Friday, November 28, 2014

Project 8

Blog Post 5 Part B

This is a follow up post about my Personal Learning Network (PLN). Due to the convenience, I do most of my networking on my smart phone. I always have it with me no matter where I go. Some of the apps I use frequently are Skype, Google Drive, Playground, and even Facebook.

I use Skype and Google Drive to keep in contact with my EDM310 Group. We tend to have varying schedules, so meeting in person can become a huge hassle. Skype allows use to video-conference one another. We can, then, discuss ideas for upcoming assignments.

Google drive allows us to share files with each other. We can all access them at the same time and see real-time revisions. It's instant, there is no delay, and only one central file.

Image of Wordle on PLNsPlayground is an app that I've been using in the classroom that I do my field experience hours in. Mrs. Malone allows me to implement projects and activities when we have extra time. The app has video resources for activities to do with your students. The teacher has their own account, and each student has an individual account. The teacher can post a challenge for the students to do in teams. Their progress is charted through the app as a map. Each team is represented by a color. The students watch an instructional video on how to play the game before it begins. The first team to get to the finish line wins. The kids really enjoy playing these games and learn a lot from them.

As odd as it may seem, Facebook is a great tool for networking. I use it to keep in contact with my old teachers. Anytime I have a question about something, all I have to do is send them a message. They give me advice based on their experiences. It is extremely helpful to be able to connect with someone experienced in your future career that you already have a relationship. I keep in touch with my old high school counselor through Facebook. She told me that if I ever need her help with anything to call her. She now works in Mobile's school system. That works out in my favor if I ever need to visit a school or do a project in a school. She'd be able to set that up for me.

My PLN is small but strong. It's definitely something that require a lot of time and attention to be useful. I hope to continue building onto it throughout the years. It will be very beneficial to me as a teacher.

C4T 4

man balancing a computer, tablet, and phoneThis C4T has been my favorite by far. In his first post, Arvind S. Grover uploaded a video of a math app. You take a picture of the equation you are trying to solve. The app gives you the answer and shows you the steps of how to solve the equation. Grover said, " This app, without overstating it, is a game changer to me. It is a game changer because students will inevitably use it. The challenge for teachers becomes that knowing that, how will we assign work accordingly?" He suggested to have the students develop an app with the same functionality as the one shown in the video. In my comment, I said that I thought having the students develop an app would be a good idea. It would give the students a sense of meaning behind doing the work because they could see a use for it. 

This is the first time I received a reply to my comments! Mr. Grover responded to my comment by pointing out that math is a really hard subject to keep students engaged in. He believes that making the math curriculum relevant makes it easier for students to stay engaged. "If they're motivated, they'll struggle through it; if they're not, well, as a teacher, that's on you." He makes a very good point here. Some students are naturally motivated. Others, not so much. Teachers have to find a way to keep them motivated to do well in their education. 

book called screen-smart parenting by Jodi GoldIn the second post Mr. Grover made, he talked about Jodi Gold. She spoke at his school's Parents Association meeting about balancing children's use of technology. She wrote a book on the subject called Screen-Smart Parenting. Mr. Grover said that she made some very good, practical points. So good, in fact, that he bought the book on the spot. In my comment, I told Mr. Grover that this has been a concern of mine as a future teacher. We can show our students countless technologies to use, but how do we teach them to be responsible with them? I plan on buying the book myself. I think it would be beneficial to anyone that has or works with children. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

C4K November

My first student for November was Umair. He wrote a story about Superman. Superman used his laser-vision to save the city from being destroyed by a ghost. I commented, "I loved your story. You have quite an imagination. Maybe you’ll grow up to become a writer!" on his story. This time, I even received a "Thank you!" comment from Umair.

Paris wrote her typical schedule. She started from the time she woke up until the time she came back home from school. This week they discussed plans for a field trip. I commented, "Wow! Sounds like a busy day. I hope you have fun on your field trip!"
Amira wrote about the puppy her dad got her from a co-worker. He surprised her with it after they came home from dinner one night. I told her about the first puppy my parents bought me. Her name was Pepper and we rescued her. She was dislocated from her shelter after Hurricane Katrina because of the water damage the shelter received.

Blog Post 14

Teaching Our Children Can Be a Profession

Problem: Teaching needs to be professionalized.
Solution: Better academic training for prospective teachers needs to be implemented.

I agree that teaching needs to be professionalized. However, better academic training, alone, is not enough to do so. Learning how to do something and actually doing it are two completely different experiences. I think teachers need more in-classroom experience before they have a class to themselves. Early exposure to in-classroom teaching would be more beneficial to students and to prospective teachers. This gives teachers a better idea of what to expect and how to handle certain situations.

Problem: We need better recruiting techniques for new teachers.
appleSolution: We need to recruit new teachers from the top third of graduating classes.

I fully agree with this solution. I feel like anyone can become a teacher. The classes and state-mandated tests aren't very rigorous. They do not prove anyone's desire to become a teacher. Too many people come into this profession not truly wanting to be here. I've met people in my education classes that don't seem to be cut out for teaching, but they pass their classes regardless. I think a great way to add to this solution would be to have an in-class evaluation of one's teaching methods/practices by a state board member. This could be done before degrees are rewarded to help weed-out people that don't seem quite like teacher material.

Problem: Awards are based on seniority rather than merit.
Solution: Teachers are treated as interchangeable. There needs to be a system that tests teachers on their knowledge of teaching, which can lead to pay raises and various other perks.

I've always thought that there should be a way to reward teachers for high performance. The way I see it is that if you aren't recognized/rewarded for doing a job, you will lose your motivation to do so. It's the same way for the children we work with. Everyone wants to know that they are doing a good job. It will get to the point where people will think, "What's the point in doing all this extra work if s/he does way less than I do but still gets paid just as much as I do?" It's frustrating not to be recognized for a job well done.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Post 13


What can you learn about working with children that have Down Syndrome or children that are on the Autism Spectrum from these videos?

Preventing Problem Behaviors at School for Autism Spectrum Children


Children on the Autism Spectrum tend to have periods of bad behavior. They can become over-stimulated by too much noise, social stress, or high work demands. Teachers, often, inadvertently reward bad behavior. The student will have an outburst due to frustration, so the teacher will send them out of the class. This shows the student that they can get out of doing their work by acting out. 
You should try to build in breaks before they are needed. Award  behaviors such as, staying on task or getting a certain amount of work done. Build in scheduled breaks designed to meet each child's needs. Have them walk around the school with another teacher, sit in the library to read, or go see the counselor depending on what is best for them. Some students benefit from quiet meditation or breathing techniques. Another way to help keep their behavior in check is to keep their days predictable. Have their schedule in their binder or on their desk, so they know what to expect. Give them something to fidget with-- a stress ball, manipulative, fabric swatches, Velcro, etc. Children on the Autism Spectrum take things literally, so what could be harmless teasing to other children could really upset them emotionally. Some students benefit from listening to music or using noise cancelling headphones.

Her child, CJ, displays some very aggressive behaviors. He bites, pulls hair, pulls earrings, head-butts, and scratches. Some of his triggers include loud noises and frustration. He would attack his little sister, Taylor, while his mom was driving. She had to buy a new car to enable CJ to have his own space in the car. He shares a room with Taylor. While she is asleep, CJ will come to her bed and bite her. Their mother had to move Taylor into her room. CJ is very aggressive towards the youngest child, Christian. Taylor tries to protect him, so then, CJ attacks her. Their mom has to step in. She sends the other children to a room away from CJ while she tries to talk him down. You have to be calm and soothing. If his behavior is too aggressive, she gives him time to calm down before she tries talking to him. She said the best way to deal with these behaviors is to have a strategy. You have to know what to do given a certain situation. As teachers, we are not immune to their attacks. We have to be prepared and  know what to do if these kinds of situations arise in our classroom.

This is a very impacting video. Often times, we like to limit people that have a disability because we thing they can't do something. The truth is that they can do everything we do. It may be in a different way, or it may take them longer. Either way, they can accomplish the same tasks that we can. Megan is a perfect example of this. She doesn't let her disability stop her from doing anything that she wants to do. We need to stop telling our children that they can't and show them that they can. We are the most influential people in a child's life. What gives us the right to tell them that they can't do something? Who are we to crush a child's dreams?

Project 12

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blog Post 12

Project 10

Mrs. Malone did not want to appear on camera.

C4T 3

physics with a diagram of an atom
John Burke is a high school physics teacher. In his post Best Class Ever-- when I leave the room, he explains how he had a meeting to go to one day. He left his students a complex question to work on together. He told the class that they would be recorded, and he would watch the video to view their progress. He posted the video on his blog. He was bragging about how well the students worked together and questioned how he could continue this quality of work. In my comment, I told him how this was an example of project based learning and how we've been discussing this in my class for the past few weeks. I told him that it is more enjoyable for the students, and that if he continues to have classes like set up like this, his students will continue to do well.

In his post A Solution to Comment Writing Dread: Video Reflections, Burke explains a new strategy he wants to implement for giving feedback to students. He is contemplating requiring each student to make a 5 minute video with the following criteria:

  • Show me an example from your work that shows strong understanding of a physics concept.
  • Show me an example from your work that shows improvement in your understanding of physics.
  • Show me an example from your work that shows a concept that you are still working to improve your understanding.               
In my comment, I told Burke that I thought this would be a great idea. It gives the students a chance to explain why they think they have improved or how they have improved. It would take less time to watch the videos than to hand-write comments on paper. The feedback would be more meaningful to the student because they would have a chance to explain themselves. Overall, it would be more beneficial to the students and the teacher.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blog Post 10

Little Kids...Big Potential

unleash your potentialCassidy uses technology in her classroom in a wide variety of ways. She uses blogs, Wikis, webpages, videos, Skype, and even Nintendo DS. My personal favorite was the classroom webpage. It has an abundant amount of resources for the students to utilize. It's a great way to incorporate extra help for struggling students. It would be easy for the parents to access at home, so they can help their child with the things they may be struggling with. I would also incorporate blogging in my class. I like how Cassidy put it. You can see the child's writing develop throughout the year. It's like keeping a digital running record of the child's progress. They get excited because people other than their teacher see their work. Nothing is more exciting to a child than to have people from all over the world to comment on their work. It makes them feel important.

Some of the problems I would expect to encounter would be the parental concerns about their child's work being online. I would send a letter home the first day of school explaining to the parents what I plan to do in the classroom with technology. I would explain to the parents why I think it would be so beneficial to their child to do the online work. I believe that once the parents see how enthusiastic the children are about learning, they will be more accepting of the use of technology. I think the parents would also appreciate the fact that they have access to their child's work anywhere, anytime. I think it would take awhile to get the parents on board with these techniques, but it will be worth the struggle in the end. The children deserve a learning environment that they will enjoy being a part of, a learning process that they are excited about, and a teacher that is willing to spend the time to make it all possible. Real world connections mean more to a student than memorizing facts out of a book.

Project 12 Part A

C4K October

The first blog I commented on was by Christian. He posted this picture titled Just Peachy-ish.
This was the comment I left. "I really enjoyed this picture. The title made me smile. The color is sort of peach-ish, isn't it? Great job. Keep painting. :)"

For my second blog, I received Thor. He posted about how student should have more of a say in how their day is spent at school. Some of his ideas were that students should be able to choose what they want for lunch, recess should be 15 minutes longer, and that there should be no homework on Fridays. In my comment, I told him how I remember feeling the same way when I was in grade school. I also told him that his teachers are trying to help him through all the work they assign. As final words of advice, I said that he should try to enjoy school while he can because he will miss it one day.

school supplies
The third child I received for this month was Phoenix. In her post she said, "I like school." I told her that I'm going to school to become a teacher. It's a wonderful thing to hear that students still enjoy going to school. I told her that I enjoy school too and that I've been in it for 16 years.
Izac holding up a map
The fourth child I received for the month of October was Izac. He posted a picture showing how to use a compass. In my comment, I told Izac that learning your cardinal directions is a very important skill. Not only can it help you when you are lost, but it can help you find your way around a place that you are not familiar with.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog Post 9

Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning
PBL diagramThis article outlines the criteria for a successful project. 1) Establish a need to know. Don't turn students off by handing out a packet that looks like busy-work. Excite them with a video, discussion, guest speaker, or something of the like. Their interest will follow. 2) Ask a driving question. You can think of this as a thesis for the project. Ask a question that is going to focus the students. It should be a complex, open-ended question that links to the core  of what you want the students to learn. 3) Give the students a voice and a choice. This makes the project meaningful to the students. Whether choice is limited or not, the students still feel like they had a say in what to learn about. This was always something I had an issue with in school, especially with essays. I didn't mind writing them-- I even liked writing. However, I hated writing on the provided topics. I found them boring, stupid, or a waste of time. Being given the opportunity to choice my own topic actually made me want to write the essay. This same concept can be applied to project based learning. 4) Implement 21st Century Skills. The use of these skills gives the project a sense of necessity. The students will learn skills or collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the use of technology. All of these are important aspects of the workplace and life. 5) Encourage Inquiry and Innovation. Have the students write a list of questions. In their search to find the answers, they will most likely have new questions. They will become interested in the topic and keep searching for more information. This will lead to them answering the driving question, a new product, or a new solution to a problem. 6) Provide feedback and time for revision. Having a process for feedback and revision is another way to add meaning to a project. It teaches students that first attempts aren't always successful. Real-world work has to be revised to make it better or to fit new situations. 7) Have public presentations. Students will provide higher quality work if they know that someone other than the teacher is going to see it. This could also lead to the use of student projects outside of school.

Project Based Learning For Teachers
In this video, Tony Vincent explains what project based learning (PBL) is. It is a teaching style, in which, teachers have students work over an extended period of time to answer a complex driving question. The students share their learning experience with others by creating an end product. Through the project, students learn collaboration, communication, critical thinking, career, and life skills. PBL includes having a purpose, addressing an audience, crafting a driving question, identifying learning standards, creating a rubric, grouping students, brainstorming, branching questions, meeting deadlines, focusing the process, and refining the end product. PBL accomplishes all this while giving the students a say so in their learning. It is a new way to reach our students and keep them interested in school.

Two Students Solve the problem of Watery Ketchup By Designing A New Cap 
forgot to shake the ketchup and watery ketchup comes outThis was a really interesting video. It shows a potential outcome of PBL. The students came up with a driving question to solve a problem that they were having. They didn't like their ketchup to come out of the bottle watery. They did a lot of research to see if there were any existing solutions to the problem. They didn't find any patents pertaining to their issue, so they began planning. Each student came up with 30 ideas for a design. From there, they narrowed it down to five design and then, chose the one shown in the video. They used a 3D printer to make the prototype. After completion of the new ketchup cap, they conducted market research to see their potential profits. Each cap would cost roughly 22.6 cents to make, and consumers would be willing to pay up to $3.00 for the solution to watery ketchup. This is just one of many examples of the results of PBL. The students in this video used research to answer a driving question that they came up with on their own. They solved their own problem. This is the ultimate goal of PBL-- to help students develop ingenuity.

Project Based Learning in PE 
This article describes a PBL project in which high school students design a physical fitness program for middle school students. Having the students create these programs gives them a better understanding of how physical fitness is achieved. These skills will be useful to them throughout their entire life. They will be able to adjust the programs to fit their needs as they age and their fitness levels change. Having the younger students work with the older students would get the younger students more motivated to do well with the physical fitness program. Since the high-schoolers would have someone actually using their program, they would feel the need to do their best. This is another great example of PBL in action.

What Motivates Students?
In this video, several students were interviewed about what motivates them to do well in school and what reward system works for them. Some of the things they listed as motivation were:

motivation levels gauge
  • Student recognition for a job well done
  • Financial stability in the future
  • Accomplishment of career goals
  • Disapproval of parents
  • Punishment by parents
Some of the things they listed as rewards that they liked were:

  • Going outside to do their work
  • Getting school supplies
  • Food
  • Classroom monetary system; The students are rewarded for good behavior by gaining money and punished for bad behavior by losing money. On Fridays, they could use their money to buy things from the classroom store.
  • Having themed days of the week
As teachers, we need to take the time to listen to our students to see what works for them. No child sets out to do bad in school. They get bored, frustrated, tired, etc. It's up to us to figure out ways to keep their attention and keep them motivated. We have to break up the monotony of school-- for them and for us!  I mean do you really want to spend your weekend grading a bunch of papers? Or would you rather have the students present a project that you, as well as they, can be proud of? It's just something to think about. After all, kids will be kids. Put all that excess energy and ambition to good use! MAKE THEM THINK!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

Part A

Just about everyone has a smartphone these days. That means that we have access to unlimited amounts of information at the tips of our fingers. With all the potential we have for using that technology, why do many teachers ban phones in the classroom? I, personally, use my phone to take notes, set reminders, and Google search concepts that I don't understand. I think that phones could play a big role in the classroom.

The camera function, alone, could revolutionize education. In class, I use my camera to take pictures of notes posted on the board. I've used it to take pictures of someone else's notes from classes that I've missed. I've even used it to take pictures of quizzes I've missed, so I would have the information for the final exam. I set reminders through Cortana. (She's the Window's phone's version of Siri.) If I say, "Remind me to do my homework when I get home," as soon as I pull into my driveway, my reminder will pop up on my screen. My phone is an essential part of keeping me organized for school.

Part B
Looking at it from the viewpoint of a teacher, cameras would be very useful in art. Using the filter functions could teach students about concepts like value, color, and shade. There are several apps that I have downloaded for my niece and nephews. Connect the Dots teaches kids how to count and to recognize the numeral that goes along with the number. My favorite one for them to play is Preschool Essentials. It teaches them letter sounds through matching letters to pictures of words that start with the sound, colors by matching splotches of paint to objects of the same color, and quantities by matching numerals to objects. It even keeps a progress  report for the students. If this was used in a center, the students could play the games and keep track of  how much they are improving.

C4T #2

STEMI received Michael Gorman. In his post, he discussed how PBL, STEM, and Tech Integration all work together. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This covers the new common core standards teachers are supposed to cover. PBL and tech integration are the ways to achieve these standards. Through tech integration, PBL is achieved. A teacher plans a project around one of the components of STEM. They introduce the students to new technologies that will aid them in their project. Think of it as going on a trip. Technology is the vehicle, PBL is the journey, and STEM is the destination. In my comment, I told Gorman that we just learned about PBL in EDM310, so I particularly enjoyed his post. I didn't fully experience PBL until taking this class. It has been a great learning experience and has better prepared me for being a future educator.

His second post was about using technology to create a blended learning experience. Gorman wanted to point out that integrating technology into the classroom doesn't automatically mean that the
person with thought bubbles
students will have a blended learning experience. There needs to be a follow up session after the technology is used for students to reflect on. Gorman includes 10 ways technology should be used:
  1. Reach beyond the classroom walls for learning opportunities, collaboration, and audience
  2. Create a student driven/centered learning environment
  3. Allow for collaborative experiences in and out of the classroom
  4. Permit student control over learning, allowing for important voice and choice
  5. Provide opportunities for remixing of information leading to innovation and creativity
  6. Give opportunities for personalized and differentiated learning
  7. Promote convergent and divergent thinking  in order to promote inquiry and critical thinking 
  8. Encourage student invention of new products and possibilities to demonstrate learning
  9. Exploring authentic and real learning experiences.
  10. Establishing opportunities for anytime/anywhere learning.
In my comment, I told Gorman about my old high school. We received several technology grants. Our school had the newest/best technologies out of all the surrounding districts. However, the students didn't benefit from it because the teachers didn't know how to implement it properly. Having technology available is good, but you have to know how to make using it meaningful.

Project 9

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Project 7 Part B

Meet the Students:

Meet the Parents:

Blog Post 7

1.How to Make an Audio QR-Code
This video shows the process of making a QR-Code. A QR-Code is a machine-readable code that is usually used to store URLs. The codes can be scanned using a smartphone's camera. This will take you to the website. I think this would be a great way to add something extra to the projects that the students have been doing in class. It would be a wonderful idea for open house. You can have each child make their own QR-Code explaining what each project is, why they did it the way they did, and what they liked about it. Then, print the codes out and have them displayed next to the students work.
students using smart board
2. iPad Reading Center
In this video, the teacher created a center where the students record themselves reading. I think this could be very beneficial to the students. They record themselves  reading the book, and then, they listen to make sure they read everything correctly. It gives them the opportunity to see what words they missed.

3. Poplet
This video talked about an app called Poplet. Poplet lets you create text/picture boxes. When the students read a book, they put the title in the middle and surround it with details from the book. It's a wonderful way to map stories. When the students finish their map, they can screencap a picture of it so that they can hold on to the information. This helps students remember more of what they read because they actually have to do something with the information.

4. Alabama Virtual Library as a Kindergarten Center
This video describes the Alabama Virtual Library. It is an app that the students can download for research. The students search a word. The app will bring up a picture of whatever they search, give information about the item, and sometimes, have a video that accompanies it. This is a great way to introduce students to the process of researching. The teacher in the video had the students look up four words. For each word, they had to glue a picture on a piece of paper and write a sentence describing the item. This becomes a meaningful experience for the child because they found the information themselves. It teaches them how to use search engines for information.

5. Discovery Education Board Builder
This video is about Discovery Education's Board Builder. The students watched a video about the moon and then made a board about it. This app is similar to Poplet. The students create a title for the board. Then, they can add facts to the board via the text box. To finish the board, the can add either a picture or a video to tell more about the subject. This is like a new way to make PowerPoint Presentations.

6.Board Builder Project
In this video, the students presented a Board Builder project they did in class. I think Board Builder would be a good way to get students to learn how to pull together information. The students in this video made their board about whales. You could assign other students things like krill, kale, and plankton. When each student presents their project, they will see how ecosystems work together. It's a good app to use for collaboration.
right and wrong answers to: What do you want kids to do with Technology
7. Board Builder Project #2
In this video, the students made a board about an animal shelter. They are collecting money to donate to the shelter. They gave reasons as to how the money will be used to help provide the animals with the things they need. This is a good way to show the students how to reach out to the community. If they were to post the girls' project on the school's website, parents might donate to the shelter.

8. iMovie and AVL
In this video, two librarians were interviewed about the usage of iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) in Kindergarten. This video changed my mind about using technology in schools for the younger kids. I thought it would be too hard for the students to learn how to use the technologies properly. After hearing about how the students made iMovie book trailers, I realized that the students can use these programs better than me. If you introduce students to technology early, they will learn how to use it better sooner. AVL is used to teach the students how to begin researching. The students type in words or phrases, and the app will bring up picture and information about what they searched.

9. We all Become Learners
This video talks about how you should introduce new technologies to students. You should teach the basics about how to use the new programs. Let the students explore and learn on how to fully use them on their own. Mrs. Bennett told a story about how she was trying to show her students how to upload a picture to a program. One of her students took the iPad from her and showed her how to do it. As teachers, we don't need to underestimate our students' abilities. We can learn just as much from them as they can from us.

Overall, I think I learn how to use technology quickly. However, a weakness I have when it comes to implementing technology into teaching is that I try to limit what I think the students can do. I need to get out of this mind-set that it's too hard for them to do or that they are too young to learn how to do it. Watching these videos made me realize that the younger students can use these programs better than I can. Another challenge I will face is that I don't know about the technologies that are out there. I've learned about some really neat ones through this blog post assignment. Between now and graduation, I need to surf the Internet and search for programs that I can implement in my future classroom.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blog Post 6

Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher 

  • PBL is not only a means for students to show achievement, but a means for them to learn. 
  • As the teacher, you should create a project based on the content the students need to learn.
  • Projects should have an audience, be based on student interests, have a sense of community involvement, and be driven by content.
  • Students should be given the opportunity to reflect upon and revise their work. Give them the opportunity to defend what they did. If you know what they were thinking when they did something, it may have help you to understand their view point better. 

Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher

  • Teachers have to be sensitive to the parents' wants. Even though I don't agree with the parent Capps talked about in the video, I think it is important to try to reach a middle ground with them. I can understand why he wouldn't want his child to do a project about a culture that we are at war with, especially since the parent was in the military. So, even though I don't like the idea of giving the student an alternative assignment, I would do it out of respect for the parent.
  • Don't limit students by giving them requirements. Instead, give them guidelines.
  • Record (visually or written) students when they discuss the reasons why they liked one project more than another. This gives you feedback on how to improve the projects for later students.
  • Give students a choice in doing the project: topic, method, etc.


  • An online tool that allows students to safely search the Internet.
  • It has a storage capacity for students to be able to save their search items.
  • Students can search by criteria.
  • It can read the webpages to the students.
teacher at whiteboardDiscovery Education

  • It brings experts into the classroom via video.
  • It gives students the opportunity to watch, rather than read, the material. This usually helps students to better understand certain concepts.

The Anthony - Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1 

  • Be interested in learning yourself. Information is always changing. You have to keep up with it.
  • Work is not separate from play. You should enjoy learning new methods and tactics for work. 
  • Be flexible. Always have a backup plan. If something can go wrong, it can, and it will.
  • Start with a goal in mind.
  • Have student engagement at 100%  all the time for every project. 
  • Allow students to reflect, revise, share, and work with an audience.

Don't Teach Tech - Use It

  • You should not teach technology. Instead, just introduce it, and let the students learn how to use it themselves.
  • Build off of preexisting knowledge of technology. Get students acquainted with one program, then add another later on. This gets students used to using technology. 
  • Build in time to reflect on how well the use of the technology went with the project and how it can be improved the next time.
  • Use the programs yourself before introducing them to the students.

Additional Thought About Lessons 

  • Lessons should be thought of as 4 layers; year, unit, week, and daily.
  • Use this method of organization to plan how to achieve teaching concepts.

C4K September

movie poster from La LunaFor my first C4K assignment, I received Dhara. She is an 8 year student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. In the post I commented on, Dhara had written two paragraphs describing the opening scene of an animated film, La Luna. After writing the two paragraphs, the kids were supposed to pick which one of their paragraphs that they liked better. Dhara had chosen her first paragraph as the better one. In my comment, I explained to her who I am and where I live. I agreed with her that her first paragraph was better. I told her that both paragraphs were well written, but I liked the first one more because it contained a lot of descriptive details. After reading her post and before commenting on it I looked up the clip up on YouTube. Her first paragraph made me picture a very similar scene when I read it.
A picture of the book The Elephant Whisperer
For my second C4K, I received Keanan. He is a student in South Africa. In the post I commented on, the students were to answer to questions about The Elephant Whisperer. The first one was about how they thought the elephants felt being relocated. The second one was about what they thought would happen next in the story. Keanan thought the elephants were confused, shy, and angry. He thought that the leader of the elephants would break down the fence enclosing them so that they could escape. In my comment, I said that I've never read the book, but it sounded interesting. I told him that I agreed with how he said the elephants felt after being relocated. I also said that I hoped his predication comes true, so the elephants could be free.

For my third C4K, I received Madison. In this post, the students were to write a story using only 100 words. Madison wrote about a girl named Pepper that wanted a pet, but couldn't figure out what she wanted. Her brother suggested a crocodile, and her sister suggested a goldfish. They went to a pet store where she picked out an orange kitten. I commented that her story was very well written. It was so good that it could be a short children's book. She used punctuation better than some adults I know. I told her I was surprised by how well she could use quotation marks and that she did a really good job on the assignment.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Project 3 Presentation

Blog Post 5 Part A

diagram of programs useful for developing PLNsPersonal Learning Networks (PLN) are great tools for people in the education field. They contain people and resources that you can use for collaboration and advice. As described on The Fischbowl, PLNs tend to build off of one another. I've realized through reading the assignment for this week that, that is the reason why Dr. Strange requires us to include links in our blog posts. If someone likes what you have to say or has similar interests, they'll want to know where you got your information, what other sources you used, and where else they kind find MORE information on the subject. It's kind of like writing a research paper. If you find a source that you particularly enjoy, you'll want to see where their information came from. The original document may contain more useful information than the one you read. It's a never-ending cycle of knowledge. PLNs are just the way in which you access this knowledge.

The necessity of developing a PLN is best described by Michael Fawcett in his PLN video. On a small scale, a PLN can keep you in contact with your colleges from your school. If members of your school have a Twitter account, you can easily access them at anytime. It's a great way to keep in contact with coworkers and post reminders about upcoming events. Having a school Twitter page can keep parents and members of the community up-to-date on what the students are doing at school. On a larger scale, PLNs can connect you to educators worldwide. As we've been doing for the past few weeks in class, blogs are a great way to reach out/meet other teachers/students. Students in other parts of the United States may be doing work that is similar to what is going on in your classroom, so it may be beneficial to your students for them to read the others' blogs. Making the connections with students in various parts of the world become a meaningful experience. This makes learning more fun and the rates of retention become higher. It can expose teachers to new ways of thinking, different ideas on how to run the classroom, and new ideas for projects to incorporate in lessons. Think of it as a really big meeting. Who better to discuss work with than a fellow teacher?

I think the best way to start a PLN is through blogging and Twitter. These are gateways to great information, and the perfect place to start for beginners. Get your name out there. Post things that people actually want to read and things that you are actually interested in. People with like interests will find your posts and comment on them. Viola! There's the beginning of your PLN. The more time you invest in it, the better it will become. This is, in fact, how I am starting my own PLN. I was fortunate enough to be forced into taking this class. I must admit that I hated Twitter and thought that it was stupid before taking EDM310. I now see a usefulness in it. It has connected me to other people that want to become teachers, something I have searched for since the beginning of my college career. So, before I have even started my teaching, I have a network of people that can help me once I get started. It can only get better from here.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Post 4

What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?

woman with question marks around her headA lot of times, teachers misuse the questioning process. They don't realize the potential knowledge that students can gain from the way questions are asked. According to Ben Johnson, one of the biggest mistakes that teachers make is when they ask, "Does everyone understand?" Some students may not realize that they don't understand. They may even understand part of what you are teaching, but they aren't quite sure at which point you lost them. Asking, "Does everyone understand?" is a waste of time. Everyone is either going to nod yes or say nothing at all. When classes are given questions that are open to everyone, the individual student is going to wait on someone else to answer. Johnson suggests asking a question, waiting three seconds, and then calling a name. This gives everyone time to formulate an answer. Make sure that you ask the questions in a random order. If the students know when they are going to be called on, they will zone out until it is there turn.

smiley face thinkingAsking Questions to Improve Learning tries to get the teacher to think about the purpose of the questions being asked. Do you want students to develop critical thinking skills or master a core concept? Asking a question in a certain way can change the outcome of the answer. If I ask a student to tell me their position on an argument, they only have to think about one side of the issue. However if I ask a question more like this," How do you think that this issue is viewed by those with whom you disagree?" The students will be forced to think of the subject from a different perspective. This could lead to changed views, better understanding of opposing sides, and even better comprehension of the issue at hand.

red question mark
You should try to avoid leading questions. You want the students to be able to think of their own answers and not pull their answers from the question. The main point here being for students to THINK. If you ask yes-or-no questions, follow up with questions like: Why? How? Defend your answer. Explain why you answered the way you did. One of the best teachers I had was my 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Danis. She always gave us multiple choice tests, but we had to defend our answers. I hated doing it with a passion, but I learned so much from that class. It makes you connect the things you've learned in class. "Okay you know that C is the answer, but tell me how you know. What made you put that as your answer?" Knowing that something is true shows intelligence; however, knowing why something is true take it a step further.
elephant with question mark over head
Other things to keep in mind when asking students questions are to ask one question at a time. Let the students focus on gathering one bit of information so that they can fully analyze it. Ask different types of questions: closed, open, and managerial. You may want to check to see if students are paying attention with a closed-ended question. Open-ended questions are great for having students think or to start discussions. Managerial questions are to check for understanding. Give students time to think about their answer before moving on. The more time they are given to explore an idea, the better their answer will be. Don't interrupt them will they are giving an answer. You may disturb their thought process. I think this is the most important thing to take from this blog post for teachers. Include questioning time in your lesson plans. Ask questions every day and as often as possible. Ask them in ways that get students thinking. Make them want to go home and research things on their own. Keep them interested!

Project 15

I've personally never liked bing. I think it may just be because I'm so accustomed to Google. However, I do love their image search. You can filter the results by size, color, type, layout, people, date, and license.
yahoo smiley face
Yahoo is great for keeping up with the news and celeb gossip.

This search engine doesn't save your search data. This could be useful if you are planning a surprise for someone and don't want them to find out about it.

4. Recipe Bridge
This search engine is a database full of recipes. This is perfect for snack ideas in the classroom and ideas for dinner tonight.

5. Dogpile 
Dogpile searches Google and Yahoo at the same time. This gives you more results in less time.

ask jeeves logo6. Ask (I think they should have left it as
This search engine has a list of related searches and related questions. This is useful if you don't know how to word what you are trying to search for. They also have quizzes on their page that I find fun and informative.

7. Free Book Search
This site is great for avid readers. It searches several sites at once for book reviews, fan fictions, and even copies of the actual text.

This site is great for math problems. You can enter  symbols for pi, degrees, infinity, and square root
directly into the search bar. If you type in a type of food, it pulls up the nutritional information. It analyzes images: dimensions, size, aspect ratio, color space, and assumed color space. And so much more....

C4T # 1

For my first C4T assignment, I received Nathan Horne. He is the founder of He uses this website to promote the uses of technology in physical fitness. In the first post I commented on, Horne explained how he used Google Sheets to provide students, parents, grandparents, and many others with live scores from the Swim Gala he was coaching in. Google Sheets is much like Excel. You can enter a formula in each cell, and have the document do all the work for you. After creating the document, Horne made it public so that anyone with a mobile device could view it. This provided everyone with access to real-time scores-- even the parents that couldn't make it to the event due to work. In my comment, I told Horne that I thought it was a great example of how technology is useful to 21st century teachers. The document can be used over and over again, it kept everyone engaged in the activity that was going on, and was accessible to parents that were unable to attend the event.

#100ActiveDays logoIn the second post I commented on, Horne described an event called #100ActiveDays. The point of the event is to stay active for 100 days doing a variety of activities: hiking, kayaking, running, etc.
shoe print with the words get active inside of it

You can join the movement by doing the following:
1. Follow them @100ActiveDays or like them on Facebook.
2. Register here.
3. Post your active picture to twitter, instagram, and Facebook using the #100ActiveDays

In my comment, I included the obesity prevelance rate for Alabama (33%). I told Horne that this challenge would be a great way to get active and combat the rate of obesity in our state. We could instill a love of being active in our children that they could carry with them into adulthood. I think the best way to incorporate this into our schools is to pair up with another teacher and have physical activity competitions during recess.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Post 3

Peer Editing

According to Tutorial Peer Editing  and Peer Editing, there are three steps to quality peer editing: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. Start out by complimenting the things that worked well in the paper. Was it interesting? Did it hold your attention? Did they explain things in a way that anyone could understand? What did you like most about it? After that, add your suggestions. Should they use more interesting words? Add more details? Explain something more thoroughly? Finally, make corrections. Use proofreading marks to show them things they make have forgotten to capitalize, words they may have misspelled, or punctuation they may have left out.

proofreading marks
Think of the way you would react to someone criticizing your paper. Would you want them to focus only on the things that you did incorrectly, or would you want some positive feedback as well? (Watch this video for the top 10 peer editing mistakes.) It is important to let the person know the strengths of the paper as well as the weaknesses. Stay positive when giving feedback. Try to avoid negative statements, such as, "This paragraph doesn't make sense." Instead, say something like this, "If you add a few more sentences to this paragraph, it may make it easier to understand." Be specific. Tell the person exactly what they need to change to make the paper better. Mark grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors on the paper. If you suggest a change, tell them why the change would make the paper better. Remember that peer editing is to help the person to better develop their ideas and writing habits. Explaining why your suggestions would be beneficial to their work helps them improve on future assignments.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blog Post 2

Professor Dancealot

The message from this video
man dancing
is that students need to actually get involved and engaged in
learning. It is very boring to sit through a lecture and just listen to the teacher explain the material. The students don't learn very little, if anything, through this method. The author of the video makes this point through showing a dance class that learns about dancing in a lecture style class. The students learned the material. They knew the steps to the dances, but when it came time for the exam, they couldn't apply what they learned. I completely agree with what the author was trying to say through this video. The typical style of teaching in today's schools leave our students with only slight knowledge. I'm currently a junior in college, and I have taken several of these lecture style classes. I can honestly say that I don't remember much from any of these classes. They don't actually teach anything. They make you remember the material for a short while, but you don't actual learn anything from them.

Teaching in the 21st Century

Roberts thinks that teaching is completely changing in the 21st century. Teachers are no longer the only source of information. Students have access to anything, anytime, anywhere. Teaching is becoming more of a filtering process. How do you use these technologies? Which sources do you trust? Where is the best place to find information on this topic? With all these new ways to gather information, should curriculum be based on facts or skills? According to Roberts, we as future educators, need to be prepared to adapt to the changing times. We need to get away from the memorization techniques used today. Students need to know how to use what they learn, not just facts.


-Students have unlimited access to information.
They have the Internet with them all the time on a computer or a phone or an iPad.

-Students need to learn how to use this information.

A man with twitter and Facebook in his brain-Should curriculum be focused on facts or skills?

We should teach the students things that will be useful to them later on in life like how to choose a credit card, how to fix their cars, and whether they rent or buy.

-Education goes through stages: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.

Today creating means blogging, podcasting, animating, planning, recording, designing, and programming. Students have to use tech skills in their creations: paraphrasing, attributing, subscribing, editing, twittering, experimenting, reflecting, tagging, commenting, searching, posting, locating, linking, integrating, networking, bookmarking, mashing, and uploading.

-We have to teach our students about responsibility, realiability, and integrity.

They need to know that it's wrong to pirate, plagarize, slander, and mis-use copyrighted material. They also need to know about confidentiality and professonalism.

-Lessons need to be relevant, challenging, and engaging.

-Engaged Vs. Entertained

Entertainment is passive, for enjoyment, short-lived, doesn't require relevance, allows escape from problems, and uses others creativity.

Engagement is active, for learning, has long-term results, meaningful and applicable, solves problems, and uses your own creativity.

-For teachers to do.

See what's out there, start small, collaborate, and take risks.

I completely agree with the way Roberts sees teaching changing. There is way too much information out there for us to stick to lecture based teaching. Our technology is advancing extremely quickly. Why not use it to our advantage? These new advances in technology will greatly affect my teaching. I'm acquainted with some of the technologies that I'll have to use; however, I've never had to use most of them throughout my education. I'll be learning along with my students how to use these new programs. I may, in fact, learn more from them than they will from me.

The Networked Student

diagram of computers being linked together
Throughout this video, I really did ask myself, "Why do we need teachers?" It seems like everything we want or need to know can be found in some way, shape, or form online. It may take a lot of time and a lot of work, but if we really want to, we can synthesize an abundant amount of information. I think of it as writing a research paper. You think about what you want to know more about, research it, and put all the information together. I've always learned way more doing research on my own than sitting in a classroom. So, why do we need teachers? Well, I thought of it like this. Think about taking an online class. You don't understand what you are supposed to do, have problems understanding the information, or need help figuring out how to use the web component. The teacher is there to answer your questions, help you gather your information, and show you how to use the programs efficiently. Teachers are more like guides. They show you how to learn and what you need to do to get the information you desire. We don't know everything, but we can show you how to access it.

Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts

Davis believes in empowering students to make connections, learn from each other, and teach themselves. I agree with her. Getting connected with people all over the world can open so many doors for students. If someone sees the work you've been doing online and really likes it or thinks that it could be beneficial to them or a company, you could have a job opportunity in a place that you never even knew about. We learn best when we can share our ideas with others. We start a conversation, someone adds to it, someone adds to that, and before you know it, you have this beautiful discussion of meaningful ideas. Some of the most engaging and enjoyable learning experiences I have had have been in discussion based classes. Getting connected with people around the world can open your mind to new ways of thinking and new perspectives.

Who’s Ahead in the Learning Race?

I believe that the elementary students are ahead in the learning race. They are being exposed to more and more technologies at younger and younger ages. This is my first time ever blogging, but there are elementary students that know how to use HTML coding at a very proficient level. I'm using programs that I've never heard of before that they are already well acquainted with. My boyfriend's three year-old niece shows me how to use things on my phone that I didn't even know were on there. I think part of the reason my generation isn't as advanced in this area is because we didn't grow up with the technologies. We were never made to use them in classes or even knew that they existed (or they didn't exist). It's like how older generations don't know how to use computers as well as my generation does. We grew up with the technology. We learned how to use it first-hand. Then, in turn, taught our parents. The same thing is happening now. The younger generation is learning how to use the new technologies and then teaching us.

Flipping the Classroom

young girl sitting at a computerFlipping a classroom is new to me. I think this approach could be useful to me as a teacher. I think it would help to save instruction time. In college, you read the chapter before the class it is going to be discussed in. This prepares you for the class, allows you to write down thoughts or questions you have about things that you didn't understand, and is more efficient when it comes to time. If this was implemented in the elementary classroom, it would help get the students more engaged in learning. They have a little prior knowledge to the subject being taught and are less apprehensive about sharing their thoughts. It's also a great way to prepare them for college. When I first started at South, it was hard for me to get used to the amount of independent work. If students are introduced to this at an early age, it won't be as much of shock to them as it was to me.

Bringing the Locker Room into the Classroom

This article made me think of what I usually do with new classes. I gauge how the class is going to go within the first few weeks. I observe when the teacher gives tests or quizzes and what information they focus on. I use this to set up for the rest of the class. After I learn how the professor operates, it's easy for me to make a good grade in the class. In a sense, I learn their "system." After realizing how beneficial it is to my grades to experience how the class is set up, I realized that the same thing could be true for my students. If I let them know ahead of time exactly what is expected of them and walk them through the process, they will succeed. I look at it as learning how to learn from a source. I learn how to learn from my professors. Each one has different methods of teaching, so I have to adjust how I learn in each class. I want to teach my students this give-and-take routine so that they won't have difficulty adapting to new teaching styles.