Monday, July 13, 2015

Blog Post #14

problem in grey, solution highlighted in green


  • Giving more school choices to families
  • Using technology to improve teaching and learning
  • Adopting knowledge based curriculum
  • Starting education before child is five years old
  • Professionalize teaching/better academic training for teachers; recruit from top third of graduates; job security not based solely on seniority

     The first change mentioned by Joel Klein is the giving of more school choices to families.  Shanker says that teachers should "abandon their support for mandatory assignment of kids to neighborhood schools in favor of 'the greatest possible choice among public schools.'" I agree that school choice could be beneficial for some students but that it may lead to competition to get students into the "best" schools, which would become a problem for families with less resources. In Public School Choice: Issues and Concerns for Urban Educators, Amy Wells Stuart lists recommendations for making school choice a process with equality including: a clear goal statement; outreach to, and information and counseling for, parent; a fair, unrestrictive, noncompetitive, and equitable admissions procedure, with particular attention paid to criteria for enrollment in the most desirable schools;   provision of adequate transportation for students.
     Next Klein says technology needs to be used to improve teaching and learning. Based on all that I have learned in EDM310, I agree that technology is a great way to maximize teaching and learning. Archived: Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students concludes that the role of a teacher is changing to that of a facilitator rather than the main source of information because of
the use of technology in the classroom. The benefits of this include increased motivation and self esteem, increased technical skills, ability to accomplish more difficult tasks, more collaboration with peers, increased use of outside resources, and improved design skills and attention to audience.
      Klein states that adopting a knowledge based system is a needed change. I agree that knowledge based teaching is important because knowledge is needed to perform required skills. Knowledge and skills go hand in hand.
     Another change that Klein mentions is starting education before a child is five years old. I believe that learning is a life long process and that formal education should be started around four years old. As the demands in the early years of education seem to have increased, gaining a solid foundation by beginning school at age four is beneficial. It is imperative though that before age four for children to be engaged in informal learning of their world around them.
     Klein says that the biggest change "would be to professionalize teaching, making it like other well-respected professions, such as law and medicine." His ideas to implement this are to provide better academic training for teachers, recruit from the top thirds of graduates, and base job security on performance rather that solely on seniority. I agree that teaching needs to be a profession that is held to high standards and respected for what is expected to do, which is to produce educated people who will be the leaders, inventors, and workforce of the next generation. 
     There are many changes that could make the education system better for students and teachers. However, as teachers it is our obligation to make sure the children in our care receive the best education possible, whether or not these changes ever occur. Effective teaching must be thought of as more than just a "job." It must become our passion.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Final Part of Blog Post #5

people in PLN
     Although I am still mainly using Twitter for my PLN, it is continually growing. I am now following close to 70 people, most of which are affiliated with the field of Education. I already enjoy reading quotes and articles that will help me as I prepare for my own classroom in the future. I was invited by Barbara Gruener to a #nt2t (New Teachers to Twitter) chat, which unfortunately I was not able to participate in.  I have also begun to use Pinterest to further my PLN as a way to generate ideas for lessons and projects. I can see the benefits of a good PLN and plan on adding to mine and growing it as I progress through this journey of becoming a teacher. I hope to one day be a contributor to the PLN of others one day.


visual of leadership
     In her post What are the Best Ways a Teacher Can Demonstrate Leadership in the Classroom? Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano discusses four component of leadership in the classroom: model, experience, share, and trust. Google defines leadership as the act of leading a group of people or an organization. Although there are many quotes and images about the concept of leadership, she says it is best described as a "Leadership Flow" rather that one best way or another. A leader models the behaviors they desire from their students. A leader also gives plenty of opportunity to experience learning. Sharing the students learning is an important role of a leader.  And finally, trust between the teacher and student is what makes the leadership effective.
     My comment: I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I love your illustration and description of leadership in the classroom. Students naturally follow by example. As teachers, students need to be able to follow us as examples as to what is expected of them. Our example of learning should inspire them to further their own learning.

Anne Frank Museum
      In her post Reflections about Anne Frank and Making Blogging Connections, Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano recalls her recent visit to the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam. She has been writing in a diary for 30 years since she was inspired to do so after reading The Dairy of Anne Frank. She says that "in some shape or from, Anne Frank's dairy put me on the path so many years ago to journaling and decades later to blogging and documenting for learning." She relates Anne Frank's diary entries to blogging, snapchatting, or instagramming.
     My comment: I also read "The Diary of Anne Frank" as a young girl. I love your connections of her diary entries to our modern day social media. I have not really though of it this way before, but social media can  be used as a way to document our lives from our own points of view, for others to read long after we may be gone, to know who we were and what we stood for and believed in, just as Anne Frank's diary has done.
In some shape or form, Anne Frank’s diary put me on the path so many years ago to journaling and decades later to blogging and documenting for learning.

Read more at:
A leader in the classroom is always working on establishing and strengthening trust as an integral component of that leadership flow. Trust is the component that “lubricates” the movement of the flow.

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A leader in the classroom gives students the opportunities to experience the learning.

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A leader in the classroom gives students the opportunities to experience the learning.

Read more at:
A leader in the classroom gives students the opportunities to experience the learning.

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Blog Post #13

What did I leave out?

How can the design of a classroom help or hinder learning?

Read Tom Murray's Six Keys to a Classroom Makeover. At the bottom of the article, there are several links to resources on classroom design. Choose two of these and write a summary of each (three total summaries).

old fashioned and modern classrooms

Summary #1 Six Keys to a Classroom Makeover

Tom Murray was involved in a webinar with Erin Klein, AJ Juliani, and Ben Gilpin. Their main discussion was on the research of designing a brain friendly learning environment. Their conversation produced six main points.
1) Student Voice is Paramount in the Design Process: The classroom should not be focused solely on the teacher. Ask students how they would like to see the classroom designed. Student voice matters. It gives them ownership of the space.
2) Make Comfort and Flexibility Priorities: A high school superintendent chose to go through the day of a student for two days. He quickly realized that one main distraction was his comfort. It was uncomfortable to sit in a hard chair at a metal desk for 52 minutes at a time for seven hours a day. Considering the students comfort when designing the classroom is beneficial to their learning. Classrooms also need to be flexible to allow for movement and student collaboration.
3)  Declutter the Space: Klein says "it’s important to decipher what’s learning information and what’s decoration.” It is important to display information that is relevant to the current study, but many time teachers feel the need to cover every inch of wall space with something. Having too much on the walls is overstimulating and becomes a distraction to students learning.
4) Redesign Doesn't Have to be Costly: "Think creative, not costly." Redesigning (or in our case, designing) a classroom can be done in a cost effective way. A little bit of paint, and a few good finds at yards sales or from family and friends who are cleaning out can go a long way in the classroom.
5) Consider Color, Gender, and Lighting in the Design Process: Colors should be warm and calming and appropriate for both genders. Natural lighting should be used as often as is possible.
6) It's More Than Your Four Walls: Gilpin says that design should be considered throughout the school building, starting at the front door. A well designed school and classrooms will enhance student learning.

Summary #2 3 Classroom Design Tips that Make a Big Impact

Erin Klein says to minimize patterns and choose colors carefully, bring in nature to create a comfortable space, and provide flexible seating arrangements. At the beginning of the school year, her classroom may not look as though she is ready to welcome a new set of students. She purposely leaves some details to be decided and designed by the students. This gives them a voice in their classroom, and they take pride in their contributions to the design. Colors and decorative designs for the classroom are important. Simple patterns are better than busy patterns that can be distracting to students. " Keeping distractions to a minimum is key — especially when displaying content for bulletin boards." Using plants throughout the room is a great way to bring nature. When conditions do not allow for live plants, artificial plants can be used. Klein says that students begin to wiggle, rock in their seat, and even fall out of their chairs due to them being uncomfortable sitting there for so many hours a day.  She created more comfortable seating and maximized space in the classroom for students to collaborate easily.

Summary #3 Are Teachers Distracting Students With Bad Interior Design?

A study "on classroom design from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University suggests that all that educational flair may not be all that great for getting kids to learn." Six new lessons were taught to 24 kindergarteners over a two week period. " Half the lessons were taught in a highly decorated classroom environment, with posters and art all over the walls, and the other half were taught in a classroom with no decoration." Students tested better in the classroom with no decorations. Students in the highly decorated classroom spent more time off task. Many times the items displayed on walls in the classroom do not match the current lesson which can be distracting to students. Researchers are not suggesting a classroom with absolutely no decorations, but rather for teachers to carefully consider their design to enhance student learning and not distract from it.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Blog Post #11

     In Brian Crosby's video Back to the Future, he began by explaining the dynamics of the types of students usually in his class. He showed survey results that revealed to him that his students were disconnected due their lack of authentic experiences. So he created those authentic experiences for them in his classroom. He told of several projects that the class had done and how excited the students were about the work they were doing. He made a list to show how his projects were language intense because the students had to read, write, and articulate orally as part of these projects. He says that this type of learning does not just teach students how to be taught. The collaborating, connecting, empowering, and motivating aspects of PBL make the possibilities for students learning practically endless. He quotes David Cohen saying that all students deserve the opportunity to be taught with meaningful and motivational context which leads to deeper knowledge and enrichment of skills throughout the learning instead of saving that type of learning until after the basics are taught.

explanation of acronym quivers
      In Blended Learning Cycle, Paul Andersen explains blended learning which is comprised of online, mobile, and classroom learning. He then explains the learning cycle which includes the five E's, engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluate. He put these two together to produce the blended learning cycle. He uses the acronym QUIVERS, which stands for question, investigation/inquiry, video, elaboration, review, and summary quiz, in his class. He describes each component in detail and how he uses it in his class. Paul says that the review part of QUIVERS is the most important to him because he asks the students probing questions, and this gives the students opportunity to explain what they have learned which shows true comprehension of knowledge.

cover of Making Thinking Visible
 Mark Church demonstrates how to use the "headline" routine in the video Making Thinking Visible. Students are asked to discuss with their small groups and come up with a headline that describes what they will be learning.  He will use those headlines on a display or bulletin board. Then at the end of the unit, they will make a new headline and compare how their thinking has changed.

spider man comic strip

     In the video Sam Pane 4th Grade, Sam Pane lead a lesson about internet safety. They discussed safety, responsibility, and respectfully. The students then designed a super digital citizen and used that and pictures of themselves to create a comic. In their comic, their digital superhero used their powers to save the day when someone was found not being responsible, safe, or respectful on the internet. This project involved writing and language arts skills as they learned about internet safety. The class did a gallery walk where students had the opportunity to read the comics created by their classmates. This project was a great way to apply real world experience to the students' learning in the classroom.

linked PBL skills

      The video Project Based Learning is about a Canadian school that no longer teaches English, History, and Information Processing as segregated subjects. They use project based learning to engage students and provide a way for deeper understanding. They began by doing projects individually with their own classes. The teachers knew that it was good, but it could be better.  They had it approved to combine these three classes and restructure their class time.  This allowed for more in depth study as the classes were not limited to one hour with the restructure. The students now have time to go further in their learning.

pbl wordle
 Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program is a video that explains in depth what in involved in project based learning. PBL is in depth learning, uses integrated thematic instruction, is based on a real world problem, is research based, and produces projects and presentations. Teachers get students used to public speaking at an early age by presenting their projects. Students also learn how to work together, which is skill that adults use daily in the workplace. PBL allows for student choice, so students have a sense of ownership of their work. Because students learn in different ways, PBL is a excellent means to incorporate differentiation in the classroom. It is beneficial for multiple intelligences and learning styles. Students are engaged by PBL and have an opportunity to question the world around them.

C4Ta #3

blog title with pictures of books
     In her blog Learning Out Loud, Jennifer Brokofsky tells in her post Authentic Learning-Connecting Literacy to Mathematics that she came away with one word, authentic, when ending three days of listening to and learning from Debbie Miler, Patrick Allen, and Penny Kittle. "For these great teachers- Debbie, Patrick, and Penny authentic is about providing students with opportunities to engage in reading and writing in ways that are meaningful, interesting, and relevant to students as individuals." Authentic teaching is more about relationships with students than filling time with activities and worksheets. She questions whether authentic teaching can be used in mathematics. Jennifer concludes that yes, it is possible. Students need to think mathematically instead of just doing the math on the page. Jennifer says that all  "are capable of becoming mathematicians and deserve the time to dig into authentic mathematical experiences."
     My comment: I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I love the word authentic when it comes to teaching. If it is not authentic, then we are just teaching a worksheet or test, which is not always engaging for students. I agree that every child can learn and deserves authentic experiences in the classroom.

deck of cards
     The post If You Give a Kid Some Cards They Will...#PlayMath is about using card games to improve math skills. Jennifer Brokofsky give instructions (which can be read if you click the blog link) for how to play her children's three favorite games, Chase the Ace, Sticks, and Uno. She also shared two links to more games and resources. Games to Play With a Deck of Cards has several wonderful games that allow students to practice various math skills such a place value, addition, or multiplication. Acing Math "is a supply of unique and interesting card games to use in math class that will help make math fun for students." This resource has games for everything from greater than/less than to fractions to decimals, and much, much more.
     My comment: I am also from a card playing family. When all of my extended family were together when I was a kid, the adults would be playing their card games at the kitchen table, and the kids would always have a card game going on in the living room. As the kids have all gotten older, we all play together and are now teaching our own kids how to play. Just the words "playing cards" makes math more enjoyable for kids than constantly reciting math facts or doing worksheets. It will also increase their thinking skills as they practice different strategies for these games. I will definitely be trying some of the card games you mentioned and some that were in your additional resources with my own kids, and I'm excited to use them in my classroom one day!

Project #12B

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Special Blog Post Assignment

picture of Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs

The iPad Learning Studio

The iPad Learning Studio was of particular interest to me because the description "examines specific uses, practices and links for each subject area to be used by educators" tells me that this is a resource that I need and will use. The slides are broken into subjects including science, history, reading, language learners, photography, and math. Each section has an explanation of how to use the iPad for this subject, what's needed, several slides describing the many uses of the iPad for that subject, and a list of links to the resources mentioned in the slides. As a new teacher, this will be especially helpful to me as I incorporate technology in my classroom.

Science 360 Video

I was interested in the Science 360 Videos  website because I think the use of videos in science will be very beneficial to show a concept that is being discussed. The videos are divided into topics and series. There is also a search bar to search for a specific materials. This website will be valuable especially for situations when an experiment cannot be performed in class. Also the videos are embeddable, so students can use them in their projects.


Because reading and writing are essential skills for life, I was excited about Storybird. This is a safe website where you can write stories based on the pictures that have been provided. You can also read stories written by other authors and leave comments for your favorite authors. I would use this in my classroom as an activity to improve writing and reading skills.

Mission US

 Mission US was intriguing to me because history was the hardest subject for me in school, and I would have loved to have a resource that would have allowed me to learn history through games. This website is designed for middle and high school students, so as an elementary major, I would not be able to use this in my classroom. But I think that it is such a great tool that I wanted to include it in my list. It also has a link for teachers with mission guides for each of the four current missions that students can engage in.

In EDM310 we used Rubistar to help us develop our first rubric. There are many templates to use to create rubrics for different topics. Rubrics can be saved and used later. You can also search for rubrics by title, author, or keywords. As a teacher, rubrics will be used often to assess students' work in project based learning.


The idea behind Socrative that teachers can engage students while they are being assessed was interesting to me. Real time questions assessed on tablets, laptops, or smartphones gives teachers immediate feedback about the level of understanding of the class. In my classroom, I will need valid assessments that will show me where my students strengths and weaknesses are.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Blog Post #10

     As seen in the video, First Graders in Mrs. Cassidy's Class, Mrs. Cassidy is a first grade teacher who uses technology in her classroom through the use of blogs, her webpage, wikis, creating videos, Skype, and even Nintendo DS. Her title for the video, "Little Kids...Big Potential" is perfect! In Interview Wwith Kathy Cassidy Part 1, Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 2, and Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 3 Mrs. Cassidy discusses many different aspects of technology in the classroom. Her approach to technology was for professional use in the beginning but has also evolved into her personal life through the development of her PLN.  She began using technology in the classroom about ten years ago when she was given computers for her classroom, and she wanted to get the most use out of them as possible. Mrs. Cassidy says that "kids and technology go hand in hand." Teachers may as well take advantage of the benefits of technology, because it is here to stay. The students love using technology because they have an audience for their work other than the teacher. They can see how many views their blog has gotten and also receive comments on their blog.
      I agree with Mrs. Cassidy that all teachers should be technological literate. She pointed out that some teachers are do not want to change their way of teaching, but that many are somewhere in their journey to becoming technological literate. My hope is that I will always be somewhere along my journey of not only learning technology, but just learning in general. If I ever stop learning, then I need to stop teaching.
     In my future classroom as a kindergarten or first grade teacher, I will most likely implement the class webpage for my students to use. I like that I can put items on there that are useful for what the students need to work on. The students get to choose what they want to do based on what they need to practice. As Mrs. Cassidy mentioned with young students, they need to be reminded that the focus of the game they choose needs to be educational. If a student repeatedly misuses the technology time by not making wise choices, I would then choose their online activity for them. I would also use her advice in the safety of the students by teaching them to only use their first name and not to post a picture of themselves with their name. I also love the idea of using Skype for the children to talk to experts in the subject that the class is learning. The students would get a new perspective on what is being taught. Technology in  the classroom provides a way for students to learn besides just listening to lectures. It provides the opportunity for students to learn through doing what they enjoy.

Blog Post #9

Project Based Learning
      Project Based Learning is beneficial to students of all ages, but it becomes most beneficial when it includes the seven essential elements. According to Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning, those seven elements include: 1) a need to know, 2) a driving question, 3) student voice and choice, 4) 21st century skills, 5) inquiry and innovation, 6) feedback and revision 7) a publicly presented product. As stated by Tony Vincent in Project Based Learning for Teachers, PBL lets students "take charge of their own learning." Projects are aligned with the Common Core Standards which tell the teachers what content needs to taught. PBL lets the teachers choose how to go about teaching a concept. Tony quotes Albert Einstein in saying "I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."
     In Brandon Pflug's blog Project Based Learning in PE, he shows the importance of real world relevance. High school students were asked to create a fitness program for middle school students. While including the six standards of physical education, this project also included important aspects of PBL including collaboration, student choice, 21st century applications, and a publicly presented product.
      In his blog post Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration in Project Based Learning , Mike Gorman gives a list of sites that will help with the collaboration aspect of PBL. His list includes Titan Pad, Wall Wisher, Corkboardme, Google Docs, Today's Meet, Will You Type With Me, Linoit, Skype in Education, and Quick Share Screens. Collaboration is a key part of PBL because it teaches students how to work together.
     In the PBS Newshour video and article Two Students Solve the Problem of Watery Ketchup by Designing a New Cap by Lindsey Foat, the concepts of student choice and real world relevance are reiterated. Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson were students at Liberty High School which participates in the Project Lead the Way Program. Their teacher, Brett Kisker, began with the prompt "that they had to come up with something that was relevant to them. So we always start with the phrase, 'it really bugs me when,'" The students chose their problem, did research to solve their problem, and created a prototype using a 3D printer.
     All of these articles and videos have a common theme that PBL is a valuable tool to be used by students and teachers when essential elements are included in the process. The options are limitless and the result is students who engaged and excited about learning.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Project #14

developmental stages of frog
     My group made a lesson plan for first grade students to work in groups of four to research the developmental stages of an animal, either a frog or a butterfly, from egg to adult. They will create a Google slide show with a picture and write a sentence to describe each stage. They cannot write their sentence about the picture that they chose. It must be written about another group members' picture.

Project #9

Project #12A

Friday, June 19, 2015

Blog Post #8

headshot of Randy Pausch
      In the video, Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, his talk consisted of three sections, including achieving you childhood dreams, helping others achieve their childhood dreams, and lessons learned. This is such an inspirational talk by a man who was truly happy in his life even though he was dealing with terminal cancer. There are many things that I learned about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch.
     Randy says to be specific about your dreams. This can be applied to teaching in our classrooms. Teachers need to be specific in the dreams they have for their students in what they want them to learn. He also says that "brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." Again, as applied to teaching and learning, when things do not go the way we planned the first time in a lesson, how we handle that will show how determined we are as teachers to help our students learn that material.
     I love Randy's statement that "experience is what you get when you didn't get what you expected." Teachers will get lots of "experience" as they continually learn how to teach the students in their class. He mentioned the term "head-fake", which is basically indirect learning. For example, he explains how children learn things like teamwork, perseverance, and sportsmanship from learning to play a sport. Randy says that the best way to teach someone is to have them think they are learning something else. He had a project in which kids learned how to make movies and games, but they were actually learning how to write programs.
     He ends his talk with a list of advice. Be good at something; it makes you valuable. Work hard. Find the best in everyone no matter how long it takes. Be prepared. This is a list that I plan on applying daily in my classroom as I teach my students and learn from them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

C4Ta #2

quote from Peggy George
      In Vicki Davis' blog ECM 150: Education Webinars: The Good, the Bad, and the Fabulous, Peggy George, a moderator of Classroom 2.0 Webinars, explained how webinars work.  Characteristics of a good webinar, including length or topics, depend on what works for the participant. A good way to begin participating in webinars is lurking, which means watching to see how it goes and what others are doing. If there is a chat log, that is the invitation to be active in the conversation. If there is only a question and answer pod, it is inviting one to the conversation. As a participant, Peggy George advised going into the webinar room early and taking notes during the webinar.
     She also had many tips for planning a webinar. Planning a webinar includes preparation and practice sessions. When she plans a webinar, she shares a Google planning doc and slides with the presenters. The goal is to guide the conversation to things that the participants are eager to hear. Make it feel like a conversation and not just someone reading. She also suggested having a back channel moderator to facilitate chat conversations and answer questions. After the webinar, have a Livebinder to share show notes.
     In my comment, I mentioned that I have not yet been involved in a webinar, either a presenter or a participant. Knowing the difference between a chat log and a question and answer pod is beneficial knowledge for anyone going into a podcast for the first time. I am much more prepared to know what to expect when I do participate in a webinar than before reading this post.

      Gary Dietz, an author and father of a special needs child, was the guest on the Every Classroom Matters Podcast. Vicki Davis' blog ECM 91: Undersatnding the Anxieties around Educating Special Needs Kids addresses some of the trepidation of teaching students with special needs. Davis states that one is six children have a developmental disability and one in 68 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. There is a fear of talking about the issues because many do not know the vocabulary and do not want to seem mean or selfish or insensitive. Deitz stresses the fact that fathers play a different, yet very important role in the lives of their special needs child. He says that educators sometimes have a case versus human mentality, in which the student is looked at more as a case of their IEP than human and their needs. Dietz's book Dad's of Disability, which is compilation of many authors' stories, poems, and experiences, was discussed throughout the conversation.
     My comment: I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. As a future educator, I enjoyed this podcast with Gary Dietz. I may not have otherwise put much thought into the role of the father in the life of their special needs child. I agree that his book Dad's of Disability should be on every educator's bookshelf. I plan on getting a copy the book of my own and am looking forward to reading it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blog Post #7

Using iMovie and the Virtual Library in Kindergarten
     In this video, Michelle Bennett explains that one project for Kindergarten students at Gulf Shores Elementary School is to make a book trailer on iMovie. In fact, one of the stations to use in their Kindergarten class while the teacher is working in reading or math groups is iMovie. The students get excited about their final project and want to make sure it is edited perfectly. Their writing has been greatly enhanced by doing these projects. Elizabeth Davis explains how the Alabama Virtual Library works. It is an excellent tool to teach students as young as Kindergarten basic research skills. This site pulls up images and encyclopedias that are perfect for the Kindergarten age. Students can learn how to search by practicing searching a list of animals. Dr. Strange ended this video with the idea of having Kindergarten students make a movie to teach college students how to make a book trailer on iMovie.

We All Become Learners
     Michelle Bennett says that "using devices changes the dynamics of teaching." With the use of devices in the schools, not only are the teachers teaching the students, but the students are teaching the students and even the teachers sometimes. This shift creates an environment for everyone to be a learner and a teacher. Bennett tells of a time when she was taught by a student how to take her picture to put on Padlet. She claims that one thing she does as a librarian is support the teachers by teaching the use of a program to students, so they can use it in the classroom without having to take class time for the teacher to explain how to use the program. The eagerness of the students to show their work to visitors shows that they are excited and engaged, therefore they are learning.

Mrs. Shirley and Ms. Lauber's Students Collaborate
     Ms. Lauber's second grade students taught Mrs. Shirley's first grade students how to make a Key Note Presentation. In the video, the second grader (the teacher) is holding the iPad while the first grader shares her presentation about plants. The first grader did a great job creating and presenting her Key Note Presentation. Having the second grade students teach this skill to the first graders will help strengthen their own skills in using Key Note Presentations.

A Conversation with Two Second Graders: Doing Research and Making Presentations
     Dr. Strange interviewed two second grade students about their presentation on sea turtles. The girls explained in great detail the steps they used to get to their final product, which was a Key Note Presentation. They began by doing research on sea turtles and loggerhead turtles using KidRex or Google Junior. They collected their images and information to put in their presentation. Their final project was presented to their class and the first graders. Both girls said a couple of time that they like doing presentations. They recognize that they are learning new things through this method of PBL.

Christie Whitehead PBL 1
     In this video, Christie Whitehead discussed her excitement as a third grade teacher about PBL and technology. The classroom becomes a community where students and teachers are teaching and learning. The projects are designed in a way to incorporate all core subjects. The students are excited and eager to do more on their projects to the point of asking if they can take it home to do for homework. She says that the possibilities are endless, and the only limit is ourselves.

Mrs. Lauber Interview
     Mrs. Lauber explains the use of the iPad as a learning tool in her second grade classroom. Students are surrounded by technology all the time. They are using the skills that they learn in the classroom to do their own projects at home. Mrs. Lauber starts her PBL with an essential question and a rubric to let the students know what is expected of them for that project. Students begin with pencil and paper to establish the thought process. Then they use their writing in a project such as Key Note Presentation. Their reading for real world research has influenced the students DIBELS scores in a positive way. In this method of teaching, there is more peer teaching, and the teacher is more of a guide in the process of learning.

     A common theme I noticed in all of these videos is that students love using technology in the classroom. They are excited about their work and seem to put more effort into it. The use of project based learning increases performance in many academic areas. PBL also creates an environment in which students and teachers are learners in the classroom. My main weakness is a lack of knowledge in how to conduct a project based learning lesson. Also, a lack of confidence in my technological abilities is a weakness that I need to overcome.  I feel that my strength is the fact that I am willing to learn how to  effectively use this method of teaching to enhance to education of my students.  As I evaluate my skills in conducting project based learning in my future classroom, I realize that at this point I have more weaknesses than strengths. However, I am confident that as I continue my learning in these areas that this ratio will be reversed. 

Project #13

      My group and I made a lesson plan for first grade students to classify and identify leaves and their characteristics. After the collecting of their leaves and doing a crayon rubbing, the students will make a paper slide slideshow to show their leaves and a chart with the characteristics of texture, shape, size, and color.

Project Planner
Project Calendar
Project #13 Rubric

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blog Post #6

word scramle
     I certainly learned a lot of information from Anthony Capps about Project-Based Learning, how it is used in the classroom, and the benefits of using PBL. In the videos, Project Based Learning: Experiences with a Third Grade Teacher Part 1 and Project Based Learning: Experiences with a Third Grade Teacher Part 2, he explains that PBL is a way to get the students to learn something. Traditionally, projects are done at the end of a lesson to show what the students learned. But with PBL, the project is the means through which the students learn. Projects should have an authentic audience, be interesting to students, involve the community, and be driven by content. The key is to create a project that will motivate students seek out information that is needed to meet learning goals or standards. Students begin to understand that the work that they are doing is meaningful. Giving students the chance to have a choice in some aspects of the project is also beneficial in getting the students excited about their work. Providing the opportunity for students to revise and reflect on their work is an essential part of Project Based learning being effective.
     The videos iCurio and Discovery Education explained how these two tools are used in project Based Learning. iCurio provides a safe search for students to use. It also has storage capacity which is useful for organizing information for the students and teachers. This tool is beneficial for learning disabled students because of the feature that will read the text to them. Discovery Education retrieves information that includes videos and test which helps students remember the knowledge. It is also a way to bring experts to the classroom through videos.
     I especially liked the video The Anthony-Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1. 1.) Be a constant learner yourself. 2.) Teaching never ends. It is hard work. It is very rewarding. 3.) Be flexible. The unexpected will happen. 4.) Start with a goal. 5.) Engage 100% of your students 100% of the time in 100% of their projects. 6.) Reflect, revise, share work with an audience. These were very helpful me as a learner of PBL.  The idea of each lesson being in at least four layers was mentioned in Additional Thoughts about Lessons. The project lessons should be thought of as how it will fit in the year, a unit, a week, and a daily lesson. Anthony Capps is a great teacher for his students and those learning about Project Based Learning.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Blog Post #5

     Dr. Strange defines a PLN as "a quality list of set of PEOPLE and TOOLS that you can call upon for help, consultation, collaboration, or other assistance" (Developing a Personal Learning Network). To form your PLN, you search out people who can contribute to what you are trying to research or learn about. In his video PLN, Michael Fawcett explains that he began his PLN by making some connections at a conference. Before this, he considered his PLN to be the other teachers in the staff room. He started following a few new people every week on Twitter. These people were strangers that he could associate with based on their ideas and experiences. He now has an established PLN that he uses to "communicate, connect, and collaborate."

     Forming a PLN is going to be an important and useful tool as I enter the field of Education. It will be a support system to help me with ideas for projects, activities, lesson plans, etc. The resources I will have on hand will be limitless, as well as continually changing. I plan to use Twitter as the main part of my PLN, at least for now. I have already added many teachers and education accounts to follow, including Edutopia, We Are Teachers, and Teaching Ideas. I will continue to add to my PLN by searching for and following those who will be able to answer my questions and contribute to my learning.

people who are connected

Friday, June 5, 2015

Project #7

My Sentence Is...

My Passion Is...


Video to My Students

Video to the Parents of My Students

Thursday, June 4, 2015

C4T #1a

screenshot of Melting Rate video
1. In his blog Science Fix, Darren Fix began his post Melting Rates with a video that was purposed to open a discussion about heat energy. He placed an ice cube on two blocks that looked identical. One ice cube melted much faster than the other one. Surprisingly, the block that melted the ice faster was colder than the other block. We found out in the video that the block on the left was made of foam which is an insulator, so heat energy from the counter could not get through the cube to melt the ice. The block on the right was made of metal which is a good conductor, so heat energy flowed through the block to melt the ice. In my comment, I mentioned that I like to use science projects or hands-on type activities to introduce new concepts. I agreed that this demonstration would be very effective in beginning a discussion about heat energy.

screenshot of Scientific Method Box video
2. In his post Scientific Method Box, Darren Fix also began with a video. This video showed a five sides of a six sided box, and the viewer was asked to figure out what the sixth side looks like by making observations of the sets of opposite sides. The viewer was shown step by step the observations that could be made about the sides of the box including the color, the numbers in the corners and the names in the middle. Then, he showed a box with the expected results and also a new box with unexpected results. He explains that the purpose of creating a hypothesis is not necessarily to prove it right, but also to get results that lead to more questions to investigate. In my comment, I told him that I stopped the video to try to figure out the sixth side myself. Although I was close to figuring out, I did not get the expected result. This post certainly introduced the scientific method in an understandable way.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blog Post #4

people with question marks
 Knowing how to ask questions effectively is an important skill for teachers to develop. Many times teachers ask questions only to be sure that the children understand what has been taught. In the article,The Right Way to Ask a Question in the Classroom by Ben Johnson, he explains a strategy that was researched by Mary Budd Rowe in which the teacher asks a question, waits three seconds, and then calls on a student to give the answer. This obligates students to pay attention to the question being asked, so they will be ready if the teacher calls on them to answer. "Ideally, you should combine "lower-order thinking" (often "closed" questions) to assess students knowledge and comprehension with questions that require "higher-order thinking" (often "open" questions) to assess students abilities to apply, analyze, synthesize,  and evaluate" (Asking Questions to Improve Learning). A "closed" question is one that can be answered with yes or no or a simple phrase. On the other hand, "open" questions have a more in-depth answer and promote deeper thinking and brainstorming. In the video Open Ended Questions, Andi Stix gives several open questions starters, including "for what reason," "in what way," describe or explain in detail," and "generate a list of."
      According to Maryellen Weiner in Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom, there are three techniques for generating good questions that are useful for promoting thinking and participation. First, prepare questions. Do not wait until the class is discussing the topic to think of questions to ask. This will help ensure that your questions make sense and are engaging for the students. Second, play with questions. This is done by asking a question at the beginning of the discussion but not answering it until the end. This technique requires students to consider the question throughout the discussion. Third, preserve questions. Preserving questions means saving questions for a different day or lesson. This helps students practice recalling information and associating what was discussed with new topics. As teachers, the way we ask questions is providing a model for the way our students should learn to ask questions.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Project #15

search with magnifying glass

     "WolframAlpha is an engine for computing answers and providing knowledge" (What is WolframAlpha?). This engine is great for retrieving data and getting answers for mathematical calculations. Basically, you type in what you want to calculate, and it gives you the answer and gives links for more information. It also gives information on how it came up with your answer, as well as, related questions, definitions and sources. The neat thing I liked about this search engine is that it pops up random "Did you know?' questions for you to click if you want to know more.

2. WebCrawler
      WebCrawler is a metasearch engine meaning that it uses search results from other popular search engines such as Yahoo and Google to generate its list of search results. "Results will be listed in separate sections and in order of relevance, with sponsored results at the top and bottom of the page, and organic results showing in between" (About WebCrawler).  The layout of the search makes this site easy for me to use. WebCrawler is useful for general search inquiries.

3. KidRex
     KidRex is an excellent search engine for parents and children. It is powered by Google Custom Search and uses Google SafeSearch to screen keywords, phrases, and URLs. Parents can let their children browse the internet without the threat of inappropriate material popping up in the search results. I will definitely be using this with my children at home and in my classroom.

4. Lycos
     Lycos is useful for creating a network of community and social sites. It works best with narrow and focused searches. You can put quotation marks around a name or text. Also, using a plus sign before a key word means the results must contain the word, or using a minus sign before a key word will exclude that word from search results. As my online network grows, this search engine may become useful to me in the future.

5. DuckDuckGo
     DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that is useful for those who want to maintain their privacy, because it does not share any personal information or track user's activities. It is different in that it generates the same search results to all users for a given search inquiry. I really like the idea of private searching.

6. Webopedia
     Webopedia is useful for those who lack knowledge about definitions of technology and computing terms. It acts as an online dictionary to give definitions words that may be unfamiliar to computer illiterate people. This search engine will definitely be one to remember for future reference.

7. Google Books
     Google Books is a search engine that is useful for anyone interested in reading or teaching reading. It searches thousands of books to find pages that include the search terms. Once the book is found, you can read pages in the book, find reviews, and find out where to obtain a hard copy of the book. As a future educator, I am excited to be able to use this search engine as a resource for reading lessons.

8. iSEEK
     "iSEEK is a great search engine for students, teachers,  and administrators" (15 Educational Search Engines for Research). Scholastic sites are searched to generate results for your question or search words. Results are pulled from reliable sources from universities, government, and non-commercial sites.  This is a search engine that I plan to keep in mind as I enter my career in the education field.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Blog Post #3

edit wordle

Peer editing can be very helpful to classmates for improving their writing. A peer is someone who is your age, and editing means critiquing to revise one's work. Peer editing can be useful when done properly or ineffective and sometimes even hurtful when done incorrectly. It is important to consider how you would feel if you were receiving the comments of correction that you will be giving to someone else. The outcome of peer editing should not be to make someone feel dumb or inadequate, instead it should encourage and challenge your peer to become a better writer.

As stated in What is Peer Editing? and Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial, "compliments, suggestions, and corrections are the three main steps of peer editing." When giving a compliment, it is important to be positive. Suggestions should be specific on what could be changed such as word choice, details, etc. Finally, instruct your peer of corrections in punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, or spelling that need to be made. The end result of peer editing should be meaningful feedback that is useful for enhancing one's writing.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Blog Post #2

1.) Mr. Dancealot
   The central message of this video is that learning is an active process. Teaching cannot always be done with lectures and slides, as was the case in this dance class. Students were only told how to do the dance steps and shown how to do them. The students were not allowed to actually do the dance steps in class. The author proves this idea by showing that the students were unable to efficiently complete the final exam, because they were not given the opportunity to be active in the process of learning the dance steps. I agree with the author that being an active participant in what you are learning, along with being told and shown what to do, will make the learning process more successful.

2.) Teaching in the 21st Century
I. Virtually limitless information because students can find:
   a. Anything
II. Teach students how to handle resources
   a. Remember, understand, apply
   b. Analyze, evaluate, create
III. Rethink tools used in the classroom
   a. Pencils, paper, textbooks, notecards
   b. Laptops, cellphones, ipods
IV. Any lesson has to be:
   a. Relevant
   c.Engaging (engaging is not the same as entertaining)
V.Where does it start?
   a. With you!

   I think Kevin Roberts is correct with his idea that the way of learning in the 21st century is ever-changing as new technologies are continually introduced. As an educator, this means I will be continually changing the methods in my classroom to embrace these changes. Although teachers are "no longer the main source of knowledge" (Roberts), we need to effectively be "the filter" (Roberts) for the information our students are learning.

different types of media
3.) The Networked Student
   At the beginning of the video, it seemed that Wendy Drexler was promoting a classroom with no teacher involvement. By the end of the video, she makes the point of why a teacher is needed even for the networked student. I think teachers will always have a place in the classroom, no matter how much technology is used. The teacher is responsible to teach the networked student how to build their network. Teachers in any classroom are there to offer guidance in the process of learning. Networked students will also need a teacher to show them how to communicate with others in their network and how to make sure they are acquiring good information useful for their task. Finally, teachers help the networked student in organizing all of the information they have received.

4.) Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
   The thesis of Vicki Davis' video is that every student has the ability to learn, but only certain students will be successful in learning with only the pencil and paper method of teaching. I agree with the fact that all students can learn. I think the opposite could also be said that only certain students will be successful with a strictly technology based method of teaching. All students are different and learn differently. I believe that a well-rounded education has many forms of teaching in the classroom, including pencil and paper, technology, hands-on activities, and even lecturing.

5.)Who's Ahead in the Learning Race?
   It seems clear, according to the video, that elementary students are ahead in the learning race. I have made the comment may times that my own children know more about smart phones and computers than I do. I believe the reason for this is that they are exposed to technology at such an early age. They already have a basic, or for some an in-depth knowledge of technology before they enter kindergarten, whereas older students did not have the benefit of being exposed to all this at their age.

6.)Flipping the Classroom
   Flipping the classroom is a new concept to me. I think it could be useful to me as a teacher when used in moderation, like one subject per night or less. I think if students are required to watch videos in every subject every night, it will become a dreaded experience for them, thus hindering its effectiveness. Also, it seems that the students who do not have a computer at home would be severely disadvantaged in this process. If you have to give them time to watch the videos at school, it would not free up much time during the day, because the class would be waiting for those students to catch up on the assignment each time. As a future educator, I can see myself using flipping in my classroom as a way to give the students variety, but it would not replace the other methods of teaching.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blog Post #1

I have not heard much about EDM310 except that it requires a lot of work time outside of class. I am fearful of the heavy work load involved with this class, especially with it being compacted into a short summer semester. I have not had a class like EDM310 before, because many of my previous classes involved lectures and/or reading to gain knowledge for quizzes and exams, whereas this class is mostly based on activities and projects. The concept of individual learning is also very different than other classes that I have taken. The one comparison that I have seen in all of my classes is needing excellent time management skills.

Since I have only a basic knowledge of computers, the most difficult part of EDM310 will probably be learning so many new programs and applications in such a short amount of time while also trying to handle the work load in my three other classes. I plan to address this difficult aspect by asking questions when I cannot figure out how to do something after reading all of the provided information and instructions.

I currently do not have any questions about EDM310. However, I am sure that questions may arise as new concepts and tasks are put before me. Although I am unsure of exactly what to expect in this class, I do plan on doing my best in each assignment. I am excited about the new things I will learn this semester!
computer with books coming out of screen

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Practice Blog Post

I. Who I am
  A. Where I have lived
  B. Major interests
  C. Attending USA
  D. Personal/family information
II. Why I want to be an educator
III. What an educator does in his/her profession in the 21st century
IV. My passions

     My name is Dawn Oliver. My early childhood years were spent in Gautier, MS. When I was 11 years old, my family and I moved to Hurley, MS. I moved to Grand Bay, AL, where I currently live, when my husband and I got married. Due to transfers with my husbands jobs, I have also lived in Birmingham, AL and Jackson, MS for two years and one year, respectivley. One of my favorite things to do is spending time with my family, including my church family. We are very involved as a family in the activities of our church. I also love spending time at the beach. It is one of my favorite places to be. I am majoring in Elementary Education at the University of South Alabama. I chose this college because it is an easy commute from home, and it has a great Education Program.
     My parents have been married for over 35 years. I have a brother and an identical twin sister. My husband and I have been married for 15 years, and we have two children together. Our daughter, Shelby, is 13 years old, and our son, Andrew, is 10 years old. They participate in many activities in their schools. My husband is currently in classes to be ordained as a minister in the Assemblies of God. He is also the Youth Pastor at our church.
     Deciding to be an educator has been a journey for me. I have worked with young children at church, in daycare centers, and at Christian schools. I knew I wanted to be a parent first. But as my children have grown, I have had more time to spend outside the home working with other children. I get great joy out knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of the children that I teach.
     I believe that an educator's work in the 21st century is ever changing. A teacher must keep up with the latest standards and technologies. One of the most important aspects to me as a teacher is to make learning fun and understandable for all students. Teachers play many roles in the lives of their students, including but not limited to, being a nurse, a caregiver, an encourager, someone they can talk to, and a source of acceptance and love.
      My passion is children. I want to teach them how to learn and to love to learn! I love to see a child's sense of accomplishment and pride when they learn something new. I want children to understand that learning can happen anywhere and anytime, not just in the classroom at school.

chalkboard with teaching quote