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!