Friday, April 29, 2011

Project # 16

To my group; You guys did a wonderful job, and I have absolutely enjoyed working with each and every one of you this semester. Michael, you did a wonderful job putting this project together. You have been a great team leader throughout the semester! Good Luck to all as you continue your journeys!

Final Report on PLN

Personal Learning NetworkMy PLN hasn't really changed very much since my previous post. As I anticipated, I have added more  to my Google Bookmarks. I also feel that I have delved deeper into using Google Docs. My group has used Google Docs throughout the semester to share projects, information, and ideas. Both of these tools make it easy to share useful sites and information with others.I have also found Google Presentation to exceed the uses of PowerPoint presentations created through  Microsoft Office. I recently got an iPhone4 and I am anxious to learn more about Face Time. I have Skype, but I am only connected to a few friends. Face Time appears to be an easier and quicker way to "get connected". I plan on using a Class Blog for teaching. I have enjoyed the Blogging experience and think it is a great teaching tool. I use both Facebook and Twitter daily to correspond with friends, classmates, and educators. I am looking forward to acquiring new apps, skills, and friends along my continues technological learning journey.

Blog Post # 14 - Special Assignment on Metaphors

Metaphor Cartoon
1. Unfortunately, I missed the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post, Don't Let Them Taker Pencils Home. I guess I took the message too literally. I think I over-thought the entire post.My focus was more on writing a good blog post which included an analysis of the "Pencil" rather than interpreting a technological meaning. Now that I know the pencil represents the computer, the post gives me totally new perspective. I have to admit that I was somewhat bewildered why teachers wouldn't want their students to "take the pencils home".

2. We encounter metaphors on a daily basis.  Since I am an English major, I have learned that metaphors are prevalent in literature, especially poetry. Poets often use Poppies to represent death and Lilies to represent purity. These illustrations create metaphors behind meaning. Some common metaphors heard often are, Kicked the Bucket, Apply of my Eye, Ran like the Wind, and in music, It's Raining Men.

3. Students who hear metaphors often and understand them will be able to pick up on them more quickly. When I was in high school, one of my teachers actually gave the class a list of metaphors, explained them, and gave us a test on them. Of course, I thought it was a silly idea. I now understand that recognizing and understanding metaphors allows us to better participate in conversations.

4. A metaphor is a figure of speech that constructs an analogy between two things or ideas. They are often used to make a point stronger. Using them when writing, may make the story more lively and express meaning and feelings more creatively. Using metaphors often are an easier way to express feelings without  having to explain yourself in depth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

C4T Summary post # 4

Location, Location, Location
Sigurd Town Old School House
Connected Principals is a blog where school administrators share their varied experiences and best practices in education. This post  by Larry Fliegelman who for the past 14 years has been an elementary principle, middle school assistant principle, and middle school social studies teacher discusses the affect condition of school buildings have on students and staff. He explains that while teaching in Medford at Roberts Middle School, the environment was a destructive and unhappy one for all in attendance until they received a new school. "It was so bad that there were cracks in the walls large enough for me to see clearly through to the exterior brick." explains Fliegelman. Bulletin boards were destroyed due to heavy rains and students work was destroyed. He explains that students continuously destroyed the 8th grade bathroom. It seems plausible to attribute these behaviors to the lack of respect the students had for the building possibly reflecting their feelings towards the school system's neglect of their own safety and comfort while at school.Upon bringing in a new principle, Fliegelman explains that there was an optimism and happiness in the air. The result of the new school proved to be a positive one. Although there were some struggles, the new building brought pride and hopefulness  to students and teachers. 

More Than an 'A'; Mindset and Assessment
Road to Education
This post was published by George Couros who is currently a principle at Forest Green School and Connections for learning located in Stoney Plain, Alberta, Canada. This pot assesses the shift in standard 'A' 'B' grading to a new pedagogical approach. The concern is that schools are lowering their standards, but Couros argues that standards are becoming higher for both student and teachers. The idea of "growth" mindset is emphasized here rather than a fixed mindset. Couros explains that a 'C' student has at least two more grades to jump to "excellent" but when they get there, the idea of "lifelong learning" is thrown out, because the satisfaction of an 'A' is the final achievement in the learning process. He also addresses the issue of teacher workload and the system change stating, "instead of simply giving a grade, educators work on understanding each child's unique needs and strengths." Because of the new system, educators will do more work. They must work with their students individually to identify strategies that will allow continuous growth. He explains that students in his school completed an Identity Day Project in which every student completed and received no grade. There was no rubric applied to the project. It was only based on students' passions and interests. Couros makes a great point in his blog that suggests that the experience of a project, such as the one mentioned above, resides in students' memories long after studied testing material. I agree with this. Although the shift in the grading system would be hard to get use to, I think it would be a positive change. In grade school as well as in college, I am disappointed when I do not receive an 'A' and often beat myself up for not trying harder. 'A' 'B' students are considered smart and recognized on Honor Rolls, and are rewarded leaving the 'C' students feeling less important and unintelligent. As educators, we must encourage ALL students.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blog Post # 13

ALEX icon
Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) offers educators many helpful tools for effective teaching strategies. The site includes a Course of Study, Web Links, Lesson Plans, and Professional Learning opportunities. Subjects available range from Science to Driver and Traffic Safety Education. There is something for everyone. As an English/Language Arts major, I am able to enter any source in ALEX, select my area of instruction, the grade level, and access lesson plans, book reviews, and websites providing further instruction and ideas for teaching. ALEX allows teacher to login to their own "Personal Workplace" to store and submit lesson plans and share web pages with other educators. This is a great place for collaborating. The "Professional Learning" component grants teachers opportunities for training and attendance of presentations and conferences

Since I feel that podcasts are wonderful educational tools, I found the Podcast Treasury tab very interesting and exciting. Here, they have podcasts available for Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Health/Physical Education, English/Language Arts, Technology Education, and many more. All a teacher has to do is select their subject and select a podcast that best suits the lesson. Not only are teachers able to share information through this component, but students are able to give their insight as well through. Some features podcasts under English/ Language Arts are "Our Favorite Authors", "Plagiarism and Citing Sources", and "Heroes: People that Inspire". The time of the podcast is present along with the organization that published it.Whether you're familiar with ALEX or not, the Podcast Treasury tab is a must see and use resource area. This site is one that I see myself using and sharing with others throughout my teaching education and in the classroom! 

ACCESS iconAlabama Connecting Classroom, Educators, and Students Statewide (ACCESS) Distance Learning Program was created to deliver instruction to the many rural and low-income schools in Alabama who have limited course offerings for students. The mission of the ACCESS program is to provide an infrastructure that delivers equal, quality learning opportunities for all Alabama citizens. A blended learning model was used to implement the ACCESS program. This program offers courses using either web-based or interactive videoconferencing as well as a combination with the two. The program has awarded 70 grants to Alabama high schools in order to implement 21st Century distance learning classrooms which include technologies such as interactive whiteboards, cameras, and computers and accessories. Teachers are also awarded professional development and specialized training for successfully implementing ACCESS. This program appears to be working considering that enrollment in 174 participating high schools has increased to over 9,000 per year. These classes similar to college online classes are offered to students in grades 9-12. Although I had never previously heard of this program, I think it is a great way to keep students in school and prepare them for their future education. It was difficult for me to transition to from a classroom to an online class, but these students will already be prepared.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

C4K SUmmary Post # 3

Derek E. Miller and Alexis Krauss of the band Sleigh Bells
C4K # 7- I found Mr. McClung's World to be very diverse and interesting. He has something for everyone posted in his blog. I commented on The Band of the Week Section which featured Sleigh Bells, a duo that has gained popularity since their debut in 2009. The band is composed of former guitarist for Poison the Well, Derek E. Miller, who also is the songwriter and producer for his current band, and Alexis Krauss, former Rubyblue band member who provides vocals for Sleigh Bells. They have signed with M.I.A.'s N.E.E.T Recordings and Mom and Pop Recordings. This blog post provided much information about the band and included one of their popular singles, Riot Rhythm from there album Treats in an audio MP3 player. I have never heard of this band, but I am glad that this blog post introduced them to me. I love music and am always looking for something new.  I am now anxious to check out more of their music.

C4K # 8 I commented on Ellie's blog, a year 6 student in Mr. Pike's class at Epping Heights in Sydney Australia. She and some classmates rewrote the lyrics to Jingle Bells to make it environmentally friendly. The girls sang the song and played a flute and horns in a video posted on Ellie's blog. I really enjoyed the video. They  did a wonderful job. The girls were very brave and creative. It is great that they are interested in environmental safety and spreading awareness. I love the song and encouraged the girls to continue their creativity. 

Mrs. Yollis' Class
C4K # 9 Mrs. Yollis has been a teacher for twenty-four years and is currently teaching third grade in Las Angeles. She acknowledges the importance of working alongside parents to bring out the best in her students. She recently receives a Master's Degree in Integrating Technology in the Classroom. Her class Blog has been recognized and has won the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Edublog Award. As part of her blog, Mrs. Yollis includes a tab where visitors can learn HTML Codes. I personally found this to be very useful when creating my own blog. With her help, I learned how to create buttons, hyperlinks, and line breaks. I also found the Time Zones of Friends tab to be very interesting. The page shows clocks displaying the time of different teachers and places around the world that Mrs. Yollis' class connects to. Through her blog, she is able to incorporate her students interests into the information she gives. In learning how to shoot great digital photos, Mrs. Yollis lets students be the teachers. It was amazing to see the students interaction on the blog. Out of all the class blogs I have visited this semester and C4K, I never received a reply, but the students post great responses on Mrs. Yollis' class blog. On one post (Postcard from Panania, New South Wales, Australia) , a parent commented and a classmate responded to her with a very intelligent and insightful post. I love that the parents and students are able to share information. This is a great way to keep the parents involved in the classroom and their children educations. Not only are the parents involved, but other family members participate as well. One student was having a conversation with his grandmother. Mrs. Yollis has some really good ideas. As an English teacher, one of my favorite activities I saw the students doing in a post was recreating a story. The students read "Poppa's New Pants" then made their own pants and illustrated the occurrences in the story. Mrs. Yollis blog was very interesting. There is great emphasis on effective commenting. Her students give great tips and seem to really enjoy the blogging process as do I.  

Star Fruit
Star Fruit
C4K# 10-  Miriam is a student in Mrs. Yollis' 3rd Grade Class. Her blog post was about tropical fruits she had found and tasted in a Hawaiian Farmer's Market. She posted pictures along with a bre\ief deception of each fruit. I love to learn about new things, especially food, so I really enjoyed her post. Although I have never tried an y of these tropical fruits, I would probably like the star fruit best. It sounded very tasty and was aesthetically appealing. I told Miriam that I have many favorite fruits including strawberries bananas, peaches, and apples. I encouraged her to keep up the good work.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Progress Report on Final Project

sticky note stating,
Our group met on Tuesday to discuss our plans for the final project. We came up with two ideas for the project. We discussed creating a WIKI, but I think we are leaning more towards making a video presentation using movie maker giving an introduction to students entering into EDM310. In the video, we will discuss what we have learned, how we will apply these things to our own classroom, and provide tips to students as they complete projects and assignments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Project # 15

Project # 14 - Teach Someone Something

Blog Post # 12

I Think, Therefore I BlogConsidering all of the technology we have encountered in this class, I think it would be a great idea to write a blog post evaluating your favorite technological teaching tool. Make sure to include positive attributes,potential problems, and why you feel this tool would work for your class. 

If I had to choose just one favorite, I would incorporate blogging into my classroom. A close second would be the Podcast, which has its own potential. Blogging allows students to explore their own ideas and opinions as well as others. They will have the opportunity to receive feedback and encouragement from educators, peers, and family. I think it is important to share information. Often times students understand better when a subject matter is explained and better clarified by classmates. Having C4C allows for peer teaching to occur. This may give incentive to students who are uninterested in reading others; blogs. Learning something new or better understanding a concept that was once misconstrued will give students the incentive to explore their classmates blog posts. 

As a future English teacher, I believe that blogging would be a great way to help students improve their writing skills and grammar. I personally am embarrassed when I realize I have published a post and have made an error. I also think that the spell-check on most computers present while blogging points out mistakes that students are able to learn from correcting initially and remembering later. It is sometimes hard for students to read through their own work and correct themselves, but this devise helps them to improve as they succeed. 

I would have my students blog about books we read and lessons taught in class. On Mrs. Yollis' class blog, her students read a book and recreated the occurrences. The activity helped students to remember the book  and better understand the lesson while having fun. Blogging is also a new way to keep a journal. In many English classes, teachers require students to keep a journal that is turned in at intervals or at the end of a semester. Blogging is a new way of journaling where a teacher can keep a constant check and give feedback before the final project is to be submitted. This is a great way to give students more security.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blog Post # 11

Mrs. Kathy Cassidy is a first grade teacher from Moose Jaw, SK Canada who began to incorporate technology into her classroom 10 years ago. Her technological journey began when 5 computers were donated to her class. She received funding from the Federal Government for her own professional development and has been employing safe and educational use of technology ever since. She began developing a Webpage 10 year ago and began using class blogs 5 years ago. Since then, she has added Wiki, Skype, SmartBoard instruction, and the use of the Nintendo DS into her lesson plans. 
Blogger Icone

In the video, the students explain their use of each device. They explained their excitement for C4K on their blog posts. Their parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, and others interested in education are able to comment. Blogging allows the first graders to improve their writing skills. The Webpage allows safe navigation to websites that teach through games, videos, and connecting with others. The students seemed to really like using Wiki and Skype to share information and connect to educators and other classrooms around the world. The Nintendo DS helps the students gain responsibility, problem solving skills, and teach them to read.

Skype Logo
In the Skype interview, she acknowledges that technology is here to stay and is an important educational tool. It is necessary to change the tools in which we use to teach our students. Technology allows students to better connect to their instructors and educational journey. You must keep up with whats going on in technology. She mentions using your interests to guide your development of tolls and networks.For example, if a student or educator is interested in videos, they should set up a YouTube account.She also emphasizes Twitter as a wonderful educational network. It allows us to follow educators who are passionate about education and are able to share ideas and strategies.
Wiki Logo

Mrs. Cassidy gives some great insight into technology in the classroom. The collaboration allowed through social networks is a wonderful tool for education. Students' families are able to keep up with what's going on in the classroom, which is a very important aspect of learning involvement.  I think it's amazing that she is able to teach first graders to use each of these sites. I'm not even sure if I can even create and use each of these devices. I love her passion and dedication to her students.

Special Assignment- Mr. McClung's World

Mr. McClung
Mr. McClung
1). Mr. McClung is an 8th grade teacher at Woodland Jr. High in Fayettville Arkansas. He teaches social studies, Arkansas History, computer application, and coaches cross country. He is an avid supporter of technology in the classroom. He does his best to implement technology into everyday instructions. His interests and hobbies reflect the construction of his blog. He incorporates his area of teaching, his students, and personal interests. I learned that he is a huge fan of music which is apparent in his blog. Mr. McClung's World is very interactive and fun reflecting his energy and classroom environment.

2). I really like that he implements group work into his classroom and realizes the needs of his students. Various teaching strategies give all students equal opportunity to explore their own learning strategies. It also allows students the opportunity to enjoy what seems like an individualized lesson plan. Mr. McClung seems to pay close attention to his students.

3). Some of Mr. McClung's rules can be found in any classroom but others create a bigger impact. Students are expected to listen, raise their hands, and follow directions as in any classroom setting. I was impressed with his Teach-OK strategy. This gives students the opportunity to teach their neighbor what was just taught by Mr. McClung. This strategy is a great way for students to share ideas and clarify in their own terms information that may have not been clear when explained by the teacher. The Scoreboard method is also a great way to give students incentive to behave and participate properly.

4). Everyone Needs a day planner! This will help students organize their assignments and prepare for class. I have always used a planner for those exact purposes. They help create good time management and organization skills that  allow for success now and later in life.

5). Mr. McClung's penalties for late work imply that tardiness and procrastination are unacceptable. We have been advised many times in EDM310 to complete and submit our work ON TIME! The threat of failing an assignment or receiving a lower grade should prompt students to do their work.

6). It seems his main goal is to keep parents, students, and other teachers informed. It is a place where ideas can be generated and exploration of new ideas is encouraged. It is sometimes hard to connect with parents. A blog is a great way to inform parents on classroom activities, assignments, and announcements. I think it is key to keep parents involved in their children s' education. As a teacher, I would love to be able to create a blog like Mr. McClung's for students, parents, and other educators.

7).One of the links I reviewed was the Discover Education Network. This network connects students and teachers to useful resources. It is dedicated to educators who are passionate about teaching with digital media, collaborating, and  networking. There are blog posts, opportunities to participate in forums, and global connection to educators who are passionate about education. The site has won numerous awards. The second site that interested me was called the The Plagiarism Checker. It is a very simple site to use. As a future English teacher, it would be a great place to direct my students, if they had questions about their use of citation and sources. You simply cut and paste your text into the box and the Plagiarism Checker does the rest.

8).There are many important rules here that all children should be taught. It seems like common sense but many children should be reminded to never reveal personal information such as last name, address, phone number, or school name when asked either in chat or on websites, The fact that he mentions to inform a parent or teacher of any conversation or email that makes the child uncomfortable is very important. I think it would be helpful to add that students should never navigate away from a safe website if prompted by a pop-up or tempting add or offer. We must remember that children are very impressionable and easily distracted.

9). I was assigned to comment on a post filed under (Band of the Week). Since I love music, I was interested to find out more about the bands under this category. Each had a brief description and music file. Some of the more well known bands included, OutKast, Weezer, Incubus, and  Franz Ferdinand. Although I know their music, it was interesting to find out more about the people behind the instruments and microphones.

10). Personally, Mr. McClung's World is a little too busy for me. I'm a fan of organization and simplicity, and I feel that his blog is lacking in these areas. Yes, each genre is filed under a specific name, but the initial page is somewhat overwhelming. In my opinion, Blogger it easier to navigate. The one positive attribute that I've seen in Mr. McClung's blog is the ability to add audio files and the DropShots photo sharing sidebar. These would both be great and lively additions to Blogger. 

11). He has everything a parent should know about classroom assignments, projects, and homework in one place. If a student is falling behind, a parent can make sure they are doing the work they are supposed to. Also his blog gives teachers and students such as myself ideas for better teaching strategies and success in the classroom. 

12). I would definitely say Mr. McClung's World is more interactive. I think some appeal lies in the fact that students are offered more instruction. It also presents more than just academics.He incorporates his interests, creating a more comfortable connection with his students. He seems to be  a very energetic and exciting teacher. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blog Post # 10

Bored Students
"Schooling was interfering with his education" explains Dan Brown.This in itself is a powerful statement that echos the opinions of many students. We've all sat through classes where the teacher is monotone, boring, and repetitive.I have discussed classes with many of my friends, and they all unanimously agree that Tuesday/Thursday classes are the worst. Instead of allotting fifty minutes for the class, we are required to attend for an hour and fifteen minutes. Don't get me wrong, there are some classes where the extra time is necessary in order for the class to be educational and understandable, but there are many that could fit into a fifty minute time slot. It seems that teachers often times drag on for the sake of keeping students the entire time. In my opinion, when a lesson is complete and all questions are answered, the students should be allowed to leave. If the students are not engaged, they lose interest and "zone out". Instead of pure lecture, students should be given the opportunity to interact with their classmates. It was always torture for me in elementary and middle school to resist talking in class then fearing break-detention for talking in the halls when we changed classes. I have enjoyed the interaction that EDM310 allows.  Twitter, Blogging, Skype, and other social networks have proven to be wonderful educational tools. I have been able to connect with classmates inside and outside of class as well as educators who share great ideas, tips, and information. Sadly, most of the information I run across has to be pushed aside so that I can attend to busy work for other classes. It would be nice to sit down and read something I was interested in and chose myself, but college makes this hard to do. Although it is at times frustrating, college has allowed me explore information and broaden my perspective.It seems reasonable to say that in college, we must take the good with the bad. Not everything is interesting and exciting, but it is still necessary.

Dept. of Education's view of standardized tests
"High-stakes tests develop a love of Learning."
This post is concerned with the emphasis placed on standardized testing scores. The scenario presented is comical.  "I have a journal article about how students who use pencils at home have lower standardized test scores.  So, for the love of test-taking, we need to stop our students from taking home pencils." As educators, we should encourage students to "take their pencils home".  Not only do students need their pencils to complete homework, but they are also tools that allow for creativity.  "We're teaching for students to pass standardized tests" This statement was from a friend who is currently student-teaching. She exclaimed that this practice is stupid, and I agree. Only teaching students to pass standardized tests disregards Bloom's Taxonomy of Thinking. They are not taught Critical Thinking skills, Analysis, Application, or Evaluation. I feel that only teaching students to pass standardized tests affects their success in later education, such as college. It seems that the hierarchical concern with scores stems from funding concerns and status.  The focus should remain on the STUDENTS' complete education and not simply getting by grade-to-grade.