, lessons, etc.; but in the long run, I think it would be worth it to help your students succeed.

Also, I found KidsClick to be a very useful tool for students. It is a search engine designed solely for students to use the internet to search safely and get kid-friendly results. It was designed for kids by librarians. I think search engines like this are a great tool to use in schools today because the internet has endless amounts of information that may not be useful to students or are highly inappropriate for children. I think all teachers should incorporate safe search engines onto their classroom computers rather than using Google or Yahoo.

Project #14 - Project Based Learning Plan #2

Project Based Learning Lesson Plan
Grade Level: Second Grade
Subject: Science
Title of Project: Honey, Where Are My Bees?
Project Idea: The students will be investigating why the honey bee population has declined and how it impacts them and the people in their town. Students will work in collaborative groups of four to create a multimedia project. Each group will choose one of five creative presentations (Television News Program, Commercial (recorded on a Video DVD), Oral Report with Visuals (original artwork, digital images, collage, etc.), Dramatic Play with Costumes, Giant Book (with student created pictures and sentences). They will direct their presentations to their families, peers, and the principal. Local beekeepers will be invited as special guests.
Performance Objectives:
-Knowledge of Honey bee
-How to Work Cooperatively with Others
-Critical Thinking Skills
-Technology Skills
-Presentation Skills
-Use a Digital Microscope
-Draw, Label, and Describe the Functions of a Honey Bee’s Body
-Create a Poster (life cycle, comb, workers)
-Write in a Journal
-Create a 3-D Labeled Model of a Honey Bee
-Compare/Contrast Your Body to a Bee’s Body Parts
-Develop a Multi-media Group Presentation
-Write a 2-3 Page Report and Six Question Interview
-Information and Communication Skills
-Thinking and Reasoning Skills
-Personal and Workplace Skills
Driving Question: How does the disappearance of honey bees affect me, my town, and local beekeepers, and what can I do to help the honey bees?

Day One:
-Divide students into groups of four and determine each student’s role in the group (team leader, materials manager, writer, and artist)
-Explain the five choices they can use (Television News Program, Commercial on DVD, Oral Report with Visuals, Dramatic Play with Costumes, Giant Book with Pictures and Sentences
Day Two:
-Plan entry event
-Have a beekeeper come in and visit the classroom
-He will explain bee biology
-Students can ask questions and have hands-on experiences using the beekeeping equipment and viewing the observation hive
Day Three:
-Students will brainstorm a class list of ways to work successfully in collaborative groups
-Write the list on a poster and take photographs of the students illustrating those qualities to display around the poster
-Students will sign their names at the bottom of the poster
Day Four:
-Students will write on small pieces of paper what they know (K) about honey bees, and what they want (W) to know about honey bees and place their papers on the chart as they read them aloud to their classmates
-Refer to the chart during the entire PBL process to guide student inquiry
-At the end of the honey bee PBL, the students will write under the L what they have learned about honey bees
Day Five:
-Students will watch a magnified video of a honey bee colony or take a field trip to see a local beekeeper
Day Six:
-Students will create a poster that sequences the four stages of the honey bee life cycle, and write three sentences about the queen, drones, and worker bees.
Day Seven:
-Students will view the structure of a flower using a digital microscope and draw and label the flower’s parts. Students will also read The Honey Makers and write one paragraph that explains pollination and the relationships necessary with bees for pollination to occur.
Day Eight:
-Students will view an expired honey bee under a digital microscope, draw and label the bee’s anatomy, and write sentences to explain the functions of some of the bee’s body parts
-Identify that plants and animals have different structures
Day Nine:
-Place a variety of scrap materials and art supplies on a table to spark imagination for constructing bees
-Students will draw designs of their group’s 3-D model of a honey bee and discuss types of materials that could be used for the bee body parts
-Students will collaborate in small groups to construct a 3-D labeled model of a honeybee using scrap materials
Day Ten:
-Students will draw pictures to illustrate the likenesses and differences between their bodies and a honeybee’s body
-Students will write two paragraphs that compare and contrast their bodies to a bee’s body
Day Eleven:
-Students will interview a honey bee expert by writing six in-depth questions that will help the student research why honey bees are dying and how the bees can be helped
-Before the students talk to a bee expert, model proper interview etiquette
-Students will practice interviewing each other before contacting a honey bee expert
Day Twelve:
-Students will complete more research by reading honey bee books and Internet articles
-Students will answer the driving question by writing a two to three page report
-Model writing the outlines, paraphrasing, report organization, proofreading, etc. to ensure students understand their tasks
-Provide the students approximately three weeks for researching the driving question, discussing their findings, and creating a written report
Day Thirteen:
-Students will present all of their honey bee knowledge gained from their research. This will be a creative way for students to answer the driving question of why honey bees are dying, how it affects the community, and how bees can be helped

Book Review Project #9

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Self awareness

In Angela Maiers' blog post, Self-Awareness: What Makes You…YOU?, she discusses self-awareness and how it can affect our growth in knowledge about ourselves. We must first fully get to know ourselves (our limits, traits, interests, strengths and weaknesses) before we can make life decisions. She provides a series of questions that you can ask yourself to become more aware of these things. Also, this little survey is good to give your students to make them more aware and become independent and thoughtful learners. I really enjoyed her blog post and I found it very interesting. I intend to keep her ideas in mind to improve myself and my students as successful learners.

In Maiers' blog post, Persevere for Learning Power!, she talks about how Dr. Seuss was a struggling writer at first. He had trouble getting his work published, but he persevered and never gave up. "Perseverance is the cornerstone of any successful endeavor, but it develops over time and with practice." Maiers presents a list of reflections to give to your students to help them realize how to persevere. I found this post very inspiring to me. Perseverance is key in learning. As a student, it helped me throughout school to become a better learner and to succeed. As a teacher, it is important to ensure that students understand how to persevere and how it can greatly affect their lives.

Project #13- Project Based Learning Lesson Plan 1

Project Based Learning Lesson Plan

Grade Level: First Grade
Subject: Social Studies
Title of Project: Caution! Dangerous Situations Ahead!
ACCRS Standard: CCSS RI.1.6 - distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in an informational text.
Project Idea: Students will interview community helpers, do online research with a fifth grade buddy, read and view various other forms of media to complete an investigation of appropriate safe behaviors to exhibit, rules to follow and safety helper to contact when in dangerous situations. Findings will be shared with kindergarten and preschool students as our “experts” endeavor to keep others safe.
Performance Objectives:
-Behavior to exhibit in dangerous situations (e.g., fire, poison, traffic, strangers, drugs)
-Rules to follow in dangerous situations
-Person to contact in dangerous situations
-Information can be gathered from more than one source
-Create text
-Insert graphics
-Save, open, and close a file
-Clean up work area
-Demonstrate appropriate behaviors in dangerous situations
-Information and Communication Skills
-Thinking and Reasoning Skills
-Personal and Workplace Skills
Driving Question: How can we stay safe in “potentially” dangerous situations?

Day One:
-Set up the classroom with safety items/decorations
-Ask students what they think these items have in common
-Brainstorm a list of possible situations and what behaviors we should exhibit
-Give the students the opportunity to choose the situation they would like to research
-Explain to students that they will have the opportunity to interview community helper experts and that they will need to conduct online research for their chosen topic
-Arrange for the students to interview their fifth grade buddies to practice interviewing an individual (review internet safety with both first and fifth graders)
Day Two-Four:
-Students will watch/listen to presentations done by safety helpers
-Students should complete an entry in their daily reflection log each day
-Students will work with their fifth grade buddy to research the predetermined websites
Day Five-Eight:
-Using the information gathered during safety presentations, interviews and websites students will create a page or section of the class book listing safe behaviors, rules to follow and whom to contact in dangerous situations.
-In their small group, students will write a script for a skit for a “potentially dangerous” situation and what safe behaviors should be exhibited, what rules should be followed and who should be contacted
-Students will also decide who is responsible for making or bringing any props needed for their skit
Day Ten:
-Practice role-plays.
-Videotape role-plays create a movie.
-Preview movie.
Day Eleven:
-Present movie to Kindergarten and Preschool

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Post #7 - What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture was very inspirational to me. Chasing and even achieving your childhood dreams can make such a difference in your life. In his lecture, Pausch tells that he has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and he only has a few months to live. So he makes the best of it and gives one last lecture to his students and many others. Unlike most other people being told that they only have a short amount of time left to live, he is in high spirits and he doesn't let it bring him down. Instead of being depressed in his final days, he is happy and enjoying life. He spent his last days the same way he lived his life: having fun. He was told by President Cohen to tell his students to have fun, and Randy said "that's like a fish talking about the importance of water. I don't know how to not have fun, I'm dying and I'm having fun." When he said this, it really spoke to me. There is no excuse to not find fun in anything. As a teacher, it is our job to make learning fun and enjoyable for our students. There is no reason why it shouldn't be fun.

His teaching style is very interesting and enjoyable to watch. I have had many teachers whose lectures were boring and I would often find myself dozing off or daydreaming, but I wouldn't mind sitting through a few of his lectures because he makes it interesting and easy to pay attention. He gets his students engaged in what he is saying and it keeps them interested and focused on the topic. He also uses many visual aides and props to keep his audience's attention. As college students, you wouldn't think that giant teddy bears or costumes would interest us anymore, that was only for elementary school. Wrong. Connecting what you are talking about to a real life item makes the lecture come to life. He used pictures as demonstrations and that also draws in more attention than just reading bullet points off of a slide. Also, he was constantly moving around and being active, and not just staying in one place. When a teacher moves around while teaching, the students' eyes tend to follow him/her and they generally pay more attention. I really liked his way of lecturing, it was very different than what I've experienced lately in college.

Another interesting point that he brings up is the concept of the brick wall. Many times when you are chasing a dream or a goal, you run into a brick wall. It is not there to keep you from achieving your dreams, it is there to make you prove how bad you want to achieve these dreams. If you give up after hitting a brick wall, then you didn't truly want to achieve that goal. If you want it really bad, you will keep working and break through that brick wall. I found this concept to be very eye-opening; I have hit my brick wall and I have thought about giving up, but now I know that there is something on the other side and I just have to break through. After watching this video, I feel more confident and excited about chasing my childhood dream because I know it is possible, I just have to get past the brick wall. It has always been my dream to become a teacher, and I couldn't be more excited about this path I am going down. Randy Pausch's story and his last lecture are very inspirational and could be life changing to children (or even adults) who are afraid to chase their dreams.

C4K for February

blog in keyboard letters

For the first week of February, the student's blog that I was assigned to was not able to be viewed. So I decide to comment on Samantha's blog in Mrs. Reuter's class. Samantha wrote a blog post about a cartoon/comic generator. It was well written despite a few grammatical and spelling errors. She told about the problems she had encountered with it and she also described the many things she liked about it. All in all, it was a very interesting and well written post.

In the second week of February, I was assigned to Colin's Blog in Mrs. Caddy's class. Colin wrote his blog post according to a writing prompt that I am guessing his teacher had assigned to him. The title of it was Writing Prompts. His first paragraph was stating what he wanted to be doing in 15 years; he wants to be a fighter pilot. His second paragraph described what he did over winter break. In his third paragraph, he lists a bunch of things he would buy. In his fourth paragraph, he explains what would happen if he was stuck in his favorite department store. In his final paragraph, he tells what his favorite type of weather is. Colin has a very nice writing style, very clear and concise. There were just a few capitalization and punctuation errors. Other than that, it was a great and interesting post to read.

In the third week of February, I was assigned to the same student I was assigned to in the first week and I was still unable to access her blog. So I had to choose another student's blog to comment on. I commented on Harley H. in Mrs. Gelde's class. Her post was about her birthstone because they had learned about birthstones in science that week and she also provided a picture of it. Her birthday is in April and her birthstone is a diamond. She also prompts her readers to share what their birthstones are and what month their birthdays are in. Although it was a short post, she had great writing style and did a good job of getting her readers to interact and comment.

In the final week of February, I was assigned to BC Pitcher in Mrs. Miller's class. I was a little confused with the two most recent posts, the formatting was different than what I have seen before and there were very few words. I didn't quite understand what was being discussed or told so I wasn't able to comment on either of those. However, I did find a post from January that I was able to comment on. It was not in typical blog post fashion, but I was still able to understand it. It was titled 50 Things About Myself. It was a collage picture with a bunch of words that described him. Words such as: Baseball, Hunting, Alabama, Football, School, Swimming, and many others. I thought it was a very unique and interesting way to describe himself. It caught my attention and I even learned a few things about him. That is a major part of blogging, capturing and keeping your reader's attention; and he did a very great job of that.

students blogging

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blog Post #6 - PLN's What Are They?

Network of people

I have come to learn that PLN's are very important and very useful to teachers. PLN stands for Personal Learning Network and it is a way for teachers to connect with other teachers and share their ideas and stories. Before the internet, teachers could only connect locally, whether it be in the teachers' lounge with colleagues or at a coffee shop with other teachers of a local school. There wasn't much room to expand their contacts and make connections with many other educators. The connections that they could make may not have shared similar ideas or teaching methods that they had. So you can imagine that before technology and internet, it was hard to connect with other teachers.

Students have their own ways of connecting with other students, mostly through social media like Facebook or Twitter. But also new media tools make it easier for students to connect not only locally, but across the world. Looking back to a previous video we have watched for this class, I am reminded of Vicki Davis and her story about connecting her students with other students around the world. Since students are able to connect with other students and share what they are learning, teachers should be able to connect with other teachers and share what they are teaching and how they are teaching it. PLN's are a great way for teachers to not only connect with other teachers, but to also make long-lasting friends in the teaching world. I plan to have a wide variety of people in my PLN so whenever I need help with anything, I can always have a friend there to help. I look forward to making my PLN and connecting with others world-wide.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blog Post #5 Conversations with Anthony Capps

student with iPad

In Dr. Strange and Mr. Capps' interviews, they discuss project based learning and its effects on modern day students. Our world is quickly changing and becoming more and more technological, and it is our job to keep up with it and ensure the next generation knows what they are doing and how to succeed. When I was in elementary school, we were lucky to go to the computer lab once a month, and now students have computers and iPads in the classrooms. We have come a long way in just a short amount of time. As teachers, we must first learn how to work with and use this new technology so we can teach it to our students. In Use Tech Don't Teach It, Mr. Capps iterates that technology should not be something that is taught to the students, rather it is something that students should use to learn the subject matter. It is a great way to teach students the material they need to be taught and they also learn how to work with technological tools by figuring it out on their own. These students are smart when it comes to figuring these kinds of things out, and they end up teaching us teachers a few things we didn't know. Mr. Capps also explained two very important resources that can be very useful to a child's learning process, iCurio and DiscoveryEd. iCurio is a safe internet search engine for students to research educational material and teachers don't have to worry about the students stumbling upon something inappropriate. It also helps narrow down what they are searching for and and to help organize, store, and save what they have found. To children, too big of a text or too many words can get so boring without pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words and as Anthony said jokingly, "a video must be worth a million". Students retain more information on a text when it is paired with a visual. On Discovery Ed, you can research anything and not only will it show you a picture, but it was also show a video explaining what it is and how it works. I think these are both wonderful tools to implicate into the classroom and further advance our students' knowledge.

Project based learning is very effective in the classroom today. Growing up, I was always used to the "burp back" method (as Dr. Strange calls it), teachers didn't really get us involved in what we were learning. Yes, we did occasionally do projects; but the projects didn't teach us anything new, it was what we had already learned and we were "burping it back" to the teacher. A project should be a learning process, not a way of reviewing. Project based learning is designed to get the students to be interactive with their work and learn from exploring and researching on their own. Projects are exciting for kids and it gets them excited about learning, it encourages them to venture out and explore other ways to learns besides just normal lectures and worksheets. I believe project based learning is an important method of teaching that all successful teachers should incorporate into their lesson plans.
students working on project

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blog Post #4 Asking Questions

student raising hand

Asking questions in the classroom is very important. Sometimes the questions may even be more insightful than the answers. The driving question for all teacher is what do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher? What kinds of questions do we need to ask? And how do we ask them? Many teachers ask closed questions in which the most acceptable answer is a yes or a no. It doesn't really allow the student to think deeply about it and get a more in-depth answer. According to The Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis, teachers should avoid asking "leading questions." These kinds of questions are worded to where they are setting up the answer and leading right to it, not giving the student much to think about on their own. The best kinds of questions are the ones that allow the students enough time to thoroughly think about the answer and formulate it into their own words. Questions that call for an explanation best fit this requirement. It is best to plan out what questions you want to ask and when to ask them. If you think of the question and ask it on spot, it can be very unclear and the students may get confused and not want to answer. It is best to plan out what you're going to ask and fit it in where you want to ask it on your lesson plan. It is a good idea to spread your questions out throughout the lesson and not save them all for the last few minutes of class. Students are more likely to answer questions as they are learning about that topic, and they are unlikely to answer when they know class is almost over. It is a good idea to mix up different types of questions; between closed, open, and managerial questions. Closed questions can test comprehension of the information. Open questions are the most effective in encouraging discussion in the classroom and promote active learning, and managerial questions ensure that the students understand the assignment.

Response is key to providing effective feedback to a student's answer. First of all, you should allow enough time for the student(s) to carefully think over the question and formulate their answer. Do not interrupt their answer even if they are not on the right path, and show that you are interested in what they have to say. As a teacher, it is best to keep note of the questions you ask and improve upon them, because as a teacher you are still learning new things every day. Most importantly, try to avoid the types of "do you understand?" questions. Most of the time the students will give you the answer that you want to hear so that the lesson can keep moving forward and won't be delayed. Often times, students are afraid to speak up and show that they do not understand causing them to be lost and confused. So it is best to ask questions that really get the students thinking and not just thinking about yes or no answers.


In the first blog post I commented on for Eva Buyuksimkesyan, she shared many learning tools she had found online and they seemed like they would be very effective. Among these tools are: Buncee, Todaysmeet, Blendspace, Journal Jar, and Padlet. Buncee can be used for making lessons or students can use it make projects. Todaysmeet is a sort of chatroom where you can share ideas with your students and asks questions and have them answer the questions before class time. Blendspace is a content creation tool where you can make powerpoints or pdf files and they can be easily shared or printed. Journal Jar is a tool that gives random topics for writing or for presenting an impromptu speech. Padlet is an online idea board where you can post ideas on virtual sticky notes and you can print them all out on one page. I find all of these tools very interesting and in my comment I told the teacher that I look forward to using them when I become a teacher.

In Eva's second blog post, she talks about the time she was working on narrative tenses and writing a story with her class. She told them what needed to be done but some students were having problems writing their paragraphs. So she divided them into groups and the students who understood the assignment were able to help those who didn't. She switched the groups up a few more times and then sent them back to their desks and the ones who weren't able to make the paragraphs the first time were able to successfully do the assignment. I think this technique is very helpful because peer learning is a big part of how students learn. When students help other students, it helps them learn on a whole different level from when students get help from their teachers. This post was very interesting, although I did have some trouble understanding her speech or writing in a few places. Other than that, I enjoyed reading Mrs. Eva's blog posts.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Blog Post #3 How Can You Provide Meaningful Feedback to Your Peers?

As a teacher, it is our job to provide useful feedback to our students and help them to grow academically. As students, we can also provide feedback to our peers through peer review. Providing help to our peers is very easy and can be very helpful if it is done the right way. When you are editing a peer's work, you are complimenting their work while also making suggestions on what needs to be changed or fixed in their work. You are helping to improve, revise, and edit their work.

There are three important steps to remember when you are editing someone's paper. First of all, begin with a compliment, you do not want to be too harsh on them or hurt their feelings. If the tables were turned and someone was editing your work, you wouldn't want them to be harsh on you. Remember to stay positive with your compliments. The second step is to make suggestions, give the writer some advice on how to improve their writing. Some things that you can make suggestions about would be: word choice, details, organization, sentences, and topics. After you have made suggestions, it is time to make corrections. Too often writers will make grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors and it is very easy to read over it and miss the errors. Comb through their paper and be sure to find every error and correct it. Finally, it is important to be specific when advising the writer on how to improve their writing.

Helping our peers out will ultimately help us out in the long run, and will make us become better teachers and learners.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blog Post #2 What Will Teaching in the 21st Century be Like?

With our world becoming more and more technologically advanced, teachers must also play their part in incorporating the technology into the classroom and teaching students the most successful way to work with it. Technology can be a good or a bad thing when it comes to students. There are many distractions that come with the new technology, but it also provides an easy gateway to endless amounts of information that could potentially help a student learn. The obstacle here is getting past the distractions (whether it be games, messaging, social media, etc.) and moving forward in learning.

In the video Mr. Dancealot, the central message is that as a teacher, you must coordinate what you want to teach and how you teach it. In this video, the professor is teaching a dance class but he teaches it as a lecture class and the students do not properly learn what is being taught. Teachers must have different teaching styles for the different topics being taught. If the goals do not line up with the class activities, the students will ultimately fail due to lack of proper teaching. The author of this video makes his case in the end by showing the class taking a dance final by only being able to look at their notes. Dancing is not a subject that you can learn solely from taking notes; you must have a lot of practice to master it. I agree with this conclusion because there are many subjects that cannot be taught in lecture classes, and there are also subjects that it is best being taught in a lecture. A teacher should base their lesson plan and class activities off of the type of material that is being taught to provide the best possible learning situation.

Kevin Roberts presents a very insightful message in his presentation Teaching in the 21st Century. He starts by saying that the teachers are no longer the main source of knowledge now that there are other sources available to students for learning; teachers are the filter. They are the ones that must teach the students how to properly gain the information needed and use the sources correctly. Teachers must teach their students about pirating, plagiarism, slander, copyright, crowd sourcing, confidentiality, and professionalism so that they can properly use the internet without doing anything illegal or morally wrong. Students do not only need to be taught facts and content, but also skills that will help them throughout life. Students learn tech skills best by creating (for example: blogging). With technology changing and our teaching tools changing, we need to rethink the tools we use and the types of problems the students are asked to solve and integrate the new technology for a better method of learning. But how do we keep the students focused with technological learning tools? That is a major obstacle in schools today with distractions from what needs to be learned. Lessons have to be relevant, challenging, and engaging. Students don't need to be entertained, they need to be engaged. A teacher's job is to provide meaningful and powerful engagement. Change starts with the teacher. Roberts provides four steps:
1. See what's out there
2. Start small
3. Collaborate
4. Take a risk
It is the teacher's job to ensure that the students come out of school with new skills and knowledge. With these technological advances, teachers must find a way to successfully incorporate these new learning tools into their lessons. I agree with what Roberts is presenting here. It is up to the teacher to ensure that they are keeping up with the latest tools for learning and applying everything they can to make a difference in the students' lives.

In Wendy Drexler's video The Networked Student, Alex Drexler (I'm guessing that is who is doing the speaking) shows the many resources a student can use to learn. He goes through all the educational media that is used and then he goes on to address the question "why does the networked student even need a teacher?" The teacher is the one who teaches the student how to use these sources and build this network to help with his project. She is there for guidance and support and to help whenever the student needs it. As a teacher of the 21st century, it is our job to provide this support to students in this new learning process.

In the video Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts, teacher Vicki Davis discusses the media she uses in her classroom to connect her students to other students worldwide. It is important for students, especially those in rural areas, to connect with other students across the world and learn from them and with them. I agree that students should connect with others and compare and share ideas. I believe it is very useful to students to learn not just from their teacher, but from other students just like them all over the world.

Flipping the classroom is a new approach that has come to many classrooms; it is very helpful in that it allows the student to review the lesson before class time so that they may better understand it. Classroom flipping is time saving and allows more time for practicing problems. It is very effective for all students to grasp the lesson before class time. If they are confused after watching it, they can watch the lesson over again until they understand it. If they still don't understand, they can prepare questions to ask in class the next day. Flipping the classroom is a new concept for me, I never had anything like it when I went to school and I think it would be very effective for students today. I may use it when I am a teacher to set aside more class time for questions and practice.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blog Post #1 What about EDM310?

To begin with, I do not know what to think about EDM310. I was warned that it is a hard and time consuming class, but I have also heard that it is an easy class if you do all the work. I do not know which side I will be leaning towards when I walk out of the classroom at the end of the semester, I guess that all depends on how much work I contribute to this class. I am normally a hard worker when it comes to classwork and homework, but sometimes I am forgetful when it comes to assignments and due dates. That is one of my greater weaknesses thus far in college. If I can keep up with assignments and stay on schedule, I am confident I will pass this class.

EDM310 is very different than any other class I have taken at this university. Most other classes have been lecture or team based learning classes which did not require 9 hours of work per week. The thought of having to work for 9 hours a week on just one class does kind of scare me. I plan to make a schedule and plan all out my assignments and due dates so I can keep up and not miss any more due dates.

On the other hand, I think it is very interesting that we are being taught about the media side of teaching because technology is becoming a major device of learning in the classroom today and will continue to grow as technology advances. Teachers need to keep up with the latest technology to make it easier in the classroom when teaching their students.

I am looking forward to learning a lot from this class and making myself a better student and teacher.