Saturday, November 29, 2014

Blog Post 5 Part 2

Summary of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) (So Far)

In Blog Post 5 Part 1, I learned what PLNS are and how teachers can use them. PLNs are a network of other teachers, websites, blogs, resources, and anything else a teacher can use to benefit their learning. I have begun to build my own PLN this semester and hope that it continues to grow in the future.

Honestly, Twitter has probably been the best resource for my PLN so far. I started following many education-related people and I have found that it is super easy to click on a person or resource article or blog through their Twitter page or tweet. I have created a Symbaloo and although I haven't used it much yet I plan to keep track of different education resources and blogs on it. The school that I observed at this semester, Delta Elementary, has their own Symbaloo of resources and through that I have found many programs that the students are using, like Big Universe and Spelling City. Although my PLN is still small at the moment, I know it will continue to grow in my career.

PLN adjective Wordle

Monday, November 24, 2014

C4T 4 - Lana Gerrin

For the Love of Teaching

For the Love of Teaching is a blog by Lana Gerrin, a fifth grade teacher in Georgia. In her blog she discusses activities in her classroom and her life as a teacher. I chose her blog as my C4T 4 because I myself would like to teach 3rd-5th grade. The first post, "Five for Friday - Short and Sweet!," outlines five things that happened in her class during Red Ribbon Week. I'm Still Here! discusses her stressful school year.

Five for Friday - Short and Sweet!

In "Five for Friday - Short and Sweet!," she tells of the Red Ribbon Week activities that happened that week at her school. She provides pictures of "Sock it to Drugs Day" and "Dress Like Your Hero Day." She also explains that her students counted pumpkin seeds for their STEM October question "Do you think the number of seeds in a pumpkin is related to the size of the pumpkin?" (The pumpkin ended up having 840 seeds.) In my comment, I related her post to the Red Ribbon Week activities the students at the school I observe at participated in. Delta Elementary also had "Dress Like Your Hero Day."

I'm Still Here!

In "I'm Still Here!," Gerrin briefly reflects on her stressful school year. She has not been blogging as much as she usually does due to her busy schedule but hopes to blog more. She also talks about her students animal oral presentations. To conclude, she provides a note written to her by one her students expressing how much she appreciated Gerrin. Gerrin says she received the note on a bad day, but the note reminded her that her job is worthwhile. In my comment, I mentioned the importance of a teacher's positive influence and how I did a similar animal project when I was in elementary school.

Note by student given to Gerrin

Sunday, November 23, 2014

C4K Summary for November

C4K Summary for November

Cartoon kid holding Canadian flag
-James is a 5th grade student in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. In his post "What is a citizen !!!," he briefly mentions some facts about citizenship. James says that one cannot be a Canadian citizen until he/she is 18. Someone cannot become a citizen simply by marrying a Canadian, either. He mentions American citizenship and says that American citizenship can only be taken away by law. He also points out that there are less fortunate kids in the world. In my comment, I mentioned that I did not know much about Canadian citizenship but was impressed that he knew something about American citizenship.

Sophia's reflection art project
-Sophia is a middle school student in Iowa. In her post "future reflection," she presents her reflection art project. The digitized photo shows Sophia facing a mirror with a reflection that "reflects" her dreams: to go to New York City and become a famous singer. In my comment, I told her that I thought she did a great job on her project and that I also wish to visit New York City.

Students writing in class
-Charlie is an 8th grader in Minnesota. In his post "Reflection on First Quarter," he discusses his goals for the new quarter. He hopes to be less disruptive and more focused in class and on homework. He also mentions Sacred Writing Time (SWT), a quiet time in class that helps him build his vocabulary. In my comment, I told him that I liked the idea of SWT and wished him luck on accomplishing his goals for the new quarter.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blog Post 14

What can we learn from "Changing Education Paradigms"?

Screenshot of Changing Education Paradigms

The TEDTalk video I chose I watch was "Changing Education Paradigms" by Sir Ken Robinson. To make this decision, I clicked on each of the videos and read the description for each one. Although there were many interesting TedTalk videos to choose from, I chose this video because it mentioned an intriguing link between drop-out rates, lack of arts in the classroom, and ADHD. I knew relatively nothing about this link so I thought I would be able to learn more from this video.

In the video, Robinson connects three issues currently facing the classroom: 1) lack of student motivation to attend school, 2) less creativity in classroom work, and 3) the scare of rising ADHD percentages. Robinson looks back to the beginnings of modern education during the Enlightenment into the twentieth century and claims that public education hasn't changed much since then. He aligns the "factory atmosphere" of school to Industrialization. Since we are no longer in the Industrialization period, it does not make sense to expect students to like sit still and like school. Animation runs through the entire video to illustrate Robinson's key points.

While the video did not give specific strategies for teachers to use, I was inspired by different ideas in the video. Robinson says we need to turn away from the factory-like school and go in the "opposite" direction. This means that we as teachers need to base our lessons and methods of instruction off of our students' needs and not our expectations. Robinson also says that a school's culture plays an important role. I will try to make my classroom a place where students feel safe and welcome. I will also encourage my students to expand their creativity and will integrate arts into the classroom through Readers Theatre and other resources.

Another discussion that stuck out to me was the idea of divergent thinking Robinson discusses. While 98% of the kindergartners are considered geniuses at divergent thinking, this percentage decreases rapidly as children grow older (and become more "educated"). Obviously, this needs to change and we as teachers should foster this divergent thinking into our classrooms. When I was in elementary school I was able to be a part of a really good gifted education program. We did all kinds of interesting projects and activities (which ranged from detective mysteries to mummifying chickens) and it was often my favorite part of the week. However, I wish to implement these kinds of projects in my classroom to all of my students. If we want to raise our expectations of students, we must be able to encourage and motivate them in the right ways.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blog Post 13

What can we learn from Teachers of the Year?

1. Ashley Kulik (3:42)
2. Lauren Marrocco (5:22)
3. Whitney Pitzer (4:44)

Answer the question in a post that adheres to the standards found in the ACCRS and in Writing A
Quality Blog Post.

Lauren Marrocco in her classroom

Ashley Kulik, 1st grade: Atlanta Public Schools Elementary School Teacher of the Year 2011

Ashley Kulik is a first grade teacher at Mary Lin Elementary in Atlanta, Georgia. In her Teacher of the Year profile video, she explains that first graders can be taught and can have motivation to learn. She often lets her students work in groups and use classroom computers to enhance their learning. She also emphasizes the importance of building a learning "foundation" for students at the first grade level. I believe Kulik is a great role model for lower elementary grades. She proves that first grade can be a grade of real learning, not just babysitting. She uses games and other hands-on activities to interest studies in what they are learning. She is a great source of encouragement to her young learners.

Lauren Marrocco, 4th grade: New Jersey Teacher of the Year 2012-13

Lauren Marrocco is a 4th grade teacher at E.J. Patten Elementary School in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. In her Teacher of the Year profile video, Marrocco is shown using frequent group and classroom collaboration. She takes part in a brain-based learning professional development camp in the summer, and uses strategies from that experience in her classroom. For example, she makes sure that they can often switch from listening to her, talking to their partner, or talking to their group because research has shown that a fourth-graders attention span only lasts for approximately ten minutes. Her motivation strategies are intriguing and her excited energy makes learning fun for her students. I admired how much her students and colleagues adored her. She always is trying to connect with her students on a personal level and encourages them to achieve success.

Whitney Pitzer, Kindergarten: Plano Independent School District Elementary Teacher of the Year 2014

Whitney Pitzer is a kindergarten teacher at Stinson Elementary in Plano, Texas. In her Teacher of the Year profile video, Pitzer talks about the importance of learning in kindergarten. She uses games, movement, and group work to engage her students in learning. She also frequently tries to challenge her students by probing them to attempt difficult problems. Like Kulik, Pitzer shows that students can really learn at a young age, if taught in the right way. She says that she wants her students to enjoy learning. Her goal is to have her students want to come school each day. I think that is a goal all teachers should strive for.

All of these teachers share some things in common. All use group work, games, and other activities to keep children interested and engaged in their learning. Most importantly, they all also have a positive attitude. They place kindness, respect, and encouragement at a high value in their classrooms.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Project 10

Project 10
Interview with Lori Francis (Delta Elementary - Bay Minette, AL)

Monday, November 3, 2014

C4T 3 - Dean Shareski

Ideas and Thoughts

Dean Shareski

Ideas and Thoughts: Learning Stuff Since 1964 is the personal blog by Dean Shareski, the community manager for Discovery Education Canada. His blog discusses his thoughts on technology in education in addition to other education-related topics. The first post, "Reflection Trumps Connection" discusses the purposes and importance of connection and reflection. In "Smart People I Know Everywhere: Episode 1," he presents his new podcast interview series.

Reflection Trumps Connection

In "Reflection Trumps Connection," Shareski provides a screenshot of the lighthearted debate two of his colleagues had on Twitter about the value of connection and reflection. Instead of contributing to the discussion through Twitter, he decided to write this blog post about his thoughts. While connection is important, Shareski claims reflection is more valuable and says that is why he prefers to write about his thoughts in blog posts instead of 140 character messages on Twitter. He adds that blogs are a great way for educators to reflect on their performance. In my comment I told him that I agreed with him in that Twitter is a connection tool and not a useful reflection tool. I also agreed that it is important for teachers to self-reflect, although I am hesitant to write personal reflections on my performance in a blog. However, I am open to the ideas of recording reflections in a diary or even a video diary. Mr. Shareski replied to my comment and urged me to consider posting my reflections publicly. I replied that I am open to anything that will help me become a better educator.

Smart People I Know Everywhere: Episode 1

"Smart People I Know Everywhere," also known as SPIKE, is a new podcast series Shareski is debuting. In SPIKE, Shareski will interview a "smart person" that he knows about an educational topic. The podcasts will be no longer than five minutes and the first official SPIKE podcast interview will happen in episode 2. In my comment, I said that I though SPIKE is a great idea and I am looking forward to hearing the next podcast. I also liked the idea of a podcast as opposed to a video.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Project 14

Project Based Learning Plan
Third Grade Social English/Language Arts - Storyboard Project


This week, my EDM 310 group created a lesson plan for a 3rd grade English class! The lesson is to help the students better understand the main components of a story and use their imagination and creativity to create a story of their own. The lesson for this is in the Project Based Learning Format where the students will be put into groups in order to create a story using!

Project 14 Site

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blog Post 11

What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

Teacher presenting globe to students

1) TedXDenverEd-Brian Crosby-Back to the Future

Brian Crosby shows that disadvantaged students can still achieve success in this TedX Talk. These students can actively be engaged in learning through the use of technology. Each student has a laptop and blog that they use regularly to connect with others around the world. Crosby also uses Project Based Learning and partners with others to create projects such as the Balloon in space project. The students were excited about this project, and they also were able to learn.

2) Blended Online Learning

Paul Andersen explains that Blended Learning merges the aspects of Online Learning, Mobile Learning, and Classroom Learning together into one. The Learning Cycle is a wheel of the five "E"'s: Engage, Explore, Expand, Explain, and the center "E", Evaluate. Blended Learning together with the Learning Cycle creates Blended Online Learning. In Andersen's science class, Blended Online Learning follows six steps:
1. Question
2. Investigation/Inquiry
3. Video
4. Elaboration
5. Review
6. Summary Quiz
The acronym for these steps is "QuIVERS." Andersen also stresses the importance of the question and says that the entire lesson should be built upon it.

3) Mark Church Demonstrating the "Headlines" Routine

In Marc Church's "Headlines" teaching activity, he has his students watch an introductory video about their upcoming lesson. Then he asks students to brainstorm together in their groups to create a headline for it. Students can create a headline again at the end of the lesson to reflect on what they have learned. This strategy works well with Project Based Learning.

4) Super Digital Citizen

In Sam Pane's classroom, he teaches students about internet safety through the idea of being a "Super Digital Citizen." The class created Super Digital Citizen superheroes and used the characters in real-world situational narratives. The students did this by creating comic books about their superhero helping them in a internet safety situation. At the end they were able to view their classmates' work and discuss it.

5) Project Based Learning

Dean Shareski's montage of Canadian teachers using Project Based Learning describes the journey of combining English, History, and Technology into one subject. At first there were many unforeseen problems with PBL, and the teachers realized it could not work in a typical schoolday setting. Now the teachers prefer this structure and the students are able to participate in Project Based Learning Assignments with their classmates.

6) Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program

In this video, Roosevelt Elementary defines Project Based Learning and explains its benefits. These include the importance of technology and real-world application in 21st century learning. Project Based Learning also allows students to work individually and with others to build social skills that the students need later in life. Students can expand their public speaking skills as well. No students are left out, because teachers use differentiated instruction to attract multiple intelligences in Project Based Learning. Roosevelt says that the students are motivated, engaged, and excited about their learning in Project Based Learning.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

C4K Summary for October

C4K Summary for October

-Joyce is a 7th grader in Mobile, Alabama. In her post "My rescent Scientifc and Historical Endevours," she discusses her research on the Mariana Trench (the deepest point in the world), in particular the dives into it. She compares and contrasts the original dive (done by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh) with the most recent dive (done by James Cameron). In my comment, I told Joyce about how I had studied the Mariana Trench for another class but never learned about the dives, which I enjoyed reading about.

Graph Comparing the Mariana Trench with Mount Everest

-Jack is a 5th grader in Hartford, Connecticut. In his post "Grammy - Eileen Haggerty," he talks about his maternal grandmother, Grammy. Since they both live on the same street, Jack is often at her house, where she makes delicious foods like cookies and pasta fagioli. In my comment, I mentioned how my own grandmother lives far away from me and how I need to try pasta fagioli.

Pasta Fagioli

-Aleigha is a 4th grade student in New Orleans, Louisiana. In her post "Dot Day with Prk," she discusses what she did for Dot Day. She was paired with a younger student, Sophia, and together they did dot-related activities such as playing with candy dots, decorating paper dots, eating donut holes, and playing Twister. They also were to Skype with an author, Laurie Ann Thompson. In my comment, I mentioned how I thought it was great that she was able to spend time with Sophia and how I have not yet heard of Laurie Ann Thompson, but I will look her up.

Aleigha and Sophia playing Twister for Dot Day

-Joshua is a Year 6 student in Auckland, New Zealand. In his post “Explanation hats writing,” he explains three different ways to prevent sunburns: wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. In my comment, I told him he would have to keep those steps in mind in the upcoming summer (it is currently spring in New Zealand) and mentioned how even though the weather is beginning to get a little chilly here, we still have sunny days.

Smiling Cartoon Sun

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blog Post 10

What can we learn from Mrs. Cassidy?

Dr. Strange's Interview with Mrs. Cassidy

Learning from Mrs. Cassidy Video Series:
1. Little Kids…Big Potential
2. Cassidy 13 Part 1
3. Cassidy 13 Part 2
4. Cassidy 13 Part 3

Mrs. Kathy Cassidy is a 1st grade teacher in Moose Jaw, Canada. Her initiative to bring technology into her classroom is something that all educators should admire. Even though Mrs. Cassidy was already an experienced teacher when laptops were given to her classroom six years ago, she wanted to learn more about how to use technology into effective classroom teaching. As future teachers, we must realize that technology and our teaching methods will and must evolve in the course of our careers. Each school year will bring new students, new challenges, and new opportunities. This reminds me of a quote my mom tells me: "Don't be a teacher who teaches the same class for 30 years."

I learned that even students as young as first graders can (and will be excited to) have a blog. As shown in "Little Kids…Big Potential," her students were excited to write posts for other to see and also liked making connections with others across the globe. Student blogs are a great way for parents to see their child's progress in class instead of waiting for a Open House night or a parent-teacher conference. A classroom blog can also keep students (and parents) up to date with due dates for assignments as well as dates for classroom and school events and activities. Any teacher can keep a classroom blog, even Physical Education teachers. I also liked seeing the use of wikis, which I had not thought about using before. This was another great way for students to make worldwide connections and also allowed to learn more about different cultures. I think that creating wikis about how holidays are celebrated worldwide would really excite my students.

Of course, teachers and parents will always have to address internet safety and student privacy. I was intrigued by Mrs. Cassidy's method of posting pictures but not identifying each student in the images. I also think that we as teachers need to teach our students about internet rules and safety at a young age, because the internet (and technology) is going to forevermore be a part of our students' lives. Mrs. Cassidy is a wonderful role model for us as future teachers to learn how to integrate technology into any type of classroom.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog Post 9

What Can Teachers and Students Teach Us About Project Based Learning?

Project Based Learning at Gulf Shores Elementary School

Although Project Based Learning is not an entirely new practice, its way into many classrooms is still "an uphill climb," as said in "The Power of Project Based Learning." However, those experienced in Project Based Learning can point out the numerous ways it can beneficial to all in the classroom.

1. It captures students' attention.
Instead of instructing students to complete an assignment, teachers can find ways to motivate the students to become interested in the subject first. "Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning" suggests that teachers use an entry event to introduce projects. Entry events could be a field trip, guest speaker visiting the class, or simply a thought-provoking video. Students are more likely to engage in the project if they feel a connection or an obligation to the project.

After the entry event, the class can discuss the driving question. Driving questions must be thought-provoking and pose an issue students must work to resolve or discover an answer to. Tony Vincent explains in the video "Project Based Learning for Teachers": "The question is deep and requires students to complete an end product to share their learning with others." As mentioned in "Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning," driving questions enable students to realize why they are doing the project.

2. It gives students a choice.
Dr. Strange has said in class before that students will be more invested in the project if they have the power to make their own choices within the project. "Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning" makes the same claim. Teachers can make limited guidelines, but must structure the projects to foster this student decision-making. Vincent claims that students need to "take charge" of their own learning, and teachers must allow them to do this appropriately.

3. Technology prepares students for careers of the future.
Project Based Learning can include the use of technology for an enhanced learning experience. Since technology is now a prevalent part of everyday life, teachers must use technology in effective ways. Since technology evolves and grows everyday, teachers prepare students for this future. Vincent and "Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration in Project Based Learning" list many online resources that can be used in project-based learning. Both mention Linoit, an online display board that can be viewed by the entire class or an entire group.

4. It allows students to work productively with their peers.
There are few (if any) career paths that require no interaction with peers and others, so collaboration between students is also preparing them for the future. Vincent says this collaboration fosters early communication skills as well as critical thinking skills. Students are also able to evaluate their peers' work and give feedback, as mentioned in "Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning." In Project Based Learning, students work together as a team to achieve success.

5. The students' work has a purpose.
Project Based Learning relates learning to real world situations. In the video "PBL: What motivates students today" many students say their dreams and ambitions motivate them to do their best in school. Teachers must be show why their students' work is important, and they also be able to relate it to real-life situations. Terry Smith, a fourth grader teacher at an inner city school, says in "The Power of Project Based Learning" that his students are excited to make connections with students and schools in other countries in their projects. When a student's work has an audience, the student is more likely to give more effort to his/her schoolwork.

Project Based Learning enables students to really learn, not just learn and then forget. As Gary Stager says in "The Power of Project Based Learning," “Projects are the learning that students remember long after the bell rings.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blog Post 8

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?

Randy Pausch

"Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things."

The above quote by Randy Pausch in his speech "The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" summarizes the theme of his famous lecture: hard work enables us to conquer impossible dreams.

Not only was Pausch an excellent educator, he was a amazing person with wonderfully optimistic outlook on life. The most important thing I learned from his lecture is that a career in teaching will never be easy. There will always be complications, setbacks, and injustice. However, teaching is a learning process. We must learn to adapt and realize there is an always an opportunity to better ourselves. Sometimes a "brick wall" is necessary for us to realize what we are actually capable of. Once we do this, we can accomplish things bigger than our dreams thought possible.

We must make learning fun for our students. Hard work can actually be enjoyable with the right kind of teaching, group work, and assignments. Group work is also valuable because it allows students to connect with and help each other. I agree with Pausch in that we as humans are meant to help each other. We are not meant to live this life alone. Feedback, encouragement, and even harsh "reality checks" are needed for us to better ourselves as teachers and as people. Pausch credits several people who, without their help, he would have not been able to achieve his success.

I believe Pausch is a great role model for any person wanting to better their life, especially teachers. Pausch's career, which spans from being a professor to working as a consultant for Walt Disney Imagineering, is both amazing and inspiring. Even though he only lived to be 47 years old, his life's work proves that we must make the most of the time and opportunities we have in our lives. As teachers, we must make the most of these opportunities in our classrooms and beyond. I hope to make a positive difference in my students' lives, just as Pausch did for his students and numerous others.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

Special Assignment - Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

Part A

"Your students will have lived all their life in a world with smartphones containing cameras." This statement by Dr. Strange makes us all realize that our future students have grown up in a very different world than we did as children. Technology is now a dominating force for many Americans, particularly those in the college age group (18-24), as shown in a study by Zogby Analytics. I found myself agreeing with four of the six conditions. Either way, the conclusion in the same: Smartphones are now a part of everyday life.

Since technology and smartphones have such an large influence in this generation, we must find ways to integrate the use of these devices in the classroom. If jobs in technology-related fields continue to grow, we much make sure our students are prepared to enter into these careers. Teachers must make sure they are prepared to do just that. It is no longer practical to forbid smartphones from school campuses. Teachers must instead learn to use these devices as helpful tools in the classroom, including the camera.

Part B

Ways to Use Camera Smartphones and Camera Tablets in the Classroom

Students using tablets to take pictures of artwork
-Have students record their reading to better pronunciation and fluency

-Have students take pictures or items, experiments, or pictures shown to them

-Have students have a "FaceTime Pal" in another state or country

-Have students make iMovie trailers for a book or another subject topic

-Have students make iMovie presentations

-Have students create virtual family trees

-Have students record video diaries

-Have students make video reflections

-Have students create or act out a play or skit

-Have students make informercials about a subject

These are just the beginning of endless possibilities!

C4T 2 - Henrietta Miller

Classroom Chronicles

Classroom Chronicles is a blog by Henrietta Miller, a Year 6 teacher in Australia. Her blog discusses and showcases changes in education to engage students in learning though technology. The first post,"Reflective Students," outlines the importance of her students' reflections on their Choose Your Own Adventure assignment. "AECP2014 - Now It's Personal" discusses main ideas presented at a technology education conference she attended.

Reflective Students

In her post "Reflective Students," Miller explains that she has been using the practice of reflective learning in her “Choose Your Own Adventure” project that her students are working. In this project, her Year 6 students periodically write one chapter of a fiction story that they created and post it to their blog. At the end of each chapter, the students provide three options of what could happen next in the story and their classmates can vote on an option by commenting with their choice. At the end of this project, Miller asked students to reflect on the assignment. She found that her students thoroughly enjoyed the project and devoted time to create, improve, and ultimately better their writing skills. As Miller says, “Students writing, students reflecting, students learning, students improving. Who could ask for anything more.” In my comment, I said that I wished I could have had this assignment in school and hope use something similar to it once I am a teacher.

AECP2014 - Now It's Personal

"AECP2014 - Now It's Personal" summarizes Miller’s reflections on the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACEC) conference she recently attended. At the conference she was awarded a NGS Super Scholarship to expand her interest and research in student writing through technology and networking. She discusses two thought-provoking points made at the conference: 1) Students need to learn code and use the right software and 2) Students are inspired by powerful storytelling. Miller states that students must be prepared for future careers such as computer science and that they must have practice now with real world application programs. Storytelling and personal narratives must be used to engage students in the subject being taught, whether the storytelling is done through student writing or digital stories created by teachers. Storytelling helps students and the teacher to connect and share with each other. In my comment, I mentioned how I am learning how to use many real application programs in EDM 310 that will help me as an educator. I also mentioned how intrigued I was by using storytelling as a teaching strategy. Looking back on my own primary school experience, I rarely was ever able to write narratives but I think it is a great way to engage students in their writing.

Arabella's Choose Your Own Adventure Story Blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Project 13

Project Based Learning Plan
Third Grade Social Studies/Science - Natural Disaster Safety Plan

Hurricane on radar

My EDM 310 group designed a lesson using the Project Based Learning format. We decided to teach a third grade class about natural disasters. In order to teach the students about natural disasters, we created a project that engaged the students in the learning process through individual and group research as well explained the real world application of their activity. The project has the students use technology in order to describe a specific natural disaster, explain the cause and warning signs of the disaster, then create and demonstrate a safety plan.

Project Overview/Lesson Plan
Individual Effort Rubric
Group Project Rubric

Project 7 Four Movies Part B

Part B Two Movies As a Teacher

Teacher Movie for Parents

Teacher Movie for Students

Blog Post 7

How Do We All Become Learners?

Students happy to use iPads

Preparing Myself for Project Based Learning

-Experienced Digital Renaissance as a student during my senior year of high school
-Am currently observing a Baldwin County elementary school classroom participating in the Digital Renaissance
-Familiar with Apple, MacBooks, iPads, etc.

-Never experienced this kind of learning as an elementary school student
-Unfamiliar with Discovery Education Board Builder
-Somewhat unfamiliar with Alabama Virtual Library
-Unfamiliar with Poplet
-Somewhat unfamiliar with QR codes

The resources listed for this blog post enabled me to see current resources and teaching activities used in a true 21st century elementary classroom. These videos are important tools for helping us as teacher education students to prepare ourselves for when we are the teachers in the classrooms.

In "How to Make an Audio QR Code," Michele Bennett demonstrates how teachers can record files and transfer them into a QR code. This could be useful for many events such as Meet the Teacher Night, when parents can scan the code to find an introduction video by the teacher. These could also be used by students in their projects and they could also make their own recording for a code. "iPad Reading Center" and "Poplet with Ginger Tuck" both showcase ideas for kindergarten reading centers using iPads. In the first video, teacher Ginger Tuck shows how her students can record themselves reading and playback the recording to better students fluency and other reading skills. Tuck uses the application Popplet in the second video for her students to make visual web maps of books. Alabama Virtual Library is a resource that students can use to research and organize information, as shown in "AVL and Kindergarten Students." Another great online resource for project based learning is Discovery Education Board Builder, which allows students to create virtual bulletin boards of information. In "Tammy Shirley Discovery Education Moon Builder Project," Tammy Shirley's first grade student showcased her Moon Project Board she created. In "Mrs. Tassin 2nd Grade Students Share Board Builder Project" and "Mrs. Tassin students share Board Builder Project," Mrs. Tassin's second graders presented their project based learning group assignments using Board Builder.

It is important that we allow our students to use these resources to their advantage. In "Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten and "We All Become Learners;" Dr. Strange, Elizabeth Davis, and Michele Bennett discuss how kindergarteners are able to actively use tools such as iMovie and Alabama Virtual Library. Moreover, they are excited to use these resources. How can students being excited to learn possibly be a bad thing? I may be unfamiliar with some of these resources, but I am ready to prepare myself to be the best teacher that I can be for my students.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

C4K Summary for September

C4K Summary for September

- Liku is a Year 7 student in Auckland, New Zealand. His post "Jab the Mascot." describes Jab, the mascot of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. In my comment, I related Jab to South's mascots SouthPaw and Miss Pawla.

Drawing of Jab the Mascot

- James is a Year 5 student in Ontario, Canada. In his post "about an awesome guy," he briefly describes his life. He has both a brother and a sister and likes sports, pizza, and the game Minecraft. In my comment, I mentioned my own brother and how the kids that I teach at my church also like Minecraft.

<i>Minecraft</i> logo

- Corinne is a 5th grade student in Connecticut. She provides book reviews of three books she has recently read in her post "Book Reviews!" She gave five out of five stars to the books The Ghost of Graylock and When You Reach Me, while giving Smile four stars. In my comment, I asked her if she had read any of the Nancy Drew Mysteries since she mentioned an interest in mystery stories. She replied that she had read a few but did not "get into them."

<i>The Ghost of Graylock</i> Cover

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blog Post 6

What do you learn from these conversations with Anthony Capps?

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

Conversations with Anthony Capps Video Series

1. Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
2. Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
3. iCurio
4. Discovery Education
5. The Anthony - Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1
6. Don't Teach Tech - Use It
7. Additional Thought About Lessons

Since Capps is a new teacher, it is important for us to hear his advice because he is exactly where we want to be in a few years--successfully in our own classroom and dedicated to our students. There were many points in these videos that I simply hadn't thought about before but are worthwhile to know. First, project-based Learning requires reflection by both the teacher and the students. Capps mentioned his favorite project as well as admitting there were projects that were not as successful. Learning from your own thoughts as well as listening to your students' feedback is essential to the project-based learning process. As Dr. Strange says, "If you are not a learner, you will not be a successful educator." Teachers can use this reflection to enhance future projects."Create an opportunity for them to go beyond what you want them to do," says Capps.

Next, we must use technology in effective ways. That means we must spend more time using the technology and less time teaching how to use the technology. Capps says that his students pick up these skills quickly and I agree. Plus, there are several programs such as iCurio and Discovery Education to help both the teacher and the students engage in learning. However, we must be prepared and flexible whenever technology is surprisingly unavailable to us. Teachers must be able to make modifications and engage as many students as possible in the new lesson.

Also, teaching is more than a profession. It is a lifestyle that lasts longer than the 8 hours in the school. Teachers must be prepared to spend time at home working--whether that be reading over material, creating lesson plans, modifying projects, talking about your classroom and dinner at dinner, etc. It may sound overwhelming at first, but Capps says that he enjoys his work both inside and outside of the classroom. He says to make the most of your job and be willing to learn and enjoy it. As he says, "Let your work become a fun experience for you." It is impressive what all Capps has done in his short time as a teacher, but I hope and will strive to do the same.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blog Post 5 Part 1

What are Personal Learning Networks (PLN)?

How can they help you as a teacher?

As we continue into 21st century learning, we as teachers must learn new methods and practices to better ourselves and to prepare our students for our constantly evolving world. A way to do this is through a Personal Learning Network (PLN), a network of people, websites, blogs, and other resources. Vicki Davis best explains how PLNs can work in the classroom in her article "Personal Learning Networks Are Virtual Lockers for Schoolkids":

"A PLN becomes a student's virtual locker, and its content changes based on the student's current course work. When I assign them a term paper, the students comb the Web to sign up for information that will feed into their personalized Web page to construct a PLN for that topic. When they get a new project, they assemble another page."

If teachers wish to be effective and up-to-date on modern learning, a PLN can help them to connect use resources such as Edutopia or Discovery Education. It can also connect them to other educators across the globe sharing their ideas and lessons to learn from. Personal Learning Networks are never-ending. Students and teachers must add new resources and/or create multiple PLNs as they build their own network. There are many ways to form PLNs and numerous ways to use them in the classroom, but all will be able to expand their minds, make new connections, and, ultimately, enhance their learning experience.

How are they formed? How can you create your own PLN?

As mentioned earlier, there are many different ways to form your own PLN. Dr. Strange has mentioned before that Twitter is best way for him to connect with other educators and resources. He has also provided a list of many educators (and their Twitter handles) in Project 6 Fall 2009. Once you discover new resources to include in your PLN, you can use websites like Symbaloo or Netvibes to organize and keep track of your PLN resources. Symbaloo organizes different website icons by tile blocks, while Netvibes organizes RSS feeds of sites into block arrangements. Both are effective tools and easy to use.

Who will be the first additions to your PLN?

As I have begun to build my own PLN, I have added Dr. Strange, EDM staff members, and classmates to my network through Twitter. I also follow the education sites mentioned above along with others and use TweetDeck to access Twitter. I have also added Beth Knittle (my C4T #1) by following her on Twitter and adding her blog to my Symbaloo page. Although I am just beginning my PLN, I feel sure that it only continue to grow in this class. I am excited to see how large my PLN will become by the time I am an experienced teacher!

PLN Visual Web Map

Friday, September 12, 2014

C4T 1 - Beth Knittle

Beth's Thoughts on Technology in the Classroom

Beth's Thoughts on Technology in the Classroom is a blog by Beth Knittle, a K-12 Technology Integration Specialist for a district in Massachusetts. Although many of her posts are about integrating technology in the classroom, the two posts I commented on focused on other changes in America's evolving education system. The first post, "Value Added Models: Where are we headed?" discusses the introduction of Value Added Measures as a way to evaluate teacher performance. The second post, "Education vs Regurgitation" describes adjusting teaching styles to produce life long learners.

Value Added Models: Where are we headed?

Taking a Standardized Test
Value Added Model (VAM) is a new evaluation tool for teacher effectiveness. Instead of basing teacher performance on students' test scores, it measures what student achievement over the timespan of being in the teacher's class. It is not used in Knittle's state, but other states are adopting VAM (including Florida, who publishes a list of the top 1/3 of the state's teachers). Knittle seems a bit skeptical of VAM, but is open to learning more about it. In my comment, I related VAM to my Honors thesis research on Finnish teachers. There is almost no standardized testing in Finland and while I do not believe that the U.S. should copy this, I have doubts about using standardized testing to accurately evaluate teacher performance.

Education vs Regurgitation

Elementary students excitedly use iPads in the classroom
In this post, Knittle explains that at one point in her teaching career she disliked students interrupting her or asking questions because it messed up her "scripted" lesson plan. As Knittle explains, "I was seeking students who were good at regurgitation. If my test results were good, then I was a good teacher." However, she has since realized that the students she once avoided were the ones who actually wanted to learn. Creative thinking helps to create life long learners, and Knittle says that building skills of a life long learner will help students better their classroom and the world outside of it. Using technology in the classroom makes this task more possible than ever before, and as teachers we must continue to foster the skills of a life long learner in our students. In my comment, I reflected on my own time in elementary school when I only wanted to please the teacher by being and still, but now I wish for my students to be like the life long learners Knittle describes.

Project 15 - Search Engines

Getting to Know Online Search Engines

1. Wolfram Alpha

"Wolfram Alpha is more than a search engine. It gives you access to the world's facts and data and calculates answers across a range of topics."

Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine that presents factual information on the subject searched. The site displays accurate information in an clean, organized design. This site would be a great resource for those who need extra help with math, since it can calculate mathematical problems. Moreover, it can be a valuable resource for students to learn the basics of a subject.

Wolfram Alpha Search for 'September'

2. Bing

"Bing is a search engine that brings together the best of search and people in your social networks to help you spend less time searching and more time doing."

Bing is a search engine similar to Google and is Google's biggest competitor. However, it does differ from Google in a few ways. First, Bing takes pride in its image search, and displays an image of a world landmark as its homepage. The homepage landmark image changes everyday. Next, Bing connects users to social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, allowing those who use this feature to see their friends' likes and social media activity in the search page. For example, if someone connected to Facebook searches "Foosacklys," they might see that their Facebook friends Bob and Jill also "like" Foosackly's.

Bing Search for 'September'

3. Yahoo Search

"The search engine that helps you find exactly what you're looking for. Find the most relevant information, video, images, and answers from all across the Web."

Yahoo Search is also a search engine similar to Google and Bing. Its search engine is somewhat overshadowed by other features of the site, such as Yahoo Mail and Yahoo News, but it works exactly like other popular search engines. It places both images and videos of the subject searched in the regular web search. This search engine would be helpful and convenient for those who use Yahoo Mail and/or Yahoo News since all three features are on the same site.

Yahoo Search for 'September'

4. AOL Search

"Offers web results from Google, combined with multimedia and other content from AOL and various partners."

AOL Search is not only similar to Google, it is also powered by Google. However, as stated above, it is "AOLified" by mixing in content from AOL and network partners. On the whole, it is very much like Yahoo, with AOL having a Mail and News feature along with the Search engine. This search engine would be great for those who like Google and already have an AOL email and/or like AOL News.

AOL Search for 'September'


" is the #1 question answering service that delivers the best answers from the web and real people - all in one place." is a search engine that is designed answers questions rather than just displaying information on a subject searched. It presents results in a Q&A format in addition to pulling other webpages relevant to the question. This site would be helpful for someone who wants to look up a specific question. In the same search engine they could also research the web pages that relate to the question to validate the answer and to learn more about the subject. Search for 'What is September?'

6. Dogpile

" makes searching the Web easy, because it has all the best search engines piled into one. Go Fetch!"

Can't decide between search engines? Dogpile uses both Google and Yahoo to provide the best of both worlds. The site works similar to both search engines and claims to filter out irrelevant information. This search engine would great for those who like Google and Yahoo. Elementary students would love the dog mascot of the site and the ability to "go fetch."

Dogpile Search for 'September'

7. DuckDuckGo

"The search engine that doesn't track you. A superior search experience with smarter answers, less clutter and real privacy."

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that prides its security. It does not track users, and does not appear to have ads. Results are presented in a clean, organized way. Like Dogpile, this site will attract elementary users simply for its name and its mascot, a duck. Those who value searching anonymously and dislike advertisements will also like this search engine.

DuckDuckGo Search for 'September'

8. Ixquick

"Ixquick search engine provides search results from over ten best search engines in full privacy. Search anonymously with Ixquick Search Engine!"

Ixquick is a search engine that has features of both Dogpile and DuckDuckGo. Like Dogpile, it complies results from numerous search engines. Like DuckDuckGo, it values privacy and does not track users. The results are presented in a design similar to Google. This site would be valuable to those who like multiple search engines or Dogpile and also value privacy and wish to search anonymously.
Ixquick Search for 'September'

Note: All italicized quotes are the search engines' taglines as shown in a Google search.