Sunday, April 27, 2014

C4T #4

For my fourth and final C4T assignment, I read and commented on Bill Genereux's blog known as TechIntersect. Bill is an Associate Professor of Computer Systems Technology at Kansas State University. He teaches courses that have to do with things like web development, networking, and computer programming. It seems to me that Bill would be the type of guy that is an expert when it comes to using technology in the classroom. The first blog post that I read and commented on was titled, Pearson's View of the Future. It is simply a Youtube video about what education might look like in the future (check out the video here). The video was very interesting to me. I always like to see things that have to do with the future and how things might change over the next few years.
A sign that says the Future is at the next exit
In my comment, I mentioned how I hope that education looks like it does in the video in the future. I love how the young girl in the video, Victoria, was able to receive information that she needed right when she needed it, even if she wasn't in a classroom setting. I also mentioned in my comment that I really liked the whole idea of customizing learning styles and curricula for each student. Being able to customize things for each student is something that could be so beneficial and important for future educators. In the blog post, Mr. Genereux also mentions a book by M.T. Anderson titled, Fred. Apparently the book reminds him a lot of the video. I might just have to buy the book and give it a read.

The next post that I read and commented on was actually on Mr. Genereux's new site. It is still his same blog, he just decided to create his own website. I had to scroll a little to find a post that was really related to education and I found one titled, Don't Know How. This blog post was wonderfully written and very relatable. In the post Mr. Genereux says, "One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is waiting until they know how to do something before they begin." I could not agree with this more! The post was basically about how we should learn as we go.
The quote Life is a dance you learn as you go
There is always something new to learn. If we waited until we knew how to do everything, then we would be waiting for the rest of our lives. It's important that we begin DOING. In my comment, I told Mr. Genereux that I am firm believer in trying and learning new things even if we are unsure of how to do them. Trying new things whenever there is uncertainty is how we learn, because we learn from our mistakes. I also mentioned how I think that some of the best knowledge is self-taught knowledge. I think that learning as you go plays a huge role in becoming a great teacher. I really enjoyed this blog post!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

C4K #3

For my first C4K assignment for the month of April, I read and commented on Adriel's Blog at Pt. England School. Adriel is a Year 5 student at Pt. England School in Auckland, NZ. I had the privilege of commenting on one of Adriel's blog posts titled, The Key Competencies. For this blog post, Adriel made a Google Slide presentation on the Key Competencies. In her slideshow, she starts off by defining the key competencies.
The Key Competencies
Adriel mentions that at her school, they use the key competencies to make sure that they are always doing the right thing in order to succeed and become lifelong learners. According to the slideshow, the five Key Competencies include: managing self, participating and contributing, related to others, thinking, and using language, symbols, and text. Adriel does a wonderful job at explaining each of these keys to success. In my comment, I told Adriel how much I enjoyed viewing her slide presentation. I also told her that I think it's great that she is wanting to do well in school and follow these Key Competencies. I asked Adriel if she had any examples of how she helps participate and contribute around her school. I have not gotten a response yet, but I will keep my hopes up! Adriel did a wonderful job for her blog post. Go check out her slideshow. She also has a lot of newer blog posts that are great.

For my second C4K assignment for the month of April, I read and commented on David's Blog at Pt. England School. David is a Year 4 student at Pt. England School. David's blog was full of many wonderful posts, but I read David's post titled, Cops and Robbers. This post was about an online math game called Cops and Robbers that has to do with plugging in X and Y coordinates.
A screenshot of the Cops and Robbers game
In his blog, David gives the link to the game if you want to go check it out and play it. In my comment, I told David that I had never heard of this game before but that I really enjoyed playing it. It took me 12 guesses to find the robber. I also asked David if he chose this particular game to put in his blog post because they were learning about X and Y coordinates in Math. This was a really fun, educational Math game and a great blog post.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Post #13

Watch the video Blogging for Elementary Students, then explain what you think about blogging in elementary grades. Did the video give you any insight?

EDM310 consists of a lot of blogging. Dr. Strange is a huge advocate of having students blog, not just at the collegiate level. We have watched numerous videos during the semester that have to do with younger students blogging and we have had to comment on students blogs. At first, I was unsure how I felt about younger students blogging, but I now have a completely different mindset. After watching the video mentioned earlier, I realized just how many benefits there are to blogging.
The numerous benefits of blogging
In the video, students tell a little bit about how blogging has benefited them. I guess I was so hesitant at first because blogging was never apart of my life growing up, but I think that is just the problem. We can no longer teach students in the way we were taught. Blogging is something new and exciting to me and as a future educator, it makes me even more excited to learn more about it and the ways in which it can help students. I want my classroom to be as engaging, creative, and fun as possible. I believe that you can incorporate blogging into almost any subject. After watching the video, I most definitely think that blogging is important for elementary students. If we teach them to blog at a young age, then they are already so many steps ahead. Blogging teaches students to be communicators, share, gain a sense of ownership, collaborate, discuss, interact, participate, engage, etc. The list really could go on and on. I think one thing that is very important when it comes to blogging in the elementary grades is that it teaches them literacy skills. I want to teach either kindergarten, first, or second grade. During those grades, students are learning how to master reading, spelling, and writing. Blogging can be a very excellent educational tool when it comes to these things. Overall, I think that blogging is great and should be a part of the everyday elementary classroom.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog Post #12

According to the U.S. Department of Education, assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability. It is so important to give students with disabilities a chance to climb over any obstacles they may face and truly be able to interact. After watching the YouTube video, Assistive Technologies for for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children, it really put a lot of things into perspective. The video talks about how assistive technologies give these children the ability to enhance their learning, remove barriers, push boundaries, and challenge the way we think. Using assistive technology in the classroom with students with disabilities has only proven to be beneficial. All teachers should want to learn more about such things and get on board.

Another video that I watched was called, The Mountbatten- Assistive Technology for the Blind. I had never heard of this type of technological tool before. The Mountbatten Braille Writer is wonderful in so many ways. An important feature of this assistive technology device is it's ability to provide immediate audio and tactile feedback. As a student types the Braille text, the device announces what letter is being typed. Another cool feature is that it can save, transfer, and receive files. In the video, it mentions how this device is good for teachers and other students that don't know much about Braille. I for one would be considered one of those teachers because I know nothing about Braille. With that being said, the device actually converts the Braille into print. This is great because it allows the blind students to be included in so many ways. They are able to keep up with the curriculum, receive valuable feedback from their teacher, and even participate in group activities. I think that using this tool for blind students is a brilliant way to create a normal classroom atmosphere for him/her.

A quote by Hellen Keller
After doing a little bit of my own research, I found two websites that had extensive lists of other assistive technology tools. One of the things I found was an article titled, Assistive Technology for Kids with Learning Disabilities: An Overview. In this article, it tells you a little bit about assistive technologies and the different types of learning problems that they can help address. It then goes on to give you a list of 17 different learning tools that are available to use as a teacher if needed. One tool that I found very interesting was the Proofreading Program. I think that this could be of great help in the classroom. If you want to learn more about the list of tools, check out the website. Finally, the other website I found was an article titled, Assistive Technology for Children with Learning Disabilities. This article is much like the other one but I feel as though it goes into greater detail and provides a better list of tools. I think it's so neat how students with disabilities are now able to use such advanced technology, including things like iPads. It's so important to have the tools deemed appropriate for students with disabilities so that they are able to have an optimal learning experience, just like everyone else.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blog Post #11

By: Ashley Howell

In the video, Super Digital Citizen, Mr. Pane, who is a fourth grade teacher, teaches his students about Internet safety. I feel like in today’s society kids are constantly learning how to use the Internet and technology, but they don’t really learn much about how to be safe. Mr. Pane wanted his students to learn how to be good digital citizens, which meant knowing how to act safely, respectfully, and responsibly on the Internet. He decided to teach his kids about Internet safety in a really neat, fun way. He had his students use a website to create their own Digital Superhero, as well as their own imagined situation in which the superhero would save the day when it came to Internet safety. The students basically wrote their own narrative, like a comic. Not only were the students learning about how to use technology and Internet safety, but they were also learning more about their English and writing skills. You could tell by the video just how much fun these students were having with this project. In the video, Mr. Pane mentions how it’s important to create some projects that are about the students because it makes them more meaningful. As teachers, it’s important to remember that the students are exposed to so much online and they need to know how to make good choices.

Kids surrounding a computer


We have been learning a lot lately about Project Based Learning and how great it really is. In the Youtube video titled, Project Based Learning, we learn how three teachers in Canada restructured their day to use Project Based Learning. In this particular classroom, students don’t learn in segmented subjects. Instead, the teachers integrate subjects like History and English coupled with technology. In the video, we learn that research shows that integrated learning through projects allows the students to be more engaged and provides an opportunity for deeper understanding. The three teachers in this video realized how beneficial Project Based Learning can be, but all they needed was more time. The teachers decided to restructure their day to make time to blend ideas and content, go deeper into learning, and provide feedback. It’s hard to do a good, thorough project when the students are limited. With Project Based Learning, teachers are allowed to teach things beyond the curriculum. It gives the students a chance to create something great on their own and be proud of the process, as well as the outcome.

Brian Crosby-Back To the Future

By:Holly Shaw

Brian Crosby is an innovative, exciting fourth grade teacher who does not take the easy route in teaching his students. While most teachers are satisfied with high test scores and multiple choice tests, Crosby is not. In this video, he talks about a particular project dealing with atmospheric pressure and the levels of the atmosphere. Rather than just teaching his students verbatim what their textbook claims, Crosby used the book, charts and had the students complete various exciting activities. The students videoed their experiments and embed them to their personal blogs. In Crosby’s class, the students are doing more than learning meaningless facts, they are getting hands-on experience. By the students blogging they are getting to reinforce what they learn. The students are also exposed to flicker, wikipages, and other 21st century tools.

students sitting and standing in a circle with laptops outside


The most rewarding part of Crosby’s class is that his students are getting more out each lesson rather than just a simple science lesson. Students are learning to read and write to learn content, to write for the purpose of clarifying and sharing, and to give an receive feedback along with many other language intense skills. Brian Crosby believes in active learning where students are being empowered to learn and to learn on their own using 21st century tools. Students are also encouraged to collaborate in and outside the classroom. Students are motivated because they are able to connect with people all over the world.

By: Sarah Carl

Image of children thinking


The video of Roosevelt Elementary School's PBL program is proof of how project-based learning is so great for students. The Roosevelt teachers teach their students skills necessary for the real world such as public speaking. So many adults go through school and enter the real world never being able to properly give a speech or how to interview and that is a major reason why our society is the way it is today. Project-based learning not only teaches the students public speaking skills at an early age, it also teaches them self-motivation. They need to know that sometimes the only way to keep moving forward in life is to be able to motivate yourself to do things because they will not always have someone to hold their hand through everything. The students learn to work independently and cooperatively. By working together in PBL, the students practice social skills and how to work together which is also very necessary for the real world. Project-based learning does not use just one way of learning, it incorporates multiple intelligences so each child receives the most information from each lesson. By using multiple intelligences, it makes the students much more engaged and interactive. It makes them curious and wanting to learn. As the teacher's at Roosevelt Elementary School said "It's not easy. It's a lot of work for teachers." But I think to see the students so engaged and excited about learning makes it completely worth it.

By: Caitlyn Barton

Paul Anderson teaches AP Biology in Bozeman, Montana. This past year he turned his classroom into a video game. He thought it was a great year but a little too different. So this year he wanted to do a blended classroom. He talks about it in this video. His idea for blended learning is combining mobile, online, and classroom learning. For biology, he teaches his students by using the 5 E's: engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluate. His idea of blended learning combined with the 5 E's makes his blended learning cycle. Mr. Anderson likes to start a lesson with a big question that catches the students' attention. Next, he lets the student investigate to try and answer the questions they all have. Once his students have more answers, they get to watch a video that goes along with the topic. He ends his lesson with a review and testing. I think his way of teaching is something that every teacher should try in their classroom. The class does not all move along at one time. He makes sure each student is ready to move on to the next part of his blended learning cycle. Mr. Anderson says all of his students have responded positively to this method of teaching!

 Year 2000 Classroom Prediction


March Church's Making Thinking Visible video gives us a look into his classroom. Mr. Church likes to break his students into small groups. While in their groups he gives them questions to elaborate on with the other members of the group. Each group comes up with a headline that captures the essence of their topic. He then asks the groups to present their headline and explain why they chose it. To finish the project all of the headlines are joined together to make a bulletin board!

Interview Project #10

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C4K #2

Little girl under the monkey bars
For my first C4K assignment, I commented on a little girl's blog named Esther in Mrs. She's second year class (Little Voices, Little Scholars). The kids in Mrs. She's class blog about their literacy learning process. The children write their own stories and draw pictures to illustrate their stories. They also record their stories in movies and post them on their blogs. On Esther's blog, I watched her movie on her story about fitness time. In her movie, Esther said that during fitness time they ran fast and hopped like frogs, as well as many more fun activities. In my comment, I told Esther how much I enjoyed watching her movie. I think it's so great that kids are learning how to use so much technology, especially at a young age. I told her that I bet she got so tired jumping around like a frog and to keep up the good work. I really enjoyed looking at more of Esther's videos and learning more about what they do in their class. One of the programs that they use to draw their pictures is known as Kid Pix. I had never heard of that before, so it was neat to learn something new through this process.

For my second C4K assignment, I commented on Kevine's blog at Pt. England School. In one of his posts, Kevine created a little Bio Poem about herself. Some of the things I found interesting about Kevine was that she wants to go to the UK and she wants to meet Kesha and Katy Perry. In my comment, I told Kevine that I really enjoyed reading a little bit about her. I told her that we had a lot in common because I like watermelon and playing sports too! I asked her what kind of sports she likes to play. I also told her that I thought it was interesting that she wanted to go to the UK. I asked her why she wanted to go there so badly and told her that I hope she gets to go one day.
A bunch of words related to blogging
I haven't gotten a response, but I'm anxiously waiting! Then, for my third C4T assignment, I commented on another student's blog from Pt. England School named Mao. Mao's blog was very neat and you can tell that he puts a lot of effort into creating his blogs. The particular post that I commented on was titled My School Highlight for Term 1. Mao said that his highlight was getting to start Technology at Tamaki College every Tuesday morning. He said that they all get to split up into three groups in which they work on either Hard Material, Graphics, or Cooking. Mao said that he enjoyed doing Graphics the most. In my comment, I wrote how Graphic Design seems like a really cool thing to be interested in. I also asked Mao what were some of the art activities that he was able to participate in. Being able to read these young students blogs is so wonderful to me.

C4T #3

For my third C4T assignment, I was assigned to read and comment on Jarrod Robinson's blog known as The P.E. Geek. Mr. Robinson is a Physical Education teacher from Australia. His blog is great because it encourages teachers to use technology (such as apps) as a tool for physical education. This was interesting to me because whenever most people think of physical exercise, they don't think about iPads and apps. Mr. Robinson's blog was full of such great ideas to get kids active, along with various 21st century tools. I don't want to be a P.E. teacher, but these apps can be helpful beyond the classroom. Plus, they were interesting to learn about because I could always be a little more active. The first post that I read and commented on by Mr. Robinson was titled, Top Apps for PE Teachers- Part 31. Since this is Part 31, I guess I've been missing out. This post highlighted four apps that Mr. Robinson thought were worth sharing. Out of the four apps mentioned, the two that I liked the best were the Jump It app and the IceBreaker Game app. The Jump It app includes over 60 balances that build up in difficulty. The IceBreaker Game app includes games to help get children warmed-up. I liked these two the best because they seemed fun. Sometimes it's hard to get kids intrigued and the IceBreaker App seems like a great way to do so. As for the Jump It App, I think it's great because it gives the students a chance to work at their own pace as it progressively builds up. In my comment, I told Mr. Robinson that I really enjoyed reading about the apps that he considered to be some of the best. I also mentioned how great I think it is that he's trying to incorporate technology into P.E. because it will only make the children more eager.

Mr. Robinson's other post that I read and commented on was called, Stretch It- Stretching, Warm Up and Cool Down Task Cards. This app is available to be downloaded on iPads, iPhones/iPods, and Android phones and tablets. This app features numerous stretching activities that get harder as you go along. This is another one of those great apps that progressively get more difficult. With stretching this is great because we don't want anyone pulling a muscle. It's also neat because the students get to see all of the stretches right there in front of them. In my comment, I told Mr. Robinson that I think this app is great because students to get work at their own pace. I also mentioned that I would have to download the app for myself. I haven't gotten the chance to do this just yet, but I plan on it.

Lastly, did I mention that Mr. Robinson creates some of these apps himself? What a genius!

PE Geek: Bridging the Gap Between PE and Technology

SMARTBoard Project #12 Part B

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project #15

A picture of all the planets


For this project, I created a project based learning lesson plan titled, "Our Solar System." This lesson plan addresses the Alabama State Standards for 2nd Grade Earth and Space Science. The standard that I chose has to do with identifying basic components of our solar system. There are so many fun, creative ways to learn about the solar system. To kick off this lesson, the students will watch a fun, educational Youtube video titled, The Solar System Song. The students will be put into groups of 4 and assigned a planet. Throughout the week, the students will do research on their planet and create a Google site about their planet. At the end of the week, the students will present their sites to the class and create a collaborative blog post that includes a link to their site.

Check out the website, Our Solar System, to learn more about this project based lesson plan.

Blog Post #10

According to Sir Ken Robinson's video, Bring on the Learning Revolution, we learn that there is a climate crisis of human concern. People in today's world make very poor use of their talents. The people that don't make good use of their talents are the ones that go through life just trying to endure it, instead of enjoying it. In Mr. Robinson's eyes, reform is no longer what we need, because reform is simply improving something that is broken. We need a revolution in education. What powerful words! In the video, Mr. Robinson quotes Abraham Lincoln. I really liked it whenever he stated, "We must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew." In today's education system, things are constantly changing and we must go with the flow and keep up. Teachers need to be innovative and creative to make things new and exciting. Mr. Robinson believes that another problem in our education system is conformity. I couldn't agree more. I think that this is sad because learning shouldn't be about conforming, but instead, it should be about exploring and trying new things. Mr. Robinson gives the example of how we built our education systems on the model of fast-food. It's all standardized, but just like fast-food ruins our bodies, so does this non customizable way of education. It's important to understand that human talent is diverse and teachers must be able to recognize that. We don't want people opting out of education because it doesn't feed their spirits and interests. With that being said, teachers must create conditions where kids will flourish, which means customizing and bringing on a revolution. There must be a movement in education.

The words Revolution: Transforming Education

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Post #9

First of all, I just want to say that I find it so amazing that first graders know so much about technology. We have come such a long, long way. Ms. Cassidy is a first grade teacher in Canada. After watching the YouTube video, First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class, I became more familiar with how technology is being used with younger grades. In Ms. Cassidy's class, the students know how to blog, use webpages, use wikis, make videos, and Skype. I think this is so amazing! First graders are learning how to use technology in so many ways. In one particular interview with Ms. Cassidy (Part One), she talks about how technology isn't going away. Our world is changing, therefore the ways in which we teach our students needs to change. Technology is a great way to explore new ideas and get the students to try new things.

One thing that Ms. Cassidy likes to do with her students is have them blog regularly. Before I started my own blog in EDM310, I wasn't really interesting in blogging. I now see how beneficial it can be in the educational process. Blogs are great because they can be seen by a global audience. The students are able to get much more feedback whenever they have such a large audience. Not to mention that the students love knowing that numerous people have visited their blogs. Blogging is definitely a learning technique that I would like to use in my future classroom.

In the video, Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 2, Ms. Cassidy talks a little bit about where teachers should start when it comes to technology. She thinks that people should start with whatever they are interested in and learn as much about it as they can. I think this is an excellent idea. There are so many educational tools out there and they can't all be used at one time. Learning about these things takes time, so why not start with something that's captivating to you? For instance, if you are particularly interested in writing then start with blogging. If you are interested in making videos, start with iMovie and YouTube. Another thing that Ms. Cassidy talks about in this interview is how Twitter can be a great educational tool. Teachers can learn so much by following other educators and collaborating.

A chalkboard that says Using Technology In the Classroom


Lastly, in the video Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 3, Ms. Cassidy discusses how it's important to ensure the student's safety in using technology. It's important that the student's don't use their last name and know which things are "okay" to click when exploring a website. The Internet can be extremely educational as long as it used the correct way. The benefits of using technology in the classroom far outweigh the negative aspects. If I were to use Ms. Cassidy's approaches in my future classroom, I imagine that my students will enjoy their work so much more. It's great to start them at such a young age, because it prepares them in more ways than one.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Project #14

Pilgrims, Indians, etc. People of Colonial America


For this project, I created a lesson plan titled "A Trip To the Past." This lesson plan addresses the Alabama State Standards for 2nd Grade Social Studies: Exploring Our Nation and World. The standard that I chose refers to comparing features of modern-day living to those of the past. This project covers a period of two weeks. The students will begin by reading a few pages out of Our America: Fourth Edition (project can be modified to use other second grade history books) and learning about colonial jobs and colonial school days. The students will be required to chose one of the topics that the teacher assigns and compare their topic to modern-day living. The students will have to get in groups based on their topic and do research using iCurio and Discovery Ed. At the end of the two weeks, the students will have to dress in costume according to their topic and present their project to the class. They will be required to give a short speech and create a poster. I think that the students could have loads of fun with this project. It is always interesting to see how things have changed throughout history.

Take a look at the resources below to learn about this project based lesson plan:

Project Calendar

Project Overview

Essentials Checklist

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blog Post #8

For this post, we were asked to find 21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools. When I read this I thought, "But we've already learned about so much, so what more could be out there?" Well after doing some research, I found numerous great tools and sites to help me in my future endeavors as an educator. I found so many sites that it was a bit overwhelming. Education and technology basically go hand-in-hand these days so I think it's important for teachers to have a variety of tools to work with.

Prezi Icon
The first learning tool that I wanted to mention is known as Prezi. Prezi is a website that allows you to design and create presentation software in a very neat, modern way. This reminds me a lot of a regular PowerPoint presentation, but it's much cooler (I'm sure your students will think so too). With Prezi, teachers can make presentation slideshows that are much more memorable and engaging. As for the students, this would be a great tool when working on projects. Prezi is fun, easy, and captivating.

Edublogs Icon, a little e
I love the idea of having students blog. I think it's great for students because it teaches them so much and gives them the opportunity to go back and look at their work. With that being said, another great learning tool I found is called Edublogs. Edublog is a lot like Blogger, except it's much more safe and secure because it is strictly used for educational purposes. The teachers have complete control over privacy, users, and content. Edublogs is so versatile and easy to use. There is so much that you can do through Edublogs such as, blogging, facilitating discussions, posting videos, etc. It seems like a great tool that would be very beneficial to teachers and students.

In addition, I found an excellent online educational tool known as Knewton. This site personalizes online learning content for each student according to his or her needs. Knewton focuses on the subjects of reading, math, and science, which typically prove to be more of a challenge for students. Right now, Knewton works with only institutions, learning companies, and publishers, but they are working on a service that will allow parents, teachers, and students to build their own adaptive learning experiences. I know that this tool may not be as helpful right now since they are still working on a way for Knewton to work directly with teachers and students, but the idea is brilliant. As a future educator, I think it's important to recognize the needs and learning levels of each student and respond to them accordingly. Knewton allows you to do just that. I will keep my eye on the look out for their new service coming soon because I love this idea.

Planboard icon
Lastly, I tool I found that could be useful for just teachers is called Planboard. One good characteristic of every teacher should be that they are organized. Everything will run a lot more smoothly in the classroom if there is some organization, and that is why I like the idea of Planboard. It is an online tool designed just for teachers that allows you to organize your lesson plans. Teachers can plan their classes, track standards, and collaborate worldwide with other teachers. Having a binder and files full of lessons is great, but the paperless way is much more neat in my opinion. Also, you would always have your lesson plans right there at your fingertips on your laptop or smartphone.

As you can see, all of these tools would be great to use in the classroom. I found many more ideas but sadly, I can't share them all with you. If you want to check out an extensive list, click on this link: Edudemic.

Video Book Project #9

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

C4T #2

For my second C4T assignment, I was assigned to read and comment on John T. Spencer's Blog known as Education Rethink. Mr. Spencer is a sixth grade teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. He has also done numerous other things in regards to education. If you would like, check out his personal page here: John T. Spencer. What I found from reading Mr. Spencer's blog was that they weren't typical blog posts. They really gave my great ideas and made me think, while being enjoyable to read all at the same time. The first blog post I commented on was titled, Thirteen Reasons Canadians Should Buy This Book. This was very interesting to me because I had never heard of this particular book, so therefore I was all the more curious as to why anyone should buy it. The book is called Wendell The World's Worst Wizard. After reading Mr. Spencer's many reasons why Canadians should buy it, I did some research on the book myself to see what it was about. The story is about a thirteen year old wizard who thinks he is different and once everyone finds out, he has to pave his own way. He ends up teaming up with a bunch of new friends, zombies, robots, and more only to find out that he just might have what it takes to save his village. I think this book would be an excellent choice to read to younger children. It provides a great moral on how to embrace who you are, differences and all. I even told Mr. Spencer in my comment that I just might have to go buy it to one day read in my future classroom.



The other post that I read and commented on was Mr. Spencer's most recent post titled, 12 Alternatives to Boring Professional Development. He gives several ideas on how to create rather than deliver. In my comment, I said that I really enjoyed his ideas of Personal Professional Development Plans, Independent Projects, Action Research, and Curriculum Creation. The Personal Professional Development Plans are used to allow teachers to perform self-evalautions in order to see where they are, set goals, and reflect on what they have been doing. This caught my attention because we have been learning so much about self and peer evaluation, and how important it is. The Independent Projects allow teachers to create something on their own that they can bring to the classroom. Teachers are so full of ideas, so why not let them create? As for the Action Research, I love this idea. It would be a great way to get together, generate ideas, and see what works and what doesn't work. This also reminds me a lot of Project Based Learning. They both involve a process that allows so much room for freedom and creativity. Lastly, I enjoyed Mr. Spencer's idea on Curriculum Creation. As you can see, Mr. Spencer is full of ideas on how to make things a bit more exciting in the education world.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Project #13

For this project, we created a Lesson Plan titled DIY (Do It Yourself) Ending. This lesson plan addresses the Alabama State Standards for third grade English and Language Arts. It refers to learning about key ideas and details in which the students should be able to determine the main idea of a text, recount the key details, and explain how the details support the main idea. This project covers a period of two weeks in which the students will be actively engaged. The students will read a book titled, 2030: A Day In the Life of Tomorrow’s Kids. This is a great, age-appropriate book for the kids in today’s society. Technology and our environment is constantly changing, so it’s fun for kids to think about what the world will be like in 20 years from now. Here’s the catch: the students will only read half of the book and at the beginning of the second week, they will come up with their own ending (before they know the real ending). The students will work on this project collaboratively in groups of 4. They will work together to discuss the main idea of the story and come up with a few key details. They will also do some individual work in writing a blog at the end of each week. The main part of the project is that they will be creating/writing their own ending to the story and presenting them by using either a Google Site, a Prezi presentation, a poster, or iMovie. We think that the students will really enjoy this project. After all, there is always that one book that we wish we could go back and rewrite the ending to. Here’s the chance.

Check out the few resources below:

Project Calendar

Project Overview

Project Checklist

Project Rubric

Book Cover for 2030: A Day In the Life of Tomorrow's Kids

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blog Post #7

For those of you that haven't seen The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams by Randy Pausch, I encourage you to stop reading this blog post right now and go watch. When I saw that we had to write a blog post about this, I was so excited. I had never watched the video before of The Last Lecture, but I have read the book. One of my friend's parents gave me the book after my high school graduation. I've read the book twice now and each time I've learned something new. Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and prior to giving his Last Lecture, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was given only about 3 to 6 months of good health, and although I didn't know Mr. Pausch personally, I can tell you that he made the very best of his last few months.

The Last Lecture was given at Carnegie Mellon in which Randy talked about his childhood dreams and how he achieved them, how to help others achieve their dreams, and what lessons can be learned in helping you achieve your dreams. As a future educator, there is so much that I learned from Randy's Last Lecture. One of the things that I loved that Randy said was, "Enabling the dreams of others is even more fun." We all have our own dreams and aspirations in life that we hope will one day come true, but there is something about helping others reach their goals that is so much more rewarding. It's like you took part in their life and made an impact by helping them accomplish something. I think that is what being a teacher is all about. It's about enabling the dreams of others. Teachers don't have a lot of time to think about themselves, it's all about the students and quite frankly, I believe that's how it should be. Being a teacher requires a whole lot of selflessness.

Another thing that I noticed after watching the video was that Randy did a TON of project based learning in his classrooms. Actually, that was pretty much all he did. There was no book learning. It was all about technology and the students loved that. Now keep in mind that this was 7 years ago, so think about how far we have come with technology. There are so many endless possibilities out there with technology to use in order to actively engage your students. If it worked almost a decade ago, I can guarantee you that project based learning will work now. Also, Randy talked a little bit about peer editing. He had his students do it, and it was a great tool. In the video Randy says, "The best gift an educator can give is teaching students to be self-reflective." In addition, Randy was never afraid to reach out to others for help. In the same way, teachers should never be afraid to reach out and ask questions to other educators. This reminded me a lot of how we have started working on our PLN's. We are extending our circle of educators to help guide us.

Although I could sit here and go on and on about this lecture, the last thing that I loved that Randy mentioned is how important it is to have fun. He asks the question, "Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore?" I think that this is of tremendous amount of importance when it comes to being a teacher. You absolutely have to know how to have fun and be creative. The teachers set the tone for the students and if you're excited about a project or an assignment, then it will make them excited too. I promise you that your students will appreciate your joy and happiness. I hope to one day create a fun, exciting environment for my students in my classroom. It will make them so much more eager to learn! So to answer the question as to whether or not I'm a Tigger or an Eeyore? Tigger.

Randy Pausch died of pancreatic cancer on July 27, 2008, at the young age of 47. We can learn a lot from Randy about education, teaching, and learning, but we can also learn a lot about life. In the words of Randy Pausch, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." Make sure you play your hand in being a future educator exceptionally well.

Randy Pausch with is wife and kids

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

C4K #1

Over the past few weeks, Dr. Strange has assigned us each a student from a kid blog in which we were to comment on one of their posts. This is known as C4K, Comments for Kids. I have found so much joy in reading these students' blogs and commenting on them. It's interesting to see what different teachers assign for blog posts, what students actually complete the assignments, and if the students are even writing on their blog in their own spare time. I think it's great that teachers are having their students start blogging at a young age.

For my first C4K assignment, I commented on Conor's blog in Ms. Toal's Class Blog. In one of his posts, Conor wrote about what he had for breakfast. It was only a few words long, but I loved it because I love breakfast food. Conor wrote about how he had pancakes for breakfast. In my comment, I asked a few questions such as if he made them from scratch, did he have any help in making them, and I was curious as to what he liked to put on top of his pancakes. After a few days of anxiously awaiting to hear more about Conor's pancake breakfast, I got a reply! Conor said, "Hi Ashley my mam and I make them from scratch. I enjoy chocolate spread or butter my mam likes jam and cream on hers." I personally like to go the traditional route with my pancakes and only put butter and syrup on top, but I really enjoyed hearing what Conor had to say. I'm glad I was able to ask questions and get more detail out of him. Detail can be so important.

For my second C4K assignment, I was assigned Joey's blog in Mrs. Caddy's Class Blog. We were asked to respond to the quick survey that the student we were assigned to had created and posted on his/her blog. Joey asked several questions in his survey; a total of 10 to be exact. The questions ranged from "what is your favorite color" to ""what is your favorite thing to do on a hot summer day?" One of the questions that Joey asked in his survey was, "If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?" I loved answering this question because I love to travel. People always tell me that I've got wanderlust. For this question, I answered that if I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to Greece. My grandfather is Greek and I would love to go learn about my heritage. Greece is such a beautiful place. I would want to go to Mykonos, Athens, and Santorini. I really enjoyed completing his survey. Joey asked a lot of great questions.

A little girl at her computer wondering what to blog about


For my third C4K assignment, I commented on Darnell's blog in Ms. Ruiz's Class Blog. For one particular blog post assignment, Darnell and his classmates were asked by their to teacher to blog about their own dreams. Not just the "I want a billion dollars" dreams, but about the ones that could really come true. I think this is great blog post assignment. It gets the students really thinking and the teachers are able to learn a little bit more about their aspirations. Darnell's dream is to go to the University of Texas where we he wants to major in business. He actually wants to open his own shoe store that sells all kinds of shoes such as Nikes and Jordans. Darnell also said that he wants to meet a beautiful, smart women and ask her to marry him in the most romantic way possible. After that, he wants to have kids at age 25 because that's his favorite number. Darnell believes that dreams are made of setting goals for yourself, and I agree completely. On his post, I commented that I loved how he was dreaming big with wanting to open his own shoe store. I also reminded Darnell to use correct punctuation such as periods and commas when needed. I hope that all of Darnell's dreams come true. Never be afraid to set high goals for yourself and have the courage to pursue them.

Lastly, for my fourth C4K assignment, I commented on Breton's blog in Mrs. Long's Class Blog. Breton's post that I commented on was very interesting because he wrote about one of his findings in his grandpa's house. He was looking around and he found his Uncle's old guitar. After asking, his Uncle let him have it. Breton said that the guitar is a late 90's model of a Peavey Predator. Those guitars run for about $200, but hey, he got it for free. Breton mentioned how we shouldn't bother looking up the guitar because all we would be able to find is newer models, but I just had to. I commented how I thought those guitars were very nice and how he made a priceless find. I also commented how with a little exploration, we never know what we might find at our grandparent's house. Then I ended with asking Breton if he knew how to play the guitar and if so, how long had he been playing. I'm sure Breton is enjoying his new guitar as we speak.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blog Post #6

According to a blog post I found, PLN: You're Personal Learning Network Made Easy, a PLN is defined as, "the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online." I'm sure that we all have numerous people that we communicate with daily via technology and by creating your own PLN, it gives you the opportunity to communicate, connect, and collaborate with those people. Whenever I first enrolled in college, I was given the option to join a learning community. A learning community is a basically a group of people that are taking a common set of courses and get together to help one another and share ideas. In Steve Anderson's Building Your PLN- A Primer for Anyone, I learned that a PLN is an extension of a learning community. It's taking that same concept and making it global by making connections all around the world. PLN's give teachers the freedom to do their own research and actively discuss things with other teachers.

A clutter of words that comprise a PLN such as twitter and Facebook


With that being said, I think that PLN's will be very beneficial to me as a future educator. It's great that I am already learning about them now, before I have a classroom of my own, to get me started. Contrary to popular belief, teachers don't know everything. Having your own PLN is a great tool for asking questions and obtaining more information. In order to form your PLN, it requires research. You will have to read blogs, use Twitter, watch videos on YouTube, click on important links that lead you to other places, consult with other people, use Facebook, use podcasts, etc. The list really does go on and on. It's important to keep up with these things because these tools are constantly changing. There is always something new to learn in the life of an educator.

One thing that I read that really got my attention was an article written by Vicki Davis called Personal Learning Networks Are Virtual Lockers for Schoolkids. Just the title says it all. If a PLN can be used as a students' virtual locker, it can be used as a teacher's virtual locker. In my "locker" I will have much information that I obtained by using Twitter and following various teachers and educators such as, Dr. Strange and Dr. Vitulli. I will also have YouTube which I will use to research videos on certain topics. In addition, I think that Pinterest is a great thing to add to your PLN. There are so many wonderful ideas and links to follow that can keep you up to date with the latest trends in education. Also, I plan to use all of my C4K (Comments for Kids) and C4T (Comments for Teachers) assignments in creating my Personal Learning Network. As you can see, I'm just now starting to "fill my locker" and create my PLN, but it's off to a great start. Establishing a solid PLN is really a never-ending process. In order to keep track of my PLN, I want to use Symbaloo. It's a great tool for organizing your PLN and it reminds me so much of how I have my iPhone set up, which will make it easier to navigate. I love the idea of a PLN and I think it will help me grow as an educator.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Blog Post #5

After listening to and watching the videos of Dr. Strange's conversations with Anthony Capps, I learned a great deal of information. The first two videos I watched were Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher and Project Based Learning Part 2. After doing some research last week, I did know a little bit about project based learning but these videos helped me gain greater knowledge. I would say that the most important thing I learned about project based learning is that it engages students. They aren't trapped in worksheets and lectures that they see only as "busy work." Project based learning is a means of getting the students to learn something through the process rather than just focusing on the product. There are so many teachers out there that are only concerned with the outcome, instead of making sure that the students get the most out of what they are creating and learning. If we only focus on the outcome, then how can we truly learn through the process? As future educators, we have to remember that teachers are learners as well. Another important aspect of project based learning is that it doesn't limit the students. Teachers should never limit their students, but instead give them opportunities to go above and beyond what you thought possible. By doing so, you allow a lot of room for the students to chose. When the students are given the opportunity to present their project that they created, they demonstrate so much ownership and pride in their work because they were actively engaged. I really enjoyed Anthony's three main goals of project based learning, which included the following: it has an authentic audience so that the kids are rewarded for what they do, it has the students' interest so you can do something relevant to their lives, it involves the community in order to relate it to real world experiences, and it is driven by content. Project based learning is constantly evolving, which means there are so many different things you can do with it. The possibilities are endless!

There were also two online tools that I learned about in Anthony's conversations on YouTube, iCurio and Discovery Education. I found iCurio to be the most interesting tool that I have come across yet! For those of you that aren't familiar with iCurio (just as I wasn't before watching this video), it is an online tool that allows students to safely search websites that have been pulled and filtered from other online sites by teachers or other responsible adults for educational uses. I think this is an awesome tool to use in the classroom, especially since we live in a world that is so corrupt. It is so easy for students to go online and Google or search for something that seems harmless, but yet they end up getting terrible results. iCurio also has some neat features that come in handy, such as a storage capacity that allows students to store content they find valuable and a directory feature for historical figures. It also has a read-aloud feature that is great for accessibility. Through iCurio, the students aren't limited to text and teachers can create search results that are grade friendly and age appropiate. The second online tool is known as Discovery Education. Discovery Education is a science and social studies related tool that allows students to view pictures and videos in order to learn a lot more. They can combine their text articles with visual pictures or watch videos that actually brings the experts into the classroom. Discovery education is great for students because it helps enrich their research experience, while teachers can help bring the text to life. Both of these online tools are great for creating a fun, technology-centered classroom!

Since we've been doing so much talk about technology, it's important for teachers to remember to actually USE IT. In the video, Don't Teach Tech- Use It, Dr. Strange talks with Anthony Capps about actually using technology versus teaching it. We live in the 21st century, so it's no surprise that using technology is natural for kids or that that they enjoy it. Technology is clean, it's sharable, and it allows the students to create. Instead of just throwing the kids into a technologically savvy project, teachers should have them take it by steps so that they are learning by using. It's important for teachers to not expect perfection. Being able to make mistakes is the beauty of learning in the classroom. It gives the students the opportunity to ask valuable questions, then you can reflect on what they students did wrong and go from there on improving.

Just like teachers shouldn't throw their students into a new project, they also shouldn't throw themselves into teaching a new lesson without having a plan. In the video, Additional Thoughts About Lessons, Mr. Capps gives us 4 Components to Making a Lesson:

1. Think about each lesson in terms of a year: Cover all the content according to the ACCRS.

2. Think about each lesson in terms of unit size: Devise projects in a meaningful way that is stretched out over time to meet a goal.

3. Think about each lesson in terms of a week: Be able to complete everything that needs to be done each day.

4. Think about each lesson in terms of each day: Deliver the lesson to the students in a way that gets them involved and ready to learn.

I think that teaching is most effective when there is a plan, even if it is annoying to create a million lesson plans. These are 4 very helpful things to to think about when creating lessons.

Now we all know that creating lesson plans, using technology, developing projects, and just being a teacher isn't always easy, but don't panic because there are ways to prepare according to Dr. Strange and Anthony in their video, The Anthony-Stange List of Tips for Teachers Part 1. Although there was a list, there were three ways to prepare that stuck out in my mind as the most important. First, teachers should be interested in learning themselves. Teachers should always be open to learn new things, even if they are learning from their students. Learning new things to do and improve on each year is what makes each school year unique and exciting. Second, work shouldn't be separate from play. Being a teacher goes beyond the 8 hours a day that they spend in the classroom. It truly never ends, but being a teacher is so rewarding. Make it a fun experience! Lastly, teachers need to be prepared to be flexible and creative. There will always be surprises in the classroom, whether it is a fire-drill or simply a technical difficulty. Teachers have to be able to be creative in order to come up with alternative lesson plans and flexible since everything doesn't always go as planned. Some people say that teachers have the hardest job in the world, but even if it's difficult, I know it will be worth every minute.

An apple with the words Number One Teacher written on it

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blog Post #4

The important, pressing question is, "What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" I really enjoy one of our mottos in EDM 310 that states, "Questions are more important than the answers." How true this is! Growing up, I was never one to ask a lot of questions in the classroom. I don't know if it was because I just knew it all or if I was just afraid, but if I had to guess, it was probably the latter. As I have gotten older, I realize the importance of asking questions. Without questions, there would be no answers. I think it's important for teachers to realize that it should never just be the students asking the questions. Teachers need to do some of the asking as well! Besides, teachers don't know everything.

I read a blog post by Ben Johnson titled The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom. In his post, he talks about how teachers are always asking the simple question of, "Does everybody understand?", after a lesson is taught. What is wrong with this question? In my opinion, it's a quick way out for the teachers. Mr. Johnson explains in his article that by asking this question, we are really telling the students that this is their last chance to speak up and if they don't, then we are moving on. Maybe the students think that they understand but they really don't. Maybe the students are afraid to speak up because they don't want to "slow down" everybody else. There are a number of things wrong with this question, including the fact that it is a close-ended question. I think it's important for teachers to ask questions that spark discussion and make the students explain how they understand. Ask specific questions that require more thought and more detail.

Students raising their hands in the classroom


So yes, there is a right way to ask questions, but there is also a right way to respond to questions. In an article by the Washington University in St. Louis titled, Asking Questions to Improve Learning, it gives questioning strategies as well as tips on how to respond effectively. There were two tips that really stuck out to me with the first one being that teachers should wait for the students to think and give their responses. I think that a lot of times teachers are so concerned with fitting everything into one day and getting everything done, rather than focusing on making sure that each student understands the lessons so that they can apply what they learned. If teachers give the students time to think, then maybe more students will be eager to answer. The second tip that I think could be useful is for teachers to show that they are interested in the students' answer, whether it is right or wrong. If student's are at least trying then it's a good thing. There has to be plenty of room for mistakes in the classroom.

Take a moment to look at this video that I found called, What Questions Did You Ask Today?, and always remember to ask great questions everyday. Questions are at the heart of learning!

Project #3 Presentation

C4T #1

For my first C4T (Comments for Teachers) blog I was assigned to was Jabiz Raisdana's blog called Intrepid Teacher. Mr. Jabiz is a teacher at the United World College of South East Asia, which is an international IB school located in Singapore. It's pretty cool that I was able to read and comment on a teachers blog from halfway around the world. The two posts that I read by Mr. Jabiz were centered on the discussion of nature and how nature can be better incorporated in schools. One of the posts I read and commented on was titled, "Ubiquitous Exposure." I didn't even know what ubiquitous meant until I read this blog and had to go google it. Just in case you don't know either, ubiquitous basically means omnipresent. Mr. Jabiz wants to create schools that give kids ubiquitous exposure to nature. I have never really thought about how nature is everywhere, all the time. In his post, he talked about how he was getting ready to take his mentor group to Thailand for five days of camping, rafting, caving, and trekking. He said that he was excited to "disconnect" from daily life and connect with his students. He was giving them the opportunity to explore nature without all the pressures of cell phones, computers, and social media, as well as the pressures of the classroom. I commented on his post about how as I was reading, I found myself daydreaming of what it must be like to take students on a trip to Thailand. The beauty of nature is often over-looked, and I think it's wonderful that he is giving the students the chance to step away from the daily "worldly" things. One thing that Mr. Jabiz talked about was "1-1 Programs" and how technology is used without even thinking about it these days. I mentioned to Mr. Jabiz in my comment that I had no idea what a 1-1 Program was. He proceeded to discuss the idea of a "Nature 1-1 Program", in which outdoor trips would be an extension of what is done in the school. After reading that, I had to go research it. I found that 1-1 Programs are used to maximize the learning potential of students. It's neat that he wants to create a Nature 1-1 Program that would have goals aimed towards learning about and in nature. At UWCSEA they have five elements of their learners profile and one of those elements is outdoor education. I love this. I commented that learning should never be just restricted to the classroom. Mr. Jabiz wants students to be influenced by nature everyday. He gave numerous ideas, but one that stuck out to me was the idea of an outdoor classroom. I let him know how much I loved this idea and how I thought that it could be tremendously effective. Even if kids don't like the idea of nature at first, the beauty and simplicity of it all will grow on them, I'm sure.

The other post that I read and commented on was called, "Nice To Just Be Outdoors." This post was written after Mr. Jabiz had returned from his trip to Thailand. I commented about how I was waiting to hear all about his trip! More importantly, this post was about how he took his 7th grade "Be the Change" class outdoors to show the kids how they are surrounded by wonder (aka, nature). I commented that so many times we tend to miss out on the awe and wonder of nature and creation simply because we don't take the time to truly notice it. Mr. Jabiz took his students outside to sit on a small patch of grass under the shade trees and the clouds. In my comment, I talked about how taking the kids outside to marvel in the sunlight may not seem like much, but it gives them the opportunity to be observant and appreciate the outdoors. Today's society is all about technology, so a lot of times it's a breath of fresh air to step away from the classroom and feel the cool breeze on your face. Mr. Jabiz posted an exert written by one of his students about that day. Just by reading it, you can tell that the trip outdoors had an impact on the children. I ended my comment by asking him if he had done anything like this again with his students and if so, did the children have different reactions than before to the outdoors? I also suggested that he have the kids write down some things that they see outside that they don't normally notice on a daily basis. By doing something like this, it allows the kids to realize that nature can be more than what meets the eye. I left my twitter address and the link to my class blog, as well as my email address. I really enjoyed reading!

Little kids walking through tall grass

Friday, January 31, 2014

Blog Post #3

Peer editing has always been a scary thought to me. My high school English teacher loved peer editing. She thought it was a great way to allow each student to see their classmates mistakes and learn from them. I agreed with her completely because there are many benefits to peer editing, but that doesn't mean I liked it. I was always so afraid that I was going to hurt my classmates feelings or that I was going to offend them. On the other hand, whenever I would get my paper back, it would always make me mad that one of my classmates would say something like, "I don't think that sentence makes sense." Now that I look back on it, I'm thankful that my teacher made us peer edit. It helped make each one of us better writers. Recently in my Human Growth and Development class, we had to get a partner and peer edit his/her lesson plan. Our professor told us that if the person you peer edited for didn't make a 100, then it was your fault. That caught me by surprise. It made me search for more mistakes and pay closer attention to detail that mattered. We had to peer edit our classmates lesson plan last week, and now this week I am faced with this blog assignment on peer editing. Funny how things work, right?

After watching the two videos, What is Peer Editing and Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes, and viewing the slideshow, Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial, I realized that they all reiterated the same basic concepts of peer editing. These resources defined peer editing as working with someone your own age to help improve, revise, and edit his/her writing. This means making suggestions, compliments, comments, etc., to help their writing. The three basic steps that we are to remember when peer editing is: be positive, be specific, and make corrections. One thing that we should always be sure to do is to start off with a compliment. There is no need to only harp on the negatives because everyone could use a little encouragement. There is no doubt that you too will probably have some "red marks" on your paper, so make sure you treat your peer how you would want to be treated. Let your classmate know that they did a great job, however, there are a few things they could fix. When it comes to what they need to work on, make sure you are specific. Underline, circle, highlight, or do whatever you have to do in order for them to be able to clearly see what needs fixing. Once you show them what they could improve or revise, make some suggestions to help them. I think we all know how easy it is to get stumped on something, especially after we've been working on it for days. If we complete these three simple, basic steps, then our peer editing will hopefully get the job done.

Men lined up waiting to edit another man's paper before it is accepted


If we think about it, we are constantly "peer editing" others in our everyday lives. We are always critiquing our friends outfits or commenting on our friends bad habits. If it's used in our daily lives, then surely it can be effective tool in the classroom. Peer editing is fun as long as you make the most of it! A lot of times, when we are writing we tend to get complacent with our work. Whenever we are done, we are done. We thank our lucky stars that the work is over and we turn it in without ever giving it a second look. I think that peer editing is so great because it gives the students a new, fresh perspective on their work. As long as we are open to the feedback we are given, then peer editing isn't so difficult. Don't take things so personally, but instead, accept the constructive criticism and use it to become a better writer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blog Post #2

In the Mr. Dancealot Youtube video the central message is that students need to practice and do what they have learned in order to really be successful at it. The teacher went so quickly through each of the dance moves without ever allowing the students to practice each move themselves. I think that people learn best through repetition. An analogy I like to think of is shooting a free throw in basketball. A free throw is one of the easiest shots to make as long as you practice. Just like with the dance moves, they would have been easy if the students would have been able to practice in class. Whenever the final came, the students were just thrown into it and the teacher walked out of the room. The students never recieved any valuable feedback during the class, so therefore when the final came around, they had no clue what they were doing. The author does a good job of making a case for this conclusion when the students are given the final exam. They are all so confused because they aren't even sure if they are doing the moves right. I agree with this conclusion completely. If we never practice then we can never improve, and if we never receive any criticism every once in a while then how do we know if we are doing it right or wrong.

The Prezi presentation by Kevin Roberts called, Teaching in the 21st Century, was very interesting. I think that to Roberts, to teach in the 21st century means to teach with technology. There is virtually limitless information out there. Teaching strategies have changed so much over the course of time. Teachers used to be (still are) adamant on using computers because of a all the temptation that it would bring about, but just as Roberts said, "the tools provide temptation, but they are not the source of negative behavior." Teachers just need to rethink. By allowing students to engage in the various things technology has to offer, teachers help them to gain skills, start discussions, and share things they discovered. I thought it was interesting how Roberts mentioned that creation today consists of things like blogging, programming, podcasting, etc.. Students can learn so much through the use of technology, especially in today's society. I think that Robert's is right on point with how teaching is changing. Whether I'm ready to or not, I think I should get used to technology in the classroom because that's where we are headed. I think using technology is great in a classroom setting, but in my future classroom, it won't be my main source. I want my students to use their imagination first and then use the resources available to them, like the computers and such.

computer filled with technology


In the YouTube video, The Networked Student, they are trying to answer the question of whether or not networked students really need teachers. They use a student that is taking a mostly online course with no textbook as an example. The student only attends class like twice a week, so what's the need for a teacher? The student is able to use multiple online resources like Google, blogs, social bookmarking sites, and other things such as his MP3 player in order to obtain all sorts of information. He is learning everything that he needs to know with the various technological devices. So does the networked student really even need a teacher? The answer is yes. The teachers job in the classroom is to help guide, demonstrate, and share knowledge. Even if a class is mostly online, students are always going to have questions. The teacher helps create a a sense of connection among the classroom and the students. The multiple ways we are able to get information with technology is truly amazing, but without a teacher, the students miss out on a whole other level of learning.

In Vicki Davis's YouTube video, Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts, it's all about teaching the kids how to use technology (reminds me a lot of Dr. Strange's class). The students learn how to use Google Docs, Wiki, blogs, and just about any technological resource. One thing that really stuck out to me was when Davis said, "Every child can learn, but where the children have trouble is when you have paper and only pencil." There are so many ways to teach children rather than just through lectures and notes. Working with technology brings about a whole new level of ways children can interact. I think it's so crucial to teach our future generations to be technologically savvy. In Mrs. Davis's classroom, she is using technology to teach the curriculum but customizing what happens according to a particular group of students. Not every child learns in the same way, and I think it's so important for teachers to realize that. I also think it's interesting how the children are able to connect with so many different people from around the world and work collaboratively with them. Like I said before, a whole new, but important, level of learning.

After watching the YouTube video, Flipping the Classroom, I got a better understanding of what it meant although I have heard of this technique before. As for "flipping the classroom", I hate the whole idea. I think that requiring the child to go home and teach themselves the lesson is insanity. I've had teachers tell me to "read the chapter before class tomorrow" or "try to look over tomorrow's math lesson and see if you can work any of the problems", but the idea of making the child go home after a long school day and learn a whole new lesson? No. Personally, I think this is somewhat of a lazy method on the teachers part. I think it's so important for students to learn in the classroom setting where are they are able to ask questions and get feedback. Flipping the classroom may be somewhat effective for older children, but not at a young age. Think about it: children sit in a classroom for 7 hours a day, participate in any extracurricular activities, eat dinner, do homework, play, and go to sleep. There is so much to be developed at a young age, and making the child go home to learn a new lesson would be way too much to ask. So as you can probably tell, I would not find this approach useful as teacher. I'll keep my classroom right side up, not flipped.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blog Post #1

When I first signed up to take EDM 310, I was very excited. My sister, Alex Howell, worked for Dr. Strange for a while and she always told me only good things about the class. She seemed to love every minute of taking the class and working for Dr. Strange. After hearing the opinions of many others, I feel as though my sister was the only one that enjoyed it. Leave it up to her to love something everyone else hates. Almost everyone that I have talked to that have already taken the class say only bad things. Most of them just kind of groan and put their hands over their face. I have to say getting that reaction from people terrifies me. I don't think I fully know what to expect. It's odd because after reading over the syllabus for the class and the master checklist, I wasn't really intimidated. It's everyone else's reactions that scares me, but I think that as long as I plan out when everything is due and complete everything without procrastination then I will be fine. If I have any fear about the class, it's that I get paired up with people that don't truly care about their grades. I don't want to be stuck doing all the group work by myself. I hope I get paired with motivated and driven students.

EDM book and binder


EDM 310 is unlike any other class that I have ever taken. I'm only a sophomore so I've only taken core classes up to this point. This is the first semester that I'm actually getting into my "major specific" courses. All of my core classes have been about the same. We simply listen to the lectures, take notes, view power points, write papers, and take tests. It's very obvious that EDM 310 is not like any of those that I have already taken. One thing that is different about this class than the others is that in EDM 310 I am required to keep up with most of the work on my own. It's my responsibility to make sure I check the checklist and complete everything on time. In most of my other classes, the teachers were constantly reminding me of what to do and when to do it. Also, EDM 310 is basically done entirely on the computer and I love that. I have never had the pleasure of taking a class like that until now. Although EDM 310 is different, I'm excited for the change from the "cut and dry" classes to something unique.

Despite the fact that I'm excited, I do think I will have some difficulty in one area of this class: time. Dr. Strange wants us to devote at least nine hours a week to EDM 310 work. Nine hours is a lot to me. I am taking 19 hours this semester in school and I have a job in which I try to work twenty to twenty-five hours a week. Also, I am still young and I would like time for a social life. It will be hard for me to devote that much time to one class, but if I have to do so in order to make the grade then I will. I think the best way for me to approach this difficulty is to just take things one day at a time. Whenever I'm overwhelmed and complaining to my family, my dad always says, "Ashley, how do you eat an elephant?" My initial response was that you don't eat an elephant but he always replies, "One bite at a time." Although nine a hours a week may seem like a lot, I'll just have to take it slow and do what I need to do.

To sum it up, I'm a little excited and a little nervous about what this class will bring. I don't have any questions or concerns at the moment but as the semester progresses I'm sure they will come to mind. Here's to a good semester!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Practice Post

My name is Ashley Howell and I am 19 years old. I was born and raised in Mobile, AL. I have an older sister, Alexandra Howell, and a younger brother, Andrew Howell. My dad is a chemical engineer and my mom is a stay-at-home-mom. My older sister is currently working at Disney World as an intern, and my younger brother is a Junior at UMS-Wright. I attended Cottage Hill Christian Academy my whole life. I was very active in sports playing volleyball, basketball, track, and tennis.Speaking of playing sports, I love to play basketball. I actually coach a middle school girl's basketball team. It has been challenging at times, but I absolutely love it.

My decision to come to South was a difficult one. I had my heart set on Auburn for the longest time. In the end, it was the smarter decision for me to stay at home. Now that I look back, I am so glad I chose South for numerous reasons. I am very close with my family so being able to see them everyday is wonderful. Also, I joined a sorority at South and I have met some of the most amazing sisters. God has allowed me to have so much peace about my decision. One of my major interests and passions has to do with one day being able to teach little kids, preferably kindergarten. I have such a heart for little ones and it means so much to me to be able to make a difference in their lives. I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was little girl, and I can't imagine going into any other field of work.



Some of my other passions are less important things, but still fun. I like to get my nails done, go to the beach, spend time with my sorority sisters and family, shop, and read. One thing that most people might not know is that I have a dream to one day do some work at St. Jude hospital and go on as many mission trips as I can. I love to travel and being able to go all over the world to love on children and share God's Word sounds wonderful to me. As for St. Jude hospital, their whole mission and what they do amazes me. If I could in any way impact the lives of those sick kids, I would forever be grateful.

"The best is yet to be..."