Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post #16

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
-Finding Nemo
Just Keep Swimming
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE Disney fan, and also a huge fan of living my life by the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout my semester in EDM310, there were many times I felt overwhelmed! For some silly reason, when I became overwhelmed with my load of school work in EDM310, I always thought to myself, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." This little quote off of Disney's Finding Nemo got me through many hours sitting in front of my computer (along with the Disney Pandora station)! EDM310 has been by far the most challenging college course I have taken thus far at The University of South Alabama, but this course has also been the most inspiring, informative, and thought provoking class I have ever been enrolled in. Read along below as I share with you my initial thoughts on certain subjects regarding my future classroom, and how some of those thoughts have changed and how some thoughts have remained the same.

My Thoughts Regarding My Blog Post #1: If I Built A School

In my very first blog post, If I Built A School, I wrote about my thoughts regarding my future classroom including what tools I will use, what tools my students will use, my methods of teaching, and what kind of learning will take place. The main aspects of this blog post that I have now changed my thoughts on are the tools used in my classroom. In my blog post, I included that I would have my students use technology such as the iPad, computer, and SMART Board daily, but I did not include to what extent. At this point in time, I had not the slightest clue what I would have my students do on an iPad, computer, or SMART Board! With the knowledge I have now, I would have my students do numerous activities on these technological tools! The last areas I have had changed thoughts about are my methods of teaching. Not included in my Blog Post #1 is how to asses myself and change my methods of teaching with advancing technology, evolving education, and our changing world and economy.

Tech tools that I have become acquainted with that I will implement in my future classroom include Blogger, Twitter, iMovie, iBook, YouTube, Skype, and the creation of podcasts. When I created my first blog post, I did not even consider the use of these items because I had no clue what some of them were! I have become a huge fan of blogging, and I will definitely have my students blog. From my recent experiences with blogging, I have realized how much more I strive to produce quality writing and blog posts knowing I have such a vast audience, the web. If I have my students blog, I believe they will also strive to produce quality work knowing they have fellow classmates, parents, teachers, college students, and possibly the entire world viewing their posts. Blogging is a tool I will definitely implement in my future classroom to improve my students' writing. Twitter is tool that I will use frequently when I become a professional educator. Twitter is a great part of my personal learning network and is a great tool to rely on when you are are just purely "stuck" on something. A vast number of educators have Twitter accounts and are actually willing to answer questions and help you in all possible ways. It is almost like educators and educational tools have a huge tribe that is there waiting to help you out. How awesome is that? When I become a professional educator, I know I can rely on my PLN on Twitter if I ever get "stuck" on something. iMovie is another awesome tool I have learned to use in EDM310 that I did not know how to use prior to my enrollment in Dr. Strange's class. iMovie will allow my students to express their digital creativity through the creation of trailers and projects. iBook is another awesome tool I have learned to use in EDM310. Depending on what grade I teach will depend on whether or not I will have my students create iBooks, but I believe 4th-6th graders could definitely handle the creation of an iBook! I also look forward to creating iBooks myself in my future classroom. YouTube is a great communication device that I will definitely use in my future classroom. I could create YouTube videos for my students' parents to keep them up-to-date with what all is going on in the classroom. My students will also frequently use YouTube to present projects and embed these projects in their class blogs. Skype is another great communication tool that my students and I can use to communicate and connect with other teachers and students around the world. Podcasts are great to use for communication also. I could also have my students create podcasts to reenact stories from books. There are so many technological tools I can and will implement in my future classroom that I did not know about when I created Blog Post #1. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn about such awesome tools that I will be able to implement in my future classroom.

The last areas in my Blog Post #1 that I have changed thoughts about are my methods of teaching. In the "Primary Ways of Teaching" section in my Blog Post #1, I included that I will implement project-based learning and all activities will be hands-on! This statement is very true, but I did not include how I will asses myself in order to be an effective teacher. I have learned over the course of EDM310 how important self-assessment is. In my future classroom, I will have to asses myself daily and ask myself the following questions: Were the lessons I taught today effective? Did I give all my students opportunities to learn today? Were my students engaged in the lessons being taught? Did I create an engaging classroom environment? I will have to ask myself these questions and asses myself daily in order to be an effective teacher. With self-assessment comes with the changing of teaching methods. Education is constantly evolving and our world is constantly changing, therefore, I must adjust my pedagogy in order to provide my students with an education that is relevant to their lives.

Final Reflection
Below is my final reflection of what I have learned, what I will take with me, and what I will use in my future career as an elementary school teacher from my time spent in EDM310.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post #15

What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher? Select a few and discuss how they may be useful to you.
-Dr. Strange

Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children
Author: Brylyn Cowling

Teach, Guide, Inspire

In this YouTube video, hearing and vision impairment is the main topic. This video asks questions such as the following: Are you doing enough to support these students? Are you prepared? It is so important for students with vision and hearing impairments to be given the opportunity to interact with their environment. Assistive technologies for the vision and hearing impaired include the following: text to speech devices, speech to text devices, talking calculators, iPads, iPods, screen magnifiers, and many more. When I become a professional educator, it will be my job to ensure that all of my students, regardless of their disability, disorder, or impairment are given equal opportunities to learn and succeed.

After doing my own research, I found an informative webpage called The Best Software and Gadgets for ADHD Students. If an attention deficit student needs assistance with school work or homework, assistive technologies can capitalize on his or her strengths while working around his or her challenges. Math software and gadgets for ADHD students help students who struggle with computing, aligning, and copying math problems on paper. Electronic math worksheet software enables students to organize and work through problems on a computer screen. Numbers that appear onscreen can be read aloud by a speech synthesizer. Products to consider for electronic worksheets include MathTalk, MathPad, and MathPad Plus. Talking calculators are also great for ADHD students. They have a built-in speech synthesizer that reads aloud each number, symbol, and operation key a students presses, as well as the answer. Reading software and gadgets for ADHD students include audio books and reading software. Writing gadgets and software for ADHD students include portable word processors, which are lightweight devices that look like a computer keyboard with a screen. They can be helpful to ADHD students that have problems with handwriting.

When I become an elementary school teacher, I will have to be aware and conscience of any disabilities my students may have. It will be my job as a professional educator to support these students and provide them with the tools and resources available for them to be successful in my classroom.

Below are products I found that can help students with vision or hearing impairments:

Products for Independent Living, Blind, Low Vision, Deaf, or Physically

Learning Ally-A national nonprofit organization that assists students that have vision impairments and students with dyslexia.

Author: Phillip Hall

iPad Usage for the Blind
The iPad has many useful tools for the handicap student. The thing we enjoyed most about this video was actually watching a blind person present and give demonstrations on an actual iPad. The iPad uses voice-over, so the blind students are able to use their sense of hearing to find needed information. Using this tool seems like it will be a hard tool to navigate. It could also be a challenge in the classroom by beings disruptive, but this is what ear-phones are for. When the skill of learning to use the iPad is learned, it will enable the blind learner to explore the world. As with any new technology, for the blind or sited person, it will be hard to learn. However, after a technology is learned, we wonder how we lived without.

Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning on The iPadThis video allows the mom of a blind student to see how assistive technology is being used to help her child learn. Mom learned a lot in the short lesson given to her on the iPad. She will better understand the difference in the way she learns and her blind child learns. As a future teacher, I will try to give myself as much practice on assisive technology tools that I can. I need to practice these tools just like the mom on the video did. I think if we as future educators teach ourselves how to use these devices, we will be able to tear down many barriers encountered by our blind/deaf students. I also feel that some of the other assistive technology learned in this assignment, will be beneficial to not only our handicap students, but also to other struggling learners. Teaching Mom Video

Teaching Math to the Blind
Author: Duane Nelson

Art Karshmer

Mathematics can be a hard subject to learn for any student especially if they are visually impaired. Art Karshmer, a professor at the University of San Francisco, made a computer based system to teach math to the blind. Karshmer explains that it is tough for an individual who is blind to learn a two dimensional mathematical problem. Understanding this problem Karshmer created the 3 Million Touchpad. This device is an automated teacher and helper designed to use braille and technology together to create a possible two dimensional learning experience. This device uses a voice touchpad and a barcode scanner to identify each number being used. Plus each piece of the touchpad is labeled in braille so that students can still have the option of reading along with voice commands. This is an excellent technological tool that can help many disabled students.

National Federation of the Blind

While doing my own research, I found an excellent source that is helpful to anyone who is blind or losing vision called the National Federation of the Blind. The National Federation of the Blind is the largest, oldest, and is the most influential association in the United States. The NFB offers many things to these individuals such as training programs, technology, and innovative educational opportunities. Here are some of the programs that NFB offer: Possibilities Fair for Seniors, Braille Readers Are Leaders Program, NFB-NEWSLINE®, Braille Reading Pals - Early Literacy Program, The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind (IBTC), and many others as well. The NFB also offers many different products and technological devices that will be helpful to the blind such as Independence Market, Technology Center, Blio, Audio Newspaper Service, and the Handheld Reader. The National Federation of the Blind is an excellent source that should be used for anyone who is blind or just starting to lose their vision.

Assistive Technologies for Teaching Students in Special Education
Author: Victoria E. Williams

Although I have never taught in a classroom with special needs children before, I have spent my life around special needs children. Growing up with a brother who had Angelman Syndrome taught me a lot about children with special needs. I know that teaching children with special needs can acquire many unique challenges. Teaching special education requires patience and a heart to work with children to meet their specific daily needs and challenges in which he/she are facing. Their are resources that are steadily available to teachers in the field of special education. Their is a page called 50 Must See Blog's For Special Education Teacher's . This page provides multiple technology resources that can enlighten the knowledge of many disabilities and how to help become the best teacher for YOUR particular students. These 50 blogs help teachers in special education with tips of advice, strategies, strengthening IEP's, and how to work well with parents. This is a fabulous resource I would highly recommend to any teacher who has a student with special needs in their classroom. There are several teachers who teach special education who write blogs to reflect on their daily habits in the classroom. These blog's can be used to provide inspiration and encouragement in the journey of teaching special education.

Providing assistive technologies in the classroom for students with special needs could enhance the learning that takes place. Many students are given a better opportunity to learn when given assistive technology. Honestly, it depends on the student. My brother for example, would have been more stimulated by being given time to watch a movie in the classroom. My brother was very severe and had a very low IQ. Student's who are autistic, attention-deficit hyper disorder, or even cerebral palsy would benefit from using an iPad in the classroom to learn, as well as other technological resources. It is important to learn to accommodate the students in YOUR particular classroom. Students with special needs all have different challenges that need to be met, learning these challenges and how to blend them all to be successful in the classroom is of the utter-most importance. It takes special teacher's to teach special children!

This blog was written in loving memory of Joshua James Bingham (Brother of Victoria Williams)who has Angelman Syndrome. Joshua gained his wings on November 4, 2013. I am so thankful to have had 17 wonderful years with my precious brother!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blog Post #14

Create an assignment for a Blog Post I should have created in your area of speciality. Write the instructions that I should have put here. Then, do it. -Dr. Strange

Goal Setting: How will you have your students set goals for themselves in your future classroom? Do you feel that goal setting is important? Why or why not?

Goal Setting in the Elementary School Classroom


An area of study educators often overlook according to Goal Setting 101 is teaching our students how to set goals for themselves.

Teaching students to set personal goals begins with teaching them to believe in themselves. Many students start school with a very limited view of what they are capable of doing. Before I can teach them to set any kind of goal for themselves, I have to help remove those so called "limitations" from their thinking. It is so important that I teach my students to believe in themselves, because without that belief, they aren't likely to achieve their goals.

Secrets to Goal Setting According to "Goal Setting 101":

1. Write clear and measurable goals.
2. Create a specific action plan for each goal.
3. Read your goals daily and visualize yourself accomplishing them.
4. Reflect on your progress to see if you are on target.
5. Revise your action plans if needed.
6. Celebrate your accomplishments!

So, how can I encourage my students to remove limitations from their thoughts and start thinking towards high goals? I can first show my students examples of how others have overcome obstacles and achieved their goals. Seeking out inspirational stories of people who are relevant to my students' lives and sharing those stories will motivate my students to set goals for themselves. I could even have my students do a research project on someone they are interested in that has set goals and reached their goals. This person of inspiration could be a someone in their community, a family member, a famous athlete, a famous singer, etc. After completing this project, I would have my students set short-term goals (these goals could include making an A on their spelling test this week, behaving appropriately, making their bed every morning before school, etc) and long-term goals (these goals could include graduating high school, going to college, starting a business, etc). I would then have my students share their goals with their classmates, and then have my students post their goals on their class blog. I believe that if students share their goals, short-term and long-term, with an audience, they would be more likely to stay accountable in achieving those goals.

I believe it is so important for students to set short-term and long-term goals for themselves. When I was in elementary school, I did not know what college was until I was in the fifth grade. I feel that it is important for students to set goals for themselves that can be reached inside their classroom, but also set goals for themselves that can be reached outside the classroom. When I was young, I had no clue what my future could possibly hold! I want to help my students in understanding that planning for their future inside and outside of the elementary school classroom is something great to do. In my adult years, I set goals for myself every week, even if it is to only complete all my homework before the weekend so I can relax and enjoy a couple of days to myself. I have long-term goals such as graduating college, getting a job as an elementary school teacher, and buying a home. I have always been a very determined person and I have had a very supportive family, but what if I wasn't a determined person and lacked support? Would I believe in my abilities to be able to reach my goals? Would I even set goals for myself? This is exactly why I want to help my students BELIEVE in their abilities to accomplish whatever they are passionate about.

Final Summary of My PLN

PLN (Personal Learning Network)


Over the course of my first semester here at The University of South Alabama, I have learned how important a personal learning network is as an elementary education major. Before taking EDM310, I used Twitter just like the majority of college-age students, and I never once thought that Twitter could be a useful tool for my personal learning network. Little did I know, Twitter is a great way to connect with educators to call upon for help, and to consult and collaborate with, in order to assist in my growth as a professional educator.

People/Tools I Follow on Twitter

Krissy Venosdale: @venspired
Krissy Venosdale's Venspired blog is educational and inspiring for aspiring teachers.

Brian Crosby: @bcrosby
Brian Crosby was assigned to me as a C4T, and his blog Learning Is Messy is quite fascinating! I highly recommend his blog.

Miguel Guhlin: @mguhlin
Miguel Guhlin was assigned to me as a C4T, and his blog Around the is also very fascinating. He posts quite a bit about technology. I highly recommend his blog.

William Chamberlain: @wmchamberlain
William Chamberlain is a Comments4Kids advocate.

Michael Fawcett: @teachernz
Michael Fawcett is a primary school teacher in NZ, and has awesome thoughts on PLN in his video PLN.

EDM310 Lab Assistants:
Melissa Canterbury: @MelCanterbury13
Jacey Chandler: @JCblaire7
Lindsey Estes: @lindsey_estes
Rebecca Lathem: @BecLat
These ladies are great to answer questions not only regarding EDM310, but any questions regarding elementary education.

Teaching Palette: @TchingPalette
Teaching Palette is dedicated to teachers who constantly work on perfecting the art of education.

Education View: @EducationView
Education View is a great source for education news.

Education Innovation: @EducationInnov
Education Innovation tweets on the hashtags #Education, #Leadership, #Innovation, #Teaching, #HigherEducation, #School, #College, #University, and #Learning.

U.S. Department of Education: @usedgov
This Twitter account is a great source for news and information from the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. News Education: @USNewsEducation
This Twitter account is a great source for U.S. education news and rankings.

Teach For America: @TeachForAmerica
This Twitter account is a great source for teachers to provide students with opportunities to attain an excellent education.

Education Sector: @EducationSector
Education Sector is committed to developing innovative solutions to our nation's most pressing education problems.

The Education Trust: @EDTrust
Ed Trust works to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement for students pre-K through college.

HuffPostEducation: @HuffPostEdu
HuffPostEducation is an education news source and online hub for passionate voices.

Education Nation: @educationnation
Education Nation is a place for educators to discuss what they think it takes for student success.

CommonCoreQuestions: @CommonCoreQs
This account provides educators, administrators, and parents with the most rigorous ELA assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Common Core: @common_core
This Twitter account promotes challenging, rigorous instruction in the full range of liberal arts and sciences.

Excellence in Ed: @ExcelinEd
Excellence in Ed Twitter account is dedicated to fostering excellence in education across America.

Technology in Motion: @atimpd
Technology in Motion is devoted to providing professional development that enables educators to become and remain proficient in the use of technology so they can better facilitate learning.

ACOEducators: @ACOEducators
ACOEducators is a member driven association for teachers in the state of Alabama.

Scholastic Teachers: @ScholasticTeach
Scholastic Teachers encourages educators to talk books, education, trends, and life as an educator on their Twitter.

Teachers.Net: @TeachersNet
Teachers.Net is a great teacher community that provides information on news, articles, lesson plans, and teaching jobs.

AL Department of Education: @AlabamaDeptofEd
The Alabama Department of Education is the state agency for K-12 education. This Twitter account provides information regarding education in the state of Alabama.

AEA is a Twitter account for professional organization for education employees in Alabama.

Dropbox: @Dropbox
Dropbox on Twitter gives updates on new features to the storing device Dropbox.

Office of Ed Tech: @OfficeofEdTech
The Office of Educational Technology provides leadership for maximizing technology's contribution to improving education at all levels.

SMART Technologies: @SMART_Tech
SMART Technologies is a place for educators to ask questions regarding SMART technologies.

The ASCD is an international education association dedicated to providing programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner.

Teaching STEM: @TeachingSTEM
Teaching STEM is a networking and information service for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers and educators in schools and colleges.

edutopia: @edutopia
This Twitter account encourages tweets on inspiration and information on what works in education.

Teaching Matters: @teachingmatters
Teaching Matters is dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, which is one of the most critical factors in student success.

All4ed: @All4Ed
All4ed works to improve education policy so that all students can graduate from high school ready for college and careers.

iSchool Initiative: @iSchoolAdvocate
This is a student led organization on Twitter dedicated to reforming education through technology.

Creative Education: @CreativeEdu
Creative Education provides great classroom ideas, education chat, and the latest teaching trends.

eChalk: @eChalk
eChalk tweets about educational technology, community engagement, collaboration, learning platforms, and social learning.

...and many, many others!

My PLN grows every day! I learn so much just by scrolling through my Twitter feed and seeing what people share and post. In my opinion, my personal learning network on Twitter is far more useful than googling a question or a problem. My personal learning network constantly tweets informative tips and shares tools that are all very current and effective. When I first started following people and tools that I felt could assist me in my career as an aspiring professional educator, I couldn't help but wonder, "Are these people even going to follow me back?" To my surprise, many did! I am obviously not the only one in the education field who wants to connect with others in order to expand my personal learning network. I will definitely be an advocate of using Twitter as a personal learning network, and I can't wait to influence my future coworkers to try it out as well!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

C4T #4

Andrea Hernandez's EdTechWorkshop Blog

EdTechWorkshop Logo

Empowering Students Through Meaningful Jobs

In Andrea Hernandez's Empowering Students Through Meaningful Jobs blog post, she mentions that her inspiration for creating jobs in the class came from Alan November's Digital Learning Farm. She mentioned that during the times of farming, children were useful and necessary contributors to their families' farms and livelihoods. Once children's work became going to to school full-time, that feeling of usefulness and importance faded. She mentioned that digital tools offer the possibility of exciting upgrades to these jobs, allowing students to learn through doing while making authentic contributions to their communities. Andrea Hernandez mentions in her post that she has her students apply for the positions she offers.

Examples of classroom jobs are as follows:

Global Connectors: Tweet, look for and organize possible learning connections, manage maps

Researchers: Research information in response to questions that arise.

Official Scribes: Take notes, write weekly summary post on classroom blog

Documentarians: Photo and video documentation of the week's activities

Kindness Ambassadors: Make sure that all community members are included at lunch and recess, remind community members of habit of the month, model and recognize kindness, give appreciations and remind others to do so.

Librarians: Keep classroom and virtual library shelves in order. Add books to class GoodReads shelves, keep GoodRead-Alouds wall updated, set appointments with Mrs. Hallatt

Graphic Artist/Designer: Design things for the classroom and class blog- graphics, bulletin boards, displays, etc.

Job Requirements:
Previous experience is helpful, but not required. You will be able to learn on the job. Most important qualities: proactive, self-motivated, desire to learn. All classroom work must be up to date in order to be considered for a job.

My Comment on "Empowering Students Through Meaningful Jobs"

In my comment, I introduced myself and explained where I attend college. I also explained that I was commenting on the post as an assignment in Dr, Strange's EDM310 class. I thanked Andrea Hernandez for sharing such valuable information. I asked her if she has her students keep the same job the entire year or if she changes up the students' jobs. I told Andrea Hernandez that I look forward to implementing digital jobs in my future classroom. I invited Andrea Hernandez to visit my class blog and the EDM310 class blog.

"Grades: What Would Houdini Do?"


Andrea Hernandez begins this post by stating that she gets a daily "great work provocation" email that is supposed to provide a bit of inspiration, challenge, perspective, change, etc. She then mentions that often, the emails are too obscure, and she deletes them. She then shared today's email:

Houdini never found a pair of handcuffs he couldn't escape from. What are the manacles that are tangling you up? Time to pick the lock?

Andrea wrote that this email resonated. The manacles that were tangling her up were grades. She wrote that when she took her job, she knew she would be expected to give letter grades because it is a job requirement. Andrea then lists some reasons that grades were tangling her up like handcuffs:

1. Andrea states that grades do not jive well with her personal philosophy of teaching. She believes in working with students where they are (not where she wishes they were).

2. Grades do not provide the most useful feedback. Grades often tend to be subjective.

3. Grades do not motivate the ones who most need motivating.

4. Having to give grades makes it tempting to go for the lower levels of Bloom's because those tend to be the easiest to quantify.

5. Grades are not authentic. Andrea asks the reader, "Do you want your blog posts graded? What about your lesson plans? What if you mess up a lesson? Should you get a zero? Does this motivate YOU to be a better teacher?" Andrea then writes, "I do not want my posts stamped with an A, B,or C, but I do very much want feedback and conversation."

My Comment on "Grades: What Would Houdini Do?"

In my comment, I introduced myself, explained where I attend college, and explained that I was commenting on the post as an assignment in EDM310. I explained to Andrea that I do understand that grades do not always provide useful feedback. I told Andrea that although I am not a professional educator yet, I have learned through my creations of lesson plans in my college courses that having to give students a grade does, in fact, make it tempting to choose one of the lower levels of Bloom's because those tend to be the easiest to quantify. I thanked Andrea for sharing her post!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Project #12: Part B

C4K Summary for November

William "Billy"

Billy is a year 8 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. He is in Mrs. Nau and Mr. Barks class.

Rock Climbing Wall

Billy's Blog Post "My Holiday"

Billy had 40 minutes this morning to write what ever he wanted on his blog. He also was given this time to set a goal for himself for this term.

Billy mentioned in his post that he is involved in a youth group at church. He said that he went to his youth meeting and the group had plans to go to Rocket Ropes. Billy mentioned that they first put on all the safety gear. Billy said he was not afraid of heights, but once he was looking down from the top of the rock, he got scared! Billy said after this experience, he went to his friends house and they ate supper. He concluded his post by saying his goal for this term is to write properly.

My Comment on Billy's "My Holiday"

In my comment on Billy's post, I introduced myself and explained where I attend college. I also explained to his that I was commenting on his post as an assignment in EDM310. I first asked Billy what Rocket Ropes is. I thought it is a rock climbing place, but I was not sure. I told Billy that I was afraid of heights. I then asked Billy what Superstar was. I thought it was a restaurant, but I was not for sure. I told Billy that writing properly is a great goal to set for yourself at all times. I told him that when blogging and sharing his work with such a vast audience, it is very important to write properly.

Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog: "Our First EdCamp"


Mrs. Yollis brought EdCamp to her 3rd grade class. At the beginning of the week, students posted ideas for sessions. There were several sessions offered. Throughout the day, students put tally marks next to sessions they'd be interested in attending that afternoon. Like in other EdCamps, students were told that if a session was not meeting their needs or wasn't what they expected, they were free to move to a more appropriate session. Sessions chosen indcluded: Rainbow Looming, drawing, World Book Online Encyclopedia, cursive writing, and shortcuts on computers. At the end of the EdCamp, students stood up one at a time and shared something they learned from the session they attended.

My Comment on "Our First EdCamp"

In my comment, I introduced myself by explaining who I am, what college I attend, and that I was commenting on their post as an assignment in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I told Mrs. Yollis and her students that their first EdCamp sounded like so much fun! I enjoyed looking at the pictures from their first EdCamp on their blog post. I told Mrs. Yollis that I liked how she gave her students a voice and a choice in creating this EdCamp. I told the students that I would love for them to teach me about looming. I mentioned that I read in the post that the students and Mrs. Yollis will be holding an EdCamp every Friday. I asked Mrs. Yollis if new sessions will be created for each week. I invited Mrs. Yollis and her class to view my blog and provided a link to it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13

Education legend Sir Ken Robinson picked the talks he loves - all full of insight, bright ideas, and of course, creativity.

What can we learn from these TED talks? -Dr. Strange

Shane Koyczan: “To This Day...for the bullied and beautiful”
Author: Brylyn Cowling

Before you speak, think!

Shane Koyczan’s "To This Day...for the bullied and beautiful" is so powerful. The main topic of discussion is about bullying. He mentions that when we are very young, we are expected to define ourselves, or others will. Isn’t this the way it works? If you aren’t bold in who you are, won’t others define us with terms and stereotypes that may not apply to who we actually are? When this happens, how do we stand up for ourselves when we do not even know who we are yet as a person? Who I am now is not who I was in high school. Who I am now will not be who I am in 10 years. Life is a growing experience. A physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growing experience. Why is it that we start at such a young age being so critical of one another? Is it a learned behavior? Is it in our genetic makeup to be so critical? Who are we to judge one another? Don’t we all have faults? We are none by zero means perfect, so why is the human race like this?

We are asked at a very young age what we want to be when we grow up. People ask you this question, and then shoot down your dreams and aspirations. Why are dreams so easily dismissed? What is it about our dreams that are so wrong? Children and young adults should be encouraged to dream and aspire to be whatever they are passionate about.

Something very interesting and enlightening Shane mentions is that we grew up to cheer on the underdog because we often see ourselves in them. Isn’t this true? I can reflect back on so many instances when I stood up for someone because I could see myself in their struggles and pain. I could, at times, relate to what they were going through.

What did I learn from this TED Talk? Most importantly, I learned to be encouraging. I will have to encourage my students to stand with me in putting an end to bullying. I will have to positively encourage each of my students to be creative and to DREAM. I will have to be sensitive to each of my students’ needs. Students are forced to come to school to learn content required by the state. Not only do I want my students to be educated in Mathematics, Science, Language Arts, the Arts, Technology, etc., I want my students to be educated in how to be a compassionate human being in our diverse society. I want to teach my students the importance of respect for others and themselves, self-worth, and discipline.

Wow! Our society has a long ways to go, but the change in our society begins with me.

“If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer, because there's something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit.” -Shane Koyczan

Mae Jemison: Teach Arts and Sciences Together

Author: Victoria E. Williams

Albert Einstein once said “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

Mae Jemison is a very ambitious individual who is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, and a dancer. Jemison inspires educators to create bold thinkers through merging the two subjects of art, and science together. Through TED talk Mae Jemison: Teach arts and science together she explains her perception of education from telling her own experiences and from her time spent in space. Educators job is to lay the foundation of our students to prepare them for the jobs of the future. If we are teaching material in an insufficient manner we are lacking in the efforts to prepare our students to be successful. Who does not want to be creative, or logical? Of Course, everyone desires to be creative and logical! These are two characteristics that correlate to each other when merging arts and sciences together. Mae Jemison said, “The imagination and creativity that it takes to launch a rocket ship, is the same imagination and creativity it takes to carve a piece of wood.”

If we want to inspire our students to be the future of tomorrow we should think about the way our education is being taught today. Jemison described it best when she said, “Science provides an understanding of universal experience and arts provides a universal understanding of a personal experience.” As future educators we need to begin revitalizing the sciences and arts in the educational system. Jemison said, “My chemistry teacher use to hold up a ball and would say this ball has potential energy, but nothing will happen to it until I drop it and it changes states.” Nothing will happen until we risk taking chances and change the way we are teaching arts and science’s in education. We need to forget being fearful of failure, and become daring teachers who are willing to make risks to conquer true success of the education our students deserve!

I believe that teachers should integrate art into every subject, not just science. If art was integrated into more subject areas student’s would be more interested in the material that was being presented to them. Yes, our philosophy of the way science is being taught needs improvement. I do believe that blending art into science will provide a better understand for students, but I think that integrating arts in every subject could shed light and create a more engaged learning process for every subject that is being taught. I have never taught in a classroom before, but I still believe that to be a successful teacher one must be unique, daring, and fearless. A teacher must learn to adapt to her students, what works one year may not work the next. I do believe however, that when adding art and involving incorporation of art into any subject, one will never go wrong.

Shukla Bose: Teaching one child at a time

Author: Duane Nelson

Shukla Bose

Shukla Bose is founder and CEO of Parikrma Humanity Foundation. The Parikrma Humanity Foundation is a non-profit organization that runs schools for under-privileged children in India. The schools provide quality English education to children from slums and orphanages. In the beginning of Shukla starting her foundation she realized the outrageous number of children that are uneducated. In the video she states that 200 million children from the age of 4 to 14 should be going to school but are not, another 100 million children are attending school but cannot read, and 125 million cannot do basic math. Shukla states that 250 billion Indian rupees are dedicated to government schooling with 90 percent going to teacher and administrative pay. The problem with this is that India has the highest teacher absences in the world. This reflects on the children's education because 1 out of every 4 teachers do not attend school the entire year.

At the beginning of her search to better education for the children her first school consisted of 165 students in a two story building with half of a tin roof. In just six years her foundation created four schools and one junior college. This included 100,100 children out of twenty eight slums and four orphanages. Shukla's main focus is to give these children from the slums an education and a peaceful place to live. The education that these children are receiving has inspired other family members of the household to want to learn as well. Shukla and her foundation started noticing that 80 percent and sometimes even 100 percent of the parents were attending school meetings. Many of these parents showed great interest and asked for a class to learn how to read and write. With this high interest from the parents she started an after school program for the parents interested in learning to read and write. Shukla Bose and the Parikrma Humanity Foundation have already helped out countless number of people and are planning to continue in the years to come.

Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slums video
Author: Phillip Hall

Charles Leadbeater's video talked about how some of the world's poorest kids are finding transformative new ways to learn. The video starts out talking about how some people have better advantage points in life, for instance a poor child vs. a privileged child in the education world. What Leadbeater means by this is, your advantage point determines what you can see. The advantages some students have basically determines everything they will see and the questions they ask will determine the answer they get. The lessons children learn in school in developing countries are not for academic purposes but how they can stay alive. Education is a global religion and EDUCATION+Technology=HOPE for students in developing worlds.

Most of the education in our society is pushed upon rather than being self-influenced. Leadbeater states that education needs to work by "pull not push" method. In order for children to stay entertained and influenced about their education they should be motivated to do so, rather than having an education forced upon them. The "pull" method influences a student who looks to sell drugs and make easy blood money through criminal activity to stay alive rather than rely on education to play a role in life. The idea of a curriculum is irrelevant to children in developing countries who may see drug dealing as a necessity to survive. Education should start with things that would make a difference to them in their lives or settings.

Motivation is the key. Learning has to be productive for it to make sense and be self influenced. There are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation means that education has a payoff, but you may have to wait quite a long time for it. However, that's too long if you're poor and have daily needs to meet. Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that comes from inside an individual rather than from any external or outside rewards, such as money or grades. Intruistic motivation is the key concept for a child seeking an education in a developing world. Developing countries use this technique to teach students essential things they need in life, for exapmple, how to make soap! Making soap is a very intrinsic way of learning.

The models that work best in the developing world are the "Chinese Restaurant Model" which uses the same principles but different applications in different settings. The Chinese model spreads vs. the "McDonald's Model which scales. Our education systems can learn more through the Chinese Model rather than using the "McDonald's model. Our systems fail to reach the people they most need to serve, they often hit the target but miss the point. Leadbeater makes a point in the presentation; We need a global wave of social entrepreneurship to create highly motivating, low cost ways to learn at scale in the developing world. The two types if basic innovation: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining innovation sustains an existing institution and disruptive innovation breaks it apart and creates different ways of doing it. Sustaining & Disruptive can be in a formal or informal location. Our systems focus more on sustaining in formal setting and developing worlds focus on disruptive and need more reinvention. Where some of the world's poorest kids are finding transformative new ways to learn this informal, disruptive new kind of school, Leadbeater says, is what all schools need to become.Charles Leadbeater's Video.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Project #15: PBL Lesson Plan

Animal Habitats


In this lesson, second graders will learn about the components of a habitat. The students will create a drawing of the habitat they would like to visit and present their creation to the class. The student will have to clearly identify the habitat chosen and state why they would like to visit this habitat. The students will play fun and interactive educational games online that will reinforce the components of habitats. The students will also become familiar with a poem about habitats.

Animal Habitats: Project Overview

Animal Habitats: Project Calendar

Animal Habitats: Project Grading Rubric

Animal Habitats: Poem

Blog Post #12

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson is an author, educator, and creativity expert who challenges the way we are educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems in order to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligences.

What Can We Learn from Sir Ken Robinson? -Dr. Strange

Changing Education Paradigims

The current system of education was designed for a different age group that lived in a different time period, but honestly, when would useless facts, such as facts we studied for on the ACT and the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, ever get anybody, anywhere, during any time period? In this video, we have learned how important it is to evolve our teaching methods throughout the course of our careers in order to prepare our students in the best way possible for their futures. Sir Ken Robinson challenged all the thoughts behind the rapid diagnosis of children being ADHD. Yes, we do believe ADHD is a real disorder, but who doesn’t get fidgety listening to a boring lecture for an hour? Why would a child be stimulated in the least bit from hearing his/her teacher talk nonstop? Yes, a child will get fidgety and easily distracted if the classroom environment is not engaging enough! Children are naturally curious. It is so important for us as future educators to take an honest look around us and soak up what our world consists of these days in order to prepare our students for their future. The children we will be teaching are immersed in technology. As future educators, we have to make a connection between the content we are teaching and the real world. In order for our teaching to be effective, our students must be able to relate to the material and the tools being used during a lesson.

Authors: Brylyn Cowling and Stephanie Faison

How to Escape Education's Death Valley

One of the major crises in education is the dropout rate. The Native American society has an 80% drop out rate, and the American society has a 60% drop out rate. Sir Ken Robinson then mentions how this affects the economies. The drop out rate does not include the students still in school that are disengaged in learning. America spends more money on education than any other country on taking initiative and trying to improve education, but the problem with education is that it is going in the wrong direction. Sir Ken Robinson then summarizes three important principles that are crucial for the human mind to flourish, but are contradicted by the current culture of education.

The first principle is that ALL students are naturally diverse. An issue with the No Child Left Behind Act is that it forces teachers to follow standards that promote Math and Science. “Education under No Child Left Behind Act is not based on diversity but conformity.” -Sir Ken Robinson. According to Sir Ken Robinson, these areas of study are necessary, but not sufficient. Students are being evaluated on what they can do across a very narrow spectrum. Education should be equally weighted through the Arts, Physical Education, and Humanities as well. Students prosper by a broad curriculum that encourages their various talents and engages them in the learning process.

The second principle is about curiosity. Students will adopt this principle if the teachers will only give them a chance to be curious. Sir Ken Robinson mentions that teaching is not a “delivery system.” Teachers are not here to deliver information to the students, although that is basically what our education through grade school consisted of. Instead of “telling” your students, “allow” your students to dig deep in order to strike curiosity. We feel as if so much “telling” takes place, and not enough “allowing” takes place. Yes, teachers should deliver received information, but they should do so in an engaging and thought-provoking way.

The third principle is about creativity. A very important role of education is to awaken the students’ imagination and in order to encourage creativity. Students must be given opportunities to be creative. This shouldn’t be a hard task in an elementary school classroom! We think that giving students a voice/choice will strike their imagination and provoke creativity.

Authors: Brylyn Cowling and Stephanie Faison

How Schools Kill Creativity

There is a sad trend in schools today. More and more focus is being placed on Mathematics and Literature, and the Arts are being left behind. The Arts are just as important as any other subject, but they are treated as though they are unnecessary. Something that Sir Ken Robinson said in this video was incredibly profound, and was the subject of a great deal of conversation in our group. That statement was, “If you aren’t prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.” How many times have you had an idea and thought “No, that’ll never work” and remained silent? When the teacher asks questions in the classroom, how many of us are silent, and avoid meeting his/her gaze for fear of being called upon? It’s not that none of us have any thoughts, but we are too scared to share them for the fear of them being "wrong." Sir Robinson also said, “In education, it is stereotypical that a mistake is the worst thing you can make.” If we train our students that mistakes are wrong, and then turn around and ask them to share their ideas, how can we honestly expect them to open themselves to criticism? We have to encourage creativity. It is a vital skill that not only applies in the classroom! Creativity is one of the building blocks of problem solving. If you run up against a problem with a solution in mind, and that solution doesn’t pan out, what do you do? Come up with another solution! If we hamper our students’ ability to think outside the box, how are they going to succeed in life? We need to rethink the way our students are taught. Every student is an individual. They are their own person.

Authors: Brylyn Cowling and Stephanie Faison

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blog Post #11


Ms. Cassidy's Approach to the Use of Technology in the Classroom

Dr. Strange provided the EDM310 classes with a few videos regarding Ms. Cassidy's approach to using technology in the classroom. The first video provided, Little Kids...Big Potential, is a movie of Ms. Cassidy's first grade class. In this movie, her students speak about how they use technology in the classroom, and the movie also provides pictures of her students actively engaged in the technological tools. The last three videos provided, Interview Part 1, Interview Part 2, Interview Part 3, include an interview with Dr. Strange, his EDM310 students, and Ms. Cassidy. In this three-part interview, Dr. Strange, his EDM310 students, and Ms. Cassidy speak on many topics regarding technology in the classroom.

One of my first thoughts when viewing the video "Little Kids...Big Potential" was, "Wow! First graders? That is incredible!" Then again, I should not be so shocked. The other day I was out shopping and I noticed a child around the age of three sitting in a stroller while his mother shopped. I watched him from a distance navigate on an iPad as if he were a technologically literate adult. My childhood was so different. This video really reminded me how rapidly our world is changing, how important it is for me as an aspiring professional educator to keep up with the generational changes, and how I should adjust my pedagogy accordingly. I thoroughly enjoyed watching such young students use technology in such an effortless way. Ms. Cassidy is doing a fantastic job integrating technology in her first grade class.

Ms. Cassidy's first grade students were definitely technologically literate. These students easily navigated on iPads, computers, and Nintendos. Ms. Cassidy's students blogged, skyped, and collaborated with many people of all ages all over the world through the use of these tools.

Ms. Cassidy had many great ideas when approaching technology. She mentioned that when teachers begin using technological tools, maybe they should follow an interest of theirs. I love to write and share my thoughts, therefore, EDM310 has given me a new found passion for blogging. It is sad to think that if I never took EDM310 that I could have possibly never developed this passion! This is an example of why it is so important for me as an aspiring professional educator to give my students ample opportunities to develop passions through the use of technological tools. I will definitely be a blogging teacher, along with having a blogging class when I become an elementary school teacher.

Ms. Cassidy mentioned many topics when approaching blogging in a K-6 classroom. Something that I had concerns about with my future students blogging was the students' privacy and safety. Ms. Cassidy mentioned in the interview that she has students only list their first name in their blog. In any pictures included in class blogs, there are no names attached to the picture in order to protect her students' identity. KidBlog is a great safe and simple blog for students and teachers, and this is the blogging site I plan to use in my future classroom. Another concern I had when having my students blog was cyber bullying. Ms. Cassidy really emphasized the importance of setting rules with your students and being very straight forward from the beginning on how to conduct themselves while online. Teaching students how to conduct themselves online at a very young age is a very valuable skill for students to learn before they enter the social networking world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I firmly believe that having my students blog will improve their writing capabilities. When students write something on paper and turn it in to their teacher, their reading audience includes 2-3 people: the teacher and the parent(s). When students post something to their blog, their audience, if permitted, could include people all over the world. I believe that students will put forth far more effort when posting to their blog, knowing they will have such a large audience reading the content, and knowing this audience could possibly comment on their posts.

Ms. Cassidy is extremely motivating when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. Students must be prepared for life outside of the classroom. What their life will consist of when they graduate high school or college is far beyond my thoughts due to how technology is so rapidly advancing. Students being prepared for their life outside of the classroom begins with me. I look forward to using technological tools in my future classroom, and I look forward to all the new tools that will be introduced to me throughout my teaching career!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

C4T #3

The Ever-Evolving Teacher

Assumed Author

Unfortunately after researching and digging through the The Ever-Evolving Teacher's blog, I did not find any information on the author of this blog, but I did find a picture with the writing, "Thanks for Visiting!" underneath the picture on the right column of the blog. I assume this man is the author of this blog. I did find that this man is a first grade teacher after reading his blog post AR Blog Entry.

AR Blog Entry

Math Journal

In blog post AR Blog Entry, this first grade teacher starts with a driving question: "How will interactive journal writing influence student mathematical achievement in first grade?" According to this blog post, a review of literature suggests several benefits to journal writing during math class. Journal writing allows students to convey their understanding of math concepts through words and pictures. Journal writing also enhances the communication of ideas as well as promotes the correct use of mathematical vocabulary. By having students write more often, teachers have a better understanding of student knowledge. Next, this teacher mentions that as a result of his literature review, the areas he has targeted for change in his practice include the following:
1. 10 minutes of journal writing 3 times per work after a math lesson
2. Promoting questions that allow for picture, word, or number responses
3. Interacting with each student's journal to provide adequate feedback

Throughout implementing this action of research, this first grade teacher learned that each one of his students is at a different skill level with writing and showing understanding.

My Thoughts on AR Blog Entry

I found the idea of journal entries after a math lesson a great idea. As stated earlier, this gives students the opportunity to convey what they have or have not learned, and is also a great way for teachers to assess how well the students are grasping the concepts taught in class. After reading this blog post, I started thinking about other ways I could implement journal entries in my future classroom. Journal entries would be great for students after they have read a story in or out of class. Having students make journal entries is a great assessment tool and an assessment tool I plan on using in my future classroom.

My Comment on AR Blog Entry

In my comment on this blog post, I introduced myself and explained that I was commenting on the blog post as an assignment in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I explained that I thoroughly enjoyed reading AR Blog Entry. I mentioned that having students make journal entries after a math lesson, or even after reading a story in class seems like a great way for teachers to assess students' comprehension of the subject matter. I then thanked the author for enlightening me on how useful journal entries can be. I invited this author to check out my blog and the EDM310 class blog.

I have not received a response to my comment on AR Blog Entry.

"Children's Principles of Learning"


In The Ever-Evolving Teacher's blog post Children's Principles of Learning, the author provided a list of nine essential principles to facilitate learning:

Safety: Students have to feel safe in their learning environment and understand that if they make a mistake there will be no devastating responses or consequences.

Caring: Everything is done through care. Throughout the learning process, the students' individual needs must be assessed, both academically and emotionally.

Engagement: The deeper the students are engaged in their learning, the more delight and accountability they will get from their learning. The concepts and implementation of the concepts should be age appropriate and student-centered.

Valuable: The material and topics covered must be valuable and applicable. Questions to consider include: Is this something my students can use right now? My students may not be able to use this information right now, but will they be able to in the future?

Collaboration: Teamwork is ideal because it models a "real world setting." Students are capable of teacheing each other and learning from one another. "Think. Pair. Share."

Praxis: Growth is imperative for learning. Key points need to be revisited and discussed regularly. When students are invited to asses their growth they take more accountability for their learning.

Successful: Students need to be focused on mastering learning. Students need to see evidence of success, progress, goals, and objectives.

Sequence and Reinforcement: Students need to be able to connect new concepts to prior knowledge.

Priority: Education needs to be viewed as a priority. Lawmakers, teachers, students, and parents need to all view education as a priority in order to help students reach their academic goals.

My Thoughts on "Children's Principles of Learning"

This blog post gave me a great sense of the principles I will need to consider when becoming an elementary school teacher. Two topics covered that I think are very important include engagement and value. Students will not learn and retain content unless the teacher provides an engaging learning environment as well as engaging classroom activities, lessons, and projects. Connecting these engaging lessons to real life will make these lessons valuable.

My Comment on "Children's Principles of Learning"

In my comment I introduced myself, told where I attend college, and explained that I was commenting on the post as an assignment in EDM310. In my comment, I thanked the author for sharing the post. I explained how informative it is, and the principles are something I need to keep in mind when I become an elementary school teacher. I invited the author of the blog to check out the EDM310 class blog and my EDM310 blog.

I have not received a response to my comment on "Children's Principles of Learning."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

C4K Summary for October

C4K #5: Brodie Pickle's Blog

Brodie is in Ms. Eppele's 4th/5th grade class in British Columbia, Canada. Ms. Eppele calls her class on her blog "The Pickles". Each student lists their first name, and adds "Pickle" as their last name. I found this a neat idea!

Out of my Mind
Ms. Eppele's class is reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Ms. Eppele had her class view a book trailer for Out of My Mind before reading the book. She also had her class read a summary of Out of My Mind before reading the book. Ms. Eppele provided the questions to be answered by students in her blog. Brodie's post "Chapter 8 and 9" answered questions regarding Out of My Mind provided by Ms. Eppele.

The questions Ms. Eppele asked for Ch. 8 and 9 are as follows:

A. Check out this site to learn more about service dogs: Service Dogs. Butterscotch really helped Melody when she fell out of her chair! What other jobs do dogs do for people? What are some things you can do to help if you see a service dog?

B. How do you think Melody will react to having a new sibling in the house?

C. What themes or big ideas do you think Sharon Draper is trying to get us to think about as we read these chapters?

Brodie's Response to Questions Asked in His Blog Post "Chapter 8 and 9"

Brodie responded to part A of the question my mentioning that Butterscotch is a good dog and service dogs can help blind or partially-sited people, along with the injured. Brodie answered part B by mentioning that Melody will probably be a bit jealous of a new sibling. Brodie answered part C by saying, "I think Sharon Draper is trying to get us confused because I am."

My Comment to Brodie's Blog Post "Chapter 8 and 9"

In my comment to Brodie, I explained where I am from, what college I attend, and the reason for commenting on his post. I told Brodie that I watched the book trailer and read the summary Ms. Eppele provided in a blog post for Out of My Mind. I mentioned that the book sounds awesome! I asked Brodie how he is liking the book so far, and asked him what about chapter 8 and 9 is confusing him. I told Brodie that maybe if he read over chapter 8 and 9 again he would get a better understanding of the two chapters. I explained to Brodie that sometimes I have to read over things a couple of times in order to get a better understanding of what I am reading. I thanked Brodie for sharing his post with me. I invited him to check out my blog and the EDM310 class blog.

C4K #6: Patrick's Blog

Patrick is a student in Mrs. Hartooni's period one 7th grade class.

Patrick's Blog Post "Gardening"


In Patrick's blog post Gardening, he mentions that he is so happy he will get to garden in his 7th grade class because he and his dad used to have a garden in their back yard. Patrick wrote that he and his dad grew watermelon, tomatoes, carrots, and artichokes, but the artichokes did not work out so well. Patrick mentioned that he is excited to garden again, and his fellow classmates he will be gardening with seem "pretty cool." Patrick mentions that he does not want to grow flowers because he would rather grow food items. Patrick mentioned that he was not sure what items he and his classmates would be growing, but that he cannot wait to begin gardening.

My Comment on Patrick's 'Gardening"

In my comment on Patrick's blog post, I introduced myself, explained where I attend college, and explained that I was commenting on his post as an assignment in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I told Patrick that I could really tell he liked to garden and that I was glad he would get to garden in his class this year. I explained to Patrick that my dad and I have a garden behind our house also, and told him all the types of vegetables we grow. I told Patrick that we usually grow an overabundance of squash, but unfortunately, this year we had a hard time keeping the deer from eating all the squash. I told Patrick that my favorite vegetable we grow in our garden would definitely have to be cucumbers because my dad and I pickle the cucumbers. They are really yummy! I told Patrick that I would really like to try growing watermelon in our garden like he and his dad did. I wished Patrick good luck with growing his garden this year and invited him to check out my blog and the EDM310 class blog.

C4K #7: Amily's Blog

Super Mom

Amily is a student in Mr. So's 2nd grade class in Canada.

Amily's Blog Post "My Hero"

Amily's blog post My Hero is about who she views as a hero in her life. Amily writes that her mom is her hero because she packs her lunch and works very hard. Amily also states that her mom is "the best mom ever." Amily includes in her post that her mom is like a super hero because even when Amily gets hurt her mom stays with her. Amily included in her post that she loved her mom a lot.

My Comment on Amilys's post "My Hero"

In my comment on Amily's blog post I introduced myself, told her where I attend college, and explained that I was commenting on her post as an assignment in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I told Amily that I really enjoyed reading about her hero. I told her that her mom seems very loving and caring. I explained to Amily that my mom is also my hero. I told Amily that when I was elementary school my mom would sometimes write me sweet notes and stick them in my lunchbox. I told her that getting to read that note at lunchtime was the highlight of my day! I told Amily that moms are very special. I then asked Amily if she had any siblings because she mentioned in her post that her mom "takes care of us." I told Amily that her post was great and to keep up the hard work. I invited Amily to check out my blog and the EDM310 class blog.

C4K #8: Will K.'s Blog


Will is a student in Mrs. Geldes' 4th grade class in Nebraska.

Will K.'s Blog Post "Autumn"

In Will's blog post Autumn he wrote about what autumn feels, looks, and smells like in Nebraska. Will mentions that autumn in Nebraska is very brisk, and that the leaves are in the process of changing colors. The picture I included above is the picture Will included in his post. Will mentioned that he liked to go to Vala's pumpkin patch and get pumpkins during the fall/autumn months. Will included that autumn smells like pumpkin pies. Will then proceeds to ask his reader: What do you do in the fall? Where do you go? How do you celebrate? Will concludes his post by mentioning that he likes to snuggle on the couch with a blanket and watch football.

My Comment on Will K.'s Blog Post "Autumn"

In my comment on Will's post, I introduced myself and explained that I was commenting on his post as an assignment in EDM 310. I told Will that I thoroughly enjoyed reading his blog post and that fall is my favorite time of the year. I told Will that during the fall I love to sit on my back porch on chilly mornings with a warm blanket and a cup of coffee. I also told Will that I am a big college football fan, and that a Saturday is not complete during the fall months without cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide! I then told Will that I live near the Gulf Shores beaches and that my favorite time of the year to visit the beach is during the fall months. I told Will that the weather at the beach during this time is perfect and the water is crystal clear. I thanked Will for sharing his post and told him to keep up the good work.

Project #10: Interview Movie

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Swindle, the lead Pre-K teacher at Robertsdale Elementary School, today as a project in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. She shared with me her thoughts on implementing technology in the classroom and a couple of examples of project-based lessons that she and her assistant, Ms. Lyndsey, complete in Pre-K. Mrs. Swindle provided me with excellent advice for when I become an elementary school teacher. I was invited by Mrs. Swindle and Ms. Lyndsey to spend a couple of hours in the Pre-K classroom observing their day-to-day routine before recording the interview. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in the Pre-K classroom at Robertsdale Elementary School today, and I look forward to visiting Mrs. Swindle's Pre-K class again very soon!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project #14: PBL Lesson Plan

Animal Alphabet


In this project-based lesson plan, 1st grade students will identify letters of the alphabet, the sounds each letter makes, and names of animals that correspond with each letter of the alphabet. This project takes five days to complete.

Animal Alphabet: Project Overview

Animal Alphabet: Project Calendar

Animal Alphabet: Grading Rubric

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blog Post #10

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who battled pancreatic cancer and is famously known for his inspirational lecture The Last Lecture.

"What can we learn about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch?" -Dr. Strange

Where to begin? Randy Pausch discussed many topics in his lecture that will influence me as a future professional educator. Mr. Pausch stated in his lecture, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." When he stated this, I immediately thought of scenarios in my future classroom that this could apply to: What if I teach in an area where funds are lacking and the tools I would like to use in my classroom are limited? What if I end up with a class of students that are behaviorally difficult to teach? From this segment I learned that it is important to make the most out of each and every opportunity and situation I am given in my career as a professional educator. I need to look at every "situation" as an "opportunity" to excel beyond my imagination. My goal in my future classroom is to impact and influence each and every student I teach regardless of the "cards I am dealt."

"When you are 8 years old and watching TV and a man is landing on the moon, anything is possible." -Randy Pausch

When students share their dreams of what they want to become, it is important to encourage their dreams, not discourage them. Students will share with me all sorts of dreams and aspirations. From this segment I learned that regardless of my students' hopes and dreams, I encourage my students to achieve whatever they wish, and let them know that I believe in their ability to accomplish whatever they set their mind to. I want to teach my students that anything is possible if they are dedicated and devoted to their passion.

Randy Pausch mentioned a statement he heard throughout his career, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." This statement is something so valuable I want to convey to my future students. When solving a math problem, you might try five or so ways to try and solve it before you actually get the answer right. Once you finally get the answer right, you now know all the ways NOT to solve that problem. This same scenario also applies to daily life. Not only is it important to teach my students the content/standards required by the state, it is important to prepare my students for life outside of my classroom.

Randy Paush learned from John Snoddy to give people time to impress you. This statement will be crucial in my future classroom. Just because Andy cuts up in class the first day of school does not mean I should label him as a "disruptive" student. Just because Sara made a 50 on her first spelling test does not mean she will fail the 3rd grade. Just because the teacher down the hall does not agree with your frequent use of technology in your classroom does not mean that teacher won't eventually change their thoughts on your actions. From this segment I learned not to make quick assumptions. I learned to give everyone a chance to try again, try harder, and/or to change their perspective.

Something very valuable I learned from Randy Pausch's lecture is that giving students a bar to to meet is doing them a disservice. If you do not set a bar, students will rise far beyond your expectations. If I tell my students that this, this, and this has to be done for this project to receive an "A," more than likely, my students will not try to excel beyond my expectations. If I give my students more of a voice/choice and I merely act as a guide throughout the project, my students will have more of an opportunity to rise far beyond my expectations. A student will never know how much they can achieve unless they are given the opportunity and/or freedom to hold the reigns.

From Mr. Pausch's lecture, I learned to aspire to break the mold. This is something important for me, the future educator, and my students to aspire to do. I want to break the mold of a burp-back education. I will encourage my students not to be afraid to break the mold. Breaking the mold will mean stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a chance for the betterment of not only my students, but other educators as well. In order to encourage my students to break the mold, I will have to exhibit that drive and desire to break the mold as well.

Something else I learned about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch is to be self-reflective and actually listen to feedback. In order to be an effective teacher, I have to be able to accurately assess my teaching strategies and listen to and apply the feedback I receive from my boss, fellow teachers, students, and even parents. As a future educator, I will be constantly seeking out ways to improve my abilities as an elementary school teacher.

Randy Pausch was an advocate of project-based learning and letting kids have fun while learning something hard. How boring is it to learn difficult content in a non-engaging classroom setting? I can recall many of those boring "learning" scenarios from my experiences in grade school. When I become an elementary teacher, I have to make everything fun! What is the best way to make a lesson fun? Create an engaging environment and apply the material/content to real life.

Respecting authority while questioning it is something very valuable I learned about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch. Not only does this statement apply to me, it applies to my students as well. In order to be an effective teacher, I, at all times, have to take actions that are in the best interest of my students, even if that means questioning authority along the way. Questioning authority will be difficult and probably something I will not look forward to doing, but as long as I do it in a respectable manner, I know I will be doing my job as a professional educator. I want my students to feel comfortable challenging me with questions and concerns because not only will they be learning, I will be learning too.

Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" is a very informative, encouraging, and inspirational lecture that all aspiring educators should watch/listen to. From this lecture I will take many ideas, thoughts, and strategies and apply them to my pedagogy in my future classroom.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post #9

Back to the Future

Learning word graphic

After listening to Brian Crosby’s TED Talk, we learned very valuable information that we need to consider over the course of our entire teaching career.

First, Mr. Crosby speaks about his 4th grade class. He mentions that 90% of the students in his class are second language learners, students of poverty, and considered to be “at risk.” Mr. Crosby mentions that it is important that these students not have a narrowed curriculum just because of their background information. Our group found this situation very enlightening. In our future teaching career, we are fully aware that we will have students from all walks of life. We will have students that barely speak English, that are on different academic levels, live in a low-income family, live in a high-income family, etc. It is very important to give all students the same opportunity to learn, regardless of who or what they come from. Why give students a narrowed curriculum? Why not give students an opportunity to excel far beyond what they imagined? As aspiring educators, this segment of the video really made us realize how conscious we will have to be of giving all students the exact same opportunity to learn. It is very important not to apply stereotypes in the classroom. In our Classroom Assessment course, a course required for elementary education majors at The University of South Alabama, we learned about the “self-fulfilling prophecy” in regards to students. If a teacher treats a student as though he or she will do poorly, and doesn’t expect much from that student in general, then over the course of their education that student will morph into exactly what that teacher thinks of him or her. And that is not fair to the student by any stretch of the imagination! If we treat our students, all of them, with respect and hold them all to the same high standard, we will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Mr. Crosby then speaks about a few science projects his class had completed. He mentioned that his class used their science book “a little bit” and that the projects, of course, aligned with the standards that Mr. Crosby had to cover. Our group learned a lot from that one statement. Classroom textbooks can be a great tool, but do not necessarily have to be used at all times, or used as the only learning tool while covering required state standards. Learning goes far beyond a classroom textbook! As future educators, we have to be creative in order to provide hands-on and engaging activities and projects that the students can relate to and that motivates the student. Having students read the text from a classroom textbook, complete a worksheet on the material, and then the teacher administering a test on the material is not an effective way of teaching. As stated earlier, learning stems far beyond a classroom textbook! From this video, we learned that giving students opportunities to collaborate with other students, research, and think deeply in order to solve a problem or answer a driving question is a much more effective way of teaching. This portion of the video impacted our group greatly. It made us realize that it is okay to step outside of the box and be creative with our pedagogy. Here is a well respected figure in the education world, basically giving us the go ahead to teach our students the way they deserve to be taught. Textbooks should merely be tools, not what the entire course is based upon.

Something else important we learned from Brian Crosby’s TED Talk is that getting an education is not a race to the finish line. One day, Brian Crosby was informed that he had a new student, Celeste, on his class role, but that he would probably never even see Celeste. He learned that Celeste was undergoing cancer treatments for Leukemia. Since her immune system was so low, she could not attend class for the fear of getting even more sick. Celeste had to be enrolled in a class in order to qualify for home studies. The idea that Mr. Crosby would never interact with Celeste in his classroom did not sit well with him, so he decided that he would, in fact, involve her daily in his classroom. Mr. Crosby would Skype/video chat Celeste so she could listen to lessons and also feel apart of the class. When Celeste was diagnosed with Leukemia, her life was probably turned upside down. Any sense of normalcy, such as being a member of a classroom, probably meant the absolute world to her while going through something so tragic. And let’s face it, unless Celeste’s parents were professional educators, Mr. Crosby was probably a more suitable teacher for Celeste. Celeste’s situation was very unfortunate, but it is still so important that she gets the same opportunities to learn, regardless of her health status. We learned from this video that an education should not be a race to the finish line, wherever and whatever that finish line may be. The process of learning is not something to be rushed through. An education should be thoroughly taught and available to all students, regardless of their health status or limitations. The world needs more teachers like Mr. Crosby. He went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure this girl got the education she deserved. That level of compassion is something that every teacher ought to demonstrate on a daily basis.
Authors: Brylyn Cowling and Stephanie Faison

Blended Learning


Paul Anderson teaches AP Biology in Montana, and he taught us a very interesting strategy! He has a mnemonic device that he uses, called QUIVERS. It breaks down into Question (hook), Investigation, Video, Elaboration, Review, and Summary Quiz. Starting off the lesson with a question, or hook, that draws the students in is a great way to engage them. Then the students are instructed to investigate. There are elements of project based learning throughout Mr. Anderson’s strategy that we think will be very useful when becoming elementary school teachers. Then, the investigation is halted and a video is shown. This breaks up the traditional monotony of the classroom. Kids love watching videos. Next in this sequence is elaboration. Anderson provides resources and direction, and allows the students the room to find the answer to his question. This seems to us a bit like “Partnering,” the pedagogy referred to by Marc Prensky. The roles of the teacher and student should be redefined. The student should be placed in charge of their learning, while the teacher acts as a guide. When students feel that they are comfortable with the material, Mr. Anderson has them review with him. This is an example of partnering again. Letting the students do their own research gives Mr. Anderson the opportunity to come up with really deep questions. He feels, and we agree, that if you can’t explain what you’ve learned to someone else, then you don’t know it as well as you thought you did. If the student hasn’t adequately learned the material, Mr. Anderson sends them back to the drawing board to continue digging into the subject. Once he is comfortable with his students’ levels of comprehension, he gives a summary quiz on the material. To our minds, Mr. Anderson has taken some of the best aspects of project based learning and partnering and combined them into a new pedagogy. Utilizing different strategies helps him to manage his classroom, and maximize learning.
Authors: Brylyn Cowling and Stephanie Faison

Making Thinking Visible


Mark Church, author of “Making Thinking Visible,” uses a research based method to teach students how to think. In his class, he had his students watch a video, and then create a headline about their opinion on the overall theme of the project. His thought process behind this was to capture the students current mindset about the lesson. And at the end of the lesson, he is going to ask them if their “headline” is still the same, and if it’s not, what has it changed to? This is a critical skill for students to have. Reflecting on your opinion, learning something new, and then changing your opinion is a valuable skill necessary for the real world, and also a skill that we think is becoming more and more scarce. Too many people are close-minded in their thoughts. They have an opinion of something, and no matter how much new data emerges, they will not change their minds. We have to teach children that it is okay to change your mind! Opinions are not set in stone. We think that Mr. Church’s lesson here is an amazing thing to teach to children. Being open to new things and always updating your perspective will make you a better person. And as teachers, don’t we owe it to our students to teach them to be the absolute best person they can be?
Authors: Brylyn Cowling and Stephanie Faison

All in All

Everyday, we learn something new that will help us in our future teaching careers. Learning is a never-ending process, and as we progress through our own education, we are realizing that in order to be effective educators, we must be constant learners. Dr. Strange even said that after 50 years, he does not always have the answers to every question, and is still learning himself. Watching videos like these, we get to learn from the people who are at the crest of the wave that is sweeping through the education world. We both know that when we walk out of The University of South Alabama as graduates, we will not be entirely prepared for the road ahead. But as long as we continue to learn from influential educators, use the things we’ve learned, remain constant learners, and do the very best we can from the moment we walk into our classrooms, we will be successful.
Authors: Brylyn Cowling and Stephanie Faison