Thursday, July 16, 2015

Blog Post #5 (Final PLN)

Twitter logoI started using my PLN at the beginning of the class, but I had never heard of the term before I began the summer semester. If you're not sure if you can start your own PLN, just simply try Twitter. It's not the only tool that you can use for a PLN, but it's very effective and it's my personal favorite. Twitter is such a great and powerful social media tool and it lets you communicate with people all over the world effortlessly. When I began my own PLN, I was unsure about it and I wasn't used to it, but it gradually grew on me and I started really enjoying the small amounts of information a couple times a day that came directly to my phone.

PLN's are so helpful when growing as a teacher and a learner. There are so many available information everyday so I can prepare for my own classroom one day. PLN's can also be helpful for teachers to exchange strategies and lesson plans! One of my personal favorite twitter accounts to follow is @edutopia. They post great tips and motivational quotes often. I'll definitely be using my PLN that I've created for this class further on as I finish college and start my career.

C4Ta #4

My first summary is about the blog post Writing That Is WOW - Worth of the World by Angela Maiers. Ms. Maiers discusses how she likes to write and expresses her thoughts on a daily basis, even if it's working on a chapter of her book or using twitter. She decided to create a lesson called W.O.W. - Worthy of the World. The lesson taught that no matter what a student writes, they just need to find the courage and get it out there for others to see. The students learned that day that their all of their writing is worthy of the world! Ms. Maiers uploaded a great video of her teaching her W.O.W. lesson. It's very inspirational to hear and I really enjoyed reading this article.

Hi, Ms. Maiers. I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed the video you shared and I find the W.O.W. concept to be very inspirational. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Image of a student's poem
 Image of students letter to Ms. Maiers

In the second article Let's Close the Passion Gap by Angel Maiers, Ms. Maiers makes a very valid point about how our education system is loosing sight of having passion and that it has been replaced with words like "assessment", "common core", and "standardize". I agree that there is a problem that in today's world passing a test has become more important in the classroom than teaching skills and valuable knowledge. Those who are passionate are more creative and willing to take risks to improve the thing they are most passionate about. Someone who is passionate sticks it through till the end, no matter how hard the path is. That is what we should be teaching in schools.

Hi, Ms. Maiers. I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I hadn't thought of the issue of passion in the education system for quite some time until you mentioned it! I completely agree that students are now way over their heads in tests and assessments. Thank you for sharing, this was a wonderful read!

Image of "The Passion Gap"

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blog Post #14 Teaching Can Be a Profession by Joel Klein

Image of Classroom full of kids

"If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing, what would it be?"

Joel Klein, a former leader of New York City schools, gets asked this question a lot. In the article Teaching Can Be a Profession by Joel Klein, Mr. Klein discusses changes in school systems and professionalizing teaching.

  1. Better academic training for prospective teachers.
    • Teachers need to have stronger educational backgrounds. For example, there are many prospective educators out there who are avoiding jobs as science or math teachers because they don't have a strong background in either of those subjects. We have to make sure through schooling and evaluations that prospective teachers can pave the way for educators after them. 
  2. Recruiting teachers.
    • There has to be a new approach to recruiting teachers. When I first saw the statement in Joel Klein's article, "For decades, we've let virtually anyone with a college degree become a teacher," I had take a second and think about that. I have seen the Coach-and-History teacher combo first hand more than a few times in high school. I was once discouraged to become a history teacher because football coaches usually took those positions. How? I have to agree with Mr. Klein, this illogical situation has been around for years. One solution, according to Mr. Klein, is to pick from the top third of our graduates and to make the requirements much more difficult. 
  3. Rewarding teachers.
    • We have to change our we reward teachers. Seniority shouldn't dictate who loses their job. New teachers that have just entered a school system shouldn't be in danger of losing their job just because they were hired last. Whether you keep your job or not should be based on how you performed in that position. 
I agree with a lot of things Mr. Klein stated in this article. Many things in the educational field need to change, including professionalizing teachers. There are so many obstacles that have weighed down the teaching profession and it's unfortunate because most undergraduates say, "I don't want to become a teacher, because they don't get paid that well." We have to raise the bar for prospective teachers, so we can create a better learning environment.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blog Post #13 What Did I Leave Out?

Picture from the film Dead Poet's SocietyI chose a couple of fun reading instruction activities that I found to be very helpful in the classroom. Second and third grade is a very crucial time in a student's education when they begin to learn sentence structure and read fluently. A lot of work with reading instruction is very repetitive because students have to memorize the sounds of letters and how those sounds create a word. As a teacher, it's not hard to be creative when it comes to reading instruction. You may think, "How? The student just needs to repeat the words over and over again and read a lot of books!" Reading is a creative process on its own. Children will read books and stories all day long because they have to for school. The key to helping your students WANT to read is finding what reading material may interest them. Now, back to the creative part!

In high school, my eleventh grade English teacher had us do a very surprising and fun activity that seemed a little out of the ordinary at the time. Little did I know, I would remember this activity six years later! She asked us all to take out our journals and write one sentence to begin an epic story. It could be about anything (appropriate) our minds could quickly dream up! After we wrote exactly one sentence, we had to pass our journals to the classmate behind us. Soon we were all having a blast while we added pages upon pages of our work onto our friend's stories. The lesson was for all of us to notice our creative ability.

This lesson can easily translate into an activity for a second or third grade classroom. I found a good example from Story Jar Activity, although the concept is basic, I thought I could add onto the activity. The teacher could form the class into groups of four and each group would take a piece of paper with a single sentence on it from a jar. As a group, the students would have to write one more sentence and then the pieces of paper would rotate around the room so everyone could add onto each story. This helps with sequencing skills, so each group understands that the sentence they add on will have to make sense with the previous one.

These lessons can be incorporated into a blog assignment where the students need to find well thought-out, creative, and skill-promoting activities on Activities that go with the grade level they wish to teach.

Project #12B

Sunday, July 5, 2015

C4T #3

Will Richardon's header image. Read.Write.Connect.Learn.

My first post is on Mr. Will Richardson's blog Read.Write.Connect.Learn. He wrote about how our generation's experience with blogging is so different from today's generation outlook on how they share their everyday thoughts. They have the popular website Facebook. Over the past decade, literally everyone I know and speak to on a regular basis has a Facebook. Some pour their thoughts out on status' or notes and it has become yesterday's typical blog. Here's my comment on Mr. Richardson's blog post.

Hi Mr. Richardson, I'm in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I find it very true that the generation after us is being shaped by a very different social standard, such as Facebook. It's very fascinating to watch it happen over the past decade along with the ever evolving technology out there. Thank you for sharing.

In the second post, Mr. Richardson is writing about how PBL needs to have real-world applications because studies show that many employers require their employees to work together for a short period of time on projects and then stop, before bring them back together for another project. Also, that a project needs to feel meaningful to the students so it promotes more deeper thinking toward the topic.

Hi Mr. Richardson, I'm in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. Kids do need to know what work will look like when they leave school and I'm very interested in how PBL is helping by using real-world applications in its lesson plans. Thanks for sharing!

Blog Post #11 What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From These Teachers?

In the first video, Back To the Future, Brian Cosby gave a presentation about a group of students he's been teaching. He incorporated technology in his classroom by helping his students create a successful blog so they can communicate with other people about their projects and what they've learned. Mr. Cosby seemed very involved in his classroom and making sure his students understood the subject material. The students were very excited about the "High Hopes Project" that they helped create and were all very motivated to learn new things.

Mr. Paul Andersen's Blended Learning Cycle was a very interesting and fresh approach at helping make sure students have learned a certain lesson. In his projects, that he sets up for his students, he makes up his steps into one word QUIVERS.

  • QU - Question
  • I - Investigation/Inquiry
  • V - Video
  • E - Elaboration
  • R - Review
  • S - Summary Quiz
Each step is for the student to complete for the project and at the end, Mr. Andersen would give them a short summary quiz to make sure that the student understood what they just did their project on. This is a GREAT project plan that I would definitely use in my classroom.

Making Thinking Visible is a very helpful book for educators and all learners that helps deepen thinking on the subject that a student studies. They have to ask more meaningful questions so they'll become better learners when they search for the answers. I could not find the short video in the website that I was asked to watch, but this book provides great classroom strategies on how to promote critical thinking in students.

In the fourth video, Sam Pane 4th Grade is about Mr. Pane's fourth grade class learning about internet safety and incorporating it into a lesson. The students create a super hero on a fun and safe website while also learning about safety on the internet. This is extremely important because children have to learn at a young age now that internet is not always a very safe harm-free place. They do need to know what to post and what not to post on websites. Because technology has evolved so much, children are having to learn these rules at a younger age. When students are learning how to use a blog in the third grade, for example, the first thing they are taught is internet safety.

In Project Based Learning, three teachers brought together their skills and knowledge so they could create projects together using two subjects at one time. Students are more motivated by project based learning when they feel like they are really learning and understanding the material. The students in this classroom are so proud of their work because their peers had several opinions and they saw more meaning in their assignment.

Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program is about using project based learning in a first grade classroom and how it is a positive tool in education. When the students have to use critical thinking, they know when to ask questions and soon become better learners. When students are allowed to work together for a common goal, they are learning valuable teamwork and communication skills that will help them in years to come. I would definitely use these strategies in my classroom so that my students could comprehend the subject material.

Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program

Project #10

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Special Blog Post Assignment

Image of Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs
Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs runs a very resourceful and educational website called Curriculum21 and it offers so many helpful websites for educators where they can pick out ideas for lesson plans or for just anyone who wants to learn something new! It was difficult picking six out of the 68 resources I was offered, but I decided on the ones that really stuck out to me. 

Storybird is a website that allows writers and artists to design their own story-rich books with an easy and kid-friendly design. The website itself has such a pretty and creative layout that I might sign up for an account myself. I could see how Storybird would be a great tool in the classroom so students could use the artwork that's already in the website and create a story from their own imagination. 

Image of Starry Night by Vincent Van GoghGoogle Art Project is so far one of my favorites from this list. I am a huge fan of art and I already knew I would be picking this website from the first glance of the homepage. There are giant collections of classic, famous art that anyone can look up and zoom in on so they can see the tiniest detail. Educators can use this site to easily show students pieces of art. They can search by artist, collections, or even mediums. I find it very convient that all of it was put together in one place for an educator who wants to talk about art history to their students. 
Flickr and Vimeo are great tools to use in the classroom. Flickr is a photo management and sharing website that can also store your photos on an account so a student can come back to them later. It's very easy to use and there is also a creation and editing tool that a teacher can use in the classroom for a project. Vimeo is a wonderful alternative to YouTube. If there is conflict that arises with YouTube (such as privacy) and you want to use a different website, Vimeo is a great solution. Vimeo is also home to a very creative community and students can also store videos on their account. 

Solar System Scope is a great interactive website that lets students look at the solar system throughout time and where each planet was and is at presently. This would be an amazing interactive tool to use on a SMARTboard so the teacher could show how planets revolve around the sun and how long it takes for the outer planets to make a full circle around the sun. I would definitely use this a science class! 

More people use Pinterest as a website to look up cake decorating ideas (I'm guilty of this) than they use it for educational purposes. But it is such a great tool for collaborating on ideas with students and teachers that it needs to be used more often in the classroom. On Pinterest, someone can "pin" an idea on a board on the website and others can see what you've put there. They can also add to the board with their own ideas. This is a great way for teachers across the world to share their thoughts and ideas in one location so we can learn from each other. It's also an excellent place to get ideas for lesson plans from.  

Blog Post #10 What Can We Learn From Mrs. Cassidy?

Image of Student using laptop in a group project with other students

In Little Kids...Big Potential, Mrs. Cassidy's first grade students learn how to properly post on a blog through pictures and videos. They also learn about wiki's and safely navigating the internet. It's so interesting how these first graders are able to use that level of technology and are narrating their own pictures of what they are doing in the classroom. The video also allows parents of the students see the kind of progress their children are making.

There are three video clips from Dr. Strange's interview with Mrs. Kathy Cassidy. The first video Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 1, Mrs. Cassidy and Dr. Strange discuss the student's privacy when Mrs. Cassidy mentions them in a class picture or a photo of them on her blog. She never puts their last name or links their first name to their picture. She also talks about starting her own webpage ten years ago and a blog five years ago and how she incorporates technology in the classroom.

In Part 2 of the three part interview, Mrs. Cassidy speaks about how much twitter has changed her habits on social media, especially towards education. Twitter is a great tool for a personal learning network and Mrs. Cassidy mentions how she was unsure about using it at first but grew to really like it when she followed more people and they posted links to technology tips and websites she could visit.

In Part 3, Dr. Strange let's some of his EDM 310 students ask Mrs. Cassidy questions about teaching students about blogging and technology. She discusses plagiarism and that teachers in her school show students how to cite their sources correctly so they know not to copy other people's work or ideas. Mrs. Cassidy answers a question about internet safety and how she teaches her students about websites they are not allowed to visit that aren't educational.

Dr. Strange and Mrs. Cassidy's interview was very interesting and I was able to see her perspective on technology in the classroom. It's fascinating to me that children nowadays are using technology like blogging and recording their audio and video to make videos for class and it makes me wonder what the average classroom will be like ten years from now. Technology is constantly evolving and like Mrs. Cassidy said part one of her interview with Dr. Strange, it's here to stay and educators have to adapt to it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Blog Post #9 What Can Teachers and Students Teach Us About Project Based Learning?

Image of a classroom using project based learning in engineering

In Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning, John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller lay out the seven essentials for project based learning by giving an example of a fictional teacher, Ms. McIntyre, who is teaching a project about water-borne bacterium to her class. The project must be meaningful and provide an educational purpose or it just ends up being "busy work".

The seven essentials for project based learning are:
  1. A Need to Know, which is an initiating and opening event to the project that grabs the attention of the students so they will want to learn more about the subject matter.
  2. A Driving Question is what introduces the students to the challenge of the project and gives them a sense of purpose. Usually the driving question is open-ended so they can think more about what the teacher has asked.
  3. Student Voice and Choice is when the teacher gives the student's the choice to use creative tools to present their project and have a voice when doing so. They can state their opinion on what topic the teacher has chosen. 
  4. 21st Century Skills is the next essential when students are split into groups so they can learn to collaborate and use technology to work together.
  5. Inquiry and Innovation is essential because students need to do research to answer their own questions about the topic and so their project can grow. 
  6. Feedback and Revision can be a perfect time for peer editing before the students present their final presentation. 
  7. A Publicly Presented Product is when the groups of students present their projects to an audience that isn't just their teacher and classmates. They care more about the quality of the assignment and will feel prouder when others enjoy it. 
"I never teach my pupils. I only attempt provide the conditions in which they can learn." Albert Einstein said this and the video Project Based Learning for Teachers by Tony Vincent showed me how important and interesting this quote was. Project based learning is so much more than the traditional burp-back education, students can become better learners when they are asked deeper and more meaningful questions. They take those questions and investigate them before reflecting on their answers.

The first video I chose was Students Solve the Problem of Watery Ketchup With A New Cap. Two students from a high school in Missouri were given a prompt by their teacher, "It really bugs me when..." and they had to find out what bugged them the most and find a solution. They chose the problem when water comes out of a ketchup bottle and it makes a mess. So they designed a piece of plastic that they used a 3D printer to print out and attached it to the bottom of the new ketchup bottle cap. It kept the water from coming out with the ketchup. The two students investigated the problem, did very in-depth research by making sure there wasn't already a patent for their idea, and presented their final project.

Project-Based Learning and Physical Education explores the opportunity of using project based learning with physical education. High school students were asked to provide the best exercise program for the middle school students. Afterwards, they were would publicly present their exercise plans to the school's administration and teachers. The seven essentials that are stated above were used in this article when using this exercise plan as an example. Above all, the project based learning exercise plan taught the high school student about team work and working together.
In The Challenges of Project Based Learning, several of the English and Mathematics teachers are having difficulties transitioning their curriculum in a project-based learning environment. They don't want to lose that certain meaningful inspiration that literature holds if it were just thrown together as a group project. Essays and research papers would be nearly impossible because neither of those are generally collaborative projects. But they've worked around the problem by asking the students to investigate and apply the themes they've seen in literature. A major goal is to be creative and think outside the box, so students can also apply these standards later in life.

Project #12 Part A

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Project #14

Image collage of Historical Figures

For this assignment, my group will be implementing a project-based learning plan in the classroom where students will be learning about historical figures in time. This is a tenth grade lesson and the students will be using Google slides for their final presentation.  

Project #9

Sunday, June 21, 2015

C4Ta Post #2

I accidentally published my first summary last Saturday, but I will re-post it again (along with this weeks summary) so there won't be any confusion.

6 Ways I Use Pinterest
For my assignment, I chose the post 6 Ways I Use Pinterest by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. Pinterest is a very popular social media site that lets you "pin" ideas to your board so you can save them for later. I have one myself and I really enjoy using it. Ms. Tolisano was able to use it in a very unique and interesting way that I had never thought of before. She used it to exchange ideas with teachers in Argentina so they could learn from one another and form collective thoughts into one general location. It's a very creative method and I would definitely use it to collect educational ideas such as lesson plans and activities for my classes.

Hi Ms. Tolisano, I'm in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class and I agree that Pinterest can be used for a wide variety of social media activities, but I never knew that I could use it for educational purposes! I would be very interested in using it to find lesson plan or activity ideas in my future career. Thank you!

What Are the Best Ways a Teacher Can Demonstrate Leadership in the Classroom?
This week, I chose Ms. Tolisano's post What Are the Best Ways a Teacher Can Demonstrate Leadership in the Classroom? She first examined the definition of a leader and how educators model what kind of behaviors and attributes they want to see in the classroom as leaders themselves. Then she looked at experience, share, and trust. "A leader in the classroom gives students the opportunities to experience learning." This quote from her post is very true and applies heavily in a dedicated educator. A great teacher always puts the students first. With sharing and trust, a leader shares the classroom's accomplishments with either the outside world and/or through face-to-face school events. Trust is a two-way street in a classroom. The students has to know that they can trust the teacher to be the best that they can be.

Hi, Ms. Tolisano. I am in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class and I found your four components of a leadership flow very interesting. I was particularly intrigued by the component of sharing. The more I consider why this would be an important component, I can see why you picked it. A teacher needs to show off their student's work so it can be appreciated. It helps them gain confidence when others admire their work. Great post, thank you for sharing!

Image of drawn leadership qualities

Blog Post #8 What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?

Image of Randy Pausch speaking at CMU

This assignment was not the first time I had heard of Randy Pausch. In 2011, which was also my senior year of high school, I was required to do a report on Randy Pausch. We had to buy a copy and read his book The Last Lecture before doing a presentation and writing a paper. I remember not wanting to do it at all. It was the last few months of high school and I let the book sit in my room untouched for almost a solid month, because that's how long we were given to do the assignment. In the last week, I finally picked up the book and started reading. I remember finishing it in one night. I cried, laughed, and I was moved by his story and his advice about life.

I didn't realize at the time I could use some of his advice as a future educator. In his Last Lecture video, he talks about hitting metaphorical "brick walls" in life. There will always be obstacles that we have to jump over in order to get what we want. They're there to show us how badly we want something and our dedication to get it. They stop the people who don't really want to put forth the effort. We all hit brick walls in our lives, it's just a matter if we can get past them.

My favorite quote from Randy Pausch's video is when he's speaking to his mentor and his mentor tells Pausch to go back into his class and say to his students, "That was pretty good, but I know you can do better." This is amazing advice for a teacher, or just anyone. Never set a bar so your students can keep bettering themselves and never reach a stopping point. Never say, "This is the best work I've ever seen." The students will just settle for that and never feel like they could do better.

Randy Pausch never gave up on his childhood dreams. He pushed past his brick walls and did the best he could to achieve his goals. He had to modify a few of them, but he saw them through 'til the end. He was diagnosed with cancer and his doctors gave him only 6 months to live at the most. It would be hard for me to be optimistic if I were given the same news. But he treated every day as if it if were a blessing and I think we all forget to live our lives like that. His advice is to have fun and live life to the fullest extent.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Blog Post #7 How Do We All Become Learners?

In the video, Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten, Dr. Strange, Elizabeth Davis from Daphne Elementary School, and Michele Bennett from Gulf Shores Elementary School talk about the usefulness and rewards of teaching elementary students how to use iMovie and AVL. These are both very beneficial tools now in today's world, especially AVL. It's basically knowledge at their fingertips, whether they are at school or at home. It's very exciting technology and the kindergartners responded very enthusiastically to learning how to make book trailers on iMovie.

Screenshot of Dr. Strange, Elizabeth Davis, and Michele Bennett video

In We All Become Learners, Dr. Strange, Elizabeth Davis, and Michele Bennett discuss how that not only does everyone become a teacher in education, they become a learner. Educators have to be open to learning things from their students as well as teaching them. It's not a one-way street. For example, Mrs. Bennett wanted to show a kindergarten student how to use Padlet and they ended up showing her how to use the camera on her Macbook. It's very fascinating how far ahead children are in the learning race.

The first of the four videos that I picked was Career Day. In this video, the students were asked what do they want to be when they grow up? There were a couple police officers, a vet, doctor, and even a ballerina! All of them wore great costumes and came dressed up to school for career day. They gave very sweet answers because most of them were, "I want to help people when I grow up." Very good video!

Tammy Shirley sharing 1st Grade Students becoming Leaders of their Own Learning is the second video I picked. Ms. Shirley was preparing her 1st grade class for a new project and her students began starting their own research for it without being asked. They became leaders of their own learning when they took the initiative to be become better learners.

In the third video, Mrs. Shirley & Ms. Lauber's Students Collaborate, two students use an iPad to create a presentation about plants, pollen, and the many benefits from plants in our everyday life. This was a great way to incorporate technology so that these students could learn more about botany and eventually environmentalism.

I chose Sawyer's Story because it's a very sweet video that a student named Sawyer created on his own, using iMovie and the video clips he was given, so he could create a short video about how excited he was to be going to the 3rd grade. I was very impressed with his iMovie skills at such a young age!

After watching these videos, I realized that there is so much more to learn even when you become an educator. There are constantly changes and also unexpected (good) surprises like Mrs. Shirley's students becoming leaders of their own learning. I believe there is only so much we, as students in college, can prepare for our real world career as teachers. Experience is the best teacher. In the future, when I want to use project-based learning, I'll have to be prepared to use more technology into the classroom and all of the pro's and con's it brings with it. Many school districts have postponed the idea of iPads or Macbooks for students, because they believe the community isn't ready for that jump in responsibility. It's very expensive and the schools have to know if the equipment will be used productively and held up to their value. But I believe that project-based learning goes so well hand-in-hand with classroom technology, that I would take advantage of the opportunity to do both.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Project #13

Image of the water cycle

My group did our project-based learning plan on the water cycle. We used ALEX for our course standards and Padlet to teach our lesson plan.

Project Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Rubric


Lesson Plan Project Calendar

Saturday, June 13, 2015

C4Ta #2


For my assignment, I chose the post "6 Ways I Use Pinterest" by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. Pinterest is a very popular social media site that lets you "pin" ideas to your board so you can save them for later. I have one myself and I really enjoy using it. Ms. Tolisano was able to use it in a very unique and interesting way that I had never thought of before. She used it to exchange ideas with teachers in Argentina so they could learn from one another and form collective thoughts into one general location. It's a very creative method and I would definitely use it to collect educational ideas such as lesson plans and activities for my classes.


Hi Ms. Tolisano, I'm in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class and I agree that Pinterest can be used for a wide variety of social media activities, but I never knew that I could use it for educational purposes! I would be very interested in using it to find lesson plan or activity ideas in my future career. Thank you!

Project #8

Blog Post #6 What Did You Learn From These Conversations with Anthony Capps?

Image of Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps

This was a great interview from Dr. Strange and Mr. Capps. I had never heard of iCurio or Discovery Education before this assignment and I would definitely use it in my classroom. They helped me understand the rewards of project-based learning better than before in Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher. It's tough work, but the students learn more in return and they wanted to keep using the same method because they were genuinely interested in the style. Project based learning is more hands-on than just handing out worksheets and going over textbook material on a daily basis. I really enjoyed listening to the assignment about the students interviewing their relatives or friend of the family's experience in Afghanistan. It's just amazing to me that these 3rd graders were able to do such a complex project at a young age and I find it fascinating.

Another interesting tool that Dr. Strange and Mr. Capps spoke about was iCurio. It's a safe search engine that students can use at school that can pull up all of the research they need for their assignment. It also has storage that they can use so they can save files and come back later to them. I can only imagine what my classmates and I would have been able to learn and the activities we would have able to do if we had had the access to this amount of technology when I was in elementary school. In fifth grade, we were using Windows 98 and we really thought we had it made.

Discovery Education helps students if they didn't understand a lesson or they need extra studying time with the material. It's a video tool that visually helps the student instead of lecturing them. Over the years, I've learned a lot of people process information differently. Some are visual learners, while others can listen to a set of instructions once and they've got it. I'm a visual learner, for example, and Discovery Education would help me because they could teach me by acting out or using hands on activities for the lesson.

Dr. Strange and Mr. Capps gave some really good advice in The Anthony - Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1 on preparing lesson plans and how educator's need to be prepared to learn as well and not just the students. Lesson plans are a very vital part of being a teacher. They can become overwhelming if you are not prepared to have them completed. So the tip from Dr. Strange and Mr. Capps is to prepare ahead of time and I think that's great advice for any new teacher.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blog Post #5 PLN's - What Are They?

The definition of a PLN (Personal Learning Network) is the people, places, organizations, and networks that enable you to learn, according to Dr. Strange. Developing a Personal Network in EDM 310. I have never heard of a PLN before this class and it is very interesting to me. Social media plays a big role in a PLN, because you can keep up with teaching styles and new ways to learn daily. It helps you connect with other professionals so that you may become a better educator and learner. My Wonderful PLN includes an interview where we can see how important having a PLN is.

Twitter is a really great tool for a PLN. You can contact and keep up to date with someone who can make suggestions or show you a better way to make changes in the classroom. Personally, I have already followed several inspiring educators on Twitter and I enjoy reading their advice.

The video below is an example of a seventh grader giving a tour of her PLE (Personal Learning Environment) and I find it to be a great example of what a PLN is like.

Project #7

My Sentence Is...

My Passion Is...

To the Parents

To the Students

Monday, June 8, 2015

C4T#1a Assignment

Google and the Future of Learning

Summary: I found this blog post to be quite interesting. I am always excited about new technology in the classroom. Google has announced that they're releasing technology for the classroom called "Google Expeditions" just in time for the coming school year, Fall 2015. It's a virtual reality device that students can put over their eyes and it connects to the teacher's iPad or Android device and nearly any place or event in time can be shown in front of their eyes. It would feel as if the students were actually there. One of the examples was a teacher who split up her students into groups and they would all be put in a different part of the crowd and watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. Each group would have different perspectives.

Comment: Hi, I'm in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama and I am an Elementary Education major. The Google Cardboards sound very exciting and I can't wait to hear the feedback once they're in the classrooms.

Where Do We Teach Email?

Summary: Google is taking their engineers and placing them as professors in universities so that they can teach things that will be useful in their company. This is a very interesting approach. Does Google believe that what universities are teaching now are not sufficient enough for the jobs at their company? They investigated the issue and saw that at most universities in the U.S., basic introductory computer skills were being taught all the way up to preparing engineer job interviews. Jeff Utecht made an excellent point in this blog post, "Isn't this a skill that can be taught? Should be taught starting in elementary school? Our society today is an email why is there no where in any school curriculum a place where email writing (for a variety of purposes and audiences) is being taught to students?" Technology in the classroom is always evolving and we should change the curriculum as needed.

Comment: Hello, I am with Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. You brought up some very interesting points and I agree that many schools have curriculum that needs to be changed, especially pertaining to technology in the classroom.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Project #15 Search Engines

Image of a magnifying glass over earth

Wolfram Alpha: This website is a great computational knowledge engine that lets you input a very wide variety of questions such as mathematical, scientific, music, history, and lets you search dates and times for events in the past. It is primarily used for mathematics and was once a website that only provided solutions for math problems, but it's grown into other subjects. Personally, I've used this website several times and have enjoyed it.

Bing: This web search engine is owned by the Microsoft corporation. It operates a lot like Google and searches for keywords in websites around the globe. It is the second most popular web search engine in the world.

DuckDuckGo: It is a search engine that does not track your activity as you search. It provides privacy and does not report back your results or your location to other websites.

Dogpile: This is a web search engine that has been around for quite awhile. It was released in 1995 and I remember using it when I was younger. It searches through websites for what you need and provides it all in one location. Hence, the website's name.

Yahoo! Search: This website is also a web search engine where you can browse through images, videos, and music in one place. It provides web search results and is the third most popular search engine in the world.

Ask: Ask was originally called AskJeeves and it was very popular before Google and Bing were released. It is a question-answering engine that provides answers/results when you type in a keyword in the search bar. I used it quite a lot when I was younger, because the internet was becoming more popular and AskJeeves was one of the first search engines. We thought it was all really cool how you could ask a website a question and it would immediately know the answer.

AOL Search: This website is a web search engine that has been active since the early 1990's. It also provides website results based on keyword searches

Kayak: This search engine helps you find flights across the world instantly and helps you plan vacations. I have used Kayak on many occasions and it is a reliable way to purchase airplane tickets.

Blog Post #4 Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?

To be an effective teacher, we need to help all students learn how to ask questions in the classroom. It not only helps them become better learners, but it also helps educators learn too. Ben Johnson was correct in The Right Way to Ask Questions In The Classroom, when he said that teachers "...need to come to grips with the fact that we really do not know everything, and there is no reason to assume that the students know nothing." 

It's important to let students say their (appropriate) opinions and to have a voice in the classroom. It helps with self-confidence and public speaking. The reason many children refrain from asking questions during class is because when the teacher opens up an opportunity for questions, it is in the last few minutes of the class period. The students know they are about to get out of class and don't want to stay any longer if they ask anything. The time for questions should be spread out through the class period, so the students have ample time to speak up if they don't understand something. 

Educators also have to be prepared to learn new things everyday. They are not only teachers, but students as well when it comes to education. It's important to watch and learn from a valuable lesson in the classroom. How can we learn to teach differently if the other methods aren't working or if there is a troubled child who doesn't want to do the work? Teachers need to adapt and learn new ways to help their students. We can only do that if there is communication in the classroom. 

Image of meme Grumpy Cat

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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

I always thoroughly enjoyed peer editing in high school. We were not required to do it in our English classes as much as we should have, but it was a very interesting process. I believe that students do need to practice more peer editing in school and start a very young age. It can be frustrating because your work is put in a spotlight for your friends to see, but I think that students value their friends opinions a lot. It would be very rewarding for them to see that their peers thought well of their work and they would be more willing to fix any mistakes because it would be in front of their friends. I believe peer editing can build social skills as much as it builds up academic skills.

Peer editing can be tricky. Not everyone takes criticism well, even when it's constructive criticism. Always make sure it's the latter of the two. First, find something in the work that you can compliment (even if you have to look for a few minutes). There is always something there can be praised, so be positive. Second, move on to things that they may have done incorrectly. Such as, grammar, structure, or content mistakes. Peer editing is a constructive process that helps the students to become better writers, it is a solid method that helps them feel accomplishment. Always be honest during editing and do your best. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

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

Mr. Dancelot
In the video "Mr. Dancelot", the central message is how not to teach your material in a classroom. The professor would not let the students practice the dance steps before the final and would lecture them behind a podium instead. I don't agree with Mr. Dancealot's method of teaching. I believe students need hands-on experience in the classroom, especially in this situation and many others.

Teaching in the 21st Century
The amount of technology available to our students today is astounding. The internet and the devices they use to access it have brought the world to their fingertips. There are just so many ways that teachers can show students how to properly use that technology to be successful in today's world. I find it very exciting how much technology is evolving every day. In a decade or less, the way we look at a classroom could be different. In my classroom, I would incorporate as much technology as I could because it is the future.
I. Technological availability
   A. Children's access to technology
II. Technology Education
III. Evolution of Technology
   A. Everyday there is something new
   B. Classrooms in the future
IV. Resources
   A. Our greatest source of information now is the internet
VI. Technology In My Classroom

The Networked Student
I think students still need a teacher in the classroom, even though technology has evolved so much that most students can learn things on their own. They would need guidance from teachers on how to properly use a computer, the internet, or any other device. There are still social rules to follow when using these tools.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
I really liked this teacher's method of teaching. She helped them understand how to use blogging and the computer without teaching from her desk. Teachers have to be learners too or how are they going to adapt to new material and situations in the classroom? I think she was correct when she said that all teachers had to be learners too. I believe they also have to be technologically literate to keep up as well.

Who's Ahead In The Learning Race?
Younger students today are very far ahead in the learning race. They are learning new technological things in the classroom that I was never taught. I remember having Windows 98 computers in our computer lab in middle school. They were extremely outdated, but now every student in my hometown is given a laptop to take home so they can work on their schoolwork. It will be interesting to see what children these days will be using in the classroom when they are in high school or college.

Flipping the Classroom
The method "Flipping the Classroom" is completely new to me. I've never heard of it before. I think it's very important to get the parents involved in their child's classroom so that they can be aware of what is being taught. I would really enjoy using this method in my class because it is a progressive move forward in the classroom with using technology.

Bringing The Locker Room Into The Classroom
Teamwork is a vital part of the classroom and building team-based skills is very important in a student's life. When they finish school and go to work, they will need to work in an environment where they learn to work together and accomplish a goal. I have always supported teamwork and team-based projects in the classroom.