Friday, December 6, 2013

Blog Post # 16

Final Reflection

Not the end, but the beginning After graduating, I hope to teach grades K-2. I want my students to feel welcomed and safe in the classroom. I want them to know that it is not my classroom, but our classroom. I want them to know that throughout the school year, our class is a place where we will learn and grow together, that we are free to be creative, make mistakes and express our opinions and views with one another. Creating a positive learning environment is very important. My classroom will be a very colorful and inviting place. I want my students to look forward to coming to school, everyday they walk into the class, I want them to be excited and ready to learn and have fun while learning. I want to be a voice of encouragement for my students, I want to inspire to dream and to believe in themselves and to never doubt their capability. 

Project-Based Learning In class my students will be active participants by being hands on learners. This semester, I have learned a great deal about project-based learning, and I have even had the opportunity to create some project-based learning lesson plans. Project-based learning allows students to be more creative and allows students to demonstrate what they can do, oppose to the traditional multiple choice tests, which only allows students to recall information. With this method, I want to be able to help my students realize that they are in control of their learning journey and can learn on their own. Basically, I want them to know that they don't need their teacher to spoon feed them information and that they are capable of being continuous learners, in and outside of the classroom.  

Technology in the Classroom Throughout this semester in EDM310, I have learned about many valuable tools that I will use in my future classroom. One of those tools is blogging. I will definitely blog as a teacher and my students will also have their own blogs, depending on which grade I teach. If I teach Kindergarten, we will have one blog, which will host students work as a class; if I am teaching first or second, my students will have their own blogs. Blogging has been a very important tool used in EDM310, not only are we sharing our blog posts, but we have shared many different projects such as: book trailers, prezis, google presentations, recorded Smartboard lessons, and project-based learning lesson plans. This is the great aspect of blogging, because students will be able to share all of the work they have created throughout the school year, through their class blogs. Blogging is also important in terms of improving writing skills, communicating, and collaborating. Through blogging my students will be able to connect with different people around the world, be it other elementary students, college students, or other teachers. This way their work is taken outside of the classroom walls and they will be able to receive feedback from someone other than me. Blogging is also important, because blogs are like online portfolios. A blog is concrete evidence of what students are learning in class, so when parents are wondering what their child is learning in class, all they would have to do is check out their child's blog and all of their work would be located on their blogs. 

One of the projects I mentioned above was to create a book trailer. To create book trailers, one needs to have access to either a Mac or an iPad, so they have access to iMovie, which has the book trailer feature. Creating the book trailer was a really fun experience. I had a great deal of fun with it, and can only imagine how much fun my students will have with the feature. I hope to to create more book trailers to share with my future students and have them create their own book trailers featuring their favorite books. 
Book Trailers

Google sites is a really great resource, and one I plan on using in my classroom. It is free and very easy to use. I will use this resource to create a class webpage. An idea I took from the skype interview with Ms. Cassidy, is to include links to learning activities or games students can play at school or at home. I would also use the site as a way of connecting and staying in touch with parents. I will provide my email, among other ways, that parents will be able to contact me. I will use the site to share newsletters, and update parents on any classroom or school activities. 

The Smartboard is another tool, I will take advantage of using in my class. I would create my own Smartboard lesson or use one that is provided through Smart Exchange. The Smartboard is useful because it allows learning to become interactive. I believe the Smartboard will definitely play a role in keeping students engaged during lessons. They will be able to come up to the Smartboard and interact with it and manipulate objects. The Smartboard can also be used as a center in the class, there are many games and activities students can do, either individually or as a small group, via the Smartboard. 

Listed above are just a few of the tools I and my students will use in my future class. I have learned about many tools and resources throughout this semester in EDM310, maybe far to many to properly discuss in this blog post. One of those  resources is the Buck Institue of Education (BIE), which is a great resource for creating project-based learning lesson plans. Some tools are DiscoveryEd, iCurio, padlet, Skype, Web 2.0, primary wall, voice thread, story bird, podcasting and many more that I hope to incorporate into my future classroom. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blog Post # 15

What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher? Select a few and discuss how they may be useful to you.

What is assistive technology?

Many students are faced with barriers to learning due to some sort of disability. Those disabilities may be physical, sensory, or cognitive. According to South Carolina Assistive Technology Program, assistive technology is any tool that helps students with disabilities do things more quickly, easily, or independent. When teachers properly integrate assistive technology, students are then provided with a variety of helpful tools that can aide them in their learning. 

The iPad itself is an assistive technology tool, but there are many apps that have been created to aide all types of students in their learning. The virtual speech center features a variety of apps that contribute to students success in and outside of the classroom. 

One app that I found interesting is the Multiple Meanings Library. This particular app was created by a certified speech and language pathologist. The app was created for students between the ages of 5 and 15 who struggle with oral and written comprehension of words that have multiple meanings. The site says that, "having knowledge of multiple meanings is critical for both oral and written communication and a successful education."

This app may be used for students who face any of the following difficulties:

Receptive/expressive language disorders
Word finding problems
Learning Disorders 

The app features five types of activities that allow students to practice multiple meaning:
Auditory Bombardment
Picture Identification 
Make-up Sentences (with audio recording feature)

Speech Therapy

Abilipad is an effective technology tool that aides students in their writing. It features a  customizable keyboard and an adaptive notepad that has word prediction and a text to speech feature. 

Some features of Abilipad:
The keyboard editor enables one to quickly and easily create customized keyboard layouts. 
The student can assign each key any word, letter, sentence, or picture
Students are able to merge cells together in order to create larger keys
Creates audio recordings

Writing tool for the iPad

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Project # 2 PLN

Personal Learning Network: Final Report

My personal learning network

For my PLN, I  used Symbaloo. I have added my EDM310 blog as well as the EDM310 class blog. I have also added iCurio, Discovery Ed, and Buck Institute for Education(BIE), as these are important resources teachers should use in the classroom. 

Blogs that I have added:
That's So Second Grade - This is Mrs. Pennell's blog and she is a second grade teacher in North Carolina. 
Step Into Second Grade - Mrs. Lemons blog, she is also a second grade teacher. 
The Primary Chalkboard - This blog is ran by 21 different teachers, whom all teach either first or second grade. 
John Spencer's EdRethink Blog 

I have also added The Teacher Garden, which is similar to Teachers pay Teachers. They both offer a variety of materials submitted by different teachers, that other teachers can download and use in their classroom. 

Other sites I have added:
Teaching Channel
Web 2.0 Tools
Alabama's Virtual Library 
Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)

Project # 12 Part B (Collaborative)

SmartBoard Instruction (Video Lesson)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blog Post # 14

What Did I Leave Out?

Creating a Safe Classroom Community and Building a Relationship with your Students

How will you build relationships with your students and create a safe learning environment?

Watch the video:

How could you or will you incorpate any tips from the above material in your classroom?

Ms. Saul is a third grade teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School in East Palo Alto, CA. In this video she discusses how she creates and maintains a safe and positive classroom culture. She says that you have to normalize air and let the students know that making mistakes are okay. She says that, it is essential to have a plan for establishing and maintaing the classroom environment. It is "the bed you plant the flowers in, and they need to flourish and grow." One way she maintains a safe learning environment, is by having a serious discussion with her students about their responsibility in maintaining their learning environment. 
Teaching Compassion

I definitely want my students to feel safe and welcomed in the classroom. I want my students to be compassionate and respectful towards their teacher and their fellow classmates. One thing that I really like about this video is that Ms. Saul creates, with her students, a classroom pledge. The pledge is a list of hopes, goals, and dreams the students would like to achieve throughout the year. I like this idea, because, I believe that discussing and writing out the classroom pledge with the students would be an effective tool in maintaining a positve atmosphere in the classroom. When students partake in making this pledge, they may feel more obliged to honor it. I would definitely use this in my classroom to ensure that all my students feel safe and willing to express themselves and their ideas. Ms. Saul says this approach helps students to make judgements about inappropriate behavior, and is more effective than the teacher redirecting. 

Rita Pierson has been teaching for over 40 years. She has been a counselor, a testing coordinator, and an assistant principal. She has a desire to know her students, show them how much they matter, and support them in their growth. 

James Comer said, "No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship."
Build relationships by building self-esteem in your students and letting them know you care. The following is a saying that Ms. Pierson gave to her students: 'I am somebody. I was somebody when I came. I'll be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful, and I am strong." There are a lot of factors that can affect your students learning. By building a relationship with them, we as educators have the power to have a positve affect on their learning and self-esteem. One way to do this is by showing our students we are human and can say the words "I'm sorry". If a teacher makes a mistake or knows she/he has done or said something wrong, they should take the step and apologize to their student(s). Another way is by getting to know our students beyond an academic level. We should connect with our students and let them know that we are not just here to teach content, and that we actually care about them as a person."Teaching and learning should bring joy, how powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, not afraid to think, and had a champion." Every child deserves an adult, who will not give up on them and insist that they become the best they could possibly be. 
Teach with Care

C4T #4 Summary

Learning with 'e's

Steve Wheeler is an Associate Professor of learning technology in the Plymouth Institute of Education at Plymouth University. 

In this post, Mr. Wheeler addresses how people have become dependent on the technology they carry around with them. "Computer dependency is defined as 'relying on computers to fulfill a need or compulsion'." He asks, "Have you ever for example, been without your mobile phone or other device for a period of time and suffered 'with drawl symptoms'?" He describes how he handled being disconnected from all of his devices, which he deliberately left at home, while on holiday. He said the first two days were pretty tough, because he was worried about all the text messages or calls he might miss and what people would think of him if he didn't reply. He also obsessed over the fact that his email would pile up and he would have to deal with that when he got back home. He say that, he eventually began to relax, and although he still thought about his online life, it was no longer an obsession and he was able to enjoy his holiday.

Mr. Wheeler discusses two psychological theories that may help people to understand the phenomenon of computer dependency. The first is Julian Rotter's locus of control theory. According to Wheeler, Rotter's locus of control  theory" may explain some of the discomfort we experience when we feel we have lost control over our online lives." When we are disconnected from the internet or have to go without mobile devices, we may become emotional wrecks. Mr. Wheeler describes his daughter after her cell phone had been stolen. He says she was upset and tearfully told him "she had lost all her friends." The lost of her cell phone made her believe she had lost all contact with her friends. The second is Leon Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory. Have you ever spent more time online than you knew you should have? Have you found yourself spending hours surfing the net, playing online games, or surfing around a social networking site when you know you should have been doing something else? Do you come up with excuses trying to justify your actions? These actions are how Festinger's theory relate to computer dependency. "According to Festinger, this is the result of cognitive dissonance - where a conflict of beliefs can be 'resolved' by a form of rationalisation - usually excuse making that justifies doing what you know is bad for you."

My Comment:

I am not dependent on my iphone, honestly I can go days without it. However, I am currently playing this game on my iPad and I have found myself spending far too much time playing it, when I know I should be doing more important things. The story about your daughter is very interesting and reminds me of my youngest sister. She left her phone in my mother's car and was upset because my mother went to work with the phone in the car. A little time had passed and she came into the room with a sad look on her face. I asked her, "Whats wrong?" Her reply: "I just wish I had my cell phone." 

C4K Summary for November

Tui's Blog

My ninth C4K was for Tui, a year 8 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. For her blog post, titled "Show not tell", she wrote about the after math of a plane crash in the jungle. There were 3 survivors: Kelly, an explorer and Jacob and Mike, two doctors, who were on their way to help kids in Africa. She wrote that they were surrounded by tall trees and didn't know North from South, but decided they would work together to find their way out of the jungle. She ended her post with "To Be Continued". 
In my comment to Tui, I told her that her story was very creative and interesting. I said that she gives her readers a very vivid description of the jungle and the plane crash. I told her that, I enjoyed reading her story and hope I get a chance to read the finished product.
The Jungle

My tenth C4K was for Emma, she is a student in Ms. Cassidy's first grade class. Emma and her classmates had been learning how to use colour to show feelings. To wrap up this unit, she and her classmates got to create a piece of artwork conveying any emotion of their choosing. In her blog post "Colours and Feelings" Emma painted a picture of happy. 
In my comment to Emma, I stated that I loved the artwork she had created. I told her, that I like the fact that we are able to express our feelings and emotions through colours. I told her she had done a great job and to keep up the good work. 
Emma's Painting of Happy

I also commented on Emma's Halloween blog post. She drew a picture of a leopard, which is what her Halloween costume was.
In my comment to Emma, I said, I see you were a leopard for Halloween. I told her my niece was supposed to be a Ladybug, but she got sick on Halloween. I told her that I hoped that she had fun and enjoyed herself.
Emma's Drawing of a Leopard

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post # 13 Collaborative

What can we learn from these TED talks?

Shane Koyczan grew up in Penticton, British Columbia. He is an award winning poet, author, and performer. He published his first book of poetry collection, Visiting Hours, in 2005. Visiting Hours was selected for the Best Book of the Year in 2005, by the Guardian and Globe and Mail. The world took notice when his influential poem "To This Day" went viral. The recognition he received from this powerful poem led to his TED talk in February 2013. 
To this day poem

In this TED talk, Mr. Koyczan delivers his spoken word poem about bullying and what it means for children who are bullied. He speaks about his personal experiences of being bullied as a child. His poem also addresses the long term effects bullying has had on a woman who was his classmate in elementary school. 

Mr. Koyczan says that standing up for ones self is hard to do, if they don't know who they are. At an early age we are expected to define who we are and if we don't do it, we can count on our classmates to do it for us. The words: geek, fatty, slut, and ugly are just a few of the terms that are used by our classmates to describe who we are. Insecurity starts when we are assigned these roles, we take on a negative view of ourselves because we can't help but believe that the words they speak are true. One of the biggest lies ever told is, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." "As if broken bones hurt worse than the names we were called." Physical wounds are the ones that heal, it is the emotional ones that seem to last forever. 

Teachers, parents, and other adults also play the role of bully. Mr. Koyczan spoke about his dream of being a journalist, a dream that was quickly shot down, because he was told to be realistic. He then said he wanted to be a professional wrestler, to which the reply was "now don't be stupid." People asked him what he wanted to be, and then told him what not to be or what he couldn't be. As adults we should encourage children to dream, to imagine the possibilities that life has to offer. There should never be a time when an adult believes he/she has the right to dismiss a child's dream. 
I will love myself

"To this day kids are still being called names." There has been a lot of talk about stopping bullying in schools. I question whether this can be done, bullying didn't begin recently, it has been around for years. I'm not saying that we should stop trying to teach our students/children to be compassionate, kind human beings, just that we should teach students who are being bullied how to rise above bullying. We need to help them see the beauty that lies within themselves. "Our lives will always continue to be a balancing act, when it has less to do with pain and more to do with beauty."

To This Day Project

What can we learn from these TED talks?
 By: Edna Montgomery

These speakers all had the same message, let’s move forward in a new direction of educating our children. Each had a passion for the message they were speaking about. A genuine concern, for the need to reform our education system, is the main theme in just about all of these speeches. Much can be learned, examples of inexpensive ways, encouraging your students, and peers helping peers are just a few of what these speakers shared in reinventing the classrooms. Educators can think on these speeches and walk in the classroom with the students future in mind. Hopefully, their thought will be that technology and hand on type learning will help in fulfilling my job of readying these students for what is present in today’s world, not yesterday’s world.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Post # 12

What can we learn from Sir Ken Robinson?

Sir Ken Robinson states that every country is reforming public education for two reasons:

  • Economic - How do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st century, when we don’t know what the economy will look like at the end of the next week.
  • Cultural - How do we educate our children so they have a sense of cultural identity, so we can pass on the cultural genes of our communities, while being a part of Globalisation.

Our problem is that we are trying to reach  today’s students with what they used in the past, and this approach alienates those students who believe that their is no reason for going to school. Our current system of education was developed for a different age. When we were  in school, we were kept there with a story; If you were a hard worker and went to college, you would be a more successful person. 21st century students are not buying into this, because the truth is our economy is unstable, college degrees no longer guarantee jobs.

Sir Robinson also states that we are getting children through education by  anaesthetising them. This has happened because many children have been classified as having ADHD, which has led to them being medicated to control their behavior while they are in school. I personally don’t see the point in medicating our children, if they are not sleeping all day, they are basically like zombies. When our children are sleeping during class or walking around like drones, how is the medication beneficial to their learning? It’s not. Rather than putting our students to sleep and killing their natural creativity and curiosity, we should be “waking them up to what is inside themselves.”

Our schools are organized like factories and we educate children in batches, robbing them of their creativity and disabling them from being Divergent Thinkers. Children are born divergent thinkers, they are curious, they are always asking questions and then want to know why that’s the answer. They don’t believe everything they are told and question why they should. As children go through school their capacity to think divergent steadily decreases, because they are continuously taught to think convergent, to believe that their is only one answer and to not question that answer.

What can we learn from Mr. Robinson?

That in order to even attempt to fix this problem we must change the way we approach teaching. We have to wake up ourselves and realize that the methods used in the past belong in the past. As teachers, it is our job to inspire our students to be learners and thinkers. We should enable our students to be divergent thinkers and let them know their are many ways to interpret questions, which can have multiple answers. Rather than stifling our students creativity we should encourage them to explore their creativity and share it with others. Mr. Robinson states that we should realize that the greatest learning happens in groups. When students work together they may be more inclined to share their thoughts and opinions with their peers.

Harvest your Creativity

What can we learn from Sir Ken Robinson? by: Edna Montgomery

The first thing I would love to grab from Sir Ken Robinson’s speeches, is his statement of being afraid of making mistakes. This has been a great problem for me. He points out that children are not afraid of mistakes and how this is part of their being. Our education system erases that born ability, he states, which is the reason so many of us are not at our height in life. This has been a blessing for me to hear this dynamic speaker; his speeches have released some of the chains from my thinking.

Also, Sir Ken Robinson has given us the vision we need in helping reform education. All schools need to send a representative to Finland, to take notes, for keeping our students interested in school.  Schools,  modeling people for the job market, is something I did not think about. The amount of useless degrees in our society is enough evidence to change this practice. The job market and economy are not in step with this practice anymore.

It is time to approach our students  with different methods of learning. Sir Ken Robinson has shown us the directions to start.

Be Creative, Don't fear Mistakes

Friday, November 8, 2013

Project # 15

Project-Based Learning Lesson Plan # 3

PBL Lesson Plan #3 (The Shape Detectives) created by: Jasmine McCall

This lesson plan addresses Math/Geometry. Students will learn about 2-dimensional shapes and how to identify those shapes in their environments. This lesson plan is intended for Kindergarten students and covers a period of one week.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blog Post # 11

Little Kids...Big Potential 

This is a compilation video created by Ms. Cassidy, that features her past and current students informing their audience about how they use certain technology tools in class and how those tools are beneficial to them. The students use many different forms of technology in the classroom, such as: blogging, wikis, webpages, and skype. Comments are very important to the students, when they receive comments they know that people are reading their blogs, which makes them want to write more. Some students stated that blogging has improved their writing and they are able to see and sound out words much better. The students also created a wiki, which they used to communicate and connect with many different people to learn about different traditions and rituals. Ms. Cassidy also allowed her students to use a DS in the classroom, while I'm not sure if the game they were playing was beneficial to their learning, I do believe this could be considered a "head fake". While playing with DS, students learned to share, make decisions, and became better problem solvers.
Adventures in First Grade

Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

"We have to change, the world has changed." I admirer Ms. Cassidy's approach to technology. She was given three new computers, and rather than letting them collect dust, she began researching different ways the computers could be beneficial to her students. 

One idea I really liked was the classroom webpage, created by Ms. Cassidy. I plan on having a classroom web page and a class blog. The web page is not only used for informing parents about what is happening in the classroom, but is a place that students can visit when they are at home and want to play educational games or activities. Parents don't have to search for content that is educational, because it is already provided by the teacher. With some assistance from their parents, students would only have to go to the classroom webpage and click on the links or material provided by their teacher. 

I would certainly use her technique for teaching students about protecting themselves on the internet and the dos and don'ts of the internet. In order to protect their privacy, students are only able to use their first names when blogging. If the teacher posts pictures of her students to the blog, she doesn't match the photo of the child with the name. Ms. Cassidy also said we should be teaching our students how to be digital citizens. Digital citizens try to be positive and offer constructive criticism when commenting. If conflict does arise, the best thing to do is to talk to the students and discuss any negative remarks they have made. 

Ms. Cassidy says that when approaching technology, start with what you are interested in. If you are interested in making videos, you should join YouTube, photography, you should create a flickr account, writing, you should start blogging. I hope to incorporate all of these tools into my classroom, and let my students explore and use them. Hopefully one of these tools will peak their interest and they will continue to use them outside of the classroom.
First Graders Blogging

One impediment I might encounter, is the lack of tools and resources. As of right now, not all schools have an iPad, laptop, notebook, or computer for each student. Some elementary schools don't even allow their lower level students to use the computer lab. I would address the use of the computer lab problem, by talking to the Principal and discussing how using technology would be beneficial to my student's learning. 

One benefit from using technology in the classroom is that it will aide in creating a fun and engaging environment for my students. A benefit from having my students blogging is that their blogs will be online portfolios of the work they have created throughout the year. Parents are able to see their child's progress, teachers are able to see where their students were at the end of their last school year, and students are able to go back and reflect on the work they created and see how they have progressed.
Fun in the First Grade

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Project #12

C4T # 3 Summary

 John Spencer's Blog: Education Rethink

Eight Reasons Yoda Was a Great Teacher

1. Compassion - He would do anything for his students and seems to be motivated by compassion for students even when it costs him personally.
2. Humility - Yoda was humble and willing to sacrifice fame and fortune in order to help others. "Great teachers have this sense of humility when they teach. 
3. Discovery - Yoda doesn't lay out systematic framework, he allows Luke to discover his identity and grow in wisdom.
4. Character - Instead of focusing on education as merely the acquisition of a skill set, Yoda was able to focus on the character of a Jedi instead. "For all the talk of reaching the "whole student", I find this mindset missing in schools - the notion that education has the potential to make us better people."
5. Preservance - Yoda understood students need to struggle, work hard, and keep going.
6. Just Enough Help - Yoda could've defeated Darth Vader, but he let Luke do it instead. "Great teachers know when to step out of the way and allow their students to thrive."
7.Potential - Yoda saw potential in Luke when others didn't. "There is value in teachers being able to see students honestly instead of being wowed by someone's giftedness."
8. Simplicity - Sometimes wisdom is simple and sometimes proverbs are profound. "Slow down/calm minds through the use of simplicity."  

My comment to Mr. Spencer:
I have enjoyed reading your blog posts. As a future teacher, I definitely identify with this post, as I feel these are traits all teachers should have. Compassion is definitely one that stands out for me, I believe as teachers we should have patience with our students and understand their individual needs. Discovery and Just Enough Help also standout, because they correlate with project-based learning. We shouldn't limit our students to what we want them to learn, but instead create an opportunity that allows them to discover and learn on their own and create work that is beyond our expectations.

Friday, November 1, 2013

C4K Summary for October

Greg Pickle's Blog

My fifth C4K was for Greg, a fourth grader in British Columbia. His blog post assignment for the week was to right at least five sentences, expressing his thoughts and ideas, by answering questions relating to Chapter 7 from the book Out of My Mind. 
These are the questions that were asked by his teachers:
1.   Right away in Chapter 7, Melody talks about how she dreams she can do anything. Think about a dream that you have had. How can you make that dream into a reality?
2.    Why do you think it is hard for teachers to stay with Melody and her class?
3.    Why do you think the episode with Mrs. Billups is important to the story as a whole?
In his blog post Greg stated that Melody did not want to stand out and she wanted to be able to do all the things she could do in her dreams such as: walking, talking, and running. He also states that Melody's teachers may leave because they don't not understand Melody or her classmates.
In my comment to Greg, I told him I thought that it was very perceptive of him, when he stated that the teacher does not understand Melody or her classmates. I then told him, teachers may leave Melody and her class, due to their inability to understand the way the students think and function. Good job on your blog post! 
Mummy Sacrophagus

My sixth C4K was for a student named Natasha. For her blog post, she listed and described the four levels of the forest. She briefly described the subfloor, the floor, the understory, and the canopy. She also provided a picture and a link related to each level. 
In my comment to Natasha, I told her that I enjoyed her blog post and that I liked the pictures she chose. I told her she did an excellent job describing the four layers of the forest. 
Levels of the Forest

My seventh C4K was for Jack, a fifth grader at Medbury School for Boys in Christchurch, New Zealand. In his "The Mummy Returns" blog post, he has written a poem, in which he details a first hand account of dying and going through the process of mummification. He writes a very vivid and detailed portrayal of the mummification process, the preparation for burial, and of his soul being awakened and drawn into his tomb, which is inside his pyramid. 
In my comment to Jack, I told him that his poem was very well written and I enjoyed reading it. I told him, that I thought he gave his readers a very vivid desrciption of mummification and to keep up the good work. 

My eighth C4K was for Maddie, a seventh grader in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Maddie and her classmates are reading the book Out of My Mind, by: Sharon M. Draper. Maddie's blog post assignment was to describe the main character and to state wheter or not she would like to be friends with the main character. Then she was to explain why she would like to be friends with the character or why she wouldn't like to be friends with the character. 

In Maddie's post, she states that Melody, who is the main character, has cerebral palsy and cannot verbally communicate with her peers or family. She says on certain levels she would like to be friends with Melody, but she thinks that she wouldn't be able to understand her. She says that some meaning could be lost in translation, because Melody isn't able to make complete sentences or phrases when she is trying to communicate using her board. 

In my comment to Maddie, I wrote, I think you did a good job on your post and I like that you were honest about your reluctance to be  Melody's friend. However, rather than letting this issue hinder your friendship, why not try to come up with a solution. 
Think about this:
If you met someone who spoke Spanish or any foreign language that you did not speak, would you dismiss this person as a friend or would you work with them to bridge the gap of communication? 

Finding Ways to Communicate

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Post # 10

What can we learn about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch?

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He co-founded the Entertainment Technology Center and helped to develop Alice, a program used to teach computer programming. He gained public fame after delivering what would become known as,"The Last Lecture".

Mr. Pausch begins his infamous "Last Lecture" by introducing the elephant in the room. He informs the audience that he has been diagnosed with cancer, but tells them not to pity him, because he is in better shape than them. Mr. Pausch then tells the audience what the talk will consist of:

1.My Childhood Dreams
2.Enabling the Dreams of Others 
3.Lessons Learned: How you can achieve your dreams or enable the dreams of others. 

Mr. Paush then states what his childhood dreams were: being in zero gravity, playing in the NFL, authoring an article in the World Book encyclopedia, being Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, and being a disney imagineer. 

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted."
Mr. Paush achieved nearly all of his childhood dreams but one, playing in the NFL. Although he didn't achieve this dream, he received things more valuable from his experiences playing football as a child. Mr. Pausch referred to football as a "head fake", which is indirect learning. He says that football is a "head fake" because learning to play football is not the goal. In actuality children who play sports or participate in extracurricular activities learn team work, perseverance, and sportsmanship.

"Anything is Possible"
As future educators we should believe that anything is possible and model this belief for our students. We should encourage them to have dreams and set goals for themselves. Our students should never think that a dream is unrealistic. If they close their minds to possibilities, they will never know what opportunities they may have in the future. "Don't lose sight of the inspiration and the permission to dream is huge."
Dream Huge

"Brick walls are there for a reason: They let us show how badly we want things. Brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it bad enough."
Teachers will face many obstacles, in and out of the classroom. Some students may be: disengaged and unmotivated, overly talkative and unfocused, excessively absent and fall behind in class. As teachers, do we give up on these students? The answer is no. As their teacher we should do everything in our power to work with them and help them figure out solutions that will benefit their learning and help them to succeed in and out of the classroom. "Never give up" 
Breakdown Brickwalls

Feedback from Students: "Listen to it, cherish it, and use it"
Teachers should always focus on improving themselves, their instructions, and their classroom environment among other things. We should ask our students for their thoughts and opinions, and let them know that we value their feedback. 

"You don't know where the bar should be and you are only going to do them a dis-service by putting it anywhere."
Teachers should not set limitations for their students. Students should not be led to believe that mediocre work is the best that they can do. Educators should continously motivate their students to strive to do their best, even when students produce great work. "Students will just keep going, exceeding expectations"

The Power of Enthusiasm
Teachers should always exhibit enthusiasm in the classroom. Students are more likely to be motivated and interested in learning, when their teachers are interested in learning and teaching. Student's learn more when they are having fun. "The enthusiasm of the teacher will permeate students with a belief in themselves." 

Learning through Enthusiasm

Project #14

Project-Based Learning Lesson Plan #2
PBL Lesson Plan #2 (Helping Hands) created by: Jasmine McCall

This lesson plan addresses Writing and Language Skills. It involves students working together to make a difference in their community. This lesson plan is intended for 3rd grade students and covers a period of one week.

Helping Hands

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blog Post # 9 Collaborative

What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

Back To the Future
For over thirty years, Brian Crosby has been teaching upper elementary in northern Nevada. He has fused his students use of technology with hand on activities, field trips, art and a problem-based approach. Through this approach, he enables his students to build their schema of the world, while connecting with it.

Mr. Crosby starts his presentation by giving a little background information about his students. He states that, more than 90% of his students are second language learners and are at risk, because they are students of poverty. Mr. Crosby then displays the results of a survey he had previously given his students. The survey consisted of questions such as: What city do you live in?, What state do you live in?, What is your address?, and What is your phone number?. Although over fifty percent of his students had lived in the same area since kindergarten, less than half of the students answered these questions correctly.

"Why such a disconnect for these students?"
Mr. Crosby says, this disconnection exists because the students haven't had any experience, so they have yet to build a schema for the world. Students are unable to imagine what could be, if they don't know what is. Without imagination, there is no creativity, and without creativity and imagination, there is no passion.

The "High Hopes" High Altitude Balloon Project
Mr. Crosby and his students, along with the help of professors from the University of Nevada, sent a hot air balloon into the stratosphere. This project highlighted the impact that technology has in the classroom. During this project, students posted to their blogs, used flickr to save images, created their own wiki web page, and used skype to collaborate with another classroom in New Zealand. 

The student's blogs became a tool of collaboration and communication. Mr. Crosby had his students to set goals for themselves. The students then made stratosphere cards, which they typed their high hopes for their school, their community, and the world on. These were shared on their blogs, and the students received comments from other students, expressing their desire to send their high hopes up also. These few comments turned a project in Mr. Crosby's class, into a world wide collaborative project. He and his students began leaving comments on blogs asking others to share their high hopes with them. High hopes from around the world quickly flooded in. There were high hopes from Thailand, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and all over the United States. 

After the hot air balloon was sent up, the students were asked to go back to their class and blog about what they had just witnessed. The students wrote stories as if they were the balloon and used pictures that were taken with digital cameras to illustrate their stories. 

Using Skype in the Classroom
Mr. Crosby had filmed his students doing a project, where a can crushed because of the change in the atmosphere. Some students from New Zealand watched their video and wanted to know how they could also do the project. Through skype the students were able to connect with this classroom and communicate what they had learned from this project. 

Importance of Webcams
One of Mr. Crosby's students has leukemia, and was not able to physically attend class. The student was able to participate and be an active member of the class, by way of technology and a webcam. 
"Students are learning to change each other's lives."

What can we learn from Mr. Crosby and his students? 
That given the chance, the opportunity, and the proper tools, students will succeed. From the results of the survey, one may think that these students are not capable of doing. This project is proof that through active learning and the proper use of 21st century learning tools, students can and will learn and produce work far beyond anyone's expectations.

Rather than, teaching our students how to be taught, we should create opportunities that empower them to learn. Active learning "empowers students to become learners". By using 21st century learning and communication tools students are able to learn on their own, connect themselves to the real world, and collaborate in and outside of their classroom walls.  

Mr. Crosby ends his Ted talk with a quote from a high school teacher, "It is not basics then enrichment, the basics can be addressed more authentically and more effectively, if those skills are developed in a more meaningful way". It is the birthright of every student, regardless of who their parents are or where they come from.
Collaborating and Connecting with Technology

Mr. Paul Anderson is a High School AP Biology teacher in Bozeman, Montana. 

Blended Learning is created when these three concepts :online, mobile, and classroom, are blended together. 
The five E's:
1. Engaging
2. Explore / Experiment
3. Explain Phenomenon
4. Expand
5. Evaluate
The five E's are considered a great way to present material and for students to learn material. 

Mr. Anderson combines Blended Learning and The Five E's together to create the Blended Learning Cycle. The acronym he uses to remember the Blended Learning Cycle is "QUIVER."

"Lets start with a question and figure out the answer."

Question - Teachers should start with a good question or phenomenon. The question should be considered your attention getter. It is what hooks the students in and gets them interested. The question or phenomenon should be something that the students do not understand and should make them want to discover how they will make it work. 
Investigate / Inquiry - Here students should start experimenting or exploring to discover information. 
Videos - Teachers can make a video podcast or give their students a link to a video they would like them to watch. Students can watch the videos independently rather than than have a classroom discussion. 
Elaboration - Students go more into depth and gain a better understanding of the material they are learning. This can be done by reading the textbook or any text the teacher has assigned the students. 
Review - This can be done in one-on-one sessions  or the teacher will hold small group discussions. During review, the teacher should ask probing questions that require the students to think and elaborate on what they have learned. "You haven't learned something, until you can explain it to somebody else."
Summary Quiz - Students may not move on to the quiz until they have gained permission from their teacher. In order to do this students must be able to verbally explain in depth what they have learned. The quiz is a way for students to self assess themselves and see what they have learned.
After all steps of the Blended Learning Cycle have been completed, the teacher then gives an old fashion paper and pencil test. 
The Blended Learning Cycle

In this video, Mark Church, co-author of "Making Thinking Visible", is demonstrating the Headline routine in his classroom. He starts by asking his students to have a  group discussion about a video they had previously watched. The video was on Origins of Human Society. From this students were to create a headline that captured the essence of the topic they were discussing. Right off students start discussing their view points about what their headline should be. Mr. Church tells his students to connect with their ideas and see how their thinking has extended. This allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the topics that they are learning. Thinking Visible promotes student engagement and allows the students to share their different viewpoints. 
Making Thinking Visual

Sunday, October 13, 2013

C4T # 2 Summary

Breaking Education Barriers

"Improving Teaching: One Step at a Time"

"Teaching is a job that is never done, at the end of the day." In this blogpost, Ms. Palmer gives advice to teachers, about the way in which they should work to improve as an educator. When a teacher is faced with learning new tasks, he or she may become overwhelmed and stressed out. Ms. Palmer states that the solution to this problem is to, "Take on one thing at a time". Rather than trying to overload on each task at once, take a step back and choose one task to focus on. Once you have improved at this task, move onto the second task. Don't stress out, don't feel guilty. You will achieve your goals, just take it one step at a time. 

In my comment to Ms. Palmer, I said that, as a student, I could identify with this method. Often, I actually believe that I am capable of tackling more than one task, when in actuality, I'm not. When I try to "focus" on more than one thing at a time, I become frustrated and stressed. So, I agree with the statement "Take it one step at a time", by doing so you will be less stressed and produce a better quality of work. 

Blog Post # 8 Collaborative

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools

I hope to teach K-2, so I searched for tools that I believe would be effective and beneficial to lower elementary students. I believe, all of the tools that I have chosen, involve the four C’s: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.

 Digital Storytelling connects students with classrooms and communities through stories written by the students. With digital storytelling, “Traditional writing, reading, and listening skills are reinforced, while 21st century ones (digital information, visual, and media literacy skills) are developed along the way”.

Tools that students can use to create their own digital storybook:

  • Storybird is a collaborative storytelling site. I like this site, because rather than students adding pictures that relate to their text, they start out with the artwork, usually donated by artists. Students work together to choose illustrations, then use their imaginations to develop creative stories. 
  •  Little bird tales is another digital storytelling tool. With this tool, students can upload their own pictures, use their own artwork, and add audio voiceover to their stories. 
  •  Book Creator is an iPad app. Students can create a book in the app and then become published authors by publishing their books in iBookstore.
 I would use these tools in my class as a way for students to write their own stories or reflect on what they have learn. I would use little bird tales or book creator as a tool for the whole class to create a digital book together. One idea for a class book, would be to take pictures of the students while the class is
on a field trip, then upload each student’s picture and either have them write or do a voiceover about
what they learned and what they enjoyed doing on the field trip.

 Little bird tales Handout


 Collaboration Tool

 Primary Wall allows for teachers and students to share community “sticky notes”. The site is similar to Padlet, but is considered to be more elementary friendly. This tool can be used to share thoughts, ideas, and information when working in a collaborative environment. This tool can be used in
language arts, math, and phonics. Teachers can create a wall and ask students to list as many adjectives or verbs they can think of or list different ways to make the number ten. I would also use this tool as a way for students to share their ideas about projects they would like to create in class.


VoiceThread is an interactive collaboration and sharing tool, used to discuss any type of media collaboratively. It is used by teachers and student from K-12 and college professors and students as well. Teachers and students can upload images, documents, or videos to voicethread. Once they have uploaded their chosen media file, they can then add text, voice, audio file, or video comments. 

Voicethread enable students who have different learning styles to share what they are learning with the class. It is also useful for those students who may have a hard time expressing themselves or organizing their thoughts in writing, by enabling them to verbally share their thoughts with the class through voicethread.

Students can reflect on what they have learned and self-assess the quality of their work.

Digital Storytelling:
Students can create digital books, using their own artwork and vocally demonstrate what they are 
drawing about. 

Brief Instructions for Thread

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blog Post # 7

What can We Learn from Conversations with Anthony Capps?

Edna Montgomery

The first thing I want to say is, “Thank You Anthony Capps,” for sharing your experience as a new teacher and giving advice to future teachers. The conversations are powerful! Setting goals for the students, parents not satisfied with Project-Based Learning, and information about iCurio are just some of his experiences Capps share with us.

Jasmine McCall

Project-Based Learning: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher Part 1 and Part 2

Mr.Capps states that Project-Based Learning is a "method by which students learn, rather than what they do at the end of a lesson, to show what they have learned". Teachers should use project-based learning as a means of getting students to learn and not as means to show what they have learned. The goals of a project-based learning lesson plan should be: to have an authentic audience, be of interest to the students, involve the community, and driven by content. Mr.Capps says to never limit your students on what you expect from them. With project-based learning, students are capable of creating work that goes beyond the teachers expectations. PBL also gives students a choice in what they are learning. When students are able to make decisions, they take more pride in their work and are able to comprehend what they are saying and arguing. When students create projects, their work becomes more meaningful and they are more engaged in what they are learning.
21st Century Learnerns

Jasmine McCall

iCurio is an online tool, that can serve different purposes in the classroom. iCurio, can be used as a search engine by students to find pictures, videos, or websites that aide in their learning or research. With iCurio, teachers know that their students will not come across harmful or negative material because all online material that can be accessed through iCurio has been filtered for educational purposes.

Jasmine McCall

Discovery Education

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million". Discovery Ed allows teachers to combine text with a visual. When students are able to see pictures and videos along with text they retain more of the information they are learning. Discovery Ed enables teachers to "bring the text alive".

Jasmine McCall

The Anthony-Strange List of Tips for Teachers: Part 1
1st - Someone who wants to be an educator, must be interested in learning. If you have no desire to learn, you will not succeed as an educator.
2nd - "Work is not seperate from play". Teaching should be thought of as a craft or hobby, and you should spend your free time improving as a educator. Allow teaching to become a fun experience for you.
3rd - Be flexible and creative. Start with an end goal, but be prepared for the unexpected to take place.
4th - "Have 100% engagement, 100% of the time". Create content that caters to every students needs. Create projects they care about, are interested in and want to discover more about. Crucial: "Constantly think about, How can I get EVERY single one of my children involved in this learning process".
5th- Allow students to reflect on their work. Having an audience is a perfect purpose for reflection. When students have an audience to share their work with, they are more willing to revise their work and make it better for their audience.

Jasmine McCall

Don't Teach Tech, Use It
"Never teach tech, use it". Focus on one technology tool per week and build on it. Allow students time to reflect on this tool, then combine it with a new tool the following week.Capps stress of letting the students learn technology, one at a time, is a method of retaining a new skills and information. The tips for teachers is a extra bonus he gives us. I’m really listening when he points out that teaching is hard work. Experience in technology, will prepare students for the tools they will use in the real-world.
Studens Love Tech

We enjoyed these conversations and will reflect on them when we enter the classroom.
Jasmine Mccall and Edna Montgomery