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


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.