Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April C4K Summary

baby penguin
My first C4K was for Yvonne, a year 5 student in Miss Ouano's class. For her post she taught her readers what a legal image is. She searched for a legal image and embedded the image onto her blog. In my comment I told her I was so glad she knew what a legal image was and stressed how important it is to never steal or claim another image as one's own. I also encouraged her to keep blogging! This is Yvonne's example.

green truck with a girl standing next to it
My second C4K was for Jarreka, a year 2 student. The blog post was titled "Jarreka's Monster Truck Story". The post consisted of a picture of a monster truck, a picture Jarreka illustrated, and a short video. In the video Jarreka describes the truck in details. In my comment I commended Jarreka on how descriptive she was in her video and how creative her picture was. I also encouraged her to keep making videos and posting them to their blog! This is the picture Jarreka drew of the monster truck.

C4T #4

Mrs.She and student looking at a macbook
For this C4T I was assigned Jenny, a primary teacher in Auckland, New Zealand. The post You Got Snapped! was very interesting. Jenny recalls a time where she was instructing her students on how to be “cyber-smart”. After her lesson she allowed her students to choose an activity to do for the rest of class while she recorded stories. She was pleased to have a student take the initiative to use a camera and take pictures including the one of this post. Jenny also recalled a time when a student used what he had learned prior to record her math lessons. In my comment I commended Jenny on being an active teacher who enjoys seeing her students succeed. I also told her that it is awesome to see students take what a teacher teaches and run with it. I can only hope to have a proactive class like Jenny’s.

Two girls with headphones in looking at an IPad
The next blog post I read was titled IPads in My Classroom. The post is about Mrs. She’s classroom utilizing IPads and her thoughts on them. Mrs. She’s post is all about how IPads allow for students to learn in an interactive process and how they are not difficult for students to figure out. Mrs. She states that to begin with she only focused on apps oriented around literacy and mathematics. She also informs us that she incorporated IPads into their rotation activities. She also mentions how well her students are responding to the IPads. The students see the IPads as a reward rather than tedious work. In my comment I thanked Mrs. She for sharing her experience and mentioned how amazing it was that her students saw the IPads as a reward. It is always exciting to have students excited about learning.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Post #13

This week I have been instructed to create my own blog post assignment for EDM 310. The assignment is for each student to research mathematical applications for students to use on their smart phones or tablets. Students are to pick 2 or more applications and explain why they would be good resources.

three students around a computer with shapes and math equations flying around their heads
The first app is WolframAlpha. This app is capable of computing practically any mathematical process with the easy to follow step by step methods. While this app can compute things such as integrals or derivatives, it is also capable of defining different mathematical principles. This app can be purchased for only $2.99. Another beneficial app is Math Ref. This app gives students the ability to access over 1,400 formulas, figures, and examples. This app is easy to navigate through and students have results rather quickly. This app is $0.99 on itunes. The final app that I have found to be actually entertaining is Sky Numbers. This app is more of a game rather than a source of information. I think this app is a good choice for students because it is in a game format rather than a boring computation format. Many students hate math because they find it boring. With this app students can work on their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills while competing for a high score. This app can be purchased from itunes for $2.99.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Post #12

When a child has a disability teachers have to reinvent the way they approach the class from time to time. As the world progresses, technology becomes more and more relevant and helpful. Technology can assist children with or without disabilities; however, it helps students with disabilities in an astonishing way. It was not until this semester that I actually got to see assistive technology in a classroom setting. Due to my EDU 400- Exceptional Child and Youth I was able to go to the Learning Tree and see assistive technology used. I was shocked at how simple yet efficient technology can be for these situations. lists many types of assistive technoloy available for teachers today. Here are a few of them:
  • Alternative Keyboards
  • Electronic Math Sheets
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Portable Word Processors
  • Talking Calculators
  • Word-prediction Programs

As a teacher I feel that at some point, depending on my students, I could potentially use all of the above technology. In general assistive technology is useful because it helps create an equal environment among all students and minimizes student struggle. I feel that in my class the most useful would be the electronic math sheets and the talking calculator. With math, students sometimes struggle more with writing it down properly than the actual mathematical process. Therefore, if students could use an electronic program that kept everything organized they could learn in a more efficient manner. As for the talking calculator, I believe these would be better for doing work outside of the classroom. A talking calculator helps students know exactly what they are typing and helps reduce input errors. I say that these might be best used outside of the classroom because it could potentially be distracting and chaotic if 20 students are using them at once.

The list above is only slightly scratching the surface in regards to the different types of assistive technology. As a teacher, one should never shy away from technology if it can benefit students.
a computer monitor with the words assistive technolgy and the monitor has wheels and is wheeling itself

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blog Post #11

Brian Crosby-Back To the Future

By:Holly Shaw

Brian Crosby is an innovative, exciting fourth grade teacher who does not take the easy route in teaching his students. While most teachers are satisfied with high test scores and multiple choice tests, Crosby is not. In this video, he talks about a particular project dealing with atmospheric pressure and the levels of the atmosphere. Rather than just teaching his students verbatim what their textbook claims, Crosby used the book, charts and had the students complete various exciting activities. The students videoed their experiments and embed them to their personal blogs. In Crosby’s class, the students are doing more than learning meaningless facts, they are getting hands-on experience. By the students blogging they are getting to reinforce what they learn. The students are also exposed to flicker, wikipages, and other 21st century tools.

students sitting and standing in a circle with laptops outside
The most rewarding part of Crosby’s class is that his students are getting more out each lesson rather than just a simple science lesson. Students are learning to read and write to learn content, to write for the purpose of clarifying and sharing, and to give an receive feedback along with many other language intense skills. Brian Crosby believes in active learning where students are being empowered to learn and to learn on their own using 21st century tools. Students are also encouraged to collaborate in and outside the classroom. Students are motivated because they are able to connect with people all over the world.

By: Caitlyn Barton

Paul Anderson teaches AP Biology in Bozeman, Montana. This past year he turned his classroom into a video game. He thought it was a great year but a little too different. So this year he wanted to do a blended classroom. He talks about it in this video. His idea for blended learning is combining mobile, online, and classroom learning. For biology, he teaches his students by using the 5 E's: engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluate. His idea of blended learning combined with the 5 E's makes his blended learning cycle. Mr. Anderson likes to start a lesson with a big question that catches the students' attention. Next, he lets the student investigate to try and answer the questions they all have. Once his students have more answers, they get to watch a video that goes along with the topic. He ends his lesson with a review and testing. I think his way of teaching is something that every teacher should try in their classroom. The class does not all move along at one time. He makes sure each student is ready to move on to the next part of his blended learning cycle. Mr. Anderson says all of his students have responded positively to this method of teaching!
 Year 2000 Classroom Prediction

March Church's Making Thinking Visible video gives us a look into his classroom. Mr. Church likes to break his students into small groups. While in their groups he gives them questions to elaborate on with the other members of the group. Each group comes up with a headline that captures the essence of their topic. He then asks the groups to present their headline and explain why they chose it. To finish the project all of the headlines are joined together to make a bulletin board!

By: Ashley Howell

In the video, Super Digital Citizen, Mr. Pane, who is a fourth grade teacher, teaches his students about Internet safety. I feel like in today’s society kids are constantly learning how to use the Internet and technology, but they don’t really learn much about how to be safe. Mr. Pane wanted his students to learn how to be good digital citizens, which meant knowing how to act safely, respectfully, and responsibly on the Internet. He decided to teach his kids about Internet safety in a really neat, fun way. He had his students use a website to create their own Digital Superhero, as well as their own imagined situation in which the superhero would save the day when it came to Internet safety. The students basically wrote their own narrative, like a comic. Not only were the students learning about how to use technology and Internet safety, but they were also learning more about their English and writing skills. You could tell by the video just how much fun these students were having with this project. In the video, Mr. Pane mentions how it’s important to create some projects that are about the students because it makes them more meaningful. As teachers, it’s important to remember that the students are exposed to so much online and they need to know how to make good choices.

Kids surrounding a computer

We have been learning a lot lately about Project Based Learning and how great it really is. In the Youtube video titled, Project Based Learning, we learn how three teachers in Canada restructured their day to use Project Based Learning. In this particular classroom, students don’t learn in segmented subjects. Instead, the teachers integrate subjects like History and English coupled with technology. In the video, we learn that research shows that integrated learning through projects allows the students to be more engaged and provides an opportunity for deeper understanding. The three teachers in this video realized how beneficial Project Based Learning can be, but all they needed was more time. The teachers decided to restructure their day to make time to blend ideas and content, go deeper into learning, and provide feedback. It’s hard to do a good, thorough project when the students are limited. With Project Based Learning, teachers are allowed to teach things beyond the curriculum. It gives the students a chance to create something great on their own and be proud of the process, as well as the outcome. Brian Crosby-Back To the Future

By: Sarah Carl

Image of children thinking
The video of Roosevelt Elementary School's PBL program is proof of how project-based learning is so great for students. The Roosevelt teachers teach their students skills necessary for the real world such as public speaking. So many adults go through school and enter the real world never being able to properly give a speech or how to interview and that is a major reason why our society is the way it is today. Project-based learning not only teaches the students public speaking skills at an early age, it also teaches them self-motivation. They need to know that sometimes the only way to keep moving forward in life is to be able to motivate yourself to do things because they will not always have someone to hold their hand through everything. The students learn to work independently and cooperatively. By working together in PBL, the students practice social skills and how to work together which is also very necessary for the real world. Project-based learning does not use just one way of learning, it incorporates multiple intelligences so each child receives the most information from each lesson. By using multiple intelligences, it makes the students much more engaged and interactive. It makes them curious and wanting to learn. As the teacher's at Roosevelt Elementary School said "It's not easy. It's a lot of work for teachers." But I think to see the students so engaged and excited about learning makes it completely worth it.

March C4K Summary

My first C4K assignment was for a group of kids from Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. On Monday February 24, 2014 Class 18 created a vimeo about what it means to be a “good Pt. Englander”. The students talk about lining up and walking in a straight line, listening to their teacher, and cleaning up. In the video it also shows students using technology of all types such as ipads and mac desktops. At the end of the video it shows pictures that the students drew to represent their class. I commended the class for incorporating technology with creativity and that their video was really interesting and detailed.

My second assignment was for a 12 year old girl from Pt. England, New Zealand. Her name is Martha and she is in the eighth grade. Her post titled “Sports Day at Tamaki College”, Martha explains her P. E. day at Tamaki College, a high school in Glen Innes. She first describes how hot and awful it was to walk from their school to Tamaki. She tells her readers that they were already sweating before they even began P.E. Martha goes on to explain the games they played while at Tamaki in great detail. After reading her post, I complemented Martha on how detailed her post was. I then encouraged her to continue writing other great blog posts.

MY third assignment was for a year 7 student at Pt.England, Jabez.In his post, Jabez discusses his experience reading “DLO A Tour Like No other”. He talks about a map of New Zealand and how it shows public opinion and the different areas are color coded. He also tells his readers about different photos and what pages they are on. He describes the pictures in great detail. In my comment, I complemented him on his creative blog and how he did an amazing job describing in detail the photos. I also told him that I liked the structure of his blog post and to keep up the great work!

five students waving in red shirts with the Pt.England School logo


sign outside Loughborough University
Ross Wicken is a trainee PE at Loughborough Univeristy. His blog is full of usefull information and insight. His post World Class Physical Education is about how he is constantly trying to better himself by looking for new strategies to help him to his job better. He discusses using a Pocket account to read articles shared by colleagues on the internet and he is a firm believer in sharing what he discovers. Wicken also introduces his e-magazine "World Class PE" and his first issue will focus on what a "Great Lesson" consists of. For my comment, I introduced myself and complemented him on his desire to constantly search for new strategies. I also told him I enjoyed his first and second issues and looked forward to future issues.

Ross Wickens post Loughborough University #PHYSED Teacher Education Conference details way technology can be used to enhance teacher training. The post talks about how high the percentage of 11-18 years old with a handheld device. If 84-85% of that age range already has a phone or tablet then it is only reasonable to assume that in the future the percentage will be higher. He also introduces the Dropbox Applicaiton as a way to easily share informtaion. He also mentions twitter and blogging as a great resource. The most innovative tool he mentions is Apps for the iPhone and Android. Time Motion and Easy Tag are the two he mentions for PE teachers. For my comment, I commended him on opening my eyes to the different ways technology can be used in a PE class. I also thanked him for introducing me to the Apps, Time Motion and Easy Tag.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project #15- Project Based Learning Plan #3

For this week's lesson plan I decided to address different mathematical expressions and distributive properties. Students will be introduced to the concepts at the beginning of the week. After they have an idea of what they are being taught they will be instructed to do their own research to find additional instruction. Students will work in groups of two. The students will research videos that clearly explain the concepts. The reason for this is so students can find additional ways to learn. There are times where students need to be taught concepts in multiple ways to truly understand the topic and not every person teaches exactly the same. After the students find a video they will collaboratively write a blog post about the topic and embed the video. At the end of the week students will share with the class their post and video. The last day of the week the teacher will answer any unresolved questions the students may have.

Here are a few resources:
Buck Institute of Education

Blog Post #10

What can we learn from Sir Ken Robinson?

Sir Ken Robinson's lecture at TED is amazing! He manages to break down and point all that is wrong with education in 15 short minutes. He points out that reforming education is pointless. Why should we spend time and resources on trying to fix something that is severely broken? This is why Sir Ken Robinson proposes that education needs a revolution. He proposes taking away the linearity, narrow, manufacturing means of education and acknowledge that education should be agricultural. Education must get away from standardization and realize that not every person is the same. People are made of different talents and will succeed in different ways. When the educational system begins to respect that people flourish differently we will see better education. It is not possible to control every humans outcome but it is possible to control the environment in which people develop. Students are no longer passionate about education. It is important for people to love what they are doing. If a person does not love or feel moved by something they are never going to enjoy it.

Overall Sir Ken Robinson's lecture has me motivated and excited about revolutionizing education in today's world. However, he is right about it not being easy. According to Sir Ken Robinson, in order to innovate something we must challenge something we take for granted or label as obvious and that is extremely hard. I am not sure how to revolutionize education across America just yet but I know for my classroom it will be to move away from a standardized style of learning to a more creative and interactive style.

Sir Ken Robinson on stage speaking at the TED conference

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Post #9

For this week we were able to get a inside peak into Kathy Cassidy's first grade classroom. After watching Little Kids...Big Potential I was completely shocked at how much first graders can accomplish. I can remember as a first grader playing games on my brothers gameboy or playing a computer game but never did I do something as advanced as doing blog posts, web pages, or using skype. I think that it is amazing that she has allowed her students to get a early start at utilizing practical every day technology.
Kathy Cassidy helping a student with an assignment

In the first interview with Kathy Cassidy she tells Dr. Strange that on the very first day of school a letter is sent out to parents discussing student involvement with technology and internet. Students being on the internet always brings about concerns but there are limitations that can be put in place. She also teaches her students to protect their identities by not using last name or personal pictures. She also talks about why students like blogging over pencil/paper type work. She points out that students would rather do work and publish it to a blog for the world to see rather than just for their teacher. Cassidy also mentions that her class skypes with other students and experts around the world to gain valuable information.

Cassidy suggests in her second interview to start using technology that interests you. She also discusses developing her PLN with twitter. When people first think about twitter they think of people tweeting about random things. While some may only tweet about what they ate today or who they think is cute, twitter has the potential to educate others. People are able to tweet links to articles or pages that can be extremely helpful. I definitely would like to teach my students to utilize twitter for educational purposes.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Project #14-Project Based Learning Plan #2

The lesson plan for this project is titled What is fair? This project addresses the Common Core State Standards for the field of Mathematics. The projects allows students to "investigate chance processes and develop, use, and evaluate probability models."
two dice
The students will be instructed on probability and games of chance as a class. After students are taught the concepts of probability, they will be split into groups of four. Each group will create their own game of chance and present them to the class at the end of the week. For this project students will be forced to think critically, work collaboratively, and utilize technology for their presentation. The only precaution I would take with this project is limiting the types of games of chance the students create. I would make sure to stay away from gambling or casino type games.

Here are a few resources:
Buck Institute of Education

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blog Post #8

For this assignment we were asked to find some 21st century learning and communicating tools that are not covered in EDM 310. Due to my concentration being Mathematics, the two tools I found to be most appropriate were Wolfram Alpha and Khan Academy. Wolfram Alpha is a program that helps make "the world's knowledge computable". Wolfram alpha can be used to obtain answers about nearly anything but I am more focused on the Mathematics portion of Wolfram. This program can compute anything from elemtary mathematics, discrete mathematics, applied mathematics to graphing, calculus, and number theory. This program can be used to help students learn and understand math problems when they do not have access to a teacher. I think this tool would be best used for students when doing their homework. Wolfram gives step by step instructions on how the problem is solved. This program is very student friendly and is easily accessed.
The Wolfram Alpha logo with the saying computational knowledge engine
Khan Academy has been around for several years; however, it continues to grow and get better every day. Khan Academy's mission is to "provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere." This tool offers information in regards to math, science, economics/finance, humanities, and even test prep. Of course I would focus on the math section. There are video lectures on math courses beginning at a third grade level and going all the way through differential equations. Khan Academy is a program that can be used by students for their entire education. While this tool is beneficial for students, it is also beneficial to teachers. Like I have said before teachers are not perfect and there may come a time when we need a quick refresher.

A hand with leaves around it and the words Khan Academy
As a math geek, at one point I believed all I needed for math was a pencil, paper, calculator, and a teacher to teach me. I am now realizing learning math is much more than that. In order for students to learn in a more efficient way they may have to use outside tools from time to time. And guess what? That is OK!

Video Book Project #9

C4T #2

A headshot of David Sladkey
For this C4T I was assigned to David Sladkey. David is a teacher at Naperville Central High School in Naperville, IL. The first blog post I commented on was 8 Ways to Incorporate Empathy into Your Teaching. In his post he discusses how teachers need to practice their empathy skills because sometimes teachers forget what it is like to be a student. David tells his readers that the first step is to Shadow a Student for a Day. David had a link to a summary of how his day of shadowing went and it was awesome. He was able to follow a student around all day and he learned a lot about student life at his school. The second step is to create a questionnaire for your students. With a questionnaire teachers are able to get immediate feedback. Teachers can also make them anonymous to get more genuine answers. The third step is to listen to the goals your students have. This allows for teachers to get a better understanding of their students. The fourth step is to do the homework. Many times teachers assign students homework that is not realistic. Students have more than just one class and they have other activities outside of school. This helps teachers to see whether or not the amount of homework they give is reasonable. The fifth step is to think about (pray for) each student. Teachers should think about their students as more than just a kid in a desk. It is important for a teacher to know who their students are in the classroom but also who they are outside the classroom. Teachers should think about a child's strengths and weaknesses. The sixth step is to call home early. Teachers need to realize that parent insight is priceless. The seventh step is to look at the records. David mentions that this may seem like an obvious step for teachers to do but sometimes they may be overlooked. The final step is to find activities that your students are involved in. There are many students who play sports, are in the band, go to youth groups, etc. Teachers need to remember that students have lives outside of your classroom. My comment for this post was "Dave, My name is Holly Shaw and I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. Throughout my day I always catch myself saying "Does this teacher think his class is the only one that matters?”. Unfortunately I do believe there are some teachers who genuinely believe their class is most important. I hope to never be a teacher who is like this. I love the concept of student shadowing you have presented here. If more teachers would take the time like you did, I believe it would benefit students all over tremendously. I also like the idea of getting direct feedback from my students. I know as human beings we are NOT perfect and any feedback would be extremely helpful. Overall this post has given me so many great ideas for when I have a classroom and has me so excited. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences! I will be sure to keep them in mind."

The second blog post I commented on was Making a Face with The blog post shows teachers a new, exciting way to teach students about things such as circles, sine or cosine waves, and parabolas. The application is called desmos and the idea it to create a face using functions. In the post he gives a link to examples that his students prepared. This post was a cool idea that I would love to use in the future. For this post, my comment was "Dave, Thank you for introducing me to such a cool applicaiton. I love how students are able to learn about functions in an interactive way. I loved Tara Ramni's "Funny Lil Grandpa" example! I believe Desmos makes the learning less dull and more exciting. I am a huge math geek (proud of it) and I can remember being slightly bored when learning this material. From what I have seen I believe that this application is something I could very easily see myself using in the future."

After being assigned to Dave's blog and getting to read some of his posts, I have decided to add him to my PLN. His posts are informative and interesting. He gives incredible insight and ideas for math teachers. I thoroughly enjoyed my C4T assignment and look forward to future posts from Dave.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. It was not until August 2007 that he was told his diagnosis was terminal and he only had three to six months to live. Instead of throwing himself a pity party, he delivered an inspiring, uplifting last lecture on September 18,2007. During his last lecture, Randy Pausch ironically spoke about how to live while he was dying. This infamous lecture has inspired many people around the world including myself.

Randy Pausch lecturing during his last lecture
Randy Pausch's Last Lecture taught me many things about being a learner and a teacher. My favorite part of the lecture was when he discussed brick walls that pop up from time to time. Mr. Pausch claims “brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” This claim reminds me that I am going to struggle from time to time and I am not going to know everything. There will be times when I come to a wall and I will have to regroup, think, and find a different solution. I can also take this principle and apply it to my students. As a teacher I must realize that there will be times where my students are stuck staring at a brick wall and will need my guidance to help defeat that wall. Without pesky brick walls in our lives we could potentially miss out on something extremely important or be led down a wrong pathway. So we should embrace all life hands us even if it comes in the form of a harsh brick wall.

Another brilliant statement Mr. Pausch makes during his last lecture that applies to all teachers is the following: “When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore that means they’ve given up on you…you may not want to hear it but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you and want to make you better.” I agree with this statement 100%. If there comes a time when I become so nonchalant and unconcerned with my students, I would hope I would have someone there to remind me of what my purpose as a teacher is. When you as a teacher no longer correct or discipline your students it is a strong sign you no longer care about them or their success. The same goes for when administrators no longer correct their teachers when they do wrong. Of course there is always an appropriate and productive way to help and correct your students. I think as a teacher, you should always consider what is best for the student.

As a future educator I hope to have the wisdom and ability to impact as many lives as Randy Pausch did. The first step in accomplishing this enormous dream is to take advice from Mr. Pausch himself and learn to "focus on other people, not on yourself".

What would you say if you only could give one more lecture?

Friday, February 28, 2014

C4K Summary for February

For the month of February I was assigned four students for our C4K (Comments for Kids)project in EDM 310. I had the opportunity to read and comment on student blogs from different places around the world. I was assigned students from Alabama, Nebraska, Missouri, and even Canada. These student blog posts were very entertaining and eye opening. The posts ranged from current events to words of inspiration. It was nice to read what kids at various ages were thinking about. For my first C4K assignment I read and commented on Alex's blog. Alex is in the fourth grade and his teacher is Mrs. Geldes. Alex's blog post was titled "Sochi Olympics 2014". He explained that the sport he found to be interesting was snowboarding. Alex acknowledged that because the Olympics were in Sochi, Russia there was a time difference and that because of the difference he got to watch some of the games. He then went on to talk about a particular snowboarder by the name of Jamie Anderson. He listed some statistics about her snowboarding career and some personal facts. Alex ended his blog by asking his readers who they would want to win the Olympics and what team they want to win. I replied to his post by first introducing myself and telling him where I was from. I then proceeded to talk about how amazing it is that he is so excited about the Olympics. I complemented him on explaining in detail why snowboarding is his favorite sport. Finally I answered his two questions and told him I wanted to see Shaun White and Team USA win. I have been waiting to see if Alex has replied but nothing so far.

My second C4K assignment was to read and comment on Brooklynn's blog. Brooklynn is a student from Saskatoon Canada and her teacher is Ms. Scott Lindsay. The blog post I commented on was titled "Keep Trying...". In her post Brooklynn gives what she calls a pep talk. She is telling her readers to always try. She explains there are things that you will never know if you do not try. In the post, she writes "People say 'don’t stop in till it is achieved' but as long as tried you know you have achieved something." In my comment after I introduced myself I complemented her on her enthusiasm for this particular subject. I told her that I completely agreed with her and that people should always try. I encouraged Brookylnn to continue writing inspiring posts like this one. I was lucky and Brooklyn replied to my comment. Brooklynn thanked me for my comment. She then went on to tell me about how there are people who still to this day try to end war and how war is wrong.

For my third C4K, I was able to read and comment on a students blog who goes to school just across the bay in Baldwin County. The student's name was not revealed therefore the student's blog was called Rainbow Skittles' Blog. Rainbow Skittles' teacher is Mrs. Miller and she is an EDM 310 graduate herself. In Rainbow Skittles' post "Text vs. Film" the student gives their opinion on which is better text or film. Rainbow Skittles writes that films are more enjoyable because it gives more details and does a better job of explaining things. The student also believes film to be easier to understand. In my comment I first officially introduced myself. Second, I complemented the student on explaining her position clearly. I gave my opinion on the topic of film vs text and I sided with Rainbow Skittles in that film is easier to understand.

For my final C4K, I was able to read and comment on Zack N's blog. Zack is a seventh grader from Missouri. The post I was able to comment on was titled "3rd Quarter Book Project". In the post Zack talks about how he did not finish his book by the deadline but he knew he needed to do something rather than nothing at all. He then tells his readers that all he did was stand in front of the class, introduce his book, and then made a joke by saying his project was only worth 2 points. He goes on to tell his readers that if he would have completed the assignment he would have used keynote to discuss the themes of the book. In my comment, I first introduced myself and then complemented him on doing something rather than nothing at all. I then encourage him to try and not miss any other deadline and wished him good luck with his future assignments.

Child sitting at a computer with the word blog written many times around him in the air

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Project #13 - Project Based Learning Plan #1

For this project, our group created a Lesson Plan titled DIY (Do It Yourself) Ending. This lesson plan addresses the Alabama State Standards for third grade English and Language Arts. It refers to learning about key ideas and details in which the students should be able to determine the main idea of a text, recount the key details, and explain how the details support the main idea. This project covers a period of two weeks in which the students will be actively engaged. The students will read a book titled, 2030: A Day In the Life of Tomorrow’s Kids. This is a great, age-appropriate book for the kids in today’s society. Technology and our environment is constantly changing, so it’s fun for kids to think about what the world will be like in 20 years from now. Here’s the catch: the students will only read half of the book and at the beginning of the second week, they will come up with their own ending (before they know the real ending). The students will work on this project collaboratively in groups of 4. They will work together to discuss the main idea of the story and come up with a few key details. They will also do some individual work in writing a blog at the end of each week. The main part of the project is that they will be creating/writing their own ending to the story and presenting them by using either a Google Site, a Prezi presentation, a poster, or iMovie. We think that the students will really enjoy this project. After all, there is always that one book that we wish we could go back and rewrite the ending to. Here’s the chance.

Check out the few resources below:

As a group we utilized Buck Institute of Education forms to help create our lesson plan.

2030: A Day In the Life of Tomorrow's Kids Book cover that has a dog and boy surfing through the inside of a computer

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"If You Give A Moose A Muffin" Book Trailer

Blog Post #6

People standing in their own circle representing a network
A personal learning network (PLN) sounds big, scary, and complicated when in reality it is simple and wonderful. After researching and looking at the materials provided by Dr. Strange I have fallen in love with the idea of having a PLN. A PLN is best described as a group of people and tools available to help you at any given moment. PLNs allow free access to professionals all around the world. A PLN can be comprised of anything from social media, pod-casting, and even blogging.

As I begin to develop my own PLN I have noticed how much information I can obtain through social media, especially Twitter. I spend a substantial amount of time on twitter reading topics ranging from hairstyles for rainy weather to opinions on whether or not our government is efficient. Now with the guidance of Dr. Strange I am now following educators and professionals all across the world and obtaining information from them one tweet at a time. With one simple search I am able to have answers almost immediately. As a future educator this will be beneficial. There is not a single person on this earth who is all knowing. There will be times when I do not have all the answers for my students. What would be a better or more efficient way to obtain those answers than through my PLN?

Creating a strong PLN will take some time but with the help of people like Dr. Strange and Michael Fawcett I will eventually have an incredible network to rely on. In order to organize and keep track of my PLN I chose to use symbaloo. After watching Welcome to My PLE I really liked how simple and efficient the program was. I set my internet browsers to open straight to symbaloo so that I am only one click away from any part of my network. I cannot wait to see how detailed and helpful my PLN will become as time goes by.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog Post #5

After watching the videos of Anthony Capps and Dr. Strange I learned a tremendous amount of valuable information. The first two videos I watched were Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher and Project Based Learning Part 2. Anthony explains that project based learning is a form of learning not showing what you learned. He also addresses what a "good" project is. A good project is one that has an authentic audience, promotes student interest, and has driven content. The examples discussed in the video involve all of the above. Anthony goes onto explain two crucial parts of project based learning: opportunities to reflect and revise their work and the students' ability to have a choice. These two parts will empower students and allow them to have pride in their education and work.

A globe with the letters PBL on it

The second video I watched discussed the online tool icurio. This tool is a student friendly search engine that is filtered for educational purposes. The icurio tool also has a storage function that allows students to learn how to virtually organize information. This tool also has a directory function for historical figures. I feel that out of all the other tools I have been introduced to thus far in EDM 310, icurio is the most beneficial. This tool can be used for all grade levels and appears to be user friendly.It also has the capability to help students who may have hearing or learning disabilities through the read aloud function. The video about Discover Education left me very intrigued. From what I saw in the video, discovery ed. is an educational research engine that allows students to visually enhance their learning experiences. I am interested in learning more about discovery ed and seeing it used in a classroom setting.

The Anthony-Strange list of Tips for Teachers was my favorite video. I felt that the tips listed are extremely important and are things that every teacher should strive to do. The six tips that Anthony Capps and Dr. Strange came up with were

1) Be a constant learner yourself.
2) Teaching never ends. It is hard work and it is very rewarding.
3) Be flexible. The unexpected will happen.
4) Start with a goal.
5) Engage 100% of your students 100% of the time in 100% of their projects.
6) Reflect,revise, and share work with an audience.

The final video was Use Tech Don't Teach It. This video just stresses the importance of using technology to help the learning process for your students but not spending valuable time teaching them the technology itself. Obviously the students need to know how to use the technology but it is more important how they use the technology to learn. Teachers should focus on one technology tool at a time. They should not expect their students to master imovie, icurio, and discovery ed all in the same lesson.

These discussions between Anthony Capps and Dr. Strange were interesting and taught me a lot of new things. It was very intriguing to see how 3rd graders are ahead of college students. I hope that as a future teacher I will be able to help my students the same way Anthony and Dr. Strange have.

My Sentence Videos

My Sentence Is...

My Passion Is...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blog Post #4

A comic strip about being educated or indoctrinated. It says that if you sit back and do not ask questions you are indoctrinated but if you sit up front and ask questions you are educated.

If you type in "What is a question?" in the google search bar you will find that a question is "a sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information". Questions can be thought provoking and extremely beneficial to students or they can be nothing more than words with a question mark at the end. As a teacher it is important to ask questions that will help students learn. According to Maryellen Weimer's blog post Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom "good questions make students think, they encourage participation and I think they improve the caliber of the answers students give and the questions they ask." I agree with Dr. Weimer about how important questions are I found her 3 way approach helpful.

1. Prepare Questions
Dr. Weimer explains that it is important to carefully prepare your questions to remove unnecessary confusion for your students. By preparing your questions ahead of time, it is easier to word the questions so that the students will understand and it is clearer.
2. Play with Questions
According to Dr. Weimer, playing with questions allows students to think longer and be more engaged. To play with questions means to ask a question and not immediately answer. Dr. Weimer states that typically most students stop thinking as soon as the question is answered. In order to avoid this teachers can do multiple things. They can ask the question at the beginning of the class and answer at the end or possibly have the students write the question in their notes and write down their ideas.
3. Preserve Good Questions
Dr. Weimer suggests that not every question need to be answered immediately. It is acceptable to save good questions for a later date. It is quite possible that the question can be used more effectively at another time.

The Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis has listed twelve reasons to ask open ended questions:
1. To asses learning
2. To ask a student to clarify a vague comment
3. To prompt students to explore attitudes, values, or feelings (when appropriate
4. To prompt students to see a concept from another perspective
5. To ask a student to refine a statement or idea
6. To prompt students to support their assertions and interpretations
7. To direct students to respond to one another
8. To prompt students to investigate a thought process
9. To as students to predict possible outcomes
10. To prompt students to connect and organize information
11. To ask students to apply a principle or formula
12. To ask students to illustrate a concept with an example

Also a good guide for asking questions is Bloom's Taxonomy.

A chart outlining how to ask questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy

Before reading these materials, I never thought of how great of an impact a question could have. I mean I thought a question was just a question and an answer was just an answer. After being exposed to how beneficial questions can be I now realize that as a future teacher I need to be prepared. I will definitely use these resources to help make my future classes thought provoking and exciting.

Project #3 Presentation

Saturday, February 8, 2014

C4T #1

My first C4T (comments for teachers) blog I was assigned to was Ms. Turbiville's blog Walking In Mathland. Ms. Turbiville is an algebra teacher at Martist School in Atlanta Georgia. The first time I visited her blog she had a post about test review days. In her post "Test Review Day" she had two examples of review days and detailed schedules for each of the examples. Ms. Turbiville believes in a structured class rather than a study guide class. In my comment, I first introduced myself as a EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. I then proceeded to comment on how I enjoyed her post and how she conducts review days. I told her that the structure her classes held was something I admired. Finally, I left my contact information at the end of the comment.

Two graphing calculators sitting on a table next to each other. One is black and one is grey. They both have functions graphed on the calculator screen.

The second post from Ms. Turbiville's blog I read and commented on was "Friends, Vegas, and Probability". In this post it warns people about the controversy that can come with teaching probability. Ms. Turbiville writes that most activities involving probability are "games of chance" and can cause people to associate it with things like gambling. She then gives a link to an excellent alternative way to teach probability. The game is called Beano. Ms. Turbiville has everything needed to successful utilize Beano in a previous blog post. Also provided in the post is a comical example of probability. Within her post is a clip from the hit show "Friends". In the clip Monica is playing craps. Ms. Turbiville states that she would never use the example unless her students were out of high school; however, in the clip it presents an opportunity to discuss probability. In my comment I agreed with Ms. Turbiville about how controversial the topic. I also told her I loved her suggestion of the game Beano and thanked her for the wonderful idea.

A pile of dices that are all different colors

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing has always made students moan and groan in agony. It was always that thing your teachers forced you to do and it was just annoying. As a student, I was never taught the correct way to peer edit therefore I hated doing it. Also I never knew how beneficial it could be. Peer editing should be taught at the early stages of school and implemented a lot more. Peer editing is an easy process that can help a student's writing tremendously.

After watching What is Peer Editing? I learned three easy steps to follow when peer editing. When you are given the task of peer editing it is important to give compliments, suggestions, and corrections. The number one thing to remember when editing is to ALWAYS stay positive. When editing a student's work one should never start with anything other than compliments. You never want the person to feel attacked or belittle by the way you edit their work. After giving compliments, you can then offer some suggestions. And remember a suggestion is nothing more than something for the other student to take into consideration. You should never force your opinion onto them. Finally you give corrections for things such as grammar, sentence structure, and spelling.

The adorable, hilarious video Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes does a great job of showing people what not to do. Out of the ten mistakes they demonstrated I found being mean, pushy, and defensive were the worse. The other mistakes are important but these seem to be the most unproductive. Cutting down other students by being rude and hateful is not only going to not help their work but is going to hurt them as a person. As someone who is preparing to become an educator I hope that I will be able to foster productive and helpful peer editing in my classes.

A paper that has been edited by a red pen with red ink and the pen is laying on top of the paper

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blog Post #2

It was clear as I watched the Mr. Dancealot video that the author is trying to relay that students need more than notes and lecture to fully understand certain concepts. As shown in the movie, the students were never allowed to practice the dances as they were taught and could not even see the teacher demonstrate them properly. As a result of the teacher's poor teaching approach, the student's could not perform the dances for their final exam. I agree with the author that the students failed to perform on the final because of how the class was taught. The students needed time in class to gain experience with the different dances and as a result they could have had a greater understanding of them.

In Kevin Robert's Teaching in 21st Century his approach for teaching is very aggressive. He believes that if teacher's do not stay current and do not use the resources available the classroom will become completely obsolete. Robert states that students can obtain information at any given moment. They have access to google, blogs, facebook, youtube, and other websites. Student's have access to all types of information. It is up to the teachers to show the students where they can find credible information and how to determine if something is credible.

According to Robert students need to be taught skills rather than how to regurgitate facts or formulas. In our world, it is more valuable to posses a certain degree of skills than it is to have a brain full of random facts. Teachers need to teach their students to still remember information, but to also understand, apply, analyze, and evaluate the information. We must also allow our students to use the necessary tools to utilize these skills. Some teachers have expressed concern on how to regulate the tools in the classroom. I love this quote from Robert "the tools provide temptation, but they are not the source of the negative behavior". Why should teachers keep students away from all the benefits of these tools because some students decide to behave poorly?

I agree with Robert on how beneficial and necessary technology is for 21st century classrooms. Do I think that technology should consume 100% of the class? No. However, I do believe that it should be incorporated at least half of the time. Throughout EDM 310 my view on this may very well change and that is ok. At this time without me fulling knowing all that is out there I cannot make a definite claim. I can state that I have learned more in these two weeks about technology than I have ever in any other class. As I am exposed to all the benefits of technology the more my opinion changes.

Wendy Drexler's The Networked Student allows her viewers to see what it takes to classify a student as a "networked student" and what role the teacher can play in that student's life. Drexler believes that a teacher is there not to simply give their students information but to help them build their learning network. The teacher is meant to teach her students to seize learning opportunities and is there for guidance. I agree with Drexler in regards to certain aspects. Yes, teachers should help students use all the resources that are available but that is not all teachers are responsible for. I feel that it is the responsibility of a teacher to teach their students about more than history, math, english, or science. Teachers can help students in many ways that a computer cannot. I feel that Drexler's video makes the teacher into nothing more than a facilitator of self-learning. While there is a time for a teacher to facilitate self learning there are times when a student is going to need a teacher's help.

The thesis of Davis's video Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts is that technology can help students succeed in ways standard teaching cannot. Davis points out that there are certain students who can learn and succeed with old fashion pen and paper teaching but there is a large number of students who need to learn in new ways. I agree that technology allows students to be more independent and gives them a sense of empowerment. I feel that in this day and age teachers need to teach their students to do things on their own. The older I get the more I realize that students expect everything to be perfectly laid out for them and they have to put forth little effort. Technology is an incredible way to do this. Allowing technology to be a part of your students' every day routine will help them not only academically but also to prepare them for the work force.

The concept of Flipping the Classroom is completely new to me. I think this approach has the potential to be great for students but I am concerned for students with extracurricular activities. I realize that school should always take priority over everything else but it is unrealistic that students will only focus on school. After a student has spent 8 hours in school and then spent a few hours practicing, rehearsing, or volunteering they are not going to be excited to watch a new lesson online. However, because I have not seen a flipped classroom personally my reservations may be due to a lack of knowledge. Maybe if I were able to observe a flipped classroom or talk with teachers who have successfully flipped their classrooms then I could be more supportive. I think the theory behind flipping a classroom is innovative and has the potential to help students tremendously.

Conversation bubble with words about technology enabled learning