Saturday, September 28, 2013

Project #8: Book Trailer

Birthday Present

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a very special book to me. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Middleton, gave this book to me as a gift for my 7th birthday. I, like Chrysanthemum, have a different name. I still cherish this book and will be thrilled when the day comes that I get to read it to my students.

Blog Post #6: Asking Questions


"What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" -Dr. Strange

Project based learning is successful when students are actively engaged in what they are learning. A very effective way to keep students engaged is to constantly ask them questions.

Asking Questions in the Classroom
In the YouTube video Asking Better Questions in the Classroom Pt. 1, Joanne Chesley mentions that teachers get exactly what they ask for when they ask students questions that do not invite extended or thoughtful kinds of responses. After doing research, I found that there are two types of questions: closed-ended questions and open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions are answered with a yes or no response, or a brief phrase. An open-ended question encourages participation and provides the teacher with more information. It is important that teachers ask good questions in the classroom that require the student to think deeply in order to respond.

Maryellen Weimer suggests three actions to improve questioning in her blog post Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom. The first action Maryellen Weimer suggests is to prepare questions before class. Asking questions in the moment can confuse students if worded unclear or in a misleading way. When preparing content in advance, teachers should also prepare the questions they plan on asking their students. Preparing questions in advance will allow the teacher to construct the wording and concepts of the questions in a clear manner. The second action Maryellen Weimer suggests is to play with questions. Teachers need to be aware of when a question could be most powerful and engaging during a lesson. If teachers ask questions that require a response immediately, students are not using a deep thought process to provide an extended response. An effective way of teaching is to ask a question, leave it unanswered for a while, and allow students to use strategies to answer the question. The questions can be discussed a few days after when more information and a greater understanding enables a better answer. The third action Maryellen Weimer suggests to improve questioning is to preserve good questions. Good questions can be kept and reused. She also recommends making notes of the really good answers that students provide in previous classes. When introducing these questions with a new class, speak about good responses from a previous class in order to start the students' thought process.

Questions in My Future Classroom
In my future classroom, I will ask questions that encourage students to use a deep thought process. I want the questions asked in my classroom to be more of an interactive discussion among the class, creating an engaging learning environment. Preparing questions before a lesson, assessing them after a lesson, along with revising the questions after they are discussed will assist in making me a more effective teacher. I want my students to feel comfortable asking me questions and challenging me as an educator. I hope I can also learn through questioning my students in order to become the most effective teacher I can be.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

C4T #1

Around the

Miguel Guhlin is currently the Director of Technology Operations for the East Central Independent School District. What Miguel Guhlin posts on his blog is just for fun. He plays with ideas and also explores the intersection of education, technology, and spiritual beings.


This eCard went viral, and was emailed to fellow teachers within a particular school. One teacher in passing replied, "I really don't like when teachers post political stuff on staff email. Actually, I don't think we should be getting involved in politics at all. Maybe privately, but not publicly." In Miguel Guhlin's blog post "Techapathy" he claimed that ten or more years ago he would have agreed with the teacher's complaint about keeping your personal views on political stuff private and not public. After observing political issues within the school system for many years, Miguel Guhlin lost his ability to not intervene. His attitude soured towards politicians, including the current president and his administration, as Miguel Guhlin watched politicians do whatever they thought was convenient, yet possibly immoral. As a result of this, Miguel Guhlin claims that it is easy to have no feelings or lack of interest in trying to change policies because there are so many forces overwhelming you, but freedom has to be won the hard way.

What Do I Take From This?
Although I am not a teacher yet, I can imagine how difficult it is to be positive about certain policies when you have strong negative feelings towards them. When is it appropriate to speak up about the way you feel towards controversial subject matters? Should controversial subject matter be discussed amongst teachers and principles? In my opinion, open conversation about any and all political subject matter, controversial or noncontroversial, should take place amongst teachers and principles. I am definitely not saying to march around schools with posters chanting your feelings, I am saying that if a teacher has any kind of concern about policy or what is expected of them, the subject matter should be discussed in a professional manner. Jokingly sending out eCards to fellow educators through a staff email is inappropriate. Teachers should always want quality education for their students, even if it means collectively as teachers taking action towards policies being changed. For example, the burp-back education versus project-based learning. When I become a teacher, I am more than willing to fight for an end to burp-back education because I personally believe that project-based learning incorporating technology is 100% a more effective way of preparing students for their future outside of the classroom.

My Comment to Miguel Guhlin's Post "Techapathy"
I commented on Miguel Guhlin's blog post "Techapathy." In my comment I introduced myself and I asked Mr. Guhlin if he could share some advice on how to keep a positive attitude towards controversial political issues within the school system. I also asked him when he thought it was appropriate to speak up about a political topic that didn't quite sit right with him. I hope I get a response from him!

Miguel Guhlin's Response to My Comment on "Techapathy"
Miguel Guhlin did not respond directly to my comment left on his blog post, but he did answer my questions in a very surprising way! Mr. Guhlin responded to my questions by creating a new blog post titled "Atrocious Acts." In this post, he provided with me with tons of information on how to appropriately approach a necessary conversation. Mr. Guhlin also went into great detail on how important it is to question authority and to strive for the absolute best for your students, no matter how uncomfortable it may make you feel. Mr. Guhlin shared very interesting books that I should consider buying and reading before I become a teacher, which is something I will definitely do. I greatly value the time and information Miguel Guhlin gave me!

"Shaping Up - Me and My #iPad"

Miguel Guhlin's blog post "Shaping Up - Me and My #iPad" was very interesting to read. In this blog post, Mr. Guhlin writes about how the iPad is not just a gadget, but a current educational tool that engages students in learning key skills and strategies that are valuable today. He shared Sylvia's blog post "What the iPad Is and What it Isn't" and refers to someone's comment on this post. In this comment, a lady named Kathy shares that it is not about the iPad itself, it's how the teacher has students use this piece of technology. Mr Guhlin shared three links that belong to Kathy's blog: "Digital Storytelling," "Authentic Learning," and "Screencasting as an Assessment Tool". Mr. Guhlin adds that these tools are not used just for the fun of using a microphone, for the fun of blogging, or to just practice typing. These tools are used because they are current and they engage students in learning key skills and strategies that are valuable to the student today. Mr Guhlin concludes his post with a quote by Marshall McLuhan, "We shape our tools thereafter our tools shape us."

What Do I Take From This?
As Dr. Strange has stated, just like any other tool, an iPad can be used productively or it can be used for totally frivolous purposes. It is up to the teacher to provide students with opportunities to engage in educational activities that are beneficial to the student. If I am given a tool for my future classroom, such as an iPad, I would take full advantage of that tool. I would do daily research on ways to incorporate this tool in a beneficial way for my students. Why any teacher would object to a new tool, that if used correctly, could enhance the student's learning experience, I have not a clue! If a teacher objects a new tool like an iPad, it is probably because they do not want their teaching methods to change. The learning experience in the classroom is constantly changing. I definitely didn't have an iPad, or even a computer to use as a tool in my classroom in elementary school! The computer and iPad are both tools that can engage students in learning skills and strategies that are valuable. Our world is constantly changing, and as a future educator, I need to be comfortable with change in order to assist my students in gaining an exemplary education to prepare them for their future outside of my classroom.

My Comment to Mr. Guhlin's "Shaping Up - Me and My #iPad"
In my comment, I introduced myself and thanked Mr. Guhlin for replying to my previous comment I left for him in an earlier assignment. Next, I mentioned how I thought the iPad, if used correctly, could be such a beneficial tool in the classroom. I also mentioned that I did not understand why a teacher would not engage in and take advantage of such a useful tool for his or her classroom. I then asked Mr. Guhlin's thoughts on whether or not he finds that the teachers who think an iPad is just a "gadget" have a hard time accepting change. I also asked Mr. Guhlin if he thought the negativity towards the iPad is due to the fact that some teachers are intimidated by this tool. I look forward to receiving a response from Mr. Guhlin.

Mr. Guhlin's Response to My Comment on "Shaping Up - Me and My #iPad"
I have not received a response to my comment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blog Post #4: Podcasting

What Do I Know About Podcasting?
Before exploring on the internet, I knew very little about podcasting. I had a pretty basic idea of what podcasting would be, but I definitely had no idea how I would incorporate it in my future classroom. After watching podcasting tutorials on YouTube and reading blog posts on how beneficial podcasting can be in the classroom, I am fascinated! After doing a lot of exploration, I found helpful tips for when I create my first podcast and ways in which I can incorporate podcasting in my future classroom.

What is a Podcast?
What is a Podcast? Good question! A podcast is a "radio-style" talk show that can be downloaded from iTunes or a podcast hosting service and listened to on a computer or an MP3 player. Podcasting costs very little and enables information to be shared with people all over the world via the internet. On this website, Judy Scharf shares the software needed for podcasting, how to create a podcast, and how to upload a podcast to iTunes. She also provides topics for podcasting projects in the classroom, a podcasting time schedule, a rubric and grading sheet for podcasts, and exemplary examples of podcasts. This web page really helped me to understand what exactly a podcast is, how to get one started, created, and uploaded to iTunes. This web page will be a great resource to refer to when creating my first podcast in EDM310 and in my future classroom when planning a podcasting project for my students.

Flat Stanley Podcast
A first grade class from Jacksonville, FL read Flat Stanley by Jim Brown and decided to create a Flat Stanley Podcast. The teacher and students collaboratively created the story line for their Flat Stanley Podcast. The students were assigned to pick a location they would individually be sent via the mail, borrow a book from the library that had information on the location, and audio record their each individual portion of the story to the podcast with the teacher's assistance. The podcast was created with Garageband. The Langwitches Blog post that told about the Flat Stanley project provided the podcast for me to listen to. The final product of the Flat Stanley Podcast was preciously fantastic! The students did an excellent job getting into character and acting out their parts using their voice. When creating my first podcast for EDM310, I need to remember how important it is to add excitement to my voice while recording. This podcast project allowed students to use their creativity in many ways. This podcast project also allowed students to learn many specific details about different places all over the world. I want to do this exact Flat Stanley Podcast in my future classroom!

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom blog post by Joe Dale provided reasons why podcasting is beneficial in the classroom. On this blog post, the video Podcasting in the Classroom by Doug Saunders gave great scenarios in which podcasting can be integrated in the classroom. The most interesting scenario I found in this video was a student that had to miss school because of an illness was able to review for an upcoming test by downloading her teacher's podcast audio recording of the study guide review on iTunes. How awesome is that? When I was in grade school, I hated missing class due to an illness when I knew a test was on the horizon because I knew I would not be prepared for the test. If teachers created podcasts reviewing material for tests in every subject, how beneficial would this be to the student? Creating podcasts with this information would give students a resource for studying outside of the classroom other than a textbook. And let's face it, textbooks can be boring! Putting podcasts of study guide reviews on iTunes for download is a great way to connect with the student outside of the classroom and also help prepare students for tests. I look forward to integrating this aspect of podcasting in my future classroom!

Concluding Thoughts on Podcasting
My eyes, ears, and brain have been fully exposed to the world of podcasting! Not only was I provided with ways to create my first podcast, but I was provided with beneficial ways to integrate podcasting into my future classroom. I look forward to becoming familiar with the software used to create podcasts so I can begin brainstorming podcasting projects for my future classroom.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blog Post #3

Providing Meaningful Feedback to Peers

When critiquing a peer's work, it is key to remember the purpose of what you are doing, and that is, improving, revising, and editing your peer's work. The ultimate goal in peer editing is to provide meaningful feedback. When I am editing my peer's blog post, I continuously question myself, "How would I feel if my peer was critiquing my work this way?"

The Most Important Part: Positive Feedback
The most important part of peer editing is to be positive. Giving my fellow peers positive feedback gives them a sense of confidence and accomplishment even if portions of his or her work are poorly written. When I comment on a peer's blog post, I start the comment by sharing my favorite parts of his or her post. I then add to the comment what portions of the post I agree with and in detail explain why. Positive feedback is a great way to reinforce what the writer did well.

Suggestions to peers on blog posts should be left in a comment and in a positive manner. If there is a problem with my peer's blog post that I have also encountered when writing my own blog posts, such as links not working, I comment on the post telling my peer about my encounter with the same or similar problem, and then provide them with the easiest way to correct the issue. When editing my peer's blog post assignments, if needed, it is important to suggest the writer go into greater detail if the topic of the assignment is unclear. This type of critique would be appropriate to leave in the form of a comment on my peer's blog post.

When peer editing, I struggle most with trying not to offend or embarrass my peer when correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure mistakes. When I am peer editing, I have to be sure that I am not exhibiting some of the peer editing skills that the students in the video Peer Critique Mistakes exhibit. When peer editing, correcting mistakes is vital. When I peer edit, I feel comfortable leaving my peer a comment giving corrections if he or she has one, two, or three grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure mistakes. If my peer has several areas of their blog post that are poorly written that include grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure mistakes, I feel it is appropriate to privately email my peer about the mistakes rather than leaving the corrections in a comment on the post. The last thing I want to do is embarrass my peer when I give them corrections, so I would prefer emailing them privately rather than posting the corrections in a comment for the entire world to see. When providing my peer with corrections, I find it is vital to do it in a positive manner. Instead of giving a list to my peer of all the things he or she did incorrectly, it is important to state what is incorrect and provide how to correct the mistakes.

More Thoughts
When peer editing, deciding whether it is appropriate to comment on a peers post leaving suggestions and corrections or privately emailing my peer will prepare me for my future as a teacher in the elementary classroom. As a future educator, I will encounter situations daily that will force me to make decisions in the most appropriate way possible. Many of these decisions will be pure judgement calls on my behalf, and I need to prepare myself now that some of my "judgement calls" will be trial and error, especially my first few years teaching. These trial and error periods will be a constant learning experience for me as a teacher and through these trial and error periods I will learn how to assess my students and make decisions in the most appropriate ways possible.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Post #2

Collaborative Thoughts on "Mr. Dancealot"

The youtube video Mr.Dancealot honestly made myself, Stephanie, and Courtney laugh. Mr. Dancealot obviously does not plan on his students "dancing a lot" after they complete his Social Dance course! How could Mr. Dancealot expect his students to learn how to dance when his feet were hidden behind a table and he did not allow students to mimic the dance moves he was teaching the class? Yes, Mr. Dancealot had a powerpoint that instructed the students on how to properly do the dance moves, but that simply was not enough instruction for a student to learn how to dance. Mr. Dancealot completely lost the students' attention due to his poor teaching techniques. The main message our group collaboratively got from Mr. Dancealot was that you have to learn by doing. After watching this video, we were reminded the importance of interactive learning. Students go to school to learn. In order for students to learn, teachers need to give students opportunities to learn. If Mr. Dancealot would have allowed his students to mimic the steps he was teaching the class, the students would have remembered how to do these steps come time for their final exam. Not only would the students remember the steps for the final exam, they would remember the steps for many years to come.

Authors: Courtney Brown, Brylyn Cowling, and Stephanie Faison

Brylyn Cowling's Thoughts on "Teaching in the 21st Century"

Teachers are no longer the main source of knowledge in the 21st century classroom according to Kevin Roberts. Students have virtually limitless information and can find information on anything, anywhere, at anytime. If teachers can provide content, facts, formulas, dates, research, stories, theories, and information then a teacher's role in the lives of students in the 21st century classroom is obsolete. Teaching in the 21st century means to provide learning experiences for students. Ask students to solve problems that require them to find out information with the tools they use every day such as iPads, iPods, iPhones, Google, YouTube, or blogs. Kevin Roberts' thoughts on how he sees teaching changing are more than accurate. Teachers and students live in a technology driven society and in order for students to be prepared for his or her future outside of the classroom they need be given opportunities in the classroom to solve problems independently using the tools they have at their fingertips. The technology driven society we live in will have a huge affect on me as an educator. Daily I need to asses myself and ask, "Is this lesson going to prepare my students for his or her future outside of my classroom?" And if not, "How can I manipulate this lesson to give my students an opportunity to dig deeper and gain knowledge on the subject matter through the tools I have in my classroom?" As an educator, I will need to constantly educate myself on the current technological tools so I can then provide my students with opportunities to gain knowledge by exploring these new tools as well.

Author: Brylyn Cowling

Stephanie Faison's Response to "Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts"

Ms. Davis' use of technology in the classroom enables her class to connect to other students around the world. She also employs a tactic I feel very strongly about, which is allowing students to teach each other. Having to explain a concept to your peers is a wonderful way to make a lesson stick. She stated in the video that some of the students were figuring things out on their own and would show her what they learned. In this day and age, it seems like a lot of young people seem have an innate knowledge of technology. Utilizing this knowledge and building on it, Ms. Davis is creating a unique classroom environment. By stepping aside and letting students teach the class and using project based learning, she creates a greater sense of community amongst the student body. As a class, they will be a more effective unit because they have all taught one another. Students communicate with each other better than a teacher can, so they will all be on the same wavelength with the lessons. This also plays into having them communicate with other students around the world. They create their own networks, which will be very valuable resources as they get older. Being able to make friends digitally is a valuable skill in this day and age because the human race is now a global community. Having those outside connections will be very helpful for them in the long run and the self-teaching skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

Author: Stephanie Faison

Courtney Brown's Response to "The Networking Student"

While watching the video towards the beginning I asked myself, "What will the teacher do?" There was no lecture, no books, and only one class with the teacher. As I continued to watch it became more clear. The concept of networking to research your topics could be better than having a teacher. As I continued to watch it became even more clear. Networking provides access to people from all different walks of life. You can encounter people that have had first hand experience with the topics you are researching, for example, experts on the topic and people just expressing their opinions. You are allowed to see different perspectives, including some you might have never considered. When you're forced to look at something from a different view, it gets your mind going and makes you ask more questions. The more questions you ask, the more answers you have to research. It becomes an ongoing cycle of information you get to absorb. You then become your own teacher. Once I understood the full concept, I was able to answer my own question. What will the teacher do? The teacher will be a regulator. She will make sure the students know the rules to follow in order for the students to teach themselves efficiently.

Author: Courtney Brown
(Courtney did not provide a picture with her post.)